Sunday, August 31, 2008

I have been uninspired to post recently, for a variety of reasons. Cobalt, obviously. Several trips out of town for work. General overwhelmedness.

Oh, and also, my computer fried itself on Wednesday. Kaput. Bye-bye hard drive. I'm trying not to think about it, and not really succeeding. I'm posting this from Shaun's computer; we're getting a new hard drive for mine, but it will take a couple days.

Why not just wipe the drive and reinstall? Because I'm stupid and didn't back up enough and maybe I can take the drive to someone who has a magic wand and can make all my files reappear then I won't have to cry (but they probably can't) so I'm still trying not to think about that yes I should back up no I didn't don't yell at me I've learned my lesson did I mention I'm an idiot?

Yes, I'm an idiot.

I'm off to take some pictures now, and will maybe get them posted tomorrow. Then I'm going to spin for a while and wind up all this tension in my mind into some lovely laceweight merino singles.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sometimes even the expected can be unexpected... heartwrenching... horrible. It's taken me more than a week to write this post. Our dog Cobalt went up to Friday Harbor with us last weekend, but she did not come home.


She'd been getting progressively impaired this summer, though she never had any acute attacks like she did a couple years ago. Just a general decline. Less stable on her feet, a little blind, a little deaf, but still her same sweet self.

July 1996

She was originally from Wilmington, North Carolina, born in 1994. Shaun got her from an animal shelter, in November of our first year together. She was about nine months old, our relationship was eleven months old. She was mostly past the puppy stage, incredibly sweet and cuddly. She wanted to be a lap dog, a 50 pound lap dog. She was picked up as a stray and we think she'd been abused, as she was always skittish around tall men with deep voices. We didn't even hear her bark for more than a year.

January 1996

She lived with me (illegally, in my no-pets apartment) for our last summer in Wilmington, while Shaun did research in Florida, then they moved to Pittsboro, North Carolina in the fall of 1995 when Shaun started in the PhD program at Chapel Hill. I finished up my Master's degree and joined them in December.

January 1996

She enjoyed the colder winters and occasional snows of the Piedmont, and deluded herself into thinking that she could catch the squirrels and deer in our yard.

July 1996

It was hilarious to watch her scratch her own back by wiggling with all four feet up in the air.

February 1999

She hated baths, loved to be brushed, and would flatten into a puddle of black fur when the temperature went above 80F.

July 1996

We moved to Friday Harbor in 2001, to the wonderful cool Pacific Northwest. Lots of beach walks and snuffling in the underbrush at Jakle's Lagoon. When Emma was born, Cobalt was interested and gentle and protective. She was very tolerant of the toddler-play.

February 2005

She traveled with us up and down the East Coast visiting and vacationing from Maine to Florida, and across the width of the US three times.

August 1996

She pretty much went where we went for 14 years. She was part of our family from the very beginning, from the very first inklings Shaun and I had that we would be a family.

January 1996

We knew she was old and gradually failing. She had a long life, and had cheated mortality several times - hit by a car, heartworms and the terrible treatment for them, cherry sized bladder stones and surgery to remove them, pancreatitis, and a stroke or possibe brain tumor - not to mention the less dangerous crises - bitten by a copperhead, stoned from licking a toad, a muzzle full of porcupine quills, lots of apparently benign but still sensitive large fatty tumors, and idiopathic vestibular disease.

October 2007

Despite all that, she kept going along. Even up to the end, she didn't seem to be in great distress, just a bit creaky. I was dreading having to make the decision to put her to sleep, but we didn't have to.

February 2005

Cobalt, Cueball, Cue-balty. You will be terribly missed. Rest in peace, sweetie.

September 1998

Monday, August 11, 2008

So... my yarn winder arrived on Monday, after it's trip from Colorado to Oregon via Washington. My evaluation? Great. I got the motorized version only because I bought this to use for selling yarn. If it was just for personal use, I would have gotten the human-powered version. I had to think a while about whether to get the motor, but in the end, my shoulder vs. miles of laceweight yarn won out.

It was easy to put together, and I had it up and running in about 15 minutes. I wound off the last four cones of laceweight yarn I had on hand, a total of 4 pounds, into ~4 oz skeins, in 45 minutes.

Let me repeat that. Four pounds of yarn, sixteen skeins.

Forty. Five. Minutes.

This would have taken me hours, pre-winder, using my swift. Probably 3-4 hours, maybe more. This was a really (really) big purchase for me, but after I skein off four more cones of yarn, the machine will have paid for itself just from time saved in winding from the cones and rewinding the dyed skeins.

Rewinding does go slower than winding off the cones, but it's still better than winding the dyed skein off the swift into a ball, then using the swift to wind it back to a skein. The extra step to go into a ball irritated me.

And I love that this is completely paid for out of the profits from my Etsy shop, and my balance sheet is still in the black.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

I have a real post for tomorrow with my new toy, but for now, here's some of what I've been doing the past week or so for my shop.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

I was surfing around the interwebs today, and stumbled upon the Global Oneness Project. Lots of great, thought-provoking videos there, and one in particular was an interesting textile-related link: Not Just a Piece of Cloth, about a volunteer recycling center in India.

I have to go clean out my closet now.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Just a wee bit grumpy, here. I ordered a skein winder on July 22, (using some of the proceeds from my Etsy yarn sales!), and have been impatiently awaiting its arrival. I knew that it would take a bit more than a week, since there weren't any of the model I ordered in stock, and the website said to expect about a week for production. That was fine. I have absolutely no problem with that.

On July 29, I got an email notification from DHL that the package was in their system. Goody goody goody! My winder is on its way! They picked it up on Wednesday, July 30. Yay! It's coming from Colorado Springs, which is really not that far away. Fifteen hours or so.

I've been tracking it online since then, and this morning's update caused my mild grumpiness. The package went from Colorado Springs, CO, to Aurora, CO, to Salt Lake City, UT, by Thursday night. Good, good, getting closer. Salt Lake City is about 7-8 highway hours from me, so maybe I'll get the winder on Friday!

But no. It didn't show up on my doorstep yesterday, and there were no updates on the website all day. I checked the website again just now, and yesterday my package left the regional hub in Salt Lake City at 3:06am, and arrived at 10:49pm at the regional hub in CHEHALIS, WASHINGTON! Huh?

Now I realize that going from regional hub to regional hub is standard procedure, but the fastest way to get from SLC to Chehalis (just south of Olympia) is to take I-84. Which goes RIGHT THROUGH La Grande!

I don't know if my package is going by truck or train (does DHL do train?), but eight hours out of Salt Lake City would have put a truck in La Grande at about 11:00am. And, as it happened, I was out doing a work errand at 10:40. I had to go on the overpass over I-84, and as I did, three big DHL truck trailers went under me on I-84. Perhaps I should have waved?

I wonder if my winder will get here by Monday, or if it has to go to Chicago first...

Friday, August 01, 2008

Want to see something cool? Go look at this article about fiber artists in Oaxaca, Mexico, who use a snail (Purpura pansa), to dye cotton. This snail is in the murex family, like the snail used to produce Tyrian Purple, but in the community of people the article is written about, Purpura pansa is milked, not killed, to obtain the dye!

The site linked above also has a slideshow, here. Do go look; the yarns, finished woven goods, and scenery are gorgeous.

Pout. I want to go explore the intertidal zone and dye beautiful purple yarn.....