Monday, October 23, 2017

Resistance Knitters

Resistance to the insane direction that this country is heading comes in many forms.

Two Types of "Friends"

This blog, Facebook and other social media allows me to broadcast my personal message to thousands of people.  Over the years, I have accumulated a very wide and varied audience and list of "friends".  Many of them are knitters, crocheters, weavers, sheep farmers, etc.

It was incredibly satisfying that some of the first anti-trump protesters were my fellow knitters.

The Pussy Hat Project was an amazingly creative way to visibly protest and thanks to the group Pussy Riot and the Pussy Hat project, we have a visually cohesive group that can express their dissent just by wearing a hand knit garment.

I have knit a number of Pussy Hats for friends and protesters, and I will have at least one to display on my table at the Artisan Craft Shows I'll be doing in the next couple of months.  As a thank-you for one of those hats, a friend of mine gave me this:

I love that this gift was home made...I love that it was done using rainbow colors...I love that she used a quote that meant something to both of us.

Nothing more satisfying than thoughtful, beautiful gifts.  This little treasure will take up a prominent spot in my home.

Current Knitting

First of all, it started out as a garter/bias scarf using to different ombre yarns.

Given that the yarn is a light-weight sock yarn and I was using US3 needles, the fabric was very light.  Another fortunate event was that I made a mistake in the scarf and didn't notice it until I had finished a couple dozen rows on top of the scarf.

The mistake was fortunate, in that it allowed me to rip out the scarf and cast on for a large, light-weight shawl instead!

I also finished a couple more pairs of booties.

Or have I posted these already...or better yet, how the hell would anyone know anyway?

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Power of Promotion

I just got the electronic postcard (above) to promote my first Artisan/Craft Show at the end of the month, and it's no wonder this show gets a lot of high-end traffic of people looking for nicer hand-crafted gifts.

Beautiful Work

The organizer of the Flemington Fine Artisans Show is a jewelry artist herself and has a very fine aesthetic eye.  It shows in her promotional design as well...don't you think?

Most of the more well-established vendors at higher-end artisan/craft shows have signage for their booth, so I decided to take advantage of Costco's new Business Printing center to order a vinyl sign for my booth.

I know I shouldn't be so excited about a stupid vinyl sign, but I ended up getting this custom sign printed and shipped to me for $25 (I could have also picked it up at my local Costco Warehouse).  And even better, with an executive membership and credit card, I get 4% back in February on the purchase ($1 back isn't bad on such a great little item!).

A similarly sized vinyl sign on VistaPrint, for instance, starts at $28.  VistaPrint also charges you for custom graphics and shipping.

There is a do need to know how to create "vector graphics" to be able to use your own scale-able images in a way where they don't pixellate...or know someone that can do it for you.  I've used graphic software packages for years, but learning vector image technology really is a whole new language and it took me a while to learn how to do this...even with a friend's help.

Current Knitting

The latest Koigu Cross Stitch Scarf was completed since the last blog entry.

It will block out a bit wider than these photos, and I'm also planning on displaying it at the craft show with one of these little beauties from Lickin' Flames...

These little ceramic sheep on shawl prongs are AWESOME.

What do you think?

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Life Imitates Art

Is it me, or is there very little historical perspective in political arguments any more?

Depth of Field

In photography and other image-based art, there is a great concept called "depth of field".

The depth of the field in photography describes the distance between the nearest and the furthest objects that are in focus in a photograph.

Limiting the depth of field, or the focused area of the photo to a narrow band of distance allows a photographer to highlight the portion of the photo that is important...or to manipulate the viewer of the photo to focus on what the artist wants the viewer to see as the important subject of the image.  The out-of-focus background allows for a colorful or dreamy background without distracting the viewer from what's deemed important by the photographer.

Similarly, today's political issues in the U.S. seem to lack any historical or background clarity.

Our news broadcasts use the aural equivalent of a narrow depth of field when they insist on only broadcasting sound-bytes of an issue...demanding the listener to focus on just the issue at hand.

Some news organizations attempt to blur the background by providing historical references to a sound byte that guide the listener to believe what the news organization wants them to believe, but few news organizations have the time or attention span of their viewers to be able to truly give a broad depth of field to an important story.

There are a few exceptions.  International news can often be better at this.  PBS seems to provide a broader background than other domestic news.  And individual sections of shows will sometimes delve deeply into the background.  The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC often uses the first extended segment of the show to focus on historical background of a story before even introducing the story.

Suffice it to say that "those who forget history are doomed to repeat it" is something that is proving more and more true every day lately.

Current Knitting

I rushed like a mad man to finish the latest Color Block Scarf.

It's finally starting to get cold enough outside where the idea of wearing a scarf won't soon be out of the question. 

I also started a new Koigu Cross Stitch Scarf.

This one is using a high-contrast combination of yarns that I'm liking quite a bit.  While these high-contrast, bright scarves don't always sell quickly at the Artisan/Craft Shows I sell at, they often attract people to the table to take a closer look at what I've got for sale.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Opposites Attract

Everyone knows how common it is for two people who are in long-term relationships to be complete opposites in some area of their lives.

Types of Opposites

Are you a night-person and your partner a morning-person?
Do you hang toilet paper rolls the correct way and your partner the wrong way?
Does one of you prefer savory/salty treats and the other sugary/sweet?
Is your wardrobe all spring colors and his all fall colors?

Well, I've come up with a new combination and it's how you prefer your interior lighting!

Thaddeus and I are both morning people and fortunately, he knows how to hang a roll of toilet paper correctly.  But he and I couldn't possibly be further apart when it comes to how we light the rooms in our house.

Thaddeus prefers minimal, subdued ambient lighting with accented lighting to show off a painting or a piece of furniture.

I prefer a much brighter, open all the shades and curtains to let the sun stream in sort of lighting.

To be less charitable (to both of us)...Thaddeus prefers dark, dim, dungeon-like lighting whilst I prefer surgical room, squint-worthy lighting.

Thaddeus is constantly coming into a room asking if I still need a set of overhead lights on and turning them off without waiting for a reply.  I am constantly increasing the dimmer switch to full brightness to fill the room with as much glare as it can handle.

We just replaced the under-counter lights in our kitchen.  I have complained for years at how little light the old fixtures created.  Thaddeus replaced them with multi-level/multi-warmth LED lights and while I LOVE the new lighting, he's still getting used to how bright they are.

Yes, even after almost 34 years, we're still negotiating differences.

Current Knitting

Another pair of booties is off the needles.

Still need to sew them up, but I got distracted by starting another Color Block Scarf.

I've been trying to increase the number of items on my sale table to include more gift items for men, so I'm focusing on darker, more subdued (more Thaddeus-like) colors.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Crazy About Apple?

Full disclosure...this household owns an iMac, a Mac Book Pro and an iPhone 6S...but the only reason I stay with Apple products is because it's now what I'm used to.

Are Apple Products Better?

For years I heard the Apple fan(atic)s talk about processing speeds and intuitive apps and being free from worrying about viruses and the power of graphics processing and on and on.

As I transitioned from corporate life, where PC's and Windows and Microsoft Office were necessary components of work technology, I slowly switched over my personal life to iPhones and Macs.

My thinking was:
  • The iPhone is the best smartphone and I want to make it as compatible with my home computer as possible
  • I do a lot of photo processing for my blog
  • iTunes will work better on Apple devices
  • The bettering of my life will far outweigh the cost of learning new interfaces
  • I won't have to worry about cyber security
  • Processing speeds will be faster
None of these assumptions was really true, and to add insult to injury, I paid a premium for my technology.

The iPhone has one serious flaw that was only recently been corrected...the ability to store documents and attach them to e-mail documents.  Switching from a Blackberry years ago to an iPhone, I was shocked I could no longer attach documents without some pretty big app gymnastics.  It was more compatible with my Mac Book Pro than my PC, but I was disturbed by how difficult some of the simplest tasks were.

Photo processing sucks on my Mac Book. Until I found applications that could do what I needed and then learn the new applications, processing photos for my blog was (and still is) more painful than when I did similar functions on my PC's.  I actually use the Mac version of MS Paint to do some of my photo editing.

iTunes sucks no matter what platform it's on.  I always thought iTunes sucked on Windows because it needed to override so many defaults to work well...but it seems to such just as bad on my Mac.  For example, just take an existing music CD and try and transfer the music into iTunes so you can listen to it on your iPhone.  Don't get me wrong, I do it, but it's an incredibly convoluted process.  I've considered starting a business of converting CD's to iTunes for people.

The learning curve of a new interface was initially steep, but now that I'm familiar with OS and IOS, I'd have difficulty switching's not that it's better or more's just what you're more used to.

Cyber security continues to be a concern.

Processing speed was the biggest disappointment on my Mac Book Pro...I finally converted my hard drive to solid state (which it now comes delivered with) and upgraded my RAM to the highest allowed and my computer is fast as hell.  But as delivered, it was really quite slow and I had to do a lot of research to make my computer as fast as most PC laptops I have owned.

I'm glad I own Apple products...and I enjoy using them...I will even continue to purchase new Apple products when I need to...but I am in no sense a part of the iCult and never will be.

Current Knitting

I had a library book due back yesterday which I had barely I took a lot of knitting time reading instead.  But I did also work on a few more pairs of baby booties for the craft show table.

I'd ideally love to have a couple of dozen pairs of booties in a rainbow of colors that will coordinated with the baby blankets I'll have.  I'm not sure I'll make that goal, but I should have enough booties for the shows.