screaming into the void

I feel that I’ve been screaming into the void and the only response I get is silence. I know I shouldn’t be surprised, but it is kind of disappointing.

+ Knit hat for coworker has been in my bag for like 2 weeks and I haven’t seen him, so it’s like I’m just carrying around this lemon-yellow thing for no reason.

+ Working on another shawl and this one feels like it’ll never be completed. I’m at the halfway point, trying for a larger shawl, so I’m really not surprised that it seems to be taking forever. The more I go on, the more I realize I have so much green yarn.

+ A narrator/voice actor that I love (and follow on various platforms) sent out a call to authors for stories for him to narrate. He’d requested more sci-fi (because he mainly does horror), and I’ve been tempted to double check the word count on a story or two that I’ve finished and send one on to see what happens. Because, really, why not? The most that’ll happen is I’ll get told he can’t do it or whatever.

+ Still need a title for the Heironimus story. I mean, I could leave it called as such. I think it’d be really awesome to send it somewhere, but it’s a little past the normal 7500-word limit.

+ Started working on a fresh story and I keep having to make notes to myself within the story to look up what certain things are called or look up what the correct part for an item is. So far, I’ve mostly got descriptions of things. I texted Jamie about it, saying that I felt a bit like M R James and I’m trying to keep that in mind while I work on the idea. I have a vague idea of where I want it to go and how to end it, but that’s far on down the line.

+ I’ve got bits and bobs of stories pecked at on the computer that I need to work on, but my notes for a couple of them have disappeared so hell if I know what I was doing besides half-thought notions of “what if” and “I wonder.”

+ I’d say I’d be working on stories and such tomorrow, but tomorrow is a day for housework and seeing if the weather is decent enough for me to go outside and start cleaning up around my roses and working on encouraging them to grow. I think two of them straight gave up after last year’s well-intended flower bed clearing by other people (who mowed them down). Maybe I’ll plant a pumpkin seed and see if I can get some nice leafy growths to help maintain some cover and maybe get another Surprise!Pumpkin out of it.

But now, it’s time to wake Jamie up and let the dogs out so they can get some of their crazy out of them.

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little thought exercise

I’m enjoying making shawls. They’re light enough to be either a shawl or a scarf, they use up a bit of yarn that I have laying around, and they’re fun. I decided, while listening to some M R James, that I’d knit for an hour and see how many rows I got done since I am starting up a new one.

Including the 1 lonely row I did last night, I got 10 rows done in an hour.

1 hour = 60 minutes
10 rows in 60 minutes = 6 minutes per row
300 rows needed per shawl (times 6 minutes per row) = 1800 minutes
1800 minutes / 60 minutes = 30
30 hours = approximately 1 complete shawl

This does not include the fact that the longer I work on the shawl, the more rows I get done because I decrease every-other row. But, for the sake of this thought exercise, we’ll keep it at 1 row takes 6 minutes.

If I were to go by the “charge how much you believe you should be making per hour” bullshit (the whole notion that, as an artist, you should charge a per-hour rate or have a finished rate that you can break down to a per-hour rate if need be.)

Let’s start with the Federal Minimum Wage, $7.25 an hour:

7.25 X 30 = $217.50

Let’s see how this looks if you were to charge $9 an hour:

9 X 30 = $270

The higher we go, the more ridiculous this gets. $12:

12 X 30 = $360

$15:

15 X 30 = $450

And this is just for labour. This is if I were to charge “how much I believe I should be paid” for a dinky little shawl I’m having fun making and using up parts of my stash. This doesn’t include “materials,” which kind of irks me anyway. What if I were asked to work on another Tom Baker Doctor Who scarf?

If I were to buy brand new skeins of yarn, let’s say Red Heart because it’s the easiest for me to get in the colours I think look the best for this scarf, that is $2.98 per skein.

2.98 X 7 = $20.86

2.98 X 9 = $26.82

Both numbers because there is always at least one skein I run out of if I don’t buy the Super Saver.

$5.98 X 7 = $41.86

That’s more than I charged the last time I made one of those scarves, and that was even after I met the person who insisted she pay for materials and we spent like an hour going through trying to find the softest yarns because her kid is tactile-sensitive. $41.86 is more than I charged a person who was using the scarf in a web-series. (granted, I did agree, afterwards, that from then on I was charging people more than what I charged him because these scarves take for-fucking-ever to make).

And I don’t get the whole “pay for materials” thing in my case. In other people’s work, it makes perfect sense. You might not have the exact materials you need to build what someone wants and you need to go out and get them.

Me? I have a stash of yarn (and fabric). There is a reason why “I’m like a dragon, but craft things are my horde” is my personal tagline. Unless it’s a colour I normally don’t have (like pink), sure I’ll probably be like “I don’t have this colour so it’ll be a bit.” Unless I randomly get a box of pink yarn on my front porch (like I did over the summer because my friends know I’m a yarn hoarder and will take whatever they want to give me).

And really, why would I charge $100+ for a shawl or whatever when someone can just as easily go to the mall or online and buy something approximately the same style/weight for like 1/4 of the price or less?

That doesn’t really make much sense and it reminds me of back in high school when a girl I had a few classes with decided to paint these circles on a canvas and put a price tag on them (average size canvas, acrylic paints, done while in art class, so it was a ~50 minute class per day) of over $250 during an exhibition of stuff that was pretty much “hey fam, come look at all the stuff we do in art class!” (the MLP chess set was awesome, done by some other kid who I don’t think ever put their name to the peice)

making things

+ I finished the Combo Breaker blanket, it is folded up and sitting on a shelf until Jamie remembers to take it to work to give it to the parent. lol

+ I made Jamie a Bear Hat. It is a smidge too small, but he thinks it’s awesome. So, I’m working on making another one (I have the yarn so why not?) I still have a few more months before it gets cold enough for him to wear a hat, so I have the time to work on it.

+ I keep staring at the same documents doing nothing.

  • Weird Granddad story is just…there. I am at a point where I don’t remember exactly where I was going with it
  • Attempted Novelette is at a standstill. I’m at the point where I can’t remember whose name is for which character except for one, and that’s mainly because I keep making terrible jokes about it.
  • I’ve been jotting down notes for another story idea to try to get bits together with it

+ Nothing is finished and I don’t know if I’m fine with that. I don’t know if it’s an epic brain fart or just extreme apathy.

+ Bug and Firefly got into it the other day and Firefly needs to learn that Bug is getting her back for when they were younger and Firefly got Bug because Bug was too nice. Now Bug is a tank of a dog and has power behind her snaps.

Firefly is fine, we carted her butt to the vet, where her head was cleaned and parts were shaved. I insisted we take her because of the puncture under her jaw (which is fine, just squicky) and we learned that she’s got a couple more punctures than I had originally thought. She’s on antibiotics and has been happily spoiled by getting to sleep on the couch, getting various pieces of human food (cheese, peanut butter, things like that), and snoring on the bed.

Yarn hoarder

Jamie and I are working on re-arranging and “cleaning” the craft room.

Part of re-arranging the craft room was to take out the cat food and cat litter totes out of the closet and put them in the pantry, which meant that while I was sweeping and moving stuff around, Jamie had to pull out the little wooden shelf-thing from the pantry. It works out because now I have the wooden shelf-thing in the craft room and it is…stuffed with notebooks.

Jamie bought this reinforced basket hangy thing to put in the closet and shoved about a tote’s worth of yarn into the sections, and then realized I have way more yarn than that. So I have 3 totes of yarn in the basement, 1 tote of yarn (and hooks, needles, etc) in the bedroom, and I found skeins of yarn shoved up in other places (whoops).

Hi, I’m Manders and I have a problem. I have a lot of yarn.

I also have a lot of notebooks.

I’m not done with the craft room just yet. I have a few more things to do, rearranging things and putting supplies where I want them, and probably annoying the cats by moving them around when they’re in my way. Beric has learned that where I’ve put one of the shelves is the best place to catch some sun.

The end goal is to take the craft room back from the cats for the short amount of time that I can take it from the cats before we bring in the grow-lights and shelves for the indoor-growing portion of gardening.

flower flower flower

I’d been meaning to update and thinking of what can I write. What to write. And then I spent a day helping Jamie feel better by sticking Smrgl in the craft room (with food, water, and box), Snooch and Faustus in the basement (with food, water, and box), and Uggs in the bathroom (with food, water, and box) so he could snuggle derpy-dog Dunk while he felt terrible. And I read to him terrible book descriptions and took care of him.

So this week, it’s been the perfect precursor to a Southwest Virginia summer (at least for Roanoke): spring damp and lightly chilly at about 6.30 in the morning, workable spring weather until about 8 or 9, depending on the day, and hot/humid until about 6pm. The plus side is that it’s been raining every day this week, the downside is that it’s been raining all week. I love that we’re getting the rain, and now that I’ve got my herbs set up (all except the chamomile, which decided to explode everywhere instead of be nice like the rest of them, so it’s back in the craft room with the other starters), I’m a bit worried they may drown a bit. I’ve never grown Angelica, St John’s Wort, and a few others, but I know Savory, Parsley, and Feverfew will eat this up.

All the other starters are still in the craft room, the fava beans have decided to grow extra roots, Snooch has decided that the teeny (5 1/2 inch tall) stalks of corn should be taste tested, and the peas are cascading wonderfully. Yep, it’s May and everything is still in the craft room because the weather has been so wet (or waaaay to hot, even at 8am) that we haven’t been able to get the last of last year’s landscape stuff off the ground and rip up any stray weeds. Because it’s rained so much there are a ton of weeds right now. Seriously. Last week, it was like: ok, so it’ll take me a good few hours. This week: I need as many energy shots and tools as possible. And possibly a goat. Or Bug. (Bug loves to chew on grass).

I think we can get it taken care of.

And yesterday, I spent some time trying to figure out how to make those little puff-flowers that you can crochet. I spent time going back and forth with a tutorial on youtube, pausing it repeatedly so I could practice, and listening to various John Cleese and Rob Paulsen interviews

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They’re definitely not as pretty as the ones in the video (the little yellow ones on the right hand side are just the middle part). The hideous one in the upper left hand corner is kind of awesome, it looks like it’s melting. At least, I think it looks like it’s melting. It’s because of the yarn that was used (red heart boutique unique; candied; lot 166538), it’s this really awesome yarn that is multiple coloured and fades into each colour really well. I have three skeins of it (I got them for $1 each!) and I wanted to see how it would look. I’m planning on making socks with this yarn because it is so cool.

I also realised while doing this yesterday, that I wasn’t getting frustrated or anything. It’s a nice change  from the constantly frustrated, constantly stressed, always on edge during my time working for Store. I’ll miss some of the people I worked with, but I definitely won’t miss the stress. So yay, small progress for me!

small project

I decided on a whim that I would make a baby blanket. The internet says the average blanket is approximately 30×30. And, Jamie’s boss is having a baby so it’s a fun excuse to try to make something new.

I’m going with the most basic thing I can think of right now (one colour, which is a light yellow) and thinking on if I’m going to add any embellishments later on or attempt to crochet some sort of border around it to see if it’ll help keep the ends from rolling up.

I’m making the thing on my S-Loom, so I’m determined that this will be the first project I complete on the S-Loom itself. The first project I started was a peachy-coloured scarf that I got maybe 1/4 of the way done before pulling it off and starting this. I was mainly doing it to see how the S-Loom would work. So far, I am liking how it goes.

I’m also pretty sure this will be larger than 30×30.

I guessed on the width. Using the partially done scarf and the middle section of my middle finger (which is approximately 1 inch long, so it’s a great too to use. I’ve weirded out people using my forearm as a measurer because I know my forearm is 1 foot long from wrist to elbow. it’s pretty neat). So, if it’s more than 30″ then that’s what it’ll be. It’s a weird little handmade item, so why not be off just a hair?

When I started this, 3 rows was 1 inch and I was like: I can get this done in no time! 21 rows in, I was no where near the 7 inches I had initially thought and worked a few more rows. Now I’m 30 rows in and have found that if I don’t stretch the blanket, I’m at 5 inches, but if I stretch it I’m at 8 inches.

So, I won’t stretch it.

This means that I am 1/6 of the way done. I think it’s kind of funny, I tell my customers I don’t do math as I pull out my phone and bring up a calculator (it’s true, I can’t do percentages in my head), but I can do basic math for knitting. This means, if it takes me 30 rows to get 5 inches, this whole thing will be approximately 180 rows. This can change, as the longer it gets , the…tighter? the rows become. It makes sense if you look at it, or, at least, it makes sense to me.

180 rows. I can do this. The Doctor Who scarves I’ve made have been longer than 180 rows (granted, this is wider than any of the Doctor Who scarves I’ve made). If it turns out all right, maybe I can be brave and try to remember how to do the “Russian Knot” (there are tutorials on youtube so I’m good there) and do more than one colour and work my way through that.

I also thought about doing some sort of embellishment. I was watching a tutorial on how to make crochet “puff flowers” and I think they look pretty neat. Jamie said if I can learn how to make those, maybe I can learn how to make butterflies and such (there’s a tutorial on youtube for butterflies as well, I think by the same person I was watching make the flowers). It’ll be neat to see what happens.