Friday, August 10, 2007

Getting Crafts Confused

One thing that drives me bonkers is people who see me crocheting and ask if I'm knitting. It's worse when the person asking has seen me crocheting before and knows I'm not a knitter. So why, when I posted pictures that were clearly labeled as "crochet hooks" did somebody make a comment about knitting? (There's a new comment up on that post that plays off the confused comment. I don't mind that one.)

Anyway, I completely sympathize with the crafter in this cartoon.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Heehee, more yarn!

After closing my store, I had a lot of shopping bags that I wasn't going to use. Well, it turns out that my local yarn pusher supplier uses those exact bags, so she traded me some yarn for them. They're mostly cotton, but the cotton appears to be plied with a very thin nylon or similar synthetic fiber.

Here's a couple of picture of the yarns,. Yes, I know the pictures are lousy. I need better lighting to do this right. Still you can see the plying in the second picture.

I'm still trying to figure out what I'm going to do with them. Given the time of year, it's tempting to try something patriotic with the cones.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Update: Illuminated Crochet Hook

Illuminated crochet hooks are available at JoAnn Fabrics. There's still no sign of them at AC Moore though. I didn't get to Michael's so I don't know if they've got them.

Update: Michael's doesn't have the hooks on their website, so I assume that they don't have it in their stores. AC Moore's website is so poorly designed that I can't tell if they carry the line or not. In fact, I think I want to submit it to Web Pages That Suck, it's so bad.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Crochet Carnival the Second

In the better late than never department: The second installment of the Crochet Carnival! is up at What's Cluttering My Couch and has been since June 15. I've to stay on the ball with these things.

Monday, June 18, 2007

What now?

So I've finally finished getting everything out of my store and either into storage or home. I'm trying to figure out where I go from here.

1) I need some kind of work, preferably something that actually pays money, as opposed to the shop which didn't. I'm looking into some options here, but don't really know what's going to happen or what I'll end up doing.

2) I need to actually start exercising regularly. I've renewed a gym membership that lapsed a couple of years ago, now I need to start using it. Unfortunately, the personal trainer option is expensive, so I'll have to see what I can figure out on my own and with a doctor's help.

3) Household clean up. The Button Lady needs to help out with this as a significant chunk of the mess is hers, but I've got several years of accumulated paper to filter and pitch. This is gonna take a while. What's worse is that at this time of year, I'm really gonna need to work in the wee hours of the morning or after sunset to avoid the day's heat. We can't put in the AC until we clear a path to a suitable size window.

4) Improve the diet. Before I even think about counting calories, I need to work on a) my fiber intake, b) my intake of fruits and vegetables, especially ones high in vitamin C and folic acid. I've installed menu planning software and plan to start using it to come up with suggestions for things I can add to my diet and ways to prepare them. Of course, I'm also going to be scouring my dead trees cookbooks as well.

In addition to all that, I want to start posting regularly on my blogs. Think that's a big enough "to-do" list?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I Promised Pictures and Here They Are (Take 2)

This is my second attempt at posting these pictures. The first attempt failed because I needed to debug an HTML widget before posting anything.

I ultimately used the Elmore Two Color Hoist-on foundation for starting my square although the first photo shows a standard foundation built on chain stitch. I'll try to get video of the hoist-on foundation when I start my next square. At the rate things are going though, closing up my store is taking too much time for me to finish this square by month's end, much less do two. Fortunately, the coordinator of this project isn't too concerned about the deadline.

Picture of the yarn and an afghan hook:

Sadly the hook is a bit dinged, but it works which the main thing I care about. I hadn't yet decided to try the two color foundation when I took this picture, but it suffices to show the kinship between Tunisian crochet and knitting.

Pictures of an illuminated crochet hook:

Turned off


Lit in the dark

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Got yarn for Va Tech square

Went to MLYS, found some 60% angora/20% wool/20% polyamide yarn in suitable colors, and am now trying to figure out what sort of design to do. I'm thinking of playing around with a Tunisian variant. I'll put up pictures when I get the chance.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

My LiveJournal

Silly human. I recently started a LiveJournal called "Raven's Roost" and forgot to announce it here. Well, consider it announced. It's going to be a bit of a catch-all for the stuff that doesn't fit this blog's foci. You know, things like SF/Fantasy, role playing games, and home repair rants like my complaint about the furnace repair.

Va Tech Afghan Project

I just found out about this a couple of days ago from my local Stitch 'n Bitch group, even though the initial announcement went out on April 22nd. The Mosaic Yarn Shop of Blacksburg, VA is collecting knit and crochet squares to make into blankets for the victims of the VT shooting. These will be going to the injured and the families of the dead, although there's apparently some debate over whether or not to make any for Cho's parents. Personally, I say go for it. After all, they lost family too. I'm not sure how much they could have done to prevent this, or if they even recognized the risk. I will note that the people at the school who realized that something was wrong couldn't do much because you really can't help someone who doesn't want it. It's not like no one tried.

Requirements: The squares should be 8x8 in black, white and/or the VT colors of maroon and burnt orange. Squares are due by the end of May.

You can send them to:
Mosaic Yarn Shop
880 University City Blvd.
Blacksburg, Va, 24060

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

EFF vs. Bloggers Against Music

I thought I'd better clarify something. On my sidebar are two items. A logo for the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Blue Ribbon campaign for free speech, and a list of "Bloggers Against Music." It occurred to me that some folks might find that a tad hypocritical. Here's why I don't think it is.

Bloggers against Music are not against music per se. What they object to is blogs that automatically load music and don't give you an easy way to turn it off. I've been to sites that don't give the user any way to turn it off. There are few things that will cause me to leave a site faster. Boiling it down, you may have right to free speech, but I have the right to not have to listen.

If you want to put music on your website for some reason, e.g. you're a performer trying publicize your work, or you collect obscure Medieval ballads, go ahead, but make listening an opt-in, not an opt-out. If I want to listen to your music, I'll click the play button.

Friday, April 27, 2007

And Some Bad News

At least for me...

Unless something drastic happens, I'm going to be closing the doors of Aphrodite's Dove at the end of May. Everything is now on clearance, and I may put some of the big ticket items up on E-Bay. We shall see.

I'm contemplating whether or not to take the store to the Web. A lot will depend on my ability to obtain funds for inventory. At any rate, it's been an interesting ride.

There's Good News...

The pentacle has been approved for use as a military emblem of belief.

This is a follow-up to my post for the "Blog Against Theocracy" blogswarm. I had used the Veteran's Pentacle fight as an example of oppression of a minority religion such as would occur in a theocracy. It's a minor form of oppression, especially as compared to... oh say, the Inquisition, but it's still telling us that ours is not a valid religion.

Well, demonstrating that we haven't gotten saddled with the The Republic of Gilead yet, the VA has finally approved the pentacle as an emblem of belief. This means that deceased Wiccan military personnel can now have pentacles placed on their gravestones in military or private cemeteries. It's about time. Now, I have to wonder, are the Asatru going to try to get Thor's hammer approved by the VA?

Friday, April 20, 2007

If I Didn't Have a Service Contract, I'd Get Someone Else

Grumble, grumble, grumble. For the past several days, I've been trying to get someone in to fix my furnace (well, okay, the people at Sears insist that it's a boiler, but the point is, it heats my house).

It got rescheduled three times, and the first two were the fault of Sears. The third is at least partly my fault in that I'm lousy at answering my home phone, and apparently, they didn't seriously try to reach my cell phone. I think I told them when I first called them that they'd be better off calling my cell phone, but I don't remember the call that clearly. I do know that every time I called to get an ETA after that, I made a point of giving them both numbers. Anyway, the first time I tried to get an ETA for the scheduled visit, they rescheduled for two business days later. Since this was on Friday, that meant I had to wait four more days for the rescheduled visit. Oh, and they told me that if a space opened up on the originally scheduled day, they'd get the tech to my house, except that of course they didn't, and in the meantime I couldn't go anywhere on the off-chance that they might. Tuesday rolls around, and they reschedule again for Wednesday. At least this time, they didn't give me any BS about the possibility of a space opening up.

Wednesday's the messy one. I got an ETA for the afternoon. Now, my home phone is in an area that should be nicely accessible and was when I first put it there. It's not especially accessible now. So, I missed their attempts to call me on the land line. When I called them after the scheduled window passed, they told me that they'd have the right department get back to me. I made sure they knew to call my cell phone. They didn't call back on either line. I called a second time, and that's when I found out I'd been dropped from the schedule because I didn't answer the phone. Sheesh, they couldn't tell me this the first time I asked what was going on? So, reschedule again. They had to delete my home phone from their records to assure that they'd call my cell phone. They finally fixed my furnace yesterday. I'm only posting about it now because my monitor died in the middle of all this, but that's a separate rant.

Please note: I have no complaints about the service techs. They got the heat back on and now my house is a reasonable temperature. My complaints are about the central office's inability to get the techs out here.

The service contract? That expires in October. If I have the funds this fall, I may sign up for a new service contract with the local gas company... which is owned and run by the city... a city not known for competent employees. They can hardly do worse in the scheduling department.

One more thing: When I first had the furnace installed, I was told that I would not need to bleed air out of the radiators. This is a common annual ritual with hot water mediated central heating because air bubbles can build up in radiators and interfere with water circulation. Well, before I called Sears the first time to schedule service, I bled any radiators in the house that I could find bleed valves for on the theory that I should try the simple fix before calling for help. Three out of four of them had significant amounts of air in them. So much for not needing to bleed them. That's another reason I'm annoyed with Sears. Pity bleeding the radiators didn't solve the problem. I could've avoided the rest of this mess.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Freedom of Religion Means Any Religion

As a member of a minority religion, I am very concerned about the Religious Right and their efforts to turn the USA into a Christian Nation. While I've seen claims that atheists are the most hated minority in the country, the fact of the matter is that Pagans/Witches aren't far behind. Indeed, in some cases, they have it worse. The Lady Liberty League is an advocacy group for Pagan civil rights. One of their ongoing projects is aimed at getting the Federal Government to allow a pentacle to be place on the head stones of fallen Wiccan soldiers. As things currently stand, the list of available Emblems of Belief includes a symbol for Atheists (entry 16), but not for Pagans.

Many Christians still equate witchcraft with Satanism, and do not understand that the two really have no connection. Then again, the more extreme forms of Christianity are apt to view any belief system that isn't theirs as Satanic, sometimes even when it's another Christian denomination. For example, some of Jack T. Chick's toxic little tracts are anti-Catholic. In fact, many of the worst religious conflicts have been between different sects of what are nominally the same faith, e.g. the Inquisition in the Fourteenth Century, or the Shi'ites vs. the Sunnis in modern Iraq. I think it's safe to say that if any religious group whether Christian, Muslim or other manages to actually take over the USA, they'll turn on each other after they've dealt with everyone else. Heck, they might%

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Cool Crochet Tool: Illuminated Hook

I recently got a Crochet Lite hook (size H/5mm) from Clover. It's modeled on Clover's Soft Touch hook (which I also have in the same size), and the batteries and switch are in the handle. Watch out when you remove the plastic bit that keeps the batteries off the contacts. One of the batteries tried to escape when I did it. It almost succeeded too. The actual hook is made of clear plastic, so it glows from where it emerges from the handle to the tip.

How it handles: Pretty nicely, actually. I usually have problems with plastic hooks snagging yarn or thread on the molding line. This hook is smooth enough not to have that problem, although the thread doesn't slide on and off as easily it does with the Soft Touch. This appears to be a difference in the amount of friction. The light is useful when you find yourself in a situation like I did tonight, waiting for a bus after dark. It let me see what I was doing with the stitches although sadly, it's not quite bright enough to read the pattern by.

I've only seen them in one place so far, MLYS on South Street, a little place called Nangellini. Michael's and AC Moore don't have it, at least not yet, and not in Philly. Anyway, I suggest that any readers not in Philadelphia ask TLYS to carry it.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Introducing myself

I hope people will forgive me if I ramble here...

It's interesting being the owner of a New Age store when some of your favorite websites espouse, shall we say, a decidedly skeptical point of view. I will turning a skeptical eye on what I consider to some of the more outrageous claims of the New Age movement, or at least some of the worst scams. I also hope to examine various belief systems. Some may come in for a drubbing, but I expect those to be mostly the ones that take an attitude of "My way or the highway," e.g. the worst excesses of the Religious Right, or the Church of Scientology. I consider myself to be a Pagan with a pantheistic emphasis, but I also view spiritual and religious beliefs to be personal matters. One should not use them to run other people's lives.

I have other plans for this blog as well. I chose the title of the blog partly because I'm a Pagan, and partly because I do a lot of crafts. I expect the title to fit both literally by discussing assorted crafts that I do, and figuratively to describe some of my efforts at personal improvement.

Since others cover the political landscape far better than I possibly could, I do not expect to talk about politics much except as regards the establishment clause of the First Amendment. That one's kinda personal, okay.