Thursday, March 28, 2013

Bullying - Knit Style

I was thinking about this so maybe it's time to address bullying in a different way: by a story.  You see, I'm the only one in the knitting group who has been kicked out of a Knit Along. Ok, as I say it, "I was asked to leave."  a knit-along.  Yeah. because I called out the List Mom on bullying.

I used to join Knit Alongs.  The jist of them is that the person running the knit along - the List Mom - puts out a section of a chart or directions each week and you knit that part, not knowing what you'll get for a design until the end. The knit alongs is run through a email group, which allows you to control how many people are in the group and who gets what kind of message. Each week the email goes out to gather up another clue and others chat about things and post pictures of their progress.   It's a great way to get a few thousand people to test-knit your designs.  Heck, one of my favorite shawls was made that way:

Dem Fisher Sin Fru from Monika Eckert.  Her stuff is always amazing.

But that time, I joined a knit-along by a new designer.  No, I do not remember her name, nor the design name of the shawl. After a tragic decision on another KAL (Knit along) that required me to frog 2 weeks' worth of work, I decided to sit back and not knit along until I saw the other knitters' work.

So about 3 weeks into the thing, List Mom says: Knit or get out.  

This is not a read-along but a KAL.

Ok, sure, whatever. It is, after all, HER KAL, right? Then she got snarky, and then people started falling over themselves apologizing for not knitting her thing. I remember one knitter apologizing profusely for not keeping up: Her husband had a heart attack and she was tending to his needs instead of knitting.

Which pissed me off.  How DARE this List Mom bully these people into having to explain why they did not knit? And what I found more galling, was the amount of people apologizing profusely, groveling and just cowing to this bully! It's a FUCKING KNIT-ALONG!!! Not world war!!!

After watching the list for a few weeks; all the kow-towing, all the groveling, all the ...meekness this List Mom forced these knitters into, I just had it.  Yeah, I know I should have done it privately, but sometimes I just need to get people to realize what they are doing. So I sent out a broadcasted message to List Mom over the whole list.  It simply said repeatedly, "Are you SURE you want to do this? Are you SURE you want to bully 500 potentially paying customers over a knitting pattern? Are you sure you want to market yourself as a bully?"

I was told that if I did not like it, I could leave.  I didn't.  I don't scare off that easily. In fact, I still have the complete pattern somewhere. It's a lame pattern. I could write up that thing in like...a day....charted and written. It's pedantic, geometric and low-skill.  Yes, I know I'm being uppity about it, but if you're going to bully 500 people with a pattern, at least make it a good one!

A few members of that group congratulated me on doing what they wished to do: Call the List Mom out for being a bully.  I'm glad to do it. I don't run my life on whether or not people 'like' me.  I do find other people who relish the role of bully to be intolerable, but more than that, I find those people who kow-tow to bullies, those who apologize profusely and continue to be bullied to be MORE reprehensible.  Call out the bully! Grow some stones and stand up for yourselves!!! Do not accept bullying as a way of life, even in knitting!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Blessed Days

A knitting pattern for a shawl. Based on the 1/2 linen stitch knitting pattern, it makes a great striped effect when done in two skeins.

Happy Easter!

Nature, thou art a heartless bitch.........

Technically, it's Spring.  Technically is the key word here. Let's take a look outside, shall we?

Yeah, that's a loaner car next to the van, my car's in the shop again. ~sigh~  My family keeps asking me why I go to the dealer to get my car worked on when there's others who would do it cheaper.  Yeah, but they don't give me loaner cars.  I've got things to do every. single. day. that require a car.

And the car rental places charge $50/day for a car. that really cheaper than the dealer? No. Not even close!  And like I told the Supervisor over there on Friday, I'm giving those mechanics a chance to learn how to fix 'old school' cars without computers, with carburetors etc.  They need the challenge, right?

I've been working on a new shawl pattern called, "Blessed Days."  The first one was knitted from handspun wool from a grab bag offered on Etsy. I emailed the lady the pattern, thought she could use it as a marketing tool to sell her grab bags; offered it for free nonetheless.  Not a word, not an utterance from the seller. Meh.

So the pattern goes up today. This is considered the "Blessed Days." in the Lenten tradition.  It's Holy Week.   We've got a new gal goose in the flock: Molly.  I think I might have related that story, so I'll give you the small version: My BIL found a lady about 3 miles from here with a Toulouse Goose flock. He asked if she were willing to sell a gal, she said yes.  That was before Christmas.  With all the car breakdowns, cold weather and illness, I only got back to the lady week before last.  It's lambing time for her, so I did not take up much of her time.  We bought a year old Toulouse gal from her and took her home.

Buddy's reaction to the new girl was to chase her away. Great, wonderful. BUT....Percy is taking a liking to her. Molly did not have a name when we got her, but since this is our breeding flock, she gets a name. Molly Weasley to be specific; all the other names are from the Weasley family: Ron, Percy, George, Fred...

Yeah, we started calling Sweet Pea and Ginny "Fred and George" since they're almost twins and never go anywhere without each other. I can tell them apart, but Dave has trouble. They're troublemakers as well.

Had to cull one of the banty hens last night with a prolapsed uterus. The majority of the time, the fix for that kind of thing does not work.  So instead of putting us and her through a weeks' worth of stuff, I just had Dave kill her fast and quick.  We've got two broody hens laying on another batch of babies, plus the Mama who hatched out 5 and has 2 left.  Two were frozen and one disappeared.  They're cute little buggers, no bigger than a spool of thread:

Besides, my Spring Break week is done, and I'm expecting 11 ducks to hatch in the next two weeks. No time for one banty hen that dressed out as small as a cornish game hen.  Got a lot of feathers though.

So now that I'm done with the Blessed Days non-handspun version, I'm working on a cabled stole from wool and some hexipuffs to get rid of my stash of bits of yarn. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I'm telling tall tales to geese now

Sissy likes to chew on my hair, even in winter.  She finds a lock sticking out of my hat and chews on it.  Well, in order to do so she has to be on my lap, so I let her up and she chews and I tell her how she's a good goosie and such.

Last night I was telling tall tales of this thing called 'spring'.   When the snow melts and green, tasty grass grows as far as the eye can see.  Where good goosies can go and graze on the fresh grass and even snag those tasty chicory blossoms.  Oh, remember those days, Sissy!?

This morning is desolate, windy, freeze-your-ass-off cold and nothing but that flipping snow.  This is a view from the garage which has been turned into a shelter for the animals.  The door is left open, fresh food and water are laid out, and a layer of straw sits on the floor.  It gives a wind break from the freezing flipping wind.

It's supposed to be my "Spring Break' here.  Spring Break my ass! It's snowing! It's freezing! I'm COLD! And what am I doing on my break? Studying math: Algebra review and Calculus.  All the while I am knitting.  and making sure animals are fed and watered.  This is what I look like geared up to do morning chores:

For the knitters out there: That's a Deephaven Cowl with a Rikke Hat.  Somewhere around my stash is a red Deephaven waiting to be sewn up.  Where I put it, I have NO idea.  It would make a great ensemb, right?

And those are also my new bifocals.  I chose a wide lens so that it does not pop out whenever it gets cold.  Just your basic wire-frames.  For the first few days, I made myself nauseous by just looking out them.  I am training myself to point my nose at what I am looking instead of just my eyes.  That's the key to wearing bifocals according to the nice lady at Wal-Mart Optical. I find myself looking over my glasses less and less to see up close.  There are still a few times I do it, but mostly because it's dark yarn or something.

I was sitting at the opening to the garage letting Percy hang with me while Sissy was laying her egg.  Sissy's laid about 20 or so, but the first 12 were split due to the cold.  We are now incubating her eggs.  One is due to hatch this weekend! I'm excited for her.   Tony the Duck is fine, and out with his group.  He will most likely limp a bit for the rest of his ducky life.  But since he's been out, his girl has laid 3 eggs, so he must be feeling pretty good!

Oh and for those jonesing for a KIP bag, I've added some to the Etsy shop.  The trip to San Diego to see Alex graduate and become a Marine will cost us quite a bit.  We need all the help we can get.  And I was in need of some KIP Bags myself ;)

Saturday, March 9, 2013


A truly British term that means more than surprise or astounded: Gobsmacked.  Dave's out doing morning chores.  He offered and I stood there, gobsmacked.  He got offended. I apologized, but I was still gobsmacked.   7 days a week I schlep my lazy butt out early in the morning to let out the animals.  I tote out 3 buckets of water for fresh drinking water plus swimming water.  Bleary-eyed, I get them out for the morning, listen to the cacophony of honks and quacks and then watch each one for a minute to make sure they are OK.

Someone else is going to do this? AWESOME! Even for one morning.

Our house guest this week is Tony the Pekin Duck.  See that foot? It's swollen and infected.  So I called out the vet who took a look at it, and the duck and prescribed antibiotics for the guy. It's not quite bumble foot, but it is the same thing: A Staph infection of the foot. Hard to treat, actually.  The antibiotic is a strong one.

Tony's got to stay off the nasty hard, shitty and snowy ground for about 4 days and get a bath in Epsom salts about twice a day.  He's nice and shiny white now:

Yes, that's our front room he's laying in.  There's french doors to the living room and the the rest of the lower  floor.  I let them out morning before last and he was limping pretty badly. I noticed it a week before, corralled him and searched for any breaks, but he seemed fine and the limp reduced until Tuesday. 

That night we snagged him again and took him inside.  I was all ready to perform the bumble foot surgery: Lance open the scab, dig out the pus, add ointment and wrap, but there was no scab. Yeah, bumble foot surgery separates the farmer from the rest of the crowd: when you will do simple surgery because if you don't your animals will die. And they usually like to present with this kind of crap off vet hours which means tons of $$ to call out a vet.  

And the ain't no way I'm trying to get that duck in a car with or without a carrier!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The year without a summer

Here it is, March 6th and we've gotten another foot of snow.  What is there to say? Nothing positive, I tell you that!

I swear I've missed more School this semester than....ever.  You blink and it snows again.  As I take another toke off my inhaler because I just came in from spending another hour on that flipping snowblower....let me tell you what I'm knitting:

Tumbling Bunnies is by Julie Tarsha are these cute little stuffed things with feet and socks! I started Alfred yesterday and yes, he needs another leg.  They are fiddly and tough on your hands if  you knit them on size one needles.  My recommendation is yarn and needles that will give you a tight knit on something larger than size 3 needles.