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March Madness....and a little April, as well

:whew!: It's been a bit busy around here.......LOTS going on. Let's dive in, shall we?

We started March the usual way - by picking up a load of chicks. We started with 20; lost 2 the first few days. That's normal....actually, it's better than usual. Day-old chicks spend their time looking for ways to die. :sigh: Any way, we have 9 Sapphire Queens, 4 Silver-laced Wyandottes, and 5 Cinnamon..something or other. They've grown quickly, and we are planning on moving them out today/tomorrow.

As well as the......geese. Um, yeah - the feed store got in 16 goslings, ended up with 6.


They're cute, but BOY HOWDY are they MESSY. And huge, comparatively speaking. So far, they are sweet...we'll see how long that lasts. :lol:

This explains last weekend's project - I built (with a little help from the husband) a fledgling hut. We'd been using dog crates, but.....they were not going to hold 24 birds. One of the mobile homes down the street has been sold to a flipper; the rehabbers told me I could rummage thru their trash pile if I wanted. I scored some skirting (tin!) and 2x4s.....after a quick trip to pick up some used pallets, I was set. It took all day Saturday, and a couple of hours Sunday, but we now have a fledgling hut (or, as we call it, the "Fluffly Butt Hut". :lol:)
Total out-of-pocket expense: $60.

fledgling hut back

fledgling hut front

fledgling hut side

I have more than enough pallets left to build a goose hut - I need to get more skirting first. For now the goslings will live with the chicks.

Last week, Zoe lost her kids......5 weeks early. I've been trying to bring in her milk, but it's just not working. :sigh: Hopefully the other does will carry to term - we need the milk!

It hasn't all been work, though - I've been knitting as well. I already showed you the Birds of Paradise mitts, now I give you: Dreidle Socks! The yarn is Blue Moon Fiber Arts BFL in the color way "Dreidle"; the pattern is Cookie A's Cubist Socks.

dreidle socks

dreidle socks closeup

I then knit up a pair of mitts for Herself - another pattern by Kulabra, this one called "Frozen Songs". I dyed the yarn to Herself's specifications - Soot and Fire, are her Firebird Mitts:

firebird mitts back

firebird mitts front

I was over the pattern halfway thru the first one.....:lol:

I've started a pair of socks, but you'll have to wait for photos. Since I actually started them in April, I'll save it for the April posting. :lol:

One more photo - this one is the resident Dragon King, Iroh. Herself made him a hat......he is NOT amused:

Mad Hatter Iroh

Today is grocery day, then we have to fix the run so the chicks/goslings will be safely contained. I'll try to get photos of them outside.......
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February Round-Up

So...I've been on a knitting kick lately. And a Dyeing one, but I have no photos of the newly dyed yarn. :lol: (What? I spent all of Snowvid dyeing up yarn for socks....and a pair of mittens. It was quite productive - I think I ended up with 9 sock kits and the mittens!)

Anyway. After I finished my Windmill Socks, I pulled out a skein of self-striping yarn from Brazen Stitchery. The name is "Captain Tight Pants", which is a Firefly reference. I decided to just knit a plain vanilla pair of socks - no pattern, no thinking. :lol: The only thing I did was try to match the stripes - normally I don't, but I wanted to up my game. I think I did OK:

Striped Socks

Striped socks closeup

Striped Socks pair

I then grabbed a set of yarn I had just dyed. The purple was exactly what I had in the mind...the "green" was supposed to be "wheat". It when held up to the purple put me in mind of grapevines. was a match!

This is Piccolo Mondo Antico. The pattern was relatively easy, but non-repetitive. I was pretty much over it before I finished sock #1; sock #2 was a bit of a slog.

Piccolo Mondo Socks

Piccolo Mondo Socks Closeup

The closeup shows the colors really well, I think.

I finished these on March 1, so not quite within my February goal. Oh, well! :lol:

Then I grabbed the mitten kit - 3 colors of Cash-Merino yarn. In less than a week, I had these:

Birds of Paradise Mittens


They're my first attempt at Norwegian/Latvian mittens. The pattern was pretty easy - the charts were a bit much to keep up with, but not too bad. The pattern is "Birds of Paradise" by Kulabra Designs - I have a LOT of her patterns, and now I REALLY need to knit them up! :lol:(Some of the yarn I dyed is for more of her designs). I started them on 1.5s, but when I hit 75% o the first mitten I admitted it was a bit off to the frog pond I went. :shrug: I should have listened to my gut - it kept telling me it wasn't right, but I wanted to KNIT, dammit! :rofl:

Herself saw these and ordered 3 pairs. :sigh: I'll be dyeing up the yarn for them this weekend. :lol:

I'm currently working on a "plain" pair of socks - 1 yarn, but in a textured pattern. I started Monday; last night I frogged it because, while it fit, I wasn't happy with how stretched out the pattern was. I'm now back on size 1.5 dpns (I started on 1s, because 1.5s are a little loose. Oh, well. Socks are small, so it's no big deal!)

Anyway, back to it. I want to get this pair done, and get at least 1 color work sock done before the end of the month. Or maybe mittens.......:shrug: We have a bobcat problem again, though, so....we'll see. :Sigh: Sometimes I HATE country living!
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OK, so it seems people can't do their own damn google searches...

You know my last entry, about how my BS meter was going off about the TX power outages? Well, I got a comment:

"The temperatures went low enough to freeze gas/oil lines. Without gas/oil can’t produce electricity. Texas produces 80-90% of their energy from oil/gas."

I had intended to reply earlier, but every time I read the comment I rolled my eyes so hard they hurt. PLEASE, folks, don't just parrot the official lies back to me, OK? Because....

Natural Gas has a freezing point of -270 degrees F. That's 270 degrees BELOW zero. The lowest we, personally, got was -3.....which is a FAR cry from -270. (For funzies, I looked up the freezing point of oil.....-70 degrees F. Again, we didn't come CLOSE to that.)

"Oh," the commenter will say, "but but but WATER VAPOR in the lines!" Yeah, no. First off, if there is water vapor (or ANY contaminants) in the lines, the distributor should be fined and possibly shut down for quality control review. Water VAPOR has molecules that are spread apart, far enough that gas can still flow. If there is enough water to cause ice dams....well, we have more problems than just that.

Plus.....AK never has this problem. Or MI. Or ND. Or NE. Or - Freaking CANADA or RUSSIA.

Now, according to what I've been able to dig up, this was actually about "deregulation" (which isn't, really). See, in TX you can purchase your energy from a lot of companies - none of whom actually *produce* OR *deliver* the product. For example, Cirro Energy. Or Green Mountain. They purchase the energy from the "big boys" - Atmos and TXU (and probably others.) The energy is delivered to you in the SAME LINES it was delivered to you when you were with Atmos/other big boy. (What? You honestly didn't think that thru, did you? A lot of people don't - did you think Cirro was going to run a new gas/electric line to your house? No? Then.....who's actually PROVIDING you the energy?)

From what I've been able to gather, Cirro et al was/is buying electricity/gas at wholesale rates from Atmos (or maybe ERCOT itself - I can't tell if ERCOT is involved in the actual production, or just oversees it for a cut.), then turns around and sells it to the consumer for less than Atmos does to it's consumers. It looks like Cirro et al were charging around $0.02/kWh (from what some people are saying, anyway - we're on a Co-op, and all electric, so I have no dog in this fight).....until the storm hit, at which point the Public Utility Commission mandated a $9.00/kWh rate for "conservation purposes". The moment the storm lifted, the rate was dropped BACK DOWN to the $0.02/kWh.......

This has caused a lot of the "independents" to file/think about filing bankruptcy, because when you have consumers tied in to a rate of $.02, but you are being charged $ legally can't pass that on. (And, again - it's the same damn gas. If you lost power, but your across-the-street neighbor didn't, you need to ask WHY. And who they pay. Because....the gas lines are owned/managed by the SAME DAMN COMPANY. You can't have frozen gas in your line when your neighbor doesn't.........)

(An aside, I don't fully understand kWh.....I was in the Industry for 20 years. Natural gas is bought/sold by the MCF (Million Cubic Feet), not kWh, so I am lost. Prices varied, in that 20 years, from $0.90/mcf to $5.00+/mcf, for the record. I don't understand the conversion, so.....:shrug:)

Also, I was told that I never lost electricity because I have solar. Um...sure, but none of my neighbors have solar, nor does my mother, and THEY never lost power. can't be used directly from the panels, you have to have an inverter, which requires electricity to convert the solar produced power to "usable" power. It's why off-grid systems have storage batteries - to make sure the inverter can work. We aren't off-grid, we are grid-tied, because the difference in price was more than we wanted to pay.

Please, please, PLEASE people - use some common sense. If someone says the official story is setting off their BS meter, actually look into it (if you disagree) instead of just parroting back the media's spin. You can ignore the more "out there" stuff (HAARP, for example. I don't know anything about it, I don't feel like going down that rabbit hole, so I disregarded any mention of TX being HAARPed. May be true, may not - don't care. I researched the freezing point of natural gas first, then went from there. It didn't take that long, either.)
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State of the Fiberaddict...

We are OK. We never lost power, or water - our hot water heater froze Monday evening/Tuesday morning, but Herself dry-fired her kiln (to cone 5, for those that know these things) and it thawed it out. We did lose internet Sunday, and it was intermittent up to yesterday. Yes, we are Blessed, Thank G-d!

Here's the thing I don't understand......while we mostly have mild winters, ice storms and sub-zero temps are not unheard of. Our grid is separate from the rest of the US (the more you know....), and it is set up to handle streaks of 100+ summer days.

So...why, then, did this shut our grid *down*???? Because......the normal excuses don't wash. Normally, the excuse for rolling black/brown outs is because the grid is stressed under more load......only.....:deep breath:

In previous cold snaps, the strain on the grid was blamed on "more people are home, drawing power"...which is BS. Ignoring the plandemic - because people have been working from home for a year, now, leaving corporate offices closed (and thereby NOT drawing excess power!) - most people don't drop their thermostats in the winter when they leave the house. So......there's NO excess power being drawn to keep their homes at a steady temp. :scratches head: (They try this excuse in the Summer, too, when we hit 100+ - I still have a problem buying that, because.......Texas. This is normal for our Summers - and, again, I don't know anyone that actually changes their thermostat drastically when they leave their homes. Pull the other one....)

Also.....the water issue. I've been told ALL MY LIFE that when cold hits, you need to keep your faucets dripping. This time? We're being told to NOT let them drip......and the water companies are shutting off water. Um. Either we need to drip water to keep the lines from freezing, or we don't. It can't be drip one year, and magically NOT drip the next. That's not how it works!

I live on a farm. We have lost the outside water line - I heard it explode Saturday evening (the pipes were empty, because we drain them year-round, just because) but it was a 19 year old PVC pipe, that is exposed. (hmmmm.... I think the husband was the last to use it - he isn't in the habit of actually draining the lines like the rest of us are. :sigh:) We're hauling water...but the buried water lines are still intact. I don't understand how city water - in underground lines - would be affected......since I assume those lines are below the frost line (about 36"), and should be stouter than my cheap PVC lines. There shouldn't be any "extra strain" on the system, because, AGAIN, people have been working from home for the past YEAR. The system should already have been adjusted.

And since the water companies turned OFF the water with very little warning, people didn't have time (or the forethought) to drain their lines......which is what I am assuming is causing the broken pipe issues I'm seeing online. And.....if our rinky-dink little water supply company can manage to keep the water on, SURELY the big city water suppliers can, as well. (I have issues with our water company, but this isn't one of them. They have kept the water flowing here, and I am very thankful for it.)

I honestly don't know what to think. I'm trying to stay away from politics or conspiracy theories, but it's kinda hard when we're having all these problems, but OK, KS, etc seem to be doing OK. It makes no sense........and my BS meter is pegged.

:sigh: It's just odd. I have no problems with the stores being under-stocked, because I wouldn't want to drive an 18-wheeler on our un-treated, icy roads. (What? This is Texas - we get, maybe, 3 ice days/year. We don't have the infrastructure for treating icy roads, at least not in the rural areas. Heat, now - heat we can deal with. Ice? Causes us to lose our ever-loving minds and hunker down at home. :lol:)

Anyway. Our little slice of land is OK. Cold, but we have acres and acres of deadwood that I have been collecting for the wood stove. The stream is iced, but running deep. The ponds...I haven't checked. Probably one is an ice ring; the other is spring-fed and should be running under the ice. I need to head out soon and try to shop for Mom - hopefully the stores have pet food and milk!
Firefly: OMG Yeah!


I finished a pair of socks...which is normal, and normally I'd wait and have a few to upload all at once, but this pair...well....

2021 la Mancha socks

2021 la Mancha socks both

Pattern is "La Mancha's Giants", I've had it in the queue since at LEAST 2015 (that's when I dyed the yarn for it), and, well - I am very very very pleased with them. Herself picked out the colors, I dyed the yarn, and then it sat until I was ready to knit them. :lol:

Pattern was relatively easy. LOVE how they knit up!

I just had to to work on my current pair (Plain vanilla, no pattern - just knitting.)
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It's Photo catch-up time!

Mainly because, while it's beautiful outside, it's also nippy. I...don't do nippy very well any more - my wrist and ankle don't like nippy. :sigh: Oh, well - at least I've been productive!

This is going to be very picture-heavy - I've been busy! I'll put them under a cut to save my (non-existent) friend's pages. :lol:

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Yarn review and laughs

Hoo boy. Last year, woke knitters heads exploded when Hobby Lobby (that evil corporation whose owner has the audacity to impose his personal beliefs into his company, how dare he???? Oh, wait.....) introduced their take on hand dyed yarn with their house brand, Yarn Bee (in 100% super wash Merino fingering/sock and chunky weights. They also have a 75% super wash Merino/25% Lyocell fingering/sock, but I haven't used it yet.) Immediately, there were wails of "how dare they price hand dyed yarn under $20/skein!" and "they aren't paying a living wage!!" and "100% wool won't last!" and - my personal favorite, "they stole my colorway!"

:sigh: Let's discuss this, shall we? (I waited until now, because I wanted to actually knit up some of the yarn in question, and see how it held up to my use. Actual review at the end!)

1. The price/living wage thing. This yarn is sourced in Turkey. I don't have a clue about the cost of living in Turkey, but I'm *pretty* sure it's less than it is here in the good ol' USA. It's priced at $14.99/skein, but you can either use a 40% off coupon OR catch it on one of their bi-weekly 30% off sales (pricing it at $10.59/skein or thereabouts). The full price is good for hand dyed sock yarn (not sure about the chunky) Previously, I thought $18.99/skein for commercially dyed sock yarn was good - $14.99 for hand dyed? Sign me up!

1b. Some knitters immediately exclaimed that the *sniff* knitters *sniff* that purchased this were NOT the market that would buy from exclusive indie dyers. Um...most of the indie yarn I've purchased over the years has started at $20/skein, and gone up from there. (My most expensive skein is a cashmere blend that starts at $35/skein.) This price is a bit steep for most of the people I know. I won't say it's overpriced...but I DO dye my own, and.........let's just say the profit margin is pretty nice at that price point. In this day and age, most people don't have the disposable income that they used to have; if it comes down to buying yarn at Hobby Lobby for $11 vs no yarn, well..........

2. The durability. This one.......:sigh: Wool has been the go-to fiber for centuries. Nylon didn't come around until 1927, and wasn't commercially available until after that (1935?). Before was wool all the way. Some spinners might have blended it with cotton or linen, but from what I can tell, it was mostly used by itself. Yes, Merino *is* a less strong breed, but it still holds up. AND....this yarn is marketed as fingering weight, not sock weight. Yes, sock weight IS fingering (for the most part), can knit other things out of it. Hats, mittens, and gloves (or sweaters, even!) don't get the abuse that socks do, so....this argument is really a non-starter. (The main difference is that sock yarn is usually spun tighter, to make it more durable. Not always, but.....and modern sock yarn usually has that nylon component, while fingering doesn't. You can either one in any situation where you gauge matches the pattern. :shrug:)

3. "Stealing color ways". Ha. HA! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! Um.....this one is too stupid. There are only so many colors, and only so many ways to combine them. Yes, that number is high, but.......the indie screaming the loudest didn't invent the color way to begin with. The yarn in question is dyed......OK. I don't have a photo, but I have what I think is the original tutorial from 2013. (Yeah, so the shop in question claims to have been in business from 2011. IF this was her invention, she would have shut down the poster of this tutorial way back in 2013, right? I mean.........and she'd be screaming about JoAnn's, too.)

The color way is known as "unicorn farts"....basically, you have half the skein in a solid color (usually black/gray), and the other half is dyed in a rainbow. When you knit it up, you get flashes of color against the solid background (in the Hobby Lobby yarn, you get a rainbow spiral around the sock. It's fun!) LOTS of indie dyers have this color way in some form or another - it's not unique by a long shot.

Speckled yarn - the other "contested" color way - has been around even longer. I have books in my library from the early 2000's - when the indie hand dye scene was in it's infancy - that tell you how to do this. None of this is rocket science! (I, personally, don't like hand dying my own yarn. I prefer techniques that involve plunking the yarn in the dyepot and pouring the dye solution over it. These other techniques, while giving really cool effects, are - for ME - too labor intensive. Long time readers might remember my Yaakov sock dyeing experiments. I LOVE the resulting yarns, but the procedures to get there....aren't my cup of tea. I'll do it as a one-off, for particular projects, but I don't like the mess and multiple steps to get to the fun part - knitting the yarn. :shrug: Different strokes, right? Also, these techniques used to be called hand PAINTED, which makes more sense to me. Again, whatever. :lol:)

To be so conceited that you think that a corporation "stole" a dye technique from you.....I can't even. :shakes head: I guess I should be upset that Hobby Lobby has tonal skeins, huh, since that's what I usually dye up myself. :rolls eyes: A LOT of indie dyers have the same types of color ways - heck, JOANN'S has hand dyed yarns now - but you don't see anyone throwing a fit over *that*, do you??

Anyway. I have.....a few skeins of the Hobby Lobby yarn. I've knit up 3.5 (the .5 is currently on the needles) - 2 in the chunky weight, and 1.5 in the fingering. I'll get photos up later - I don't feel like messing with uploads right now. Let's do a proper review, shall we?

Yarn Name: Yarn Bee Hand Dyed, by Hobby Lobby

Colorway: Multiple

How Knit: Hand

When Knit: 2020/21

Specs: All the skeins I have are 100% super wash Merino, in both Chunky weight and Fingering.

Hand: All the skeins are soft and bouncy, which you'd expect from Merino. Very slight elasticity.

Care: Not sure what the tag says, I machine wash, hang dry. It's super wash, which means it's been chemically treated to not shrink or felt.

Longevity: My finished pair of socks is currently 1 month old, and has been in constant rotation since it came off the needles. There is NO pilling, and no visible wear. (At this point, they've been worn 4 times. No, it's not a lot, but I've had some socks pill and start to fall apart after the first wear. I'm *hard* on socks - I go around sock-footed all the time, even running outside in them.) They were knit on size 1.5s, and the resulting fabric is nice and sturdy. You can't see thru it very easily (socks should be knit tightly; if you can see thru it like you can a screen door, it's too loose and you need to go down a needle size or 2.)

The chunky has been knit into arm warmers. Both pair have been worn for 3 weeks, alternating pairs each day. It's pilling a bit - which is to be expected from Merino. Merino is short-stapled wool, and should be spun into a fine yarn, and tightly plied. This looks like it's a 2-ply; both plies are rather loose. It's a VERY squishy yarn, and warm when knit on both size 8s and 9s. (The 8s made a slightly dense fabric, the 9s is nice and fluid.)

Notes: I am quite impressed with this yarn. All 4 skeins that I've used have been dye fast - no crocking. (Not even the lovely blue chunky yarn!) There's been no splitting while knitting, and it feels good in the hands - not too stiff, or rough. The colors are clear.

The sock currently on the needles...the "unicorn farts" color way (Techno Tribe is the actual name) started off spiraling nicely, but when I got halfway down the leg it sort of......exploded into a pool of rainbow. I don't mind.....but I would prefer that it continue in the neat spiral. I don't expect perfectly consistent patterning in hand dyed yarns, but this is a bit.....different. I'm not far enough into the 2nd sock to know if it'll repeat - but I'm used to fraternal socks, so it's all good. (Oh, and it turns out I'm not knitting these socks for me. I finished the first one last night, tried it on, as one does, and realized it wasn't "right". I handed it to Herself, who grabbed it and immediately tried it on, and...yep. It's hers. I should have realized it sooner - ever since I started the leg I had this niggling thought that it wasn't me. :lol: She doesn't get the orange-based version, though - that one's MINE. :rofl:)

At this price point, it's a good way to knit up some of the more common types of hand dyed yarn. If you don't like the resulting fabric, you haven't lost a lot of money. Also, if you can't afford the more pricey indie dyed yarn, this is a great way to get in on the trend without having to decide between yarn and more important (*gasp*! How dare I!) purchases.

I need to get back to it - I have thrown out 4 pairs of socks in the past 2 weeks. It's not a problem - all 4 were over 10 years old (yes, you read that right - *10* years old!), so it's about time I start refilling the sock drawer. My plan for this year is to try and NOT repeat a pattern. I do have plans to knit at least 1 pair of Monkeys (even though I have 3 older pair), because that pattern works with all types of color ways. I've got so many patterns - it's time to test knit them!
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Shower thoughts....

because it's me. :heh:

So. A few weeks ago, the husband and I were discussing all the empty office buildings around, due to "WFH", and the implications for the economy. (Sucks to be a commercial landlord right now....if everyone is working from home, they have LOST a ton of money. Ex: My former employer had a very, very small office space in a strip mall (800 s/f, IIRC)....$1500/month rent, + insurance, + utilities. They're shut down, now, as are EVERY OTHER OFFICE in that building. 30 or so offices. We had the smallest office the math.)

Anyway. I was thinking about that this AM, and realized something. EVERYONE currently working from home.....IF they are using their own, personal computer, are, technically......CONTRACT LABOR, not employees.

This should.....worry you. Because, as a contractor, the company does not pay their portion of Federal withholding (including Social Security and FICA), nor are they required to pay for insurance. Or vacation/sick days. A smart accountant.......well, switching over would save the companies a ton of money.

IF you bought a new laptop/are using your own computer - and the company didn't reimburse you; and
IF you are not being reimbursed for the extra electricity/water/use of your WFH office space/office supplies...

you are, TECHNICALLY, a contract worker - NOT an employee.

This......has a bunch of implications for you, the worker. IF the company realizes this, and decides to *act* on it.......

You will owe 100% of the federal withholding, instead of the 50% you currently have withheld from your paycheck (the employer pays the other 50% and gets to take the write off.) IF you don't pay quarterly, you will owe penalty and interest.....:sigh: It also means you can be let go with no reason - they just drop your "contract" - which doesn't have to be written, BTW. Husband is a contract electrician....he can be let go at anytime, with no repercussions. He can also quit at any time, with no repercussions. He has no written contract - and I never have, either.

Honestly, I'm surprised it took me this long to think of this. IF a company can make a profit without having to pay rent/taxes/utilities on their office space......why wouldn't they? IF they can also save money by using contract labor instead of employees....again, why not? From the company viewpoint, it's cheaper to use contractors instead of having employees that will expect things like: IRA's, 401k's, vacation pay, sick insurance........from a fiscal standpoint, it makes sense. Save money - which is what every CFO wants, because saving money = increased profits.
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So. Thanksgiving was great - Himself did most of the cooking! 3 pies: Pumpkin, Chocolate Cream, and Pecan (YUM! The bourbon was a nice touch....), plus the bird itself. He helped me with the green bean casserole (from scratch; no cream-of-anything soup here!), mashed the potatoes, and shaped the bread. I made cinnamon rolls for breakfast....Mom brought the stuffing. It was a good meal!

The kids and I have been slowly cleaning the goat barn - it's been 2 years. :sigh: We're having to remove 20" of packed in's dry, so that's good, but it's pretty solid. We're all getting a good workout! We do about 1 hour/day, 2-3 days/week; we've done about 1/4 so far. It's getting there!

We've also been gathering firewood. It's been COLD recently - 31* yesterday AM! Too cold for me - even Loki has needed a sweater lately. :lol:

I've been busy in the Studio - my contract job is gone, probably for good thanks to the 'fraidy cats. (C'mon, the CDC has all but admitted that flu numbers are the driving force - that's why they are no longer counting flu cases. It doesn't take a genius....add in the fact that NO politician is actually following their own rules......:rolls eyes:)(OH, and don't tell me you actually believe death certificates - they are fudged all the time. FIL died of "COPD" reality it was a heart attack. MIL died of "congestive heart failure". Nope - it was a combination of acute renal failure and an allergic reaction to morphine. DH#1 was homicide; it was first ruled suicide, then changed to accidental. Yes, we have evidence pointing to homicide. I gave up fighting the system when it was changed to accidental. My point is, cause of death isn't always what's on the death certificate. When you add in free money for every Wu-flu case...well, it doesn't take a genius to see what's gong on. Look into the vaccine.....there's evidence that it might cause fertility problems, as well as genetic problems due to the fact that all 3 current ones are chimeras. LOOK IT UP, people! If you're a Believer, check out Revelations.....yup, the masks fit the Mark - it doesn't say that the mark lasts forever. HOWEVER...any vaccine related issues will show up 6+ months after injection. And will last....well, forever. And vaccine companies are immune (sorry!) to lawsuits. IF you have a reaction, too bad, so sad - you have no recourse.)

ANYWAY. I was in a mild panic - yes, G-d will provide. Thing is, *I* have to participate. I was concerned....until I woke up one morning last week *knowing* I needed to put my sewing machine to work. So.....we are adding plushies to the shop. I have 2 nekkid chibi plague doctors ready to be dressed, and 1 more needing stuffing, and 1 more cut out and embroidered. Then 1 Alien Child ready to a bunch of hip holster purses. I need to get over myself, get photos, and get them listed. Wish us luck!

Not much else going on. The Lord has provided us with a full freezer, and I have a buck in with the 4 chosen does. My embroidery machine is humming along nicely - things are good. G-d is Good!
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Whee! What fun!

I've been a busy little fiber-addict lately! I finished a hat for the gift box, have 1 sock almost done, and have started another gift-hat.....but the big thing is:

I have actually sewn 4 bras! 1 of them fits almost perfectly, 1 is slightly too big, 1 is.....well, the pattern is.....a disaster, and 1 is drying (haven't actually tried it on yet.) This was emergency sewing; last week I realized I had 1 working bra - and it was on it's last legs.

I went digging thru my patterns.....I have bra patterns. Most are for wired bras - I do NOT do wires. Nope - don't try to convince me, I have yet to find a wire that actually fits my bust. I've tried - back when I was working I spent a few months buying up bras from every vendor I could find that had my size, most of which had wires. Inevitably, the wires were removed within a month due to pain. :sigh: So. NO wires. I didn't feel like trying to convert these patterns to wireless, so I went shopping. (Before I go any further, I have sewn 2 bras before. I didn't finish them - 1 was obviously not going to fit, the other I misplaced the top elastic. Still, I have SOME experience.)

I found a source online who had pdf patterns. She had just released a new wire-free pattern....after a bunch of dithering, I plunked down my $17 and printed out the instructions. I spent a good 30 minutes measuring myself (every designer has her own system, and requires various measurements. No big deal, right?)....and then couldn't figure out WHICH file to print. I emailed her:

"So. I am a 40 F/G (let's go with G for now),with a bottom curve of 6.5". I go into Adobe to print.....and there is no 40 G. There are layers at 101, 133, etc......ALL of which have size 40. How do I KNOW what size to print?

I printed all of them, in color, and decided to cut just the 40. But...on the cradle, the colored lines do NOT match up - the bottom curve is no where near 6.5". I even cut the bottom curve out, laid it on top of the pattern...and it's off."

Her reply:

"Please follow the measuring directions on the Instructions. My patterns do not use standard Bra sizing for more accuracy.

The patten is based on a mix and match concept. You may need one size for the cups and another size for the cradle. So many of us do NOT have breast measurements that fit the RTW standard. Cradle size is based on your breast root trace - not ready to wear size.

You can be assured the patten has been thoroughly tested. Remember that the pattern has seam allowance included so the cut lines may not match but the sew lines will. Perhaps include a photo of the issue you are encountering? "

Not very helpful AT ALL. :bangs head: I finally figured out her...system: You have to take your HH (bottom curve) measurement, in CM, and remove the decimal. So, for me? I had to open the file named 165. That's not confusing, or anything, right??

:Sigh: It only got "better" from there. 1 of the pages in the pattern has to be printed landscape, the rest are portrait. I had to dig down into my printer options to find "Automatic page" so that I could just hit print.

Then I sewed it up. It......doesn't fit. The cups are loose and wrinkly, meaning they are TOO BIG. (And I went with what appears to be size F, not G, because I had feelings....) The band....oh my. The back band is 8" tall. The finished bra looks like something designed by NASA engineers on their days off - it's quite industrial.

It also damn near killed my beloved machine. It did NOT like sewing the elastic to the bottom of the cradle. AT ALL. It made all sorts of clunks..........and this is my beloved 1960's era Singer. The machine that laughs at 3 layers of denim. Granted, I am using what I have on hand, so this bra is 1 layer of lycra and 1 layer of light-to-medium weight power net......she has you double up the cradle, and enclose the seams of the back band - so at that point I am sewing thru 5 layers......of fabric that will NOT lay flat, even after being hit with a steam iron and clapper.

I went back to etsy and grabbed Merckwaerdigh's e-course on bra-making for $22. BEST $22 I ever spent. It's clear, it's concise, and when I emailed her to see if I could use it to make a wire-free bra, she quickly responded with "YES! Just make sure the cups go up far enough to contain all the tissue!".

I used the same fabric on #1 as I did on the disaster. The cups are a bit too big, so Mom gets to try it on. I then switched to a different knit (sort of a thin t-shirt type, I think), with powernet in the cups, sizing down 1 cup size. Wonder of wonders, it FITS. Almost perfectly - the bridge isn't flush with my sternum - but a quick web search informed me that on wireless bras that's not unusual. :happy dance:

This morning I made another - this one I used cotton lawn (woven) on the cups and cradle, and lined them with swimsuit lining (I know, but it's what I have on hand. I have about 1.5 yards of the powernet left, and I NEED that for the back and for lining the cradle.) A quick try-on showed it fits, but I didn't take the time to evaluate it - I had spray-basted the lining to the cups and it was too stiff to get a good fitting.) My goal is to perfect the fit, then knock out a few more. I have 4 more finding kits (I bought a bunch from at the beginning of the year - $7 for all the elastic, straps, sliders, rings, and hooks and eyes you need for 1 bra is NOT a bad price!), and 1 kit. I don't want to touch the kit, though, until I KNOW I have the perfect fit.

Next month I hope to have enough "spare" funds to hit - they have the best prices on powernet and stabilized tricot I've found. I'll be able to whip up a few more bras, then in January I can pick up more finding kits and get them finished, THEN I can start on perfecting Herself's fit.

Bras are relatively easy sews, and fast - I can go from picking out fabric to dropping the finished bra in the washer in 3 hours - including waiting for the basting spray to dry a bit before sewing! A bit fiddly, but nothing too difficult. The hardest part - so far - is getting the fit right.

Sorry about no pictures....but I'm not really comfortable showing the entire world my underthings. :lol: