Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Between Projects

I've got so many irons in the fire, the forge is looking like a porcupine.  Besides my ridiculously busy schedule with two kids in soccer and one in karate (and I have made it clear that they are only permitted one sport at a time), I also have Girl Scouts coming up where I am the leader, three quilt guilds where I am the secretary for one of them this year and the quilt show coordinator for next year, SCA and all the art projects associated with that.

Emma's karate is coming along and her sensei decided she was ready to test for the yellow belt (starts white, then yellow, orange, green, green with a blue stripe, blue, blue with a brown stripe, brown, then least, that's what I remember from the display on the far wall), but the test is THIS Saturday in Redmond, which is a bit of a haul (not horribly far, but not just down the street), and we are already double-booked for the weekend. The next test date is in mid-October, so Sensei is starting to teach her the yellow belt stuff now, just to give her a head start for the test after that.

Cammie was delivered to her aunt Nancy for a couple days to hang out with her favorite cousin, Nate.  He's a year younger than her, but they've been the closest of pals since toddlerhood and we try to get them together at least a couple times a year, and recently, each summer for a few days.  His birthday was a couple weeks ago, so they're having a belated birthday party for him and we'll go back to fetch her on Friday.

Ben is continuing to dislike soccer.  He complains that he's too slow, he doesn't kick the ball hard enough and doesn't have the strength.  I'm thinking that maybe he'd have a better time with karate, too.  We'll give soccer a couple more weeks and if things are really going poorly, we'll have to decide whether to pull him out and sign him up for karate at the Y instead or what.

The yurt is coming along--we cut the new rafters from the hem-fir and screwed in the lag bolts on Monday.  I need to re-drill the holes in the tono to accommodate the larger rafter pegs (the lags are 3/8"; I drilled 1/4" for the ill-fated 3/16" pencil rod).  After that, I may actually get to set the thing up!  I still need to sew the roof for it, but it's getting darn close to being finished!!

I also finished one of the two yellow thistle knee socks.  I have 30 or so rows of yellow to knit, and the second will be done.  I'll be happy to have those off the needles and sent on to the new owners.  I'll also like to have the $50 in my pocket for having finished them!

A few new projects have surfaced, too--I am commissioned to make a couple sets of Elizabethan clothes for 8 and 9 year old girls for Halloween...or rather, All Saints Day.  The girls at the Catholic schools get brownie points from the priests for dressing up as Saints, so the girls chose St. Margaret Ward to be their chosen saint.  She rescued a priest from prison for having continued to hold services after Catholicism was made illegal.  She smuggled a rope into the prison to help him escape and things went awry when the rope was accidentally left behind and a boatman who was in on the plot was caught and ratted her out.  She was one of 40 who were named martyrs of England and Wales.

I may also have some clothes to make for Tyrssen's lady, who likes things frilly and girly.  Elizabethan it is!  I don't know if I'll be able to make a proper bodice without fittings, but I should be able to make most of the other parts--chemise, skirt, sleeves (for indoor wintertime events), ruffs, etc.  What I'd like to try to make (for myself first) is a coat from that era.  I've seen other people wearing them and they're just spectacular.  I'll have to see if I can find a pattern.  The internet is the most amazing tool!

I don't have to be anywhere until 3:30 tomorrow, so I think I'll spend a couple hours catching up on housework.  Sheets, laundry, vacuuming, bathrooms, countertops...there's a lot to do.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Yurt Progress Continues

Following the disasterous attempt at setting up the first yurt rafters, it was made clear that the pencil rod was not strong enough to withstand the stresses of the yurt's tono.  There were a couple ideas for making the rafters stronger and making sure this didn't happen again.  One idea was to get three stronger and thicker pieces of wood for the rafters, which will be the first three set in place and will better withstand the stress until the rest of the rafters are set in place.  But a review of the hardware aisle at the home repair store revealed another answer...

Lag bolts!  I had been advised that what I needed was zinc-plated 3/16" x 6" deck screws, which didn't exist.  They had something that was close, but not the right thing.  These were a little bigger than I was looking for, but only 1/16"'ll do! 

We pre-drilled holes in the ends of the rafter poles and began screwing them in.  A few of them were drilled a little crooked, and a few others had wood that cracked--six or seven of them will have to be trimmed, re-drilled and we'll have to try again.  However, we did get most of them set up and ready to have the heads cut off and ground smooth.
We also took our cut tono pieces and glued, nailed and clamped them into two circles.  This took two passes since we didn't have enough clamps to do both of them at once.  We paired them up, let them set, then took the pairs and set them into the two rings, nailed, glued and clamped them.
Avelyn is a little dangerous with that nail gun...gotta watch that one every minute...
Here are the two circles, sitting in the sunshine while the Gorilla glue sets up.  Next we'll have to layer these two circles together, glue and clamp them, and then they'll be trimmed into a smooth circle. 

Still have a ways to go to finish...

Friday, August 12, 2011


They say that bad news comes in threes. 

The yurt had another set back.  The pencil rod is not strong enough--it bent far too quickly and easily.  I'll have to find a substitute for that.  I also had one of the rafters break--the cedar is too brittle for the weight and stress of the roof.

The computer is making a slow come-back.  It crashed after running out of memory, it corrupted some files, including my profile information.  Or something.  I don't know enough about computers to talk confidently about what's wrong and how to fix it.  At least Kelly found the external hard drive in his desk.

I'm going to do some quilting today before anything else goes wrong.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Computer Force

My computer is now frozen like Han Solo's carbonite prison.  Apparently I ran out of memory and it locked up after I was desperately trying to save the guild newsletter as a PDF.  I had saved it, sent a test copy to be proofread by Sharon, and she looked it over as we chatted on the phone.  "Just one little thing--can you change the email for me to the [alternate] email?" Apparently the alternate is more reliable, especially with attachments.
"Sure," I say, opening the document again and making that minor adjustment.  I tried to save it as a PDF again and that's when the problems began.  And the computer's life began a slow 24 hour descent to the underworld of the Galactic Alliance.
I shut it off, thinking that a good reboot to the backside would help, and it seemed to for a few minutes, until I realized that it had come back at its factory settings.  All the files I had been working on were no where to be found.  'They're still on the C drive,' Kelly assures me, and I was able to open one or two of them up, but I couldn't get anything that required opening a program--they were all not to be found.  Publisher...gone.  Email...vaporized.
I was able to get on the internet, still.  I checked my email through the server's web page and checked Facebook for updates, and most everything gets sent to my phone, so I haven't missed anything, but Kelly had run some Windows updates, so I had to reboot again tonight.  Unfortunately, when I did that, it locked me out completely.  "Access Denied" it smugly proclaims in tiny print. "These are not the droids you're looking for...".
It is a laptop and has been around for at least 5 years...not sure exactly when I got it, but it was before we moved here.  These things don't usually last that long, so I suspect that either a new laptop is in my future (if we can find the money to get one) or Kelly will have to surgically extract the offending parts and replace them, patching it up like the Millenium Falcon.

Yesterday, just for fun, I went to the Equestrian practice for the SCA, which is held at the same horse farm we've visited a few times for lessons.  Unfortunately, I missed the memo that you had to let them know four days in advance that you want to rent a horse, which I realized *that* morning, but I thought I'd go anyway, just in case they weren't too booked.  As I suspected, they didn't have any available for use when I got there--several birthday parties and trail rides were already underway, so all the uninjured and well-behaving horses were in use.  I was OK with that, and then (the new) SIR Thorkjll, one of the men running the practice, said that they would be able to let me borrow one--not everyone rides the entire time. 

In the meantime, I learned how to be ground crew, picking up weapons that are dropped (wooden swords and lances and one large wooden spoon), putting the heads back on the pikes so they can be sliced off again, and watching for other hazards.  After about three hours, and with an hour left to practice, one gentleman asked if I would like to ride.  He dismounted his rented mare, Seraphina (Emma rode her for a lesson once and I remembered she was a little tempermental) and allowed me to climb on.  He adjusted the stirrups for me, and I was able to qualify for two of the four horse games; ring joust (use the lance to snag white rings on the tip), and "heads" (weaving in and out of the pikes and slicing the heads off that are held on with magnets). 

There were two other games--one I attempted was like in the movie "A Knight's Tale" where he has a lance and hits a small shield on a T bar, which swings around and hits him in the head with a bag of sand.  I forget what it's called, but that thing...minus the bag of sand.  Unfortunately, the horse was being a dork and refused to do any more; Seraphina wasn't even trotting anymore.   It was the end of practice anyway, so I was OK with quitting then.  Unfortunately, the next regular practice isn't until October.  Darn it.  The last game involves riding up, tossing a stick through a hoop and catching it on the other side. I didn't get to that at all.
Today, Avelyn and I got together to work on the yurt.  We got all the rafter sliced up for her yurt, and we started drilling my tono, but the holes were starting to go in at different angles.  I need to make a new jig or figure out how to do it on the drill press.  I'm frustrated.
Started some work on Adeliza's thistle socks again.  I finally got her to try them on at July Coronation, so I got the pattern and the socks together in one place and put a few rows on it tonight.  It still has about 20 rows of thistle left on one sock, then about 3" of yellow on the top of each sock.  I won't get them done tomorrow, but it'll be nice to be able to pass those on soon.

And may the force be with you.