Saturday, March 29, 2008

Yarn Pron

Look! Something Shiney! Over There!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

To be Defined.

The definition of the word 'Define', according to The Free Dictionary, gave me this:

Define: (v)
1. describe the nature or basic qualities of; explain.
It also offered this:
3. To give form or meaning to.

I've been pondering lately, what defines us. Or, perhaps more accurately, how do we define ourselves. How do I define myself? Describe myself? Sometimes it's hard to forget that who we were yesterday, is perhaps, not who we are today. At what point do you let go of previous job titles, career choices, life decisions and embrace the new ones? Nature abhors a vacuum (anyone for a Far Side Cartoon?) and so it is impossible to stop being one thing without becoming something else. The actual moment of switching can be faster than a blink of an eye I suppose, but the actual accepting of, believing in, claiming... well, that can take much longer.

I've defined myself as many things over the years. I find looking back, that I have enjoyed being able to define myself slightly outside the expected norms of the times. Veteran (Air Force - drove a forklift). Phone-Jockey (pc/computer helpdesk). Network Administrator (had an office and everything). Place Holder (they gave my office to someone else). Wife. Mother (best job ever). Shepherdess (midwife,vet, slayer of bugs). Some of these job titles overlapped. I was a network admin and a shepherd at the same time, but when did I stop telling folks I 'worked in computers' and start telling them I was a shepherd? Not for several years. It is understood that when someone asks what you 'do', they are asking how you make a living, not about your hobbies. This is because according to society's accepted definitions for and of ourselves, it is our ability to make money that defines us. (Ask a starving artist who is flipping burgers so he can buy more paint if he's an artist or a short-order cook to see how wrong this notion is.) So, why don't we define ourselves by what we enjoy? Why can't we define ourselves by what makes us feel complete?

A few months ago, I was introduced to someone somewhere, in a locale slightly out of my element. Whoever had the pleasure of meeting me asked me what I 'did'. They were asking for my definition - my 'label' in society. A way to neatly categorize me into their understanding of the world. In a flash, without thinking, I answered "I'm a dyer." You could see the poor man's brain processing this, and being unable to produce a suitable place to put this in his mental filing cabinet, he repeated "A dyer?" I explained what I did, he nodded knowingly and understandingly, and a little condescendingly, asked me politely if there was anything else I did (obviously I had not understood his original question). I answered him with yet another puzzle: "I'm a shepherd." He gave up, nodded as if this explained everything and I think we probably talked about the weather for a few minutes. I suppose I could have said something fancy like "I manage custom pigment-bonding with protein and cellulose-based materials for a niche segment of the art industry."

It's just easier and more fun to say "I'm a dyer." (And a wife, a mother, a veteran, and a shepherd.)

For those of you looking for help with your computers, I'm thrilled to say I've been 'out of it' for longer than moses, and am just as lost as you are with that new Vista laptop. (I'm sure there is a support group for us somewhere.)

For those of you looking for help with your forklift/flightline cargo handling needs, I frankly never want to strap down another pallet of cargo again - though driving onto a C-5 cargo plane IS pretty cool. I am however, proud of the military service I did, and am proud to be an American Veteran. (They work hard, no matter what branch or who's sitting in the Oval Office - never forget what the commitment they've made really means.)

For those of you who want to discuss office politics.... that's why I don't have the office anymore. If that office career is what's important to you, then I suggest you try sucking up to your boss. I did NOT and look where it got me. (though I'd love to wear my muck boots into the office again, just once.)

For those of you who want to discuss motherhood, I am all there. And by the way, please breastfeed your kids, it's good for them. (I mean REALLY people - what do you think is better: chemically re-constituted soy proteins simulating foodstuffs for the child you spent 9 months creating, or milk that your body is continuing to create, that is based on the needs of that child that only your body can know that your child needs? Read that sentence again.)

For those of you who are in need of an animal midwife etc, I've got some mad lambing skills and animal husbandry trivia here to pass on, just give me a shout.

For those of you in need of custom pigment-bonded protein and/or cellulose-based materials (a.k.a. hand-dyed yarns), I'm your gal. And oh look! Here's the 500lbs of yarn to prove it:

This was the 'small' box of just over 100lbs (that's 2 layers of cones there and yes, some are missing cause they've already been skeined for dyeing).
Each of these boxes are 200lbs. Please note they made a stencil to label the box just for us :-)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

My New Look (aka 'thanks to the yarn mojo)

Thanks to the awesome yarn mojo created by waiting club members on Ravelry, the yarn has left the mill and is winging it's way here pronto, scheduled for a Friday Delivery.

So, here's my new 'look' for probably about the next 3 weeks.
(Just a thought, but I wouldn't sneak up on me, if I were you.)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

General Updates

**If you are still waiting for your yarn or kit, I have not lost your order or dissapeared into the night with the money. I am expecting yarn from the mill in the next few business delivery days, and after that, and several sleepless days and nights, I'll mail out your packages. I appreciate your patience!
To entertain you until the yarn arrives, (Look! Something Shiney! Over There!) we'll use 'distraction technique number 32', labled 'Cute Animals' from the handy book of distractions. (These are the lambs that were born in February - a set of twins and a single. They are all doing great, even the one with the broken shoulder is now leaping & playing games with his mates.)

And here's another one...

And Look! Lambs!

And what's this? Ok, it's not a lamb but it was cute.

We'll follow that up with 'distraction technique number 17': yarn Pr0n. This is some of the yarn I dyed for a knitting class taught last saturday in Fonda. 4oz balls of worsted 4ply wool, I assimilated had 6 new/newish knitters! Fun was had by all, they are knitting hats.

Ok. You there! Back to work.

Winter 2008 Newsletter

Vancalcar Acres - Winter 2008 Newsletter

It’s March now, and I like to imagine that winter is almost over, but when last week started out with a foot of new snow, and ended with another 8… well, it’s hard to imagine anything but snow. On the positive side of things, 3 lambs were born last Monday just before the storms – a set of twins and a single. The fact that all were born in the daytime, on dry hay bedding, in the sunshine with no wind means that 2 sheep have finally gotten their acts together on this farm, and we’re just hoping the rest follow suit. Or better yet, wait until spring like they’re supposed to, because we’re not supposed to be lambing in February. I say this every year, and every year we have at least one lamb born in February just so the fates can laugh at me.

On the fiber front, I wonder have you ever heard of the Yarn Harlot? Yes, I’m sure you have. In January, 3 days after I finally snuck my loom into the house and out of the freezing garage with big weav-ish plans… she blogged the Vintage sock kit. And by blog, I mean convince eleventy billion other knitters that they also needed to share in leaf-knitting. Life as we knew it around here ended. I called the mill to order more yarn, just in case. I mean, there wasn’t really a chance of running out of yarn, it was in the triple digits here in poundage but there were the new club kits coming up and it’s best to be prepared. And then in February, I realized, the poundage was now in the double digits and dwindling FAST. The Yarn Harlot officially broke the stash here, and we’ve run out of yarn. Oh, there are skeins here and I’m finishing off as many pending orders as possible, but for all intents & purposes, the cupboards are bare. I’ve called the mill, and begged and pleaded. They do not know who the Harlot is, and were not nearly as impressed with it all as I was. Barring my calling other companies and begging them to cancel their orders to move mine ahead in line, there is nothing to do but wait. I should have yarn the 2nd week in March and I’ll probably be heavily sedated by then with anxiety and frustration.
Besides that, there are several wonderful new things planned for when the yarn DOES arrive. Obviously, filling all the pending orders if the first priority. After that, the first club kit Firebird gets prettied up and sent out the door, and then Cleopatra is released on the world. She is the first club kit from last year, and a beauty. A pattern called ‘Afterthought’ is all but printed, Swan Lake is being tested out (felted boot – how cool), and there are several new colorways I’m dyeing to release (get it? Dyeing?). End of March for the new colors is the goal, we’ll see how it goes what with sleeping and eating interrupting me now & then.
On the family front, don’t tell anyone but we seem to have gotten a complete month’s worth free of colds. Husband is the one who broke the record by bringing home the flu the last Friday in February, and he was sequestered in his room, hibernating for a week. There is not enough hand sanitizer in the world to make me feel completely safe, it’s as if he’s got bubonic or something.
I think that sums things up for now. There are a couple of farm & family related issues that I’m not ready mentally to let loose on the world, some changes around here that have left me wondering a lot about priorities and choices. With everything else going on and as busy as I’ve been, I haven’t been able to concentrate on those things right now and so, we’ll let things ruminate in my mind as I come to grips with a new reality. A good one, to be sure, but different from what I had come to expect.

Thanks for sharing time with us,

Eric, Jennifer and Nora Vancalcar