Thursday, September 17, 2009

Spin in Public Day

I set down to write a small press release about not doing anything for Spin in Public Day on September 18th. Maybe not nothing, maybe just finish playing in the dog hair project - you know, raise funds for my fiber art barn by spinning up small animals or hats from people's pet hair. Or, work on the color that I invented that I'm going to call "Bunnies inna Grass" because I'm just that kind of dork, or play in the two fleeces that I'm prepping right now. But instead, I ended up writing a diatribe.

September 18th is work-wide spin in public day. Anyone is welcome to grab a sick and twirl something, maybe even something useful. The Bemidji contintgent of artists won't be holding a public celebration since most are still recovering from the fair, and are planning for their retreat next week. There were only two skeins of yarn on display at the Beltrami County Fair this year, but several projects began with something spinning in the air. At least two projects began in the grass north of Lake Bemidj on a beautiful Lincoln sheep with sticks and string, and will be keeping a family warm this winter.

There is always a debate over art vs craft. Is one of the fair's submitted prjects high art for making a statement against modern economics? Maybe a statement against torture - against mans inhumanity to man or against the chaos of modern systems. Ok - I really did just write "man's inhumanity to ham". Must be getting hungry.

The line of art v craft is usually drawn at usefullness. The project that makes the above statements is actually a humble pair of socks made by someone's mother from the sheep that they raised. Functional, beautiful, and almost as loud a political statement as the Obama Quilt that was hung in the center of the room.

The over educated might remember that a small, humble spinning wheel was the tool that spun the British Empire out of their colony, India. M. Ghandi advocated that each person could do a small bit to help India become economicall independent by spinning cotton on a charka. Cotton from India, neighbors weaving cloth, and wearing the result of industrious neighbors was one of the most successful economic boycotts and political protests of all time. I'm pretty sure that they might have been drinking tea, but they weren't rude to each other while they were doing it.

This small wheel, the charka has been reinvented by Ajeet Raju S Hiremath to generate electricity. The e-charka stores the energy from two hours of spinning to power an LED light for 7.5 hours, and can also be used to run a small radio. The e-charka is distributed by KVIC Mumbai.

Finally, in our school down the road, some child is spinning a pencil, a coin, a paper simply because the eye is fascinated. When the spinners do get together, traffic stops. Passersby watch the wheels spin, watch the bundles of color as they float and smile. A spinner can tell what type of person they are looking at because the creative types goggle at the colors, animal lover's hands twitch at petting the fluff and mechanical types watch the connections of the treadle to big wheel to drive band to flyer to bobbin. Theres just something about spinning that appeals to the child, the artist and the hippy in all of us. Have a great Spin in Public Day!

The Boucle store in Fargo will be hosting a "Spin In" on the 19th, and the other area stores are busily running a Shop Hop. You can find details and prizes for that on the web. Shannon Anderson moderates the Crafty in Minnesota group on Ravelry as ShannonA and moderates the Event Calendar for the state of MN.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Idea for an article to write. Yes, I will totally file plagerism on your ass if you take my ideas - Copyright ME and FOREVER.

Can you tell I have been having a really bad day? Anyhooo...

The American Health Care System aka "Don't worry about it - We'll take it out of your Ass Later."

In May, I lost my MIL after her third bout of cancer. Don't worry, this isn't going to be yet another article on socialized medicine, the failures of the American Health Care system, problems with EPA policies or Champion International Paper selling Walmart supplies while letting an entire town die of cancer. Those are old tap dances with the devil. This morning, I'm thinking of a probate consultation with a perfectly lovely gentleman lawyer about cash-ish and what happens if you don't have any.

I still haven't figured out how any of this is my responsibility, or why I'm determinedly dog paddling across the deep end. Moving on...

I was there because a disabled veteran over a certain age shouldn't pay taxes on the land that he lives on. Stand firmly on that fact because shit is about to get really wierd...

He can be a squatter on land that isn't in his name because he's lived there for so many years. If he stays -as a squatter - he owes the full amount of taxes.

A reasonable person would say, "He lived there with his spouse and she owned the land - so it's his." NO. That's not how our current model of HEALTH CARE paid for by TAXES, but not socialized is all about.

When the spouse dies, the power of attorney that is given to take care of business expires. Any changes have to go thru probate court. Probate court will cost around $1500 to file -- to get out of $700 per year of taxes. Ok then, bad math -- that shouldn't be logical, but as he says, "So, there ya go."

During probate court, it will come out that the credit card companies can file claims about paying for the hotel rooms he stayed in while she was dying. All of the companies from Better Home and Gardens to the truely evil Capital One will come in and say, "She owes us money." Each claim drives the costs of probate court higher. In case I didn't say this strongly enough, credit cards are entirely EVIL, and Capital One is a raging demon with a pitchfork in one hand and a raging hard on in the other that will... eh, let's not finish that thought. I'll go on record and say that the highest three levels of Capital One should be lined up for a firing squad, with the top execs shot in the left testicle and then drawn and quartered. I'd pay... Nah, I'd chain the tractors to their legs myself and I don't even have an account with them.

Back to the ranch, or lack of ranchhouse. I still haven't explained why the system paid for by our tax dollars is actually entirely capitalist instead of socialist. I'm actually intimidated to total up the cost of surviving 3 bouts of 3 different cancers. You see, my MIL actually made too much money to get any help. And, the St Regis Paper company is entire defunct. They aren't there to pay for what their poison did to her. Champion/International/whatever they call themselves this week bought the "cleaned up Superfund site" as a way to get out of paying taxes. (dum, dum-dum, dum, dumb) They are currently arguing in court that it is perfectly reasonable for a genetically healthy, non-smoking person to have 2 different forms of breast cancer, and then ovarian cancer. And, sorry, you can't get insurance and you can't get help because you work part time at the Cass Lake Times at barely a quarter over minimum wage. For the sake of clarity, bills from the first cancer, bill from the second cancer, total mastectomy, checks where the doctor feels entirely free to say things like "It's your fault that you're fat", and the big plastic catheter in the chest. This third round, I've seen one bill for over $300,000 and one for just a few hundred dollars from the anesthesia service, nursing service, and, and, and... She's been squeezed to get blood from a stone for decades, this article is a way to tell all of them to try to chip gold out of the headstone, ya'll. Good luck with that.

But, the saga isn't over with death. Nope, that just isn't how America works. When she could finally put life on credit cards because she wasn't working all; when she could finally get help from the NOT-SOCIALIZED taxpayer funded health care - it only created more problems. You see, the state of Minnesota won't try to throw our squatter FIL out of his wife's house. The normal vulture creditors have 3 years to put all of this into probate. Discover card actually asked, "Are there any assets?" "Do you want the 10 year old tv?" and "Was there an insurance policy?" I actually laughed in that poor woman's face. "Yup, $1000 and already spent $1800 for a small service cremation and funeral." Pretty sure Discover gave up calling, Citibank and Capital One are still harassing our squatter.

The lawyer flat out told us that the state has a perfectly reasonable claim to try to get the Medical Assistance funding back out of her "estate". So, if FIL falls down the stairs or keels over laughing at Rush Limbaugh - the state gets everything. The only reward that I get for helping our squatter is that feeling of do-good-ed-ness, the craft paint, and the Lane Bryant clothes. There's no question of inheritance. You may as well call our taxpayer funded - NOT SOCIALIZED - health care system the "Estate Tax for po' jackpine savages" or "We'll take it out of your ass later" policy.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

We didn't get to rib fest in Cass Lake, but FIL brought us another lunch of fresh BBQ.  Nessie wore sauce on her face most of the afternoon.  We tried to get to Art in the Park, and saw some very nice things.  The swing chairs and hammocks were very tempting, but I can't think where I'd put something like that.

Sue and her SIL had a booth with dye your own silk scarves, and she said they'd been busy all day.  I'm going to get up there early tomorrow so I can see some of the dyeing.  I did see a few, and the colors were terrific.  

Then, we went to dinner at Super Buffet.  The food wasn't quite as good as usual, but everyone had 3 or 4 plates worth.  

I was able to finish almost the entire Clapotis while I walked around, so I should be able to give her that on Monday.  I'm SO excited to do this for her.  Tomorrow, we have to get to a fish fry, and I have absolutely no idea what to bring.  I'm thinking that a couple of pies should do it.  

Friday, July 17, 2009

This is my picture of the most awesome DIY swift ever. I asked my tall engineer to make me one, and he put together a simple version. The next day, I came downstairs to find this double reinforced uber-swift. I figured out that it's exactly 53 inches around, so if I count the spins - I can do the math to figure exactly how many yards I've spun.

I've made little tags about where the yarn is from, how long it is, and when I finished it. It's working very well, and it's actually fun to use. My only complaint is that the set is so old that some of the pieces are worn and make it loose. The legs on the bottom tend to come away if it's moved, but it holds up nicely when it's being used.

This is the first of the spinning posts. My good friend, Chris, loaned me her spinning wheel and I've been obsessed. This first picture is Claudia's fleeces hanging on the front railing.
Interesting. I'm updating a bunch of things, and I've finally gotten this to work from the laptop. Yay! I'm going to split this into life vs spinning and take bunches of pictures now that it's all working. I'm also going to talk about the podcasts that I'm listening to, and what the tall people are up to. (I can't call them the short people since the baby is now 6 foot 1)

My first and second projects from hand spun yarn are Kitty Pi. Both of them turned out just LOVELY. Leo's kitten Herman absolutely loves his, but the older cats aren't so thrilled so theirs is more of a yarn bowl for me than a cat bed. The third is a Clapotis for the woman that gave me the fleeces, but I won't take a picture of that until I actually give it to her. It will be soon since I'm down to about 40ish stitches.

The other big project is finishing the She-Knits Mystery Kal bag (She-Knits podcast, blog, bags) and wrestling with wips. The Mystery is just LOVELY, and I'm so thrilled to have it almost finished. The wips are in several time-out bags that are in my newly weeded out closet.

I've had to wimp out on the Tour de Fleece and the Minneapolis Fiber Fest AND the Sock Summit, but I'm determined to get to the Fargo Fiber Fest, and hopefully get some things set up around Bemidji. I do have the local spinners set up to demonstrate for the Beltrami Fair during the weekend of Aug 1. Ohh - making a note to myself to invite the Fargo and Park Rapids spinning groups to this! Wouldn't that be a great time!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Thanks to all that offered words of kindness after my Mother In Law passing on 5/9. If anyone didn't hear, she lost her battle with cancer last month. It's been a very long spring already, but I've found a distraction that's going to find me out on the corner, swinging my.... knitting needles!!

I was offered a small Ashford Kiwi spinning wheel to "borrow". I already feel guilty like I owned into it, but I'm having such fun!! I spun a pound of the cheapest crap I could find - it became two "Kitty Pi" cat beds, and the rest was dyed in Koolaid to make a fuzzy vest for Miss Niki. So, I got another and some Merino. The Merino spins like playing with baby kittens, and I LOVE it. It's going very, very fine, so half of my brain wants to offer it for sale to fund my own spinning wheel and lots more fiber - and the other half wants to make something lovely, lacey, soft and PURPLE!

A dear friend let me help her comb out some stuff that she's using to make a a gorgeous bulky yarn, so she taught me a bit and I helped for the afternoon - and she gave me my own first fleece. I couldn't keep my hands off it. I had to clean and bleach a trash can, then soaked it in Dawn, then soaked in Murphy's Oil Soap. It made my little kitchen smell like an old barn, but I hung it on the front railing to dry. It was very gross and funky, and there may have been an "I have icky Woool" song to horrify the teenagers. But, it smells lovely now. I happily tortured it with a dog comb and fluffed it well. I tried to spin it, but it wanted to be treated better than that. The friend offered to bring over her drum carder and we made 4 huge bats of what I'd combed. LOVELY! Herman tried to make those his cat bed, but he was informed that it wasn't an option. I've spun an entire bat in an evening, and I'm in love. It's almost filled a bobbin with a lovely, springy laceweight with such a shine...

It's a Shetland crossed with something that starts with F, probably children of a lady named "Lily", so thank you, Lily and Lily-baby. I have pictures on the laptop, but I have to grab a cable to get them from the camera to the flicker to Ravelry, facebook, and emails. I just want to spin, so I'll put this post up, work on some links and pictures, and get some electronic work and cleaning type stuff going today. I have a housefull of "slave labor" - I mean children, so after summer job searches, I should have plenty of muscle for projects.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Hmm. I'm writing really long posts again, so I should probably start posting to the blog the stuff that I've got running around my head.

Firstly, I'm almost finished with Niki's blanket and a pair of Fruit Loop socks. I'll link to the patterns and pictures if I can. It's rather a bummer because Niki's blanket was supposed to be a mindless project that I'd work on after I'd burnt out on UFOs. But, that's ok. I organized a stack and have them moving again. I'd even found a pair of socks that just needed to be Kitchnered. uggg

Also, I'm a podcast addict. I admit it. I'll probably live the rest of my life with buds in my ears and I'm ok with that. Random sound usually makes me nervous anyway. This morning, I'm listening to History According to Bob. I don't have a top list as it depends on the mood I'm in. I love Cast-On, CraftLit, Lime and Violet, Dr Gemma, Forgotten Classics and many more. I'll try to note out what I'm thinking about them as they post up new stuff because I'm rather enamored of all of them.

The other side of it is that I'm getting very used to having Vanessa here. She's getting bored and figuring out that she likes to read, knit, and learn. If tv gets turned on, then she'll sit there all day. She's lost 3o pounds, learned to crochet, and we'll be starting the yard and garden work pretty quickly.