Monday, July 22, 2013

Odds and Ends and Pictures

Sent off our vendor information for Maneki Neko Con 2, which is the anime convention run by the Anime club at Prairie State University, in Chicago Heights. We did well enough last year that we'll do it again. We'll be there Friday afternoon/evening and Saturday. Vendors can also set up on Thursday for faculty/staff/students/general public, but that would mean another day off, and I think my August-September may be busy enough as is.

This means I really should get back to making leather stuff. Real soon now. Yeah, I should. 

Stopped at Rockler yesterday. Robin successfully resisted anything, Ron had a minor fail. coming home with several blanks and some pencil kits. I got a new mechanical pencil out of it - the wood is stabilized spalted tamarind. "Stabilized" means its been soaked, via pressure (probably vacumn) in a resin. Spalted wood has been discolored by fungi, which also weakens it, but it can be pretty, and stabilizing it fixes the weakness issues. Here's the new pencil (bottom), along with my purpleheart pen (top):
Started signage for MuseCon, got all the room signs done, I thought, on Saturday, then went back on Sunday and added "MuseCon" and the MuseCon logo to them (which wasn't too big a job). Still need to make a few more signs, will probably start on that again tomorrow - I've finally accepted that I don't really accomplish things Monday night, so not planning to do things on Mondays means less frustration with myself.

If you go back and look at older posts, you may notice pictures have vanished. I went through and sorted almost 200 pictures from Picasa into folders, which warning messages say breaks links to them. I can live with that. I can re-link (if I can remember what a picture was), on request.

On the personal/posting pictures side of things, I have been knitting.  

Friday night I did the last couple rows of ribbing and cast off the socks I was working on. Lorna's Laces Solemate, color is "Flames". The Lorna's Laces website is, btw, craptastic, featuring an excess of stupid flash tricks, so I can't just link to the description of that yarn. Grumble.  Knit toe-up, with gussets and a short-row heel.

Friday I also started a pair of mittens, using the assorted mini skeins of blues and purples I got at the fiber fest recently, and some fingering-weight sheep's-white Blue-Faced Leicester yarn I got to go with it. The yarn is from a Wool2Dye4, who sells white yarn for dyers, usually in bundles of 10 skeins. However, they have the "Secret Stash", where they sell odd and ends from shipments/mill runs. I got two 438-yard skeins (plenty for a pair of socks from each skein( of their BFL 4-socking for $17.40 (plus shipping), which is not bad at all, as sock yarn goes. 

The wave pattern on the right is the back of the hand, the more simple geometric on the left is the palm (which is one color repeat shorter in the picture). The last repeat of the waves is a verigated blue. The top wave is dark purple, the two medium purples are different shades. I need to darn in ends again, before the number gets too large - that's the problem with switching colors, more ends to darn in.

The wave pattern is a pain. Here's the chart I've madet for the mittens:

It takes seven vertical repeats before it starts at the same spot again. You can see it better from my chart, the white spaces form the same wave pattern as the color. The palm side pattern is much simpler, I only charted out the mitten tip and a little past to be sure I understood the repeat (and because I had space on the paper to go past the tip).

The kinda dirty and wrinkled spot is a muddy pawprint. Pippin came in with damp paws last night, decided Ron needed to play with him, and levitated onto Ron's chest, with a paw on my pattern.

Haven't quite decided what I'm going to do for the thumb, either pattern, color, or type of gusset. I'll decide when I get there, and start knitting the thumb. I'm working top-down, so when I get to the point where the thumb joins I take a break from the body, knit the thumb, then join it and keep going. I like top-down mittens because I can make the pattern come out nice at the top, without ending up with a mitten that's too long or too short. Charts done for knitting cuff-up work just fine for top-down, you just turn them over (or not, and just flip it in your head), and work increases instead of decreases and vice-versa.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Graphic Design Accomplishments

Silly me, yesterday I said that I haven't done anything Otter Necessities-ish lately, even though I include graphic design stuff under the big heading of Otter-ish.

Last week I finished the Program Book Death March, and finished the book Thursday night. Almost a week early, yay me!  OTOH, the person I've worked with for the last few years at the printer (CL Graphics, in Crystal Lake, IL - shameless plug) retired at the end of June, so I'm working with new (to-me) people, and we're also changing binding method, so I wanted plenty of lead time in case there were issues.

Ron's uploaded the book to the MuseCon web page, at the moment its the first link in the top of the page "A Few More Updates" box:

The second link is for pre-ordering shirts, the deadline for that is Sunday night. (This message brought to you by Shameless Plugs-R-Us).
Last year we had 52 interior pages, which was more than optimal for saddle stitch (fold & staple) binding, but they made it work. This year I was pretty sure we were going to go over that on page count, so I also loosened up the layout a little, mostly in terms of line spacing. And then we added a whole 'nother room of programming, the blinkie guys added a couple/few new blinkies, and with one thing and another we're up to 64 interior pages. 

So, the plan is for a spiral binding - a metal or plastic coil that looks like a stretched spring. Although the printer called yesterday, to ask if they could test-run a copy on a (new?) machine they were going to fire up last night, which might be able to saddle stitch the book. They also suggested slightly lighter paper as an option for saddle-stitching. I said they could go ahead and run a test copy, but budget-wise we're expecting to pay for a more expensive binding.  

Saturday we started signage. We're "Nurturing Our Muses" this year, so I've been going with a gardening-ish theme, which none of the artwork I've been using for signage really fits. So, I went through my Dover book of flower, fruit, and vegetable seed packet images. and found a bunch that I liked and weren't going to be too hard to take the words off of. IIRC Ron had that done by lunchtime. 

So far I've gotten signs made for Registration, Hospitality Suite, a list of optional supplies for the book-making class, and gotten all three days worth of signs made for the Lakeshore Ballroom.  I do one 11"x17" sign per day for the programming rooms, and then just one sign each for Hospitality Suite and Reg.

In past years I've picked fonts that are similar to what was used on the original artwork, but the seed packets all use either a pretty basic serif or sans-serif font, so I've picked one similar display-size sans font and am using that on all of them. So instead I've been changing the color of the text to coordinate with the background images. Because I'm crazy that way...

And tonight I'm going to put together a book of old family photos for a relative's major-milestone birthday. The original plan was a scrapbook page (yes, that is the sound of me rolling my eyes), but on a quick pass through the not-really-old photos, I found 3 dozen strong candidates. Plus there's a couple more of the really old pictures of people I don't know who they were, but they have the Ohman family face that I want to include, as well as some fairly recent ones. So I'll still do a page for the scrapbook, but also a book of photos. Which I need to have done and in Michigan by Saturday. Procrastination FTW. I'm pretty sure the relation in question doesn't read this, so I'm safe nattering about it.

So, I have been busy with more than just knitting and fussing about Ron and Elrond.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Pictures, Primarily Personal

Picasa Web Albums and WordPress no longer talk to each other, so I'm going to inflict pictures of recent knitting projects on this blog. Still nothing particularly business-ish to report, but at least I'm working on something again - for a while after the ACen prep binge I couldn't seem to work on anything.

Here's Elrond being opressed by a pair of cabled gloves I finished a little over a week ago:

I haven't blocked the gloves, which get pulled in by the cabling, so here's one on my hand (although the gloves are too small for me):

Here's a blurry shot of the palm side of the cuff.  These are the "Kingdom" gloves from
The cuffs are knit back and forth, including a hem facing. Then clever short rows turn the stitching 90 degrees to go around the hand. 

And here's Elrond being opressed by the Christmas stocking I finished before the gloves:

These pictures were taken one morning last week when it was nice and cool, so he's not looking oppressed because knitwear is too warm, just the overwhelming cruelty of being a model.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Eventful Personal Life

Yeah, I fell off the blog again. 

The rundown on all that's been going on lately is on my personal blog, which this is a link to, so all you have to do is clicky if you want all the not-too-gruesome details. 

Still haven't done any leatherwork. Not sure when our next event will be, depends on Ron's progress and what happens with scheduling my turn, once I do all the preliminary hoo-ha, which was put on hold because of Insurance Issues.

Ron made (and sold) a couple more pens. I made a second bottle stopper, pretty boring. It came out nothing like I wanted, because of what is most likely tool control issues, but it isn't bad.

Robin's been making cylindrical wooden obelisks. We'd both been having problems with the key chuck walking out of the lathe when doing things that don't use the tailstock, so we got a new key chuck (the style found  on a drill), that's been threaded for a drawbar, which keeps it from walking out of the lathe. If all the words sound like English, but you have no clue what I just said, it can be summed up as: we got a not-particularly-expensive but more useful version of A Thing that should make turning small things easier. 

The MuseCon program book is almost done. I have to put in icons, the numbers for all the scheduled programming (I know what the numbers are, have to put in the text boxes in the right spots and fill in the numbers), and put in filler art.  Which is good, as I'd like to get the book to the printer Thursday night/Friday morning.

MuseCon t-shirt design delivered to OffWorld Designs. Need to see if they have an update on suggested shirt color, etc.