Posted: April 3rd, 2011 | Author: Hellchick | Filed under: Alpacas | 2 Comments »
It’s been over a year since we got our first alpacas, the same three boys I’ve been writing about in that time. We’ve known we wanted to get a fourth one but we thought we’d take our time and see if we could find one that had a much denser, finer fleece, and a color that we might want to add that we didn’t already have. Not that our boys don’t have great fleeces, but we thought that if we were going to spend the time to add only one more alpaca to our herd we’d find something with qualities our other boys didn’t already have. And on Monday night that opportunity landed quite suddenly in our laps.
Our new member of the herd, Indie.
I sat down at my PC to do the bills around nine o’clock that night and saw an email that was clearly a text message from someone. It said that our friends Don and Jody (as I always mention, from Jo’s Fleece Fields) were trying to reach us and please give them a call. I figured I’d missed my window but the message was only twenty minutes old. I grabbed my phone and saw a voice mail from Don. “We have an alpaca in our trailer,” he said, “and we’re really close to you guys just down the highway. This guy might be available to you at a very reasonable price…but the caveat is that he’s starving and needs food.” They offered in the message to stop by if we wanted to see him.
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Posted: March 18th, 2011 | Author: Hellchick | Filed under: Making Stuff Series, Spinning | 4 Comments »
Wow, did I get some serious fiber time in this week!
We originally had plans to visit with my sister and her husband, but when they had to cancel as they were sick (and it turned out I was coming down with something as well that I’m dealing with this week) it left me with virtually a whole weekend of open schedule. I used it to my advantage.
First, I really wanted to make something on my drum carder. I didn’t have anything in mind, but sometimes that’s when you produce the most fun things. So I went through my spinning fiber bins and pulled some stuff out. I knew that I wanted to make something with Cinnamon’s natural alpaca fleece, and I had some green Merino, some yellow Merino, some soy silk, and some yellow sparkly Firestar fiber. I put it all together and realized I had enough to make at least two decently-sized batts.
Cinnamon's Fiery Jade batt -- alpaca, merino, soy silk, and Firestar.
Closeup of Cinnamon's Fiery Jade
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Posted: March 11th, 2011 | Author: Hellchick | Filed under: Making Stuff Series, Spinning | 4 Comments »
Wow, Fiber Friday certainly came up fast this week. But I did stuff: I prepared more Cozy Toes fiber!
Cozy Toes is the blend of fiber I’ve been working on creating that I think is really great for socks, and I’ve been dying to spin up some more. So this week I took a little time at night before bed to do some blending and carding, and I managed to get six ounces of fiber put together in preparation for dyeing.
Six ounces of Cozy Toes fiber batts. Yum!
My process for these batts starts with carding some of my alpaca (in this case, Benz) into batts, and then dividing my fiber into portions that will make four 1.5 ounce batts total (since that’s roughly what I get off my carder). After blending the fibers together once, I then split the batts into quarters, mix them up, and blend one more time. That ensures I get a pretty good, equal fiber blend in each batt.
Carding Cozy Toes batts on the drum carder.
I’m excited about my dye plan for this batch. I try not to rely on other people’s color blends for all of my inspiration, but I couldn’t help but be inspired by some fiber I saw a fellow spinner with this past weekend at our Eastside Spinners group meeting — it was a beautiful blend of dark greens, scarlets, and golds. I really wanted to produce something similar so I went through my color tests and found some blends, and the resulting fiber is cooking as we speak. I can’t wait to see it when it’s done.
I’m still working on the Birthday Shawl and am about halfway done with the trim, so it won’t be long now!
That’s it for this week. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Fiber Friday posts!
Posted: March 4th, 2011 | Author: Hellchick | Filed under: Knitting, Making Stuff Series | 5 Comments »
Oh dear, I missed a couple of weeks, didn’t I? It was unavoidable — I have been rushing like mad to finish up a birthday project, and so the last three weeks I’ve done no other fibery things other than working on it: the Birthday Shawl. And it’s still not finished! I felt terrible doing it, but I had to give it to the recipient 90% done and tell her, “sorry, but you only get to look at it — I have to take it back and then give it back to you in about a week or so.”
The gift-getter in question is my sister-in-law, Kim “Kawai” Kaneali’i. I knew I wanted to make her something for her birthday and I knew exactly what I wanted to make. Every time she visits she grabs a nearby homemade quilt or one of my knitted blankets or shawls and wraps herself in it, so I figured she must really like them…either that or we’re really rude hosts and keep our house really cold. I’m going with the former. Anyway, she had commented once, when wrapping herself with it, about how much she liked my Domovoi shawl, so I thought I’d knit her her own.
Kawai's Domovoi shawl.
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Posted: February 12th, 2011 | Author: Hellchick | Filed under: Gaming, Rant | 60 Comments »
I don’t write much on this blog these days about games; most people who come here are looking for my knitting or spinning or alpaca content. But I’m going to deviate from that a bit today, and with some TV-MA language in case you care. I don’t, but you might.
A couple of week’s ago NPR’s All Things Considered ran an interview I did with The Radio Rookies program about women, gaming, and female game characters. Once the link hit the gaming sites this week, comment comedy ensued. Here are a couple of samples.
Girls who game get plenty of respect. Girls who try too hard to be ‘girl gamers’ are the ones nobody respects.
Girls who play games=respektz. Girls who enforce the fact that they’re girls on xbox live/psn/pc=TITS OR GTFO
If girl gamers don’t want attention, then don’t fucking talk over Xbox Live or use a nick that makes people think you’re a girl.
There were more of these, and they’re nothing I’ve never seen before. In fact, I’ve seen this response every time the topic of women who play games comes up over the decades that I’ve been gaming. At this point I’m kind of tired of addressing this issue, but I’m going to again.
Now, guys, I’m not talking to those of you out there who play games with women regularly, who think it’s perfectly fine when a woman shows up in their Black Ops server. There are lots of these guys out there – I’ve played with them, I’m friends with them, I’ve worked with them.
And I’m not even talking to the guys out there who get off on sending messages to females gamers like the ones you see on FatUglyorSlutty.com. These are probably guys who pick the most obvious target and it just happens to be a woman, but if no woman is available to berate they’d probably find someone else to target. They’re lost causes.
Who I am talking to are the guys in between, and there’s a whole swath of them. They’re the guys who claim they have no problem with “girls who game” but seem to have a problem with “girl gamers.” They’re the ones who probably wouldn’t seem to have an issue with women in their everyday lives but if one shows up on the game server, all rules of normal social decorum go out the window.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: stop assuming that women who game are trying to be this Girl Gamer you keep getting hung up on. There is no such thing.
First of all, when I ask guys like you what you mean by “trying to be a girl gamer,” the definitions are ambiguous and sketchy. “They talk a lot and act all cute.” “They’re too chatty, they just want attention.” “They…you know, act like girls.”
So wait: there’s a girl on your server, and that girl is acting like girls sometimes act? Well stop the mother-F’ing presses.
Let me clue you in on something: when you’re as old as I am and you finally get out of your parents’ basement, and you start meeting people that exist outside your circle of three other male friends that you play Call of Duty with, you start to learn a little something about human behavior. And you start to learn that there’s a ton of different kinds of guys out there, and a variety of them can be found in any group of guys. There are quiet guys, shy guys, guys who act like assholes, dumb guys, smart guys, guys who won’t shut up about their cars, gay guys, straight guys, guys who don’t know, nice guys, guys who want attention, guys who are funny, guys who think they’re funny, and guys who express tons of other traits not listed here.
Women are the same, and you might discover that someday if you ever actually grow up. In every group of women there are chatty women, quiet women, loud women, women who won’t shut up about their cars, smart women, dumb women, gay women, straight women, women who don’t know, funny women, women who think they’re funny and ok Jesus, you get the picture, right?
It’s a human issue. It’s not a gender issue. If you truly don’t have a problem with the girl’s gender as you claim, then what you’re really saying is that you don’t like people who like to call attention to themselves. Except that usually you seem not to have a problem with guys who like to call attention to themselves in the same game lobby. It’s only wrong if the women do it.
Girls who act like your perception of what “trying to be a girl gamer” is are probably just being what they naturally are: bubbly, outgoing, chatty, whatever you want to call it. Some women are like that and some aren’t, and it has nothing to do with games. Me? Usually the last thing I want to do is have a conversation with strangers in a game lobby because I don’t know you, and I’m generally a misanthropic introvert who doesn’t care what song you’re currently listening to (and usually singing to) or what your dog’s name is or how many times you’ve prestiged. So in 4 out of 5 lobbies you’ll never hear me speak.
If a girl is chatty and acting cute in a Call of Duty lobby then they’d probably do the same thing if they met you in a bar or at a concert or at any myriad social event. Because that’s what gaming is, a social event, and that’s what they are, a chatty extrovert. Anyone can be a chatty, flirty, narcissistic moron online regardless of gender. How about that kid singing I see ya rollllllllin’ into the mic at 200 decibels? Do we care what gender the kid is? No, because we’re too busy muting the punk.
And just what is your definition of “acting like a girl gamer” anyway? Oh, please, don’t answer: I can tell the audience because I’ve experienced your enlightened viewpoint in many an online game over my abundant years. You’re frequently the guy who thinks that the mere act of speaking into the mic when I tell you that we need some defense on checkpoint B is somehow code for hey, big boy, I’m a girl gamer who’s just dying to talk to a narcissistic guy who has a problem interacting normally with women. Also, I can’t wait for you to ask me how big my tits are. Or you think that because my game nick is Hellchick and thus female – even if I never speak into the mic once — it’s an automatic plea for male attention. Specifically your attention. Constantly, throughout the whole game. You’re the ones who think that “trying to get attention as a girl gamer” is merely being female at all.
Let me ask you a question: do you also walk up to women on the street or in a mall or at a coffee shop who are wearing dresses and accuse them of crying out for attention to their gender? When you’re at a party enjoying yourself and someone introduces a female friend to you, do you suddenly point at her and say, “your name’s BETH?! Seriously?! It’s like you want men to harass you! It’s your own fault, bitch. Seriously, tits or GTFO.”
I’m going to assume you’re not a drooling idiot, so the answer is probably no.
Get it in your head once and for all: gaming is no more or less a social and public meet-up than any other situation in life, and the only reason you’d treat it differently is because you either have a problem with women or you can’t handle the responsibilities of basic social interaction that most of us learned by the time we graduated high school.
Being identifiable as my gender should in no way be conflated with trying to get attention for that gender. There’s no such thing as “acting like a Guy Gamer” because that’s a ridiculously stupid concept. Just as ridiculously stupid as there being some kind of template called “acting like a Girl Gamer.”
When I’m playing, I’m using my game nick of Hellchick because I like it, and it’s part of my identity as a gamer, and screw your idiot ideas about what you think it means. It’s no more a cry of “hey guys, I’m a GIRL!” than the fact that I’m named Caryn in my day to day life or might wear a dress on occasion. And when I’m talking into the mic and telling you that I just secured the headquarters it isn’t asking for harassment; it’s because I want some help from my damn teammates in keeping it defended and you’re off acting like a 10-year-old mouthy Rambo instead of helping your team win. And if you can’t handle that it’s not my problem, it’s yours. It’s not my responsibility to wear some kind of online burka because you lack the maturity to handle the mere presence of a woman in your game – it’s your responsibility to suck it up and be an actual man, one who treats everyone with respect, including women, and not some little mouthy kid with the least original slurs I’ve ever heard.
I’ve been gaming a long time, probably since you were still crapping your diapers, and if you think I’m going to help you work out your mother issues, or your issues with that girl who dumped you when you were nineteen even though you were totally in love with her and now you’ll never love another girl again, or help you get past whatever other social issues you have in dealing with other people, forget it. I’m too busy playing. So either help me defend headquarters or GTFO.
Posted: February 4th, 2011 | Author: Hellchick | Filed under: Knitting, Making Stuff Series, Spinning | 4 Comments »
It’s Friday! Again! And what does Friday mean? It means more awesome and incredible and inspiring Fiber Arts Friday posts collected at WonderWhyGal’s blog. I love the smell of fiber in the morning. It smells like…well, at our house it usually smells like wet alpaca, which may not be a pleasant smell to most people. But it smells like awesome to me.
Before I get into what fibery projects I worked on this week, I have to tell you about the awesome day at WSU’s Country Living Expo and Cattleman’s Winter School that Matt and I had. (I like using the full name with the inclusion of Cattleman’s Winter School because it sounds like I’m both a roughneck cattle driver and I went to something like Hogwart’s.) This was the first time we’d been to the Expo; we’d tried going last year but somehow something got in the way and we never made it. We’re really glad we did this year, we learned so much.
If you live within driving distance of Skagit, Washington and you’re into anything involving livestock or self-sufficiency with food and farming or even just simple things like learning how to improve your garden, I really recommend going to the event. We got our butts out of bed before the crack of dawn and hauled ourselves up to Skagit, getting there just in time to push through the crowds at the local high school where the event takes place and get our registration packets, name tags, and an awesome reusable bag with a notebook in it for the classes. Matt took a two-hour class on maintaining fruit trees while I took my first hour-long class in canning tomatoes and salsa. Wow, so useful! I’d done some canning before but it was mostly limited to some beets and some jams, and I really want to do much more canning. The class was packed with information and I can’t wait to try some simple tomato recipes this year. I’d love to be able to grab my own cans of tomatoes for sauce instead of grocery store cans.
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Posted: January 22nd, 2011 | Author: Hellchick | Filed under: Making Stuff Series, Spinning | 1 Comment »
Once again I didn’t make the Friday deadline for Wonder Why Gal’s Fiber Friday round up, but we’ve been pushing really hard at Uber this week in anticipation of our imminent release of Monday Night Combat for the PC. So I’ve not had much time for making stuff this week, but over the weekend I did manage to get some yarn plied that I needed to get off my bobbins, and I really like it a lot.
Blue Silverton yarn. Approximately 200 yards, 2-ply alpaca/Merino/tencel.
It’s about 60% alpaca from my boy Silverton, 20% Merino wool that I dyed blue, and 20% white undyed Tencel fiber. I finished spinning it up at last weekend’s Starbucks spin-in and tons of people came up to admire the fiber in my hands as I was spinning. It’s a blend I had made myself on my first carder, and I loved how the final blended batts looked. I love the shimmery color of Silverton’s fleece and so far it’s looked so great with every blend I’ve used it in. The final yarn almost reminds me of denim jeans fabric in a way, and it’s very soft. I plan to put the yarn up on the Etsy shop as soon as its washed and dry and ready to go out.
It looks like I’ll have the whole day to myself tomorrow, barring a couple of chores I need to do, and I plan to use it to work on the next design step for my Military Cardi pattern: swatching cables. Fun!