Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Secrets are Out

  My friends, I must apologize... I come here tonight to complain and work my thoughts out. If you're not interested in yesterday's drama, then I invite you to look at the pretty pictures of my close-but-still-not-finished project (plus a kitty pic) and move on. It's okay to share my super-secret project in full now, because The Kid caught a sneak peek when I forgot to put it away in an emergency. Allow me to reveal it in a fashion less dramatic and suspenseful than my day went:

crochet, duster, coat, knee-length, Charisma, yarn

  The opening scene - Rip van Winkle had another wonderful 3 a.m. job, so we're exhausted to begin with. Coffee is the drink of the day. I got to spend the morning disinfecting the house (Rip is still fighting that infection) so my dad could drop The Boy off. I got a few stitches worked on my project in between loads of laundry. The plan: Have a nice day with The Boy until Rip gets home, then I'll take him back to Dad's house after dinner.

crochet, duster, coat, knee-length, Charisma, yarn

  Dinner scene - Pizza, delivered. It's been a long day. The pizza had half the toppings melted off into the side of the box. It was also cold. No more stitches got done on the project. Instead, it sat moved into the corner so we could eat our less-than-good dinner. Rip promptly fell asleep at the table, and I got ready to leave with The Boy.

  Transportation scene - Rip woke up and insisted that I can't drive my own car again. I waited for him to get ready. He starts the car, and the first thing I ask is "what's wrong with the car?"... It's running awfully rough. He notices nothing different until he puts it in gear and: SLAM! No. No, no, no, no, no, no NO! Okay, go drive it and see what it does so I can figure this out...

  We made it down the driveway and to the stop sign. The car stalled. Go home. I know this problem. Just go home, because we won't make it to the next town. This is the thing I used to do for a living, my other forte, and the thing I've fixed twice on this car. Check the transmission fluid... Full of metal shavings. 😒

  The call to Dad - He came to get The Boy, and I forgot to put the super-secret project away. When The Kid came in and saw it, she automatically gasped and turned away because she knew it was supposed to be a secret. (Good kid.) But now that secret is out, so I let her get a look at it instead of stashing it away. She thinks it's "absolutely beautiful", and understands that the finished project isn't going to look exactly like what she sees here... So, it can still be a little bit of a secret until it's done.

crochet, duster, coat, knee-length, Charisma, yarn

  A long, angry message to a car company about something that's no secret - Ford, I hate your designs and your "hardened" pump shaft replacement that doesn't make the crappy transmission you put in the Taurus ANY better! The unit is too light-duty for the weight of the car, and that's only part of why this continues to happen every 4-6 years or 100,000 miles. It still moves, so I know the hub on the torque converter isn't stripped out again - Yet. But it would be if I could keep driving it, Ford. It would be. And my transmission would puke out all its fluid, leaving me completely stranded for the THIRD time. I rebuilt that transmission twice. You know the only thing that was wrong with it - twice? The pump shaft. A whole rebuild for your stupid, crappy, too-small-diameter pump shaft that needs a whole PUMP redesign, not just a hardened shaft. And let's not forget that you made it SOOOOOOO easy to get the unit out of the car to begin with... Dropping the frame isn't easy when you're just over 100 lbs. Frankly, Ford, I think the replacement part you insisted would be fine in the recall notice SUCKS. Take that hardened pump shaft and...

  Never mind. I shouldn't threaten that because I want you to keep listening, not chase you away... Ford, I also think it sucks that you blame this problem on ME when I complain. Is it my driving? No. (Well, it would be Rip's driving, not mine...) Is it the age or the mileage on the car? No! It's because I rebuilt the transmission in my own car instead of having it done by a "qualified" mechanic. But, um... Hey, Ford? I'm not a femi-nazi, but I hate the way your "techs" talk to me like I'm an idiot. Just because I have a vagina doesn't mean I wasn't qualified, and it's not illegal for a mechanic to work on her own vehicle in a certified shop, is it? How many times do I need to be asked if I knew what I was doing? My favorite transmission to build is an old one, but a good one even when it's just stock-built. I loved upgrading the 700R4's with full-race shift kits; drill out the valve body and change out the plate; install Koleen steels and Redline clutches. I've changed out pumps, drums, and clutch sets to convert them to three- and two- speed 350's (something a Ford tech once told me couldn't be done); upgraded to truly hardened, race-grade shafts. (My god, it was a beautiful monster when I was done.) They went down the strip in a blaze of glory again and again, standing behind the amazing torque and power of 500+hp. Oh, but wait - They were all in a Chevy but one... That was in a home-built swamp buggy. I've fixed everything I've ever owned on my own, built and rebuilt everything from race cars to minivans, and never had a complaint from a customer or left myself broken down. Ford, the first replacement "hardened" pump shaft I put in this car made it 600 miles before stripping out again. Your design just SUCKS, but you don't want to admit it. If you can't redesign the pump, then try figuring out what causes the feed hole to the shaft to get plugged up. The lack of fluid causes the shaft to overheat, and the small diameter allows the metal to weaken quickly under the high temps.

  Oh, and on a slightly related subject: You kinda did the same sort of thing when you changed from the E4OD's to the 4R100's and put a weaker-duty torque converter behind a heavy-duty diesel. Your customers shouldn't have to upgrade to a $600-$900 converter just because they tow with a heavy-duty truck. It's a heavy-duty truck. It should already hold up to towing.

But hey, I'm just a girl that had to stand on a box to build the bottom-end of those beasts... What do I know? All I do is play with yarn and make pretty things. 😄

crochet, duster, coat, knee-length, Charisma, yarn

  The decision - I no longer have access to a shop, a lift, or all the tools I need to do another rebuild. None of that matters because I'm sending Rip to go trade this hunk of junk in (if it will make it). While he's not here to repeatedly ask if I know what I'm doing, I'll be draining the milkshake out of my sabotaged truck. And yes, I said sabotaged. I've been asking questions, and somebody let slip another secret that proves my suspicion... The person I had trusted to fix my truck did indeed "destroy" it on purpose. But I don't need no stinkin' special tools to fix my Chevy. Now that I know exactly what he did, I know I can fix it. You gotta love big mouths when they're not talking about you. Sometimes my life is like a bad soap opera without the romance.

  I'm tired of not having a vehicle to drive even though I own two vehicles. So, there will be no more stitching this weekend. I'll be spending the next few days in my old elements of grease, dirt and metal. There will be no yarn play until it's done. Wondering over and over, "what are we going to do when we live ten-plus miles from town and now have no vehicle?", I think I lost my mind for awhile today. It's okay, I had some more coffee and I found it again. I'm not helpless, and my hands aren't as bad as they were when I was forced to end my career. I will fix it. And when I can wash the grease from under my nails and get back to stitching, The Kid and I can take a ride in the ol' Chevy to get a celebratory coffee while she wears her awesomely beautiful duster - A knee-length duster with a split tail, just like she wanted.
...After I get good pictures, of course. This pattern will be for-sale only, because I have no choice.

crochet, duster, coat, knee-length, Charisma, yarn

  The other secret that's out - If you're not affected by Google's latest algorithm change, then maybe you're not pulling your hair out trying to figure out what to do now that you have no income. It's the reason I was already on the edge of crazy before the car took it's last shuddering breath. And that's why I needed to spew a ton of nonsense onto this page. Come with me, friends, and imagine the internet of this new algorithm...

  An internet where a computer decides that good information isn't as important as frequency. An internet where content creators are rewarded for uploading more often. Do you know what that means? A lot of thin-content webpages spit out by people that no longer have time to sleep because they have to continuously create more and more to keep their earnings up. I could put up a new picture of a pile of dog poo every day, and Google wouldn't care as long as I keep uploading more. Dog poo is exactly what the internet will be full of if this continues. Subscribers, views, shares... None of it matters as much as pushing out the next thing.

  But no, I won't play along with that. I will write what I want, when I want; and upload as many videos as my patience can tolerate. They will all be things that matter to me. Maybe it's silly, or sad, or an angry rant to a car company... Perhaps it's not all educational or informative. At least I can say that none of it has ever been pushed out for the sake of making money. That's just something I hope happens on the side.

  How you can help - No, I'm not going to beg for donations or ask you to subscribe. Asking for clicks on ads is not allowed, and they wouldn't make me any money now, anyway. But I can ask one thing: And I'm not even talking about just helping me. For the love of all webpages you appreciate and good-content creators, please turn off your ad blocker if you use one. (You can keep it on for the ones you don't like. 😉) Seriously, you can really let the creator know you love them by (maybe) helping them earn another fraction of a penny.

  And as for me - There's just no other solution in sight at this time. I have to spend more time creating for-sale patterns, and stop providing so many for free. I don't mind sharing my designs when the blog helps pay for the yarn that goes into the projects. But when my "job" stops paying anything, I have to find a new way to help support my habit along with my household. I don't understand the reason algorithm changes have to happen any more than I can get why Ford insists on putting half-baked designs in their vehicles. I just know that both leave me broke and they SUCK. 

Happy Crocheting!

PS- Does Google's decision-making computer understand how hard bloggers have to work to make a penny? I mean, c'mon! You think it's all yarn and flowers with a nice hot cup of coffee around here? No! There's dirty kitchens in the background and cats on our feet during photo shoots while the coffee gets cold in the microwave again:

cats, crochet, blogging, photos, kitty pics

It's like, worse than a "real" job. Everybody thinks you can take off all the time you want and we have to clean the bathrooms ourselves. 

(Thanks for listening.)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Decisions, Buttons, and Gender Neutrality

  I'm still working on that super-secret project that I shared a while back (hint: It's the purple one)... It would be done if not for a small mistake on my part. But before we go into that little problem, let's see what just happened to jump into my arms yesterday at the craft store:

crafts, crochet, yarn, buttons, WIP, Simply Soft

  Okay, not the buttons; they were the only reason I was there! With the help of The Kid, we found the right toggle buttons for the project. That's all we needed. Then, we went exploring in the yarn section. (The Kid has never been to out-of-town Joann's, so of course I had to show her where it was.)

  It's not like I need more yarn, but I have to find the right one for the project I asked for your opinions on. I've been undecided for awhile, and your perspectives helped me get closer to my conclusion: It has to be a solid color. But what color? What yarn? Many of you noted that the design has a Celtic knot vibe. This helped me decide that the project should be made in a green, blue, or bluish-green, keeping it close to the tones in the multicolored yarn I used.

  But the thing I've been fighting: It was also suggested to use a lighter weight yarn. I do think that wold be a good idea, but it will also reduce the size of the project... Something I already had worked out and I don't feel like re-working it. So, I made the next-best decision: Keep it worsted-weight, but find a softer, more drape-y yarn. Simply Soft to the rescue!

crafts, crochet, yarn, WIP, Simply Soft, Pagoda

  But here, I ran into another roadblock. The color Pagoda above seems like a great choice; it's a little bit blue and green. Sorry, it mostly wants to look blue in the pictures. (I know it's not my screen settings, because it looks that way on camera.) I'm quite partial to darker tones, so I was leaning towards picking this one at first... But maybe such a bold design deserves a bright color?

crafts, crochet, yarn, WIP, Simply Soft, Cool Green

  So I picked up this Cool Green, too. Again, I'm getting something wrong with lighting or settings, because that "green" is a lot more like teal in my eyes. Think: Bright peacock. It's bright. Really bright. I think Joann's has some sort of trick lighting that makes you like yarn colors more when they're in the store. It looks gross in my lighting.

crafts, crochet, yarn, WIP, Simply Soft, Soft Green

  And just to be safe, we need to a nice, gentle, soft color into this mix of bold and bright potential choices. Please keep in mind: This heavy-metal loving crocheter likes dark colors. I come from the darkness to live in the darkness and become the darkness. My darkness will eat your darkness to become darker. That said: I'm picking the lighter color.

crafts, crochet, buttons, coat, WIP,

  Now, let's get back to the whole reason I made Dad stop by the craft store: Because the Michaels here doesn't have toggle (or any?) buttons. I had ordered some online, but they're not here yet. I'm ready to finish the project and I'm tired of waiting! Surely they'll be here tomorrow now that I've made another purchase.

  Last night was supposed to finish the project, but it ended in a mistake that I hate. I have to rip out the final part that made the buttonhole loops, just because this garment is for a female. Anybody know why that is?

crochet, WIP, buttons, gender

  I almost want to leave it like it is. I would prefer for clothing to be gender-neutral regarding the side that buttons are on. I find it ridiculous that we've held on to such an antiquated tradition for so long. I get it if you're not comfortable with peeing alongside a man in a gender-neutral bathroom. But does it really matter which way your coat fastens?

  There's many theories on why it's this way: From high-class women being dressed by servants to Napolean not taking a joke. Whatever the reason, I think it would be easier if it just didn't matter what side the buttons are on. But, I fear the person(s) that will notice it. Are you wearing a MAN'S coat? The buttons are on the wrong side! I can hear it now...

So, can you hear that frog? Rip it, rip it, rip it.

Happy Crocheting!

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