Monday, February 23, 2009

Working on a Deadline

The first ever of my non-self published designs will be going live in the beginning of March. In preparation for this I've been knitting [and ripping, a reknitting, and writing, ripping, knitting....] on 2 designs that will hopefully be all wrapped up and available on my web site and Ravelry designer page by March 1. At the onset of this month I was hopeful and fairly certain goals would be met. Deadline approaches and now I'm not so sure. There is so much going on! Personally... professionally.... it seems like events are prone to snowballing.

One design is completely done. It's been written up, edited, and blocked. The only thing standing in my way is a trip to buy some ribbon and then my [least] favorite part; taking photos. I have a feeling this one's going to be hard to photograph. Black yarn. That's all I'm sayin'.

Design #2 is the one that has been ripped and knit in different variations. Every try (hopefully) makes the design better and more comprehensive. I was trying to take it in one direction, but when the yarn just doesn't want to go that way it can be pretty dang stubborn. Ya know? So, over this weekend I decided that instead of conflict I would let the design take the lead and I would obediantly follow. It's not quite what I had in mind, but hey, the directions make a lot more sense now. All's well that ends well, they say.
And now.... back to work! :o)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The New Guy

It wasn't love at first sight. I was filled with doubt, but that only lasted mere minutes of what should become a wonderful relationship. ok, maybe it'll be more of a love/hate relationship. That's the way it really tends to be. I am, by the way, referring to my new violin. Mission accomplished yesterday. I got rid of 2 violins in exchange for 1 that I'll actually use. It's kind of odd to think the 2 fiddle that left are really gone. One of the was my first ever "good" instrument. I think somewhere in the back of my head I always assumed I'd keep it just for memories sake, but it turns out that I'm not that sentimental. Actually, I am, to a point and for a time. This first violin, which I always called "Red," was my baby for several years. It was the only violin I'd play on. While "Red" was still my main squeeze I got "Git," a dark guitar shaped fiddle to use as back-up and for cross tuning (lots of fiddle tunes aren't played in standard orchestra G-D-A-E). I never much liked "Git." He was too mellow and I never felt a connection. He mostly stayed home resting just in case I needed something to fall back on.

Eventually "Red" and I started having problems. I was trying to move forward and "Red" was holding me back. I couldn't get into higher hand positions and the tone was no longer appealing to me. With mingled emotions of regret and excitement, I went to visit the violin shop. There I found "Mati." He was not easy to find. I knew I needed something new, but I felt like I was cheating on "Red" who had been nothing but faithful all these years. After long hours of playing every instrument in the shop I finally settled on "Mati." He made me happy with his deep, rich tone and the ease with which I could move my hand on the neck. I took "Mati" home as my main man from that day after. I tried to give some attention to "Red" and even "Git," but they were failed attempts. The two rejected fiddles moved into a double case together and sat collecting dust.

"Mati" traveled all around the US with me and my family. We played Missouri to Maine together stopping at coffee house, smokey bars, theaters, and festivals. "Mati" has definitely seen his share of performance venues and the inside of recording studios. It was this violin that's shared the most with me. Plenty of highs and not too few lows. Nobody but me and one of my most trusted fiddle students ever played "Mati" after he became mine. I guess I'm a little protective. With all the performing I'm doing these days I needed a violin #2 that I could trust, and also something I could plug in for the loud shows. For all that "Mati" is loud he can't cut across a bar full of drunks. I tried putting a pick up on "Red," but it was a lost cause. ("Git" is too oddly shaped for a pick up to clip on.) I still didn't like "Red" and my abandonment had had ill effects on him (the neck really needed to be reset). So once again I needed to make a trip to the violin shop. This time not for a replacement, but for another companion.

I seem to have a thing for Germans. "Red," "Mati," and the New Guy all have that in common. ("Git" is French.) I rejected the first several instruments that were handed to me. They were either to mellow or the necks were too thin for my liking. Finally I setteled on this New Guy. It's from the 1960s, feels good in my hand, balanced from end to end. One side of the top has two long repaired cracks in it. They're 2 dark slashes across a smooth glassy surface and I *love* them. I love it because it's not perfect. I need to change the chin rest to something more centered, but other than that I don't need to adjust anything. I haven't settled on a name yet, but I'll let ya know. ;o)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Fiddles–Two for One

The day has finally come. I've been putting this off for weeks.... months.... ok, probably more like a year, but hey, better late than never, right? Currently I own 3 violins and an assortment of bows. I only use one of each. A non musician would probably say, "obviously." It's only physically possible to play one at a time, but I need at least two violins. With all the performing and traveling I do I need to have a playable violin (and bow) with me as a back up in case of emergencies. The last few gigs we've played this winter I've taken my violin from the case (after being in the house, dragged out into the freezing, sitting a cold then hot car, and then into the performance enviorment) and the strings had unwound. Big pain! This means lots of tuning, which is not fun, and stage lights don't make it any easier. So the bottom line is I have 2 violins I'm not happy with and won't play. I don't even bother taking them with me as back ups because one needs so much work it's basically not playable and the other....I just plain don't like. It sounds yucky.
Today my parents and I are making the trip out to Murphy's Music to pay a visit to Bob, my favorite fiddle dealer. (Seriously, I've never bought an instrument elsewhere.) Hopefully the process of finding a new instrument will be painless. I'm bringing all 3 fiddles with me. Two won't be coming home again. My good violin is coming along to set the standards. Those poor other shop violins will all be compared to Mr. Mati. Yes, that's the violin's name ;0)

In other news....
Dad's Navajo Spindles are doing pretty well. :o) His Etsy shop has definitely branched out, which I think is good. He's listing more, which equals selling more. I want to dye roving to put on his site so it's there when people buy the spindles, but we'll see if that ever happens.It looks kinda like a messy process. Although a good mess never hurt anyone. ;o)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Cloud 9

Yesterday was an awesome, amazing, wonderful, very good day. I had a lunch date, hung out with my knitting buddies at Starbucks, then came home to find some great news. One of the first things I do when I walk in the door is turn on my computer. This way it can boot up while I put coat, scarf, shoes, etc. away. I glanced at the mail icon when it came on and saw an e-mail.... An e-mail in reply to another submission. My very first submission actually. I was petrified to open it. I let it sit there for 45 minutes while I browsed online checking Ravelry, Plurk, and generally putting off the inevitable. Finally I gave in and..... wowza! The design got accepted! The words were, "You're in! I adore this pattern!" I spent the rest of the night floating in my special little world. Heck, I'm still floating around on cloud 9. This whole designing thing is a lot of work, but it sure is gratifying! :o)