Sunday, May 24, 2015

My Triumphant Tale of Spinning Cotton

You know that fall off the horse saying? I think it's pretty lame.

Not the concept and sentiment behind it, but the actual saying. When you fall off the horse get back on? That's so stupid.

First off, the only horses I've ridden were trail horses that follow the leader. They don't buck, they don't really move, and they don't listen to you. Secondly, I feel like when you fail at something, it's more personal than physical hurt. So the entire act of falling is not really accurate.

Basically what I'm trying to say is that persistence is worse than falling off a horse.

Am I boring you? I'm boring myself.

Anyways, I successfully spun cotton.

The trick I discovered was to card the actual cotton into rolags. I think the main problem I was having before is that my cotton wasn't drafted enough. So I stretched my memory and tried to remember how to card fiber.

One of the things I noticed about carding cotton is that it's better to overload the carding brushes. Usually with wool and alpaca you don't want to do that, but I found cotton to be too light if you only use a little bit.

Another thing about cotton? It's super freaking fluffy. There are tufts all over my apartment.

But it's really soothing to be spinning again. I just finished a sock and started another, but there is something about sitting in one spot and using your hands to pull and tease fluffy fibers into yarn that activates my love sensors.

After almost three months of coding, it's nice to have free time to spin again. Don't think I stopped coding, because I would never abandon one of my newfound loves.

I started at my new job last week and I've already learned a ton. I can't wait until I learn everything there is to know about coding.

Alas, time to get back to my wheel.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

New job, New outlook, The truth about spinning.

First off, I have big news. Since this is primarily a knitting blog (I have a feeling that will change shortly and this will become a coding/knitting blog... but I don't want to get ahead of myself), I'll start with the YARN CONTENT. This is how I blocked my most recent shawl.

 I got some lovely blocking mats for Christmas last year and they work splendidly. However, they are not quite large enough for shawls.

So I did a throwback to how I used to block and used cardboard.

Overall I'm pleased with how it came out. The colors mesh well, and I love the lace pattern on the body.
Next up is what I've been spinning.

That was a lovely mohair/wool blend that I sort of experimented with. I basically teased apart mohair locks and then added them to the wool as I was spinning. I was initially trying to do something very specific, but couldn't figure it out and decided just to continue what I was doing and see how it turned out.

That's one of the things I've discovered about spinning. It's not as immediate as knitting but the reward is so much better.

Let me delve into this dear readers. With knitting, you do the same thing over and over and you begin to see patterns in what you're making. You see it grow and can fondle the fabric that you're making while it's being made. Spinning is different. You start out with fibers.

That sounds very romantic right? Fibers. But really all that word means is hair. Sheep hair, alpaca hair, plant hair (that's more of a metaphor? cotton spuds?), dog hair (if you're into that) and etc.

So you sit in one place and literally spin hair together. It's usually not very glamorous and a lot of time it's incredibly frustrating. Because you can be doing everything right and consistently, then all of a sudden THE HAIR BREAKS AND YOUR YARN FLIES OUT OF YOUR HAND AND IT'S THE WORST THING EVER.

This is the point where I get down on myself and tell myself that I'll never be good at it and I should quit and blah blah negative head voice. One of the main things spinning has taught me is that the blah blah negative voice in my head is wrong and stupid.

(I used to be a hardcore perfectionist. I still have bouts of it (and yearnings of wanting to be perfect of course), but therapy made me think of it in a way better light. No one is perfect. Sure you can't fail if you don't try, but you can't succeed. You literally can't do anything. You just sit there and think and have a downward spiral of doom.)

And new and improved Jen doesn't DO the downward spiral of doom. NAI (new and improved) Jen yells a beastly yell of badassery and kicks spinnings' ass.

Because the secret to spinning is that the process sort of sucks. You can see that you're making something pretty, but only a foot at a time. It's only when you stop and take it off the (spool? spindle? I should know this word), that you fully appreciate how incredible what you made actually is. You have many feet of viable exquisite yarn. You can fully see the subtle color change you thought of in your head.

THEN comes the fun part: knitting with it. Finding the perfect stitch to show off how beautiful your spun hair is.

Dreamy sigh.

What is my big news you're asking? I got my dream job. Starting Monday I'll be learning everything under the sun about iOS development and computers and robots and AI. Well, some of those things.

Point is, I'll be able to talk about data modeling and servers and cool exciting computer words!

I know you're as excited as me.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Actual Yarn Content/My Next Adventure


I have a job offer. AND IT'S A LEGIT JOB OFFER.

I could go on a sappy rant about following your dreams and taking chances. But instead I'll bring you back to your regularly scheduled yarn content.

Because after two months of 60+ hour weeks learning objective C. I deserve a yarn day.

Step one: block my Mobile Makers Shawl.

Now some people hate blocking. I love it. I mean you take something you've already poured hours and months into and you make it look spectacular. Shawls (and lace specifically), are super fun to block because they look incredible afterwards.

But that means that I'm now in between yarn projects. Which means...


and because the temperature is now around 80 degrees and I like making life difficult, I'm going to try and spin cotton again.

BUT. I'm going to hand card it with some alpaca or wool (not sure yet) and then design my own shrug pattern.

You know, just your typical "just finished something challenging keep doing challenging things" day.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Delegation take Two

I have to blog this RIGHT NOW because I totally understand Delegation. It only took seven weeks, but it makes a ton of sense. (I wrote this a week ago and am just getting around now to posting/editing it)

Remember how I was saying that there are a billion metaphors about delegation? Supposedly it's because something different will click for each person, but I have a theory that it's because people are terrible at explaining things. But never fear readers! I will set you straight and tell the entire coding community the right way to explain things. (because ya know, I know everything <--- this is is tongue in cheek)

Remember my Popeye and spinach metaphor? That is still apt. But let me tell you why it wasn't complete and then explain the metaphor that made all the other metaphors make sense. In my personal explaining metaphor, Popeye gets 'superpowers' (more methods) that allow him to do all sorts of super cool things. This is essentially what happens, but it's also not what happens. Prepare to think real hard dudes.

There are two really confusing things about delegation.  And a couple things with the Popeye metaphor that were incomplete. Popeye doesn't just get superpowers from the spinach. He opens a connection to spinach world where he gets superpowers. Those powers are still in spinach world, but because of the connection Popeye can access them.

The first confusing thing about delegation is the word itself. Because in delegation there is something called a delegate, and there is something that has a delegate method. Now this second thing doesn't have a name, it just has a method in it. (I'll explain why later)

Now you're going to want to call the one with the delegate method in it the delegate, right? WRONG! The thing you have to keep in mind with delegation is that it is essentially a connection between two things.  The one that is the delegate is the one that gets the response/info. I bet that last thing I said made no sense (because it doesn't), so let me go into detail.

Remember when I was talking about segues? I probably mentioned (or should have mentioned) that we have to use segues and delegation because different views and different objects on a view don't talk. Now if you are familiar with iOS, you might say, "BUT JEN, BUTTONS KNOW WHEN THEY ARE PUSHED". which is true. when you touch a button, it sends a message, which means it's probably using delegation (Boom. mind blown).

Some things in iOS already have features built into them that utilize hard to get concepts. So you don't really have to think about why a button sends a message, you just know that you can utilize it to go to a new screen or have something happen.

But if you break it down, the reason you're able to do stuff with buttons is because they send a message. So now you realize that you need to send a message between two things. Like I said before, unfortunately things don't communicate with each other unless you tell them too.

(I also think this is the core part of computers that people don't get. Computers don't know how to do things until you tell them. We've developed tools to make them more person intuitive... but they still are just using numbers to do things. Remember, the computer is a baby and doesn't know anything until you teach it or give it tools/skills/person attributes).

Now I'm off topic. Ok. The delegate and the thing with the delegate method have a relationship. For example, say we have three things, a house with a fancy number pad door, an atm, and a calculator.  All of these things share something in common: a number pad thing. That number pad thing is NOT the delegate. It is the one getting the messages and the numbers and the fun. The house and atm and calculator just need to know what keys are pressed when they're pressed. The number pad has a method that says what key is pressed.

so if the number pad thing isn't the delegate, what is? In this example, the house, atm, and calculator can become the delegate. That's right people! something can have multiple delegates!

In the process of writing this, I've confused myself. So let me set myself straight. The thing with the delegate method in it doesn't have a name because it can be anything. It can be a dog, or a view controller, or a piano. The delegate is what needs to know the info that the dog or view controller or piano know. Because like I said before, nothing in the ios landscape communicates.

(maybe they should see a relationship counselor... har har har).

So recap. I know when my toe gets stepped on. whoever stepped on my toe needs to know when that happens. So when my toe gets stepped on, I punch the person who stepped on it. The person I punch is the delegate. They receive the message that my toe is hurt.

Yea, the language of it is so stupid. I mean when you delegate something, you give the work to someone else. Since there is no noun for delegate, they don't call the person who pawns off the work anything. We should change that.

This is long and a little bit circular.

Here are the points that you should remember.
1. The language of delegation is hard. This is because anything can have a delegate method and anything can be a delegate.
2. Delegation is a connection between these two things. The thing with the delegate method gets a message and then sends it to the delegate. This message can be as simple as BUTTON WAS PRESSED! or as complicated as a complicated thing.
3. Setting the delegate (another confusing word thing with delegation) is essentially just telling the connection what it's between. So you tell the starting point that they are the delegate and the ending point that they are the delegate.

The metaphor that made sense? Delegation is a tunnel. Setting the delegate is just telling different things where the tunnel entrance and exit are. Then they can send things through the tunnel.

I finished my shawl. More knitting content tomorrow!

Friday, May 1, 2015

End is Beginning, People are Forever

There are some things in life that everyone should experience.

Everyone should take an intensive class with a small group of strangers. Twice in my life now I have done this and each time it makes me appreciate humanity more.

The first time was when I went canoeing and writing in the Northwoods of Minnesota with six other women from Northland College. (I actually have an essay about that experience that needs to be edited).

A lot of us don't admit it to ourselves, but we like to be around people that are the same as us. Whether it's socio-economic or cultural or hobby/career wise, that old saying of 'you are who your friends are' is both true and a trope.

Connecting with people you normally wouldn't is one of my favorite things to do. In my opinion, real connections take time and effort to make and maintain them.

Man I sound like a hallmark card.

Point is, Mobile Makers was fantastic.

Even though I did allow myself the luxury of sleeping in til noon (and it felt so good), I've actually been productive today. I made a new resume, emailed some prospective interview leads, and am about to figure out what I want to do with my life (in specific ways, not just general things).

The only thing I'm a little disappointed in, is that I didn't finish my shawl to directly coincide with the ending of Mobile Makers. In my past, I like to mark events and adventures with a specific piece of knitting. I made a sweet cotton vest on my two week epic national park roadtrip. I made a pair of socks for my canoeing adventure. And I was so close to finishing a shawl during mobile makers!

Maybe that's what I'll do today. I'm about halfway done with the shawl edging. THE END IS DOABLE

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The End of Mobile Makers (sad face)

Here I sit, midnight on a Wednesday.

I know I haven't posted lately, but that's because I have been working harder than an ant climbing a mountain (that was my attempt to sound southern since Mobile Makers is like half southern people).

Tomorrow is my last day at Mobile Makers and I am so freaking sad. The past two months have literally been the fastest two months of my life. Mobile Makers was top three best experiences of my life and I will sing it from the mountain tops.

I adore coding. Don't get me wrong, I still love knitting... but with coding there is something so beautiful that literally makes my heart all flittery.

I've always liked science and math. But my one true love has always been language and reading. Coding allows me to combine both! It's a miracle.

I am not as eloquent as usual, but I am fixing bugs as we speak because my very first app will be submitted to the app store tomorrow.

After that, my Mobile Makers experience will have ended (but will always live on in my heart).

I have so much more to write (and specifically, I have a half written post about delegation that needs completion... like in a block (HA HA CODING JOKE)) but it's late and I need to breakpoint my freaking project until it tells me why it doesn't want to work perfectly.

Friday, April 17, 2015

My life is so synched.

I have exciting news!

First things first. Tomorrow and Sunday are YarnCon if you are in Chicago. You should definitely come because it's the greatest place ever.

Second, my life and knitting are completely in sync at the moment. Let me explain. You may have gathered that I am attending Mobile Makers and knitting a lovely shawl. Well with both of these activities, there is a point where the knitting and the coding become tedious. BUT that part is over!

I'm currently at the end of week six and just finished my first week working on my very own app. I also am on the edging of the shawl. This means that I'm deeply in love with both parts of my life right now.

I would wax poetic about the beauty of finishing and how dreams come true and rainbows are the best, but I've got some collection views to finagle.