Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Confucius was right

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. ~Confucius

I often think of this quote when going about business, sure, I might be busy sock making etc but it really doesn't feel like work most of the time. OK, maybe that's a slight exaggeration, work is work, and time's committed, but when you re lucky enough to work from a home base, and in control of your own direction, mostly things are sweet. Even when things go pear shape, like when the machinery develops a glitch, things aren't too grim, if the stress level builds we just take a break. More often than not, if we take a break and get back to a problem later with fresh eye's/mind, usually it's a simple fix or if not, it's a simple not agonised over decision to get outside help. Enjoying the sock making process and really liking the finished product, makes my work days easy. I also think that the variety in my days makes for a good work experience too. Not being stuck doing the same task all day, every day. Running a small manufacturing business like my husband and I do, means quite simply we have got to do every thing ourselves. From the hands on daily sock making work through to the book work and every thing in between.
The buck stops here, so best I get off the computer and back into it.

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Mongrels by name and nature

Well, we are back up to full speed after being struck down with the flu, our turn has come and now, hopefully, gone.
Typically last Friday afternoon, when we were just winding up our working week, things went pear shaped. Our 8o year old Bentley Komet machines were built to go and go, and strangely when we identify a problem with either of them, a lot of the time they still go fine when we know they ought not. Friday, a problem occurred, that we just couldn't nut out. Being late in the day, we put it in the too hard basket, and will tackle it again today, with fresh eye's. Our Mongrel sock machines remind me of old Holden cars and Harley's, they can chug along with all sorts of major mechanical defects, held together with wire, and cope beautifully with other improvised fixes but will give up the ghost over something relatively minor, like a loose screw. Today I'll have to check out the 50 odd sliders for any slight variations, this is incredibly tedious, especially as I'll be looking for a difference of only 1mm, but it has to be done. We have learnt over the years that it is far better to spend a bit of time on the less obvious, checking, checking, than get in and up to our elbows in grease, causing more problems than we fix. It's has probably been a good lesson to learn for not only our Mongrel Sock machines but life in general. As in not getting caught up over problems (real or imagined) with the big picture, we're better off looking after the little things that are all part of the big picture, and let the rest will take care of it's self.

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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Down for the count

Well, winter is upon us.....apart from the fact that the weather has turned in the last few weeks, one sure sign is the dreaded lurgy has descended on the house. We'd be doing alright, then suddenly, bang, the whole family has it. I won't go in to the specifics but none of us are up to much right now. Unfortunately, when you work for yourself, there is no such thing as a "sickie", it really doesn't matter if we feel good or ordinary-if there is work to be done, it gets done, just without the usual enthusiasm. So we are all trying to stay rugged up and warm( all of us have our mongrel socks and arm/leg warmers on), the workshop is freezing, so I have been doing just about anything I can think of to stay out of it. Lucky, we're up to date with our production, and really only have the online order's to deal with. I can do most of the processing in the comfort of our office, with just quick trips out to pick and pack. Thank goodness for the computer, because dealing with customers face to face while battling the flu is unpleasant for all. I'm happy to share the love with our customers but not the flu.

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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Singing socks!

One of the little joys in our Mongrel sock making
day is when we get to change colour, or even better
still when we have the opportunity to create a
new colour for our range. We generally stick to
a core range of 9 colour mixes, but sometimes
when there's a dye lot change, or unavailability
of a certain colour, the old mix just doesn't work.
It's strange how, for example, a slight change in
one colour of our 7 colour mix, changes the look
of the socks entirely. When the colours don't sing
together, we keep adjusting the differant wool
mixes 'til it pleases us. Funny thing is 'though
often our approval of new colour blends will
depend on our mood at the time and a colour mix
we initially reject, will get taken up at a later date.
It just grows on us. It's a joyous thing for me when a
customer zero's in on a particular colour of Mongrel,
and then will take ages checking out all the colours
we have, then go right back to that first colour.
Another one of Murphy's Law's. Oscar Wilde got
it right when he penned the quote below.

Mere colour, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied
with definite form, can speak to the soul in a
thousand different ways".

Oscar Wilde

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