When I make ricotta, I generally have to heat the whey to 180 - 190 degrees or higher before the curds "bloom". I use whey that is at least 24 hours old, from making mozzarella or colby.
Also, how tight is the weave of your cheesecloth? As ricotta is so delicate, you really do need to use muslin with a tight weave.
Butter isn't difficult to make - just put the cream in a jar, no more than 1/2 full and put on a water-tight lid. Shake, shake, shake until it turns. And it works better when the cream is about 62-65 degrees before you start. Rinse it under very cold water, kneading it with your hands if they are cool, with wooden spoons if not. Rinse several times until the water runs clear, then knead as much of the water out as you can. Add a bit of salt and wa-la, wonderful, homemade butter!