Archive for January, 2009
I can’t believe a whole week has come and gone and it is back to Finish or Frog Friday! It is crazy, isn’t it?
This week’s project is a scarf I started in September of 2006. (I know that because the sales receipt was in the bag with the yarn.) When I worked at a LYS, there was this brand of yarn that we had SO MUCH OF, but people rarely bought. I felt sorry for it the way I used to feel worry for yellow crayons. (Yes, I used to go out of my way to use yellow so it wouldn’t feel neglected–little did I know that someday, I would have a child whose favorite color is yellow (Agent J)). So the poor sorrowful yarn was Gedifra Techno Hair Oro in pink and silver. I bought black and pink Gedifra Fashion Trend to combine with it to make a striped scarf. (I was trying to mimic a scarf I saw at Limited Too.)
I was pretty sure that this was going to be a Frog week, but I consulted with Snickerdoodle for a second opinion:
Hummm… decisions, decisions…
OK! Let’s frog this baby!
Yes, I’m a beautiful cat and I know it.
Time for a little yarn snuggle.
A little frogging frenzy is good for a kitten.
Yarn! Glorious Yarn!
What? It’s over already?
Update on Frog it or Finish it Friday Episode 2:
Felted Bag for Agent J is finished and Felted! Woot!
Also – my new washer felts just fine. Yay! I used an assortment of cycles so I’m not sure the quickest route to success, but next felting project I will swatch and test different options. So if you are thinking of getting an LG front loading steam washer, you can be rest assured, that it does felt. (What it doesn’t do is a solo spin cycle which really sucks. It does rinse and spin, but not just spin…). First I threw the bag in for a speed wash with a load of misc things on hot. Next, I put it through a rinse and spin by itself. There was a little shrinkage at this point but no real felting. My washer does have a sanitary cycle that uses very hot water, but it takes literally hours for it to run so I didn’t really want to try that one. Then I had an idea. The steam cycle is only 20 minutes and it gets very hot. I ran it through 3 times and it turned out great! There is still some stitch definition, but it turned out to be a good size.
Post-felting: the i-cord felted exceptionally well.
I can’t get J to pose with her bag at the moment (she is up to something involving Sharpies) but here she is with the prefelted bag on Tuesday:
Have a great weekend if I don’t get a chance to post again, and please remember to stay tuned for next Friday when I once again either frog something or finish something.
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Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about Frog it or Finish it Friday. This week’s project is a finisher, so I’ve just been working on trying to finish it. This is a project that I started quite a while ago. I would say it was probably in the summer of 2006 because Hoops and Yoyo are in my original picture:
The yarn is Steadfast Wonderful Wool ($3.74/oz.) and Knitpicks Palette ($1.13/oz.). I was trying to design my own felted purse for Agent J. I had some notes so I was able to pick up where I left off which was here:
One side is complete and the other side about half way. So far I have finished the second side and seamed them together. This is not, however, the original plan. I was going to knit a long strap to connect the two pieces together and my notes say something about using short rows, but you know what? I just don’t remember what my intentions were so I’m making up a new version. Tonight, I think I’m going to knit an applied I-cord along the top and then decide what I shall do for straps. Really, the main reason this project is a finish and not a frog is because Agent J insists that I must finish it for her. And it is not like I have really ever forgotten about this project because I’m sure she has been reminding me at least once a month for the last couple of years. When I first started talking about Frog it or Finish it Fridays, she jumped at the idea and lobbied for her project to be at the beginning.
The above photo show a close up of the beads that are randomly inserted throughout the fabric. I’m not sure what they are going to do during the felting process, but I think I’ll be able to get them to all poke through to the correct side in the finished product. Of couse, the whole felting process is another matter as I did make felted swatches when designing this, but they were felted in my old washer and not my new one. As a mater of fact, I haven’t even felted anything since getting my new washer. I guess I have plenty of yarn to do another swatch, but wouldn’t it be more fun to just run it through and see what happens?
Thanks to everyone for all the camera advice/opinions/support. I haven’t been back out to look at them yet. I hope that maybe they will have some left at Circuit City that I can go see this week before they close. I went to Ritz Camera last week to look and the salesman was extremely helpful and I just can’t go back when I know I don’t intend to actually make the purchase there, but I think it would be ok to go and look at Circuit City as they are going out of business anyway. I have been very busy with asking around to find out what kinds of people I know–Canon or Nikon. Canon seems to inspire more passion and loyalty among its supporters. At least so far, we shall see…
Next Week’s Frog or Finish Project:
Stayed tuned for next Friday (ish) when I will show you the results of Agent J’s Felted Bag and I will attempt to retrieve a project from the depths of a box filled mostly with random balls of yarn (if I can find that box, that is.)
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I am looking for a new camera. My current camera (PowerShot SD800 IS) is just fine, but I find myself looking for “that better shot” and I’m ready to learn something new. Dave (IHA) and I have been researching now for about a week (after saving money for a couple of months), and yesterday we went out to see cameras live. I have whittled down my choices to 2 models; one being a Canon (Rebel XSi) and one being a Nikon (D90). Overall, I think I find that the Canon has more of the features that I want and it is smaller and lighter which is good for me. The Nikon is heavier but it feels sturdier — perhaps constructed with higher quality material or at least it gives off the essence of higher quality.
Apparently, to know which one I should get, I have to figure out what kind of person I am. Here is a quote from the Yarnographer’s Ravelry forum: “It is my experience that there are generally two types of people: Canon people and Nikon people. I have a number of professional photographers as friends, and all of us shoot with one or the other. Some started out on one and switched to the other because one was simply more intuitive to use, or produced better results according to the style of that photographer. I’ve seen switches going both ways, with the end results from both brands being equal in quality.” (by ShoelessWonder – that is her flickr link since those photos are gorgeous!)
I don’t know which one I am. I know that I’m a PC person and not a Mac person. I know that I’m an NCIS person and not a American Idol person. I know that I’m an Elizabeth Berg person and not a Janet Evanovich person. I know that I’m a Malibrigo person and not a Noro person. But I don’t know if I’m a Canon person or a Nikon person. I wonder if there is a blood test — perhaps there is a camera blood group system and I can find out if I’m Canon positive or Nikon positive. With my luck I would probably be CanonNikon and have one allele of both.
I do have Canon cameras, but they were both gifts so I don’t know if I would have chosen them on my own or not. I do know that I like the Canon software and I’m familiar with their menus (which would decrease the learning curve time), but what if my true calling is Nikon and I would never know it.
I keep asking for advice from everyone I know and I’ve received quite a bit of good info. Dave’s assistant’s (who is an avid photographer and Canon person) advice for the day was to not worry so much about the body, but to put the $$$ into the glass. Ahhh… more research!
ShoelessWonder (also a Canon person) ended that same Ravelry forum post with this quote: “The point is that with all of the different models offered by the two companies, there really isn’t a professional who can’t find a Canon or a Nikon to be perfectly at home with. The question of brand ends up being determined by how you think and move and shoot, and not so much by quality or skill level.”
Apendix (because blogs can have these too)
Table 1.) Research sources I’ve viewed so far:
The reviews here are extensive – each review has its own discussion even.
You can see that they are both cameras with increasing popularity.
XSi, D90, and direct comparison (partway down the page)
This site is great. Not only do they have in depth product reviews but they have photo comparisons for each model and video tours (I would recommend that anyone goes there just to watch the video tour for their current camera.)
Consumer Reports Magazine
In the Basic dSLR camera rating comparison, the Canon EOS Rebel XSi is a Recommended model, number 2 to the Pentax K200D. The Nikon D80 is number 3 and the D90 is not rated.
Numerous other books and Magazines
Table 2.) What I’m looking for in a new camera:
1.) Better photos for my Etsy shop. I want to be able to take good photos of all colors including purples, blues, and greens.
2.) Better photos of my children. My current camera takes so long to shoot that I always miss the photo that was meant to be. Remember, I have 3 girls who will all be teens before we know it and the smiles can be fleeting.
3.) Better sports photos. Not possible with my current camera. This job will probably mostly fall to Dave so he has to like the camera too.
4.) Better indoor photos. I don’t even bother bringing my camera to band concerts or graduations anymore.
5.) Better macro photos. I love taking close up nature photos shots.
6.) I do not want to get frustrated. I realize that I am going to have to do a lot of reading and practicing with my new camera and I may even want to take a class, but I don’t want to end up giving up and never taking the camera out of the bag.
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On November 14, 2008, I started working on the Cobblestone Pullover as a Christmas present for IHA. Realizing that there was no way I could make this and not knit in front of him, I tried to stay low key and I was actually able to knit for quite a few days before he asked me what I was making. “Um….um… a blanket! Yes! I’m making a blanket!” I said. And he asked no further questions. I knit and knit and knit and knit some more, but it wasn’t until I was up to splitting for the sleeves that I realized something may be amiss. I had stealthy measured IHA one day without his knowledge and somehow came up with the chest measurement of 46 inches. The closest size to that was 47.5 and I thought that just would not be enough ease so I decided to jump one more size to 51.5 inches. At this point you set aside the body and start the sleeves. As I cast on, I thought, “wow, this sleeve is huge!” and I put the project away. I did wrap the sweater, needles and all, for Christmas so I could work out the kinks before continuing on. Which brings us to today, Finish it or Frog it Friday. I felt it was best to confer with IHA before making the decision so I waited until he was home from work to bring it out. (I bet you can tell where this is leading, right?)
Clue 1: Comparison with existing well-fitting sweater
Clue 2: A sleeve that looks like a bangle bracelet
Clue 3: Is this a sweater or a kilt?
Clue 4: Seriously?
Did I mention that the actual circumference of this sweater before ripping was 56 inches? I guess my gauge was off and 10 inches of ease is just a bit of overkill. I told IHA that I could continue knitting it and it could be an around-the-house sweater but he said that I would never want him to wear it because I wouldn’t be able to bear looking at him. I also think that me and this yarn are just not meant to be as this was a pre-frogged sweater having started its first life as the Cambridge Jacket. Will the third time be the charm or will this yarn remain forever frogged?
Stay tuned for next week’s Finish it or Frog it when I review Agent J’s pink, green, and beaded felted purse…
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There are days when the weather is so bad and it is so gloomy that you think you just can’t take it for another moment, then there are days like today. Every branch of every tree in my yard is covered in ice. The sky is blue and the sun is reflecting a million glittering prism rainbows in through my window. Even a glistening vampire is no contest to the beauty of the winter wonderland out my window. I’ve tried all the settings on my camera and I still can’t capture the dazzle of it all.
The close-ups come out better – trying to capture the full glistening just disappoints.
It is way prettier than this. I don’t know if it is that my camera lacks or if it is just not possible to photograph glistening. I’m almost ready to buy my new dSLR, maybe I’ll find out then. (I’m also taking camera recommendations if anyone has any…) I’m pretty sure that once I get one, a class will also be in order.
The birches are bowing. So far we have not lost any trees; we’ve just had some bendies which may or may not recover.
I just went out to try again and I think what my main problem is that my camera can only show just a small subdued part of all the glitter and sparkle around me.
So my kitten kitten, Mr. Snickerdoodles, is obsessed with my homemade lightbox. Perhaps it it the rustle of the tracing paper combined with the intriguing shadows from inside, but I do think I’m going to need a new one soon…
Yes, he sliced that hole and the proceeded to try to stick his body through it! He is a funny one, that Mr. Snickerdoodles.
And lest you think I have forgotten, I do know that today is Frog it or Finish it Friday. I’m off to take the photos now!
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As IHA and I were both nursing colds and achey backs today, we also had to entertain 3 children home on a snow day. Apparently, the dreariness of our weather (as it was an “ice” day rather than a true go-out-and-make-snowman snow day) has forced us to find other ways to keep warm and cheery. Here you can see us “cooking” up our own tropical island:
Can you see all the little sculpey trees we were making last night for Dr. Franklin’s Island? They needed to bake at 275 degrees for 15 minutes.
It didn’t really help all that much as when we looked out the window we still saw this:
What else to get through a dreary snow day? An American Girl tea party of course!
Felicity and her lamb await their tea and crumpets (in this case the crumpets were actually bananas and kiwi). Below, you can see Agent B and Kit posing while J sets the table.
We also watched Mama Mia today. It was a great movie for a dreary day; happy and uplifting and it takes place somewhere tropical even. I hadn’t realized this movie was a romance. I had just thought it was about a girl trying to get a dancing part in a Broadway play. That was way off-base! I think the girls liked it too though at one point K said “I wish they would just stop the singing so we can find out what happens.”
Last night, I cast on for my 2-at-time Socks using my hand-dyed flat sock blank from Knitpicks. It is quite miraculous the way this all works and I’m sort of following the pattern blindly in hopes that it will soon click and just all of a sudden make sense to me. I was knitting during the movie in some pretty dim lighting, so I think I may have a couple of mistakes that may need to be fixed before I proceed. I’m using the pattern called Twilight on page 80, but I only cast-on 60 stitches instead of the 64 called for in the pattern. I’m probably going to regret this, but I just thought that 64 would be too big.
Sorry for the poor quality photo – very low lighting here today. The colors are much nicer in real life, I promise. I didn’t do any precast-on research on these socks. Usually before I start a project, I scour the internet and Ravelry looking for any helpful information. This time, I decided to just go for it and I can always google later if I need to.
What is up for the rest of tonight? More homework help — J needs to paint some water for her island and her written part still needs some proofreading… Also, I will have to go into each girl’s room tonight and make sure there are no spoons under their pillows. I really need them to go to school tomorrow! Cross your fingers!
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Because I have a thing for Etsy and buying handmade, my husband (IHA) let each of the girls choose a handmade gift for me for Christmas. I don’t know their exact process of figuring out what to order, but they each did a fabulous job and I have 3 nice gifts to show off to you on my blog today.
Wares: Clay knitting accessories
What K chose: Sushi Bar Stitch Markers
My thoughts: They are really cute, but I kinda want to eat them. There is even a little dollop of wasabi.
Store: Mud Hutt
Wares: Personalized ceramic keepsakes very similar to the ones that I used to get at Handgrown Pottery before it closed.
What J chose: Peace on Earth
My thoughts: I love the blue! Could there be a prettier shade? (Just as a little side story – a few days latter, J was planning out our family secret valentine swap and she was asking everyone what the one thing was that they wanted for Christmas that they didn’t get. When J asked me, I absentmindedly said “Peace on Earth!” and she said “But you did get that, don’t you remember? I gave it to you.” “Oh yeah, I do remember!” And I’m not going to forget it now.)
Store: Dancing-Girl Art
Wares: Original Art, Prints, Handmade Books and Cards
What B chose: A handmade book
My thoughts: Very well made and neat little book. I think I might use it for some knitting or dyeing notes. This one arrived a little late but I think that was because they didn’t notice that she is located in the UK.
Anyone else receive any nice Etsy or otherwise handmade gifts out there? I’m always looking for some new shops to add to my favorites. And has anyone noticed that I’m 5 for 6 in my days of blogging in January so far and I haven’t even gotten to the knitting yet? That is going to have to wait for another day though, as right now, I have some little sculpey trees to make for Agent J’s Dr. Franklin’s Island project. Islands have a lot of trees. Helping to make these trees makes me think we should take a sculpey class or something. I bet Scarymerry makes her things much better and much faster – there has to be some tricks!
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This is my completely wonderful and beautiful Christmas present from my completely wonderful and beautiful sister! It is my very first Golding Spindle! Gracing its elegant curves and shaft is last year’s present, Buffalo Gold Roving.
This little guy is fast! He is a 2 inch purpleheart Le Fleur with a walnut shaft weighing in at 0.8 ounces. He is a perfect match for these soft but short buffalo fibers as they do need a bit of twist to stay together. My sister has a very hard time waiting to give gifts. I don’t know if she would admit to this or not, but she does. For example, I knew that she bought me my present at Rhinebeck and I think every time I spoke to her between the end of October and Christmas and the subject of fiber came up, she mentioned how excited she was about the present she bought me and how special it was (and that is was not fiber). I think she was excited. You know, I probably could have figured it out, but for some reason an actual Golding Spindle just never crossed my mind. My guess would have been some sort of fiber prep tool — possibly something that I had never heard of before. She is tricky, that LFG ,but she can be assured that I love Purpleheart and he loves me!
My current plan for this Buffalo Gold fiber is to spin the singles on Purpleheart, repackage them onto bobbins and ply on my wheel. What it will be will depend on my yardage — but I’m thinking some sort of wristlets. It is very soft; I knit a little sample swatch and it makes a great little stockinette fabric. On the other hand, though — what about a lacey scarf? I know, LFG can help me decide! (right, right? hint, hint…)
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Here is a project that doesn’t really count under the Finish or Frog category because it is essentially done.
It is the “Noro Scarf” (or at least my version* there of) recommend by Tr3n1ty when I was pondering about what to do with my random ball of yarn. It is different than the typical Noro Scarf in that I don’t have color stripes running in both directions to make it look so wicked cool as all those others, but I think the pattern shows off the color changes in the handspun quite nicely. The cream Lamb’s Pride Worsted was just a left over ball and the scarf abruptly ended at 41 inches when the ball ran out. It is a cute scarf that will pair nicely with a turtle neck sweater. Of course, when I was at the new LYS the other day I bought a new skein of Cream Lamb’s Pride worsted as it is a knitting staple — sort of like Hermifix to a scrapbooker.
So, am I done or not done? Being done still leaves me with my random ball of yarn and then I’m back to the drawing board again…
* Besides subbing out the yarn, I’m knitting it on 24 stitches on size 7 needles and slipping the first stitich of each row. There was a very nice lady knitting this at the last Nutmeg Spinners meeting and she gave me some tips which included casting on an even number of stitches, making sure not to pull too tightly when changing colors, and carrying up the colors by holding the new color in front of the old. I probably could have improved on my looseness as my scarf does have a slight curve to it, but I don’t think anyone will ever notice when it is being worn.
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I just bumped into an intersting looking KAL via Mostly Self Taught Knitter. It is called Finish it or Frog it. On Fridays, you evaluate your WIPS, choose one, and then decide if it is ever going to become a FO. If it is, then Finish it! If it isn’t, then Frog it! The KAL is sponsored by Major Knitter. It has a Ravelry group and some cool buttons.
This is the general button to use on participating Fridays:
Here is the Finishing Friday button:
And obviously, the Frogging button. I hope I get to use that one – Frogging can be so therapeutic sometimes:
You know, I don’t even know how many WIPS I really have right now. I think part of the fun will be digging them out. I know that I have some things that are not even on Ravelry yet. I also think I may expand this into sewing and scrapbooking too. I don’t even want to think about all my unfinished Scrapbooking pages. Speaking of which — this Saturday night is for Scrapbooking so I better get packing! Have a great day everyone!
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