Knitting stuff and going on and on.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

My best to you for a very happy New Year.

Madame Hoar Frost sometimes touches up the things she did the day before.

Puts a few more crystals here and there.

Reminds us that just because the lilac flowers and leaves aren't there, doesn't mean the bush can't be pretty.

Monsieur le Snow has finally decided to pay us a visit.

It's going to be a good visit too since they are predicting 15cm/6" of snow for today.

I hope each of you has a great year in 2007.

Some lasts for you.

The last Saturday Sky of 2006. It's a gray one framed with frosty trees.

It isn't very cold, but you can feel the damp in the air. Odd since the lakes are frozen solid and the snow is dry and powdery too. Skier's dream snow.

My last new knit of the year. My red scarf contribution for the Red Scarf Project. The right side ...

... the wrong side. I like that you can't see the lines where the colour changes in Cartridge Belt Rib stitch. It just becomes another feature of the stitch.

The last Girly picture of 2006. She got this dolly for Christmas and she loves it. It's as big as she is.

My last Meme of 2006.

I got tagged for the 6 weird things meme a while ago and now I am finally ready to participate. If you want to do this, consider yourself tagged.

6 Weird Things About Me.

1. I am happiest when things are neat and organized in my house, but I don't like having people in the house when I am cleaning and organizing. Needless to say, I don't get to organize very often. The cleaning, well, that gets done anyway. It just means I don't like cleaning even more than I already don't like it.

2. I like the idea of a nice bath. I'm just waiting for a nice bathroom to have it in. So showers are the thing until that beautiful bathroom comes my way.

3. I can knit in the dark, but if the lights are on, I have to look at what I am doing or I mess it up.

4. Although I love coffee, I am not big on the stuff I make at home. I make it anyway because I love the smell. I drink it too because it would be a waste not to.

5. Nothing can fog my brain over quite like a math problem, but I do like how equations look. All those signs, symbols and numbers neatly laid out.

6. The smell of a skunk doesn't bother me. It isn't a scent I would seek out, but I don't mind it if I happen across one on the road and the car fills up with the smell.

There you have it. My weirdness in writing.

Last, but far from least...

Ten Things to do in 2007

1. Carry my camera everywhere.

2. Quit wearing men's sweat pants in public. Not even to the mailbox or the grocery store. Giant Sorel's don't disguise what they are.

3. Start a knitting/crafting group.

4. Get outside more often. Unless it is really cold or really wet. Don't feel like it isn't an excuse since I never seem to feel like it.

5. Keep up with the charity knitting.

6. Try harder not to put things off until the last minute. This would ensure that I am on time more often.

7. Quit glaring at things and waiting for them to do themselves. Sitting on the couch knitting and getting annoyed at the laundry and dishes for not doing themselves hasn't worked thus far, it probably won't work in the future either.

8. Try to bake a bit more often.

9. Try to exercise once in a while.

10. Start knitting small gifts now so I have a backup stack of stuff for birthdays and Christmas.

I don't like to make definite life changing resolutions for New Year's since I break them every time. Making them when I am ready to make the changes works better for me. That's how I cut out sweets, started drinking tons of water and quit partying and smoking (five years in February).

2006 for me was the year of the knit and the blog. I am really looking forward to seeing what 2007 brings. For now, I have Girly's birthday party to plan and a house to clean. The dishes still aren't doing themselves. I even left them overnight and no luck.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Walk with me Wednesday two days late.

'Allo Guv'nr Fingerless Gloves


1 Ball - Naturally Aran yarn or other heavy worsted/aran weight yarn.
1 Set of 5 - 5mm DPN’s or needles required for gauge.
Waste yarn
Stitch Marker
Tapestry Needle

Gauge: 6 sts, 7 rows to 1”/2.5cm in 2x2 rib stitch worked in the round

Pattern: Left and Right are identical. Mitts have a lot of stretch so they should fit comfortably on teens and ladies the width will fit up to a men's medium. You may need to lengthen cuff (around 2”/5cm should do it) and palm section (around 1”/2.5cm there) to fit the men, however.

Cast on 40sts.

Divide amongst 4 needles (10 on each), join to work in the round. Be careful not to twist stitches as you join. Place stitch marker after first stitch to mark beginning of round.

Rows 1 - 23 (about 3 ½”/9cm) K2, P2 around.
Row 24 - Needles one and two - K2, P2. Needle 3 - P2, drop working yarn and join in waste yarn. K8. Pick up working yarn and rework stitches on Needle 3 as P2, K8. Return to 2x2 rib on Needle 4.
Row 25 - 38 (another 2 ¼”/5.8cm) K2, P2

Cast off in ribbing.

Using 2 needles, pick up stitches on and above waste yarn (8 on each needle). Divide on 4 needles (4 on each). Needles 1 & 2 (bottom & right side) - P2, K2. Needle 3 (top) - K2, P2, Needle 4 - P2, K2. You’ll have to do some fancy picking up of bar/stitch below, k2tog on the first round to try to close the holes on the sides.

Repeat stitch patterns on needles 1-4 for 8 rounds.

Cast off in ribbing.

Weave in ends and enjoy.

Last night we found that the Optio does have some limitations. Like night shots at a distance with light in it. We tried and tried. Girly thought it was fun and had a blast mugging with the reindeer for the camera. Sigh, I think I may be in for a worry or two when she is older. If we go to a night concert or other such event, we'll be taking the HP. It did pretty good with all that.

This morning I woke up to find Madame Hoar Frost had come for a visit. So out I went to play. Small cameras are very hard to manage with mitts or thick gloves on though. I think I may have to give the Cigar Gloves in Knitty's archives a try. They would be perfect for playing with little cameras.

These trees look sort of like big fluffy teddy bears when they are all covered in frost like this.

Madame Hoar Frost only visits one side of the trees. She covers one side in tiny ice crystals and the other in a light dusting of white powder.

So many tiny ice crystals. Each needle gets it's own finery.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

My impression of the Pentax Optio A10

I love the size and light weight of it. I am having a little difficulty keeping some of the shots clear since I used to use the view finder on the HP 715. I guess having it pressed up against my face and the sheer weight of it helped to steady my shots. The lightness of the Pentax and the lack of a viewfinder isn't making it easy to keep it steady. The anti-shake feature helps a great deal, but you lose a bit of quality. Not as much as if the entire picture was blurry though. Take what you can get.

The mode feature is clear and easy to use. It has very simple names for some of the shot options. Like flower instead of macro. Surf and Snow instead of bright light and candlelight instead of low light.

This is flower mode. I wanted to see if it could handle dark colours too since I have seen some dark colour macro shots that are a touch blurred. It passed the dark colour grade. Suzanne, that's with the camera held about 5-6" above the mitt. Click on the picture to see how well it did.

It passed the clarity test. Again on flower mode. Apollo's fur is very clear even where it is on the edge of the lens. I am about 10-15" above his shoulder with his head down just a little.

This is the surf and snow feature and I am about 6 feet from the spot I focused on and zoomed in about 3/4 of the way. If you click on the picture you can see some of the individual flakes and a hint of their shape.

This is the candlelight feature. I turned off the lights and it is twilight outside. Pretty good shot since the flash is about 20" from the candle. Note that the glitter on the edges of the candle didn't blur at all.

This shot though, this confirmed that the Optio A10 was an excellent choice for me. This is the flower mode again and the lens cap for the old camera is just over 2" from the lens of the new one. The ball of yarn is exactly 5" away. Holy clarity, Batman!

The only issue I have is distance in candlelight mode. I had to get the Mr. to hold still so I could get this shot as clear as it is. He isn't big on this picture. He says he looks "real bright". Isn't he hot doing dishes like that? You've got to love a secure man.

I think the best thing about this camera though is the price. The camera, extra memory and fabric carrying case was under $500.00CAD after a 14% tax was added. That makes it very affordable for the features and the ease of use.

If I manage to get out today for a walk, I'll have some more pictures with the surf and snow feature. I don't know how well that is going to work out though, I have the little Mr. all day and my sister and kids are still in town so it's been pretty busy around here. If not today, I'll post some outdoor shots tomorrow.

Knitting tomorrow. I hope to have those fingerless mitts featured above finished. I had to merge two patterns to get what I wanted and I am pretty happy with how they turned out.

I am very merry.

We didn't have much snow, but we were fortunate to have what we did since most of Canada had a green Christmas. For many the first on record.

This is what I have been using to take pictures. The ball of yarn included for scale.

It's an HP 715. It was the top of the line four years ago at 3.3MP. I think it weighs about 2lbs. It has been a good camera and has taken some good pictures. We will be keeping it and use it for backup since there is nothing wrong with it other than it's size and weight.

This is a Pentax Optio A10. Small, compact, full of features and 8MP. Note the difference in lighting and colour between the two sets of pictures. The top set is more true to real life.

Super light and easy to take anywhere. Now I just have to go somewhere so I can use it.

I have found that lowlight pictures are difficult to take if you are across the room. But regular pictures are pretty easy. I have to play around a little more, but it's pretty easy to use so it shouldn't take too long to get better at it.

The Mr. was very generous and Girly and I were spoiled rotten this year. Fortunately we managed to get him some pretty good gifts to so he is very merry too.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas was good.

There was a happy puppy with a rawhide bone filled with marrow to lick and chew. Along with a sleeve of tennis balls.

Happy kitty who got to snug up under the tree with some mice and a stuffed ball.

Another happy kitty who took hers and hoarded them in her favourite spot.

A happy and very tired Girly who did very well for a too busy to nap day.

An exhausted Mommy who is still fighting the dreaded Strep Throat. Thank God for antibiotics and ibuprofen.

There was a happy Daddy who says he didn't like the pictures that have him facing the camera and by himself and didn't want them posted. The ones he did like, weren't very good. You'll find out why tomorrow.

The day ended with a final blaze of glory.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

From our house to yours.

Happy Holidays and all that jazz too.

God Bless and I hope your day is beautiful.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Knitting? Who me?

My sister's ex phoned yesterday to tell her that he may be dropping off the other four children the day before Christmas. Now, I am delusional on my good days but, even I know that there is no way I can get knit gifts for another four children done in time. This means that I cannot give the little ones the gifts I have managed to knit. That hurts. The Mr. is off to go do some more shopping. We were all proud of ourselves for finishing early. Sigh.

Look what I got from a crafter in Vermillion Bay for the women in the shelter. I told her I only had so much to spend and she filled a bag for the kids. All those soaps have little toys inside them too. Bouncy balls, frogs, and hedgehogs. Very cute. Flavoured lipglosses for the girls. I want to open them all and smell them. I am so happy and thankful since this is worth more than I had. She is so sweet.

Just a note, if you happen to run into a cranky shopper, just remember that there are things going on in their life that you and I don't know about. They may have Mothers rolling around on the floor howling while they have their heads stuck in a bag handle.

Finally, tis the season for us all to put aside our differences and do our best to get along. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from our house to yours.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Scarves 'r' Us

I'm thinking that I may not knit another long skinny rectangle after I finish the pink one and my Red Scarf 2007 contribution.

This was one of those "We break into your regularly scheduled broadcast..." things. Where did the time go? It was the last day for the littlest child I look after. He and his parents are moving to southern Ontario and I couldn't just drop this off Christmas Eve. So I was frantically ignoring children and housework to try and get this done on time. I had finished weaving in the ends and was on the hunt for tape and wrapping paper when his Mother called to say she was on her way. Whew! Five yarns held together make for a nice warm thick scarf. Those are 2 Regia Sock yarn, Pure New sock yarn, 2 Ovation lace weight. I used 10mm(US15) needles, cast on 12 sts and worked a 1x1 rib. Since he is just 15 months, he didn't need it to be long or wide so I was able to finish on time and still feed myself and the children. I even managed to change a diaper or five.

The sunset. At 3:30 in the afternoon. It isn't even the longest night of the year yet. Mind there are only two days left of decreasing daylight, but 3:30 in the afternoon is still pretty crazy.

Soon though the days will begin to get longer and it has been a pretty mild winter for which we are most thankful.

It is always fun to introduce an obsession broaden your children's horizons.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Soon it will be Christmas Eve.

I was listening to the Christmas Country channel on Sirius (Love Sirius, it saved us from hits of the 80's and the time repeated every four minutes.) and Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer came on. Something occurred to me, if we know Dasher and Dancer, Prancer and Vixen, how come we may not know the most famous reindeer of all? If he was the most famous wouldn't we have forgotten all the other reindeer but, still remember Rudolph? Why did that take 33 years to sink into my pea-brain?

Anyway, reason number 438 not to bother wasting battery power on a flash outdoors. Even at sunset, at 4:30 in the afternoon.

No Flash...


A grape candy scarf and a carnation pink one. I'm nearly done with the purple now, then on to another bright pink one for Girly since that's the colour she liked best.

Now, I must go and get my throat swabbed, I think I have tonsillitis just in time for Christmas. Yay. You're jealous aren't you.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

One down, three to go.

The Peppermint Girly Scarf is done. Thanks for the idea for the name, Rhonda.

- About 1/4 ball of sock yarn (I used Pure New Australian Wool)
- About 1/4 ball of lace weight yarn in contrasting colour wound into two balls. (I used 2 balls Ovation Mohair/Silk it has 170m/186yds and it didn't make much of a dent in them.)
- 6mm (US 10) knitting needles [If you want to match my gauge, you might want to try 5mm (US 8)'s.]
- 1 1/2 cm (5/8") buttons or wood beads (2 for child, 3 for adult)
Tapestry needle


Gauge is not imperative, but you want it to be a little loose without being too open I had 5 sts and 6 rows to 1" in the pattern stitch.

Hold yarns together throughout.

Cast on 20 sts

Row 1 - K1 *Yo, K2tog* repeat *to* to last st, K1
Row 2 - K1 *Yo, K2tog* repeat *to* to last st, K1
Rows 3-8 - K1, Stockinette St to last st, K1 (The K1 at each end helps with the curling a little)

Repeat rows 1 - 8 to desired length. For a child, I had 9 repeats and I would add another 2 or 3 for an adult.

End with 2 rows of K1, *Yo, K2tog* repeat *to* to last st, K1

Bind off. (I used the sewn bind off to match the long tail cast on)
Weave in ends.

Sew buttons on. Two fairly close to the middle for a child or three equally placed for an adult. I cut two lengths of the yarns and threaded them through a wood bead then tied them together. I placed them where I wanted them, knot side down and pulled the ends through on either side of a K2tog st, then I tied them again and wove in my ends to anchor.

Wash and block gently.

Voila! A very fast knit that uses up those odd bits of sock yarns and lace yarns you had left over.

Edited to Add: Notes:

If you want to change this into a reversible scarf, simply do one less or one more row in the Stockinette rows.

It is made to fit around the neck and button on. It can be hard to keep a scarf on a little one so this should fit the bill. Sorry about the very bad picture. Apollo whuffed at the optimal moment.

Another one started. This one is quite a bit paler. I have to make two more after this one is done.

There has been a little elf wandering around our reindeer. Apparently they need to be petted before leaving and after coming home.