Monday, June 30, 2008

SF Update!

Well, Eli Stone was a bust this weekend. The pilot episode was scheduled, but they showed something about NASCAR instead. I was disappointed. It's beginning to look like I'll never get to see the pilot. It is scheduled for next Saturday evening. We'll see if it's on.

But there is other science-fiction-on-TV news out there!

Special Unit 2 will be on the SciFi daily rotation schedule tomorrow, and Tru Calling will be on the daytime schedule Wednesday.

As far as evening Science Fiction goes, Supernatural seems to be the highlight of the week, with a rerun on Thursday.

Oh well, some shows will be returning in July, although not much.

My Risata Marionberry socks have metamorphed into a pair of mitts and a beret. I've transcribed Crazy Aunt Purl's beret pattern from bulky to fingering yarn. If it works out well, you'll get photos and a pattern. Not that I really expect anyone to want to knit a beret in fingering weight yarn. I'm the only one dedicated enough to do that.

In the meantime, I finally managed to get all the information I need for the IRS (I think I have it all), and need to spend some time filling out forms and getting them xeroxed (I don't trust them not to lose them) and mailed off.

Have a great week!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Science Fiction Update

This evening, there will be two episodes of Doctor Who on the SciFi Channel, Silence in the Library, and Forest of the Dead. Since I saw Silence in the Library last week, I can tell you that it's the first of a two part horror story. Tune in and find out why people are afraid of the dark!

Once again, I don't have a lot of time to write, so this will be short, and I'll get back to photography soon.

I have finished all the feather and fan socks (at least for the moment), and have started on the Marionberry color Risata yarn from Knit Picks. I am not sure if I like it yet. The stitch pattern I've chosen biases. That's not a problem for the top of the sock, but may be if I carry it down the top of the foot as I plan to do. The gauge also seems to be significantly bigger than stockinet stitch. The pattern looks so nice that I'd like to make a shirt for myself out of it. We'll see. 

I have to go.

Have a great Friday, and a great weekend.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Quick Post!

I tried to put up a post, and something with the technology went horribly wrong.

I finally gave up, restarted, and am back to give it a second go.

I've been continuing my love affair with the Knit Picks needles. They're like knitting with jewelry, and they make knitting a joy to do! I may even get back to working on my Celtic sweater so I can use the Options size 8 needle.

I'm almost at the end of the last (for a while) feather and fan sock, and have a new sock design percolating in my head. It'll either be a marvelous triumph, or a total disaster. We'll see. Triumph photos if they happen.

Ugly Betty and Grey's Anatomy will be rerunning tonight! So will Supernatural. I think ComCast has it's digital TV guide messed up again, because it's showing two episodes of Burn Notice tonight on USA, each with a different episode title, and both with the description of a rerun from last season. One of them might be the premier of the new season, because it's twice as long as the other. And there's an episode of Psych airing in between them.

I had a nice, long post here before technology destroyed it, but I don't have the patience to deal with it all again.

Have a happy Thursday!


I looked it up. The premier for Burn Notice with be on the 10th of July.

The two hour episode airing tonight is the two-part season finale. The first part of the season finale will air later in the evening.

Oh, well!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Close-up Photography

For those of you who are into knitting, here's a photo of some yarn.

One time when I was at Michaels, they had these  neat, lightweight (and with the coupon, cheap) bins. I snapped one up for my living room. 

I have several containers of various shapes and sizes placed strategically around my place to display yarn. There's a Halloween cauldron on top of my bookcase with a selection of yarns to make Christmas stockings. I bought the cauldron to display yarn, but also because it has a nice, rounded shape, so a ball (or knot) or yarn will spin nicely in it while I'm unwinding it to do something with it. Also, it has a handle, so it's easy to grab and put next to (or better yet, in front of) the chair I'm sitting in so it's easy to pick out colors and yarns.

For Christmas stockings, I know the basic stocking pattern, so I just pick out yarn colors and patterns as I go along, and as I get inspired. So having the yarn in front of me helps. I can lean forward and see how the already completed part goes with something in the stack.

Actually, I should get started on knitting Christmas stockings now if I want to have some to sell. Selling some stuff is something I have to do if I plan to have food for the rest of the month (ending on the 16th of July).

Yarn is decorative, in my opinion. Why should my stash be put away where I can't see it? Most flowers (especially roses) have scents that make me feel ill. I'd rather display my yarn than a bouquet of roses.

Well, on to the topic of photography.

I was going to cover a lot before my excursion into displaying yarn distracted me. Now, I think I'll just cover picking a camera.

The most important thing is to read all the technical gobbledegook and find out what the manufacturer says about close up photography with that camera. This will usually be something that says how far (close) the lens will focus to. So, if it says close-up to 1 inch, you can get the lens as close as 1 inch to the thing you're photographing.

If you plan to take photos of rings or other small pieces of jewelry, that may be a good thing. If not, and you just want to take photos of a flower or something, you may only need two inches or even more may be adequate.

Bear in mind that a lens may focus closely enough to record most of what you want to do, and you may want to get an auxiliary lens for real close ups. Also, telephoto capabilities may make up for not being able to get close to something you want to photograph.

For instance, the Canon Powershot S5 will focus down to about 4 inches in macro mode. But with the addition of a lens/filter adapter, you can put a close up lens on it.

I'll add more to this post later.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Care Package!

In spite of everything, I did manage to get one good photo at the Celtic Festival of my sister and daughter. I think that's Holly's Cristmas present camera Lynn's looking at.

Yesterday, the care package from Knit Picks arrived. If I had known what my financial situation this month would be, I never would have sent for it.

I have to say, though, that it really made me happier to get it.

Let me tell you about what I got!

First, there's a size one (2.5 mm), nickel-plated, 40 inch circular needle. You can see it in the photo with a partially-knit sock on it. I have one of these in a 47 inch length from Addi (one of their lace needles). I loved the Addi lace needles because I liked their points, which were copied from the old Baleen needles. They make regular needles feel big and clumsy to knit with. Until I tried the needles from Knit Picks. They make the Addi lace needles seem big and clumsy. I can do the K2 togs, and the SSKs so much more easily and quickly on the new needles! Knit Picks recommends a 32 inch circular needle for socks because their needles are so flexible. I think that 32 inches would be short enough to make extra work for me. But the 40 inch needles  eliminated enough extra length that they are no longer catching on things and making problems, while still being long enough to use them easily. In short, I love them! And, I like the nickel finish so much better than the ugly plastic-coated brass, and the purple connector is also nicer than the red ones on the Addis. And they're only $5 as opposed to close to the $20 mark.

While we're on the subject of needles, there is one of their Options circular needles curled around the sock-in-progress in the photo. It's made of size eight tips with a 24 inch connector. And now that I have them, I'm thinking about all the projects that the Options needles will make easier.

I've been thinking about getting a set of Options needles for a while. I have a set of Denise needles, though, and although there are some wonderful things I like about them, there are also some things I'm really not happy with.

I like that they've never been banned from aircraft. You can take your knitting on a plane with relative confidence. If knitting circularly, you can put the size needle you need for knitting on your right-hand side, and use a size smaller on the left so that it's easier to advance the stitches onto that needle. Every once in a while (actually, often), there is a project that just doesn't want to slide up onto the left-hand needle. Well, now you can fix that! Then again, you can go further and make condo needles out of the components. Condo needles have a big needle tip on one end, and a smaller one on the other tip. They're used when knitting back-and-forth to make interesting effects with certain stitch patterns. And Denise needles have the sharp points that I like so much. Sharp points make decreases, lace and cables so much easier to do.

But Denise needle tips are short! There is not enough in your hand to control them easily. You don't notice it at first, except for a bit of awkwardness, but your hands tell you about it later.

I have put off buying the Options needles because I was afraid they'd be too short. But they're not! Knit Picks, in it's wisdom, made them 4.5 inches long instead of 4 inches. That doesn't sound like much, but it makes all the difference. When you add the connection, the whole needle tip is 5 inches long, precisely.

And the Options tips are sharp, just the way I like them.

In a couple of days, when I feel better, I'll be going through everything I own to try to find unneeded possessions to sell on Craig's List. With any luck, maybe I can raise enough to offset the money the IRS took out of this month's income, my sudden medical costs, and maybe even enough to get a set of Options needles!

I live in hope.

Now that we've covered the left side of the photo, let's move to the middle, where you see a ball of Telemark sport-weight wool in Royal Heather. See how light it looks in their photo? See how dark it looks in my photo? I was hoping that it would actually be a little lighter than it appeared on screen. It was actually darker. I made a pretty shawl in a lavender yarn, which went to a friend, and I liked it so much that I wanted to duplicate it, only in wool rather than the acrylic it was in. So I'm reassessing things.

When I was born, my mom had a name picked out for me. But when I arrived, she decided that I didn't look like that should be my name, so she named me Johann. Well, this yarn is like that. It looked like a pretty lavender shawl in the photo (to me), but now that it's arrived, it looks like a vest for me. So, now I have to design a vest. I have lots of ideas, but some of the cables and things I'd like to do wouldn't show up well in this color. But maybe a general texture would work well.

More thinking is needed.

On the right-hand side of the photo, we have the Risata yarn in Marionberry. It's very pretty, but it's much darker than I expected, too. Comparable to a navy color in blue, but purple.

I hadn't decided what pattern I wanted to use for this, but I was leaning toward the horcrux socks. This shade is dark enough that I don't feel that the horcrux socks would be shown to their best advantage. So, I'm still thinking about what pattern to use. Suggestions are welcome. Lace might be nice. Or not.

Photography stuff real soon, now.

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Still Here!

I am so much better than last week!

I still have a sore throat and earache, but I can breath (most of the time) with my mouth shut and without breaking into a string of coughing. The literature with the medicine kept talking about how I would feel OK almost immediately, and that I shouldn't stop taking the medicine because I feel OK. I think I'm going to get to the end of the medicine before the OK part. I'm supposed to go back to the doctor for a check-up, to make sure that it's really gone, but I can't afford that. I may try to see if I can get more of the prescription by calling the office, but I don't know how I'm going to buy it unless I skip paying the phone bill. Or eating.

They Live was on TV today, on one of the Encore channels. Check your local listings. If they run it once, that means it'll probably be on a few more times sometime soon. The movie applies more and more to what's happening in the United States these days. The economy is collapsing, and all the money is going to a group of rich elites who turn out to be aliens (come on, this is a science fiction movie!). Whereas in real life, it's just a bunch of humans who act like aliens. It's a great movie! Don't miss it!

There are at least five other great things coming up on TV that I wanted to tell you about, but I'm too muddled by this group of infections to remember them. I'll have to take notes for tomorrow.

I thought I'd get the instructions for the Horcrux Socks. They say you have to sign up with some group in order to get the pattern (which is free), but you have to give out all sorts of information about yourself, and also (it transpired) write an essay about your skills as a knitter, current projects, etc. Apparently they're very picky about who they give patterns to.

I like the basic design of the horcrux socks, but I can already see lots of stuff that I'd rather do differently, so I may just write my own pattern for them.

But the essay I wrote reminded me that I've made some scrunchy socks, and I haven't put up a pattern for them. I'll have to do that when my body stops trying to leak out of most orifices.

Holly and I went out yesterday so I could do some basic shopping. Then we went to Chilis restaurant. 

She was telling me about the Sex in the City movie, which she loved, loved, LOVED! She threw in lots of spoilers, which I won't repeat here.

She said her sister didn't like the new Indiana Jones movie. Apparently, the ending wasn't archeological enough for her.

Holly and I got into discussing the crystal skull mythology, and went on to discuss how recently some archeological discoveries have been made (notably, the iridium layer at the KT boundary), and how that has changed the way people view the world. We wandered through the show, Cosmos (because it was on TV yesterday, and was pertinent to the discussion of scientific censure, specifically in relation to Immanuel Velikovsky). Carl Sagan felt called upon to ridicule Velikovsky because his theories didn't catch on with the scientific community. When I first saw Cosmos, he felt it necessary to add this (without reason, in my opinion) to the show. I saw the show again later (after Sagan had been ridiculed for his nuclear winter theory) and the part that mentioned Velikovsky had Sagan saying how sad it was that closed-minded scientists had chosen to denigrate him.

I told her about two really wonderful and fascinating books by him (Worlds in Collision, and Ages in Chaos) that have garnered a lot of censure from the scientific community. I had forgotten at the time about his other book, Earth in Upheaval. I think I was actually thinking of Earth in Upheaval rather than Ages in Chaos, though. I read them when I was 12 or 13 years old, during the portion of the summer before Mom lost her temper, took away my library card, pointed at the front door and yelled "Go outside and play!"

We had a lot of fun!

The Weather Pixie is once more under the weather, and I hope to see her back here soon.

I keep promising to tell you more about photography, but this being sick thing is taking up all my time and brain-power at the moment. I haven't forgotten the photographers out there, but I'm really not up to writing about anything coherently at the moment, so I will do it ASAP. Sorry.

Have a great Monday!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Test Pattern

This is sort of a test pattern, just to show I'm here.

I am feeling much better than yesterday, but that isn't saying much.

I'll probably have something brilliant and scintillating to say tomorrow.

In the meantime, I sent for some sock yarn (Risata in Marionberry) Wednesday, before I knew the extent of my poverty this month, and I'm looking for a good sock pattern. Something with a bit of lace or pointelle for Summer. Any ideas or suggestions will be appreciated. So far, the front runner in the pattern department seems to be the Horcrux Socks, although I really love the Standing in the Shadow of Love pattern. I only bought one color of sock yarn, though, so that'll have to wait for another day.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, June 20, 2008

And the Verdict Is...

Bronchitis, Acute

Sinusitis, Acute

Otitis Extreme, Acute

Or: bronchitis, sinus infection, and a bad earache. They didn't mention the throat that looks like raw meat, or the headache, muscle aches, joint pain or the rest of it.

They made me wear a mask because I was coughing, and the doctor said he noticed immediately how swollen my face was over the affected sinus (in spite of the mask).

When I expressed my concern to the doctor that I might have Strep throat, he said "Oh, it doesn't matter. What I'm prescribing will kill anything."

I woke up about 3:30 this morning and thought the side of my head was going to explode. As the doctor expressed it, "Your ear is very swollen." The problem with that is that it's got no space to swell up. Hence, PAIN!

I came home with a pile of medicine, which I'm taking, and I'm going back to bed.

I am told I will feel much better in a couple of days.

My bank account is $100 poorer, though.

The SciFi Channel has taken Charlie Jade off it's schedule for tonight and the foreseeable future. I hope you've had a chance to see Jake 2.0 all day, and then there's Doctor Who tonight.

I hope your weekend is better than mine is shaping up to be.

Happy first day of Summer!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sad Video

Well, I'm still sick with whatever this is, and I plan to get some more sleep.

In the meantime, here's a very sad, but good video. I like it in spite of how sad it is.

Have a great Thursday!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Great Weekend!

The weekend started on Thursday evening, when my sister, Lynn arrived.

Lynn was determined to cheer me up, and she was wildly successful. We stopped by Arby's for a quick bite, and went to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

It was wonderful! Everything you would expect from the next Indiana Jones movie, and everything they need to continue the stories. I loved the movie! I could go on and on about it, and, in fact, I did, all weekend to the total annoyance of everyone around me, no doubt.

I loved it so much that I want to run out and buy lots of Indiana Jones stuff (especially a hat), so I added a page to my store.

But I don't want to include any spoilers here, and anything I said would spoil it. 

On Friday, Lynn and I had planned to go to the IRS office and get all my problems straightened out. Well we went, and they weren't there.

The people from IRS on the phone promised that I could get my problems straightened out at their local office. Well, from what I could tell, there where a whole two people there! And one of them was a security officer, so there was only one person available for help, and they told me that they couldn't do anything that the people on the phone said they could.

They urged me to come back another day, but that's pricey on public transportation, and would have me walking a couple of miles from the bus stop on a foot that's been aching and making me think there's something seriously wrong with it. With no guarantee that they wouldn't help me then, either.

So, Lynn and I went out of there wondering what we were going to do with the rest of the afternoon. I made a few suggestions and asked her what she wanted to do. She said "Why don't we get you some new glasses?" At first, I didn't think she meant it, but she did, and I had an eye exam and new glasses.

They have a gunmetal finish metal frame which is a little bigger than I might otherwise want for glasses, but there are sunglasses that clip magnetically to the frame. They are the perfect size for sunglasses. Lynn and the saleslady said it was silly to buy glasses and not get bifocals, and the difference between line and no-line was a whole $7.50, so I have no-line bifocals.

Talk about the ultimate present! She said these are for my birthday, Christmas, my birthday next year and Christmas next year, and probably a few other presents, too. It's a present for the rest of my life!

Friday and Saturday evenings, we watched some TV and movies and talked. Movies seen were: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (she hadn't seen it before) and Practical Magic. Movie shows included Ghost Whisperer, and the Blink episode of Doctor Who.

Saturday, we went to the Potomac Celtic Festival, and met Holly, Everett and Jeff. 

There was no cider! They had a problem with some of the equipment that puts various drinks on tap, and so they had just beer and (I think) stout. They could only sell two drinks, so they eliminated the cider.

We wandered around and found loads of neat stuff, and then the sky got grey, and we shopped our way back to the cars. I wanted to go back to Echo and Wild and buy a sterling rune pendant that I had seen, but all the sales booths were being packed up for the rain that was coming and I couldn't find it for a while. I bought a beautiful silver Algiz (or Elhaz) pendant. Most runes have several names. Algiz is a rune of protection, and it's a rune that also appeared in New Genesis  (also known as Twilight of the Dogs--I'm in photo 13), a movie I worked on.

I bought my rune (which I love), and it was just starting to rain, so I headed across the field, directly toward the entrance, and the sky opened up and rained harder than I've ever seen it do. I had an umbrella, but my pants were soaked through before I could get out of the open and to shelter. This was not just rain, it was a storm. When I got toward the edge (near the exit), I hid under a tent with a lot of other people who wanted to get out of the rain, and called Lynn. She had gotten back to the car, and had pulled up near the entrance. She moved a little so I could see her headlights, and I made a run for it. We also picked up Everett and Jeff, and drove them out to Holly and her car.

After a little milling around in confusion, we went to Pizza Hut and had some wonderful pizza (what else), with all the usual stuff. It was wonderful! It gave us a chance to talk and catch up, and was loads of fun!

On Sunday, Holly got together with Lynn and I for lunch and we got a chance to talk and catch up on more things, we saw Lynn off on her trip home, and Holly and I went to see The Happening. It was spooky, and strange (you were expecting something else?). I was slightly disappointed with the ending.

We went to Borders so Holly could get a copy of the next Dresden Files book, and she bought a copy of Lord Foul's Bane to loan me and to read after I'm done with it.

Then she dropped me at home, where I crashed and burned with the current cold/sore throat/misery that I'm still fighting off.

What a weekend! I feel like I've been through an adventure to rival Indy's!

Have a great Tuesday! More on cameras and photography tomorrow

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Weekend Was a Blast!

The weekend was truly a blast!

When Holly dropped me off at home yesterday, I was totally tired out.

I took a nap and woke up with my sinuses clogged, post-nasal drip that was attempting to drown me, a sore throat, ache-all-over feeling and just plain misery.

Although I had to stay awake for a while until I could breath without drowning, I got about half the sleep I needed last night and feel much better than I did in the middle of the night. Still nowhere near OK, though. It has all the hallmarks of strep throat.

So, I'm going back to sleep, and I plan to get well soon.

I'll be back to tell you about the weekend, and picking a camera for close ups.

SciFi will be having two especially good days this week during the day. Thursday, there will be Doctor Who, and on Friday, they'll be showing Jake 2.0. Then, on Friday evening, they'll be showing Charlie Jade and a new episode of Doctor Who.

I hope you're having a better Monday than I am.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Paperwork Day

A lot of people have made a lot of problems for me, and I will be working on various piles of paperwork all day trying to straighten out several things.

I will be putting up a new post on Monday, or possibly on Sunday evening. Until then, my whole schedule is up in the air, so I don't know if I will get to post before then.

I did get a little more done on the first rune bag. I'm almost to the top of the runes. Now I just have to decide how I want to make the top. There will be drawstrings of some kind involved. I just haven't decided. 

More in a few days, if not sooner.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Rune Bag

Winding the silk into balls last night took a lot longer than I anticipated. I had washed the yarn very vigorously, and it was pretty tangled. Or, in other words, I had four big knots to untangle and wind into balls.

Mostly what you can see in the photo is the bottom of the first bag. The runes are starting to appear on the sides, but there's not enough for there to be a coherent pattern, visually.

Holly called and insisted that I was wrong, that Malaia has never been to the Sheep and Wool Fest. I could swear I remember her being there with Kyle.  

Today will be a busy day, so I don't have a lot of time to blog.

I will be getting to the "How to Photograph for the Internet" subject probably next week. And you can expect no posts over the weekend (well, maybe Sunday evening) due to the Celtic Festival.

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Holly's Back!

Holly was able to find the bus station in Baltimore, and get back to DC by about 7 pm.

She called at ten to let me know that she was alright.

She had something interesting to say, too. She and John went right past the Howard County Fairgrounds on their way into Baltimore. Holly pointed out the location and said it was where the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival was held, and John surprised her by telling her that he and Malaia will be living about 5 minutes away from there.

When she told me, I asked her if she warned him to expect a whole batch of people arriving to stay at his place on the first Friday of May and staying until Sunday. Holly was giggling about the plans I was making to arrive on Friday evening, get a good head start early on Saturday, and then stay over so we can get back and get what we forgot on Sunday.

She was trying to explain to John why he really wants to go to the festival. She doesn't have to explain it to Malaia, who has been there several times while she was growing up.

But they did discuss the Maryland Renaissance Festival. John loves the RenFair, no matter where it's held. He was flabbergasted when Holly told him how long it runs, and I don't think he has any concept of how big it is, even though Holly tried to tell him.

He was really upset about some of the people he'll be missing in the Toledo area, but he was even more upset about being away from Malaia, even though that's going to be for a short time. They're hoping that Malaia will have moved out here by the end of August. Just in time for the RenFair.

I'm finally starting to get excited about the Celtic Festival.

I don't know what's the matter with me. The festival just hasn't seemed real to me this year. Or maybe it's the problem I have with time. The fest is real, but it feels like it's two months from now, so I'm not really excited yet. In real time, Lynn will be arriving later this week and the fest is on Saturday.

I just have so much I want to talk to Lynn about. And Holly. I want to hear all about the party. And I really want to see photos!

The silk yarn is washed and dried and ready to wind into balls. Knitting will commence on the rune bags this evening.

I'm almost finished rereading "Small Favor" from the Dresden Files books, and I still really want to reread "Deathly Hallows." I read it twice last summer, and then wanted to read it again, but got distracted with something else. What can I say? I guess I just LOVE wizards named Harry!

There's nothing but The Hulk on SciFi during the day all week. Good luck with that.

I planned a post telling you how to take good photos with the equipment I told you about, but it's going to have to wait until tomorrow or later this week. I also changed my recommendation for a camera. Further investigation showed that the one I recommended has a bad track record for reliability, although it's otherwise very nice. Canon cameras have a number of features that are really good for this kind of thing, and are usually quite reliable. What happened to this particular model, I don't know. There are some new camera bags in my store, too, and a new section for cool DVDs.

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Photography for the Internet

I'm getting no feedback here about what kinds of things you might want to photograph, so here's a (comparatively) cheap and simple way to go.

First of all, a Canon Powershot A620 camera. I recommend this for several reasons. 

You can set it to "auto" and it will handle most situations with out a lot of thought or effort on your part. It still has settings for close-ups of small objects. Point-and-shoot, but with the ability to do more complicated things without a lot of work on your part.

This has the vari-angle LCD viewfinder so that you can take a photo of yourself wearing a hat/poncho/sweater  you want to sell and see if you're really in the frame. If you want to do this, you'll need a tripod, or other means of holding the camera in place. Actually, a small tripod would be a help for close-up photography of small objects, too.

You may also want a slave flash for more complicate lighting set-ups. Don't worry about a lot of technical stuff. You can add a slave almost anywhere if you have it pointed at your subject and improve the lighting of your photo. You may have to set the camera to underexpose slightly to get a good exposure. Experimentation with your particular camera will work best.

And, if you want to take your camera with you to just take photos for you, you'll need a bag to carry it in. I found a nice, small, light one in tan, and also in navy. I was also lucky enough to find the ultimate bag for the knitter. It's a backpack with easily accessible space in the bottom for your camera gear, and a large open space for your current knitting project, a book to read, etc. And, as if that weren't enough, it has a special compartment for a laptop computer. Check my store for more bags.

If you plan to take photos of very small things at home, you could use two small, gooseneck lamps for lighting, positioned on either side of the object. A nice, unobtrusive background would be good, too. Check out your local thrift store or Chez Tarjay for a plain dish towel or other small piece of fabric in some nice colors for backgrounds.

And don't forget, you can leave a comment with a question on all this, and I'll do what I can to help. But you may not have any problems. This equipment will make your photographing life SOOOO much easier. 

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Mathematic and Fiberarts

I was reading the TECHknitting blog, and found a very intriguing article about mathematics and fiberarts.

It took me to this site, which mentions a fascinating book. The book sounded so interesting that I put it in my Amazon store and you can find it here. Needless to say, I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but it looks like something I want to buy as soon as I have the money.

You can find out more about how art and science coexist, and make your own model of chaos (it's very pretty) with the information here, and get a PDF of the crochet instructions for a Lorenz Manifold. Even if you're not interested, open the PDF and look at the part near the end. The finished Lorenz Manifold is stunningly beautiful!

I found more amazing articles about Knitting Mathematics, which has several wonderful links, Geometrics: a New Way to Crochet (this is a book which has a beautiful star afghan on the cover and some interesting projects), Crocheting a hyperbolic plane, and a list of a lot more.

Don't skip these pages because of the math. They are amazingly beautiful. Even if you aren't interested in math and crochet, these are a feast for the eyes.


In the meantime, I have finally gotten around to washing the Mandalay silk yarn I bought for the rune bags. Of course, if I had been paying attention (and not so lazy) I could have washed it on Monday, then it would have had plenty of time to dry and be wound into balls by the time the knitting needles finally arrived. But then, that's the story of my life. I wanted to wash them because other people who used the same yarn (on Ravelry) mentioned the smell, which leads me to believe that there may still be some sericin in the yarn. Hence, the wash in hot water with plenty of soap. 

So, 4 skeins of yarn have been happily dripping into my tub overnight. They've just about stopped dripping, so I should be able to knit tomorrow. In the meantime, now that I have the needles to make the job nice, rather than a pain, I can finish the sample rune bag and find any bugs in the pattern.

I hope to have enough yarn to make 4 bags: a grey one for the lady who gave me a rune last year, a grey one for Holly, and a blue one and grey one for me. 

I live in hope that I can either get the sodalite runes that I bought, but never got, or find another set of runes just like it, plus I found some really beautiful clear crystal quartz runes online, and as soon as I get a few extra dollars, I plan to buy them. So, I'll need two rune bags.

Maybe I can find runes at the Celtic festival this coming weekend!

Lots of knitting ahead today!

Have a great weekend!

Friday, June 6, 2008

SciFi Friday!

The SciFi channel has done it's best to make it a wonderful day for me. Charlie Jade and Doctor Who still coming up!

I got a comment from my friend, James, who is interested in getting info on camera gear to take photos of stuff to sell on the internet. I suspect there are a lot of people like that out there.

So, leave a comment and tell me what kind of stuff you want to sell, and I'll do my best to help you find the right equipment and learn how to use it.

Knit Picks saved this evening with a care package which will enable me to knit the runes bags (5 size 6 DP needles) plus yarn for 4 more socks.

I'm off to an evening of sitting and knitting while watching fabulous science fiction on TV. Right after I make and eat dinner.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Dynamite Photography

I woke up today, and the phone rang.

It was Holly, letting me know a few things: She had just arrived at the airport in Detroit safely (she's staying with Malaia and John this weekend for John's going-away party). And that she had found the camera that she'd lost.

Robin gave her a tiny, but  wonderful camera for Christmas. I love that camera. It's easy to use, and had a great zoom mechanism, and tiny, so you can carry it around with you all the time. 

But she lost it (she thought).

So, she went out and bought another similar one and discovered that Robin, being the fabulous photographer and wonderful boyfriend he is, had chosen an excellent camera, and that she didn't like the new one she'd bought to replace it anywhere near as well. 

So, she finally broke down and bought a duplicate of the one Robin bought her and had it shipped to Malaia so that she could use it while there. She planned to sell the replacement camera to her sister, Heather, who liked it.

So, now she's got two identical cameras, except one has never been used and is new in the box.

I thought about buying it from her when the IRS ever gets it together and gives me the money they said I should get. I like it a lot better than my tiny, carry-everywhere camera.

So, it got me thinking about camera gear as soon as I woke up.

If you hate photography, you can stop reading here.

I love photography, and would love to have a good camera again just for my own enjoyment. But aside from that, I plan to make and sell some things over the internet and you need good photos for that. Not high resolution, but taken with a camera that has the extra abilities of a more expensive camera. I'm also collecting knitting patterns which I plan to publish in a book, and for that I do need good, high quality, high resolution photos.

But while I was mulling all this over, I thought I'd put all my photo gear selections together in one section of my Amazon store for others who are wondering what gear to buy.

Good gear can make it so easy to take stunning photos, and the wrong gear can make it almost impossible to produce anything but junk.

I have three cameras listed. They're very similar. All have long lenses. That means that you can get a close-up without actually having to walk up closer.

I read an article by a camera expert with advice on how to take good photos for people who know nothing about cameras. He gave two rules: Walk up close. Walk up even closer. I couldn't agree more. If you watch most amateurs take a photo, they'll look through the viewfinder, and then turn around and walk further back and then take the picture. Exactly the reverse of what they should be doing. Having a long lens makes it easy to "walk up close" without having to move. You can take a portrait without having to get up in the person's face. You can take a good photo at the jousting matches at the Renaissance festival or football game.  With a long enough lens and a tripod, you can take photos of the moon that actually show the moon! 

To use the lens at it's longest length, you'll have to practice holding it steady, but the stability built into these cameras will make it much easier.

And the control for the zoom is the best I've ever used. I usually hate the zoom controls and would rather have a manual control. But Canon has made it easy to zoom quickly to almost where you want to be, and then slow down for precise framing. It's great!

These cameras all have swing-out LCD finders, too. That means if you want to take photos of a parade, but you're stuck in the back of the crowd, you can swing out the finder, swivel it a bit, and hold your camera over the heads of the people in front, and still be able to see what you're taking a picture of. You can also position it so that you can take a photo of yourself and see how you're framed in the photo while you're doing it.

The next important thing you'll need is the adapters so that you can put filters on your camera, plus the filters.

You'll do more to improve your photos with filters than anything else. Much more bang for the buck than any other photography gear you can buy.

I've chosen a selection of filters that create effects that can easily be seen through the lenses of the cameras I'm recommending so you'll be able to get just the shot you want the first time. 

First of all, they're all Cokin filters. Cokin has  a special filter system that has many advantages. The Cokin adapter holds square, flat filters that can be slid into place much more quickly and easily than screwing in conventional filters (and easier on the wrists). You can slide the filters to one side, and move a center spot filter (for example) off center to get the best picture composition. And if you buy a different camera that needs different size lenses, you just buy a new adapter rather than have to buy all the filters over again. They also have some of the most fabulous filters. Ones that are almost impossible to find elsewhere.

I've chosen several varieties of center spot filters. Pick your favorites from the selection. There are also fog filters to blur part of your photo. And star filters. Don't forget the star filters. They make photos with point light sources in them into magical vistas. I plan to add more, too. They'll all be the easy, spectacular filters.

And then, there are the flashes. Two of the cameras don't have hot shoes, so you can't use a traditional flash with them. I have two good traditional flashes for the S5, but they won't work on the S2 or S3. Don't forget diffusers! But even if you get an S5, you'll probably want a slave flash.

A slave is a flash that goes off as soon as there is a bright flash of light. That means you can use your on-camera flash to trigger a remotely-placed slave without having to connect them with cables and other cumbersome stuff. For instance, at a party, leave a slave somewhere pointing at the ceiling. Then when you take a photo, the slave will provide ambient lighting for the background of your photos while the on-camera flash will light the subject.

Feel free to ask questions about this in the comments.

Maybe I should write a book about this.

Don't forget: tomorrow is SciFi day! The Doctor Who episode, Blink at 5 am, Firefly during the day (including Jaynestown, Trash and The Messenger), the premier of Charlie Jade in early evening, followed by the all-new Doctor Who episode, The Doctor's Daughter

Check your local listings and set your DVRs!

Have a day packed with great science fiction TV tomorrow!

Too Cute for Words

Today, I walked over to Safeway between thunderstorms, and on the way, I saw this:

I thought it was just too cute for words, so I took some photos.

In case you can't see the license plate, I took a close-up of it. I love that plate!

If you want to find out more about it, click here.

Holly was telling me about seeing one not too long ago, and I'm pretty sure this was what she was talking about.

Some of the literature I read on line says it's so short that you can back up to the curb rather than parallel park.

Isn't it a cutie?

How did I get on this kick?

There have been massive thunderstorms around her the last couple of days, complete with tornado warnings. They showed radar photos of the area, and you could see circular areas that were obviously spinning on the radar. Scary!

Other than that, there's not much going on around here.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


For anybody who missed it, the Doctor Who episode, Blink will be on the SciFi Channel in the early hours of Friday. Here it will be on at 5 am. Check local listings.

This is one of the best ever horror stories.

Even if you're not a Doctor Who fan, if you like horror, you'll love this. Doctor Who appears primarily as a DVD recording. He's necessary to the story, but it's really about Sally Sparrow and her friend, Kathy Nightingale, although Kathy disappears fairly early in the story.

Set your VCRs and DVRs and record this!

You're going to love it!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Bad Movies and Chocolate!

There's a special interest group on Ravelry for everything.

I just recently found a group that likes really BAD movies. I promised them that I would get together some lists of really bad movies, and I started by putting up Don Doler's movies on my Amazon Store. You can find them here.

John and I met Don Dohler when he was casting for his first movie, The Alien Factor. He went over the general story and it was BAD. A while later, John suggested to him some changes in the script that would have made it a really GREAT movie, a new classic, and maybe a whole new subgenre. But no, Don wasn't interested in making good movies. His goal seemed to be to make really BAD movies, and he did a good job of it.

Anyway, I signed up for a health newsletter a while ago, and they sent me one that had some really wonderful news.

Chocolate is a food that is really good for you! Raw chocolate, that is. Most of the stuff that's out there is really junk.

But there are some companies that are starting to buy the best raw cocoa beans and do minimal processing on them. In fact, if you you buy "nibs" you're getting chocolate that is unprocessed except for being removed from the outer part of the bean. This chocolate is organic and full of antioxidants.

So, I tracked down the best organic chocolate I could find, and put up a page on my store for it. You can find it here:

Some of the prices for chocolate bars look exorbitant. but they're for a box of chocolate bars. Read carefully before you buy. And if you live somewhere warm, you might want to chose expedited shipping to avoid having your chocolate bars melt on their way to you.

I feel so commercial. I almost want to apologize to you. But who wouldn't want to know about the chocolate? Something that almost everyone loves, but is actually good for you? There's no down side to that (except the price--it does cost a bit more).

I'm almost finished with the second poncho, so maybe I can move on to something more interesting soon, and possibly even have some photos for you soon.

I was having dreams last night about how I might want to do the shoulders on the Celtic sweater. It's complicated. One day soon, I'll figure it out, and make something brilliant. Brace yourself!

In the meantime, have a great Tuesday!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Even More Big News!

Wow! I'm just full of it lately!

The current big news is that my other granddaughter has gotten engaged!

Kyle was asked by her boyfriend, Bob, to marry him and she accepted.

I don't have a lot of details yet, but will keep you updated.

Friday is shaping up to be a great day on Scifi.

They'll be showing Firefly during their daytime rotation, with their usual segue into evening stuff.

Firefly will start with Jaynestown (set your VCRs and DVRs), and will go through a number of episodes. If you've seen Our Mrs. Reynolds, you'll want to see Trash. And they'll be showing The Message, which is the one where Jayne gets a hat from his mom. The hat is the worst thing I've ever seen anybody knit. It has to be seen to be flummoxed.

Check your local listings.

There will be the usual brand new Doctor Who episode, but Sarah Jane will not be joining us on Friday.

Instead, there will be the first episode of Charlie Jade, a show that (if my information is correct) hasn't been shown in the US before. I have read some rave reviews by people who have seen it. Not having seen it myself, I can't say.

Have a great week!