Monday, December 24, 2012

All was quiet

Hey guys, sorry for the total lack of blog content. I am on my honeymoon.

I'll save the photos and the stories for when I get back.

Have a Merry Christmas!

Molly : )

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Achievement Unlocked!

Studying for a test . . .

Not very exciting. . .

I've been knitting the hat while I read the class notes. This means I am really cooking on the hat.

Little Elephants! Adorable explosion. The logo is coming along nicely too. just not as adorable as little white elephants.
Of course I ran out of yarn, so I need to pick up some more black to finish this.

Maybe it won't be done this week. I also need to get some more time in on beatnik. I did 2 rows yesterday after I ran out of yarn. I'll have to get some more done tonight and tomorrow. It is swap night tomorrow at the LYS, so I will be able to pick up the yarn, and more . . .

The cables probably photograph better in natural light, which is sorely lacking in December.

Big News!

I learned how to spin Thursday night. I made my own freaking yarn, with my hands. I spun half of the top I got. I am not sure if I want to try new things with the other half.

It is very thick, and the singles are very energetic. I am still trying to figure out how drafting works. Occasionally it worked and oftentimes it did not. YouTube here I come! These videos made sense.

I do get letting twist enter. I am still working on spinning continuously. I did most of my first skein as park and draft.

And, by the magic of writing a blog post across a couple of days I had much more success with the second half.

I took the second half, and ripped it into fourths.

From there, I predrafted it by gently holding the yarn and pulling feeling the fibers slide past one another. I was trying to figure out what drafting felt like. I held the yarn more than a stable width apart and went one direction, until I got to the end, and then went back. I got more confident as I went.

I then spun the singles, grafting each quarter on to the last.

So at the end this meant I had one long single. I rewrapped it onto the spindle so I could let it rest over night.

 This morning I wound the singles into a single pull ball.

And then I plied from both ends.

The beginning end was pretty rough, the ending end was quite neat.

All in all I got 28.5 yards out of my 4 ounces of fiber. 14 of the 2 ply and 14.5 of the crazypants thick and thin. I am probably going to combine it with the biggo to make an infinity cowl. It is super bulky, so maybe I will use the biggo doubled.

I figured out how much yarn I had by using my brand new niddy noddy. I followed the instructions here, How to build your own Niddy Noddy because, well, the math was wrong for the other versions I found via google. The length of the skein is the square root of (shaft squared plus arm squared plus arm squared) times 4. That is not the same as the length of the shaft times 2.

I made 2 shafts, one for 1 yard skeins and one for 2 yard  skeins. It would be super duper easy to make a 1 and a 1/2 yard one. It is just a matter of switching out the shaft. I just counted how many times I went around, and then tied off the yarn and slipped it off.

It should be helpful for other things too, like figuring out how much yarn I have left, and frogging things. If I continue to spin, then I can wind skeins.

On the fractal front I made a really cool one.

This was for the 1-2-3-4 . . . challenge. It is easier to write the pattern than explain the rules.

1 Spherical,
1 Spherical, 2 Linear,
1 Spherical, 2 Linear, 3 Disk

For every transform you add it need to have all of the variations of the last one, plus one more, that is a value of one more than the previous. I tried another one, which wasn't that good, so I am happy this one worked. I bright gradient, a fusion of fractal styles, and a little wild to go around.

That's all for now, take care guys!

Molly : )

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Getting around the Blogger Photo Limit

There is a quick and easy way to stop having issues with the new guidelines. And, as an added benefit it will make you a more responsible blogger to boot.

So . . . if you do not want to change your practices you can upload your massive photos to a photo hosting site, like photobucket or flickr, but honestly that is a stop-gap measure. You will quickly fill up your space if you are a craft blogger with many photos per post. Additionally, it is a pain in the butt because you lose the batch upload feature, because you have to copy and paste every link to every photo.

You could also pay the $2.50 a month to have extra storage space in google. However, as much as I like blogging, I don't have the traffic to advertise to cover this expense, and I really love the idea of having a free blog. Anyways, what this post covers lets you keep the free blog, with minimal expense in time.

What you really need is a way upload photos that are the small enough. And you need an interface that seamlessly allows you to resize your photos in batches.

If you have an XP computer (like my ancient laptop of great awesomeness) the Image Resizer Powertoy is the way to go. Install this little widget, highlight the photos you want to shrink to a web friendly size (ie 800 pixels or less), right click, and the resize photo option is there to click.

The powertoy for Vista/7x is not as well developed in terms of bonus features, but it does have all of the same functionality.

Step 1: Highlight the photos you want to shrink and right click on a highlighted photo. A new option is available, resize pictures

Step 2: Enter the size of pictures you want

I chose custom. You want the pictures to have the same aspect ratio as the original, which is 4:3. I forgot to click the only shrink photos check box. You don't want to enlarge photos that are smaller 800 pixels in the largest dimension. That really decreases the quality of the photo.

Step 3: Admire your small photo

The small photo will have a tweaked name ie (Custom) or (Small) or (Medium). Make sure you upload the photos with the modified names.

So, what are the benefits?

1.) You are at the 800 pixel mark for your largest dimension. You can now use the normal blogger loading interface, and upload as many photos as your little heart desires.

2.) Blogger only uploaded 2048 pixel maximum dimension photos before. So your photos were shrunk before anyways. This just formalizes the fact that your camera takes much larger photos than is reasonable to upload.

3.) Your small photo is taking 3.67% of the space as the original. Mine was 5,936,218 bytes, now it is 217,867 bytes. This is why google doesn't want to store all of your massive images. Resizing photos is the responsible way to use space on the internet. You can now store 24 photos in the space you stored 1 photo.

4.) Preshrunk photos are much more crisp and pretty than blogger shrunk photos. A computer application can take up more room than a web interface, so the application has more tricks it can do from a signal processing standpoint to keep the quality of your photo high than something built into a website.

5.) You can now easily create custom sized photos and just upload them as original size in blogger. Say, you want a 450 pixel wide photo, it is super easy to set up. You don't need to open it in paint, or even photo editing software. You just highlight, right click, enter your size, and click resize. For one to infinite photos at once.

6.) 800 pixels is generally bigger than the width of a blog, so you can still use the small, medium, large, and extra large options when you add photos to your blog. There will be no change in how you blog, or insert photos into your blog.

So I hope I have convinced you that this is the quickest, easiest, and most responsible way to upload photos to your blogger blog. Feel free to ask questions in the comments, and I will edit this blog entry for clarity based on your feedback. I hope this can be a resource for those who are frustrated about the new rules.

Happy uploading!

Molly : )

ETA Correct limit was 2048x2048, not 1600x1600

Work in Progress Wednesday: Post Overflow

I had more to talk about last week, but in light of my already tardy WIPW post, I decided I did not need to also include fractals and stashquisitions in an already long post. I am not good about pacing. It is all or nothing, unless it is a FO post for a project I am really proud of.

Or, the FO that was long forgotten. I knit this last Christmas, it is a wham bam thank you lamb. I knit one for my MIL, then bought more yarn to make one for me. I didn't get to use it last winter, since I forgot it at her house.

Whoops, better late than never. I love wearing it. Go go malabrigo!
So, what is the story? I have no real FO's this week but I do have more WIPs! Perfect timing for work in progress Wednesday.

Longest going first:

Evenstar is to an exciting stage!

I finished the 6 repeats of 4 rows.

I also discovered the plain row takes approximately 30 minutes to knit, at 560 stitches a row.

And since I am taking it to Hawaii, well, I am just going to pack it away until that day comes.

I'll explain more later.

In order to show off the lace, I put a card underneath. You can see the 24 rows of twisted ribbing and mesh, and also the old school lace mesh.

This project is starting to get awkward to carry around, so it is probably for the best that I am retiring it from my knitting bag. Epic, but now that the mindless  section is over, I should have something less crazy to bring with me everywhere.

I was dissatisfied with the hat again. Don't get me wrong, I was largely pleased. But there was an unforeseen design flaw.

The corrugated ribbing, and basically all of the colorwork was too tight. So, I could not reverse the hat.

Solution: knit the ribbing in black, without the colorwork.

The plaid pattern is totally awesome, but the DSLO did not like the ribbing, and so it had to go. The ribbing was pretty neat, but I suspect anything that looks like old school fair isle isn't going to fly with him.

This is replacing the evenstar as the carry around project. I would like to finish this hat soon, since it seems like I keep on taking one step forward and two steps back on the stupid thing.

Frogging the yarn was dreadful. There is enough mohair to make it awkwardly sticky. Good thing I set aside Tuesday night for some serious knitting time. What ended up working was pulling all three strands, then winding it around the floor, then standing on a two foot wide section, and rolling one ball at a time, in two foot chunks until I made it back to the hat. That way everything stayed decently untangled, and I could only worry about a color at a time.

I made good progress on the improved brim. Once I get going on the color work, things should go quickly.

Of course I cast on something new. December 1st was the start of the The Knit Girllls deep stash dive December KAL, and Thanksgiving was the start of the Whatcha Swatching Beatnik KAL. So, I am using my first dyed yarn! Double dip for the win!

I also got a new toy, which is why all this yarn is in neat little cakes.

More on that in stashqusitions.

I cast on Sunday night, because Ooofancypants of Whatcha Swatching was hosting a virtual nit night (VKN). It was a lot of fun. If I do it again, I should get a webcam, because, well, the other participants did not appreciate that a still photo of me and the DSLO showed up every time I talked. I thought it was so cool.

I swatched, and got that far during the VKN. And on my Tuesday night of all I want to do is knit, I got into the cable section.

I decided to make the 40 inch size. My swatch came in at 19 stitches across 4 inches on 5's, and it called for 18 on 6's. I still haven't decided if I am going to do a cardigan, or a pullover. I am knitting it in pieces, because that was drilled into my head a Vogue Knitting Live, and at how expensive those classes were, I should at least try to take their advice. I am still in my first skein. If I change my mind, it won't be the end of the world.

I made an executive decision. I don't want to carry a sweater's quantity of yarn to Hawaii, so this project is going to live at home. I don't want to knit on a sweater their anyways. Evenstar, and unknown, yet to be cast on sock will be much better Honeymoon knitting. Holy freaking cow, I am so excited about this trip.

That is all for the WIP section of this post. Check out the other people blogging this week here.

Department of Stashqusitions:

I have more yarn. I guess the first is the ball winder. A friend told me about a special offer from Knit Picks. If you bought at least 5 bucks of stuff, then you could get a skein of Biggo for free. Well, I looked at a ball winder, and I was sold. Basically my free skein covered the shipping cost of the ball winder. I can't believe  I waited this long to get one. It is super duper affordable at 20 or so bucks. As soon as it arrived, I assembled the ball winder, and wound the free skein.

I am not sure what it will become. It is 50-50 merino nylon. It is slick as can be. I'm thinking cowl . . . because hey, it is going to knit up really fast. My friend ended up getting 3 skeins of biggo to make an infinity cowl.

My MIL Joni gave me Christmas yarn. Sanguine Gryphon Bugga! and Vesper Self Striping.

Both are gorgeous. I have heard so many good things about Bugga!, I am really excited to have it in my hot little hands.

She also gave me Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush. I haven't had time to look though it and figure out what I would like to knit. Funnily it is a signed copy for Sue. I guess she didn't like it that much.

I also managed to snag a lace color bag, from Wollmeise.

I got this on the first update. I got set 7, which is a stretch colorwise for me, in greens and grey. My first choice was set 6. It also came with a pattern, walk on the moon, and a nifty clear bag. I have no clue when I will get around to knitting with this. There are some other shawls calling my name more loudly.

And in big news, I am going to learn how to spin soon.

I am really curious how it will go. The friend that offered to teach me is letting me borrow a spindle. We haven't worked out when. I suspect it will be soon. I loved the blues in this top, and it will be fun to see what sort of yarn it will become. From all of the descriptions I have heard about spinning, it sounds like it is completely up my alley. No, I do not have time for another hobby, but, I still think this will be fun.

I have a couple of cool fractals.

They are all variations on julians. I learned a cool trick, which really fills out the fractal. I duplicate the shape tranform, and switch the sign on one of the variables, which creates this mirrored, inside/outside look.

This week the challenge is very hard. I don't hold high hopes on it turning out pretty. I might not even bother sharing it.

That's all for now, take care guys,

Molly : )