Another $10 spent

March 26th, 2010 | Tags: , , ,

I decided that I would make 2 amigurumi dolls. I want to enter each of them into a different county fair. Last year I entered a doll and the wonderful thing won first place. The hope is for something similar this year… but I also want people to see what I can do.

The thing is, I’m not following a pattern per se. I’m improvising. I’m no artist, by any means, but I have a love of color. And so this entire process has been months in the making, months in the planning and a few days ago I started working. Two arms. Two ears. And a head, and I found myself stuck at the eyes. I had only one style of acrylic eyes in the correct size. Well, I guess this little bunny is getting amber colored eyes. I found myself back on CR’s Crafts looking up doll eyes again. The last time I found myself on that site, I had just purchased Elizabeth Doherty‘s book Amigurumi!: Super Happy Crochet Cute and really wanted to make one of the dolls. Not just the cute other stuff that is in the beginning of the book. I wanted to bypass all of the smaller projects and jump right into the big elaborate dolls.

I found my eyes, and this time I found more eyes in the size for the dolls I want to make (and a few extra, just in case).

I find myself buying a lot of little things here and there. I stopped at Michael’s the other day ready to find exactly what I needed because I had a plan!! Except my plan backfired on me and I wasted the money from a Xmas gift card. Ah well, it was a lesson learned.

Does it mean I’m stealing? Using bits that I like from each ami designer? Deciding on the clothes I want to make… having nothing to do with any of the other designers and authors? I have a hard time understanding at what point it becomes “mine” instead of a copy of theirs. I guess when the time comes I’ll figure it all out.

Back to the doll… I’m at a point where I need to make decisions about colors. What color to make the undies. What color to make the sweater. What color to make the shirt, the underskirt, the shoes, etc. And while I can imagine all of these colors in my head, so far nothing is going quite how I expected it to. I had other plans for the sweater… AND the shirt. If there’s a way for a person who can’t draw to be at a drawing board, I’m that person. I now need to try to figure out how to get this all worked out. Design clothing, too. I don’t design clothes! Not only am I going to have to figure out how to design clothing, but I need to do it on a much smaller scale!

So here I am. Wondering what to do next. *heavy sigh*

Completed Socks!

March 22nd, 2010 | Tags: , ,

In an effort to share more of the stuff I’m actually working on, I’m going to try to be better about posting the things I’m making and working on… sometimes I’ll do it as I make it, but most of the time I’ll share after it’s over. And even still, when it’s a surprise gift I’ll work on sharing photos after the giftee has┬áreceived┬áthe item.

My knitting is finally getting better and I’m getting faster. I’m still pretty terrible at actually doing purl stitches in continental, but I love knitting socks because it’s all knit stitches!

I fell in love with this pattern the first time I saw it in Wendy Johnson‘s Socks from the Toe Up. I had tried to work Riding on the Metro with a different yarn that was self-striping and it just didn’t look quite right. I ended up making a different sock from the purple, black and gray yarn (also from Wendy’s book, go figure!). I decided to work these socks two-at-a-time, though I don’t like working top-down, like the book has you work. So I worked each toe on double points and then transferred the stitches onto the circular.

Both Socks - Done!

Here are both of my pasty white legs wearing my new pair of socks. These were knit up in Cascade Heritage Sock Solid in the Colorway Anis.

Detail of the Foot

I ran into some issues when it came to the heel. Probably because of the way that Wendy has you work on the heels from the toe up. I’m not entirely sure how the heels are worked when they’re worked cuff down. The book shows photos of what looks like making a flap for the heel, but I prefer the way Wendy does it.

I love the way these socks feel and I love this pattern even more. I’m super excited to have a pair of socks that are already done and made, since I made both of them at the same time, but man oh man did it seem to take an awful long time!

Next project?? I think I’m going to work on a shawlette (also by Wendy), and some fair entries… Amigurumi dolls. I’m still working on the details of exactly what I’m going to make.

The Epic Search for a Digital Camera

March 16th, 2010 | Tags: , , ,

Over the last however many years digital cameras have existed, I’ve owned my fair share. My first was a really old, super bulky, Sony CyberShot. I love the hell out of that thing and while it didn’t exactly die, it just became a nuisance to carry. Digital cameras have been shrinking in size and portability, but expanding on their capabilities. Removing DSLRs from the mix, the Point-and-Shoot cameras have gotten so good that it’s nearly impossible to figure out which ones will be the best choice for my application.

The criteria for what I was looking for:

Point-and-Shoot (P&S): It had to be portable. Maybe not necessarily pocketable, but I didn’t want something bulky. As portable as possible, that’s for sure. I understand that DSLRs take the best true macro shots, it’s simply not in the cards for this gal.

Price: The price of the camera needed to be in the $350 and below range. I wasn’t looking to spend my rent money on a camera. The cheaper the better sure, but there’s an understanding that inexpensive cameras aren’t always very good cameras. Thus why I set the price range a tad higher than what I would truly rather spend (about $200). The name brand models fall in the more expensive range, but the technology that these cameras offer also tend to be better. It’s a cost/benefit analysis in the end.

Macro: This is a must. I needs to do macro/close-up shots. It doesn’t have to do them fantastically or like I said to a friend “I don’t need National Geographic quality pics.” And the statement can’t be more true. I’m less likely going to use the camera for things like bugs, flower, dew drops and the like and more for other macro type shots. Because of this, I don’t need perfection. I just need good. Damn good is ideal, but I’ll settle for good and able.

In searching for a digital camera that had these three qualities I ran into many opinions and articles. David Pogue’s over at the NY Times was the first article I read, many weeks ago. It was an interesting insight into the various feature sets of each individual camera and I looked closely at all of the three he mentioned as the top 3. However, no where could I find that any of them had the macro/close-up setting. I was terribly disappointed.

Next came the google searches on various word combinations in hopes that I night score with finding a nice comparison piece on macro enabled P&S cameras. Yeah, as you can imagine, I found an awful lot of junk and very little of anything that was fruitful. After much frustration, I gave up the search.

Until today.

And then I went on yet another search for macro-abled P&S cameras. A kind friend pointed me towards Steve’s DigiCams. Rather than hoping I find something I went straight for the Best Cameras link. For anyone curious about digital cameras, this site gives you an excellent quick look and separates all the cameras into nice little categories. However, no “does it do macro?” category. /doublesigh

After much searching and some additional frustration I stumbled across Engadget Labs article on the best point-and-shoot cameras under $400. So, first of all, thank you guys at Engadget for giving me the exact kind of comparisons (in shots, quality, gripes and goodies of each, etc) I needed to see and read. After looking at the photos and reading what was said about their first choice camera (of the small number they looked at, mind you), I think I’m going to go with their choice for the Samsung SL820. Now when I have a couple hundred dollars, I’ll be picking this up (and keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn’t disappoint).

Moral of the story from this entire many month long experience?? Read a lot of tech magazines. Look at the related links. And wait until the expensive camera comes down in price.