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Thursday, November 27, 2008

KnitPicks Plunge

Related post:
26 Nov 2008 post

I finally took the KnitPicks plunge after wrestling with three 2.75 mm (US2) curly cord 29 to 32 inch circular needles on these mitts I'm trying to make. The long curly cords were driving me nuts as the fingerling yarn got tangled up. So I placed my first KP order today: Metal DPN set, 4.5 mm Harmony DPN, 2 Nancy's KnitKnack's needle gauges, KP Options set. I've never tried their needles before. I hope I like them! It took me some time to decide which DPNs to get, metal vs Harmony wood, and I ultimately chose the metal ones thinking they were safer from breakage while I have a toddler in the house who flops around everywhere. Can't wait for my order to arrive...

I took 7 photos using various camera settings to try to get that DOF working. Still no significant differences. I did manage to get the aperture to come up on one photo as f/4.3 instead of the f/2.8 in all the photos from yesterday. I think it might have something to do with turning on Macro and stepping back and zooming in.

Aperture: f/4.3
Shutter Speed: 1/28 sec
Macro Mode: On
Photo possibly zoomed in

This photo shows the mitts I'm making. Yeah, not much progress, only 6 rounds I think. It's definitely too big around my wrist. I will have to frog and start over and do some K1P1 ribbing to tighten that up. Or maybe I'll cast on 4 fewer stitches, then increase after the wrist section.

Not much knitting going on Chez Smariek. The little one was sick for a while but is recovering now, and of course I caught it too and have been sick for a week. I'm recovering now. What invariably happen when I get sick and have a tendency to use lots of tissues is that I end up washing my hands A LOT (after each tissue use, I'm just anal that way) which results in dry fingers, which leads no less knitting because I hate when yarn snags.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Thanksgiving. It's time to go make some lunch, and then think about getting my little turkey into the oven.

Copyright © Smariek Knits 2005-2008. All full copyright rights are reserved by Smariek Knits


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Depth of Field

Related post:
27 Nov 2008 post

So I stumbled upon the Yarnographers group on Ravelry and decided to try their 3rd photo assignment: Depth of Field. What you're supposed to do is take two photos of the same subject, where one photo should have a very narrow depth of field and the other photo should have a very deep depth of field. Sounds pretty straight forward, huh?

What I have discovered is that my camera, the Fuji Finepix F10 (PDF manual here), does not have manual settings for aperture. It was suggested that using the Landscape and Portrait mode in P&S cameras should work for this assignment. If I understand it correctly, the Portrait mode should give you a narrow DOF (and blurred background) and the Landscape mode should give you a deep DOF (and clear background). Well, these modes didn't seem to make any difference on my camera. I tried taking photos on a table, and then photos on a white towel. In all cases, the aperture was stuck at f2.8.

The camera would not focus on the yarn when I had it on Portrait or Landscape mode, and I could not enable Macro mode while Portrait/Landscape modes were enabled. So what I ended up doing is moving the camera farther back away from the yarn, and then cropping the photos.


Portrait Mode, f2.8, 1/70 sec.

Landscape Mode, f2.8, 1/102 sec.

I can't say that the first (Portrait Mode) photo has a more out-of-focus background. Both photos look nearly the same to me. The only difference I can tell is that the second (Landscape Mode) photo came out darker.


Portrait Mode, f2.8, 1/34 sec.

Landscape Mode, f2.8, 1/102 sec.

Does the 2nd photo (Landscape) appear more in-focus than the 1st photo (Portrait)? I can't see the difference.

I feel like a failure at this photography thing. :-(

Copyright © Smariek Knits 2005-2008. All full copyright rights are reserved by Smariek Knits

Sunday, November 16, 2008

St. Albans Valentine Cable Scarf


Pattern: St. Albans Valentine Cable Scarf
Yarn: Elann Luxury Merino Superwash DK, Ruby Red
Needles: 5 mm, US8


Things move slowly Chez Smariek. I finally made the Row-by-Row Instructions available for this scarf. :-)

This is Scarf #15 in my Series of Cable Scarves. You can see most of my patterns in the sidebar on the right side, however the most comprehensive listing of "stuff" is in my Pattern Bibliography page. :-)

Instead of rewriting what I already wrote about this scarf, you can read more about it in my 13Nov2009 Post and in my 11Nov2009 Post.

My series of cable scarves...

Persephone Scarf:
Ariel Scarf:
Miranda Scarf:
Osiris Scarf:
Bernadette Scarf:
Regina Scarf:
Paquin Scarf:
Beaumonde Scarf:
Shadow Scarf:
Hera Scarf:
Triumph Scarf:
Ezra Scarf:
Sihnon Scarf:
Londinium Scarf:
St. Albans Valentine Cable Scarf:

Stitches used in this scarf include:
Oxox Cable, BW1 pg 255
Seed Stitch, BW1 pg 11
Valentine Cable, BW1 pg 253
Wave of Honey Stitch, BW1 pg 272

Yarn info:
Elann Luxury Merino Superwash
100% Machine Washable Fine Merino Wool
21-22 st/4 inches 3.75-4.0 mm (US 5-6)
112 m (122 yards) per 50g (1.75 oz) ball
$3.98 USD

Copyright © Smariek Knits 2005-2008. All full copyright rights are reserved by Smariek Knits

Thursday, November 13, 2008

photographing red


Saint Albans Scarf by Smariek Knits

Scroll down for more photos of my St. Albans Valentine Cable Scarf.

St. Albans Valentine Cable Scarf Chart download here
St. Albans Valentine Cable Scarf Row-by-Row Instructions here

I managed to take some photos of my latest cable scarf yesterday morning and was reminded of how much I hate photographing any red colored knitting. I have such a difficult time trying to get reds to show up well. The colors almost always gets screwed up or the camera can't quite focus. I tried to take a photo of the scarf on me. I don't think any of those shots came out well, regardless of whether I was pointing the camera at myself or pointing it towards my reflection in a mirror. I took some with the scarf against a black background, then decided to try a lighter white background. I think the scarf showed up better against the white. Out of about 50 photos, I only liked at most 15 photos. I went through these 15 and weeded out the ones I didn't like. It's somewhat like getting my eyes examined. Which looks better? A or B? 1 or 2? After a few, they all start to look the same!

Before I could get to the photos, I needed to punt some files off of my computer. This morning I discovered that I only had 300 MB free on my hard drive. Eeks! How did that happen? I've deleted some things (yay, 5 GB free now!) and am in the process of dumping files onto the external hard drive. How much data do you think I have?

Not much sleep happening Chez Smariek. I've been extra tired lately, waking up too early because Missy is waking up too early. She woke up at 4:15 AM on Tuesday, 5:30 AM yesterday, and 4:30 AM this morning. It's as though the one hour time change made no difference! 4:30 AM (current time) would have been 5:30 AM on the old time, so she is waking up even earlier than she used to.

Today Missy & I went to visit DH at work and have lunch. It's been quite a while since she last visited so everyone remarked on how much she has grown. Missy enjoyed fun kid food, thin crust pizza! I had a calzone. Unfortunately, since we didn't have one of our "normal" routine kind of days, it sorta screwed up my attempts at getting her to nap.

Thus I didn't get as much done in the afternoon as I had hoped to. Having started this post at 2:30 PM, then got side tracked with deleting files, backing up files, tweaking photos, raking leaves, cooking dinner, and then the whole get Missy to bed routine (which seems to get later and later as she gets older and older), I'm finally sitting down in front of the computer again with the intention of actually posting this TODAY.

St Albans Scarf by Smariek Knits

This was my attempt to take a photo of the scarf around my neck. I think I made 20 attempts at this and only liked this one photo. And it is still not a very good one.

I wore my new scarf today. It might have been a little bit too warm for it. I didn't care. I wanted to wear it! I might not be able to wear it again for a little while. I hear there will be a mini heat wave coming. It's mid-November, what kind of heat wave can we there be? I think they meant high 70s. Not wool scarf weather.

Saint Albans Scarf by Smariek Knits

Here's a close-up of the scarf.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I thought the XO cables would pair up well with the heart shaped center panel. After wearing the scarf today, and admiring it from various "mirror" surfaces, I am definitely happy with how this scarf came out. I still think this would make a nice valentine scarf.

Saint Albans Scarf by Smariek Knits

And another close-up of the scarf. :-)

So remember when I said (above) that I thought the scarf looked better against the lighter background than the darker background? Well, now that I'm looking at the two side-by-side, I think the darker background works better. What do you think? It might be better to click on each to see a larger photo.

Saint Albans Scarf by Smariek KnitsSaint Albans Scarf by Smariek Knits

I guess what I disliked most about the dark background photos is how the scarf ended up in an unnatural red color.

BTW, Georgi is having a contest on her blog, go check it out.

I am tired now. It's time for bed. I'll try to put together the Row-by-Row Instructions for the scarf tomorrow. Hope Missy doesn't wake up before 6 AM tomorrow...

Copyright © Smariek Knits 2005-2008. All full copyright rights are reserved by Smariek Knits


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

gas prices today


Today I drove by this gas station selling gas for $2.49 and $2.73.

The price at the gas station which has the red sign which you've been seeing on my blog lately is selling gas for $2.49 and $2.69.

And Costco (the white sign in recent blog posts) is selling gas for $2.27 and $2.57.

Yep. Prices have fallen a few more pennies. Perhaps it is time for a road trip! :-D Missy keeps telling me that she wants to go back to Monterey. She really enjoyed our last trip to Monterey & Carmel.

I've got lots of house work and errands to run tomorrow, but I will try to find some time to un-pin my latest scarf (St. Albans Valentine Cable Scarf) and take a proper photo of it. I already typed up the Row-by-Row Instructions for the scarf yesterday. All it needs is a photo, followed by a little prestidigitation to turn it into a PDF file, and then it'll be ready to upload to for downloading. I know, it sounds simple. You'd be amazed at how many hours I can spend staring at the computer screen and getting very little done...

Copyright © Smariek Knits 2005-2008. All full copyright rights are reserved by Smariek Knits


Happy Veteran's Day!

Saint Albans Scarf by Smariek Knits

St. Albans Valentine Cable Scarf
Click here to download St. Albans Scarf Chart

Note: Chart last updated 6 March 2009 to correct typos in definitions for BC and FC.

Here is my latest scarf, the St. Albans Valentine Cable Scarf. This is Scarf #15 in my series of cable scarves. I've decided that this will be my winter scarf this year. I used my favorite yarn, Elann Luxury Merino Superwash, in ruby red color. The scarf is knit in two halves and grafted at the center so that the center cable panel will be right-side-up when the ends hang down the front. It measures 72" x 7.5" (183 cm x 19 cm); 9" wide after blocking (23 cm).

I started with the heart-shaped valentine cable for my center cable panel, then decided that the best cable panel to pair up with this would be the XO cable. The other little mini-honeycomb panel was chosen so that the design would not compete with the other two cable panels. I think this would make a nice Valentine Scarf.

I was going to wait until tomorrow to block the scarf because I wanted to do it when Missy was not at home. As you can see, I changed my mind. :-) I hurriedly (read: sloppily) pinned out the center cable panel with my daughter "helping". I was nervous the whole time about her poking herself (or me!) with the quilting pins.

Oh, did you notice something strange about the way I blocked the scarf? Are the pins running down the inside of the scarf? You're not hallucinating. I didn't pin it out at the edges. I only wanted to block the center cable panel to make the heart motif "bloom" and show better. Is it too unorthodox to block only a small section? I did not want to block the other cable panels because I liked the way they looked unblocked.

The Chart is available for download now. Row-by-Row Instructions will be available for download soon.


Copyright © Smariek Knits 2005-2008. All full copyright rights are reserved by Smariek Knits.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

quoi de neuf chez smariek

Just a little update Chez Smariek. Barbara at CatBookMom's Yarns has been kind enough to create a chart for my Petra Lace Scarf. She is absolutely amazing with charts! Whereas I am totally useless with charts ... I couldn't figure out how to create one and I have a difficult time reading the chart. Yep, I'm still a row-by-row instructions kinda gal. Anyhow, I've uploaded the chart to, and the link to download the chart is on the Petra Lace Scarf pattern page (more patterns can be seen in my sidebar or on my Pattern Bibliography page).

I also must take this opportunity to point out an easy peasy crochet scarf pattern designed by Trish at My Merino Mantra. It's her Green Stripe for Red Scarf pattern. I don't know how to crochet yet, however looking over the pattern instructions it looks so obscenely simple that perhaps even I can eventually figure it out.

Ok, it's time to take my pork tenderloin out of the oven before it starts looking like pork jerky.

Copyright © Smariek Knits 2005-2008. All full copyright rights are reserved by Smariek Knits.

Saturday, November 08, 2008



She is quite the ecdysiast, my DD. There were a couple times during the week when I attempted to get her to nap. She'd get into bed. Fidget. Fidget. Fidget. Does there exist any toddler who knows the meaning of being still? Next thing I know, ALL of her clothes are strewn on the floor by the bed. I'm guessing this must be another one of those toddler phases. What concerns me is that she has a tendency to throw off the blanket and I do not want her to be cold, especially while she's trying to shake off a persistent runny nose/cough.

I'm a bit bummed that it's only been 6 months since I got my birthday present, and I've already destroyed the ear buds that came with it. Left ear bud vs. hot mint tea. The tea won. I'm using the ear buds from the old one and am currently working through Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (Susanna Clarke), a novel about a magician in the 19th century. I've barely made a dent in it since it is quite a long, and the story is moving along slowly.

We have a Missy milestone! Nov 6, 2008 marks the first time Missy successfully opened our front door. We have one of those childproofing door knob covers and she figured it out. Scary thought. However she's not one to do wild things, so I don't expect to find her opening the door and running out into the street. She has also figured out how to open the sliding glass door. The locking mechanism was easy (just move the lever up or down), but it took her a while to build up enough strength to pull the door open.

Cindy commented in my last post that there is a higher tendency at a smaller library for books to get returned under the radar, due to the staff having to multitask. I do live in a smaller city now. My New City has a population around 138,000 and my Old City's population is around 765,000. However the Old City had one large Main branch and many Neighborhood branches. My New City has only one library branch. At first I thought it was strange to live it a city that had only one library branch. I soon warmed up to the idea of having all the books located in one building. In my Old City, we would sometimes have to request books from other branches and it could take a while before they arrive.

Oh, btw, that gas station sign photo above was taken yesterday (7 Nov 2008); the price is the same today. Costco is $2.35 and $2.59.

I've got my next cable scarf in the works, Cable Scarf #15 (in my series of cable scarves). I designed it on 30 Oct 2008 and have been making good progress on it since then. I started the scarf while watching War, then continued while catching up on some Tivo'd episodes of The Last Enemy on Masterpiece Contemporary, which was followed by American Gangster. I'm very confused with what is going on on PBS. Things were so simple when they called it Masterpiece Theater. Then they came up with Masterpiece, Masterpiece Classic, Masterpiece Contemporary, and Masterpiece Mystery (which used to be plain Mystery!). This really throws me off when I'm looking for stuff to record on Tivo.

I love the pattern and think it will become my winter scarf this year. I've also decided that I should make myself at least one item each year, so this scarf will be it. I made the Regina Scarf for myself last year (and I made a Regina Scarf for my MIL's Christmas present this year).

I'm making this scarf out of my favorite yarn. Any guesses which one? I'm sure you're all sick of hearing me mention it! Elann Luxury Merino Superwash. This is the Ruby color, same colorway as the scarf I made for my MIL.

Copyright © Smariek Knits 2005-2008. All full copyright rights are reserved by Smariek Knits.


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Another Hat


Michele at PDXKnitterati has a new pattern coming out, it's her Checkerboard Scarflet . I looked over her pattern this morning and it is easy peasy, great for the beginner knitter. She'll be making the pattern available soon.

Oh, and I saw this on a Finnish Blog, where someone knit up my Regina Mitts and modified them to make them full mittens rather than fingerless mitts. I love how they turned out. It seems like everybody else takes better photos of their knitting than I do, so I always think my patterns look better when other people do them.

Utopia Cable Hat

This is just another Utopia Hat which I worked on a while back. It was a refreshing change to have something small and easy to knit. This pattern is so easy to knit that it makes for good mindless TV knitting, or knitting while sitting next to Missy who is playing Dora the Explorer games on the NickJr website. This hat is for Cap Karma and it will be going to a local chemo patient.

Does anyone have suggestions for online toddler game websites? I think Missy has gotten tired of the selection on the NickJr website.

I was slightly derailed last night when I looked at my knitting and discovered I missed a cable crossing ... 15 rows down! It took me nearly 40 minutes to drop 8 stitches down 15 rows to fix this, inserting the missing cable crossing and working the cable crossings as necessary as I slowly worked my way back up. For some odd reason, I kept getting a gap or looseness to the left of my cable panel, so I had to do some tweaking to try to tighten it up. It was actually risky of me to attempt this at night, while tired, and with limited lighting. Sorry, I didn't take a photo of my boo-boo because I was too lazy to get out of bed to grab the camera. I really should get into the habit of looking at my knitting more frequently so that I don't discover these mistakes 15 rows later.

As I passed by the 76 gas station with the red sign this morning, I noticed that the premium unleaded was $2.99. I can't remember what the regular unleaded price was. Perhaps I'll run over to Costco to see what gas is selling for over there...

But first I need to deal with the "overdue" book at the library, which has a $1.25 fine now. It's a childrens book I returned last Friday on Halloween. I returned a bunch of Missy's books that day and they all got scanned in as "returned" except for this one book. I only discovered this last night when I logged into my library account. This is the second time this has happened in the past few months, it's rather annoying to have to go deal with!!

Last time this happened, I called them and they said they would do a "search". Later that same day, I went to the library and picked up the "overdue" book from the children's section. It was just sitting there on the shelf! So it had been returned, but they didn't scan it in as "returned" in their computer system. I wonder what would have happened if someone else tries to check out a book that is tagged as "checked out" by their computer system? Anyhow, I have to wonder whether their "search" would have come up with the book if I hadn't personally gone to the library to help them with it.

Anyhow, you're probably wondering whether I missed returning the one book in question last Friday. I can tell you with 100% certainty that it was returned. I have a checklist of all the books we check out and their due dates. I mark the ones I am going to return, go fetch the books and place another mark to indicate that I have it and then place it into the big bag I take to the library. The bagging process happens on the kitchen coutner, then it goes into the car so Missy can't pull anything out before we get to the library.

Well, there's one good thing about the Big City. I've never had this problem at the library in San Francisco. They've never missed scanning one of my returned books.

Copyright © Smariek Knits 2005-2008. All full copyright rights are reserved by Smariek Knits.


Sunday, November 02, 2008

Écharpe dentelle


Écharpe en dentelle
lace scarf

Voilà, mon écharpe en dentelle tricoté avec Elann Baby Cashmere, couleur Prism Pink. Je l'épingle crûment pour que vous puissiez mieux voir le motif. Je tricote lentement cette écharpe et il semble que je fasse peu de progrès. Je suis presque fini avec le premier balle. Je prédis que j'ai besoin de 6 balles pour terminer l'écharpe. Je suis toujours pas sûr du motif. Il n'est pas aussi agréable à tricoter que l'Echarpe Petra (Petra Scarf Pattern). La modèle est moins intuitive. Le motif semble mieux de regarder dans mon dico de maille.

My lace scarf knit with Elann Baby Cashmere in Prism Pink. I pinned it on my interlocking foam mats to better show you the lace pattern. I am knitting this scarf very slowly and making little progress. I'm almost finished with one ball of yarn and predict that I will need 6 balls to complete the scarf. I'm not really sure I like this pattern. I'm not enjoying it as much as the Petra Lace Scarf. This pattern is less intuitive and it looked better in my stitch dictionary than knitted up.

Copyright © Smariek Knits 2005-2008. All full copyright rights are reserved by Smariek Knits.