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January WIPs: More Scarves. January 21, 2006

Posted by jessicraft in knitting, wip.
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Scarves are great for getting the hang of certain things as new knitters.  I made a stockinette stitch with garter border scarf – something I am visiting in a current WIP while also using two strands of yarn.  The big exciting thing for me, however, is the Irish Hiking Scarf – cables!  It is also my first experience with a 100% natural fiber.

This is the two-stranded stockinette/garter scarf knit on 6.5mm needles; wanted something quick and dirty, and I’d already used some of that yarn while in the process of learning other things.  Started after the hiking scarf, I wanted to just kinda work this acrylic stuff away before buying more natural fibers to begin a new kind of project.

And now for the Irish Hiking Scarf – for the pattern, google that.  This is my first experience following a pattern, first natural fiber.  So far I am loving it.  This is Patons Classic Wool (100% Merino Wool) in Peacock Blue.  Knit on 4mm needles and I do use a cable needle, I find it easier than a DPN.


PhotoStitch. January 21, 2006

Posted by jessicraft in photography.
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I’m pretty impressed with how this photo stitch thing works.  The programme was part of the software package that came with my Canon Digital Rebel XT.

I made another stitched image which is about 20,000 pixels wide by 5,000 high. It’s surprisingly quick and easy. This is definitely a tool I’ll be using more and more, I think it’s fantastic. One of my favorite photo projects back in high school was creating a panoramic image by standing in one place and piecing photographs together. I took five 8.5×11″ black & white photos of a pond in the winter and mounted them on a blue backing. It’s actually a really horrible photograph, not well focused, poor contrast, very grainy. Still, I really like it. Would be interesting to go back to the same spot now and re-take the photo, see what I can come up with digitally. The original was done on Agfa 100 b&w film with the Canon FT QL, compare now with the Digital Rebel XT (which is new, as opposed to the FT QL which was about 30 and in need of a tune-up at the time). Sounds like a project for this weekend.

$12 Slide Scanner – Tutorial January 11, 2006

Posted by jessicraft in photography, tutorial.

This Slide2Digital: Low-Tech Digital Slide Scanner page by Chuck Flanagan was brought to my attention a while ago. Seemed like a good idea, so we went ahead and tried one for ourselves. A quick trip to Home Depot and we were off; with a suitcase full of slides of Europe and North America in the ’50s & ’60s waiting, we made this little attachment for my Canon Digital Rebel XT.

In a few simple steps we turn a slide like this:


Into this:

slide final


  • Digital SLR camera with a lens; I used my Rebel XT + 55mm EF-S lens
  • Lens shade; mine is 60mm and looks like this
  • Rubber plumbing coupling; mine is 1.5″-2.0″
  • Foam tape
  • Exacto knife (something to cut into the rubber coupling)
  • Close-up filters; I used +6

That’s it! I call this the “$12 Scanner” because I’m assuming you already have the expensive bits, which are all useful independently in their own right (the dSLR, Lens Shade, Filters & Exacto-knife). The only new additions are the plumbing gear & foam tape.


What you’re going to do is create an extension for your camera that sits on the end of the lens inside the lens shade, with the slides sitting at the end so that they will fill the frame of your dSLR. Put your camera and filters aside for now, it’s time to make the extension.

Step One: Make sure you have everything you need and that it all fits together. Using a lens shade to help attach your plumbing extension to your dSLR I’m sure saves a considerable amount of work.

The rubber coupling will sit inside that.

Foam tape will help give a snug fit and hold everything in place.

Step Two: Put it together! Wrap the foam tape around the smaller end of the rubber coupling so that it will sit snug inside the lens shade; cut 4 marks out of the large end of the rubber coupling so that the slide will sit in the end. This part is kind of a pain, probably won’t end up pretty but it will get the job done.

RESULTS! This is what you end up with. My apologies, I took the picture before I had cut the bits out for the slide.

There’s more! The filters. By using the filters (again, I used +6) on your lens before attaching the lens shade with the coupling you will enable the slide image to fill the entire frame.

*CLICK!* Time to snap away. This should be done with your camera on a tripod and using some careful focusing. This can be done automatically or manually, whatever works best and is most comfortable for you. Remember that your slides are sitting at the end of the lens and will twist and turn while you make your adjustments. This is okay because you will be able to fix things as necessary on your computer. To get a nice even light source, face the camera at your computer screen with a white screen showing (I open Microsoft Powerpoint and fill the screen with a blank slide).

Upload the pictures to your computer.

Now, just use your favorite photo editing software and make any minor touch-ups as necessary. It works quite well, I have even used this technique to ‘scan’ negatives into my iBook and fiddling with the image from there.

Simple and straightforward.

Knitting – FO pictures January 9, 2006

Posted by jessicraft in fo, knitting.
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I think one of the reasons knitting is gaining in popularity again recently is from people’s desire to create things – it really is very cool to wear something that I’ve made with my own two hands. I picked the colours, I picked the pattern or made it up myself. It fits me just exactly as I want it because I made it for me.

Maybe the fit isn’t such an important thing considering like many knitters, my first FOs were scarves. I thought I’d post, as a starting point, pictures of my to-date FOs and my current WIPs.

By the way – if you’re new to knitting, an “FO” is a finished object and a “WIP” is a work in progress.

My First Scarf
– this was actually not the first thing I finished, but it was the first thing I started again in the fall of 2005. I made it using red heart super saver acrylic yarn, ’cause I wanted something cheap with which to learn.
– the stitch was supposed to be stockinette, but as it turns out I was twisting my knit stitches; this is okay, because it turns out nicely, but it’s good to know how to properly knit and have options.
– the pattern? cast-on 28 stitches; knit ten rows; row 11: k4, p20, k4; row 12: k28; repeat from row 11 until about one inch shy of desired length; knit ten rows and bind off.

My First Scarf

– a very simple beginner scarf pattern is the 2×2 rib; this was a free Patons pattern I picked up in a store that called for 22 stitches to be cast on.
– row 1, k2, p2 for 22 stitches
– row 2, p2, k2 for 22 stitches; repeat from row 1 until desired length.
– this was the first thing I totally finished – didn’t darn the ends in well, because I didn’t know anything about that at this point; I love this scarf, I wear it all the time.
– made it using 5.5mm bamboo needles, which I love; bernat denim ‘weathered rose’ yarn which is an acrylic/cotton blend.

2x2 Rib Scarf

Cheats Fingerless Mittens
– Very fast, very easy pattern for something that isn’t a scarf! Good way to learn how to change between stitch patterns (supposed to be 2×2 rib, stockinette, and 1×1 rib – but at this point my knit stitches were still twisted); also learn to change colours, seam, and darn in ends.

cheats fingerless mittens

My Camera Story. January 9, 2006

Posted by jessicraft in photography, why.
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Originally written 20th November, 2005.
Most of my cameras have been gifts or not my own, truth be told.

The first camera I ever had of my very own was a Kodak Advantix 2000. Remember that craze? That was about eight years ago – I remember because one of my aunts had just had her first baby, and everybody loves taking pictures of the wee ones in their lives. The camera came with this little box that held the exposed and developed film along with index cards. The index cards were the coolest thing, I thought, about the whole Advantix system. It was fun having my own camera and having my own pictures. My friends, my way of looking at things. It wasn’t just that the cameras recorded what was happening in my life – the same could be said with the doubles of prints I got from family and friends, looking at my mother’s photo albums – it was that my camera gave my record, not a record.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve liked to record little things – not just the faces of the people who were there, but a clumsy shot of an entire room – that’s where we were. A picture of a place sitting, this is the colour of the table cloth at the wedding.

Shortly after the Advantix camera – by the time I entered high school – the Polaroid JoyCam was all the rage. The pictures were small but not too small and let’s face it, it was cool to have things instantly – or just about. The image slowly fades in, waiting until it looks really done! Trouble is, it’s expensive. Also, people tend to want the Polaroids you’ve just taken. It was a Christmas gift, so I have all these little Polaroid 500 film images of Christmas trees, lights, and my family. I like those images.

I found photography interesting but at this point it wasn’t much of a hobby. I didn’t go out of my way to take pictures of things, it wasn’t how I would spend an afternoon. I’d be going somewhere, doing something, and decide that I wanted to take pictures of the folks who were there so the camera would come along.

SLR & The Darkroom
Canon FT QLIn my final year of high school I took a photography class sort of on a whim; thought it would be an easy credit to give me a bit of a break from homework amidst my more demanding courses. I wound up spending loads of time on my photography – taking pictures, developing negatives and prints. I used my father’s old SLR – a Canon FT QL. This thing was heavy, and I had access to two lenses. A standard lens and one that worked quite nicely for portraits. Since the camera was quite old, the 1000/s shutter speed wasn’t working quite right. It was so cool to take pictures and make some parts blurry and others clear, learn about different kinds of film, crank the film in and out of the camera by hand, and above all else – work in the dark room.

Taking pictures was pretty cool – but developing prints was incredible. I could be lost in that for hours – during spare time throughout the day, over lunch hours, after classes were through. Some folks were out playing sports, but by the end of my high school career I was finished being involved in that (didn’t enjoy it anymore) and now spent most of my free time in the dark room with dim red light, stinky clothing-ruining chemicals and the radio.

As the year came to an end, so did my dark room experience – but I still maintained an interested in SLR photography. I liked the control of it, holding a small automatic camera just felt silly.

An SLR of One’s Own

The Gear - NowGifts, like I told you. For Christmas in 2001, I was given a Canon Rebel G SLR. It was great – had some automatic settings when I wanted to click through a few snapshots of friends. Had all the manual control of the old SLR.

And, I could develop things at home – negatives only, but it was great to have a piece of the dark room at home.

By now, I was really interested in it – the art & science as I wrote about prior to having a photo-specific journal. I knew we had some old cameras in the house from my dad & my grandfather, I’d taken a brief look when I was taking my photography course. Recently, though, I wanted to know if they still worked, so I’ve begun trying them.

But first …

Let’s Get Digital

I really didn’t want to get into the digital thing for quite some time. I didn’t think the quality could possibly be so good, you had to remove the film and developing prints, and everything was back to point-n-shoot. It couldn’t possibly be for me.

Then, my family gave my dad a Nikon CoolPix 2000 and I got to give the whole thing a try. It was incredibly easy, and while I didn’t think it could replace film what was amazing was the ability to shoot countless images and share them instantly.

Last year, I was given a digital camera of my own. A Casio Exilim EX-Z30, which has enabled me to take some great digital images and even videos, something totally new to me.

Camera Museum

Recently I decided to test these old cameras in my house. The discovery of flickr helped renew my interest in photography. Like many, I take photographs so that they can be looked at, and not just by me. A community of amateur, beginner, and really excellent photographers talking about photographs and photography – very cool.

So, first on the agenda was to try the Polaroid SX-70 Land Camera – worked perfectly, I think this is a great camera. Unfortunately, the film will stop being produced Q1 of 2006. Luckily, the Polaroid website has something explaining how you can use 600 film with the camera (instead of the Time Zero film). I also tried using the Adox Golf 63 camera. This was my first experience with 120 film – the little square pictures your parents used to take. Amazingly, this camera worked as well – fairly well, although there is a light leak. Not bad for a 50 year old camera – the bellows were replaced once, maybe 30-40 years ago.

SX 70 - Blue Spruce Adox Golf 63 - Cat

Those are my dad’s cameras. We also have one of my grandfather’s old cameras, a camera he used to take slides all throughout Europe. That camera is the Agfa Ambi Silette, a camera I like to photograph. It takes regular 35mm film, so I’ve thrown a Kodak colour roll of film in there I’m just waiting to work through it.

Agfa Ambi Silette II

So. That’s the basic stories with the cameras up until this photo-journal. Sheer curiosity in some instances, the desire for attention, the need to be creative in others. As things progressed I have moved into another phase..

Digital SLR
It’s here – a few days ago, got into the world of digital SLR photography. I was long hesitant but finally made the switch, insisting for now (though several have told me otherwise) that I will never give up film completely.

What I am enjoying so far is the ability to play around with the wonderful control of a manual SLR camera but get the results right away. I think the learning will be much faster now and with the ever-increasing quality of digital images, I won’t be sacrificing in that department. What is missing is the dark room post-process, but that currently isn’t happening even if I stuck with the Rebel G.

So here I am, at last, with a Canon Digital Rebel XT – and with all this new learning, I decided it was time to dedicate a blog just to photography.

A kind of notebook. So that’s where I am now. 🙂