Luscious Gracious! Look What We Made Today!

A blog devoted to the art of the Luscious Gracious clan.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

100

Artists often struggle to find the end of a project. Maybe one more brush stroke? Should I add another adjustment layer in Photoshop? Could this sweater use some more applied i-cord? You get the idea. So, how did we know how to stop and finally publish this 100th post? All it took was a little guilt from our daughter (see Lucy's comment on post #99). She has a way with words.

So without further ado, we present

Part talk-show, part art exhibit, part sweatshop (literally - we've noticed we're not the only valley knitters not posting these days, too hot to do anything), LGStitched is our little brain-child that will deliver our online fiber love. LGStitched: Episode 1 also serves as the latest installment in the ever-so-popular Luscious Gracious Studios Complete Organizational System (a.k.a. "binder update").

In episode 1, we've included

sweaters socks
Fair Isle
cables
lace
boxfots
and even jellyfish.
Look around and you will find that some of the old favorites have been set free, too.

This is the music episode, so be sure to read how music inspires us,
and don't forget to enter the contest. You could win a fabulous Luscious Gracious Prize.

We hope you enjoy LGStitched. Take a look, and then come back and tell us what you think. Take your time though, lord knows we did.
Steve, Kiki, Lucy & Lily

Coming Soon - All that we couldn't blog about between 99 & 100, plus more LGStitched fun and surprises!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Build The Bag & The Camera Will Come - Post #99

After much anticipation and ordering it 4 times, I finally received my new camera Friday night! A lot of you have heard the story and those of you haven't probably don't care anyway, so scroll on down to the next picture, while I indulge myself. I promise, there is actual knitting content after the saga, and NO cat pictures!!!

Steve's Camera Buying Saga or Is Nikon sending me bad Karma?
(the names have been removed to protect the guilty, but if you are planning to buy a camera over the internet send me an e-mail & I'll let you know where not to get it.)

Once upon a time I wanted to buy a camera. I actually had some money to do so & had narrowed the choices to the Nikon Coolpix S4 (It swivels like my current Coolpix 2500) and the Konica Minolta Z6. But then someone used my money illegally to gamble on-line & delayed it a week.

No problem, now I can take my time deciding on which camera & finding the cheapest one. So I started at my local camera store, which carried both. I tried them out &, to my surprise, the Minolta was not only cheaper, but also performed better. The image stabilization & speed to focus at long zoom were clear differentiators vs. Nikon.

So I then set out to find a cheaper price since the local camera store was about $100 higher than on-line. I found this nice little internet shop called LetUsRipYouOff.com. Their price was cheap & they had a 5 star rating on the site where I found them. So I made the order. They have a verification process where you have to call in to confirm your order. Having just dealt with identity theft, I thought it seemed like a good thing. When I called I got the hard sell for overpriced accessories ($100 SD cards, $150 warranty on a $200 camera, etc.) I turned all of it down & they said o.k. Then I got an e-mail saying the camera was now out of stock, order cancelled.

So on to shop # 2, a little more expensive, also 5 star rating, WeLieCheatAndSteal.com. So again the call-to-confirm policy. I was totally expecting the hard sell, but got something different this time. "Are you planning a trip to Europe?" the guy asks. When I say no, he informs me that I have purchased the European model that will not work in the US. Interesting, with no plugs involved, why would that matter? Does the camera have a gps that prevents it from turning on outside of Europe? A co-worker suggested my pictures may have a funny accent and smoke cigarettes. No, he says the video mode will be PAL, not NTSC (the version I ended up with actually shoots both, it must be the international model). I don't care. But sir, what we do with everyone else is convert their order to the US model. It is normally $125 more, but I can give it to you for only $49 more. I ask him to cancel my order, and after 5 minutes of guaranteeing that I won't be able to find the US model any cheaper anywhere else he reluctantly cancels my order.

So third time's a charm, right. This time I go for an actual camera store, not just an internet business. I also order by phone & not internet. We Are Slightly Better Than The Criminals You've Been Dealing With Camera Store is happy to take my order for slightly more (but still cheaper than the US model at the last place), attempt to overcharge me for shipping, and sell me a bunch of accessories only moderately overpriced. So after we get all that worked out, my order is good to go. 2 days later & no charges hit my account yet. So I call them & they have no such order or my info in their system anywhere, but will happily take a new order from me. So we do that & all is good. The charges come through my account & I get a confirmation e-mail. But that's odd, I didn't give them my e-mail address with the second order, just on the original non-existent order. Then I get a call saying my card was declined. So I call them back & surprisingly they found the original order, which has now been charged to my account & shipped. The new order is the one they are having trouble with, so they tell me it has been cancelled.

Maybe all these problems were caused by bad Karma sent from Nikon, or the camera just waiting for me to finish it's bag.

I thought it would never come. It was scheduled for Friday delivery, but by 8pm I had pretty much given up. But around 8:30, as I was putting the last few stitches on the camera bag, it showed up.

I'm sure the camera was just waiting for the bag to be finished, just like babies wait for their quilts or afghans to be completed, or loose teeth wait for their platypus to be knitted. The bag is made from Karaoke yarn in a solid green & variegated gray. Of course, I felted it. The bottom is shaped like a + and the squared top has a + on it. The body of the bag is a Fair Isle + motif, that I came up with (but certainly didn't invent).

The top is held on with this chain (part of a dog collar/leash set from the dollar store) that act as handles. I added a little strap on each side with a snap to hold the chain down and to keep the lid on.

Here is a picture of the + on the top.

My new camera has a 12X optical zoom with image stabilization, which is pretty cool. I bought a .45X wide angle converted so I can go from the wide shot above ...

to the zoomed in shot here all without moving or cropping the picture.

It also has a pretty nice macro mode,

and a super macro mode that lets me get as close a 1cm (metric measurements, I bet that's what he meant by European model).

Here is another photo using Super Macro mode.
Here is the Fair Isle chart in case anyone is interested. It is a 20 row, 20 stitch repeat that will wrap around in a spiral.

So someone asked "Now that you have a new camera will we see more frequent posts?" I hope so, but it might be a little bit before the next one since we are trying hard to make it spectacular.

Steve

Coming Soon - Finally the 100th post thing & then we can get back to normal at least for another 99 posts.

p.s. I'm thinking of using some of these newly learned internet shopping techniques here at LGS. So don't be surprised when I call to explain that the pattern you bought is not in English & for a mere $27 more we'll send you the translation. Or maybe when you just want the dozen cards for $20 but not the $49 envelopes to go with them we might magically be out-of-stock. I think identity theft & on-line gambling might be the easier way to go. Do I sound bitter?