new toys

new lens baby!

A couple weeks back I ordered a slightly used lens off eBay and it finally arrived this week! It’s a Sigma 30mm f/1.4 (as I’m sure you can read). While I do like my 50mm 1.8 Nikon lens a lot, I’m just not fast enough with my manual focus to take good photos of say, moving objects (I can handle yarn and stuff that doesn’t move!).

The Nikon body that I have (the D40) doesn’t have a focusing motor in the body, which is why it’s so small and light – but it means that lenses which aren’t marked AF-S (or HSM with Sigma) won’t autofocus. Like I said, I can deal with it for still subjects, but it’s hard for people and such! And pretty impossible for taking a self-portrait with (for my Flickr 365 project).

So enter the Sigma lens. I LOVE IT. The only downside is that it’s a bit heavy (430 g, that’s nearly a pound) but I’m sure my arms can get used to it. Or else. And in addition to the new (to me) lens, I got a great Christmas gift from my best friend’s family – an SB-400 speedlight flash! I haven’t used it yet because I need to dig up some batteries, but it’ll force me to learn how to use flash properly. Most of the time I cringe when I see someone take a photo with flash (particularly with point and shoot cameras) but this one can be angled up to the ceiling for more natural light.

oooooooh

Mmmm, this lens is awesome! Anyway, my Lucy redux (knit in Dream in Color Classy in Black Parade) is coming along, but rather slowly. Now that all the Christmas knitting is done I ought to be able to push it out a little bit. I do want to cast on for a sleeve so that I have something in straight stockinette, which should be easy to get done!

poppy, otto and mousie

So much knitting this week! I didn’t get these done in time to be given before Christmas, so I knit really hard and got them all done in just a couple days! Excuse the photos, the middle of the night really isn’t the best time for accurate colours!

family portrait

These super cute toys are all by Ysolda, for a couple of super awesome kids I know.

otto

Otto is a polar bear knit out of Coldharbour Mill Organic Merino (DK weight) that I picked up at iknit day in London back in September. Awesome yarn, great pattern, a little fiddly but what toy pattern isn’t?

immobile mousie

This little immobile Mousie doesn’t have legs mainly because I was sort of running out of time and yarn. Besides, it’s just going to get chewed on by a baby anyway! Knit in a crazy yarn-weight combo of Nature’s Palette sock yarn (pink) and Ultra Alpaca (the grey). A little too lifelike until I added the oversized ears!

poppy!

I finished up yellow-haired Poppy on Christmas Day – and I love her! Body was knit with the Coldharbour Mill Organic Merino as well, with her dress in a handspun silk (lucky girl) and scraps of black and yellow for her shoes and hair.

(And I’m not some kind of knitting time traveler, I had a bit of an advance copy of the pattern!)

Now that there’s only three weeks to go before I take off on my six-week trip, I’m freaking out a little bit (or a lot) about how much there is to do! Getting a visa (India), shots, luggage, doing packing lists and such, deciding what knitting to bring! And I’ve got a couple of projects I want to work up before I leave, too. Bit insane but we’ll see how I do!

merry merry!

Okay, I’m actually not all that merry this year – I just can’t seem to find that Christmassy spirit. Oh well. Keep on trucking, I guess! I do finally have all my gifts set, but I do need to do some (erm, possibly all) of the wrapping up tonight.

vest...now with proper shoulders

The vest turned out fine, quite nicely in fact! I’m just about to sew on the buttons, the fake-woven-leather kind. I’ll try to get a modeled shot tomorrow!

At our gift-exchange dinner last weekend, my aunt remarked that my grandmother would probably like the hat I was wearing (Gretel), so I quickly cast on for another in some super yummy Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Worsted.

gretel in progress

It’s in Cranberry, which my camera’s doesn’t love – it’s darker and richer than it looks in the photo. Currently still drying, so it might need to be wrapped tomorrow. Good thing people won’t be over until suppertime.

I’ve made an eggplant casserole for my Christmas dinner main, since everyone else will be eating turkey/roast beef/salmon (yeah, it’s a lot of meat), and put together yummy yummy taco dip. I baked up a batch of Ysolda’s gingerbread cupcakes in my mini cupcake pan and they are super cute! One batch made just shy of four dozen minis. My icing is a bit runny though, I’ve already put in a lot of sugar so now I’m hoping that a sit in the fridge uncovered, and frosting the cakes right before serving, might help it along. Any other ideas? I should’ve made it a cream cheese frosting…

While I scramble to do all those last-minute things, I hope all of you who celebrate Christmas have a great one.

tinsel bokeh

And for those who don’t – have a great Thursday!