Moving around!

Hello friends! Just a quick note to say that I am knitting, just not really photographing much and forgetting to talk about things in general, but more importantly, this week’s Friday Finds and all other posts from here on out will be located at www.threadpanda.com. That’s right, this panda has her very own domain now.

I’m still tweaking some things—it’s completely, sadly missing a links list, for example—and will be undergoing some cosmetic changes in the next few weeks as well, but I can’t wait any longer and I wanted to share the news with all of you! So please, update your bookmarks if you have them! This site will remain live indefinitely, but all new content (and all old content as well) will be over at www.threadpanda.com.

If you subscribe to this blog via the email list, please provide some feedback—do you like receiving the emails? The new site has an option for RSS feeds, if that’s more your game. I don’t think there’s an easy way to migrate the current mailing list to the new site, unfortunately.

So that’s that! I’d love to hear what you all think of the new site over at www.threadpanda.com!

Contest Winner Week 4

Very belated today—sorry about that! I was running around New York City and didn’t have a chance to run the random number generator.

This last winner is…

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Marion! Marion, I’ll be in touch with you about your prize pattern soon—remember, you can choose any pattern that’s available online for under $7—your prize does not have to come from last week’s Friday Finds.

Thanks for playing everyone, and I hope you have a wonderful New Year’s Eve.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I wanted to post more but I’m feeling a need to clean and that really needs to happen, so this will be short and sweet. Happy Thanksgiving to those of you celebrating today, happy Thursday to those of you not celebrating, I hope you all are having a wonderful day.

Review: Jo Totes Bag

It’s a grey, rainy day here (which is okay with me because it’s a Saturday, I have no where I have to go, have a stack of movies, a bunch of tea, and a date with my couch in my future), but there’s a ray of sunshine in my brand new, bright yellow JoTotes Betsy bag.

In the past, I’ve used knitting bags as primary bags. I’ve used both a Namaste bag and a Jordana Paige bag, and both of those bags are absolutely awesome as knitting bags. But when you want to carry around knitting and any camera that isn’t a small point-and-shoot variety, things get dicey. The knitting bags, understandably, do not provide any sort of security for the camera, being neither padded nor easily divided into smaller sections. So I decided to try a different route on my journey to be able to carry my camera and my knitting on a daily basis—a fancy camera bag!

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A lot of camera bags are designed to solely hold cameras (again, this is understandable), but thankfully some companies have started making camera bags for cameraphiles who want to carry other things. I’d found JoTotes a few years ago, and really loved their Millie bag at first sight, but couldn’t justify the purchase. Now, a few years older and wiser and more in-tune with what I want in my “perfect” bag, I’m happy I splurged on the Betsy bag.

Betsy came with two options for handles, a set of short double handles and one long strap with a shoulder pad. More evidence that I am slowly becoming my mother—I hate two-handled bags. Even if they’re deep enough to fit over the shoulder, one handle is always falling down and nothing really feels secure and OMG I CAN’T STAND THEM. I can deal with them in short bursts, but inevitably I get fed up. I like that JoTotes provides two options, and the long strap is adjustable, and really probably wide enough that it wouldn’t dig into the shoulder. But just in case the bag gets really heavy, the shoulder pad is a lifesaver.

I was going back and forth between the Betsy and the Millie bag. Betsy is just a little bit bigger than Millie, and while I think all of my stuff would have fit in a Millie bag, Betsy allows for just a little bit more room. I’m able to carry my DSLR (Canon Digital Rebel XSi) with a lens attached (which you can’t see because it’s taking that picture—right now I’ve got my 50mm lens on the camera, but the 24mm would easily fit as well), my wallet, glasses in their case, checkbook, catch-all case (it mostly holds a variety of lip glosses), a small knitting project and knitting notions case all in the main zippered body of the bag. My phone and keys go in the outside front pockets. My Kindle Fire in its case and iPod live in the back zippered pocket. The top of the bag also opens to a zippered compartment, which would be good for papers (or patterns) to have handy, as it does require something either flexible (like paper) or small in order for the top flap to fold down.

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These pockets are really quite deep, which is hard to capture in a photo. Three dividers come with the bag which is really nice, as I know that on days when I will focus more on photography, I can use the last divider and stack a couple of lenses in the bag without taking up much more space.

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Since the shoulder strap is adjustable, I’ve currently got it at the perfect length to either hang off one shoulder or be worn cross-wise. My phone can go in the outside pocket and my headphones are long enough to reach my ears without being uncomfortable. As far as weight goes, I’ve been walking around with a fully-laden bag and my camera bag with 13″ MacBook Pro, and I think my Betsy bag feels lighter than the computer bag. They’re really close. If you’ve ever picked up a DSLR, you know they can be kind of heavy cameras, but the width and structure of Betsy help distribute the weight more evenly, I think, so this bag feels so much lighter than any of the other bags I’ve used to carry my camera and knitting (and every day items) in the past.

Now, this bag is not going to be able to hold a sweater in progress (er, in more progress than that 4″ of sleeve that’s shown in the second photo) or any other larger project, but that’s okay, I have plenty of general bags that hold lots of yarn. If you’re also looking for a camera and knitting bag, I highly recommend looking at JoTotes. I also love the look of the Epiphanie bags, but I’ve never even held one, so I can’t speak to the suitability of these bags for this particular purpose.

And with that, I’m off to lounge about like… a thing that lounges. I’m tired. Give me a break.

I purchased this bag myself and wrote this review on my own volition, receiving no compensation from any party for this review. I’d promised Melissa and Ashley that I’d talk about my bag, so here it is.

Not Knitting: Mother’s Day Card

Yes, I know Mother’s Day in the U.S. was on Sunday, but I didn’t quite have the time to write this post up before now.

My mom lives 2,000 miles away from me, and isn’t one for large celebrations or gifts in general, but I did want to send her a card for Mother’s Day, and what says “thanks, mom, for helping me become a well-adjusted thirty-something” better than ripping off a child’s craft project? Not much, that’s for sure.

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I’d seen this project on Pinterest, I think, and thought it’d be easy enough to do myself, and it would be fun and cheesy and my mom would get a kick out of it, and I was right on all counts. So here’s how I made my Mother’s Day card.
Step 1: Convince yourself you’re never too old to trace your hand on paper and cut it out for some sort of craft project.

Step 2: Assemble the components. For this card, I used a piece of purple paper (plain, printer-style paper—you could use card stock if you want something a little more sturdy), a pen (orange—it was the only one I could find at the time), scissors, a sharp yarn needle, and red yarn (leftover from my Amy Pond scarf).

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Step 3: Trace your hand on the paper. Use a pen that isn’t filled with orange ink, or do this in better lighting. (Also, don’t wait until the last minute to make a card for your mother, she deserves better.) You want your thumb and forefinger to overlap the fold just a bit, so that the card will open and not separate.

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Step 4: Cut the hand out, being careful not to slice off your paper fingers as you’re trying to turn corners.

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Look! It’s a heart when the card is opened! So cheesy!

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Step 5: To better illustrate the heart, and to use up a smidgen of yarn, I edged the heart with a blanket stitch. If you’re not sure how to blanket stitch, I made a quick little tutorial. Your first step, shown here, is to bring the needle up from behind the paper (if you opted to use a heavier paper, you may want to pre-pierce holes around the heart).

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Bring the yarn up through the hole, but don’t pull it taut right away—you’re going to need a little bit of a loop.

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Pass the needle and attached yarn through and then under the loop.

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Pull the yarn taught and make sure it doesn’t not on itself (or tear the paper). You’ll want to pull the thread away from you to help the yarn lie properly.

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Step 6: Send this cheesy card to your mom and await her phone call, telling you she’s hung it on the refrigerator (you know, with those pictures of you from pre-school “graduation” and those magnets in the shapes of states). Allow your inner child a moment of exuberance and joy.

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Happy belated mother’s day to all of my friends who are mothers, whether your children be of the two-legged or furry variety.