Sunday, February 04, 2024

Amazon delivery at it's finest

No. Not really.

I ordered a shirt in January with an anticipated delivery sometime in February or March. I wasn't bothered by a delay in receiving the package and noticed yesterday that it had already cleared customs so I was expecting it in a day or two.. This evening we noticed a lump of what looked like garbage in the middle of our lawn. 

Not garbage. My shirt lying in the mud where it was tossed. Literally thrown out of the roof of the delivery vehicle as you can see in this  MP4 file below, taken from our CCTV cameras. It's a 90 MB file so it'll take a while to load.

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

It's all Diane's fault

 My sweetie keeps ripping holes in his socks. Not his fault.  The tack strip holding the carpet down on the stairs occasionally pokes through to the surface and grabs his socks. We've hammered the nails down but it just keeps happening, and it's usually the new socks fresh out of the package. Socks that we've had to order online because we can't find dress socks to fit his dainty size 13 feet in the stores. Consequently I've been thinking of  just knitting him some.

That brings up 2 problems. First off, Id hate to invest the time and effort to knit him a pair of socks just to have a hole ripped in them the first time he puts them on. Secondly, I don't knit. I know how to knit but every time I try to knit a tube for socks I end up with a rectangle. Don't ask me how, it's just what happens. Knitting which is supposed to be a meditative and relaxing pastime, sends my blood pressure into the stratosphere. Hence, I DON'T KNIT. Give me nice calming tatting any day.

After watching Diane crank out reams of knitting I took a look at the circular knitting machines and decided to order one. I had no idea what size it would be or if I could do socks on it, but I decided to give it a whirl. When the 48 needle Sentro arrived it wasn't the sock size machine I had envisioned. The broad head of the needle is about a quarter inch across and it's better suited to knitting worsted than the fine yarn used in dress socks. The diameter of the machine is more hat size than sock size. It is fast though, and I whipped out a couple of hats and scarves in an afternoon.

The small 22 needle machine is referred to as a sock machine so I contemplated ordering it. 22 stitches seemed kind of small, but what do I know, I don't knit. When I checked online, it looked like you should cast on about 70 stitches for socks. Some You Tube videos suggested that the 22 needle machine worked fine for ladies socks, but not more robust men's socks. Of course in viewing these videos an ad popped up showing a 32 needle machine.

I DON'T KNIT and I bought a knitting machine, now I'm contemplating buying another one. I mentioned this dilemma to my sweetie and his solution was - buy both. So I did. I now have 3 knitting machines and I DON'T KNIT!

Both of the smaller machines arrived on the same day and I quickly ran up a pair of tube socks on the small machine. I used some knitting worsted I have in my stash and asked my sweetie to try them out. He could have stretched them to fit, maybe, but his first comment was that it was like walking on popcorn. He didn't like knitting worsted at all.

I bought some Kroy sock yarn in both variegated  black and white and solid black using the 32 needle machine. I had visions of solid black toe heel and cuff, but I started using the variegated making a tube sock. The machine wasn't happy with the finer yarn and kept wanting to drop stitches, but I persisted and he tried them out. He still says it's like walking of popcorn and the fabric it made was so loose it was full of holes so I ripped it back. I could fix the full of holes issue by using 2 or 3 strands of yarn, but I'm sure he'll still hate the texture.

By this point I'm so sick of doing things in black and dark brown I needed colour! I  decided to use some of the baby pink yarn in my stash to make a mobius scarf  to go with my grey coat. It's baby yarn so it's soft and squishy with a strand of  shiny thread to give it a slight sparkle and I've been using it ever since.

Then I thought I'd try making a matching headband using the 48 needle machine, but I thought I might try combining it with the reclaimed sock yarn and it made a nice thick warm...I can't call it a headband as it's wide enough to be a hat, but I'm sure I'll be glad of it when it's snowy and blowy because it sure keeps my ears warm. 

I went looking for something softer to make socks and I picked up a Caron Cloud Cake which is lovely and soft but not in any colours he'd like. The reddish, pink had orange in the middle of it, so I selected a mostly blue called Moonlight, but smack in the middle of it is a pukey pea green that puts me right off the yarn.

Before I got to the pukey green I cranked up a couple of headbands  on the 32 needle machine because I noticed that with the cooler weather the wind whipping by my ears on the scooters was leaving me with and earache. The first was way too big and the second better but a little loose. Sweetie was complaining the other day of a headache and I jammed the headband over his ears. The headache went away and he's claimed my headband so I had to make another for me! 

Then I switched to the 22 needle machine to make a headband just to hold my hair back. It works but the yarn is a bit too soft to control my mane so I may have to make another.

One thing that was a success. I needed a roller pillow and most of them are too soft to give any real support. In trying out a couple of test hats I realized that the tubes would make a great casing for a roller pillow so I rolled up a towel and stuffed it in a hat and closed off the open end. Instant roller pillow. I took it into hubby's computer room to show him and promptly lost my pillow. So I had to do another one.

I'm cranking out lots of things, just because it's so fast, but I'm getting a sore shoulder from cranking. I'm also getting frustrated with the panel setting as it seems to drop stitches at the beginning, or at the end, or in the middle, but never the at the same point on any attempt. I will master this darn thing yet.

It's all Diane's fault. She started this.

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Thread, thread and more thread

Decades ago I used to do a lot of petit point, and I acquired hundreds of different colours of floss, which I kept in a 36 drawer storage box and I'm still working through the stash.

However, I'm noticing that in spite of having lots of colours most of which have several shades, I still don't seem to have what I want and the thread that used to cost $.30 a skein is now $1.50. That doesn't seem very costly until you consider how many colours you need to do a landscape. The last one used about 30 shades of blue and about as many of green and about 15 shades of brown and 15 more of beige. That's about 100 shades of colour.  

It's not just having that many colours, it's having 3-7 shades of some colours to get the variations right.

So I need more thread colours, but I don't really know which ones, just that I again have a lot of river, a lot of sky, a lot of grasses and reeds and flower leaves and tree leaves and rocks, lots of rocks. So in addition to the greens and blues I need lots of browns and greys. 

I went looking for thread and while I can buy lots of assorted threads cheaply, I don't like using cheap threads. The cheap threads are dull, coarse looking and rough feeling. The DMC floss has slick threads with a nice sheen to them. They're also more expensive and harder to find.

I went online looking for bunches of colours and found lots in groupings of home decor (what the heck is home decor colour?) or exclusive (!?) or popular colours (!?) or variations (!?) Generally these were packs of 36 colours for about $40.00.  None of these bundles seemed to have a lot of blues and greens and certainly not browns and greys. 

I finally opted for a pack of 100 random threads that, with shipping and taxes cost $163.00 which is a whole lot more than the thirty cents a skein I used to pay. It came today with 25 greens, 15 blues, 15 browns and a couple of greys along with 43 other assorted colours.

I used to split the threads between Coats and Clark Anchor and DMC. In petit point there were subtle shading differences between the two brands and some charts used threads from both manufacturers to get the best combinations. Then I sorted each brand into blue greens and yellow greens.

While the blues got sorted into red blues and yellow blues. Some blues lean toward purple and some toward green.

 Coats and Clark Anchor is gone, replaced by J P Coats and while I have some of their threads, I find that the quality of the floss has gone down the the thread has more of a dull finish than it used to. So I'm sticking to the DMC threads for a more consistent product.

There weren't a lot of browns and they ranged from beige and peach to chocolate and  bronze, while there were only 2 greys.

I'm not sure I can use my typical sorting practice and I think I'm just going to shove them in drawers sorting them into light and dark.

At least I have a few more options now, or maybe not, they might just be duplicates of what I already have, and wouldn't that be a bummer.

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

The hazards of riding on popular trails

We're fortunate to have a number of well maintained trails with beautiful scenery to enjoy close to our home and we've been using them for ages. Over the years I have observed a number of issues that are even more pronounced now that we use the electric scooters more than our bikes. You might even say they're sort of pet peeves.

Now I know that pedestrians, roller bladers, bike riders and scooter riders need to share the space but there are the road hogs. They don't keep to one side or the other, they just walk down the middle of the road. If you ring a bell to let them know you're there, they just ignore you. They don't move to one side or the other, they just keep on going at the same pace wandering down the middle of the road, forcing you off the trail into the brush to safely get around them. It's not too bad going around these folks when you're on a bike, but when you try it on a scooter with 3 inches road clearance, it's a different matter. 

I do realize that the issue might be that the pedestrian is a little bit deaf, but in that case, for their safety's sake, you'd think they'd have the sense to keep to the side of the trail just in case. Since they don't keep to the side and don't move even when they see you, you can only assume that they are just plain ignorant.

Since bikes and electric scooters are silent I always ring my bell or say "beep beep" so that I'm not startling folks. I have no objection sharing the road, but one of the things that I find frustrating is the family groups or other clusters of pedestrians that sprawl across the trail, blocking progress, particularly when some of the group are small children. Most of the time none of the adults are really paying attention except to make sure that the little ones don't wander too far away. 

Invariably when you come up to the group whether you approach from in front or behind, which ever direction the adults go, the little ones go the opposite direction. Having successfully blocked your progress, the rascal will suddenly realize everyone else is on the other side of the trail and they'll turn around and toddle back across the trail in front of you. If you're travelling at any speed, making an abrupt stop is likely to send you "ass over tea kettle". I find the scooters go faster than I generally pedal, so it's even more problematic on the scooter.

Repeatedly ringing the bell to let people know I'm there often leaves me feeling that people are thinking I'm trying to push them out of the way. I kind of am being a bit pushy, but I have a right to use the trails too and people walking 5 abreast on a trail wide enough for 3 gets kind of crowded. I always smile and say thank you when they move over, and most people smile back and say no problem, but there are always those few who give you dirty looks. (Need I say, they're generally the ones who don't pay attention to their kids?)

Then there are the dog walkers. People walking their dogs is perfectly fine, but there are those few who don't have the sense God gave little green apples. The parks aren't dog parks or off leash parks. Off leash would probably be better. There are quite a few people who use extensible leashes which are great to let the dog run over to the edge of the road and lift it's leg in the grass while the owner stands on the pavement. What creates difficulty is when the owner is on one side of the trail and the dog is on the other side of the trail with the leash stretched between them. Can anyone say garrote? 

These are just a few of the issues I've had when we've been riding our bikes on the popular trails. What I've noticed with the scooters is that they're really quiet and they can be really fast which just compounds the problems. The posted speed on the trails used to be 10 KMH which is impossible to maintain going up and down little hills even on a bike. With the electric scooter you need to accelerate to get up even little hills and going down little hills you pick up speed. Go too slow and you stop all forward motion and fall off. That's just physics, which is why I think they've removed all of the posted speed signs. 

The result is that even while we don't ride fast, some of the folks we share the trails with can be really, really irritating. 

I'm getting off my soapbox now.

Monday, August 28, 2023

Stitches and punctures

The embroidery is coming along slowly. I decided that I wanted a big chunk of flowers in this next picture and chose to work in 3 shades of purple with some olive green leaves. I used satin stitch for the petals in a light mauve and a thinner border of satin stitch in a darker shade. The centres were done in large french knots It's hard to suggest different shapes of leaves when they're so tiny, so I decided to work with a basic daisy stitch in a 5 stitch grouping. More or less.

The picture had 2 different types of flowers, with a smaller flower type clustered around the outer edge of the first group and I chose to use yellow for them. I did a basic daisy shape in a lighter yellow and switched to a darker yellow for the centre which I did in a large french knot. A lighter green was selected for the leaves which I did in rows of fly stitch.

I started the reeds in a different shade of green using a couching stitch, but now that it's started I'm not happy with the colour. I want more of a contrast between the leaves of the yellow flowers and the reeds, but I don't think I've got the colours I want in my stash.

Since I patched together pieces from different colouring pages, there are places where it's hard to figure out what should go where. When I'm looking at the execution of the project I'm going to have to wing it in a lot of areas. That's not so bad when you're colouring a picture, but it's very disheartening to have to "erase" hours of stitching because it didn't work out the way you wanted it to or it's not looking quite right.

We had the scooters out again trying to finish off our tour of Professor's Lake. We started the first part of the trip when we'd just got the scooters and we didn't know how far we could go until we'd run out of power. Like most rechargeable devices you start out with full charge, in this case 5 bars, but the bars at the full end have more power that the ones at the low end. The bar at the full end means I can go uphill fast. The one at the low end means I might not make it uphill at all. We started with an almost full charge, but half way around the lake the scooters got very sluggish and we didn't want to get to the point where we didn't have enough juice to get home. Hubby has a bad ankle and walking any distance is painful so we didn't want to take a chance and cut the trip short.

The Professor's Lake trail goes three quarters of the way around the lake. The other quarter is bordered by the street. The Rec centre is in the middle of the trail and accessible by car. We approach the trail from one of the ends and usually ride our bikes or scooters from one end to the other of the trail and then turn around to come back. On our attempt to finish the trip around the lake my sweetie got a flat tire. No apparent puncture, we didn't run over glass or anything else, it was just suddenly flat.

Fortunately we were close to the Rec centre so hubby switched scooters with me and took off home leaving me to sit in the shade waiting while he zipped home and grabbed the car. Our scooters are foldable so it's easy to pop them in the trunk.

When we got home we inspected the tire and couldn't find and cut or puncture so we re-inflated the tire and it seemed to stay inflated. We took a quick trip around the block and the tire stayed up, but a couple of days later when we went to take them out for a ride, the tire was flat again.

It was necessary to disassemble the rear tire to change the flat, which is a bit of a pain in the butt. We had already invested in the lever tools that help with changing the tires when we had our old scooters which made getting the tire off the rim fairly easy. 

Inflating the tires is  an exercise in aggravation. See the picture? The wheels are so small that it's hard to get the end of the air hose attached to the valve. The straight end is too long to fit in the space available and we really needed a right angle end to fit it. We ordered a right angle extension hose which fit nicely into the valve space, but the opposite end didn't fit the compressor air hose. GRRR! We also ordered a small manual air pump, but the end of the pump hose didn't want to attach to the valve either!! However, the end of the manual pump hose did fit onto the end of the new extension, so we now have a way to manually pump up the tire if we run into a similar situation while on the road.

What's really frustrating is that unless you have an air hose with a gauge you don't know if you've put enough air in. Then when you try to attach a manual gauge to check the air pressure, you have to mess around with the valve so much in that tight little space, that you let out all the air you just put in! At this point we remembered that we had the portable compressor in the car with the built in gauge and right angle end. Thank heaven!

Our TurboAnt scooters came with spare inner tubes so we replaced the inner tube, then realized that the position for the valve hole in  the rim was off centre between the spokes and the way we inserted the inner tube positioned the right angled valve up against  the spoke instead of away from it making it impossible to attach a hose to the valve. Fortunately we noticed that fact before we had reassembled the tire. We finally got the new inner tube in and the tire inflated. There is a leak in the old inner tube but it's on the side of the tire so I'm wondering if it was just a defective tire.

Enough of this nonsense,  I want to get honeycomb tires.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

One thing leads to another

I've been sewing a little bit, but lots of hours work isn't making much of a change. So if you're looking for lots of updates--- they aren't happening.

In other news, one of the latest videos we took with the GoPro camera took 14 hours to convert 1 hour of raw footage into something we could post on the web. After several days of leaving the program running overnight, we started looking at ways to speed up the process. One of the first requirements was a more robust CPU, then it also needed a lot more RAM and of course a much bigger and better graphic card and...

If you know anything about computers, you know that this is a recipe for not just an overhaul, but a complete new computer system. So we went shopping. We went from an old quad core computer to a 16 core, 24 thread PC Intel 13th gen Core i7 with 32 GB RAM, 2TB SSD and a RTX  4070 graphic card for about twice what we intended to spend. The up side is - conversion of the same files with the same parameters went from 14 hours to 3. Yay! I think...

Having sorted out that little problem, hubby decided he was tired of filming quiet trails and looked for something different. He thought filming the stores in our local plaza would be an interesting change. So we went up the road and began riding along the fronts of the stores. Not knowing if the camera mounted on the handlebars was getting a good picture or cutting off the store names, he tried to face the stores head on. Repeatedly pulling away from the curb and turning toward the store fronts.

Did I mention this operation was done on a Friday evening when everybody and his brother was jammed into the parking lot?  Did I mention that the plaza in question is formed as a square within a square, so that you are consistently pulling out into traffic? Did I mention that I'm not fond of driving a scooter in traffic? Every one of those cars is bigger than me and I've already been hit with a car once this summer.

After an hour of dodging cars we came home and looked at the replay, only to discover that that camera hadn't been turned on!!!

You know what that means, don't you? Yep, we had to do it all over again. Only this time I insisted that we do it in the morning on a weekday when there was little or no traffic. Know what we got? An hour of driving around a parking lot. You can see the store fronts, and the cars and asphalt. You get an idea of the size of the plaza and the stores in it, oh and cars and asphalt. For variety there's cars and asphalt.

So much more interesting than trees and flowers and water. Right?

Sorry, no pictures as I find parking lots full of cars and asphalt less interesting than a blank page.

Monday, August 07, 2023


Lavinia mentioned that the picture of the tree wasn't very clear. I guess that's what happens when you take a hurried picture with the tablet rather than getting out the camera or the scanner. This time I scanned the tree to give you a better idea of the effect of using more than one colour of thread at the same time. 

The tree trunk looks like tree bark without any extra effort. The single thread is sometimes on the top, sometimes on the bottom of each stitch in an utterly random way, making a realistic effect.

I used a single colour in a couple of places for the tree boles, like the one on the bottom right, just to make them a little more obvious.