Monday, February 22, 2010

How Do You Photograph Black Fiber?

That's a question which really needs to be posted on a Ravelry forum; however, life is too chaotic now with overtime at work and marathon knitting, crocheting & beading going on during the Olympics at home. There's no time to start and keep up with a forum thread.

What lead me to this question was this charcoal grey neckwarmer that was knit over the past weekend. (It's a basic turtleneck without the sweater. Easy peasy to knit while watching downhill skiing!) I wanted a picture of this item before I mailed it off to its destination because a variation is jelling in my brain-o. (Jello is my brain, oh, too much TV!)

A photoshoot for just this neckwarmer seemed a little silly, so I grabbed a couple of black things for a challenge: a jet black scarf of machine knit tuck lace and a jet black crocheted purse that I got from a friend.

Golly, black is probably just as hard to photograph as red is. (More on that subject later.)

Here's a close-up of the scarf. Does it look jet black to you? The best I could get was this photo-edited version. All my shots were over exposed and I had to reduce the light levels and luminosity settings. To me the photo looks a deeper shade of charcoal grey, not jet black--but how can you photograph black and still show detail? I googled, but didn't find a satisfactory answer.

Here's the purse which is crocheted out of jet black nylon cord:

You have to throw some light on the subject or you can't see any detail. Too much light and the black looks washed out. Too little, no detail. Shooting at an angle seemed to help.

Anyone out there with suggestions?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Dreamsiscle Yarn

Alpaca/Merino/Silk from hand-painted roving by cjkopeccreations
3 3/4 oz., worsted weight 2-ply, 110 yds

Here is the yarn compared to the super bulky yarn that was spun last summer. Now, the question is whether I could still spin super bulky. Don't know.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Brown Sugar Scarf

All dry and freed from the blocking table is this rockin' continental rib scarf. Just in time to take to tonight's guild meeting for show and tell!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Fresh Spun: Lavender and Buttercup

3 5/8 ounces of worsted weight yarn -112 yards
Spun from handpainted roving from oldsheep

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mardi Gras!

If Mardi Gras is here already, it must mean Spring is on its way! Spring always puts me in the mood to make cheery beaded bangle bracelets.

These two exuberant specimens were made last night. I want to make more, but there stuff in progress that needs to be finished and unspun fiber that's calling. What an ADD girl to do?

Jambalaya for dinner tonight and more creating during the Olympics! Let the good times roll!

Monday, February 15, 2010

President's Day - New Items Finished

Blue and red items are finished today, befitting the holiday.

Straight from the blocking table (AKA, the dining room table) is Valerie in a new Biggie Beret with the crown knit from my hand-spun bulky yarn:

And all ready to go to the blocking table is this cranberry red sawtooth neckwarmer:

The Olympics are so great for getting things done!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine Dreams

It's been a great Valentine's day so far:

My romantic chocolate rose bag may have made it to the front page of Etsy yesterday. It got over 150 page views and lots of hearts! Having something make it to the front page has been a dream--what a super valentine's present!

Speaking of which, Mr. ChaCha gave me a spa gift certificate this morning--Wahoo!

And I made these pretty bangles to go with my Tango Olympic Sweater:

Hope your day is a good one!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Knitting UFOs & Screech for the Olympics

It's that time again--the Winter Knitting Olympics. Alas, there's no time to stop everything and focus on one mondo giganto knitting project to the exclusion of all others. Besides, things are really cookin' at the day job right now and I'm doing overtime.

So no biggie projects for me like last time. My 2006 Olympic Tango Sweater took a look of planning and training. It was a marathon of knitting: before breakfast, during lunch and coffee breaks, all evening until the wee was exhausting, but the result was wonderful.

So this time, the focus is going to be on finishing things--don't worry, I won't run out of unfinished objects (UFOs) or unspun fiber to work on. Watch for lots of completion over the next two weeks!

Candy Bar Beret

Just off the blocking table is this beret in milk chocolate, caramel and nougat colors. It is soft, sweet, and just for me.

Brown Sugar Scarf

This rockin' scarf is also for me (and maybe for a pattern soon). It's knit from STR sock yarn and went from two to four feet during the opening ceremonies last night. It looks like there's enough yarn left for at least another foot or more of knitting. I'll be working on finishing this over the next few days while I also finish a pair of special Valentine's bracelets and a neckwarmer.

Screech-out for the Vancouver Opening Ceremonies

Okay, no one's going to out do the Chinese extravaganza so get over it. Vancouver's production was a delightful technical production. (At least until that little challenge with one of the four torch legs there at the end.)

It was informative and entertaining. My favorite part came near the end in the Autumn section inspired by the dancing-fiddlers of Newfoundland. They were all dressed in tartan-inspired energetic clothes that look like they could be distantly related to Seth Aaron Henderson's Project Runway line just shown at fashion week.

There have been plenty of negative blog comments around today about the "horrible punk-rock fiddlers" from people who clearly missed the whole point and have little appreciation for dance. I found it thrilling--especially the extreme tapping of Vancouver choreographer Brock Jellison. It made me want to travel to Vancouver to see his Ruckus dance production company. If you follow the link and love dance, be sure to click on "trailer" when you get to his website.

Evidently, in Newfoundland you can find the real-life counter parts of these dancing fiddlers in a bar where they serve something called Screech, a particularly potent form of rum. (On the Wikipedia page is an interesting description of the "screeching ritual", which I'll refrain from describing here, but it sounds like it involves some hearty blokes.)

Okay, I want to go to Newfoundland, too!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

My Winter White Work

I am a color fanatic. Give me bright saturated color and I feel higher than a hippie on drugs at Woodstock.

My Etsy store, however, needs a little bit of neutral to balance all the brightness there. The items you saw in my last few posts were an inspiration. Here's what I've come up with.

First off is a new neckwarmer design for this year. I plan to make a series of these with the same or similar twisted stitch patterns in natural undyed fiber. Here the first one in a beautiful undyed baby alpaca in a luscious vanilla color. It's ultra soft! Later there will be some in mocha and expresso.

The next item is still in progess. It's going to be one of my OOAK little pet purses--the kind that fit in the palm of your hand. Some bride might like this one little drawstring pouch when it's finished.

I put a lot of work into these little bags and finish the interior impeccably, so not too many get produced. It's too labor intensive to make many of them.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Winter Fantasy and Inspiration

In the third month of winter my true gave to me:

Set of 3 Micro Tiles by elementclaystudio

In the second month of winter my true love gave to me:

In the first month of winter my true love gave to me:

These inspiring products by three amazing artists have inspired me to make some creamy things, too. I'll show you what they are in the next post.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Winter Inspirations

I'm seeing so many inspiring items lately. The winter whites and soft blues are attracting me today. Check out these lovelies from Etsy shops:

raku lampwork bracelet
by theBeadAerie

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Handspun Slouchy Beret

Here's Valerie in the finished beret after it was washed, blocked, and dried.

We had a long photo session but didn't get too many good photos because it was one of those days when the light keeps shifting quickly. Lots of fast moving clouds with intermittent sun. I took probably 35 photos of the hat and only got 2 or 3 good enough for the Etsy store, so we'll be doing a reshoot this weekend.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Blocking a Slouchy Beret

This is a follow-up post to a previous one that described how to block berets.

A slouchy hat is a challenge to block because you don't want the crease that you would get if you laid the hat flat or stretched it over a plate. This is one solution: stuff it with tissue paper. (Be sure to use plain white or unbleached tissue and not colored tissue that might bleed when wet.)

Another solution, if you have one just the perfect size, is to use an upside-down bowl, or a vase and place the beret over it.