Monthly Archives: July 2010

Photographing toddlers/babies is hard to do

Pamela’s blanket test knitting process is nearly complete but I’ve been having issues getting good photographs with my model, Pamela, and the blanket. An 18 month old just isn’t into posing and waiting patiently for me to take just the right photograph. On three occasions photo shoots were attempted and only on the 3rd attempt were the pictures decent. I’m a bit mad at myself because I kept thinking the pictures looked a bit blurry but never took the time to check my camera settings. Finally after a successful photo shoot, I had the shots but still this blurriness and so checked my camera. It turned out that I had it on MF rather than AF. I have no idea what MF or AF means but I do know that AF gives you a sharper picture. Some of the pictures came out OK though. Sadly my favorite ones came out blurry so I probably won’t be able to use them and I don’t think I could subject Pamela to yet another shoot. That might just be child abuse.

Here are what I consider the best of the batch. Feel free to comment on which you think would make the best cover photo for the pattern. I plan to include some shots of Pamela plus blanket plus some shots of the blanket alone so that more detail of the blanket can be shown.

1. I quite like this shot though it looks like I’m advertising chapstick in addition to the blanket :-).
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2. I quite like this one as well though I wish she were looking at the camera and the photo was a bit sharper.
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3. I really like this photo. I’m not quite sure why but it just seems to be a great shot of a baby and her blanket.
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4. Great shot of Pamela but blanket comes out quite blurry.
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5. Another excellent Pamela shot but not so great blanket shot.
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6. This picture is just sweet.
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7. Pamela was then put down for a nap and while the shoot was easy, the lighting wasn’t ideal.
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8. Detail picture 1.
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9. Detail picture 2.
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10. Previously posted but I thought I’d include this one as well. I like the warm tones here and maybe could crop the photo a bit.
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11. Just a shot of full blanket.
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I’d love to hear some critique on these photos: which are best, should photos be cropped, are all these crap and I should try another photo session…

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It’s the Christmas Countdown!

This may seem a weird time to post about Christmas preparations but in the life of a knitter, this is actually the best time. As a knitter, I never buy presents, I always knit them. This means that I need to allot quite a bit of time to my Christmas preparations. I’ve never successfully done that. Usually, I’m burning the midnight oil the last week before Christmas, knitting, trying to block in secret, etc. And generally people get lots of IOUs; you know, “here’s one sock completed and you’ll get the other one in the next month or so…”

So, could this be the year that I’m actually going to be organized and have all my prezzies ready?

What inspired this post you might wonder… I was surfing ravelry, as you do, and saw on the main boards the thread “Only six more months til Christmas.” Everyone then pointed out to the OP (original poster) that it was actually 5 months to Christmas. That made me think that I need to start planning out my Fall. I have an ambitious design project that I want to do this Fall (more about that as I work out whether it will work out). And I need to make sure that my presents are ready to go. And I should probably find a job that can support me and my yarn habit. So the next 5 months will be packed for me.

Someone linked to this nifty countdown generator which wordpress doesn’t seem to want me to add.

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New pattern release – Ruffle My Feathers

A while ago I posted that this pattern was in the works. I was very lucky to have a number of people volunteer to test knit and to do it in a timely manner. So now I’ll re-introduce you to Ruffle My Feathers. It is now available for purchase on ravelry or on my blog for $5.00 US.

The shawl name comes from the fact that the lace edging is feather and fan and creates a ruffled edging. This is a top down shawl with two cast on options: either a garter tab cast on for more advanced knitters or an ordinary cast on for beginners to lace. The pattern is both written and charted and it provides a stitch count chart at the end to keep track of rows; the stitch count chart provides the number of stitches between each stitch marker as well. Additionally a number of points are noted where the knitter can start the edging so that yarn usage can be maximized.

Skill Level: Intermediate

Sizes: Scarf version and Shawl version.

Yarn: 400-600 yards of fingering weight yarn. Used in photos – String Theory Hand Dyed Yarn Caper Sock (Colorway: Blue Hill)

Final measurements: Approx. 40in/102cm (48in/122cm) across and 12.5in/32cm (14in/36cm) in length.

Price: $5.00 US

I had a number of test knitters knit up this shawl and here are some of the beautiful shawls produced:

By ArtistaRaquel using Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in Springtime

By coffeecake using Posh Yarn Sylvia 4ply in Assignment

By Needlediva using String Theory Caper Sock in Uva

By Riverpoet using Madeline Tosh Merino Light in Mansfield Garden Party

By dmop using String Theory Caper DK in Midnight and Black Tulip

By LeighGreyKnits using The Unique Sheep Verve in Raffaldini

By Virgilocatel using Abuelita Yarns Three ply

I had a number of other test knitters but they have yet to post photos of their projects. I’m sure those will be beautiful as well.

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In the works: Pamela’s Blanket

Along with the Ruffle My Feathers shawl, I’ve been working on another design for the Knit Picks Independent Designer Program. On arrival in Quito and meeting my host family, I met young Pamela.

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For the last 12 years or so I’ve lived a singular life. Pretty much everyone around me has been around my age with similar lifestyles. What that has meant was little to no access to young children. I barely even remember kids exist except for when I’m at a supermarket, enjoying my shopping and I feel my shins smash into something small and squishy. I look down to see a miniature person and feel the glare of some mother a few feet away. It’s not my fault really, I’m not  conditioned to look downwards in case little feet might be running by.

Anyhow, after meeting Pamela, I decided I’d try to knit something in miniature. I’m definitely not yet ready to take on miniature clothing, sizes like 2T, 3T and the like puzzle me. But I thought, why not a baby blanket. I knit up a swatch, took pictures and submitted it to Knit Picks. Stacey was lovely and got back to me in a short time and it was a go. The only challenge being that I’d need the yarn here in Ecuador. My lovely friend Mary was up to the task and so KP mailed yarn to Mary and Mary mailed it to me. Along with my yarn I asked Mary to send me a few things: socks, new jeans, etc. Anyhow, this pushed my package over 4 lbs and thus I had to go to the main post office to pick it up. I kid you not, these are the steps (and approximately an hour of my time) it took to pick up the package:

  1. Show up with package slip plus original passport and 2 copies of passport.
  2. Take a number
  3. Number is called, show number and passport to attendant and give him/her copies of passport, pay $1.25.
  4. Wait for same number to be called at another station – this time a door. Go through door, man picks up your package and opens it and goes through it with you looking and fills out a form saying what the package contained. He then tapes it up. You think that´s it and you get your package. NO!
  5. Go sit in room with attendants at computer. Wait. Get called up and have them enter all the information about your package and also your personal information into a computer. Then you are assessed a fee based on the cost of postage. My fee was only $0.35. Had the package been a few pounds heavier it could have gone up to $60.
  6. Go and pay fee at a bank window (separate from where you paid the initial $1.25). The bank charges you $0.70 to use their services and so fee is $1.05.
  7. Take proof that you´ve paid the fee back to woman in front of computer and finally, finally receive your package.

Along with the arrival of my package came 25 summer volunteers for the program I’m working with. This meant knitting got sidetracked as I ran an orientation and dealt with the various challenges of 25 young foreigners in a foreign land. Once they were suitably oriented and sent to their sites, I was able to do some knitting but then of course I fell a bit sick. I’ve lived to tell the tale however and I have a completed baby blanket. I have yet to take the final photos with young Pamela as my model (she went off to the beach for the weekend and then I’m about to go off to the beach for the weekend but soon the final shoot will take place) but here are some preliminary photos. The pattern is nearly complete and will be sent to test knitters this evening.

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Times

I meant to be keeping up with my blog but the last few weeks have been tough. I’ve been pretty ill. After suffering some stomach ailments, I then had some respiratory issues. Who would have thought this cute little dog would cause me such problems?

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We went to visit some of my host family’s relatives in Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World – site where you can see the Equator line) and they had this pup. I wasn’t warned ahead of time of the pup so I hadn’t taken a nice concoction of meds. While we were at the house, I didn’t have any kind of reaction but later on I had a minor cough. I thought nothing of it but the cough continued for a week. I then went to the doctor who said I was having a mild allergic reaction. He prescribed an inhaler and I thought all would be well. I continued to worsen however and then did some self-medicating. I got some prednisone (prednisona here – you can pretty much ask for anything from the pharmacist and get it). Anyhow, I’d been taking prednisone and sucking on my inhaler and not getting much better. I was about to head to the doc again but it seems that this weekend I might finally have won the battle.

Mitad del Mundo

As mentioned before, I headed out on a trip with my host family to visit some of their relatives that live out near Mitad del Mundo. Their house was absolutely lovely and they cooked us the loveliest meal. This whole section will be picture heavy.

The journey: Eric and Christian and I ride in the back of the truck
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Arrival: The house and the eats

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Musical interlude: Some singing and guitar playing post dinner
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The proud parents
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Mitad del Mundo
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World Cup

As with the rest of the world, I’ve been watching the World Cup raptly. I should add with some Wimbledon watching. Actually I think I watched Wimbledon raptly with breaks for the World Cup. At the beginning of the tournament, I named The Netherlands the dark horse and thought they would win the whole thing. The final was a bit difficult for me. As an avid Arsenal fan I’ve been pretty much supporting teams on which an arsenal player plays. Wouldn’t it be my luck that the two finalists would each have an Arsenal player. In the end it wasn’t too hard though, I do love Fabregas a tad more than Van Persie and I’ve lived in Spain, specifically Barcelona, where Fabregas hails. So at the end, like the octopus, I had to choose Spain. I was sad to see The Netherlands lose though but at the end of the day, I think Spain fought harder. Except for Robben, the rest of the Dutch team seemed a bit too passive.

Wimbledon was good fun as well. The Isner v Mahut match was scintillating. Serena won the women’s match which made me happy though Roddick broke my heart yet again. It was a fun tournament though.

Somehow I need to figure out how to get US open tix.

Shawl Progress

I’m very excited about the Ruffle My Feathers shawl. I’ve had some lovely elves (otherwise known as test knitters) working on it and giving me great feedback. My mind is going a bit nuts with new ideas though my Ecuador schedule has made knitting difficult. I don’t seem to have the downtime to knit and then the commute is so bumpy that it’s just not conducive to knitting. Also, my mind isn’t at rest. It’s a weird thing. I think while I can conceive ideas, I need a certain tranquility to be able to produce them and right now, my mind isn’t tranquil. Maybe my system is finally ready to settle down somewhere. I’m enjoying my time in Ecuador but at the same time there’s a part of me that wishes I were making a life for myself back in NY or wherever I end up settling. For the first time I’m feeling like I’m wasting time. The funny thing is while I’m thinking that I should be considering a more settled life, I’m wondering how I can put together enough money for a trip to Beijing and Tokyo this Fall. 🙂

The first test knitter uploaded photos of her beautiful shawl and has been kind enough to let me gank some photos. She knit it using Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in Springtime and it’s beautiful. It screams Spring and the photography is absolutely fantastic. So here are some beautiful shawl pictures to end this post:

Rachel's Ruffle My Feathers Test

Rachels' Ruffle My Feathers Test

Rachel's Ruffle My Feathers Test

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