Wednesday, April 25, 2012

3KCBWDAY3 Knitting and Crochet Blog Week Day 3

My Knitting Hero(es)

I couldn't possibly narrow it down to only one knitting hero. There are just so many knitters and designers whom I really admire.

Authors of books I can't imagine living without:

Barbara Walker: Her Treasuries of knitting patterns are just amazing. I'm so glad they're back in print. I use them all the time to find different stitch patterns. When I have a new yarn and I'm not sure what it wants to be, I sometimes just cast on and start swatching random patterns from the Treasuries. I love watching the different stitch patterns grow off of my needles.

Susanna E. Lewis: I taught myself to knit lace from her Knitting Lace book. I did the swatching thing again and still have the cotton swatches I made. I love the history of the 19th century sampler she reverse engineered the stitch patterns from and all the information she includes on lace techniques. This book is a must-have for lace knitters.

The Best of the bloggers:

I've learned so much from reading the blogs of so many knitters and designers. I did a knitting blog dump in a post last December (see it here). The list in my RSS reader has only grown since then and I think I'd be embarrassed to post it. A few I find particularly helpful and/or interesting:

Techknitter of posts the most comprehensive tutorials and comparative studies of different techniques.

Marnie MacLean has some great tutorials on using spreadsheets in designing. Her blog is a great resource for beginning designers. Oh, she publishes some really nice designs too. Not to mention the adorable dogs.

Katie Davis designs great patterns and writes a wonderful blog, needled. Hoxton Handmade said it much better than I could, so just follow the link to her write-up and consider it seconded.

Anna Hrachovec of Mochimochi Land posts the most imaginative photos of adorable knitted creatures. Guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. And make you want to knit little cuties.

My favorite podcasters:

I learn a lot from the knitting podcasts I listen to and watch. They're especially great for reviews of the latest books and yarns, plus it's reassuring to hear other knitters confess to the same mistakes and struggles we all have. I did a post on podcasts back in December. I'll mention just a few of my very favorite ones here. The links go to their web pages, but all are available on iTunes too.


Blog Like It's the End of the World: Knitting, vegan cooking and books. Very entertaining.

Cast On: Interesting ruminations on life and knitting from an American living in Wales

The Electric Sheep: The podcast from Hoxton Handmade, often just laugh-out-loud funny, particularly when the sheep goes on a gin-fueled rampage.

Knit Knit Cafe: Great knitting content from a mother/son pair.


Knit Me Happy: Great knitting content and the most adorable menagerie of cats and dogs.

The Knit Girllls: Lots of knitting content, great knitting book reviews, always entertaining.

One last pair of heroes

Jess and Casey of Ravelry: They saw a need and filled it. Seriously, how did we survive as knitters in the days before Ravelry? 

And now I'm afraid to hit publish on this post because I'm sure I've forgotten someone and I don't want anyone to feel neglected. There are so many wonderful knitters out there, my list could go on forever. I've read a few other people's posts on their knitting heroes and am looking forward to reading as many as I can. Why do I have this sinking feeling that my RSS reader list is going to grow horribly today?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

3KCBWDAY2 Knitting and Crochet Blog Week Day 2 Photography Challenge

Day 2 of Knitting and Crochet Blog Week is photography challenge day.

There are three things I struggle with in my photography. Well, that is, if you ignore the overarching problem that I'm just not that good a photographer.

The first is light. Or more precisely, lack thereof. I live in Oregon. Our winter days are short, dark, and rainy. To make matters worse, my apartment faces north and east, so I don't get a lot of what natural light there is. You could see that in yesterday's photos of stash in situ. Even though yesterday was a gorgeous sunny spring day, a lot of my apartment still didn't have enough light to get good natural light photos. On rainy winter days it's even worse, as you can see in this photo of my Yuletide Teddy.

The background is really white posterboard, but it shows up grey in the low light. The red and green of Teddy's sweater are nowhere near as bright as in real life. Another example is these socks photographed on Halloween last year.

There're really a rich shades of a nice olive green, but you can't really tell in the photo. Maybe I should just move to somewhere with more sun? Arizona? New Mexico?

My second problem is that I live alone so I generally use myself as the model in my photos. It's hard to get the shot I want holding out the camera at armslength and clicking. I take some humorous photos sometimes.

Oops, missed most of my head trying to get a good shot of the top of that hat. Notice the skilled shot includes the camera wrist strap. I take a lot of even worse ones too, where I miss the knitted item all together.

See the cool hat I'm modelling in that photo? Here's another model who didn't want to pose.

And he's my last photography challenge. He doesn't like to pose but he does like to nose his way into photos he's not meant to be in.

He's a handsome cat, so I put up with it.

PS I guess I should learn to read instructions more carefully. I'd read through the topics last week and knew today's topic was the photography challenge. I didn't have any really good ideas and was busy during the day. I thought maybe I'd skip today's post, but really didn't want to. As I stepped through my RSS feed of blog posts this evening I saw a few posts where people talked about what challenges they struggle with in their photography. And I kind of got it in my head that the topic was what about photography challenges you. I forgot about the challenge to take a creative, imaginative shot. So I wrote a post about the things I struggle with in my photography.

Looking through my photos, I don't have any really creative shots. Guess I should work on that. The most creative I can find is the one above of my beast in the Leprechaun hat. The hat was intended for Teddy, but failed to shrink in the felting process. It's much too big for Teddy so I tried to put it on Tuft. He didn't want to pose in it but I managed to get that one shot.

Monday, April 23, 2012

3KCBWDAY1 Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2012 Color Lovers

It's Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2012! Think I can manage to blog everyday for seven days for this?
Stay tuned to find out! 

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week is coordinated by Eskimi Makes. She's come up with different topics for each day. Today's topic is Color Lovers. 

I tend towards purples, teals, greens and blues in my choice of colors. You can see that in some random stash photos around my apartment (excuse the poor lighting, but these are photos of stash in situ).

I keep some pretty yarns that I like to look at on one shelf of a bookcase. Blues, greens, raspberry pink

Some nice yarns waiting their turn on the bookshelf
Yarn that was recently used or considered for swatching often gets piled on the end table. This really should get returned to more permanent stash storage. Teal, green, and some brown.

Some yarns on the end table

And there's almost always a pile of yarn on the coffee table, either a current project or yarn being considered for a project in the immediate future. These yarns are currently mainly stash being considered for Teddy's April and May sweaters. Green and aqua, plus some pink and yellow. This is a spring selection from stash, hence the pink and yellow.

yarn on the coffee table
I dumped out a couple of stash bags to see what colors I have in them. The first is my Brown Sheep Naturespun Worsted stash. I love Naturespun. It's a nice soft worsted available in a great range of colors at a really reasonable price. It used to be my goto worsted for scarves, hats, and the like, but nobody carries it locally anymore. It's been displaced by Cascade 220, which I just don't like as much. A lot of this is leftovers from an afghan I made as a wedding present for some friends about 10 years ago. Unfortunately, that was before I had a digital camera, so I don't have a picture of the afghan itself. Lots of blue, some green. The browns and gold are from the afghan, so they were chosen with my friends' taste in mind, not mine. And the red and white are from Xmas knitting.

Brown Sheep Naturespun Worsted Leftovers

This next is a bag of sock yarn leftovers. Definite tendency to blue and purple here.

Sock yarn leftovers

You can see a lot of purple, teal and green in my finished projects too.

Teal in my Diamond Cap
Purple and green in the Octarine cowl
Some green socks I made last fall

a shawl currently in progress - definitely purple

But the use of color I'm most proud of actually included a fair bit of orange/brick red. For my Hawaiian Petroglyph sweater, I wanted to capture the colors of a Hawaiian sunset. The oranges and purples are the sunset, the greens the lush tropical rain forest.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

WIP Wednesday

My Glorious 25th of May Lilac Shawl

I started this as my dissertation for Nerd Wars Tournament 3 on Ravelry last fall (hence the Pratchett Glorious 25th of May reference). Obviously I failed to complete it on time.

But I'm really happy with how it's coming out. I think the lace motifs will be really pretty after blocking. And I'd say there's hope I'll actually finish it by the 25th of May :^)

If you want to check out more Work-In-Progress posts, please check out Tami’s Ami’s Blog, who’s been organizing a great WIP Wednesday blog theme!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Guilty of Blog Neglect

I've been neglecting my blog terribly. I set myself the goal of blogging every day in December. When I failed to keep up with that, I got mad at the blog and didn't post for a while. The longer it got, the more inertia there was. I started to think I needed to explain not blogging for so long. There really isn't a reason other than that I didn't. I do tend to hibernate and get quite antisocial in the dark, gloomy Oregon winters, so I expect that was part of it. I haven't been on google plus in months either.

Spring is here though. Today it was sunny and gorgeous outside (though it's clouded up again now). I got out and did some gardening this afternoon. I picked up a lot of leaves. (There's an oak tree near me that irritatingly hangs on to a lot of its dead leaves until it buds in the spring, so throughout the winter, every wind dumps a few more leaves in my yard. I tend to pick up the worst in late fall and then ignore it until spring comes.) I trimmed my grass for the first time this year. And I pulled some weeds. I think my thigh and butt muscles will be sore tonight - I did a lot of bending down and squatting today. A couple more sunny days and I'll have my yard whipped into shape for the spring and my seeds planted. I'm planning on a lettuce mix, radishes, and nasturtiums for salads, some broccoli cuz it's become my favorite veggie, and some sunflowers just because they're cheerful.

To catch you up on my knitting, here are photos of some of the things I've knit since I last posted.

January Teddy

A Valentine for Teddy

March Teddy trying to talk a leprechaun out of  his bag of gold,
My Dad carved the leprechaun for me as an Xmas present this past year - Dad's very talented at carving.

A Lace Shawlette out of Brown Sheep Naturespun

A cotton shower scrubby

A felted leprechaun hat
Originally meant for Teddy, it failed to shrink in felting so it's way too big for him.
Kitty posed reluctantly for this photo, but generally refuses to wear the hat.
It doesn't fit anyone but the kitty, so it sits forlornly on a table, unworn.

My very first crochet project.
Made from some of my sister's handspun that she sent me when she destashed a few years ago.