Monday, September 01, 2014

random inspiration roundup...with footnotes

oh, hi there! Here I am preparing the blog writing & photography workshop I'll be co-teaching with Beverly Army Williams next week at Fiber College, Savvy Storytelling * and it's hard to ignore the [lacky of] content here this summer. One of the things we'll be blabbing about is the importance of consistency. ** um,...yeah.
You know what's  hardest about long lapses? Trying to figure out where to start. I'm just going to skim along through some moments of inspiration this summer. Photo heavy post follows.
In June I returned to Nash Island to help out with the sheep shearing and roundup. It deserves and will get its own post about the activities and people and sheep--but I had the honor of going out to the island the day before with Jani and Ellen, to camp and  just be there. I can't even put it into words, it was so beautiful and elemental. I have very little stillness in my life. So this? ahhhhh.
I spent a while just wandering around, the colors and textures slay me. We aren't even yet talking about the sheep, which you surprisingly barely see on this tiny hilly island,. Until roundup, that is.  My new banner, on top, was a rare girl who showed herself on the highest island ridge.
 More inspiration in June: the bathroom chalked graffiti at A Gathering of Stitches . This was my summer of stitching, which will also get its own post. But obviously, the writing was....on the wall. . Can you spy my subtle contribution?
In July I spent a few days with two wonderful women, Susanne of Lucky Spool Media  aka CraftyEditor and the talented Liz Quan,  shooting a book on bedroom quilts, at a converted barn home in the Hudson Valley.
If you're guessing that it made me want to quilt, you'd be wrong. But, it did make me think a lot about printed textiles, room styling, the beauty of a well-dressed bed *** Susanne is ahhh-maaaazing, she transformed rooms with a steamy iron, an artillery of Command hooks, and jaw-dropping ease. I also thought about how gorgeous a wall of old blue bottles or Queen Anne's lace can be.
My knitting cosmically coordinated with the bedroom I was assigned to stay in at the barn house. After finishing my ode-to-Maine green shawl, I'm continuing this thing of having my knits imbued with meaning****. The golden yarn is Rumplestilskin, from Lost City Knits, paired with a hand dyed grey from the seconds room at Swans Island Yarn--both souvenir purchases from summer 2013. My friend and collaborator Kirsten Kapur helped me pair them a year ago. Shooting a book for her earlier in spring made me realize how I needed to knit her Cladonia, so that is underway here.******
Can I leave out my favorite girl in one of my favorite places? Nope. I squeezed in three trips to the beach in Delaware, two with her. The family's place we've been gathering at since 1985 is for sale******, and every visit reminds us of time passing, and summers past.  No matter how gruesome the ride there is, that moment when you walk across the dune in front of the house to the crashing surf...it never ceases to be breathtaking.
What inspired you this summer? 
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and now for the footnotes
* there are still seats left in the class, which happen this Friday September 5th from 9-5 in Searsport Maine.  Braggy moment: I am telling you, we've got a kickass class planned. If you can't make it and happen to be organizing an event--we are thinking of taking this on the road. Give us a shout!

** I am going to commit to blogging a couple of times a week, starting in midSeptember. If you are a crafter or small business person or social blogger, there is so much good about a consistent blog presence--not just for your soul and social life, but for the  growth you'll see in your following. For mine, one day  a week it'll be a photo heavy post about making/doing /life. The other will be something helpful. Or so I am thinking. Stay tuned! And, want to join me? We can link to each other.

***The quilting book will be out at the end of the year, and it'll be about bedroom styling with gorgeous quilt patterns, and ideas of choosing fabrics to match your personal style, the author is the talented April Rosenthal 

**** Up next a colorwork sweater, with Nash Island yarn from Starcroft, and Lori Versaci's Modern Tunic.  After shooting childrens' designs with her this summer I am a total fan of all her patterns for women too.

***** I know most Cladonias are striped. I'm opting for mostly grey stockinette section, a wide band of gold, then some stripes, then the lace...just  because. Go look at all the lovely Cladonias!

******If you happen to be looking for a fabulous place directly on the ocean in Dewey Beach Delaware, let me know, I'll point you to the realtor.
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Sunday, August 17, 2014

the recent past/the near future


where'ya been hiding all summer?
I was thinking I'd finally start blogging about my fibery/stitchy adventures this summer - there have been many-- but then I realized, it is almost the end of August, I must talk about what's next: 

FIBER COLLEGE  in Searsport Maine Sept 3-7 

 I'll be co-teaching Savvy Storytelling: Writing & Photography for Your Blog with Beverly Army Williams. We loved teaching this together last year (and loved our students). After a planning lunch this week, I can tell you that this year's version is going to be amazing. You will leave the day with a glint in your eye and all fired up to blog. ( I kind of got that way just talking about it with Beverly).  

Also a new class fromr me: Photo Scavenger Hunt. It will be a fun hands-on photography class making use of the wonderful surroundings- not just the natural but the people, and art and activities and moments. It'll teach you a lot about technique and composition, while you shoot challenges. You can be any level of photographer-it's a very adaptable and personalized class. Plus, there's a critique at the end.  I am rather psyched about both these classes. Click on that link to the (admittedly, um, idiosynchratic) website and sign up before you find everything full. I was astounded to learn there's still a couple of seats in Cal Patch's classes, f'rinstance and I recommend you nab'em while you can, too.  Hello? Do you need to think twice about hanging out with Gees Bend Quilters? Cal Patch? Ellen Mason? Jackie Ottino DeGraf? Mary Lou Egan?

I've blogged about my love for this unique event  here and here and here. Or email me if you want a private earful! 
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And now a bit about my last trip to Maine, to A Gathering of Stitches in Portland:
Meet Rhoda, the most self-possessed French Bulldog ever. In her fabulous porta-suitcase bed, thanks to her upholsterer-artist human,  who creates in a studio space at A Gathering of Stitches.

So much creativity at this dreamy makerspace, with Samantha Lindgren at the helm. (I am very annoyed that I can't find the excellent photo of the two of us that Keren Kurti made at the end of the classes) - upholstering, sewing, block printing, weaving..and in our case, 2 days of photo classes to explore shooting all of the above.
All three of the classes were new --or updated versions - and that was a joy. In the all day Photographing Your Handcrafts, we left time to upload images from earlier in the day,  and review/critique.We all felt like there was progress-I love this photo by Carolyn Noyes. A lot of talent in the room!

On Sunday the Photo Editing class and the iPhone Masterpiece classes flew by. I hope to be offering those again.  I think I heard some heads exploding when students saw the kind of controls you can have over your iPhone images with just a very few moves and a couple of cheap/free apps.

I can't end this wthout saying that if you can have a crush on a city, then Portland Maine is mine all mine. Obviously the vibrant arts and fiber arts community is there, the waterfront/beaches ( can.not.live. without a beach nearby), the hills and architecture and parks and size are right but ohmygoodness... the food!

Moral of the story: head northeast to Maine.  Join me at Fiber College. Get on Samantha's list and take a class at A Gathering of Stitches. 
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PS There's a nice interview with me on the Fiber College blog. In it, I awkwardly mention my thing with tomatoes. I have no idea why I couldn't stay on topic!

Monday, July 14, 2014

yo-ho-ho (cruise and a FO)

What better place than  the 2nd Non-Annual Thimble Islands Knitting Boat Trip to show my finished Wave on Wave Shawl?
* More about my shawl below.  Let's get right to the the knitting cruise, shall we?  Cap'n Bob can now say that his vessel not only flies the pirate flag (local tradition) but had yarn handspun on it, thanks to wonderful Dayna of MadWool, center column, 2nd from top. Also, in the colorful hair department, you can see Katy knitting a Pop Spots shawl that totally matches her black & fuschia/purple 'do, on the right..
Despite the dock sign, we were on the Volsunga. Not the Sea Mist. Stony Creek dock sharing.
I love my knitting community- and special shout out to Linda- (photo upper left), June  & Julia of Knit New Haven , whose open table policy sets the vibe for this kind of adventure.
It was lovely- cool sea breeze on a warm day, great company, lots of food & drink & spying into the island houses, some knitting. I love putting together things like this. Want a cruise in your neck of the woods? I'll do it . Now there's a niche-- knitting cruise events coordinator.  But, why not, you know my policy: " is it illegal? No? I'll try it!"


* So about that shawlette. The lighter green yarn was from Maine in 2012 when I visited Swan's Island "seconds" bins. I love the color, it's like spring in Maine. The darker green yarn was a putty colored beige when my son brought it to me from Peru. A very botched dying job on my part, at Ellen Mason's  mentored dye tent at Fiber College left it, as she generously put it, "sad", so she took it home and sent it to me in this mossy green shade-also like the Maine woods. I had to knit them into the same piece, right? 
Nice pattern, though not big on details. Still, it's a fun little project, written for a color changing yarn but easy enough to stripe it yourself. 
 The image of me modeling it in the upper right goes against everything I'd teach: don't wear a bright white summer shirt and straw hat to model a wooly neck accessory, don't shoot on a rolling ship.. but  thanks to Linda Young for doing an awesome job despite the challenges.I am not an easy subject.
Photo credit to Janet Hager for the view of the snack table and knitters, 2nd from the top on left.  I was too busy having fun and sipping Prosecco to get that view.

Next up: need to tell you about teaching at Gathering of Stitches in Portland Maine. More to come!


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

countdown: get some class this weekend at Gathering of Stitches

Gathering of Stitches in Portland Maine--here I come!  Take one class or take 3.

Only 2 seats left for Saturday, but  room in each of the Photo editing and iphone Masterpiece classes on Sunday. Samantha offers a discount if you take any 2 or 3 offerings.

I have a special treat, too: discounts from PhotoJojo and BlogStomp for all participants! Thanks to both companies for their support.

A few words about the iPhone Masterpiece class: There are 2 remarkable things about this image, above. One is...OMG I posted a full body bathing suit view of myself online. If you follow me on Instagram ( I am galezucker there) you may have already seen this. Have I lost my mind??!!! Maybe. But I adore this photo, from Saturday. I was in one of my favorite places in the world, the beach in Delaware, with my most favorite people. I literally tossed my phone to Dave and said- get a photo of us, please.



He got the moment.  (Isn't Dave amazing? He takes maybe 10 photos a year and he nailed it). But as you can see, the shadows are in front of us, which means he was shooting into the sun, and the photo came out of my iPhone (a 4S-not even up to date) looking like this:
Which is typical, right? A few clicks with apps on my phone to convert it to better colors, with shadow details revealed, a color shift, and then cropped just the way I wanted it.  Knowing that Instagram is better squared, I edged it in off white to retain all the image info. Less than 5 minutes, you have to love that!

That's what we'll do in the iPhone masterpiece class. Keeping it all in our trusty little phones. The phonecam quality blows me away, and it's wonderful to have it always on hand, stuck into a pocket and no worries about thousands of dollars of optics getting wet or sandy (in my case). Works just as well if you're shooting knits or yarn or handcrafts, or whatever subjects float your boat. Join me for some phonecam fun. 
We can float our boats together. (iPhone image enroute to Nash Island earlier this month)

ps if you've been visiting my blog for a while, how do you like my new look? . This quick random update looks better than my old Blogger template, I am sure you agree.  More to come.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

it's all good

I can't resist posting this unedited image from my first photoshoot with Lori Versaci of Versaci Knits last week. I love her adult designs, and oh my! her kids' sweaters are equally charming.
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In my head I've been doing all kinds of blog writing- but, obviously, not so much in the actual blog. Soon, I'll catch up!  (my persistent mantra). I even have finished projects and new ones underway.

Meanwhile: 
Only 10 days till the photo weekend classes in Portland Maine at Gathering of Stitches
Samantha , is  offering a great deal- if you bring a friend to one of myworkshops, they get 50% off. (personally I think this friend should then take you out to lunch or buy you a lovely craft beer..but that is for you to settle). 
The all-day Photography for Knitters & Stitchers & Handcrafters- Saturday June 28th  class is almost full, Photo Editing on Sunday morning is partially full . If you have taken a class with me before and wished we spent more time photo editing--or you simply want to learn what to do to your images to make them  snap online, or look just so --without investing much learning time and money in PhotoShop--then this class is for you. You don't need any advanced graphic/photo skills, I promise!
The iPhone Masterpieces class will, I hope, fill up soon- it is going to be out and out phun .
(yeah, groan, I know).



Wednesday, June 11, 2014

threaded

Natalie Chanin detail. Love her ideas, designs, and her hair .
Belatedly:  a truly extraordinary evening in NYC not long ago. It was an evening of conversation between Natalie Chanin (Alabama Chanin) and Ashley Christensen, the 2014 James Beard Award winning chef.  I know?!  Stepping outside my admittedly roomy box in this fashionable crowd.  Part of Makeshift 2014, held at The Standard, in the penthouse, on a perfect spring evening.
from the Alabama Chanin website "MAKESHIFT began three years ago as a conversation about the intersection of the disciplines of design, craft, art, fashion, and DIY—and, on a bigger level, using this intersection as an agent of change in the world. Since then, we’ve explored making as individuals, and how making as a group can open conversations and build communities."
Right up my CraftActivism alley. *  There were goody bags with needle, thread, templates, sharpies and fabric, because you know how you can listen better while you are making. And, piemento cheese, from Ashley.  Natalie taught finger knitting with  the strips of her cotton jersey, and then they led a discussion. 
Ashley Christensen on the right. Keep an eye on her. wow.
The crowd was heavily indigo-ed and good looking.


You'd have to be a robot not to love NYC on a spring night like this.
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* I had to throw in that little toot for CraftActivism, because it all is of a piece with the conversation. We interviewed Natalie Chanin, and she is quoted in the book, and I thought , at the time, she seemed very cool.  I admit it wasn't till this year that I have fallen, and fallen hard, for her design and whole aesthetic. There will be stitching this summer!



Friday, June 06, 2014

heading downeast

 Gone Sheep Rounding & Shearing
catch you next week- here's a couple glimpses from last year



* Were you one of the GIVEAWAY WINNERS from my joint with A Gathering of Stitches? Go here to check. And- there are still a couple of seats left, so join us in Portland Maine, end of June.
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