Friday, July 21, 2017

bts: Minnesota 52

In early May, I bopped off to Minnesota for a wonderfully whimsical book project: Minnesota 52: 16 Knits Inspired by the Road.
Megan Williams & Cori Eichelberger, aka KnitCahoots, were self-publishing their first book project . They'd reached the "whoaa...this is really happening and we need a photographer stat...and whateverelsehappens on a photo shoot, too". Fortunately we share a friend and top notch tech editor, Ellen Silva, of The Twinset Podcast, who made the connection.
We had to stop and scout this location: a sheep quilt painted on the side of a barn in Zumbrota MN.
Cori & Megan's theme is their  friendship and the knit-related adventures they've  had traveling between their homes, 100 miles apart, along Minnesota Highway 52. They wanted playful, small town locations that matched up with the spirit of their story, and their colorful designs.

So there we were, cruising along Mn 52 seeking locations. That's Cori and Megan on the right,  pre-enacting the cover image we shot 24 hours later-with much smoother light, you'll notice--on the left.  Here's how it looks on the book:

 I knew they both love color--especially Cori--and I knew they had a joie de vivre ---joie de knit? that had to be communicated but without going overboard into the "gee aren't we kooky" kind of pictures that try too hard. It had to feel real.
A rare instance where the overused cupped hands mitten shot actually works! Minnesota stone FTW.
We shot in  some small towns, a park, and a farm. 

Because you can't do rural Minnesota and not have a farm. (I urge you to play that for the sound effects)

And the, on the day of the shoot, the magic started happening right away.  We told our models--all part time models and full time scientists-- the shoot would be playful. Jo showed up just after dawn in the Pine Island Cheese Co parking lot with...her unicycle! She's wearing the Snow Thank You Sweater, which is high on my Want to Knit list . Don't you love the shoulder construction and lace, with the striped sleeves? It's designed by Megan Williams.

Nancy, the lovely woman who let us invade her farm, offered us various props....including a gosling. And a rabbit. 
FYI: Minnesota girls are not afraid of gosling poop dripping down the wardrobe, and a big armful of bunny is a welcome addition. That's Jen in the Nice-capades Sweater
We had a blast. Everyone pitched in...the authors hauled scrims, Ellen the tech editor became my photo asst, the models smiled and posed and looked beautiful  in wool all day despite some spring heat, and helped on set when they weren't posing.
It was one of those days when all the pieces came together and made the shoot match the spirit of the book. It's full of colorful, clever and very wearable designs----I tell you, Minnesota knitters are a whole 'nother scene of knitter, and these two are all in. I learned about SQ's  (sweater quantities of yarn) and VKN's (Virtual Knit Nights) where groups of knitters log in online, via  google hang out , enjoying  weekly knitting nights with each person in their own home spread far and wide. The Knit Cahootsters introduced me to a whole slew of indie dyers I didn't know about, and led me to a fabulous shoe store Luya Shoes, in the most unlikely location of Zumbrota MN.  I learned that Subway makes chopped salads as well as sandwiches, Walleye Pike is still delicious when freshly cooked, and Minnesota Nice is as true as ever.

Loved working with these ladies! I'm sure we made quite a scene--a photo crew shooting models and wielding 6 foot reflectors isn't seen everyday in rural Minnesota.   Anyway..... that's getting off topic. You can see all the patterns on Ravelry. I'll be casting on at least one, as soon as I get my queue in order!


Mary Lou said...

Fun to see the photos of the shoot! Loved the geese and cow noise - my neighbors have a couple of ducks and listening to them makes me laugh every time.

Ellen Bloom said...

Looks like a terrific book, Gale! Can't wait to order it! As always, your photos are TOPS!

AsKatKnits said...

Great photos, Gale! And, those look like some cute knits! And, I too laughed at the geese and cow noise (and Sherman liked it too!)

Kym said...

Oh, WOW! What a fun job you have!!!! And those knits? Oh, yeah -- they look great. (Heading over to Ravelry right . . . now . . .)

Irocknits! said...

I love the sun shining over my head in that last shot - makes me look like I'm heavenly inspired. Cori

twinsetellen said...

Such fun to relive the day. (But you didn't mention the police car pulling up to investigate what we were doing at that off ramp!)

Kathryn Kienholz said...

(chiming in late) I know Ellen! When she sponsored the Warm Heads Not Hot Heads project back in 2011 -- knit hats to send to your congressional reps with letters urging them to work together instead of being nasty -- I jumped in with needles and both feet. ( Also: why have I not bought your book? Off to Amazon right now...

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