Thursday, December 31, 2009

the one way trip scarf

The last of the gifts, cast on in New Haven, takes exactly the time of a heavily trafficked holiday eve drive to DC to knit. As long as someone else is at the wheel (thanks Dave).

I've been seeing a scarf similar to this all season, with a designer name on the tag. It seemed too easy, And besides, I obviously have some kind of deconstructed/destroyed mojo going on.
Pattern: One Way Trip
Yarn: mixture of heavy worsted leftovers, including recyled sari slk. I used some Brown Sheep, some Farmhouse Yarns Andy's Merino, some Araucana naturwool Chunky, some Noro mystery yarn, and some Green Mountain Spinnery.
Dimensons: approx 6" wide by 63" long
Needles: size 10us

Cast on 24 stitches of sari silk, knit 10 rows.
*Switch to another color leaving a 2.5" tail at edge, and cutting the sari silk with a 2.5" tail. Knit 20 rows.
Join sari silk, leaving a 2.5" tail on it and cutting a 2.5"tail on the finished color . Knit 3 rows of sari silk.*
Repeat from * to   halfway point. Knit  a 4 row section of another color, Knit 3 rows  sari silk .
Resume following repeats between* to  almost to desired length, end with 10 rows of sari silk.
Finishing: cut a several  5" sari silk pieces, knot them doubled with some of the single yarn ends where the sar slk rows fall spaced on long sides. Knot other yarn ends at their base, creating decorative pieces along side.
I'm not one to wax poetic on the joys of garter stitch but I was happy knitting this. Maybe because of making my deadline for it as a gift, maybe because it distracted me from the traffic and the increasingly neurotic geriatric dog pacing & woofing in the back,  with pursuant teenage complaints over dog breath issues. Or maybe I liked using up the leftovers? Who knows.

I'm not sure if it's a win or just patchwork weird . A good project at the end of a challenging year; using up odds & ends & leftovers, putting them together in the hopes that it'll start next year pretty. Happy 2010 !

Monday, December 28, 2009

post gifting scorecard

Two just completed, slightly damp hats in the sun as we load the car to drive to DC for festivities. Amazingly, did not drive away and forget them there.  2 points for us!
The brown is knit from Victory Ranch alpaca, I made up the pattern. Bro-in-law happy, I failed to get a photo of him wearing it. Deduct a point. Ok.... two. I'm a professional.
Drove directly to Xmas eve party in full swing, this year made it early enough that the buffet was still hot.  Points back! And to hear the nephew and his old teacher get out the keyboard and improvise.
Lots of point. Too many to keep track of. Rest of evening, scorecard free.GZucker1209_2732 Mom happy with her new set of crochet hooks with bamboo handles. Once again, failure to get a nice shot of them out of packaging,   they are good looking.  Way to go, Susie Bates.

Sister Marla got the black hat, here immediately after unwrapping and recognizing its Amelia Earhart potentiality.
She'd asked for a "black helmet-like earflap hat" that would be warm and good looking but wouldn't clash with all her multicolored handknit scarves.We added ties with tassles from recycled sari silk, it  needed that somethin' somethin'.
yarn: Berroco Cuzco,  1 skein of black , exactly  down to the last inch
notes: First time I have ever knit with true pure dark black. Last time I ever knit with pure dark black. Double never if there are cables involved. Could. Not. See. A. Freakin'. Thing.
confession: I wouldn't mind having one just like it for myself. Maybe...dark gray.
It works.
Final bonus round, the birthday gift knit entirely in the car ride  down, next post. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

best laid plans and all that jazz

1209iphoneBrooklynBrooklyn on Sunday morning, via iPhone  cam. Have  I mentioned how much I love mobile Photoshop? 
On Saturday, massive snowstorm approaching & hysterical forecasts increasing, I figured my photo shoot in Brooklyn the next morning would be postponed. So I kinda relaxed a little. I mean, here I'd have an Extra Day to catch up on work, sit by the fireplace and finish the holiday gift knitting, maybe make some cards, do a new year's e-postcard to my clients, answer email, wrap some gifts, do some cookie baking blah, blah bah. I had a Plan B.
By 6:30 am Sunday, Plan B was rolled back to Plan A. The shoot was on, snow and all. There I was trudging with my equipment on the MetroNorth, then to the subway then through the streets, trying to refigure how it'd all work out. And being kind of grouchy about it. Resenting having to shlep my big case through the snowbanks the plows had created at the curbs....when I looked up and realized how really, truly great it all was. The snow was white, fluffy and undirtied, the city was quiet, the skies were brightening, the holiday decorations were popping against the brownstones. I've never seen Brooklyn like that. It was magical and anyone out on the street just then , the handful of us, knew it.
So, where does that leave me? It's past midnight, and as I blog this I'm baking cut-out cookies, swilling a glass of red wine, finishing up knitting two hats, and adding items to tomorrow's list, all at the same time. Tomorrow I'll try getting other stuff left from the weekend done, and I'll knit the last gift on the car ride to DC on Thursday. Fingers crossed. Anyone who freelances knows the best way to get new work to come in is to plan a few days away. This year having been so epically, monumentally sucky business-wise, I figuredI could plan on getting away quietly. Nope! The very last week of the year and new work- good projects- are appearing , all needing immediate attention.
I don't care. Plans, like rules, are made to be...improved upon. Maybe that's the theme for 2010.
Or, maybe that's the red wine. (Salut!)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

getting gifty: photographer edition

Santacon New Haven, last Saturday on the Green
I'm not going to recommend the  single kickass camera that you must have slung around your neck.  One that magically turns she who possesses it into an amazing photographer. You know why?
It's not the camera, it is what you do with it.
But camera  accessories? oh yes! I have Big Opinions on those.  Like, a new camera strap is a perfect gift.  Until Nikon pays me for the ad space around my neck, I ditch the loud branded strap that comes with my cameras. My current favorite strap is aqua with big brown dots from My Funky Camera . But the faux wood strap over at  Splityarn cracks me up,  and  how about these at Souldier.  FWIW? The ones you'll find that are black rubbery non-slip feel awful to wear (and leave black skid marks) and the uber stretchy neoprene ones are sweaty and way too bouncy, especially if you have a heavy dslr slamming up into The Girls.  If you know what I mean. 

The most important accessory: the camera bag.  Great gift options. We women photographers have compounded camera bag issues. a) being smaller than guys , the gender most camera gear is designed for and b) needing to solve the purse/camera gear conundrum. If not the purse/camera/diaper bag/knitting bag conundrum.
Keep in mind these important points:
1) I was only kidding, diaper bags & camera bags do not mix well. Bacterial mold can invade your camera lens elements  and it costs a lot to get it cleaned out. Ask me how I know.
2) You don't want your digital camera bumping & jostling around. Back in the  day, you could be all cool and casual and toss your mechanical metal slr into any old bag. Now, you want those electronic sensors to be floating on air and padding . Go for function over form in the  camera bag department.  If it's cute but not padded with divider sections, take a pass on it.
Personally, I like a bag that's roomy, that allows quick one handed grab access to what's inside, and that doesn't send out a siren screaming  "Hey, over here! I am a photographer ! Grab my bag!".
•  Domke bags. These wear like crazy, look even better when they are all beat up, are well designed and you'll fit in with the globe trotting PhotoJ crowd. Downside: no matter where you go, you look like you are on assignment. Or maybe that's an upside, the bag gets you access.
The LowePro backpacks. That one I linked to is a two piece deal, with a super padded belt pack , you could use it alone swung forward, that holds a camera, lens battery packs and strobe, and an upper packpack section for clothes or knitting ot whatever I'd put in my purse.  Downside- totally inaccessible when it is on your back. Upside- sturdy, compact & pretty comfortable for travel in all terrain & airports.
• Crumpler bags . So many sizes and colors. So...cute.I haven't personally tested one but I'm looking at you Crumpie.
Courierware Incognito bags. Look at the bottom row. Form + function, this could pass as a purse. brilliant.
Extra special camera bag gift idea: put something in it. An inspiring photo book, or a Tshirt like this one , or the PhotoJoJo book that mixes photography and crafty projects. Or a gift certificate to a photography class . Self promotional alert: if you happen to live near Connecticut, I just happen to be teaching  one day workshops of Photography for Knitters in January.  I have gift certificates and I'm not afraid to sell them. Just saying.

ps. If you are looking at cameras , click over to  DPReview, it has a features search and a compare side-by-side function. Nice!

Disclaimer: none  of the aforementioned gear was given to me to flack.  Most of it I've test driven personally, or examined covetously.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

getting gifty, a last minute knit

Destroyed Cowlhandknit scarf
A  moment of knitting alchemy. A simple pattern + a specific yarn + a deadline = something really wonderful.
Destroyed Cowl (Ravelry link,)  in malabrigo worsted, the indescribably hued Pearl Ten
Ironically, I hit this gold when sister Lulu requested something gray for her Chanukah gift. Gray? really gray? we do not normally do gray. She likes the stylish, I figured the infinity scarf, an endless loop that may be doubled as a cowl and is all the rage, would work
Destroyed Cowlhandknit scarf
A quick knit: a provisional cast on, knit the skein in stockinette until almost out of yarn, drop a few stitches along each edge, kitchener the the ends together. Destroyed Cowlhandknit scarfHold breath while unraveling dropped stitches. Admire the strip of stockinette transformed into a drapey, lovely piece* that shows off the kettle dyed subtlety.
This could easily be the gift you knit over the weekend. Simple enough to socialize while churning through it, and small enough to take along while traveling.

I left Lulu a voicemail warning her: if we don't get together very soon to exchange gifts, she may never get this one. Seriously.

* model disclaimer: self portrait, so not my metier. Just go with me here and believe in the possibility.

Tomorrow on the getting gifty train: what to buy the photographer in your life.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

getting gifty

Sanatcon group santa pubcrawl, New HavenSantacon , New Haven Ct on Saturday
No matter what holiday you celebrate- assuming you do celebrate something this month, a pagan howl at the moon? - you probably need to give some gifts. Maybe you're making some, maybe you're all wrapped & ready, maybe you've  even given some for the first three candles of Chanukah, maybe you're still thinking. Maybe, like me, you are all of the above?
Oh, good. Then let's talk. I figured I'd do  gift suggestions, in installments. Only suggestions there are still time to do, without too much crazy.  Let's call it the
She Shoots Sheep Shots Very Biased Gift Guide
Let's start out with my , ahem,  very favorite gifting knitting book, Shear Spirit
( see biased, above).

No seriously, it makes a great gift. You can give it to an addicted experienced knitter, you can give it to someone just getting into fiber so they can learn about where yarn comes from in an approachable, conversational way, or you can give it to someone who loves to travel and enjoys photography. Most  definitely it is for the someone who dreams of chucking the townhouse and living with  goats and  alpaca off a dirt road somewhere pretty.

Like wine, a book needs a pairing. (Actually, pairing a book with wine is also a good idea, but we'll stay fiber focused, OK?)
My suggestions:
for the knitter or spinner:  Shear Spirit and a skein or two of  indie farm yarns or roving

Some of the farms profiled in the book have online order sites and swoon worthy yarn

(left, from Montana) 13 Mile Lamb & Wool - organic, plant  dyed, spun at their own ranch mill

                               or (right)  handspun alpaca  from Victory Ranch in New Mexico.

  or ask at your LYS, they may have yarn from a farm nearby.
If you want to be really nice, stick a piece of yarn, bookmark style,  in a page with a pattern Tell your giftee you'll knit that for them. But be nice to yourself, don't say by when.

Alternative pairing, for the livestock lover:
 Shear Spirit and a share in a CSA fiber farm
Some suggestions, check with your state's (in the US)  farm bureau there might be one close by. Most of them welcome a visit.

Alternative pairing for the fiber lover with a charitable and giving attitude: 
the book Shear Spirit and a share of sheep by donating to  Heifer International,
an international aid non-profit agency that gives people training and livestock, allowing them to make sustainable livings in their communities around the globe.

More  tomorrow....happy gifting!

Friday, December 11, 2009

holiday reality check (hot off the press)

Non-traditional 5x5" press-printed holiday notecards, blank on the inside. They come with envelopes. In sets or as singles. Over at my etsy shop.
Red and green nature, if you prefer a more subtle holiday approach . Blank on the inside, makes a nice set of fine art notecards. Mix & match with any of the sheepiers/apaca-ier images.
5x7", press-printed fine art photo cards, w/envelopes. SheShootsSheepShots on etsy.

There's no denying it, the season is NOW. In the spirit of last minute shoppers everywhere, I just made these new cards. Whenever you order, I will send them out immediately. I happen to live next door to the post office, no kidding. Can you say con-veeen-yent? If you order them as sets of 5 cards, they go out Priority Mail.

And you can mix and match the combinations. Or just go with yarn. I won't judge.
All blank on the inside, you can choose your own message or give them as gift sets.

Monday, December 07, 2009


I'm thrilled to announce I'll be teaching twice in January. Yes! In my backyard.
She Shoots Sheep Shots
WORKSHOP with Gale Zucker
A photography workshop day for knitters, knitbloggers and fiber lovers.
SATURDAY JANUARY 16th in GLASTONBURY CT sponsored by Village Wools 10am-4pm
SUNDAY JANUARY 24th IN NEW HAVEN CT sponsored by Knit New Haven 10am-4pm

A hands-on digital photography workshop day is for anyone who wanting to improve their images of fiber related projects, and the world around them. Make your photos look great online. Class is a combination of slide talk, demonstration, and hands-on shooting.
  • Photographing yarn, fiber, and finished objects, both on & off people.
  • Choosing backgrounds, settings & looking at colors.
  • Simple lighting tricks and solutions to fiber & knitwear photography problems.
  • Optimizing your images once they’re out of the camera and into a blog page or website.
Workshop space is limited, register soon. Gift certificates are available, go drop some hints with a link. Why not? A class in January is a great gift.
Questions? Email me.

Fee: $ 95. by Paypal to
Please note that you are signing up for the January 16th Glastonbury OR the January 24th New Haven class.

You’ll receive confirmation with details about what to bring to class , an FAQ, and the address.

Here's my roundup from the workshop in September in Massachusetts. If you click over to it you'll find links from several of the students' blogs, with their reports, and also a link to the summer classes in Minnesota. With links to some of those students' blogs. It's like when you look in the 3 sided mirror in a dressing room and see yourself in a 3 sided mirror, looking at yourself, and more and more 3 sided mirrors in there, too. Wheew.

Testimony from workshop participants:
" A workshop with Gale is perfect for any knitter who wants to improve the
quality of her photographs. A knitter herself, Gale "gets it" when it comes
to displaying and photographing hand knits. Gale's enthusiasm for
photography and knitting is infectious and the result is a workshop full of
instruction, tips and techniques. Mostly, though, it's just fun!" - Carole of Carole Knits blog

"Gale shared her professional expertise and some very concrete tips on how to make our photos pop. It was fun to hear the back stories on some of her wonderful photos and get ideas for different ways to showcase our knitting. We had a chance to experiment for ourselves, and since taking the class, I have used her tips for my personal photography. Thanks, Gale!" - Susan Rainey, of The Rainey Sisters blog

“Photography for knitters was such a fantastic class. I wished the class were a week instead of a day! Gale is knowledgeable, patient and has a great sense of fun. I learned so much, and would love to take a follow up. Your blog or Ravelry page will never be the same!” - Mary Lou Egan, The Yarnery, St Paul MN
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
** If you have questions, please email me or leave your email addy in the comments, Blogger just won't let me hit reply to some of you. I don't know why. With a little workaround email addy dropping, I'm happy to reply .

Friday, December 04, 2009

can't and the messages we send

red scarves forOFA, hand knitFor the Red Scarf Project. Lengthwise stripes, garter stitch with some stockinette when the spirit spoke . Leftovers: Cascade 220 in red and teal, Brown Sheep Top Of the Lamb (circa 1988, no kidding)in light blue, some recycled sari silk yarn. I'm going to fringe it, I think. 6" wide by 60 " long before fringe.

If you read comments here from Marla Mclean, Atelierista, you'll notice they reveal insider knowledge. Makes sense, she's my sister. Go check out her blog if you have even the slightest interest in creativity & learning. I find her ideas apply in my mostly grownup world. Plus her photos of the kids in her Reggio school studio are artful & fun to look at.

On Thanksgiving day, with preparations reaching frantic pace, Marla declared that can't isn't a word we use. It was pretty interesting to see how often we trilled out our negative declaratives: " I can't reach the top shelf! I can't get these friggin' breadsticks to stay in shape! I can't remember where I put the scissors! " and then we'd stop and reframe it, or say things like " I need help with..." or " How else can I do this..." Yeah of course we teased her about turning us into her 4-5 year olds but it was pretty cool. Makes ya think.
And yes, of course we considered making it a drinking game but we do have all these teenagers to set a good example for, at least for another holy crap , in five years they will all be over 21.
{sob. shriek}
red scarves forOFA, hand knit
The red scarf I started last night. Inspired by Maryse's Gathered Scarf. I'm knitting it in Cascade 220, on US 9 & 5 needles. My yarn & my sections are modified proportions to hers, which was fingering weight. I cast on 28 stitches, but only increase in every other one, so the ruched stockinette bands are 41 stitches wide. Let me tell you this scarf is flying , and it has just the right balance of drape and weight. It'd make a banging cowl design.
red scarves forOFA, hand knit
I've been playing chicken with the weather, letting this one last collard grow in what was our Lameass Vegetable Garden of 09 . I looked up from shooting that scarf and discovered it was now huge, has two sisters , and there is broccoli & arugula to cut too.

So. Maybe we CAN grow veggies after all.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

any ideas? detectives wanted

an OFA student, the kind of person who you support by knitting a Red Scarf. yeah, she is as nice as she looks !
Ruth (sorry, don't know if you have a blog to link to) asked in the comments if I knew the name of this scarf pattern, in the bottom corner of the Red Scarf poster. You can see, it's a great design. I've wondered if I were clever enough to figure it out more than once myself. I always answer myself: "that's a NO! You are not!" and , since I am talking to myself in such fractured grammar, I add : "More than once would be needed to get it right, if you tried."

Anyhoo, her inquiry had me riffling the internets . In her book Knitting New Scarves, Lynn Barr has the Stacked Wedges Scarf, which looks similar. But I know I shot the photo above before the book came out. So, the pattern must be elsewhere, too. Or I suppose Lynn Barr may have been the knitter of that red scarf right there. Who knows? (Lynn? are you out there?)

Both Ruth and I found the Wedge from Norah Gaughan, which has similar construction: short rows shape wedges alternating garter and lace. Close, but you know what they say.

Finally, there's Wavy from KnittyWinter04. I knit one in my pre blog days, I can attest to this being a fab pattern. However. It has the undulating spirit but not the same construction.

So.. any ideas? If you know where to find this pattern, send us a link. Operators are standing by, needles poised.

ps Any of the linked above would make great red scarves this month. (Just saying) .

pps Thursdays this month, at Knit New Haven 6-8 pm , are Red Scarf nights. Be there.