Sunday, October 28, 2012

talkin' handspun mitts

Can we dwell a little on my so-called Rhinebeck mitts? They waved at the blogsphere from the Yarn Harlot's reportage last week. (scroll down, we're just under Pamela Wynne/Flint Knits and her well styled scarf).  I showed them in the last post but they deserve their own stage. Truly, they do.  I mean, I have been churning out some knits, catching up with yarn accumulated in my travels.  I've been feathering my nest for winter. Yeah, I know this means accumulating wealth. Knitted wealth. 
Handspun knitted wealth I adore handspun yarn, but I do not spin. When I was photographing Shear Spirit, I was all up close and personal with fleeces and spinning, from one coast to another. Alpaca, mohair, cashmere, wool. But, nope.  Did not infect me with the spinning bug at all. I caught the fever for knitting with it, though.
For wearing it, too. The fingerless mitts are the Malabrigo Hand Thingies, modified to a tighter gauge and with longer hand portions. I cast on 72 stitches to get the right circumference (hate tight gloves) and knit till I liked the length,in the worsted weight handspun skein I won at the Shepherds Harvest silent auction. Details on that here. (scroll down--why do I always link to the bottom of posts???)
My bulkier weight handspun from that same  acquisition became the Kremlin hat by Annie Modesitt. I went for the poetics of knitting with yarn  from a Minnesota fiber festival, to wear at a new York one. I bumped into Annie at Shepherds Harvest as well as in New Hampshire last month, so it's all destiny.  
Or something like that. This pattern's fun to knit: short row wedges, knit flat, then joined and the brim is knit in the round. Perfect for this crazy bumpy multicolored handspun. The mitts, too, were so pleasing to make  that when I finished the pair, I knit a spare one.  But then I had enough yarn left for a fourth,  which meant a full second pair. Greedy!
I couldn't say no to Ariana when she said she wanted them, could I? BEST NIECE EVER . She worked all last weekend with me shooting. Plus, she's a knitter & maker.

All photo credits of me & my knits:  Ariana McLean. The photo of Ariana? That's a portrait of her in mitts. If you've taken a class from me, you know I'd say that it's not a photo of mitts, right?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

rhinebeck photo shoot roundup love

Thank you thank you thank you to everyone who stopped by and posed, and/or tweeted, blogged, FB'ed or stopped strangers with a tap on the shoulder and told them to come by to my photo project shoot, Rhinebeck Style, at the NY Sheep & Wool festival last weekend. It really was a spectacular weekend in every way.
Not to mention some big fun.
Huge thanks to my niece Ariana, who worked with me all weekend. I don't do the  Rhinebeck sweater thing (the pressure!)  but I did make us 2 sets of Rhinebeck fingerless mitts from handspun.

 I'm running out of town to work in DC this week but before I leave, just this report and many thanks--and a regret that I couldn't have stopped to chat with everyone, friends new & old. so....drumrolllll..... we shot

 • 2152 images at the festival 

 • around 203 people posed for us 

• a couple dozen are now doing the Hollywood chin everytime a camera comes out 

• we shot sheep, llamas, one pair of Paco-Vicunas 1493_1012GaleZucker_RS 
and one adorable cashmere goat. Stay tuned for more. This is too wonderful to let sit unattended--I've got  my (handknit) (handspun) thinking cap on for sharing this project. You all looked wonderful (seriously).

Sunday, October 14, 2012

let me shoot you ! at RHINEBECK 2012

 I am all systems GO to resume my Rhinebeck Style photo project next weekend. Stop by and get shot in all your festival fiber fineness !!  Saturday & Sunday, too*
*It says Saturday but I'll plan to be there for the early part of Sunday. Or if Saturday is bad weather...longer on Sunday.
WHY: A couple of years ago, I was thinking how my very favorite part of the NY Sheep & Wool Festival, AKA Rhinebeck, was looking at what everyone wears. It is perhaps the only place on earth you can be wearing handknit socks, a handknit sweater, a shawlette over it, handknit mitts and a hat--and instead of having people leave a wide path around you,  you are embraced by strangers shrieking "ooh, is that a Damson? I love what you did with your February Lady Sweater! Whose mods?"  and..this year I suspect.. "whoa! that is an amazing  Color Affection combo!" 
I realized I wanted to make a collection of all those fabulous outfits, for the permanent record. 
So in 2010 I set up my backdrop and made 128 portraits. I blogged about it a little here
This year, I'm continuing. I hope you'll be part of it! 

WHEN: You can find me with my backdrop, set up by the 4H snack bar, most of Saturday.  Depending on the weather, I might be there for part of Sunday too.  I'll tweet what I'm doing about this @galezucker  and also post to my FB page. It should look a little bit like below, from last time.
 This year I am thrilled to be setting up the backdrop by the animal barns on Friday, because it wouldn't be Rhinebeck without the livestock and those who raise them. If you are there with your animals, please look for me Friday afternoon and come strike a pose with a woolly/fibery critter!
I would also love to shoot some vendors-- they are so busy..but we'll try!
this little spread in The Knitter, a UK magazine, in  2011 is the only place any of the photos appeared

WHAT am I going to do with all these photos? I don't know yet. It might make a cool ebook. Or real book, or booklet, or one-off magaziney thing... I'll email everyone once I've got it figured out.

WHY have I not done something yet with the 2010 shoot? Well..when I first shot it, I wasn't sure what my goal was. (I still don't. That's the fun of a personal project, as we photographers like to call them). I was neck deep in working on my book CraftActivism with Joan Tapper, and busy with my usual work as a commercial photographer. So I put the files aside till last year, when I realized I wanted to continue and maybe get a more rounded collection, with animals and vendors and volunteers. Then..we'll see. 

 FYI Even if you posed last time, come by again. It'd be fun to have 2 years' of outfits, right? 
 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 
ps that is the very wonderful Earthchicknits in the photo above. Sadly, she won't be at the festival this year. Do you follow her blog ? You should!  

pps I am still, after all these years, unable to hit reply from the comments. eh , whatever, blogger is free and I still like the platform.....but if you want me to reply to you, leave an email (you can do it with a SallyKnitsATxyzDOTcom or just email me, the address is in the sidebar.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

postcards from maine: the dye tent

I'd planned to take a class at Fiber College, along with teaching this year.  Then I learned that Ellen Mason was setting up a mentored dye tentNo way! I knew that was where my free time was to be spent.
Three skeins of Ellen's handpaints, for inspiration. 
Woman knows her dye. She had at least a dozen stations set up, for DIY fun, animal or plant fiber, under her generous guidance.
Dye colors she had portioned out, for us to mix and match.
Here's the thing:  I love color. I know color, I blab about color theory when I teach. I can light the hell out of color. Clients hire me because of the way I make things look in photographs. In color.  Guess what?I am really bad at dyeing.
How great is a master who gets excited about your attempts? That's Ellen Mason , next to wavy haired Kirsten Kapur, cooking up some skeins, in the mist.
Kirsten proves she's got dyeing chops.
My yarns pre-soaking. The white is a KnitPicks Bare chunky, the greyish on the left is an angora blend I had left over from edging this scarf,the brown is a gift skein direct from Peru. It's a nice fingering weight alpaca, a little dull. 
The greyish yarn,  using a jar method. You add different color dye as you layer the skein into the jar, and then cook it.  I also had 6 skeins of the chunky white, in pots on burners: two different batches, trying to get nice, interesting saturated skeins.   I mixed colors.  With maybe too much abandon.
After the jar. Not awful. But also not great. Parts are too bright, some not saturated enough. The transitions are choppy. My other skeins? Inarguably awful. 
The chunky yarn, after.  You're probably thinking: that's not so bad. You're right, it isn't.  Because this is after after.  Ellen and Mary Lou Egan overdyed my dyeing, saving my self-esteem before we all went home. The nice mermaidy colors on the left  had, under my watch, come out like a Girl Scout uniform meeting an unfortunate bleach incident. (I'm thinking sash and all).  The fingering weight alpaca was so sad that Ellen kindly took it home with her, and turned it into a gorgeous olive skein that I'll show you another time.
Mary Lou's yarn drying technique. Aerobic, but not that effective.0032_0912GaleZuckerFC 
Yarn divas? This proves that I am as bad about dyeing my hair as I am at dyeing yarn. 1021_0912GaleZuckerFC 
Watching over us, the whole time. Undyed.

Monday, October 01, 2012

postcards from maine: fiber college class

Fiber College of Maine leaves an afterglow: inspiration,  energy,  feeling the kind of happy you get from being in great company, laughing, talking, experimenting with new materials, coming up with wild schemes.....
Here're some postcards from my classes. If you think it looks like fun,  join me sometime soon:   like at Interweave Knitting Lab later this week, Oct 4th in Manchester New Hampshire. There are still 2-3  seats in my classes. And--we could use a volunteer model for the afternoon, if you happen to be around and want to join in the photo experience.*
These set ups are  the by students, to photograph their pieces, as I led them through the workshop. 1053_0912GaleZuckerFC You can see our FABULOUS volunteer model, Lisa, in action--and also a great hat design from Lee, who I hope will link to it in the comments.
edited to add: Lee said the hat is Walk the Dog and the pattern will be on her website, Harper and Figg  soon.  1065_0912GaleZuckerFCUsing color theory to pop the scarf...V1
and v2
1083_0912GaleZuckerFCsock knitting v11095_0912GaleZuckerFCv2--can you tell I have this thing about alternative takes? 1086_0912GaleZuckerFC...and v31101_0912GaleZuckerFC 
Here's V4 in action-maybe someone from class will link to what that photo looked like. Which do you like best ?
Making the most of local nature.1113_0912GaleZuckerFC 
My seriously wonderful partners in crime ......also making the most of local nature. Kirsten (Through the Loops) Kapur and Mary Lou (Wear With All) Egan, you surely know their designs if you don't recognize the faces. I'll trade any fine dining indoors for sitting outside Kirsten's cabin with our nightly wine, bread, corn, lobsters & blueberry pie. sigh.
The view from my cabin--not too shabby! Kirsten's was just around the bend.  More postcards coming soon. It was just a few days on Penobscot Bay in Maine but enough to fill several  blogposts. 

* If you want to volunteer model for my afternoon class this Thursday in Manchester NH at Interweave Knitting Labs, I would be delighted to have you! Ideally you'd be interested in photography, comfortable with cameras aimed your way, and fit somewhere in the S-M-L size spectrum. You'll definitely pick up some photo knowledge, too. Email me if you're willing !