Sunday, May 26, 2013

with sadness: honoring kathreen ricketson

There are turns of event so awful, I can't even.
One of my all time favorite books, James and the Giant Peach starts with James orphaned, when an escaped rhino eats his parents while in London, on holiday from their happy seaside cottage home.
These things don't happen in real life.
But it did.
Kathreen Ricketson, the artist/blogger and creative spirit of and her husband left behind their two children. They were on a yearlong family trip/adventure. The kind of thing I dreamed of doing, but only managed to pull off in bits and bites. Kathreen did it, for real. I think this says who Kathreen Ricketson was: she walked the talk.  
More details of this tragedy here and here.

A fund for their children has been established,  info here. Ann & Kay at Mason Dixon Knitting have asked folks to mention their favorite whipup post, and please do go over to their site to see the links. 

As for me,  I started reading whipup early on, and for a long while, I didn't realize it was Australian based. I was hoping to meet Kathreen for coffee,  till she pointed out the geographical challenge. It also meant we couldn't profile her in Craft Activism, my book in which she surely belonged, for her belief in the power of a handmade lifestyle.

I was moved to action by many of her posts: to make things, to read books and essays, to look into a new idea. Whipup isn't one of those " ooh look at me, I am so special" lifestyle websites. It is generous and thoughtful and helpful. Of course I adored the review she posted of Shear Spirit early on and the one that reviewed WearwithAll this year. And I loved when she did link roundups, like this one for crocheted afghans. Those take time, and are so generous, and not flashy and support the community.

I hope we who enjoyed her work can pay it forward. And, give our kids an extra hug.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

warm welcome webinar wayfarers!

Yesterday Interweave announced my upcoming June 5th webinar :  Photographing Your Knits. poof ! walla ! and ta-da!, I have never had so many visitors here.
Not even that time I was giving away 4 pounds of Starbucks coffee! (Though that was pretty cool,  right?)

Not even right after Shear Spirit came out, and all the sheepy/goat/alpaca folk I'd met in my farm visits and travels came to call.
1008Mewmex_  0325
crias at Victory Ranch in Mora New Mexico

Not even the times my work with the Red Scarf Project /Foster Care to Success got all linked  (you know about the Red Scarf project? If not please take a peek )
The blog's been here for eight years, so browse around and welcome to my world.
a rare appearance by Dave, who appreciates the handknits but models reluctantl
I hope you sign up for the webinar. I got hip to webinars last year.  A webinar is essentially watching a live (or, recorded live) slide talk presentation, with me chatting but your monitor filled with images (photos!). You can type in questions that the moderator , the Knitting Daily Empress Kathleen Cubley,  will ask me, and I'll answer, either during the slide talk or immediately after. I won't rush off, and the scheduling is flexible. The cool thing is you can watch as little or as much as you wish, and then come back and watch the rest--or watch it again. I cram in a lot of helpful tips, so the ability to re-visit is awesome.
an image from Craft Activism, a good example of a simple way to shoot handmade..and a favorite of mine, shot at granny square goddess Ellen Bloom's house in LA. I heart granny squares, and Ellen is to blame.
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My commercial website is Gale Zucker Photography. Plenty of sheep shots there, too. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

(almost)all shawl

Were I a squeee-er, that'd be my opener right here. Because! It is official! I am teaching an Interweave webinar, Photographing Your Knits!  Sign up now, action starts June 5th.  Catalina shawl
the Catalina shawl, from Green Mountain Spinnery. Crocheted. I know, right?
If you've never tried a webinar, this is a good one to give a whirl,  I promise it'll be a fun hour and you will learn. Plus: pictures! many many!
Meanwhile, back at the ranch,   I pounced on the Mothers Day shawl request project.  I was struck with inspiration to knit  Caliz, by Romi Hill. *
It's been in my queue ever since it was a club pattern** from A Verb for Keeping Warm in 2011. And, I've been admiring the Anzula Oasis yarn at my LYS for a while.  When I realized it may be the same base yarn  Verb dyed for the club version of  Caliz -   70 silk/30camel blend with a slightly loose ply that gives it a natural look-- I knew I had my match.
I am loving knitting this. Garter stitch in purl, lace that is just my level of enjoyment:  engaging, easy to read, no tricky bits.  M1purl, a new move for me but easily mastered.
I shot the above optimistically, Saturday morning , thinking I'd show you how I spent my weekend. (also? I adore the colors of this early 70's paperback book cover) . Not so much reading happened, but I did take in 5 episodes of Breaking Bad season 4. So that is something, right?
I also thought I'd get in some gardening , also put on hold. Not for the lack of the best helper around. 
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* thanks to all for shawl suggestions in the comments from the last post. Really good ones! I may get into a shawl knitting jag as a result.Maybe a round up in another post of all the fab options.

**so, I was not actually a member of the Pro-verbial club but I watched someone who was, knit this shawl. It's kind of modern and slightly rustic, lacey but not fussy, I think my mom will love it.  If for any reason she doesn't , I will gladly keep it and knit her another option--which is to say good thing I am publicly declaring it for her so I don't get too attached.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

little treats

There's been no big splashy stuff here lately, and I can't seem to finish anything. But I'm finding great delight in the small. Like this cuff on my sleeve,  tipped in handspun. I could stare it at all day.
My Shell Seeker sweater has been almost done for ages. I can't get the bottom hem right. First, it was too short, and I did the split hem ribbing too loosely and it was flipping up. Second try, too tight and still not quite right. Soon as that second cuff is done, I re-do the bottom again.  But the sleeve cuff ? Did I mention I like it?
The shapings on the front, also happy-making. You decrease on the sides and increase along two front  lines. No kangaroo pocket in my version though. Pearl Ten Malbrigo, how I love your not-purple-not grey-not-black ways.
On Mothers day I got two unusual knitting gifts. First, my mom, who is a)an amazing knitter and b) famous for not liking anything by her neck, admitted she is starting to feel drafts and wants a a little shawlette to sit on her shoulders. She asked me to knit her something! I am overjoyed. Her request:  lightweight, not overly lacey but some open-ness is good, not too large--and  neutral. Not black or white --maybe pink or orange. Which, in my family, is considered neutral. (This is where I should tell you I grew up in a house with a bright yellow front door, and an orange ceiling in the kitchen and dining room). I got a crazy amount of pleasure from poking around Ravelry on her behalf- I'm thinking Simmer Dim or Henslowe (considered and rejected Citron for fear of never finishing) -- I can't wait to get some yarn for it this evening. If you have any pattern suggestions, I'm all ears.

Second, Yliana, last seen  here modeling knits,  mentioned wanting to learn to knit a few times.  Anyone dating a son of mine  figures out that saying nice things about knitting makes me happy to see them,  so I was all  "'Oh, OK, whenever" .  But Yliana meant it. We found ourselves with some spare time Sunday and next thing you know, she's cranking out the garter stitch. Happiness all around.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

a classy weekend (with gratuitous name dropping)

Very classy! Last Sunday I debuted a new Photo for Knitters workshop: Photographing for Your Ravelry Projects Page, held at  Knit New Haven. My classes are always hands-on but this one was especially focused.  As a group, we worked on one project from each student at a time.
I'd say Julia Bogardus (Sorrento on Ravelry) nailed her Taygete shawl by Romi Hill, doncha think?
 Everyone there made beautiful images, too, here's one from Michelle, aka MMDube23 Yliana was our fabulous model this time. I've found bringing an assistant who poses with the knits helps the class really flow. Bonus:  no one taking the class gets stuck in front of the camera-- unless they want to.

I am attempting  Ann & Kay's burst'o'blogwords writing initiative, but my 15 minutes do not yield anything read-worthy. Plus, I always have more to say.  Like, I can't leave out Saturday, at the Fairfield Woods Library DIY Crafts Salon. What a lovely group--I talked about Craft Activism, then I lead a project, inspired by Virgina Fleck. I was only slightly (cough,understatement, cough) intimidated that the previous presenter had been Denyse Schmidt.

And, considering the date, I  MUST mention what a fabulous gift a copy of Craft Activism * makes for Mothers Day.  Or, a gift certificate for a class. Just saying!

*absolutely true story I swear: Barbara Walker's son got her a signed copy of Craft Activism as a gift a few months ago. NO SH*T !!  I didn't know who he was but he asked me to inscribe it to his mom, Barbara. I asked " Does she knit?" To which he replied, "uhhh, you could say so..." and then revealed her full name. I was left with my mouth hanging open saying something like "ohmuhgawwwwww".
 another from Julia Bogardus/ sorrento,   her Inspira cowl
A few more classes soon--May 18th, a Photo Safari with The Village Knitter in Babylon NY, and starting May 16th in the evening, a 3 session class at Webs. This will be a rare chance to do a class where you get to shoot, return, review & discuss later --which is wonderful for letting new ideas seep into your photo habits. The class is in Northampton MA at Webs on Thursdays May 18, May 30 and June 6th, from 5:30-8, signups here .

And not coming up that soon, but I hear these fill up fast: I just got an email that the registration for the Rhinebeck workshops (NY Sheep & Wool Festival in October, if you want to be all formal about it) are open as of now.