Monday, December 08, 2014

FO monster monday

Finished just in time for the cold weather:  Monster Cowl . Started last winter, tucked away when I hadn't finished by spring. I love this chevron stitch, it's gently hypnotic to knit. I was chugging on merrily, when I noticed the pattern suggested stopping to kitchener it at 45", warning of blocking growth. ooops! I was closing in on 50". No worries. I love the size.
Excuse the, ummm, styling, or lack thereof. It was an impromptu photoshoot. Want some details? 
pattern: Monster Cowl by Julia Allen.
yarn: Shepherds Wool from Stone Hedge Fiber Mill in Michigan
needles: US 9
finished size: after blocking, about 54" in length around, and 7.5" wide
notes: so obviously, one edge is going to be nice and neat and the other, the side where you change colors,  is going to have the yarn carried up along it.  I'll fess up to sometimes forgetting to properly wrap the working yarn around the one lying fallow for that row. 
(oh man. I just fell down this grammar rabbit hole and I am still not sure if I used the past tense of lie correctly or if maybe it should have been laying). 
Where was I? 
Oh yeah, my less-than-neat edge. Before blocking, it was messy enough to considering covering with icord all around,  or maybe a row of crochet. Afterwards, it settled in A-OK. Don't you love well behaved yarn?
This was so satisfying to knit that I may cast on for one as a gift for someone I like who admired it repeatedly in that kind of way. I've already cast on for a coordinating hat. Those skeins are generous at 250 yards each.  Not the Monster Hat- that would be too matchy for me --but using the rest of the yarn held double for a bulky hat.
What are you knitting this fine frosty morning? 
(and if it's not frosty where you are? well......)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

not so random

stones on Nash Island in Maine , with Trig, a hat pattern by Mary Lou Egan
This started as a Random Stuff post, blabbing about work, what I've been making and knitting and I'm traveling this weekend and what I'm teaching, and what I'll knit on the train and bus, and oh, you know, the weather and how I want to knit all the hats. And CRAFT FRIDAY .....
But it's never really random, just like there aren't really coincidences. Enough time or enough thought always reveals the connection.
Example: I've been putting together presentations. I was listening to a webinar about vision-based portfolios. Love the concept. I trained and worked as a photojournalist. Man oh man do I adore a narrative, so I tend to default to one as I present images.  It is so hard to edit my own work.  I tried letting my brain go loose-y goose-y and guess what? Seemingly random images went together.
This pairing is dyed fiber at a farm in 2006, and on the right, my own Decibella Cowl pattern. 
I'll probably demo making these photo pairings, and how to embellish them further,  and of course,  collages with many more images and graphics, even circular images, when I teach the Making Collages with PicMonkey  Interweave webinar on Monday, 11/24/14  at 1pm eastern live. Join me, please?  Or get it recorded to listen to on-demand. I am telling you, the above show restraint, you can go CRAZY with the tools on that free software.  I think we'll start all buttoned down and simple like this,  and then just continue on and on with loads of options.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

iphone photo love

I am amazed how much I use my phonecam, when I am not officially on a job. It's so freeing.  If you follow me on Instagram (and if you don't , why not? oh comeon.  I'm galezucker) you'd maybe have seen these two images this week.  With a couple of phone apps, I can make photoediting/processing changes that, not so long ago, took hours of photoshop.  I am not exaggerating here.
Also not so long ago, a knitter jokingly said "You know, you should  teach a  phonecam Photo for Knitters class because I am too lazy to use my real camera" and we all laughed.  At the time, the cameras weren't so good, the controls weren't there. But now? Absolutely.  Is it the same as shooting with a DSLR ? Nope. But can you make images you'll love,  that capture your life and your craft and your world? And can enliven your FB and fill your Ravelry projects page ? Oh yes.

Which is why I am thrilled to be teach SmartPhone Masterpieces at The YarnSpot in Wheaton/ Silver Spring Maryland next weekend.  Saturday morning, November 22, 10:30-1:30. I am also thrilled that Sivia Harding is teaching there too next weekend, so I get to meet her. Join us! It's going to be fun. I guarantee you'll learn some new tricks.
Isn't the world a grand and colorful place? You probably won't be surprised to learn my standard reply to the question "what's the best camera? "  is : the one you have on you.

Friday, November 07, 2014

FOUND on Friday: a perfect plan AND a fine idea

(Actually they are both fine ideas and perfect plans.)

A PERFECT PLAN  Behold my purchases from Rhinebeck,  as reported. Up by Bobo's paws,  Paintbox Gradients set from Fiber Optic.  When I taught at SSK the summer before last, I had the perq of shopping the marketplace early. A perq so wasted on me. There I stood, stumped by the beautiful gradients at Fiber Optics. What would I knit? What colors did I want? Bright and cheerful ? Subtle and earthy? Darn that talented dyer Kimber for her artfulness! The chocolate brown to light aqua transition totally spoke to me - but I guess it was mumbling. Took me till a couple of weeks ago, when I learned she was vending at Rhinebeck, to hear it clearly.  I only had to decide on yarn base.  Kashmir yarn with its 10% cashmere was it.
To offset my squirminess of owning a special yarn without a special plan, I sought a skein of natural to go with it, something with a halo. I had no pattern but a twinkle of a shawl idea.  Icelandics are feeling near to my heart this season, I've been working with Lars Rains on his  Modern Lopi collection.  When I bumped into Lars Himself at the Frelsi Farm Icelandics booth, I knew I had my 2nd yarn:  a  skein of fingering weight singles, in natural Bark.
Yesterday Kirsten Kapur released her Abingdon shawl pattern. The missing piece fell in place. A perfect plan for my  pairing. I can hardly wait to cast on.*

A FINE IDEA: I'll start blabbing about this now!  Beverly Army Williams is leading the charge for  CRAFT FRIDAY: a CraftActivist handmade alternative to the consumer-crass-ugly-day-after-Thanksgiving-glop that overlays the holiday weekend. First step: read her post and join the Pinterest Craft Friday page .  Second step: post about it yourself.  Spread the word. Plan a party. Third step: make a list of what you want to make that day.
More to come.

* the first commenter below will be my 5000th comment on this blog. 5000!  That seems so...I don't know, worthy of recognition! I love that you come by to read this, and taking the time to comment is icing on the cake. Very wonderful icing. I means seriously, you have no idea how great it is to hear from you. I'm going to gift the first commenter a copy of Kirsten's Abingdon shawl pattern, so you can knit one, too.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

BTS: Versaci Knits Kids Photo Shoot

Welcome to another Behind the Scenes. This time,  with Lori Versaci of Versaci Knits.  I am a huge fan of Lori's designs for grownups- I mean, Modern Tunic? Pour Moi? .When she said she wanted me to shoot a collection of kids' sweaters for a book,  I knew the little knits would be spot on, too.
Photo above , captioned later by the mom as "Please, put on the sweater, please. I will buy you a pony tonight if you just. put. on.the. sweater." 

 The photo shoot was in Princeton NJ. I always set up a joint secret Pinterest mood board as we plan, to get the photo juices rolling and define the look. Sometimes you can't articulate what you want--but you know it when you see it. Pinterest is genius for this.
Lori's Pins revealed a love for classic but updated kids' imagery- just like her designs. We chose a historic stone building for the background, kept everything understated and neutral except the knits themselves (oh those saturated Madeline Tosh colors!) and gathered classic kids'toys, and accessories made form natural materials-  leather and straw.
The weather served up a sticky, drizzly day with rumbling clouds and threatening thunderstorm, and our  little 3 year old model wasn't feeling great-- up until the last minute we kind of wondered if the whole shebang was going to be a bust--but then, Boom, it came together. Luckily the building had a wide protected  porch, and the skies opened up (biggger BOOM) in torrents just as we completed the photo shoot. 

VersaciKnits is doing  series of trunk shows and appearances, if you want to catch her. I'm planning to see her at my LYS Knit New Haven next week (yay!). She's teaching a short rows tutorial, which I hope will staunch that feeling I always have on short rows, that I am quite possibly doing them wrong. Or, there's a Better Way.
Lest you think all my photos turn out well--here's an alternative set-up that shows why the background choice matters!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Postcards from Rhinebeck 2014

A thing one can count on in life:the NY Sheep & Wool Festival  is always a good time.
 Babydoll Southdown Sheep. Want. I'll tell my neighbors they are Shoodles.

 It's all about the people, and the making community. So many talented, creative, fun friends in one place! Clockwise from upper left: Jill DraperCal Patch, Ariana McLean- my festival partner in crime,  Laura Nelkin, Sam from A Gathering of Stitches (and Mr AGOS, Don), Sonya Philip and that's Amy Lou's head.
Two of my darling housemates* Misa Erder & Kim Andersen, proving that yoga and roller derby, respectively, make for good posture while knitting. And fabulous smiles. The rest? No captions needed.
There was shopping**. Hanging with Kirsten Kapur/Through the Loops was delightful, as always. Good company and I love her eye. That's her new basket filled with purchases. Right? I bought from my fave soap /body lotion vendor, and Ariana, who matches me in the Indecisive Shopper Club, chose a handmade wool coat***.
The festival requires visiting faves: Nanne Kennedy at her SeaColors booth, the apple cider donuts hut (that is at the very closing minute, no lines) and THAT tree.
Lest you think it was all peaceful and bucolic: an overview looking towards the foodstands/ABCD buildings, and the scrum of friends in big, noisy, largely unphotographed meetup: Beverly Army Williams, Kay Gardiner and Sarah Sprung.
Parting shot. From Kiki Luscious, an IG friend I got to meet in person!

Just a few notes:
While prepping to teach the Photo Editing for Knitters webinar yesterday, I got waaay into making collages in the software I demo'ed.  So much so that Interweave has asked me to teach a photo collage webinar next month. I used it to do this post. Not bad, eh?
* I stayed at the big eccentric house again, shared with a dozen or so wonderful folks--and it was joyous. Lots of hanging out and knitting in the kitchen, laughter, and a banging potluck.
** I bought yarn! I was decisive! I'll share in another post.
***the coat was made by a vendor with the name Ursula in it. Regretfully I can't recall the proper title.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Rhinebeck coming back around

My biggest WIP - or maybe my grandest plan WIP- is my Rhinebeck Style Project. Maybe you remember it? Maybe you are one of the 323 +/- people who so kindly posed in their fabulous fibery finest in it?  I'd hoped to whip this WIP into a book by now. Not yet.  I still adore..A.D.O.R.E. this project though.

I'll share the video again to get us all in the mood for the New York Sheep & Wool Festival, happening this weekend in Rhinebeck NY.  See you there?

And in other WIP news, my Audrey sweater is bolero sized. With a super busy and social long weekend,  I knew by Sunday there was no way no how  it'd be a sweater in time for Rhinebeck. Which is predicted to be balmy, anyway.   Let's cheer for the procrastinating knitters! Catch me in a shawlette or maybe, early in the morning, in my Shellseeker.  (and as an aside, maybe someone will get a decent photo of me wearing it. I mean, really, those are awful at that link).

Finally in this Wednesday's WIP roundup-:  I'm  putting the final  touches on a Photo Editing  for Knitters webinar that'll debut live, next week, from Interweave. It's taught using a free online software,no PhotoShop necessary at all. I am having so much fun putting it together.  We'll go from basic editing--cropping, straightening, adjusting color and contrast and opening up shadows, that kind of thing to really touching up a photo to change the emphasis on what it's about, to retouching people, to adding text and graphics and making a collage.

 Sign up here to watch it live on Oct 22, 2014  at 1 pm eastern, you get access to download the recorded version if you watch it live. Or you can order it recorded. It is going to be packed with demos, tips and ideas, so I suspect the "watch a bit, pause, try something on your computer, watch a little more" factor is going to be very useful.

PS. The mittens shown in the promotional photo are Lodestar, by Amy Christoffers, from Green Mountain Spinnery. In case you were wondering!

Friday, October 10, 2014

FOUND on Friday: infographics don't lie

Of course I cast on for a sweater, if you read my last post and had any doubts* .
 Which lead to me to the llustrated revelation** as I searched for materials.  Which led to this fun website for making pie charts . I adore assigning random percentages to things, don't you? 

* It's unlikely that it'll be done for Rhinebeck--maybe if I had a car driver and a different work & social schedule for this week. Glad I started it though...and, you never know. I bet it gets finished on Election Day when I'll be a Polling Official and have all those knitting hours .

**Yeah, well, there aren't cocktails or gelato at my LYS either but a girl can dream, right?

Toot toot! I am teaching another Interweave Webinar, this one will be Photo Editing For Knitters & Fiber Artists and it will be broadcast live October 22nd, you can join in and ask questions via chatmail. 
Or, enjoy it pre-recorded to watch at your leisure over and over.  Webinars are live recordings of instruction on your monitor--it is not a video of me talking to you, it is akin to a live PowerPoin t presentation. With lots of pretty pictures and relatively few dry bullet points.
Link here.
FYI my earlier Interweave webinar is also still available   Basic Photography for Knitters.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

what's going on: to sweater or not to sweater?

AKA WIP Wednesday
Until a couple of days ago, I was in the Just Say No to The Rhinebeck Sweater camp.  a) I have enough projects going on and b) my life is full of deadlines, especially work deadlines, I don't need any "fun" deadlines thankyouverymuch and c) I might be the teensiest bit contrarian.
I could just finish this Monster Cowl, to wear to the fair. The yarn was my Rhinebeck purchase last year.  It  just needs a few more inches and a kitchener. 
I've just finished knitting and blocking my swap sweater, it requires merely a fitting,  buttons, and end weaving. Not to mention a good photo, ahem.  I like to have a sweater going on.  I started thinking it might actually to to power through a sweater by mid October.
And there's my  precious Starcroft Nash Island Light yarn.  I am  teetering on the edge of never finding a pattern good enough for it.  That's crazy time. Yarn you like so much you won't let yourself enjoy knitting it? ummm, should not go there. Time to cut bait or fish (or as my mother colorfully puts it in  yiddish: Tuchas Offen Tish! Get Your Ass Off the Table). Aside: aren't there any colorful sayings about making a leap that are knitting metaphors? Why always fishing and sports?
  I came across Audrey Cardigan (the sweater formerly known as SeaSmoke).  While a broad band of color on my widest body part isn't exctly advisable, the design lends itself to other colorblocking and striped sleeves so....

Back to the top photo:  I'm all wound and ready to go. It may not be a Rhinebeck* sweater. Or it might. But it's underway.
*Rhinebeck is knitter's shorthand for the New York Sheep & Wool Festival. Which takes place in the town of Rhinebeck NY, and sounds like a folksy small timey thing, but attracts tens of thousands of visitors for the weekend. It's the Woolly DisneyWorld . An dthe sheep are real, not animatronics. You should come.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Found on Friday*

aka Share All the Things Friday a la Truly Myrtle.

It's hat season. Or heading into it. Pardon the pun.
Trig by Mary Lou Egan, That's the Ravelry link. Shown in Frog Tree Llambrosia, which is soft and slightly halo-y.  I have been waiting for the season to roll around  to  knit it.
I love that it has no ribbing, and is neither a tight little beanie nor a slouchy topper. I keep trying the slouchies, and looking like I'm waiting for my turn with the officials on Ellis Island. 
My only problem with Trig .....what colors, what colors, what colors? 

Modeled by the lovely and talented Laura Nelkin. Have you seen her new book Knockout Knits?
*When I got on board with my editorial calendar, I claimed Friday as a blogging commitment day. If I keep writing about this, it'll happen, true? Fake it till you make it and all that?.  I love a FO Friday, and I love blogs that list some good finds, ala Abby Glassenberg's podcast, in which she and her guests recommend 3 things they are loving- business tips,  cool services or new apps. So that's what this is all about, and then I found Truly Myrtle, who's on the same wavelength.
Want to join in on Sharing All the Things or Found on Friday? Link to it in the comments!

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

what's going on: itchin' to be stitchin'

aka WIP Wednesday Three knitting projects come to mind as well underway/ high on my enjoyment list. But today? We shall not look at them . We shall look at these:
50/50 silk /cotton, hand dyed in the jar technique and some Perle cotton. It's like embroidery thread, but better.  I never knew it existed till July. That's another WIP story.
The utmost in impulse project. I was in the best new little fabric/maker/handmade supplies shop ever- Clementine in Rockland Maine, with a group of Fiber College teacher friends. Someone said she wanted to play with dyeing this fabric. We egged each other on.  The next thing you know boom boom boom, each of us is out the door with yardage to  dye/ overydye. 

As expected, the silk took the dye but the cotton barely did, and the technique allows you to intentionally create splotches and color shifts--at least that's what I was aiming for. The fabric started as greyish/taupe. I wanted to stay on just this side of tie-dye, if you know what I mean
I was thrilled with how they turned out. Each will be a scarf,  splitting it in half lengthwise, hand sewing a nice felled seam in the middle. So do-able, so simple. Then I thought... sashiko! The running stitch rows I've been Pinning like crazy.  Crazy because I do not need to make this a bigger project. Plus,  I am not known for straight lines, I am a naturally veer-off-course kinda gal. But I can just see it,  I can't resist, and this summer I realized how much I enjoy the handstitching. (that;s another WIP story). I couldn't settle on one color for each scarf, I had to go with two and three...and then I returned home to reality and limited time.  Happily, taking this out to shoot and show you made me realize, it's not that big a deal, and I can't wait to get my hands going on them agan. This may be a FO Friday sooner than I thought. 
A couple more impulse items that came home with me from Maine that week. Can.not.resist. little smooth stones. 
Are you showing WIP Wednesday? Leave a link in my comments!


Friday, September 26, 2014

FO Friday: Camp Kitschy Knits, the movie

The final version of the Camp Kitschy Knits promo movie is done. Sweaters, sweaters, fabulously handknit, campy sweaters. Happy weekend!
Camp Kitschy Knits

You can knit these babies yourself from vintage Mary Maxim patterns but, seriously,  there's no loss of honor in buying one. They're super soft, bulky wool  handknits from Camp Kitschy Knits  and her fair trade knitters. That last link is the etsy store, it has hats and xmas stockings too. The link on top goes to her website--which I favor, because of the great big photos from our glamping photo shoot last November.

I'd loooove to be showing you a finished knit of my own. But, um, not quite yet. What have you finished lately?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Behind the Scenes: the unplanned for

So, about that regular blogging.  I now have an editorial calendar for this blog. You'd think it wouldn't make a difference but it feels very...committed.  You should try it.   I'm rolling it out soon, including a  regular BTS (Behind the Scenes) feature, mostly fiber or fabric related photo shoots. Why not start today?
This morning  a sweater kit  I shot for Zen Yarn Garden  went live. It's fun when these pop up, always a surprise treat. Have you seen their yarn? Pretty fabulous. This is Serenity   a superwash merino/cashmere blend (thought you'd ask). It feels divine, and looks even diviner, if that is a word.
I'd be lying if I said this shoot was easy. We had trouble aligning schedules. Then, it rained. One of the few rainy days all summer. Nasty, gray, stormy- not pretty, misty, delightful rain.  I had permission to shoot at the Madison Beach Hotel and hated to waste it, so off we trotted. The sun came out, yay-- but  it started setting, like, immediately. And I wasn't loving the background options--the waterfront was dotted with romantic sunset watchers, wandering into my image. The nerve!
Then I noticed a bicycle  left along a dune fence, the rider probably wandered onto the porch bar for a drink. It matched the sweater! I love when when that happens. A little extra sumpin' sumpin'. 
It is Rosh Hashana , the Jewish New Year,  tonight. I'll take this moment wish you - whether you celebrate or not--a sweet year filled with happy accidents.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

spinzilla blog tour: photo tips here

Welcome Spinzilla blog tourists! I'm here with a little pep talk and some tips for photographing yarn for the Spinzilla Photo Contest.
 Kirsten Kapur  assembled this lovely basket of yarn.
Spinzilla is a global event where teams and individuals challenge each other to see who can spin the most yarn during Spinning and Weaving Week October 6 - 12.  Team registration closes in six days. They still need 300 team spinners to reach full team status of 1,400 spinners! Click here to register today.
You have SIX DAYS to get on board and join in the monster week of spinning, to support the Needle Arts Mentoring Program.
At the end of the week spinners will submit their yardage along with a photo of their yarn to get credit for their yardage.  The photo is to document what you have spun, but Spinzilla has also announced a photo contest where you could win up to $100 in fiber.

I'm going to reference the photo above, with surefire tips to make your photos fabulous. You are photographing handspun yarn, a lovely subject, so you are already ahead of the game, right?  There are mountains of info about improving photography online*, these are just some quick and easy things you can try,  regardless of what kind of camera you own, and where you live.

1) Turn off that flash. Never. Never. Never use a direct flash on yarn. There is always a better way. If nothing else, in a low light situation, steady your camera on a tripod or  on a table , and hold your breath while you release that shutter. Make many exposures. You'll get some that are sharp. I promise.Pixels are free**, so keep trying.

2) Find some nice open shade-like the north side of a building, or on a covered patio or  an overcast day, or create some shade yourself using a white piece of cloth or umbrella or tent or even a white board to block the direct light. (Colored materials will cast the color onto your yarn. Don't want to do that!)
getting close also works for travel photos, like this porch in Maine
3) Get close! I know you are proud of your yarn and want to show it from ten paces away, but getting close will make us want to touch it.  Try shooting it from a few feet away and then keep shooting , getting closer and closer and closer (no worries, pixels are free, there's no such thing as wasting the shots).

4) Use some geometry to please us. We humans like circles--a complete circular shape is lovely as a graphic element in a photo. It is why looking down on that basket of yarn is making me happy. Try putting your yarn in a basket, or on a shallow plate (try to find one that's not shiny, reflections aren't an asset), or a tray, in a around with using shapes to frame your yarn.
Not as Good as the top photo: dead center, handle not on diagonal, direct light on scrarf distracts
 5) Another compositional tip: try composing using assymmetry instead of plunking your yarn dead-center bulleye in the frame. There's the popular  Rule of Thirds you hear thrown around in online photo forums (it helps, try it), and I like to use diagonals to lead the eye around the image. Again, shoot your yarn how you might normally, and then keep moving around the subject, tilting you camera--those pixels are free, after all--and see if you don't come up with a nice dynamic photo.
Circles also effective at Kai Ranch and an angora kid.

Good luck! Get signed up and spin spin spin.
* I'd be  slacking off if I didn't mention my  Photography webinar for knitters/fiber artists, on the Interweave website (on sale right now, too)
 **No matter where I teach my mantra is Pixels are Free. Seriously, why skimp on the exposures when you are right there?

Monday, September 15, 2014

fiber college: amen!

Loved all the blogreading suggestions and feedback. Thanks!
how they mend the screens at Fiber College
While I haven't settled what will be my new blog routine I do know this: if there's something you want to blog about, don't wait too long. It  evaporates like so much steam from the dyepot.

Which means I'd better tell you about Fiber College 2014. It is always quirkily wonderful-- maybe it's the stunning location on Penobscot Bay, at a campground with award winning gardens, making for a magical setting. Many classes take place under tents, or outdoors, so there's a festival feel, and a groovy vibe, as Beverly said in her post today.
added: and she blogged about quilting there, too
This year the special artists were Gees Bend Quilters, just the kind of mind bending cultural exchange you'd think.  I wandered into their sewing tent classroom when I wasn't teaching, to get a taste. How do you convey a form of quilting that's heritage, cultural tradition, intuition, oral history and faith in a higher power ? Not by making diagrams, setting down rules or talking about the principles of design. The Gees Bend Quilters are deeply religious and believe the spirit creates the art. Who can argue? Each class started with some serious praying and singing, like Prayer Meeting style, inviting Jesus to enter the quilters' hearts and minds and hands as they created, stitching by hand and by machine.
You'll want to google around to see more from people who quilted for real with the ladies. 
edited to add: here's Jan Cooper's wonderful Fiber College report. .Pretty amazing. I'll share with more of what I was teaching & making soon. If you posted about Fiber College, please leave a link in the comments !  And I'll  leave you with this:
 Fiber College blog here.
Tomorrow: I am on the Spinzilla Blog Tour. C'mon by.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

recommitted (and it feels so gooood): blogging

Fresh back from the revivifying and always inspiring Fiber College of Maine , where I taught Savvy Storytelling: Writing & Photography for blogs with Beverly Army Williams of PoMoGo Lightly
front lawn view of Penobscot Bay
Fiber College:  a weaving underway
It was 4 days of sharing a house with funny, artistic, smart women, the kind of room mates you can only wish for. I took away lots of things, but mostly I realized I wouldn't be in that place if not for blogging, and spiralling connections.   
I'm joining Beverly, and Kirsten Kapur, and Mary Lou Egan and Cal Patch  and others, in returning to my blog with regularity. Not to mention rebuilding my blogreading habits.  Who do you read these days? Leave a suggestion in my comments!

Kirsten also asked this question and listed many of my longtime faves, she's s receiving great suggestions in her comments.

I've been gravitating to those who post regularly, and includes lots of photos:  LoriTimesFive, Fringe Association, Getting Stitched on the Farm, ZenNeedleKnitorius, and the longtime reliable Carole Knits

FYI: All of the photos today were  made with my almost dead older cracked iPhone. Yes I know I am a professional photographer with a kickass camera and plenty of knowhow.  Busman's holiday!  It is creating some interesting colorshifts and odd blur, which I sorta kinda am correcting and sorta kinda am keeping. 

If these photos look familiar, you may be on of my Instagram feed.  It is so easy to post there,  I do so daily.  Although tempting,  rarely a shot looking down on a plate of food.  Been there! Seen that! I'm galezucker on Instagram, you can see what I mean. 

Looking forward to your  blogreading suggestions and to being back here with some regularity.

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 never ceases to be breathtaking.
What inspired you this summer? 
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.