Monday, November 30, 2015

november post 16: in which we go on about colorwork

My new grey sweater is blocking, and my head is turned by colorwork. I love me a colorful project, and I'm thrilled that the lopapeysa/scandanavian/fair isle designs are popping up fresh like mushrooms after a good rain. Just looking through sweaters I've been up-close-and-personal with on photoshoots gives me crazy good options to consider..
clockwise: Bridget Pullover by Michele Rose Orne from Swans Island Yarn, Asymptote (womens version) from Modern Lopi by Lars Rains, Gulfoss by Cap Sease, from Green Mountain Spinnery

I like to always have a sweater on the needles and I am, for the moment, unfinished sweater- free. No way! We'll ignore the other UFO's that aren't sweaters and return to the sweater-starting task at hand.... here's even more color-y colorwork:
Phoebe Hat from Swans Island Yarn and Hildur by Lars Rains, Modern Lopi

Or graphic and modern and monochromatic-ish.... both below, on my to-do-list-for sure (I mean, c'mon, they are hats, they'll be done before I notice I'm knitting them)
Contrariwise by Elizabeth Elliott, and Trig, by Mary Lou Egan.

And that is not even looking at the patterns I didn't photograph.......or the mitts. 

So while I stew in my indecision juices for a day or two, I cast on another L'Arbre Hat. Solid.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

november post 15: craft friday report

My friend Beverly PoMoGoLightly has good ideas. Like Craft Friday: her movement to subvert the consumer-y bummer of Black Friday. It's a day that you cruise on, in the afterglow of Thanksgiving, making stuff. And eating leftovers. (I am not entirely sure the eating of leftovers is required, but it works very well here.)
The sweater is a not-yet-released pattern by Mary Lou Egan, knit in Berroco Fiora. I am crazy about both the pattern and this yarn. More on the gilded gourds, below.
My hands-on handmade/DIY efforts this year have been heavy on ideas and light on time. Do I have ideas? oh yeah. So, here with a full day that I put aside to craft,  I was paralyzed by indecision. Knit? Stitch? Crack out the sewing machine? Crochet? Recycle/upcycle old sweaters into mittens and cowls? Beading?  In the end, beautiful weather made it impossible to stay inside all day, crafting was put off till the afternoon. Add the lure of being able to finish the sweater I've been working on (slooowwwwwly) for weeks, and clearly, knitting was irresistible. Done!
Before the fog burned off--it was already unseasonably warm by 8 am.
I realized that it was the mindset that made it an absolutely lovely day. Once I'd mentally committed to Craft Friday and staying out of the scrum of retail or anything errand related, the day became a gift. 

And the leftovers were delicious, too.
PS Wishing you all--if you are in the US- a belated happy thanksgiving At the 11th hour, as is our style, we got into it and painted anything we found in the yard gold-- leaves, twigs, little tiny pumpkin-y gourds. Scatter with some votive candles and dayum we looked swanky.

Monday, November 23, 2015

november post 14: aristida shawl

To distract from the daily blogging month fail last week, I'll show my Aristida Shawl.
Finished since May--and yet, somehow, never a good shot of it. I adore it, I wear it often, but it remains a photo enigma. This attempt, above, photo credit to  Ellen Mason, when we were on Nash Island for the sheep roundup in early June. Wet weather delayed shearing, so we spent the day just being there. It was heavenly. And...windy. You can see two delightful aspects of this shawl: bobble and fringe. In fact, these are the  two reasons I had to knit it.
I'm a lousy model,and pairing my drapey, lovely, watery blue shawl with several layers of loose fitting shirts and a baggy, sheep-drooly sweater is crazy. But I have the best reason- it was chilly and the day started at dawn in the rain, on a lobster boat. The lambs are adorable, though. I think we can all agree on that. The shawl was knit in Manos Fino, a 70/30 wool /silk single spun yarn that made every stitch of this a joy. It's a two skein shawl, it took well into the 2nd skein to complete the fringe. Fringe, I love you, but you're a yardage hog.
Another odd styling view of my Aristida Shawl, this shot from Kirsten Kapur Through the Loops. When temperatures plummeted while in Ohio for the TNNA show, Kirsten offered me a skein of The Fibre Company Cumbria to warm my neck. I kind of love this look, to be honest. So effortless! Also , take this moment to once again admire my bobbles.
Nash  sheep parade around the island in first light of the day, before 5 am. It's magical.

Monday, November 16, 2015

november post 13: circular reasoning saves the day

I am only barely scraping by my NaPoBloMo  attempt with a post today,  by the good grace of designer Elizabeth Elliott aka The Cusser Knits  releasing her wonderful new pattern Circular Reasoning.  It's the same geometrics that I love in her Contrariwise hat, but in a cushy cowl,  knit as a tube. 

When I photographed it for her in late August, I went out scouting for a location with no hint of the season...aka an urban plaza that was light on the nature. My good luck to find this bench, thoughtfully painted and then distressed by time and weather, to match the cowl's colorway.
It's  knit in   Spincycle Dyed in the Wool yarn, and it feels pretty amazing. The shifting colorways of the contrast color--well, I'm just going to warn you now that if you click over to their page, it is going  to be hardto leave without a purchase. Don't say I didn't warn you. 
OTOH--your holiday shopping for a knitter you love might get accomplished. Silver lining! One skein for them, one for you!
You can really see how the yarn plays here. The design features both texture and colorwork, which means it'll require some attention but won't be boring.  The stranding and ends all end up inside the tube, so not much to finish. That's a win all around.
Thanks to the brains & beauty of Josephine, my model, who once again made it all look effortless.

november post 12: old town alexandria VA

As you might have noticed, I get around. It's not like I'm well traveled globally, I have missed Marrakesh and Tuscany and England and many of the places you'd expect me to have been.  But I'm excellent in the Nook & Cranny Travel Department. Through working on photo assignments for magazines or business, or by my own curious wandering, I've spent time in so many  charming/beautiful/fascinating or quirky pockets of our continent. Add Old Town Alexandria,Virginia to the list.

I was there to teach at Fibre Space, the wonderful yarn shop in the lower left, above. It's just across the river from Washington DC, an easy Metro ride and well worth it. The neighborhood is colorful and so stroll-worthy Also...delicious. Hard to choose where to take snack breaks.  I had a roasted fall vegetable salad with brown butter vinaigrette. Need I say more?  Well, yeah actually I do:

All these photos were taken with my phone on Thursday, the day I taught two rounds of Phone Camera Workshops. The first was to a group of Old Town boutique owners/managers, and the second was to a group of knitters. That's a little stack of Miss Babs yarn held by a local jewelry designer, in the upper right.  Fibre Space is an incredibly well-run and well-stocked--aka TEMPTING and lovely place to hang out for a couple of days, it took extreme self-disclipline not to spend all my earnings on the spot. I held it to a tote bag and a couple of skeins of yarn for my mom. And many many new ideas.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

november post 11: modern lopi one launches

Two days of teaching at Fibre Space in Old Town Alexandria was a blast Great store and great students. I am already plotting a return. But, nary moment to blog. Or even knit. Oh, the irony.
Fortunately I have some good hearty Knitting News to share with you:
 The release of this new book, Modern Lopi.  Do yourself a favor and pre-order now. Lopapeysas (and more) for all. Info and just a few more photos on Lars' site, about the book and patterns.

You can see my name on the cover. This was a memorable photo shoot, on a jungle steamy hot summer day last year. The lag time-- or as it is known in the publishing world, production- makes an instant gratification-type person like me  twitchy. And then one day, there it is, all put together and beautiful, like a little party bursting out. All the particular challenges of the work are faded from memory and all the very best parts are shining there in the photos. I'm looking forward to having my nice fresh copy soon.


*I really hope this means see you later in Icelandic. I mean, I looked it up on the internets, it has to be true...

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Nov post 10: TRIP MITTS sneak peek

See you tomorrow night or Friday at Fibre Space? Hope so!
I brought these mitts with me,in fact I brought a ton of knits with me for my trip to teach at Fibre Space. Next to a fiber festival, teaching at a yarn shop is THE place to wear multiple handknits, right? It was chilly when I left Connecticut. So happy to get off the train in DC in warmer weather! The mitts are perfect in the early morning but my sweaters and cowls may not get much of an outing, after all. Anyway,  these are the Trip Mitts, a new pattern that I'll publish next week. Blogging every day and publishing a pattern? who am I????
The Trip Mitts, knit in Anzula Oasis. Details to come!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

november post 9: phone photos phorever

I resisted my phone camera for a long time, but when I finally fell for it, I fell hard.  The basic quality is quite good, and I don't need to tell you how easy it is to just hold it in your palm, take a picture and slide it back into your pocket.  Add some free and powerful apps and I'm amazed at what photos I can create.  You can, too. Join me at Fibre Space in Alexandria VA  on Thursday night 6-9 and we'll make iphone/smartphone masterpieces, together. Go grab one of the last seats, now!*
My Instagram looks like this. The class will cover making images that jump out on the social media. You can see I included work, play, family, knit-related  I pretty much stay away from looking down at my lunch plate and shooting it although if you like to, we can cover that too. I won't judge ;-)  We'll talk about how to make the best , strongest images, how to quickly edit them in your phone, and some apps that help you create a signature look, or add depth of field to mimic a DSLR shot ( as in my fortune cookie image,  and in the shot of Zoe with the dog--you can see how the chairs are defocussed--by me).

* this is a fun class to bring along a friend , whether they are knitters or not. Who knows. they may succumb to the charms of Fibre Space and become one of us.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

november post 8: when in doubt, show sheep shots

an old favorite, from Autumn House Farm

• • •  Teaching at Fibre Space in Alexandria VA in just a couple of days! 
 The workshops are close to full- jump on in!• • • •
Thursday Evening 6-9 Smartphone Masterpieces - hands on & fun class to take with a non-knitter  

• Friday - 10-5 Photography for Knitters & Makers- soup to nuts, Shooting to Editing & review - get up close and personal with your camera. 

Sunday, November 08, 2015

november post 7: who knows where the time goes?

I was too busy doodling the day away on Saturday to remember to do a post. ooops! Perfection is boring, right? I'll keep plugging away for the month of November.

Time - or the lack of it--is serious business around here. And I mean that, literally. When you are self-employed, it's all one big blob of time- there's not timesheet to fill out, no hours you are expected to keep. On the one hand, there's ultimate freedom. I'm not complaining!  On the other hand: no work=no pay.  I've been working as a freelance photographer full-time most of my adult life. It suits me.  But it means my job depends on me figuring out how to make the most of my time , whether I'm on a photo shoot somewhere, editing images and  doing paperwork in my office, or planning an afternoon outing with my family. Or knitting and making stuff. If I wait to fit in, it ain't happening. The best thing is to make time for making. 

Wait, does that sound like a bumper sticker & t-shirt?

I got into working for myself because I wanted to avoid corporate/institutionalized structure--but guess what? Joke's on me! Time management theory, that organizational tool dear to the hearts of corporations, is now one of my favorite subjects. Have I found the ultimate fit-all theory? Nope, I don;t think there is one. But I had already worked out my own little semi-effective system when I heard this interview with Jule Sheranosher on the Beyond the To Do List  business podcast.  I don't listen to biz podcasts often, once in a while I remember it may be good for me-and I had this one in a set of links I'd saved.  After I heard it, I started following her Time Hackers blog & podcast snips. That link gives you some idea of her approach.Even if you just use one or two of her ideas, you'll be doing yourself a favor.

Warning: There's no woowoo factor. You won't see any hands gently cupping a seedling on her website, or little flowery curlicues. But that's what I like. Get'er done and you have plenty of time to find your own woowoo. Wait--is that a bumper sticker?..........

Friday, November 06, 2015

november post 6: gyre- and 1 week till Fibre Space

Less than a week till I'm at Fibre Space in Alexandria VA, Nov 12 & 13th 
Thurs evening 6-9 : SmartPhone Photoclass . Not just for knitters, it's a fast, fun, phone photo class.Bring a friend!
Fri 10-5  Photo for Knitters & Makers - Tips, tricks, shooting, editing, critiquing - we'll do it all, click links for both classes' details. Limited spaces left! See you there.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 
 Last month, I photographed Gyre by Elizabeth Elliott.  If you love it as much as I do, you'll be glad to know she's got it on sale on Ravelry till November 10th. This is the same person who brought you Contrariwise, by the way. She's good.

It's lined, not some kind of insane double knitting There is something so playful-or maybe slightly subversive-about the simple stripes paired with the baroque curlicues. Added bonus- no exposed floats of yarn or ends to weave in. They are hidden between the layers. Gotta love that.
If you want to keep it simple--or lighter weight--the pattern is also written for just the swirly side , no lining. 

In a perfect world, I'd finish my gray sweater and cast on for this tomorrow. I have some dark red and pumpkin-y orange yarn that're begging me to pair them up. What?  Doesn't your yarn talk to you? I've got several skeins that all but scream at me for attention when I walk by them......

Many thanks to Ariana for stepping in and modeling again.


Thursday, November 05, 2015

november post 5: TBT red scarf project- returns

On the Throw Back Thursday bandwagon - back to Nov 2010..... I was going to post about the Red Scarf Project today, anyway. It's  time to knit or crochet this year's donation to support foster kids going it on their own in college. But I said it well before. The need hasn't changed at all. Only links have been updated, for back we go 5 years this week.....
How convenient !I needed something to show, 5133_GaleZuckerRTrip1110
and last week's pitstop near DC caught my mom with three scarves she & her buddy Claire knit for this year's Foster Care to Success (formerly the Orphan Foundation)  Red Scarf Project, (linked to guideline) which sends a handknit red scarf to approximately  2500 former foster kids now attending college. FYI:  The scarves should be sent to the FOSTER CARE TO SUCCESS (FCTS) office by December 15th, they get sorted and mailed on Valentine's Day.*
 This one is knit from the same Brown Sheep Lambs Pride Worsted in Wine Splash I showed last week, she can't remember which scarf pattern,  it was a 2 or 4 row repeat she downloaded. The red tweed one was Claire's; Claire said she had trouble following her directions, so the stitch is not  as it was supposed to  be but it looks pretty good in a different way. 
The last one is Wavy, from Knitty 06, in Cascade 220 superwash.  Although Leo is a  Miami-based college student who doesn't need a woolly scarf and, anyway, eschews handknits (I know!? let's not go there!) he modeled it  to prove that it looks pretty good on a guy even if he's making faces..
• red or non-gender color yarn, any weight except super bulky (it mails in a fed ex box)
• any knit , crocheted or woven pattern that suits either gender. Lacy, not so much.
• 5-8" wide, about 60" or so long
The folks at the FC2S offices  are not weighing and measuring with scientific instruments, it's guidelines, don't fret! Send them by December 15 and feel good. Or, you can feel just as good by sending a donation of gift cards or money to suport the kids who have no "home" to call for reinforcements. Go, cast on for one. Or send. Today.
A few remaining red leaves. Just for inspiration. Doncha love red with light blue?

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

november post 4: that granny square hat

In which I share two topics dear to my heart: granny squares and the virtue of having an ongoing series photo project (ha! You thought I was going to say Zoe and Bobo, two topics also dear tomy heart. OBVIOUSLY).
The usual suspects. She put the plastic rats, shown under her arm, on his head after the hat came off.
A while back I saw this granny square hat on Pinterest, called the Rainbow Beanie, which linked to a tutorial. I love me a granny square project on the side of the knitting, it is all about playing with scraps of color. I figured why not use leftover yarns from Zoe's blanket to make her one.The tutorial itself comes down on the super chatty side of things, but it'll get you going.  Sometimes less is more, in the instructions, if you know what I mean. The hat itself is a keeper- and gets pulled out of the  basket by the front door with some regularity.  Year round, whether she needs a hat or not (I am sure many would agree with her, that you always need a hat).  I am tempted to make a less Grateful Dead-ish one for myself, like Fiorella by Courtney Kelley. Though I suspect it'll still have that hippiechick look on me.(Even worse, aging stuck in time hippiechick. Not a pretty category).

This photo was  in my Instagram feed (I am @galezucker on Instagram), it's part of a series I started 18 months ago  #dailyzoe   Zoe, the easiest kid on earth has one thing she is particular about. It began as soon as she could point and grunt. She likes to put together her own clothing. She has opinions.  Since I care not at all what people think of her outfits, and she's been dressing herself since she 2, this works out well for us all.

It's more than a little overindulgent, I get that. But just as I always have a granny square project going on, I like to have a little photo series underway, something that I can keep adding to, that can be a signature of sorts, and a little bit of a challenge, trying to keep it from getting too repeititve . It's all shot on my phone cam,so it's short and sweet and easy to upload to Instagram and FB.It's a creative doodle, who doesn't love a creative doodle? You can see more at #dailyzoe  on Instagram.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

november post 3: election day knitting

I assure you that I serve as an election official for reasons beyond this: it is the only day of the year that I am compelled to sit in one room all day long--and I can knit.
 My duties include reminding voters how to feed their ballots into the tabulator after they've filled in their choices  " up or down, either side works!",  helping them if it doesn't go in correctly "Sir? Sir? ...SIR! DON"T LEAVE!  YOUR BALLOT WAS REJECTED"......and handing out the little stickers.

Above, where I was, knit-wise, by around 5 pm. Later I got the sleeves to matching lengths, went through that floppy sloppy stage of attaching them to the body that had already been knit, had the satisfaction of getting it to that all under control, smugly working on the yoke stage--and then realized something was not.quite.right.   One of my underarms had no stitches under it. I am not sure how that happened. I'm hazarding a guess it was operator failure, not a pattern error.  

But let's not dwell on how I'll solve this , let's appreciate this yarn. Berroco Fiora in a silvery grey called Georgia. It's a cotton alpaca wool and viscose blend, has a beautiful glowy quality, feels amazing to knit and is exactly the right weight sweater for now.  I hope I get it off the needles and onto my back--with normal armpits ---soon.

Monday, November 02, 2015

november post 2: what's your sweater starting rule?

I loved reading the comments from yesterday's post regarding my scheming to knit the Holland sweater, while owning how slow my sweater-in-progress is going. To be fair, Mary Lou, who said I should make the new pattern but only after I finish the one at hand is so right. She knows the slo-mo project is a test knit I'm doing for her, for a book project we've been working on together....and she knows what happens once I get distracted. Trouble. It's a fabulous pattern, by the way, so I have no complaints.

Anyway, she didn't have to worry. I'm in the same camp as Michele/pdxKnitterati who said she has rules about cheating on her sweater underway (Ok she didn't put it that way, but you know that's what it is).  Until I read her comment, I didn't realize I have the same rule.  I'm fine with casting on a different kind of knit--I have a shawl, a scarf, a pair of socks, a blanket all in various stages of done--and various levels of challenging, if you know what I mean. Like, a scarf that needs me to count stitches and switch colors but a blanket that's super simple...but I'll only work on one sweater at a time. In fact I pretty much will only work on one of each kind of project at a time.
Am I alone? What are your personal  guidelines for starting projects? Isn't it funny how we make up rules for ourselves? (and, ummm, then break them?).

Sunday, November 01, 2015

november post 1: holland pattern & fibrespace classes coming 11/12&13

I am thrilled to be teaching at Fibre Space in Alexandria VA Nov 12 & 13th 
Thurs evening 6-9 : SmartPhone Photoclass . Not just for knitters, bring a friend!
Fri 10-5  Photo for Knitters & Makers - Tips, tricks, shooting, editing, critiquing - we'll do it all, click links for both classes' details. Limited spaces left! See you there.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Now, on with the show. Maybe it's the weather or the time of year or the glut of  tempting new patterns going by my field of vision, but I am super inspired to be knitting/making stuff.  For example, I shot this sweater, Holland, designed by Maureen Clark for Green Mountain Spinnery in August.  It has so many good points.
I'll confess, I tried on the sample, I couldn't resist. As you may know, I am shaped not at all like beautiful Josephine, shown here. And yet this sweater somehow looks great on both of us.  That's point 1.
Point 2 - the swingy shape. It's fun to wear. The sleeves are not wide, they are slim fitted, which is Point 3, it doesn't have that saggy baggy overall effect- it works the way Boxy does. The wide  soft V neckline is Point 4- you can wear with a collared shirt or a tank top. A crisp V neck is too preppy for my taste. You could dress this up. Even I could dress this up. It's that good.
Point 5 Beautiful details. The unfinished rolling edge collar, raglan sleeve,  sleeve embellishment stitches. Point 6 it's DK weight, so it's not too heavy yet it'll knit fairly quickly. It's shown in Green Mountain Spinnery Sylvan Spirit, a western (USA) Targee wool and tencel blend. (If you aren't familiar with the Spinnery , you should check them out. They've been doing Grown in the USA and breed specific, thoughtfully sourced yarns for decades, way ahead of the curve).  I love the tweedy gray.  Whatever I knit this sweater in, it's going to need to be tweedy. Maybe in their Mewesic yarn, which is soft and tweedy wool and comes in a really good denim-y shade called Blue Bayou . 

All this sounds so doable- but I am embarrassed to say I've been taking for-eh-vah to knit a simple DK weight sweater that I started in, oh, I dunno, August?  I am only happy that democracy will come to the rescue of my knitting, as I should be able to get some serious sweater time in while working as an election official on Tuesday, during this quiet local-races-only year.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •  
I just learned that NaBloPoMo is a general thing (I read it on BlogHer) not just a knitblogging thing, as I'd thought. And it stands for National Blog Posting Month.  My track record isn't great but my intentions are solid. I did decently in November 2009. Having just read over the entries from that month, I am cheered by knowing it's possible to come close (I made 25 posts) and also touched by that glimpse into my own life 6 years ago. Only six years! So many changes. 
 Come back and check on me while you're surfing around.   I might just stick with this blogging thing, how about you?