Thursday, October 31, 2013

Looking for Inspiration

I worry about writer's (knitter's?) block a lot less than I used to. Creative work takes practice. The more you work on it, the easier it is.

This isn't one of those swatches. I was too disgusted to take photos of them.

However, sometimes I just can't get the process to work. A design call went out a few days ago from a company that I love. They create truly delicious yarn and I would absolutely freak out if I got to design for them.

I printed out the call, looked at their inspiration boards, and sat down with my sketchpad and pencil.


"Ok, I can do this. I'll try again."

I read over some old knitting books that are full of techniques. Sometimes a technique is enough to set me off on the path to a design.


I swatched a little. It can't hurt. I made four different swatches in different yarns on different needles. A cowl? A hat? Socks?


Blugh. I guess working with this company will have to wait. Maybe I'll have a better time connecting with their next set of ideas. I don't want to force it and end up with something I don't like.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Remembering My Nana

Almost two weeks ago, my maternal grandmother, who we called "Nana," passed away. I feel blessed that I had a chance to see her before she went, and return to Oklahoma to see her laid to rest.

Snowglobe of T-Town.
She was from a very small town about an hour from Tulsa. I keep trying to think of how I can eulogize her properly. My mother did a great job, here.

Under a brilliant blue sky, we met to eat, talk and remember her. Here are some things that I remember:

Nana believed that every person, but especially children, needed spare time and a quiet place to think. Good shoes and a warm coat were also important. For at least some of her childhood, she didn't have any of those luxuries. 

Constant Comment tea with lemon is delicious, but coke from a glass bottle is a special treat. 

The back of your work is as important as the front. You know what's there, even if no one else does. (Embroidery and quilting ran in the family. My knitting is a modern affectation.)

She would get up at 4 a.m. to bake fresh pies for Thanksgiving dinner, because everyone loves freshly-baked pie.

Always respect all people, no matter what. 

Yellow was her favorite color. I was thinking of her as I spun this:

She was gone before I plied it. 

In fact, she loved bright colors, wherever they appeared. A cardinal was a thing of joy. A daffodil, a blessing.

I love you, Nana. I miss you.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

It Happens...

I have a new pair of slippers: Sherwood Slippers.

They are a little less structured than some of my others, but I really like them. I decided I wanted to offer sizes, this time. They go from women's small to men's large. Knit on large needles, they are a super-fast knit. (This is good, since every relative who has seen a pair wants some.)

I sent the pattern out to testers and got some notes back - the slippers were unusually large. Like, maybe a whole size larger than I meant for them to be. The ones I knit, in women's medium, fit my size 8.5 feet and Dee's size 6.5 feet (with socks), so I couldn't figure out what was wrong.

I popped open the spreadsheet and fiddled with numbers. I had accidentally figured out the circumference needed for the slippers by using the length measurement. Whoops! No wonder they were too big. I worked up some revisions and will try again...

Monday, October 28, 2013

Design Inspiration: Mediety

“Mediety” means one of two mostly equal parts. I made it as a test to see how far I could take modular knitting and also because I love the way garter stitch looks when it is sideways.

This sweater is made in two halves that are then joined. Both halves start at the top of the shoulder, then raglan increases create the beginning of the sleeves and part of the fronts and backs. Sleeves are knit seamlessly, in the round.

Finally, stitches are picked up and short-rows in garter stitch are made to bring the fronts and backs together, provide waist shaping and create an interesting neckline. I think that garter stitch removes the need for wrap-and-turn or other techniques that reduce holes at short-row turning points.

A knitter who is already comfortable with working  raglan shaping with ribbing, short rows, and  garter grafting will, hopefully, find this to be a very easy project. Knitters who want to have those skills could use this as a learning project.

I used a bunch of test knitters on this pattern. The tech editor I wanted to use wasn’t available at the time, so I released the pattern in “beta.” If you buy it and find a mistake, let me know and I’ll refund your money.

Friday, October 25, 2013


My office window at work.
Most people seem to feel strongly, one way or the other, about hitting the snooze button on an alarm. I, myself, am guilty of being capable of rolling in and out of sleep for over an hour, in-between strangling my alarm.

I tend to have extremely vivid, interesting dreams during my snooze-button interludes. Sometimes I'm reading a book, sometimes someone is telling me a story. They're never unhappy dreams. Part of me thinks it's a trick my brain is playing on me. If it can keep things cool enough, maybe I'll just stay in bed.

This morning, as I snooze-buttoned my way to near-lateness, I dreamed that I was in my office at work, messing with the windows. It takes an old-fashioned can opener to open them, and they only open a little bit. I wasn't upset in the dream, but I couldn't get a window to open.

I don't dream about work very much. Certainly, much less often than I ever dreamed about school when I was in school. (When I joined the swim team in high school, I dreamed about swimming for weeks.) Years ago, I told a coworker that I had never dreamed about using a camera, even though it was such a big part of my life. Then I did have that dream, the next night.

How closely do your dreams reflect your life?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Book Folder, #1

This is the first folder for the book. It's stuffed with yarn samples, swatches, and the scribbles of my notes on quasi-patterns as I knit through what I wrote. I hauled it around in my knitting bag. In quiet morning moments and during lunches alone, I wrote out, by hand, my ideas and formulas, trying to peel back three-dimensional shapes into sets of numbers that made sense.

Stapled into the front of the folder: every receipt for all of the yarn provided for Simply Socks Yarn Company. Stapled into the back: a chart of foot/sock sizes.

When I started revising the book, I made a new folder. It allows me not to be so overwhelmed, but I can still keep my old notes in case I need them for later.

Journalists are terrible about either keeping or losing everything. I'm trying to stay somewhere in the middle. Still, something tells me that I will hold onto this folder for a very long time.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Light Went Out

I went to use my trusty Nikon SB-28 for some photos and...nothing. Turns out that the Keys to the Castle shoot was its last hurrah.

Bad lighting, courtesy of not having the right setup.

I've seen flashes stop working, and this one is definitely kaput. It served me well for over ten years, which impressed me until I realized I'm still using a Vivitar flash that my mom bought when she was in college.

I ordered a new one, an SB-700. Let's hope it lasts half as long!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Keys to the Castle - Discounted Pattern AND Yarn Discount

One of my friends pointed out that my earlier post made it sound a little as if only people who are planning on joining the Knit a Long can get Keys to the Castle for the discount price. That's not true!

Buy the Preview for the KAL through Ravelry at the lower price (before Nov. 1), and you will still get a full version of the pattern on Nov. 1, when the pattern is released. Get in early to save a little cash. :)

Also (and this is SO COOL), you can get 20% off your Perfectly Posh Sport yarn by entering the code “Castle-KAL” when you checkout at FiberWild! They’ve got every color available, either in house or as a special order color!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Design Inspiration: Sweetest Heart Socks

I designed my Sweetest Heart Socks as part of a kit for Simply Socks Yarn Company in February of 2012. Six months after its release, the rights reverted to me. I re-released it myself after I had a few test knitters try it out.

It was a fun design to make. Allison assumed that I'd written a ton of top-down sock patterns before, but in fact I had only done one - and that was for a Christmas stocking! We talked about how she wanted the pattern to look and a drew a few sketches. I was originally going to stretch a single heart all of the way across the top/front of the sock.

When I knit the swatch, that turned out not to show up very well. The curve of the foot/leg made it hard to make out the heart shape. I again tried with hearts that were half as wide, and I was very happy with the result.

I added one last heart, centered, on the toe, to be worked during the toe decreases. It made the design feel pretty clever to me.

On Ravelry, I saw a great pair made from this pattern by a lady, Anna-Mia Heikkinen, in Finland. I will never get over how exciting it is to see someone knit a pattern of mine from so many thousands of miles away. She used Cascade Yarns Heritage Solids & Quatro Colors and I think it looks great! I messaged her and she gave me permission to use her photo here.

Copr. Anna-Mia Heikkinen, 2012

Friday, October 18, 2013

Cider Apples

I read this poem in high school and it has really stuck with me. 

After Apple-Picking

My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still,
And there's a barrel that I didn't fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.
I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and disappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.
And I keep hearing from the cellar bin
The rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.
For all
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it's like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.


I don't know if it means this to anyone else, but I have always interpreted the "cider-apple heap" as the drawer where one stuffs the work they have done that someone else says they don't like. Poetry, writing, and knit swatches have all had their cider-places in my life.

You know it's worth something. Maybe the idea will rise again. Maybe the exact same thing will look like a golden apple to a different judge.


It's harder to look at the thing the same way. Even if it is not "not bruised or spiked with stubble." It's harder to see its worth once someone else has seen it and said, "no thanks." (Or worse, said nothing at all.)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Cascadia Winner!

The lovely Jen won out with the random number generator, even though she doesn't seem to believe Cascadia exists!

Call Me Kip

I'm reading The English Patient at night, before I go to sleep. As usual, if you like the movie, you'll probably love the book, since it's better.

I have something in common with Kip.  I work better when I have music to focus my mind. It has to be in a language I don't know. I wrote, and am now revising, my book while listening to various versions of Don Giovanni.

I'm glad I'm untangling my own mistakes and cleaning up words instead of bombs, though.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Writing, Revising, and Startitis

A tiny preview of something in my book.
"Startitis" happens for a reason. Casting on a project is way more fun than sewing on buttons or darning in ends, at least for me.

I'm working on the first round of edits for my first book. I say this hoping it will not be my last book. I'm on the stage that feels like choosing buttons. I'm not even to sewing on buttons, yet!

Editing, even though it is so important to good writing, isn't quite as much fun as writing, for me. It takes discipline. You have to love and hate your writing at the same time. Love it enough to spend time reading it carefully. Hate it enough to cut, delete, and change it.

There's a saying in the news business for a hard-nosed editor: "She doesn't mind killing other people's words." (In reality, that phrase is put in a way that is much colder, but I don't want the Google results that might come up if I use the one I know best.)

It is painful to realize that I have written something out in 2 pages what I can re-write in half a page. But, it's exciting to see that half a page when it is finished...and to realize that the half page maybe wouldn't have been possible without the 2-page draft that came before it.

I felt better about my ambiguous relationship to rewriting when I read A Moveable Feast. There's a section where Hemingway damns Stein's writing with faint praise. He writes about her great affection for writing, and how much she loves turning it out on a daily basis. But. She doesn't edit, rewrite, or even read her proofs for herself.
"This book (The Making of Americans) began magnificently, went on very well for a long way with stretches of great brilliance and then went on endlessly in repetitions that a more conscientious and less lazy writer would have put in the waste basket."
OUCH! I hope no one says something like that about me. I know some of my weaknesses. I tend to hyperbole. I use too many words when fewer will do. I'm trying to fix that, now.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Keys to the Castle Pattern Preview is Up!

The Keys to the Castle preview is now available on Ravelry

This pattern will retail for $4.99 but will be $3.99 to anyone who buys it through Ravelry during the preview period, which will end on Nov. 1. (You don't have to do the KAL to buy the pattern at the preview price, but why not do both?)

I will host a Knit A Long (KAL) within the I Dream in Color group for this pattern on Ravelry. (Consider joining, if you're not a member. It's free!)

KAL Rules:
- Any Keys to the Castle started after November 1, 2013 and finished on or before January 1, 2014 will be eligible for the prize.
- To be eligible for the prize, you must use any Dream in Color yarn and must post a photo of your completed project in the KAL thread on Ravelry.
- You can use the tag “DICcastleKAL” for your projects.

Prize: a skein of Perfectly Posh Sport in Heavenly, to be awarded at random amongst the eligible participants at the end of the KAL.

Here's how it works. If you buy the preview at the lower price (which is just one page basically saying what you need to make a gauge swatch), when the pattern goes "live" on November 1, 2013, I will send you an update with the whole pattern. Join in on the Knit A Long either way for a chance to win a skein of yarn.

P.S. - Until you have a project photo of your own, feel free to download this sleepy little guy to use on your project page. 

Getting ready to Dream in Color?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Design Inspiration: PB&J Cowl

When I saw the Hello Purl batts on the shelf, I knew I had to buy one. I had only been spinning for a few months, but they were just too awesome to pass up.

I brought it home, split it in half and spun it on my loaner Kiwi wheel.

I ended up with a nice, two-ply yarn that was roughly worsted-weight. 

My mom loves purple and sparkle, so I decided that it had to be something for her. There wasn't enough yarn for a shawl and she doesn't wear a lot of hats, so I played around a little bit and came up with a simple cowl shape that could work either with a lot or a little handspun yarn. 

I sent an email to the Ennea Collective about publishing my pattern. They said yes! They were a fun group. 

The result is the PB&J Cowl, named after the first art batt I ever spun. 

OK, enabling time:

Even for people who don't spin or aren't into art batts, I think this is a pretty awesome, easy pattern. 

2 skeins of Manos Del Uruguay Wool Clasica Space-Dyed Yarn would be more than enough.
2 skeins of Malabrigo Chunky would be gorgeous and super warm.
Or, ooooh, Marble Chunky would be awesome. Just one skein would work. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Folder As Timeline

I use physical folders to bring together the few non-digital things I create as I'm working on a pattern. It holds my swatches, my first draft of the pattern with my notes, and any sketches I draw by hand. All of the folders go into one storage file, so that I don't lose them. The patterns, samples, and swatches for my book are all in their own storage file box. (I borrowed this idea from Hunter Hammersen, and I love it.)

In theory, it could ALL be digital, but I still end up with some physical stuff because I find proofreading (and making notes while knitting) on paper easier.

As I near the launch date for a pattern, I like to use the outside of the folder to outline finishing-touch goals for myself, with deadlines. I have a terrible memory and if I don't write things down, I literally lose sleep because I'm so worried that I forgot something.

The pattern is back from the tech editor (the lovely Stephannie Tallent), so all I have to do now is add some finishing touches to get ready for the pattern's pre-release next week. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Quick Video

I was going to edit this video and make it a little more polished, but it's only 19 seconds long.

This way, you get to see me mess up, get the hang of it, and slow down again.

There will be a link to this video in the Keys to the Castle pattern.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Hitch Winner

The random number generator chose Laura, who blogs over at Tasteful Diversions. I hope you enjoy it, Laura!

Review of Cascadia (and a chance to win a copy)

Cascadia, according to the introduction, is dedicated to and inspired by “the mythical sounding temperate region bordering the west coast of Canada and the northern United States, and defined by the Cascades mountain range.” Edited by Amanda Milne and Fiona McLean of Knit Social, the book includes 11 patterns from 10 designers.

The ebook version of Cascadia is out. Paper copies are scheduled to become available very soon. I’m really pleased that Cooperative Press sent me a digital copy to look over - and one to share with you! I read mine on a PC using Adobe Reader. Your experience may vary a little if you are using an iPad or some other tablet. (Full disclosure: I am working with Cooperative Press on a book of my own. I am open to reviews of books from other companies, I just haven’t had any other offers yet.)

The closest I’ve been to that particular part of the world is Eugene, Oregon. If it’s at all similar, it is a place of tall trees, gentle rains, and really nice people.

The patterns are cozy and stylish, which is not always an easy combination to pull off. As in Hitch, the contents page takes full advantage of the ebook format. Simply click through the thumbnail to jump to the pattern you want. Hats, sweaters, socks and scarves are on offer.

There’s even a sweater designed for men, Wickaninnish, sized from 38.25” to 54.25” at the chest. A unisex (I think it could be rocked by anyone) sweater is a rare treat in a set of fewer than a dozen designs.

Speaking of treats, it’s harder to get sweeter than a sweater design is really cute on an adult and a little kid. There are two such sets in this collection. I’m kind of freaking out about how adorable Britannia looks. It is sized from newborn through 4XL women’s! It’s also a nice combination of cables and lace, which is hard to pull off, but looks great. Sea Glass, a sleeveless pullover that is sized for Girls 6-8 and three adult sizes, looks like it would be a quick, fun knit.


My favorite would-knit-for-me design is Beacon Hill. It’s knit from the top down, has a lovely stitch pattern, waist shaping and a double-thick shawl collar. Be still my heart. It’s sized from 30” to 50.”

I have a digital copy of Cascadia to give away! Just leave a comment on this post by Midnight (New York time) on Wednesday, October 16. Tell me which pattern is your favorite, or your best memory from that part of the world.

I’ll use a random number generator to pick from the comments and announce the winner here on October 17, 2013. The ebook will be sent either to your email address or your Ravelry member ID, your choice. Good luck!

(Comments are moderated. If your comment doesn't show up right away, don't worry!)

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Adorable Baby and Lighting

One of my friends agreed to let me photograph her adorable 3-month-old in the sample of Keys to the Castle. We made a date for me to come over on my lunch hour one day. It was a fun shoot. He is a super-relaxed and happy baby. The weather was pretty warm - in the upper 70s. I wouldn't have been cheerful if someone wrapped me in a wool/mohair/silk/cashmere sweater!

The sweater was a little big on him, but I think it still looks really cute. That might all be him, though. I tried three different methods of lighting him. They all work, just in different ways.

From first set of photos, light from handheld strobe, bounced off white ceiling. Color on sweater looks good, but skin tones can get a little strange with this method.

Second set of photos. This is all natural light coming in through the front door. In many homes, this is your best bet.

I'm still using a strobe, bounced off the ceiling, here, but I've lowered the shutter speed of the camera to allow more of the room's light to come in.

This last method usually gets pretty good color, but a fit of the cute squirmies can lead to somewhat blurred photos!

Monday, October 07, 2013

Design Inspiration: Sunday Morning Slippers

Sunday Morning Slippers came from my desire to improve an earlier design, my Short-Row Felted Slippers.

Boomer doesn't care about slippers.

Those first slippers were actually what encouraged me to write knitting patterns. They were only the second knit pattern I put on Ravelry, and they are still the most popular pattern I've ever written. (Part of their popularity is that they are free. A free pattern simply gets downloaded a lot more than most paid ones.)

I also learned a lot from comments and questions I got from people who made the slippers. Is there any way to make the back collapse less? How do I make knitting them a little less awkward? 

Instead of starting with the top of the slipper, I started right at the back. This simplified the construction and made most of the knitting more straightforward. Less time juggling stitches from one needle to the next helped a lot. I called them "Sunday Morning" because I knit a pair in a few hours at my Sunday morning knitting group.

I made the very back of the slipper a triangle instead of a rectangle, because I noticed that most shoes taper a little there, and it seemed it would help keep the sides from flattening out. I added notes to the pattern and video to help show a few of the more unusual techniques. 

Since I knit the first pair (and second, and third) from my own handspun yarn, I needed some ideas of commercial yarns people could use. A group of test knitters gave me great notes for improving the pattern and used their own yarns to suit them. They all used at least two strands of yarn held together to get to the yarn thickness needed for gauge and one knitter used 5 strands of Aran-weight yarn as one on a US 15 needle to make a men’s size 11 slipper!

The original pattern was designed to fit a woman with small-to-medium-sized feet. Knitters have expanded that a bit with their yarn and needle choices. That's one of the great things about Ravelry. You don't have to reinvent the wheel all of the time.

I love slippers and I'm always looking for new ways to try different techniques and shapes. In fact, I'm working on a new design right now. I just hope people like them and find them useful. 

Friday, October 04, 2013

Beth Brown-Reinsel's Kickstarter

You should donate to Beth Brown-Reinsel's Kickstarter campaign because her patterns need great photos (and good photography needs $) and there should be more of her ebooks/videos in the world.

I mean LOOK at that knitting. So pretty.

But, you could also consider that a signed copy of her book "Knitting Ganseys:"

1) Is awesome.
2) Was out of print for a while, so you may not have seen how awesome it is.
3) Pretty much costs $30 anyway.

There are a bunch of other things you can choose as your reward for helping her out, but I'm going with the book...

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Illustrator and the Self-Publishing Knitter

I realize that Illustrator is out of reach for a lot of people. I wouldn't have it myself if I didn't have the entire Adobe suite because I teach photojournalism at a local college.

I'm hardly an expert on that software, but I know Photoshop and InDesign pretty well, and a lot of the controls are similar, so I don't feel completely lost. I decided not to redraw the whole sweater in Illustrator. I wanted to see what it would look like if I took a photograph of the sweater and used it as a basis for the schematic. I also could have used my original sketch, but I think the photo looks better.

I pulled a flat photo of the sweater into Photoshop, turned most of the background completely white, and imported it into Illustrator. Then, I just drew the lines and ovals I needed to show the measurements and added a few numbers with the Text tool.

It looks pretty clear to me. Although, I should probably whittle away a little more at that background and add a measurement for the length of the sleeves. The arrowheads are also maybe a little too big?

P.S. - If you want to learn new-to-you software in a way that's fast and easy, I can't recommend highly enough.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Review of Hitch - and a Giveaway!

I met Stephannie Tallent in person at TNNA this year. She looked kind of terrified when I said I had submitted a pattern to Hitch, which she edited. I think she was worried I would hate her because it didn’t get in.

On the contrary, I know that sometimes things just don’t fit into a theme. Putting together a collection of knitting patterns is a lot like choosing a portfolio of images. There are always good things that you have to leave out. Also, her rejection note was so nice!

I know that seems like an odd thing to think, but I’ve had some that really left me flat. A very terse: “Not for us.” Or, worse, SILENCE. Silence is definitely the worst. Rejection is a part of any creative endeavor, so it’s nice when someone takes the time to explain why a pattern won’t work for their project. I know time is a problem for a lot of people, but even a few well-worded form letters would help take the sting out of some rejections.

The ebook version of Hitch is out. Paper copies are scheduled to become available very soon. I’m really pleased that Cooperative Press sent me a digital copy to look over - and one to share with you! I read mine on a PC using Adobe Reader. Your experience may vary a little if you are using an iPad or some other tablet.

The book is almost 200 pages long and contains 29 patterns. I love the variety of patterns. There are socks, berets, sweaters (for men and women), various wraps/stoles and fingerless gloves. Twenty-seven different designers wrote the patterns for this book, which really shows Stephannie’s talent as an editor - if it weren’t for the credits, you could easily think they were all done by the same designer.

The cute film-reel style of the table of contents is really fun and makes choosing a project easy. I’m a visual person, so being able to see a photo, even if it’s tiny, helps me choose what I might like to knit. Also, because it’s an electronic book, you can click right through the thumbnail photo to jump right to the pattern. I love it that Cooperative Press is making ebooks that are so functional and going beyond them just being an electronic copy of a paper book.

There is a filmography near the back of the book, for those who are curious but haven’t seen a lot of Hitchcock movies. Basically, you could dial yourself into netflix and have a relatively thorough movie marathon using this list.

Let’s talk about yarn for a minute. Thirty-one companies provided yarn and/or notions support for the book. The list includes relatively large companies like Blue Moon Fiber Arts and wonderful independent dyers like The Verdant Gryphon. If you aren’t lucky enough to have a very large, well-stocked yarn store near you and want to branch out into buying independently-dyed or just very interesting yarns, this is a great list to check out. Links to each yarn company’s website are included.

Charts for patterns are clear and easy to read. Pattern stitches are given as written instructions, too, for the chart-phobic. Sizing is generous. The Greenwich Village Cardigan, for example, goes from XS to 3X. (The Not Your Gal Friday Sweater goes up to 4X.) The Robie Sweater, designed for men, has chest measurements that go from 36” to 54.” I know at least one zippered-pullover-loving woman who would really rock the 36” size. Scared of sewing in zippers? Not to worry, there’s a photo tutorial for that.

Measurements are given in inches and centimeters, so there’s no need to haul out a calculator if you use the metric system. Schematics make it easy to see which size will fit best, but it looks like those measurements are all in inches. Otherwise, I think, there would just be too many tiny numbers to cram onto the page.

In short, there’s something for everyone packed into this volume. Fortunately, I have a digital copy to give away! Just leave a comment on this post by Midnight (New York time) on Wednesday, October 8. Tell me which pattern from Hitch is your favorite (and if you have a favorite Hitchcock movie!)

I’ll use a random number generator to pick from the comments and announce the winner here on October 9, 2013. The ebook will be sent either to your email address or your Ravelry member ID, your choice. Good luck!

(Comments are moderated. If your comment doesn't show up right away, don't worry!)

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Shooting (and Editing) Photos

The draft/test/sample version of Keys to the Castle knit up in a flash. I couldn't seem to put the little knit down, even when I was supposed to be doing other things at home.

After washing and blocking, I was ready for photography. I have a photo tiny studio in the corner of the living room. It's a little bit more sophisticated than this $12 set up, but it's not too far off. I have white paper instead of foil and two small strobes for lighting. (If you want info on how I choose strobes, I wrote about it here. One of mine was my mom's when she was in college.)

I shot the little sweater, along with all of the details I thought I needed, and one little one of it folded over that I couldn't resist. I am a huge sucker for detail and close-up shots of knitting and I always just kind of hope that people don't think that's really strange.

I pulled the photos into Photoshop, color corrected them and removed the spots that are a fact of life when you're using a 10-year-old digital camera. Then, I opened them all at once and looked at them, together, to make sure their colors match. Even in a studio-like setting, different angles will make the light bounce differently off of the fiber. I've noticed this is especially obvious with yarns that include silk, like this one.

Checking Color
Color is color and there's no such thing as perfect, but I want the colors to be as close to 1) reality and 2) each other as possible. 

I'm pretty thrilled!

So far, I've used Word, Google Docs, Adobe Acrobat, a Nikon D100, some really old strobes, an iPhone (to record video and shoot the first hand-drawn sketch), and Photoshop. I'm planning on using Illustrator to make a simple schematic, Premiere to edit the video, and a free Vimeo account to host the final video. Oh, and yarn, needles, and a little Soak. Does Netflix count as a design tool?

It takes a lot to do what looks so simple.

Coming Up: Illustrator and an Adorable Baby Model (not both at the same time.)