Hat Overload

I am sick of knitting hats.
It seems like everything I knit for my upcoming show is a hat.  That needs to stop.
So, I’m focusing on other types of projects, such as notebook covers and coffee cup sleeves, stuff like that.  Oh, and trinket bags.  Just not hats.
I’ll probably knit a chunky scarf or two in the interim, as well.  I have a pretty lace knit one in Berocco Chunky, (lace again!) and have yarn for a ruffly type scarf, too, in a nice acrylic, mohair, and wool blend.  I think its Katia yarn.  Park Avenue, or something like that.
If I don’t sell all those hats, I do have a good use for them.  I’ll take them to the local cancer center and donate them for cancer patients to use as chemo caps.  I’ve done that before, and they were well received. 
In the meantime, though, no more hats.  At least not for a while.

Kallee in her Pixie Hat

Remember those photos from that fun four-year-old?  I would like to introduce Kallee in her hat that her mother commissioned for me to do!  Joy, Kallee’s mom, took these photos and sent them on to me.  The last one, Kallee specifically mentioned that her mother should “Send this one to Jenn.”  I’m so glad she did!  I love the goofy face.
As for the project details, it’s the Sunrise Hat from Lion Brand Yarns, knit in Lion Brand Yarns Homespun in Parfait.  It’s a great pixie hat, and it was fun to knit. I especially love the little point on the top.

Jenn the Dummy

I’m a big dummy.
Why am I a big dummy, you may say?  I’ll tell you.  I wrenched my back out of whack. 
A little back (heh) story.  I’ve had back problems for a good chunk of my adult life.  I had back surgery almost two years ago.  It helped a lot and I’m glad I did it, but every now and then the pain flares up again.  Not in the crippling way it did before my surgery, but enough to cause some discomfort and minor pain.
What I’m getting at is that I got complacent with my back as I had been doing well for quite a while with it.  Unfortunately, being the dummy I am, decided to sit and lean over in a stupid manner looking at knitting patterns.  The result:  I triggered back spasms.  Sigh. 
Now its painkillers and muscle relaxers for a few days.  I really got to start watching how I position myself.  Think, Jenn, think! 
Anyway, I’ll deal.  Hopefully with a little rest, stretching, and pills I should be fine.  It doesn’t change the fact I could’ve prevented this in the first place.  Blech.

When did I become a lace knitter?

So, I’ve noticed something lately when knitting.  I knit A LOT of simple lace.  The funny thing is that lace knitting sort of scares me with its intricate decreases, yarnovers, and charts.  Still, simple lace has become a way of knitting for me.  Is this a leap into complex lace?  Time will tell, I suppose. 
As an example of said lace knitting, here is a swatch of a fan and scallop cloth I did in cotton yarn.  Looks sort of pretty, I think.

Photography for Crafters

 

As I’ve said before, I love it when crafting and photography combine.  Recently, I got a book about both, surprisingly.  It’s Interweave’s The Crafter’s Guide to Taking Great Photos:The Best Techniques for Showcasing Your Handmade Creations.  I have to say, it’s a great book!  Lots of great tips, tricks for doing fancy lighting tricks on the cheap, and plenty of examples.  A wide range of crafts are covered, too.
My only problem with the book is that many of the cameras used in the examples are done with expensive DSLR’s, meaning the big ones you swap the lenses on and off.  There are some done with more accessible point-and-shoot cameras, but not too many.  Still, ANYONE can do great photography with any amount of practice on any camera, and it all comes down to practice, to be honest.
I do recommend that you check out this book, especially if you sell your work.  The key to getting a sale can come down to how the product looks in the picture.  Take a look at this book and put its tips into practice.
This book has motivated me to do better photography work on my crafts here.  As a photographer, I believe they are abysmal since I usually take them in the morning in a darkish room with a flash.  I’m going to live up to my photographic standards and take better pictures of my crafts.
With that being said, want a quick primer on how to take decent photographs?  Here are a few tips that I give out when I work with people on photography.  These are mostly for point-and-shoot cameras, but put these tips into practice where applicable with a DSLR, too.
Jenn’s Basic Photography Tips for a Point-And-Shoot Camera/Smartphone Camera

Three components to a good photo

  1. Composition

  1. Lighting

  2. Cropping

Composition:

For most product and sample photography, you will be using a centered composition.  To make a photograph more interesting, try using the Rule of Thirds.

Try imagining what you see through the viewfinder as above, with intersecting lines and places where the lines cross.  Where the lines cross is where you want to put your subject. Notice how your eye is drawn to those places where the lines cross?  That’s how your eyes work when viewing a photo.

Lighting

  • Use natural night if at all possible.
  • Keep your light source in front of your subject.
  • If you light source is in back of your subject, use the flash.
In low light situations, using a tripod is advisable.  A small one that can be stood on a table or other surface is relatively inexpensive.

Cropping

Cropping can make the difference in a photo, such as cutting out unnecessary space and bringing a subject in closer.  It’s a good idea to invest in a decent photo editing software, and there are plenty of good free ones out there, such as The GIMP for advanced users, or PicMonkey, which is online and has other features you can get with a paid subscription.

Other tips

  • Do not use the digital zoom.  Forget it is there.  Pictures always come out shaky and blurry when using it.
  • Become acquainted with your presets.  We can go over what each one does
  • Read your manual.

These are just the absolute basics.  I recommend you get the book.  It will be money well spent if you follow its advice.  Now go start taking lovely photos!