Close Up

It’s Yarn Love Challenge Day 2!  If you missed day 1, explaining what exactly Yarn Love Challenge is, please see yesterday’s post.  Today’s prompt is “close up.”  Over the last few years, I’ve tried to improve my ability to take close up pictures.  Close ups help us focus on details, providing a better understanding of and appreciation for finished projects.  Rather than just sharing fiber arts pictures in this post, I’ve chosen close-up pictures that represent different aspects of my life.  Collectively, these small details provide a better understanding of the ongoing project that is my life.

Fiber

Since this is primarily a fiber blog, I am starting with the fiber pictures!

First, one of my favorite projects and pictures: a close up of the lace border on the Raindrops on Roses Shawl.

Next, one of the first close-up pictures I ever took of a fiber project.  It’s a humble garter-stitch dishcloth and I hoped to take a picture that made it look like more fun than that!  I tried to make it look like ocean waves and added the octopi charms both because of the ocean theme and because I love octopi so much.

This is the lace edging on the first project I ever knit from my own homespun yarn.  I was (and am) so proud to be able to knit from yarn spun by my own hands!

I have been obsessed with cables ever since I knit a cabled baby blanket as my second-ever knitting project.  (The baby I knit that blanket for just got married this week and is expecting his first child).  When I knit the Sand Tracks scarf, I became obsessed with the combination of cables and seed stitch.

Rainbows make me happy, and this Redfish Dyeworks 20/2 Spun Silk gradient is no exception.  I love this picture because it captures all the skeins in the gradient and because there’s something perfect about the way the circle draws my eye around and around and around the rainbow.

The Gotland / Teeswater fleece pictured here is one of the first fleeces I purchased (at SAFF 2016) to process by hand.  This picture is of the raw fleece and I love all the different colors in the fleece.  I took this picture just before I washed it.  I have yet to comb or spin it.

 

Tiger

I take a ridiculous number of pictures of our cat, Tiger.  He’s so photogenic.  He’s also ridiculously cuddly.  Sometimes he’s so cute and happy with cuddles that I don’t want to disturb him, but I’m also bored.  I almost always have my phone with me, so I whip it out and take pictures of him.  Of course, I take many close ups of his face.

But I am also rather obsessed with taking pictures of his paws.

 

And the way his tail wraps around his body and curls up beside his hip is one of the most precious things in the world.

Life

My husband grew up in Toms River, NJ.  Toms River is right about in the middle of the New Jersey coastline, separated by the intracoastal from Seaside Heights and Seaside Park, NJ.  He grew up going to the Seaside beach constantly.  His grandmother and an aunt each lived a couple blocks from the beach where the boardwalk was.  Superstorm Sandy destroyed much of the boardwalk.  If you watched any of the coverage of that storm, you might remember a picture of a roller coaster in the ocean.  That was the Seaside boardwalk where my husband grew up.  After Sandy, the boardwalk was rebuilt in record time, and the businesses lining it reopened for the following summer season.  That fall, one year after Sandy, an electrical short started a fire that burned six blocks of the newly-rebuilt boardwalk (this article says 3 blocks, but it was really 3 blocks in Seaside Heights plus 3 blocks in Seaside Park for a total of six blocks).  Fire trucks came from all over the state to fight that fire.  In the end, they were only able to put it out by bulldozing out part of the new boardwalk to create a fire break.

Three months after the fire, we were in New Jersey for Christmas, so we went down to the boardwalk to view the devastation.  The picture before is a charred piece of wood, about 4 inches long, embedded in the sand near where the fire started.

Birds

My father is a birdwatcher; I’ve been birdwatching with him since I was 6 months old, in a backpack on his back.  Last year, we attended the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival.  One of the tours we took was a bird banding tour.  The guide was a licensed bird bander.  We accompanied him to the location where he bands and helped him to capture three birds for banding.  He applied a band to each bird, weighed them, measured their wings, beaks, and leg bones, then released them.  This is a Bachman’s Sparrow, an uncommon species which is in decline due to habitat loss.

 

In the vendor area of the festival, was a booth operated by a bird rescue.  They brought several of their education birds — birds that will never be able to released back to the wild due the extent of injury — and you could have a picture taken with the bird of your choice.  I picked the Golden Eagle because I am a Ravenclaw and the Eagle is the emblem of our House.  Note that I am not holding this bird.  Only licensed handlers are able to do that.  The eagle is sitting on the gloved hand of the handler and I am standing beside her.  The picture is taken from a clever angle, making it seem that I’m closer than I actually am!

In the Yard

Several years ago, I got lenses for my iPhone camera.  I didn’t know such a thing was possible until I was traveling on business and a colleague had them for her phone.  I was so excited, I bought myself a set.  I especially loved the macro lens.

Leaf and tendril from the grape vines.  We’ve since pulled them out because they were growing up against the house, destroying the paint and the window screens.  Plus the neighborhood birds ate all the baby grapes while they were still green so we never got any ourselves.

A cherry tomato, still on the vine.

Lichen on the trunk of a crepe myrtle.

A crab spider on its web.

 

Click here to read Yarn Love Challenge, Day 3: Currently Making.

 

 

A Year of Projects 2015, Weeks 27 & 28

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I didn’t write a Year of Projects post last Sunday, so this post covers the last week and a half of progress.  Saturday, July 4 was Independence Day in the United States.  My husband had Friday and Monday off, and we planned to go to the beach at least one day.  We didn’t go because I wasn’t feeling well on Sunday and Monday.  On Friday, my family got together for lunch:

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Chris and I hung out around the house for the rest of the long weekend.  The rest of this week was our usual routine.  Today we did some yard work.  The aloe plants in our backyard are blooming.  I love their flowers!

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I’m also happy to report that while Tiger seemed suspicious of his cat bed when I first made it, he’s decided he quite likes it.  It is now his favorite place to sleep — if no human lap is available, that is!

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Let’s review the goals I set when last I wrote a Year of Projects post:

Goals for July 1 to 5, 2015

  • Knit at least 1/2 of the Sweet Summer Shawl
  • Cast on Miranda Shawl
  • Swatch and Cast on Bubbles Baby Blanket
  • Swatch and Cast on Liquid Silver Shawl
  • Finish spinning and plying the Cormo I’ve been working on since February
  • Start spinning the 3 Feet of Sheep (8 ounces BFL) on July 4 for Tour de Fleece

I finished the Sweet Summer Shawl on July 8.

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I cast on the Miranda Shawl, knit 8 rows, discovered that my mistake on the cast on row was going to be a problem, ripped it all the way out, and cast on again.  I only cast on again yesterday and I’m now making excellent progress.

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Since I’m working on the Cormo as part of Tour de Fleece, I’ve been writing regular updates about it (Stage 1, Stage 3, Stage 6, Stage 7).  Today I finally finished plying it!  The bobbin on top is the one I finished plying for Stage 7.  I finished the other two bobbins today.

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I have not started the baby blanket, Liquid Silver Shawl, or spun any of the BFL.  I didn’t include anything about the Master Hand Knitting swatches on my goal list, but it is an ever-present goal.  I knit one more swatch in the last week:

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Goals for July 13 to 19, 2015

The next two weeks I will be very busy.  My cousin is in town next weekend.  I’m also taking a three-day weaving workshop from the 17th through the 19th.  On the 21st, I head to San Diego for The Knitting Guild Association Annual Conference, and I won’t be home until the 26th.  I have a long list of things to do and little hope that everything will get done!  I’m trying to write a modest list of goals, and it’s taking every bit of restraint I have to keep it short.

  • Finish the Miranda Shawl
  • Knit all the homework swatches for TKGA classes
  • Finish knitting the MHK1 swatches
  • Spin 1 color of the BFL / day (there’s 10 colors / 8 ounces total in Three Feet of Sheep)

On Deck:

  • Mittens for MHK1
  • Liquid Silver Shawl
  • Bubble Baby Blanket
  • Weaving with VCR tape
  • Color and Weave Study scarves
  • Begonia Swirl Shawl

Updated List of Goals for 2015

Knitting

  • Knit myself a sweater
  • Improve my finishing techniques
  • Finish MHK Level 1
    • First 3 swatches finished by June 24, 2015
    • Swatch #14 finished July 11, 2015
  • Dishcloth Advent Calendar
    • Tribbles, finished January 18, 2015
    • Leaves, finished March 30, 2015 but never blogged
    • Heart Illusion Dishcloths (in progress)
  • Charity Knits
  • Do some test knits
    • Sand Tracks Scarf, finished June 16, 2015
    • Grisou Scarf, finished June 24, 2015
    • Raindrops on Roses Shawlette, finished June 27, 2015
    • Miranda Shawl (in progress)
  • Finish or frog all UFOs
    • Traveling Scarf
    • Bigger on the Inside Hat
    • Evenstar
    • Quinn Bag
    • Baby Blue Monster
  • Socks
  • Other Projects
  • Design at least one project from scratch

Crochet

  • Learn to read crochet patterns
  • Learn all the basic crochet stitches.
  • Make at least one non-granny square crochet project
  • Dishcloth Advent Calendar
    • Diagonal Crochet Dishcloths (in progress)

Spinning

  • Breed Specific Spinning
    • Cormo (in progress)
  • Learn to spin on a drop spindle

Weaving

  • Continue playing with color and weave drafts
  • Learn pick up stick drafts
  • Learn Inkle Weaving
  • Learn Kumihimo braiding
  • Explore Twill weaves on the floor loom
  • Make items for the Guild Sale
  • Other

Dyeing

  • Finish dyeing the MAPLE LEAF Shawls
  • pH / water source experiment
  • Return to dye triangles project

Sweet Summer Shawl

I finished this shawl yesterday, and I’m super excited because it’s the first time I’ve knit with my handspun!

Official Stats

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About This Project

I loved knitting this project.  I’m happy to finally knit with my handspun.  This yarn is a massive improvement over my prior handspun, but it still has some anomalies.  The Sweet Summer Shawl pattern is forgiving of yarn anomalies, since it is mostly garter stitch.  The shawl is knit from end to end not top down or bottom up.  I was looking for a pattern knit in this manner to maximize the yarn I had.  I managed to use all but 6.9 grams of the yarn.

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The pattern suggests knitting 10 repeats of the increase section then 10 repeats of the decrease section.  I started weighing my yarn after the 8th repeat and every repeat after that.  I ended up with 11 repeats.  I knew I didn’t have enough yarn to knit a 12th increase repeat plus a 12th decrease repeat.  Now that I finished the pattern, I wish I’d knit one repeat without either increasing or decreasing.  I had enough yarn to do so, and I think I would have been happier with an odd number of points.  Since there’s not a central point in the pattern, it ends up slightly asymmetrical and I would have preferred symmetry.  In the grand scheme of things, this is a minor quibble.  It’s a fun, easy pattern to knit and I KNIT WITH MY HANDSPUN!!!

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