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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

St. Johns River Festival of the Arts

This past weekend was the St. Johns River Festival of the Arts, held annually in Sanford, Florida on the first weekend of May.  The Festival was held Saturday from 10-6 and Sunday from 10-5.  More than 125 artists had booths and expected attendance was 30,000 – 40,000.  The Weavers of Orlando guild had a booth and we set up to do spinning and weaving demonstrations.  I was in the booth helping with the demos on Saturday from 12-6 and the entire day on Sunday.  The weather was spectacular.  Mid-70s to low-80s, with a breeze blowing off the lake and little humidity is perfect weather for an outdoor art fair.  It was a wonderful weekend!

The Weavers of Orlando Booth

The view looking out from our booth. The sky looked liked this the entire weekend.

We actually had two booth spaces — 52 and 53 — and they were right in the middle of a street.


We had a stand displaying woven items made by guild members.


We taught Kumihimo braiding to kids.  We had 160 Kumihimo disks made by guild members for demo purposes; we gave out the last ones about 3:00 pm on Sunday (the guild goes through more than 1,000 Kumihimo disks in a year).

WoO members Nancy (foreground) and Bev teaching Kumihimo braiding to Festival attendees on Saturday.
WoO members Nancy (foreground) and Bev teaching Kumihimo braiding to Festival attendees on Saturday.

We brought the 4-shaft Dorset floor loom and any attendee who wanted to try it out got a chance.  We had a 3 yard warp on the loom, and by about 4:00 pm on Sunday, the entire length was finished!  One attendee, a 12-year-old girl, will be sewing bags from the finished fabric.

WoO member Marilyn encouraging a first-time weaver.
WoO member Marilyn encouraging a first-time weaver.

We also had a couple of table looms and members wove on those throughout the day.  On Saturday we had three or four people spinning.  I was one of the spinners on Saturday, and I got almost 2 ounces of Cormo spun.  On Saturday evening, when I got home, I warped my rigid heddle loom so that I could bring it with me on Sunday.  I brought my wheel on Sunday also, but I spent most of my time weaving on the rigid heddle.  I got about 60″ of weaving done!

Around the Fair

On Sunday, I took an hour or so to stroll around the fair.  Many Festival goers brought their dogs with them.  I didn’t get any dog pictures, but I get a picture of this unusual pet:


The parrot’s owner told us that he is a rescue bird.  His wings are clipped so he can’t fly.  He likes to sit on the handlebar of her bike and spread his wings out while she rides, maybe to get the sensation of flying.

I also saw another unusual pet walking around: a bunny rabbit in a harness and on a leash, but I didn’t get a picture of it!

On Saturday, this stilt walker was part of the festival entertainment, strolling along the street and interacting with crowds.  The head is a puppet controlled by the walker, and she did a wonderful job of making that head interact in a way that made it seem alive.  More than one child gave the bird a drink from a bottle of water!  When it was time to distribute ribbons to artists, the stilt walker was along for the ceremony.  I didn’t get close enough to see for sure, but I think the puppet head was taking ribbons out of a basket and handing them to the artists!  We found out from a Festival organizer that this stilt walker is a Disney employee and the Festival contracted with Disney to have her at the Festival.



I bought pieces from four artists.

Nicola Barsaleau

Nicola Barsaleau is a Gainesville, Florida-based printmaker.  She creates her work using a methodology which has been used for centuries.  She starts by drawing onto printmaking linoleum with graphite.  By using graphite, she can erase and change until she is satisfied with the image.  Once the drawing is complete, she uses a curved tool to carve out sections of the image to make the block.  She then applies an oil-based ink to the block and presses it onto paper to make prints.  I bought two pieces from her:

Six in the Morning

Six in the Morning (photo from artist’s blog) (see her blog post about the piece)

Untitled work (photo from artist’s blog) (see her blog post about this piece)


Six in the Morning is a limited edition print and a Father’s Day / Birthday gift for my birdwatching father.  The untitled work is for me.  I loved the image of the bee and the reminder of how necessary bees are for pollination.  I also love the round mandala-like shape, which will blend with another piece I have from a different local artist: a mandala created by manipulating a photo of an endangered gopher tortoise. The untitled work is not a limited edition; Nicola told me she loves this particular piece so much that she wants to be able to print as many as possible.

What the FORK?

The next piece I bought is a pendant from Oswego, New York-based What the FORK  (website, Facebook).  All of their pieces are made from old silverware, which is welded and hand-manipulated into new shapes.  I bought an octopus pendant because I have a wee bit of an obsession with octopi.  This piece is not pictured on their website, so here’s a picture I took myself:


Kirk Dodd Photography

Kirk Dodd is a Merritt Island, Florida-based photographer.  Most of his work is High Dynamic Range photography, a technique in which multiple images are taken with different settings, then layered to create a final image.  The piece I bought is not on his website, and it seems strange to take a picture of a picture, so you don’t get to see it.  Sorry!  It’s a stunning image, taking at a Florida beach of heart-shaped lightning over the ocean.  The image is take at an angle at the point where water is breaking on the beach, so the beach is on the right / lower edge and the ocean is to the left / upper edge and the lightning is in the middle.  It’s beautiful.

Touch of Key West Photography

Mark Weeter is a Florida Keys-based photographer who specializes in underwater photography.  Smaller pieces (up to about 16″x20″) are printed on aluminum.  I really love this technique because it seems to bring a luster to photos that you don’t get any other way.  Larger pieces are standard photographic prints.  He and his wife frame the pictures themselves, using wood reclaimed from old lobster pots.  The frames are pretty cool, some with barnacles still attached.  He had a larger black and white photo of a sponge that I just loved, but after my other shopping it was more than I could spend.  I settled on a smaller piece, an 8″x8″ image of a jelly fish, shot from below.  This image isn’t on his website.

In Conclusion

I had a wonderful time at the St. Johns River Festival of the Arts.  Since it is always on the first weekend of May, that means it is always the same weekend as Maryland Sheep and Wool.  I’m not sure how often I’ll go to MDSW in the future; any time I’m not going to MDSW, I’ll definitely plan to be at the St. Johns River Festival of the Arts!