There's a new flock of alpaca dizzes in the Etsy shop! Plus, something new:
Hand-dyed spinning fiber! This is Falkland top, and each braid is 4 ounces. Stop on by and see what strikes your fancy!
Roughly a month ago, I took a whirlwind trip to Boulder to buy a camera lens. We've started a new business venture - product photography. And one of the products I needed to photograph was this screw:
Not one lens I had could do the job. And since we needed the photograph "yesterday," there was nothing do to but wake up early and make the trek over the mountains. I dithered between Boulder/Denver and Salt Lake City - each is roughly four hours from here - and in the end chose Boulder because it gave me the opportunity to visit a new yarn shop.
But first, business. I'm glad I went in person because it gave me the opportunity to try out different lenses. If you hadn't already guessed, I was after a "macro" lens, which lets you get your camera super close to the object you're photographing and still focus. I'd originally had my eye on a 60 mm lens, but ended up going with the Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85 mm f/3.5G ED VR. A mouthful, yes, but all that just means that it has more zoom than the one I'd planned on. It was fun trying out different lenses and handing my camera to the salesguy, who knew my camera better than I did.
Then I went to Shuttles, Spindles, and Skeins, and wandered around for almost an hour, drooling over the books, everywhere books! And all those spinning wheels and looms! I'd planned on going to Fancy Tiger too, but rush hour was looming, sunset was coming, and I wanted to get back home.
Back home, we got our photograph, sent it off to the customer, and resumed our lives. Every now and then, I've tried a few things with the new lens, but it wasn't until last weekend that I got to really put it through its paces with true macro photography.
We went to Southern Utah for our anniversary getaway. The goal was hiking and sightseeing, and we did plenty of that, but once I realized I had the macro lens with me, I'd randomly stop in my tracks and take a photograph of something I wouldn't usually bother to photograph. (I'd tried, long ago, and given up on these closeup subjects because I didn't have the right lens yet.)
At one point my husband asked me what would happen if I tried to photograph sand. For the rest of that hike I was obsessed with the texture left by different shoes in the sand, which could be a whole photographic study, I think. But mostly, I focused on plants and rocks and colors. The detail!
I still want to get some super-closeup pictures of yarn, knitting, and weaving, but have yet to really get something that takes my breath away. Of course, that's part of the fun of photography. Just like in knitting, spinning, and weaving, it takes lots of practice before you can set up a project and know exactly what you're going to get.
I promise it hasn't been all shawls all the time around here, but I had to share this one before it goes off to its new home.
I purchased the yarn - Madeline Tosh Merino Light - on a road trip to L.A. with a dear friend who was getting ready to move overseas. It was a blast of a trip, and she even drove me to The Little Knittery and picked out these yarn colors.
I knew they had to be a shawl, but I wasn't sure which one when I first bought the yarn. However, I saw the pattern for the Taj Rectangular shawl and knew that it would be the perfect fit for this yarn.
There was only one snag - the pattern was only available as a kit with $135 worth of yarn. Not that I have a problem dropping big bucks on yarn, but since I have more shawls than I ever wear, none of the kit colors appealed to me, and I was worried about the durability of the yarn, I decided to wait.
While I was waiting for the pattern to come on sale, I tried my hand at reverse-engineering the pattern, and actually got pretty close. Because I really wanted to support the pattern designer, I did take her Craftsy class on Modular Knitting. That class should have been my first indication that my brain wouldn't mesh with the designer's, as her way of explaining things just seemed to get under my skin.
The class did confirm my hypotheses about the shawl's construction - it's worked like a triangular top-down shawl with a central increase. The additional shaping is created from the feather and fan pattern. And, once the shawl has reached the correct width, decreases are worked at the edges to keep the shawl from continuing out into a triangular shape. Instead, it forms part of a rectangle. Then, a second piece is made, the two pieces are put point to point, the live stitches are divided between the two halves, and the triangular pieces in the middle are knit, decreasing in the opposite direction until the spaces are filled in.
I got pretty close in my reverse-engineering, and actually had 80% of a pattern written out before I stopped work on it to do something else. By the time I was ready to pick it back up, the pattern was available for sale on its own. And since I feel so strongly about supporting designers, I decided to buy it.
I must admit I was disappointed by the pattern itself. It's great if you like written out instructions, as every single row is written out. However, I prefer charts, and the charts in this pattern left something to be desired. Plus, the pattern was $30, only to have statements like "the best way to visualize it is to actually do it and see for yourself." If I'm paying that much for a pattern, I expect everything to be crystal clear, or at least have links to video tutorials if the designer expects something might be difficult. (End rant.)
Anyways, once I wrapped my head around the "chart," the pattern was fairly easy, and my greatest worry was whether or not I would have enough yarn. I found myself combing the Internet looking for the yarn, hesitating to order it *just in case.* But in the end, I did have just enough yarn.
The final shawl is bouncy and springy and I'm quite please with the end result. I'm not sure I'll knit the pattern again - I feel like I've scratched the itch, and if I'm going to spend time following someone else's directions, I want them to make sense to my mind. Of course, it is good to step out of my comfort zone every now and then, and doing that with the shawl did help me learn a few things.
Ravelry Project Page Here.
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