How to take Great FO photos! (it’s a work in progress)

Jul 18

My FO Photography is an ongoing Work-In-Progress

I like to think that I am an unofficially qualified knitter. And blogger. And photographer. I’ve been at this for 8+ years, on and off, but mostly on. I’ve knit a wide range of projects, yarns, and fibers. I knit for myself and others. I’ve taken classes! And this? This is the best I can do for a finished object (FO) post?

Thumbs up! Finished objects are the best.

No! It is a pet peeve of mine when bloggers just throw up a photo with a lot of excuses (it’s dark, it’s late, it’s early, I’m tired, I’m on a moving train…). I have done the same thing. I am sure it wouldn’t be hard to find an example of this, I get it. But when it happens in post after post after post, I don’t want to read your blog. I’m getting on my soapbox. Here are my pointers:

  1. Take a LOT of photos. Don’t stop to examine each photo, just keep shooting. Did you know your iPhone has an auto-shutter feature that will snap a burst of photos after 3 or 10 seconds? Set it up, and do a dance, wiggle, whatever. Sort it later. Pixels are essentially free. I got lucky, in my opinion, with the photo above. I was snapping away and my daughter happened to pop the shawl on her head. It made me happy so I told her “Thumbs Up” and that’s the shot we got. http://www.ravelry.com/projects/nutmegknitter/tea--picots
  2. Try for natural lighting. Don’t wait until you’re settled in on the couch with your evening work in progress (WIP) to take a photo. That light is awful. There are shadows. It just doesn’t work and you won’t be happy. I totally fall for this on a weekly basis. I try to grab a photo of Jackson and my project and either it’s grainy or the colors are off BECAUSE it’s dark and the light bulb is a low wattage. Then I get annoyed. I do better when I get snap a photo on the floor near a window or outside on my porch. Lighting is a tricky thing, but so it photography. Here we were by a window (not outside). The project is 100% bulky wool yarn. The weather has been ridiculously hot and humid. I can only push my model so far. The natural lighting here was better than being by a lamp, but not the best. I was stressed and getting stuck on ideas.Blocking in progress
  3. Use real people and give the “model” something to do. Got a copy of a knitting magazine? Take a look at the pictures closely. Or the photos on Ravelry for a pattern you like. Even if the model is holding a stick, they are still doing something.  Hats are meant to be worn on your head, shawls are wrapped around shoulders, and socks are on feet. Modeling something flat can be helpful for showing a stitch pattern detail or how impressed you are by blocking (as I was)! Most of the time in real life, your knit item is going to be taking up 3D space and not be flat.
  4. Get in the photo. I handed my phone off to my daughter because I liked how the color of my shirt looked next to the colors in the yarn. She told me she zoomed in, and out, and just kept taking photos. Great! Many of them were blurry, but so what? Pixels are free and there is something about this one that I like. Action shot.  Asymmetric shawls are tricky, yo.
  5. Keep taking pictures. Did I say this already? I was snapping away and giving light directions. I think this is my favorite FO shot that actually shows the shawl. Tea & Picots shawl knit by nutmegknitter

    So what did I knit?

    Wouldn’t you like to know more about this shawl? The pattern is Tea & Picots, knit in Knitted Wit Cotton Candy on US 17s. I picked up the yarn at TNNA. I loved it in the skein and seeing the sample on display. This took just a few nights of knitting. The trickiest part was figuring out how to photograph it. I think I’ve done ok. Do you have photo tips for your knit and crochet items? I’d love to try them!

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So it’s summer

Jul 01

Don’t let my lack of posting fool you. There’s no summer slide here!

It’s just that the project I’ve been devoting the most time to is a sample project. For now, that is staying under wraps. I have been working on my Stolen Moments socks. I managed to turn a heel when I took them to see Lucy Wainright Roche & the Indigo Girls in concert in Central Park. Yay! for knitting in public!

Nutmegknitter knits in Central Park at SummerStage

Summer brings a change in schedules and attitudes. I have come to terms with not being able to complete my Camp Loopy project for June, a Cache Cache Cowl. I’m bummed about that, as the last two years I’ve been able to get the projects done, but in the grand scheme of things – it’s only yarn, it’s meant to be fun! I’ll keep working on the cowl and will probably start my second camp project over the weekend anyway. Here’s wishing you a great holiday weekend! I should have lots more to post about next week!

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To TNNA and Back Again

Jun 16

TNNA Welcome Sign

Last weekend I travelled to Washington, D.C. for the TNNA Summer Show. Though I have knit many samples for this show, this was only my second time attending. It is not an event open to the general public, rather it is for the yarn companies, designers, book publishers, and equipment makers to present what’s new and exciting for the shops to offer in turn to the general public.

Camp Loopy Project at Philadelphia

 

The weekend was chock full of meetings and yarn squishing and walking, so much walking. But it’s all still yarn and yarn is good. I did a bunch of knitting on the train down – here’s my Camp Loopy project as we passed through Philadelphia, and my Stolen Moments socks in progress.

Stolen Moments Socks in Progress

I now have weaving on the brain from this weekend. In five different conversations, weaving came up, and I’m really curious about trying it. I have a Zoom Loom but that’s tiny. I’ll be looking into my LYS and local art studio to see about classes for Rigid Heddle Weaving. At this show, buying opportunities are limited to Cash-and-Carry. I really wasn’t planning on doing much purchasing. I have my mental notes for future shopping trips, and we all know I have plenty of yarn… but I still fell down at Knitted Wit. The patterns and colors have totally grabbed me – how could I resist some big fluffy yarn and sparkly yarns? Also apparently I’m powerless against neon now. Who am I?

Knitted Wit yarns

 

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Nutmegknitter Reviews: One-Skein Wonders for Babies

Jun 05

thought I was doing pretty good when I cleaned up my desk a bit last week. Not that you’d notice as new yarns have been caked and patterns are printed and taking over that space again, but I tried. Anyway, I pulled out the yarn leftovers from finished projects and from stalled projects and brought it back to the main stashing area. In the bottom of a project bag, I found a book I’ve been meaning to review for a while along with a project I totally forgot about!

One Skein Wonders for Babies cover

One-Skein Wonders for Babies includes 101 knitting patterns for infants and toddlers. This is a wonderful addition to the “One-Skein Wonders” series – the original One-Skein Wonders book and Sock-Yarn One Skein Wonders are already on my bookshelf.

The book is segmented by project type: Little Ensembles, Little Tops, Little Bottoms, Little Dresses, Little Hats, Little Socks & Bootees, Little Accessories, Little Blankets, Little Toys, and Little Miscellany. I thought the patterns were adorable, with a nice variety of stitch patterns and yarns. My favorite section is the Little Hats.

Faux Bow Baby Hat for Big Hearts Little Hats

The Faux-Bow Baby Hat was a quick project in Kraemer Yarns Tatamy DK.  I will certainly turn to this book for hat patterns when making hats for Pat-Pats Hats or the Little Hats, Big Hearts campaign. My kids are only getting bigger, so for many of these items they are a bit too big, but I like to know there are a variety of patterns I could use for gift giving!

Pop Top Mitten in progress

The project I found tucked into the book was a Pop-Top Mitten I started for my son last December. Between last winter being mild, and my son’s preference for a pair of store-bought mittens, it is not terribly surprising that I didn’t finish. I am thinking about finishing the mitten and making the second one as something to donate. He’s still a little guy, but I am pretty sure these will be too small by the time we need them.

 

Unfortunately, not all the patterns from the book are up on Ravelry, so I would suggest that you pick up this book at your LYS or library and flip through it to see all the designs. One small point that I found curious was in a tip box about knitting baby blankets. The suggestion is made that the smallest useful size for a blanket is 24 x 30 inches. That’s all fine and good, but only 3 fit those dimensions. The other blankets are 19″ by 21″, 25″ square, 19.75″ square, and 19.5″ by 27″. This wouldn’t keep me from making any of the designs, but I might make a modification to upsize it a little.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge in exchange for my review. All opinions expressed here are my own. I will not receive any compensation for any links provided.
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Cutie Cactus

Jun 03

What do you do with one skein of a bulky yarn in a funky green color? Make a toy! I purchased a grab bag of Dale Garn yarns a little while ago from woolybaabaa.com. Right away the Hubro caught my eye. I have a fondness for bulky yarns, but I struggled for a bit in finding a pattern. There are 72 yards in the skein and was a not-quite-neon-not-quite-chartreuse shade of green. I considered baby hats and wrist warmers, and even coasters and drink cozies, but after flipping through 50 Yards of Fun, I settled on the Cutie Cactus. And boy is it cute!

Cutie Cactus

I had visions of setting up a terrarium with other succulents in a garden window, but he was immediately claimed by my daughter. The body was a snap to make. Picking up the stitches for the arms was a bit finicky, but nothing impossible. If you’re familiar with making knit toys you know that’s how it goes. This was a super quick project that was a great palate cleanser!

Cutie Cactus on top of me

This is her “Ouch! There is a cactus on my head!” pose. Obviously, this cactus is soft and cuddly and really cute. Especially when you add a cupcake bracelet as a necklace. Because why not?

Cactus with a cupcake

So while I didn’t go with anything remotely traditional for this Norwegian yarn, this time, I think it would be great in hats and mittens and will keep it in mind for future projects!

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Cowl Catch-Up

May 27

I have two new finished objects to share! Like many knitters, I can appreciate a good scarf, but I really adore cowls. Long or short, they seem to sit just right and I feel like you can wear them more (indoors as well as out).

Infinite Blurple Cowl Planning

I finally finished my “Infinite Blurple Cowl” that I started back in January.  The yarn is all Madelinetosh: TML in Pelican for the background and Unicorn Tails in Mandala, Ink, Cousteau, Fathom, Flashdance. If you’re looking to have an auto-pilot knitting project for tv, travel, or just zoning out, this is great. Almost makes me wish for cool, crisp fall days. (I know. We have just gotten a taste of summer here and I’m thinking about fall. I’m also planning a wool sweater and hat. It’s what I do.) I have a quick shot of me wearing it on my Ravelry page, but we all know Jackson is a better model for such things.
Jackson models the cowl

Can you believe this puppy is 11 today? Grumpy old man, good buddy, barky, lap-loving licker, and a mostly patient model (bribes help).

The second cowl I knit recently was a test knit for a Mystery-Knit-A-Long for the now published Latimer Cowl.

Mountain Colors Perspectives Kit

I used the Plum/Brass colorway of the Mountain Colors Perspectives River Wash Sport kit. These colors are striking together, especially so in natural lighting. There are different sections of lace patterns, and I can see now how they flow into each other – any mistakes in my cowl are due to my own inability to count properly. I should have used stitch markers to mark each repeat, but I figured “No, I got this”.  And I did, mostly. There are a few parts where you can see something is off, but that is purely user error. My daughter has claimed the cowl for herself, which was a  nice, unexpected surprise.

Unblocked Latimer Cowl

Looking forward to the long weekend – there are many crafty plans afoot!

 

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FOs from a while ago

May 13

How about another round of blog-catch-up? I have a few finished items that I can share in a “Finished Object Friday” post!

Sideswipe Socks  Sideswipe Socks

These socks fill a requirement for the Sophmore semester of Loopy Academy – knitting socks in a new-to-you way. I have knit socks toe-up & top-down, on double pointed needles, magic loop and two circulars. These are knit flat! The pattern is Sideswipe, the yarn is Fibernymph Dye Works Self-Striping in Polly Wanna Cracker? It was very fun to make them and they felt like a quick knit. I am happy with them, but they are slightly tight in getting them on over my heel. Sadly though they are still sitting on my desk on the sock blockers and I haven’t worn them yet.

Neon Pink Tube Socks Neon Pink Tube socks take 2

The second pair of socks were knit for my daughter. She was still wearing socks I knit her back in 2013. She has grown and you could see the socks didn’t fit proper anymore. I had a skein of Madelinetosh Tosh DK that was supposed to be a pair of flittens for her, but I hadn’t gotten too far on those, so I re-purposed it for tube socks. The pattern is Around and Around, they are fabulous. DK weight yarn and size 4 needles made these a really great project, even doing them one at a time. The cuff is slightly tight, so pulling on over her heel is tough but workable. I really need to work on a stretchier cast-on, and maybe add a repeat – I don’t think she would need the next full size up in the pattern as it is ribbed. I will make these again for sure.

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