Category Archives: Knitting

It’s a wrap – 2011

2011 in pictures
1. zig zags and dots, 2. Anthony Hat, 3. knitting dots , 4. hope, 5. Pedigree Pooch, 6. wkshp_shawlette, 7. Blanket Squares, 8. Oceanic Hotel, Star Island, NH, 9. Windowsill in Bloom, 10. Benefits of Worm Castings as Fertilizer, 11. Photo Award Button 200×157, 12. Spring, 13. I made it within the deadline!, 14. Creamsicle Smoothie, 15. February Lady FRONT, 16. Friday afternoon, 17. Miniature Holiday Art display, 18. snowflakes in my window, 19. Miss Marple, 20. Snow flakes

Everyone’s talking about it: acknowledge the past year’s accomplishments before looking forward.  Prevailing wisdom advises that writing ideas down facilitates bringing them to fruition. But for a look back, I began with a visual list. Nothing like a bit of photo fun with the mosaic tool over on BigHugeLabs. Here are a few crafty highlights from my year:

  • an afternoon spent under the tutelage of professional photographer, Gale Zucker, during which she taught knitters about photographing fiber objects  (photo #6)
  • a winning entry in Southern New Hampshire’s 24-hour A Day in the Life photography contest (#11)
  • a roaring good time as online voting took my quilted Spring Runner into the top tier (#13) of the sew-along challenge
  • the inclusion of a brief memory narrative and accompanying photo in an upcoming book by friend and entrepreneur (#14)
  • a terrifically successful birthday gift for my mother, a knitted dog (#5). Jacqueline Russell, as I named her, was delivered to the birthday girl with an authentic birth certificate, and I don’t think my mother has ever been so enthusiastic about one of my gifts. That feels like an accomplishment worth noting!
  • Handmade Holiday gift-giving (#1-3) dominated my list this year, with hats, felted bags, and homemade cocoa mix with marshmallows; sadly, I never got around to photo’ing the Cocoa Kits.

My blog host, Word Press, surprised me with a summary of the year’s activity on “My Artful Life.” Thank you — for reading, subscribing, taking the time to comment, and being on the other end of my keyboard every time I click the ‘publish’ button. Here’s to another year — !


There’s a new dog in the neighborhood

woofer portrait
but she’s not staying long. She’s a little Jack Russell that I fell in love with in Knit Your Own Dog.

Pedigree Pooch
She is sweet-tempered, does not require late-night walks, and won’t bark at the mailman. I think her new owner will be very pleased to receive such an agreeable new companion for her birthday. If you think you might want to join the canine knitting fun, there are more particulars on my Ravelry page, here. Woof-woof!

Photography Workshop for Knitters with Gale Zucker

On the spur of the moment, after reading this blog post, I knew I had found the next-step solution for taking my photography up a notch. (This was on an unofficial summer list of things to do.) But on the Big Day, the temperature was climbing steadily towards triple digits, and the workshop called for photographing handknits in natural light settings. Yikes! I called WEBS, (Northampton, MA) where Gale Zucker was scheduled to give the Photography for Knitters workshop. No, there was no cancellation due to weather! In the infamous words of Tim Gunn, “Carry on!”

Gale took us a through a terrific slide show on color, lighting, and composition. My favorite thing was how she talked us through photo examples from her own files, pointing out what could be improved upon, and comparing these to final images. Very instructive.

Gale’s only prerequisite was that we be familiar with the manual settings on our digital cameras. In the old days (of film), manual was all that I knew, but I confess that since making the transition to my Nikon D40 I have been lazy and relied on the automatic option. Time to change that! After shifting back and forth between the Shutter and Aperture settings, experimenting  as quickly as I could before the model changed her pose, I realized that perhaps my over-the-counter reading glasses need a custom prescription upgrade. Out of more than hundred frames shot that afternoon, I ended up with only five that I like.

A cool little side note: while introducing myself to Adrian, one of Gale’s workshop models, I thought I recognized her flickr profile name. Turns out we’ve been flickr photostream friends for a while! That was fun.

The workshop was fantastic and honestly, I was so focused on what we were doing while we were shooting outdoors that I forgot about the heat. Here’s where you’ll find Gale teaching next:
Fiber College, Sept. 8-11, 2011. Searsport, ME
Creative Connection Event, Sept. 15-17, 2011. St. Paul, MN

“Keep shooting — pixels are free!”  –Gale Zucker

Mitered Knitting Marathon

Blanket SquaresI’ve got my eye on the prize

No, I'm not moving!

'No, I'm not moving!'

and so does Corabelle! She is a kitty-gone-wild with the scent of Noro Silk Garden and cannot be trusted alone with this project. See what happens when I turn my back?

As someone who enjoys the excitement that comes from the launch of a new project more than what often feels like the tedium of finishing (all those tendrils that need to be woven in or whip-stitching miles of seams), I am particularly pleased to have completed seven of the ten required squares for the Mitered Crosses Blanket. Yesterday was a marathon knitting fest here. And now I feel the downhill momentum!

Summer Horizon

Five and HopefulSchool’s out and I’m excited! Granted, I’ll have some responsibilities over the summer, and prep for the fall semester cannot be left untended, but in general I have two months in front of me and the creative possibilities feel thrilling. As if she could read my mind, one of my favorite entrepreneurial people, Barbara Winter, posted a link to this list this morning. After ten days in what is lovingly referred to as “the bubble,” I should take a few minutes and assess the creativity-strengthening benefits of my trip to Star Island. But right now I’m itching to do so many other things. There’s the Mitered Crosses Knitted Blanketto finish (hey, I even managed to knit while working last week!),

Lisa Allen knitting

Knitting on the job!

the query letter for the memoir that needs more work, that new bedroom quilt needs starting, and the livingroom windows beg to be draped in something more refined than Indian bedspreads.

Now, I’m talking to myself more than anyone else, but there are three things I know for sure:
1) the ‘doing’ cannot be accomplished while surfing inspirational blogs and photos on the internet
2) pure unadulterated focus is essential
3) persistence pays

Island Sunrise

More Mitered Knitting

Spring knitting. I love it when I realize that different parts of my life match!

Matching the season!

New project
I’ve been thinking about doing a post dedicated to the blogs I follow on a regular basis. But until I get around to organizing all of those web links,
Happiness is ...
I have to tell you about Susan, a crafter out on the west coast. She seems to do it all, and she’s a young mom, too. Wow. One of her areas of expertise is quilting and she’s got a new book that just came out. Susan loves the log cabin pattern and has infused this American classic with new life. Her projects have such a zesty, youthful tone and modern application. Apparently she travels in the circle of the crafty elite, too, because Kay Gardiner of Mason-Dixon Knitting did a review of her book. And then Kay designed a Knitted Crosses Blanket pattern inspired by the book’s Modern Crosses quilt.
New Project Collage
It was love at first sight. I downloaded the pattern within minutes and raced to my local yarn store for a few balls of Noro Silk Garden. One of the things I most love about this pattern is that it is easy to remember. And it’s totally portable. And perhaps top on my personal list: no body measurements required!

Proceeds from the pattern sales are going to MercyCorps for its Japan relief efforts. That feels nice, too. To think it’s possible to “knit for Japan.” I like that. You can purchase a copy of the pattern on Ravelry or on the Mason-Dixon Knitting site.

I’m having a blast with these squares. As long as I can keep Corabelle’s paws out of the knitting tote, we’ll have a blanket before too long.

Cat Knitting

Here’s my furry companion and her own pink yarn.

February Lady is in Bloom!

February Lady FRONT

She’s done! I knit her over Christmas school vacation, embroidered her during Spring Break, and finished her without a minute to spare before shorts and tee-shirt weather. Well, considering we had snow today, there are probably a few more days of sweater weather left.

Reading to Knit

Ready for an excursion.

The particulars:
Pattern: February Lady Sweater is a free download over on Flint Knits.
Yarn: Spud & Chloe, “Watermelon” in Sweater (yarn weight); soft and washable cotton/merino blend.
Difficulty: Medium. To be honest, I recast on for the neckline and yoke three times. Not fun. But when it comes to counting increases, I should not try to be a multi-tasker, that is, chat while knitting. The lace pattern is super-easy but I recommend a different project for social knitting.

Embroidery: DMC #3 Cotton Perle. Embroidered areas are backed with interfacing fabric (as in sewing). I chose cotton embroidery floss rather than wool because I didn’t want the embroidery to add too much bulk to the garment, either visual or actual.

February Lady BACK

Come say hello on where you’ll find me under the name “nellablue.” I’d love to see what you’re making.