Technical Tuesday: Photos

First and foremost I am going to tell you that I am by no means an expert on this subject. I, like everyone else starting out, took horrible photos. I was friends with a couple of people who were really into photography and learned quite a bit from just asking questions.

I don’t have a fancy camera; all the photos I take are on my smartphone. This video gives you a really great founding in the basics of taking photos with your smart phone. The lighting is key. I am really lucky and have some sheer curtains in my living room, which is perfect for indirect natural sunlight. The hardest thing with lighting is getting the colour to show up true. If I am taking pictures of anything for Etsy I have to make sure the colours are perfect because you don’t want someone buying yarn and it being a completely different colour than pictured online.

Something this video mentions is to experiment and have fun with it. I take 15-20 photos for every single photo I post. So don’t think that you’re going to take three photos and they’re all going to be perfect. I might think something looks great, but when I look at it on my computer, not so much.
It’s a process and it takes time. I like to look at product photos from others and see what really appeals to me about that photo. Why is it aesthetically pleasing? What makes me want to make that shawl? Is it the colour? The way it’s displayed? Really breaking down other’s photos into smaller chunks can help you with your own photography practice. Best of luck!!

The Whole Vacation Thing

As I mentioned in passing yesterday… I am one of those people who is at the airport WAY earlier than they need to be, with enough supplies to survive in 99% of Earth’s conditions for at least a couple days. I’m going to lay out what my packing process looks like for those of you who are either interested or keen to have a laugh.

Travelling with Knitting

First of all this process is by no means perfected. I only started traveling in the end of 2013, that was my first ever airplane ride! I definitely packed a lot of things I didn’t need for a week trip to Chicago. Paul had to remind me that I was probably going to buy a fair amount of yarn and needed space to bring it back. At which point I looked at him with no small amount of horror. I had almost forgotten to leave space for yarn. No good could come of this so I decided to be much more careful about my packing.

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First of all, I try to roll all my clothes before I place them in my bag. I think about the weather, what it could be, what it is unlikely to be, and just pack for everything. We went camping a lot as children and that was the theory behind packing for a camping trip. What you need to survive anything.
Second of all, I try to imagine the things that are okay to forget. If you’re going somewhere with drug stores, then it’s probably okay not to bring one of everything in your medicine cabinet. If you can reliably buy antacids and Band-Aids, I’m not too concerned.

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A ‘busy bag’ aka, yarn and stuff. I wrote a post a while ago about how I always pack way too much yarn for projects that I could probably start while on vacation. I think about the trip there and if I will end up sleeping or not. I ALWAYS plan to sleep, but don’t always end up sleeping. I also think I will have much more time for sitting and doing nothing than I end up. Although, when we went to Cuba it was the wet season and we spent more time than I thought we would indoors. I don’t bring anything too complicated, just something to keep my hands busy. Usually socks, as I know you are all excited about!
I do all of this, 3-5 days before the trip and plan to throw more things in as I think of them. I usually leave this bag in our spare room or on the floor in our bedroom (although this encourages kitties who think they’re going to travel). If I think of something I’ve forgotten I throw it in! Repacking at the end and taking out things I know I am not going to need!

On the Move

The weather has been getting colder and that more than anything really puts me in a mood for knitting! When the house is freezing and you need to go find socks to discourage your toes from turning blue. That is my favourite weather, right there! I love putting on layers and being able to wear the things I’ve knitted. It really sucks to knit something that you’re really proud of and not be able to wear it.

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I’ve had a few dyeing adventures in the past couple weeks. If you’re following my on instagram you will have seen the gradient I dyed!! I am going to start knitting it up to see how it turned out, right after I finish the Halloween socks I’ve been working on.

 

 

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I know! I am a terrible tease to post them in black and white, but they are going to be at the Vancouver show Knit City. I am planning on taking them to Creativ Festival and Woodstock Fleece and Fibre Festival as well so don’t worry if you aren’t going to make it all the way out to BC.

 

 

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That being said we are leaving for Vancouver in one week. It kind of snuck up on me. We’ve been planning this trip since March so it always seemed so far in the future. There were always other things to be concentrating on as well; writing magazine articles, blogging, preparing for the K/W show. All of the sudden we’re down to a single digit count down! I may or may not be panicking a little bit. I’ve got all the yarn in order, but no clothes or anything packed. I know you look at me like, ‘ummm, you still have a week.’ I am very Type A and have to start packing like NOW. Anytime I think of something I need to pack, I go and put it in the suitcase.

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I kid you not. I started making a list just now and it significantly brought down my anxiety levels. I’ve got lots of advice for places to eat and things to do! I think I may have to go again next year to actually do all of it! I’ve heard Vancouver is beautiful and I have the instinctual feeling I won’t want to leave. Really excited! Has anyone ever been? I am always looking for suggestions for places to eat!!
At Knit City we will be in booth 14, I always look forward to meeting new people so if you’re going to that show be sure to stop by and say hi!! I was looking over the floor plan and there are a lot of people there I have been dying to meet! I am going to have to escape from the booth at some point and wander around. I’ve been looking up some of the vendors I’ve never heard of and it’s looking like it is going to be GREAT!
Super excited, but I really need to go throw a couple things into a suitcase before I have a total breakdown!

Technical Tuesday: Keeping the Colour in the Yarn

We have all been there, you just finish knitting a project and throw it in the water to block it and the colour starts bleeding. This can mean many different things and there are several ways to keep the colour in your yarn!

You might be able to predict the first piece of advice I am going to give you… yup, that’s right. Make a swatch and wash it! This is especially important if you are doing something like colour work. If you are knitting with red and white yarn, you’re going to want to be 100% sure that red yarn is colour fast.

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This is the best tutorial I’ve ever seen for fixing in colour that will fade. Whenever I am trying a new yarn, even sock yarn, I wash a swatch to see if it will fade, or bleed; then, if I need to, I can fix the dye in with citric acid and heat. As you can see, this works with finished objects or un-knit yarn alike. It’s one of the most versatile techniques I’ve come across.

Dye Pot

What to do if this is something that is just continually bleeding colour? Like when you buy new dark blue jeans. The colour comes off of those things forever! I’ve heard that washing them with vinegar helps but it seems to me that is just an excess of dye used to get that dark colour and the indigo keeps coming off. If this is the case, I suggest repeatedly washing your garment. I had a commercially dyed yarn that was a burgundy colour, which bled quite a bit when I blocked it and any subsequent washes. After the third wash the colour stopped coming out of the sweater, but the colour never faded, it just released a bit of the extra dye.

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Fading and bleeding are usually the only two problems I have with yarn and colour-fastness. They’re generally either solved with repeated washing or a citric acid soak. The yarns most at risk for this kind of thing are dark and really saturated colour. If they’re not done carefully or correctly there could be issues.

On TV

It has been quite a long time since I did a post about what I’ve been watching on TV so I’ll give you an update. As many of you know, I can’t just sit there and watch TV I need to actually have my hands doing something. Perfect time for knitting really easy things! This IS the reason I have so many socks completed.

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I finally finished season 2 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I must have gotten busy half way through the season and not finished watching them. Paul and I do like to binge watch TV shows so sometimes we wait until the season is actually over and then watch the whole season in a week. I was actually tweeting Super Karen from the Knit 1 Geek 2 podcast as I watched the season finale. She was much amused. I finally saw how things ended in that season and was able to get all the fantastic puns from the episode where Mega Maggie and Super Karen discuss the ending.

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If you’re into the Marvel movies at all (Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Avengers, Ant Man, etc.) this TV show adds another layer of depth. The TV show is intertwined intimately with the movies and there are little bits of information in the show, while not crucial to the story line, solve some of the small mysteries in the movies. I would highly recommend these if you enjoy the superhero movies.

We also got all caught up on Sleepy Hollow. I don’t believe I have actually talked about this show before. It has an intensely creepy vibe, as the name would suggest, but the first couple episodes are the highest on the creep-factor. They do mellow out a little bit after season one in general. Regardless, if you don’t like creepy things, I wouldn’t watch this. That being said, I wouldn’t classify this as horror, but not something to be watched when you’re home alone in the dark.

Sleepy-Hollow

My favourite thing about this series is the interactions between the two main characters. Ichabod Crane is bewitched into a sleep for 200 years and wakes up in modern day Sleepy Hollow. There me meets lieutenant Abigail Mills. Crane was married in his time and through the course of the first episode you find out his wife is still around. Throughout the two seasons there is no sexual tension between Mills and Crane at all. There are interesting things happening with the plot line of Crane’s wife and himself, but no love triangle or catty jealousy between Mills and Mrs. Crane. That is INCREDIBLY refreshing to me and I love the banter and relationship between Mills and Crane. Great character development as well! Overall it is an extremely well written show!

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I’ve also caught up on season ten of Supernatural. This TV show used to have a high creep-value as well, but mostly now there is a little bit more violence than Sleepy Hollow. The past four or five seasons have been markedly more religious in tone, but season ten managed to maintain the religious story line while getting back to monster-slaying in general. It really reminded me of the early seasons. It gives me hope for future seasons that they won’t hold the strictly religion based storyline of the past several seasons.
I have definitely caught up on a few other things since May, but I’ll have to let you know what they are another time… mostly because I can’t remember that far back. However with all the shows starting in the next month, it will definitely come up. I am really excited because the Doctor Who season premier happens the day before my birthday! A new episode of Doctor Who for my birthday, what more could a girl ask for?

Kitchener Waterloo Knitters Fair Re-cap

I will admit right now that I took EMBARASSINGLY few photos. Everyone was so busy from beginning to end that I didn’t even think about it until I sat down to write this post. Overall I would say it was a good time. I would say it doesn’t really feel like Fall is on the way yet without the K/W Knitters Fair happening. It makes me feel warm inside and gives me the need to knit ALL THE SWEATERS!

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The show was Saturday September 12th, so on the Friday, Paul and I drove down to drop off some of the show things and set up the tables. I had been contemplating a change in the way the booth had been set up. I got some really great advice from the Crochet Crowd guys to make it easy and accessible. Last year there was no small amount of tripping and attempting to get out of the way, our booth was so packed at times. I wanted to make it more inviting. We ended up setting the tables up around the perimeter of our booth and boxing ourselves in. That way people would be able to browse around the outside edges and any helpers would be on the other side.

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Lisa and Christine were there helping me out. Lisa stood around the isle the whole day knitting a sock from the rainbow self-striping, psychedelic onyx. This was really amazing and we actually sold out of the rainbow yarn! There were only a few skeins left of the self-striping as well, we came very close to selling out of those, but as Paul would say ‘there are worse problems to have.’

 

One thing that sold really REALLY well was the colour Rule the Night. A couple customers had mentioned it looked like Laurier’s school colours, and that totally wasn’t even on purpose. It wasn’t until later, when I got home and looked it up, I realized that Laurier is actually IN WATERLOO. I knew it was close, but I guess it just never connected in my head that it was RIGHT THERE!

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I saw a LOT of familiar faces and finally connected some usernames to faces. On twitter or Ravelry it’s easy to start communicating with others and never actually meet them. I am on quite a lot of the forums on Ravelry and sometimes it feels like a know people, but it is always great to meet face-to-face. I got to see some finished object photos, which I ALWAYS enjoy! Two of which were the Rule the Night socks. It knits up really pretty.

We also got two new wholesalers if you’re looking for us in stores locally. We are still in Stix and Stones in the North Bay area. We were recently picked up by Creative Yarns in Scarborough and Knit House in St Jacobs. It’s all very exciting. If one of those is your LYS head over and check us out!

 

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I was so busy I didn’t get a chance to run around much, but I thoroughly enjoyed this show. I am already looking forward to next year. I am also really starting to prepare for Knit City in Vancouver; dyeing replenishment yarn, getting all the travel plans set and looking at a new self-striping just in time for Halloween. I am also looking at gradients, so you may see a little more of that here!

Technical Tuesday: Grafting with Double Knitting

At the Kitchener Waterloo show I had a great question. How to make an infinity scarf with double knitting and graft the ends together. I had never actually thought about how this would be done. Double knitting in itself is fascinating to me so I will post a few videos about the basics then talk about the advice I gave her!

The basic principle of double knitting is to get two right sides. If you search double knitting patterns on Ravelry there are all sorts of patterns for general double knitting, but there are also double sided colourwork as well! I think these patterns are really interesting and absolutely the coolest thing ever! I have a strong dislike for things that are extremely ugly on the wrong side.

This video is of a Kitchener stitch bind off. This will give the basic knowledge of a bind off used for double knitting, but what we are trying to achieve is a seemingly uninterrupted stitch all the way around. For example, if one side is blue and the other side is purple the stitches on your needle will alternate between blue and purple; every other stitch will be a different colour. I suggested that she separate out the blue and purple on two different needles. Do the same thing on both ends and graft the blue stitches to blue stitches and purple stitches to purple stitches.
I explained this the best I could at the show and I hope it worked out. I also thought this was an uncommon and extremely useful question!

Come Visit!

Guys… I am totally copping out. I have half a brain cell right now and can’t think of anything to write except yarn-y things I want to save for post-Kitchener/Waterloo Knitters Fair. If you’re in the area make sure you stop by and say hi!!

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Up and Coming

I still can’t believe it is September already. It’s going to be sweater season soon and you can bet your bum I’m preparing for that. I really can’t wait for the fall season. Especially since this Labour Day weekend was SO HOT! I couldn’t believe it! I was obligated to be outside a couple days over the long weekend and it was brutal! Almost 40 degrees!

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Even though it has been very hot outside I’ve been working with warm things non-stop. That is right, the Kitchener/Waterloo Knitters Fair is this weekend so I am attempting to get everything ready. I haven’t really been on my game lately so I wasn’t prepared weeks in advance, like I had hoped to be. Let’s be honest though, do those plans ever really work out?

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The biggest thing I have been trying to get together is the dyeing. I dyed some of the self-striping Psychedelic Onyx. I will be carrying it there, but in limited quantities. I am also going to be dyeing the Warped Porch and A Study in Blue… and Black for the show, but again… there aren’t going to be a vast amount.

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Just a quick update today because we’re obviously super busy in the dye labs. Making sure everything is ready and getting all the details of life in line with details of craft shows! Please stop by and say hi if you’re heading over to the Kitchener/Waterloo Knitters Fair, we’re going to be in booth 59 this year. Same physical place as last year, just a different booth number!

Technical Tuesday: KNITmuch

My latest articles for KNITmuch! Click on the photos to follow through to the articles.

4 Essential Tips when Knitting for Babies

4 Essential Tips when Knitting for Babies

 

What you Should Know About Red Heart's Cutie Pie Yarn

What you Should Know About Red Heart’s Cutie Pie Yarn

 

How to Baby-Proof Buttons on Knits

How to Baby-Proof Buttons on Knits

 

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Hand Knit Snuggle Sack

 

ANPT August Baby Booties-3509

Cutie Pie Yarn Makes Supremely Soft Baby Booties

Fabulous Food

Off topic Thursday! I am sorry to those of you who get hungry when reading about food, because that is what this one is going to encompass. By day, I work in an office; it used to be close enough to my house that I could go home for lunch and actually cook something for myself. It worked out really well because I intensely dislike leftovers. Recently the company has moved to a new building, which is farther from my house. This leaves me with the choice of bringing a bagged lunch or getting creative.

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I’ve done a couple different things in the past couple weeks, but I’ve been really getting creative more than anything. I know everyone sees mason jars everywhere, but they’re not just a chic cool new lunch container, they actually keep your food fresher longer. A while back, I posted a video of me doing my mason jar salads, I definitely did that for the first week. However, I was totally sick of them by the end of the week.
Not only was I slightly sick of salad, but the weather is thinking about cooling off and there is nothing worse than eating a crisp salad on a cold winters day. I made a huge pot of chili and placed it in mason jars and froze them. The absolute best thing about mason jars is their ability to withstand hot and cold temperatures. You can even bake them! When you realize they were originally intended for picking things, this makes complete sense.

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I also made a batch of guacamole, which was soooooo good. I made it up and put it in little tiny mason jars simply because I had them. I put one in the fridge and threw the rest in the freezer. Then I completely and totally forgot about it. The one in the fridge I ended up finding a week later and, when I opened it, was prepared for an absolutely horrible experience. It was still green! Not even a gross brown-green, it was bright green! The mason jar had sealed it away from the air and it had not oxidized at all. As for the ones in the freezer, I had not thought about what the texture would be like after defrosting them, but it is 100% normal! This is the best idea ever!

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A week ago I made my own hummus from this recipe. In the post she says you can peel the chick peas and that would just make your hummus smoother. I hate the gritty feeling some hummus has so I obviously spent a year and a day peeling a whole can of chick peas, but it was totally worth it. When I was gathering supplies I had heard that Tahini was difficult to find. I am not sure why, but I expected it to be a spice, not a paste. I ended up finding Tahina, which is very similar. It is sesame paste, but with a bit of lemon juice. I was also seriously sketched out by the parmesan cheese at this grocery store, it all looked powdered. Since it was roasted garlic with parm, I changed it to asiago cheese instead. You only need a very small amount anyway.

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I am not a huge hummus fan, I was making my own in an attempt to force myself to like it more. It totally worked. This was BY FAR the best hummus I had ever had. It was creamy and garlicy. Perfect. I’ve been eating some extremely good lunches at work and everyone is jealous. Let’s see if I can keep up the charade 😉

Where did the Summer Go?!

I can’t believe it is September already and we are in the last weeks of summer, but at the same time… KNITTING SEASON IS UPON US! Knit fast and die warm! I was just reminded of this saying the other day when I saw a tote bag with a skull and cross bones and this quote. It was really fantastic.

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What have I been up to in knitting? Lots and lots of things apparently. I have cast on a few new socks, but this one I haven’t started knitting yet; there is something of a story to it. I saw this colour-way at Nerd Girl Yarns in Vogue Knitting Live Chicago 2013. There are ALL sorts of really fantastic colours corresponding to my favourite fandoms, but when we were in Chicago Paul and I really liked watching the show Supernatual. We had eventually grown apart from this TV show, as we tend to binge watch things once the season has ended. Preferably when the next season has started… I have this problem with patience. The colour-way ‘Gank Demons’ was A) an awesome quote from the show and B) in my favourite colours. I had it squirrelled away in my stash for a long time and came across it unexpectedly.

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I actually have two stashes, one is upstairs and classified as a ‘perhaps someday I will knit this’ and the other is much smaller and stays on the main floor next to the couch. This is a more immediate stash for things that have projects waiting and just need to be started. It IS a stash of it’s own because it is much larger than a small box next to the couch; trust me, it’s a small shelving unit from Ikea. I had moved all my random sock yarn into the ‘immediate stash’ area and randomly decided to cast this one on the other day. I ended up balling it and casting on, but no knitting. Come think of it, I might take it out and ball it into two separate balls for the sake of matching socks.

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If you receive the Stitch Please Newsletter, you will have seen the newest self-striping colour-way! I am calling it ‘A Study in Blue… and Black’. This colour-way always reminded me of the scarf Sherlock wears in the BBC TV version of Sherlock. The scarf it self isn’t striped, but it is blue… actually come think of it, these socks look nothing like that scarf. No idea why it makes me think of Sherlock, but I do love the books AND the TV show. I should really start doing more fandom colours, I always like to knit fandom colours with a fandom pattern while watching said show. It really instils the geekieness.

What Happend to the Summer-3830Yes that would be preparations for the Kitchener/Waterloo Knitters Fair!

That is all I’ve got for you today! I am going to need to start another bigger project, I am getting way too many socks on the needles at present. I am hoping to do a few rows on my grandmother’s sweater as well, but with show season coming up… who knows?! I would also encourage anyone on twitter to randomly tweet me to guilt me into working on my grandmother’s sweater. I think I just need a good kick in the butt to get moving on it!

Technical Tuesday: Kinky

If you have EVER ripped something out you will know the pain of attempting to knit with kinked up yarn. It changes your gauge; it fights back, over all, it’s just a pain to knit with. The yarn isn’t as appealing and this could easily cause you to loose steam in your knitting project.

The video above shows you how to fix a couple yards of kinked up yarn. If you’re anything like me, you won’t notice your mistake until you’re almost done and have to rip back through a hank and a half of yarn. On a bigger scale, that technique is not going to work.

There are so many things I love about this video, the name for one. How to straighten your Wiggle Wool; my love of alliteration never fades. Secondly, she tells you not to despair. It can be so frustrating attempting to deal with wool that isn’t cooperating. It made me feel a little less inept because she was having trouble winding it around her forearm. You know it was all sitting in a neat little pile, but it still tangled a bit!

If you have a niddy noddy you can do the above technique. They’re steaming to set the twist of their hand-spun yarn, but it will also get rid of the kinks in your yarn.
I hope the article title gave you a little thrill. I know it wasn’t quite as exciting as you thought it was going to be, but hopefully informative. Don’t forget that you can always put that yarn on time-out after you’ve straightened it out.