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Rhinebeck 2013 Wrap-Up

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Rhinebeck was amazing this year. The weather was even better than last year (about 10 degrees cooler, which made it perfect sweater weather). I bought some great stuff, ate some excellent meals, and had a ton of fun.

My husband took a photography class with Gale Zucker (aka She Shoots Sheep Shots) and had a great time taking pictures all weekend. So he gets the credit for all these photos.

Rhinebeck trees

The gorgeous fall colors

Crowds

Crowds waiting to get in on Sunday-there were at least twice this many on Saturday!

barn

One of the many barns stuffed with vendors, yarn, and people

Woolly friends

Woolly friends

Cider donut

Me enjoying a cider donut (it was delicious!!!)

Miss Babs Line

The colossal line for Miss Babs’s booth–it was like this all weekend!

And, of course, I couldn’t have a Rhinebeck post without showing you my purchases, hehe.

First up, a huge skein of Dirty Water Dyeworks Johanna, which will probably become a vest or short-sleeved sweater:

IMG_0092These six skeins of O-Wool Balance Bulky are going to become a cabled shawl/wrap:

O-Wool Balance BulkyAnd finally, my husband picked out these two skeins of Green Mountain Spinnery Mountain Mohair, for gloves he’s going to knit himself:

GMS Mountain MohairNot pictured: a Barbara Walker stitch treasury that I’ve had trouble finding in stores, maple cotton candy, a huge bag of local apples.

I think we did pretty well this year!

FO Friday: Creme de Menthe

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I’m running my biggest promotion ever to celebrate my 30th birthday tomorrow: 50% off any self-published pattern in my Ravelry store with the coupon code 50for30. The sale goes through the end of the day tomorrow (US Eastern Time).

Official business out of the way, here’s the FO Friday post for my Madelinetosh Twist DK vest!

CDM front2

We had a blast with the photoshoot. I wanted a fun vibe, since the vest is a little more kooky than some of my pieces. I think it turned out pretty well!

The specs:

Pattern: My own Creme de Menthe pattern, which will be in testing in the next few weeks and probably released in… late September? Early October?

Yarn: Madelinetosh Twist DK, two skeins of Bluestem Willow and one of Farmhouse White. I can’t say enough good things about this yarn. Squishy, springy, delightful to knit with. It’s only available through the Madelinetosh shop, and I confess I’ve been stalking it a bit for a sweater quantity in a deep green or blue.

CDM back

Notes: Gosh I love this vest! I decided up front to do 2:1 stripes through the body, which made things very interesting when it went from knitting in the round to flat. But that was perfect–after all that stockinette, the interest of having to read the knitting and push the work from one side of the needle to the other added just the right amount of interest.

I’m writing the pattern with two different sections for that part: first, there will be a little summary for those who have some experience or feel comfortable checking it themselves. Second, there will be a table with row-by-row instructions for those who need a little more hand-holding. This is a new format for me, so I’m interested to see how my testers like it!

The planned stripe effect on the shoulders turned out great, if I do say so myself:

CDM shoulder

Day 5, Something Different: 4KCBWDAY5

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knitting and crochet blog week bannerFor today’s prompt (something different from your usual style of blogging), I decided to show you some of the non-yarny pictures I’ve taken that live in my inspiration file. Time will tell if any of these elements ever make it into one of my designs!

(Some of these photos were taken on trips–see if you can spot scenes from Venice, Florence, and San Francisco! Er… but no points for Venice. That one’s easy.)

_MG_8894

_MG_8828

IMG_1090

_MG_8926 DSC00463

_MG_8852 DSC00533 IMG_0964 IMG_0987 IMG_1069

 

FO Friday: Blue Betty!

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The blue Tosh sweater is finished, blocked, and photographed!

Blue Betty main

I’m so, so happy with the way this design turned out. My intention was to design a colorwork sweater that would be flattering to larger-busted gals. Here’s my original sketch:

Betty sketch

I did add ribbing on the sleeve cuffs. My first idea was to do a turned hem, but I don’t think it would have looked right with the ribbing at the bottom and the neck. Other than that, the sweater’s pretty much the same as I envisioned!

Hubby and I went out to a local park and strapped the 50mm/f 1.8 lens to our Canon Rebel T3. I cannot begin to express my love for this camera and this lens. Practically every shot pops right off the screen. And after hours of manually blurring backgrounds in Photoshop on the pictures from our point-and-shoot, having pics that don’t need anything more than a little cropping is spectacular.

Betty Boobs

 

The Tosh just glows, doesn’t it?

Here are the specs on the FO:

Pattern: my own, tentatively called Blue Betty. I’m hoping to get it into the hands of test-knitters next week and release the pattern in a month or two.

Needles: 32-inch circs in US #6 and #7, plus DPNs in both sizes. Loving my Knit Picks Harmony DPNs–they really make sleeves in the round more enjoyable.

Yarn: madelinetosh tosh vintage in Betty Draper’s Blues (about 4 and a half skeins) and Antler (about 1/4 skein).YUM. Tosh vintage remains up there on my all-time-favorite yarn lists.

Two of my skeins were much darker than the others, which unfortunately didn’t show up until I wound them into balls. I alternated skeins on the sleeves and yoke to address this, and I think it worked out okay. There’s a little bit of striping, but nothing I can’t live with. You can see it on the upper back in this pic:

Betty back

Notes: I love the fit of this sweater. I tried back shaping only instead of my usual side shaping, and I’m totally sold. My back is much narrower than my front, so this sweater fits me better than any others I’ve knit. The colorwork band pulls in right under the bust and adds an almost empire waistline effect.

Betty side

Now on to writing up the pattern! Also fun, but not as fun as knitting (and wearing) the sweater…

Foldable/Collapsible Lightbox Tutorial

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As promised, here are the instructions for the collapsible lightbox! Disclaimer: my wonderful husband put the thing together, I just took all the pictures.

finished box

Please note that this takes a while to put together. Give yourself at least three or four hours.

Step 1: Assemble the following materials:

-Large cardboard box (this one is 24x18x18)

-Roll of tracing paper

-Roll of double-sided Velcro tape

-Clear packing tape

-utility knife/box cutter

-Scissors

-Ruler

-Pencil

-A large white piece of stiff paper, at least as wide as your box

-(optional) Additional pieces of stiff paper in other colors, if you’d like to have a few different backdrops

supplies

Supplies

We got everything from an artists’ supply store except the box, which we got from the local hardware store. Total cost for everything was about $30.

box

Our box: made with the sun!

Step 2: If your box isn’t pre-assembled, tape down the bottom flaps. Using the utility knife, cut the box open along the sides.

cut open

Step 3: Measure one and a half to two inches from the edge on three of the panels and mark rectangles with the pencil and ruler. Using the utility knife again, cut out the panels (it’s a good idea to put something underneath so you don’t cut into the floor).

cutting panels

Step 4: Cut short strips of Velcro tape and affix to the corners of each panel so the sides are held together.

applying velcro

all velcroed

All Velcro'ed up

velcro unfolded

Velcro'ed and unfolded

 Step 5: Cut pieces of tracing paper to fit over the cutouts in the panels. Trim tracing paper to size and use packing tape to secure.

applying tracing paper

paper taped down

Step 5 completed

Step 6: At this point, we determined that the sides were a bit floppy because our box wasn’t the sturdiest one around. If you have this problem, you can do what we did: cut narrow support pieces out of waste cardboard and tape in place.

side reinforcement

Step 7: Cut the heavy white piece of paper so it just fits the width of the box. Cut to desired length and affix pieces of Velcro tape to the paper and to the inside of the box to hold the backdrop in place. Repeat with any other backdrops, making sure they fit properly inside the box.

velcro paper

inside velcro

how paper sits

Step 8: (optional) If you find it difficult to pull the Velcro tabs apart quickly (we did), cut small bits of cardboard to use as pull tabs and tape in place. You can also put small pieces of tracing paper over the back of the Velcro strips, although this is mostly just for aesthetic value.

tabs

The lightbox is now completed!

finished box green

Finished box with green backdrop

We determined the best way to fold it up was to fold the side panels in, then fold the bottom up over it, leaving the top flat. It still takes up some room, but it’s easy to stick the flat box in the back of a closet.

done and unfolded

Finished box, unfolded

all folded up

Finished box, folded up

Lights can be set up so they shine through the tracing paper and give nice, even lighting to your subject. Here are a few shots of the box in action:

green picture

white picture

If you make a box using this tutorial, I’d love to hear how it goes!

FO Friday: Collapsible Lightbox

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No knitting FOs to show off today (the green sweater’s coming along, but it still needs another sleeve). I have something else that’s almost as good, though–the husband made me a collapsible lightbox!

Big lightbox

I had been using one that he made a while back which worked (all the yarn photos I’ve posted here were taken in it), but suffered from one fatal flaw: it was really too small for my purposes.

I ended up with a lot of shots like this that needed to be cropped down (swatch is of my Kari Baby Blanket):

too small shot

Also, shots of white yarn tended to get washed out pretty severely (swatch of my Bevin Pullover):

White swatch on white background

We had trouble storing the box in our little apartment, too. We ended up having to devote a whole shelf to it in our linen closet. So when hubby offered to make me a bigger, collapsible lightbox, I jumped at the chance.

Not only does the new one use a clever placement of Velcro tabs to fold down so it can be stored at the back of a closet, but it has removable, different-colored backdrops!

Now I can get shots of white yarn that look like this:

White on green background

Much better, no? And I have SO much more room to take shots. It’s awesome.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the old and the new lightboxes:

comparison shot

I took lots of pictures as hubby was making the box, so I’ll be posting a photo tutorial here in the next few days for anyone who’s interested in making their own. Stay tuned!

Star Wars Baby Shower

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Warning: picture-heavy post ahead! (It has a little to do with knitting, I promise. Hang in there.)

I threw a baby shower for my best friend yesterday. She’s a Star Wars mega-fan from way back, so we came up with the idea of having a Star Wars theme! I couldn’t resist the opportunity to put my new camera of awesomeness to good use.

dark side cake

wookie cookies

I made Yoda Soda by mixing lemon-lime soda with lime sherbet:

Yoda soda

The favors were lightsabers (pretzel rods dipped in melted candy coating and sprinkles):

lightsaber pretzel rods

Yoda advice

The gorgeous mama-to-be:

guest of honor

We played games, decorated onesies, and watched her open presents:

games

onesies

duckie

Recognize this? It went over really well with everyone! All of the non-knitters were impressed that both sides looked good, which I thought was pretty awesome :-)

Kari baby blanket

baby blanket 2

The shower took a lot of planning, but everyone seemed to have a great time. The mama-to-be was very happy. So it was all worth it :-)

me and Kari

My favorite picture of Kari and me

Stash Acquisitions, TML edition

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I was trying to be good, but the space in my new yarn cabinet was crying out to me.

Tosh Victorian Gothic

Madelinetosh TML in Victorian Gothic (dark)

Little Knits, one of my favorite online retailers, had Tosh Merino Light grab bags up last week (it looks like they’re sold out now, unfortunately). 30% off 5 skeins–I got to choose the general color theme, but they chose the skeins.

This appealed to me on so many levels. Cheaper Madelinetosh! Beautiful skeins I’d only seen online! The mystery of wondering which ones I’d get! The neutral grab bag was the only one left in stock when I went to order, so I snapped it up.

Faded Chinos

Faded Chinos – my fave of the bunch. Even though it looks nothing like faded chinos to me… more like golden wheat or something.

I LOVE three of the skeins I got: Faded Chinos and Victorian Gothic above, and Badlands:

Badlands

Badlands – now THIS is a great name for this color.

The fourth skein I got is gorgeous, but just not my colors:

Parchment

Parchment

I posted that one for trade on the Madelinetosh Ravelry group and got a response really quickly–so I’m swapping it for a skein of TML in Tart. I’ve heard so many rave reviews of that color but have never seen it in person–now I get to try it!

I’m still trying to trade the last skein, if anyone’s interested. It’s Terra Verte, dark version, and man is it dark–the skein looks black unless you view it in the right light, and then tiny bits of olive green are visible. The pictures below are pretty accurate (thank you Madelinetosh-loving new camera!):

Terra Verte

Terra Verte

Terre Verte 2

See the hint of green?

Overall, I’m really pleased with my purchase. I knew I might want to trade some of the skeins away, and thanks to the magic that is Ravelry, that process is fairly painless.

Aaaannndd…. I just noticed Little Knits has Tosh Sock grab bags up. Must… resist… siren call of Tosh….

FO Friday: Kari’s Blanket

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A little late for FO Friday, but here’s the finished baby blanket in all its glory:

Kari main

I’m really, really happy with the way this turned out! Also, I’m delighted afresh with my new camera. These pictures were taken on the bed in my apartment, with limited light, but I don’t think you could ever tell.

Kari texture

 

I’m happy with the way the back looks post-blocking, too. It’s kind of a neat design in its own right:

Kari back

The specs:

Pattern: My own. I’ll work on releasing this one (self-publish via Ravelry) as soon as the two Knit Picks sweaters are done. Hopefully within the next few weeks.

Yarn: Knit Picks Simply Cotton. The mama-to-be this is intended for wants organic clothes for baby, so this was perfect. Love the depth of the color, and it got even softer and smooshier with blocking.

Notes: I’m holding onto this FO until next month, when I’m throwing my bestie a baby shower. I can’t wait to give it to her…

Kari close-up

This may be a contender for best picture I've ever taken.

My recent SEX

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Er, Stash Enhancement eXpedition, that is, he he (always liked that acronym).

I was staying in Mountain View, CA for a few days, so after a quick Ravelry search, I set out to visit the most interesting-looking yarn store in the area: Green Planet Yarn! They’re in this fabulous building:

Green Planet Yarn

Picture shamelessly stolen from their website, as I forgot my camera…

They have a great selection, laid out in a very appealing way. My only quibble was that they hardly had any Madelinetosh, but the nice lady at the front desk told me they were expecting a big shipment in a few days.

I ended up buying a sweater’s-worth of scrumptious yarn, Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd’s Wool (Rav link) in Plum. It’s for a new design that’s been simmering in my head for a while and is bursting to get out!

Plummy goodness

Plummy goodness

More plum

And can I just say how happy I am to have a camera that can take pictures AT NIGHT? I have a homemade lightbox, but my old point-and-shoot couldn’t handle night pictures anyway. It makes me happy :-)

The camera did have a little trouble with my other purchase, two skeins of Malabrigo Silky Merino (Rav link) in Ravelry Red (appropriate, no?), but I’ve heard red yarns are notoriously tricky to photograph during the daytime, much less at night.

Rav Red

It's a little redder than this in person.

All in all, it was a very satisfying trip :-)

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