Saturday, May 31, 2008
I took it with a slight optical zoom (I've been told that optical zooms maintain better depth of field than digital zooms) and I think it makes a very nice photo. The barn has naturalized so it doesn't stand out much from nature, in fact the charm is that it fades into the trees a little bit. The texture of the wood panels of the barn is almost lost among the texture of the trees. The upright boards are echoed by the upright tree trunks, and the roof is very similar to the canopy. The colour is different enough to know that the barn is distinct from the trees, but it doesn't shout.
So I got out the old photo studio and made the photo gray-scale.
There is a stronger sense of divide between the barn and the background, especially now that the roof pops out at you. But still, the barn still attempts to fade into the background.
Here's another photo I took of the same barn, only with a slightly stronger zoom.
This time the barn takes a much stronger role in the photo. The texture of the barn in this photo is more distinct from the trees. I think the difference is that the barn is in the foreground whereas before it was more than halfway into the distance.
One of the most interesting textures I've come across lately is this albino seaweed at Rathtrevor Park.
It's so very photogenic. Here is a photo with bit of regular coloured seaweed next to the albino.
Now watch what happens when we lift it up and allow the wind to play with it.
The shadow against the sand is amazing.
It's like a beautiful lace scarf. This is what I want to be able to capture every time I take a photo of texture. I want to be able to highlight the depth and the empty spaces. I want to make a photo that would elicit the same emotional responce as if you were touching the object. I think, more than anything else, that last photo, where we only see the shadow, does that more than any other. Somehow by taking away the object and by making light the main focus of the photo, we learn more about the object itself.
Friday, May 30, 2008
All thanks to Sew, Mama, Sew!
Oh, and here is a fantastic tutorial on how to apply bias tape to the edge of a fabric.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
Sunday, May 25, 2008
- Saturday, June 14th is WORLD WIDE KNIT IN PUBLIC DAY - If you live in Victoria, come down to lawns City Hall (big red building at the corner of Douglass and Pandora, or as I think of it, one block down hill from the Beehive yarn shop) any time between 1 and 4pm. Bring your knitting, show off your yarn, and share with the world what a wonderful activity knitting is. Bring a lawn chair, some water, and your knitting.
- Speaking of Knitting in Public, the Victoria Fibre Festival and Knit-Out will take place on June 20-22nd. There is a dinner and fashion show Friday night. There are all sorts of classes on Saturday (did I ever tell you how the beginner spinning class I took last year changed my life?) and a yarn crawl when the local yarn shops open "their doors, throwing out the welcome mat, and offering refreshments to fibre fans who come to visit." And, as if that wasn't enough yarn for you, on Sunday there is the Knit-Out at Saxe Point. I'm told there will be vendors. If you haven't been to the Knit-Out before, or even if you have, I highly recommend it. It will happen rain or shine, so bring some knitting, spinning, weaving, crochet, or other yarn related activity. There will be lots to do, there always is.
- If you can't get enough knitting, the Cowichan Valley Museum is hosting an exhibit called Knitting Together which runs May 2nd to October 18th, 2008. I haven't been yet, but it looks very interesting. As, perhaps, you know Cowichan is very famous for their sweaters (sometimes called Salish Sweaters).
(this sweater was knit by my G'ma in the Cowichan style)
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
I love the way the air feels in the early morning Victoria, BC, summer. We live near the ocean and it often provides us with a soothing breeze so that about 4 or 5 in the morning, even on the hottest of days, the air is crisp and clean and cool enough that one can do all their daily tasks before the mid-morning siesta. I'm not a hot weather person, or much of a cold weather person for that matter, but at least in cold weather one can wear knitted sweaters to keep warm. But in summer the only way for me to feel cool is to get up absurdly early, make certain the fan is on and the blinds are closed to keep the sun out, and drink lots of hot tea (a little trick I picked up in South America: a hot drink for a hot day).
Thinking about summer makes me think about fibre festivals. I'm actually very pleased that there are not so many fibre festivals for me to attend this year. I'm trying to save up as much money as possible for my trip to Gibbson's in August. but, due to my illness, I have no source of income at the moment and I am rapidly running through my savings, despite all my attempts not to spend money. Little things like loosing so much weight mean I have to buy a new wardrobe worth of clothes every two months, and since my illness makes me sensitive to scents, I cannot enter a second hand shop or the mall without loosing consciousness and likewise, I am unable to wear the more affordable synthetic fibres and must purchase the natural ones (better for my health, but not so good for the savings account). Therefore, I buy new, expensive cloths every couple of months. This leaves very little money left for spending on my hobbies or buying treats for my friends and family.
I wonder if there is some way to use my sewing machine to make my old clothes smaller but still look okay? I mostly wear blouses and jeans these days but I am thinking of moving to skirts because if I shrink any more (not my fault by the way, it's from being ill - I don't recommend this as a weight-loss programme, it sucks) I can just add pleats (I know how to do that now). Wearing skirts is also a good excuse to knit kneehigh socks.
Speaking about socks, I'm participating in my first full sock exchange. It's done through the local guild and I am most excited about it. I will knit a sock for someone with a wide foot so I was thinking of knitting Monkey. I have a narrow foot and wear tight socks, so I'm not certain what would be the best pattern for wide feet. I could always try to design one, but I'm not really in the designing mood right now; not for socks anyway.
As for today, today I'm sewing with Y. I might try my hand at a sun-hat, but the instructions are impossible to follow. I think I'll use the pattern paper to cut out the bits from the fabric, then sew it up how I think it should go. If I do this right, it will be a reversible hat.
I find sewing has started to become almost as soothing as knitting which is not too bad considering that a week ago I couldn't sew two bits of fabric together without having a huge fight with the machine. I wonder if there are any online tutorials that I can read to improve my sewing?
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
Can you believe they have been doing this for 71 years and it's still going strong?
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Where I learn that sewing machines are not possessed by demons after all and discover that in fact, they can be quite lovely.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Considering how visual our language is, I find it incredibly difficult to describe this feeling I have about colour. It is not that I'm interested in the science of how colour goes together (although it is something I suspect I will be researching soon enough), nor am I interested in making new colour combinations. I actually don't want to knit any colour work at the moment (although I am working on a top secret project that involves learning intarsia). Knittingwise, I'm still very much into making things with texture like cables, and G forbid, even lace. But still, I find myself obsessing over colour.
It seems to be about colour that I find around me. I'll call it found-colour. And this feeling seems to be about how do different and unusual colours come together. Why do colours that appear in nature fit better than most manufactured colours? Most importantly, how can I capture this colour with my camera (and perhaps one day, how do I capture it with yarn?)?
For example, hand spun silk and merino yarn sitting on my desk:
This first photo is nice enough, you can see that there is red yarn, a lamp, headphones, &c. But there is nothing really special about it. The image is captured in low light so my camera automatically uses the flash. But, what happens when I turn the flash off?
I love this photo. The shadow and the light, the brass colour of the base of the lamp against the garnet red of the yarn, the black and silver of the headphones, the slight marble texture of the computer desk - all these things come together somehow to make a far better photo. There is even something in how the cord of the headphones sets off and highlights that this is a photograph of yarn. The angle of the light somehow enhances the texture of the yarn and it becomes the focus of this image.
I wish I understood how this all happened.
And then there is this image:
A wheel from Whippletree Junction. The red and the yellow of the building somehow communicate with the old red and faded yellow of the wheel. The almost straight lines of the building, the horizontal edges of the siding and the vertical forcefulness of the window-frame and the veranda supports, seem somehow to make the wheel more round. Somehow the almost straight edges of the building makes the wheel more predominant even though it does not have as strong colouring as the building.
Take this photo of the same wheel. Just by coming a little bit closer, the entire feel of the image changes. The wheel no longer has to fight to be the center of attention, we still have the three primary colours (red, yellow and blue) with the bluebells/hyacinth contributing more blue than in the previous photo. Yet, somehow in this photo, it is the faded colour of the wheel that takes precedence and the strong colours of the building fade into the background.
How is it that two photos of the same thing, taken in the same light at the same time, only at slightly different distances have such strong differences in how the colour is perceived?
I have one more for you taken near Victoria City Hall. I cannot figure out why it is so pretty. Perhaps you can tell me why.
Brick reds and hot pink should not go together. The hard angles of the bricks contrast against the soft lines of the rhododendron. But even with the green in it, that shouldn't be enough to make these colours go together. There is something very hypnotic about the colours in this photo, but I couldn't tell you why.
I think I take fairly good photos. Some of they suck, some of them don't. I wish I could take better ones. Most of the photos I take never make it to my blog, but sometimes, I take a photo that even I find breathtaking. I wonder if I should take a course on digital photography. Or maybe, there is someway I can learn about photography online. I see it's going to be an afternoon with Google (and perhaps CNet) to see what I can learn.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Update: They were in my handbag! Of course they wold be safe there, that's the last place in the house I would ever look for double points that were not attached to yarn.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
It's a game where you can practice your vocabulary skills and learn the meaning of nifty words like mackinaw, trundle, hireling, chiromancy, and the ever exciting omphaloskepsis. What's more, apparently for each word they donate 20 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program(me). It made me wonder if they have rice to give away, why not just donate it to some hungry people? Here's what they have to say on the issue (from the FAQ page).
FreeRice is not sitting on a pile of rice―you are earning it 20 grains at a time. Here is how it works. When you play the game, sponsor banners appear on the bottom of your screen. The money generated by these banners is then used to buy the rice. So by playing, you generate the money that pays for the rice donated to hungry people.
Now 20 grains of rice is not that much. I eat a lot more than that a day. In fact, 100 grains of rice isn't that much either. So, I think (or should I say ratiocinate) if I was playing the game just for charity, it wouldn't really be worth my while. Yet, by playing the game for just a short time, I've learnt several new words that I wouldn't have come across in my daily activities.
Overall, there is some advantage to this game. I have the opportunity to increase my vocabulary skills and do a (very) small bit to help hungry people somewhere in the world. A few minutes of this game each morning and my mind will be awash with new and exciting words.
mackinaw = wool coat
trundle = roll
hireling = mercenary
chiromancy = palm-reading
omphaloskepsis = navel-contemplation (I'm really tempted to re-name my blog this)
Monday, May 12, 2008
Knit on 5.5mm needles, in Briggs & Little Heritage, it took just under two and a half skeins of yarn (about 500m), but turned out considerably larger than I hoped. It just goes to show you that one should always check one's gage, no matter how simple the pattern or how excited one is to knit it. If I were to knit it again, I would knit it in a smaller gage.
Over all, I really like how it turned out. It is surprisingly warm to wear, extra comfortable and only took a week to knit. I think I might add a clasp so that it doesn't look quite so large on me.
Now, I'm off to make something out of rhubarb.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Please share your sugar-free rhubarb recipes with little old me.
Edit: it's cane sugar I cannot have. Things like honey are fine.
Friday, May 09, 2008
Imagine you are faced with a puzzle. You have two pieces of knitted garter stitch fabric and you want to sew them together side to side. How do you do it?
It's surprisingly easy. You use your knitting super powers and come to the conclusion that mattress stitch will give you a nearly invisible, but surprisingly strong way to join the two fabrics together.
Start with a long piece of yarn. I make mine three times as long as the seam I want to sew. It's best to use the same yarn that you knit the fabric with. If you don't have any left, perhaps you could find something roughly the same weight and similar colour.
Next you need a blunt (darning needle) just large enough to fit the yarn through the hole. I actually have only two blunts, one large and one small. The small one I use for socks and small yarned projects, whereas the larger one is perfect for sweaters, hats and projects with larger yarn . There is no real hard and fast rules here, you can use just about anything to pull the yarn through the loops. It is easier, however, to use something with a blunt tip as you want the yarn to flow between the stitches of the knitted fabric, not splitting through the yarn that makes up the fabric. You'll see what I mean once we get some more photos.
Lastly, some garter stitch fabric is good, also something to cut the yarn with at the end, is also quite useful.
Now for the fun part.
Lay the two pieces of fabric, Right Side Up, next to each-other, on a flat surface. Place them how you want them to be together once they are all sewn up. Take some care at this stage, it is surprisingly easy to get something backwards or inside-out. Really, this is the hardest part, so check, check and check again. When you think you have it perfect, walk away and go make yourself a cuppa tea. Once the tea is in hand, check one more time to see that the fabric is exactly how you want it. I'm not trying to be patronizing, I always mess up this part and have to un-sew it and re-sew it and all that work is annoying. Please, learn from my mistakes.
(Those with keen sight will have noticed that this fabric is actually the wrong side up. It just goes to show you how easy it is to get things backwards, up-side-down or wrong-side-up.)
Now we are ready to sew up the seam. Thread the blunt and fasten the yarn to the corner of the fabric nearest to you. You can use the left or the right fabric, but what is important is that you leave at least four inches of yarn to weave in later. I use a half hitch at this point as it is easy to undo if something goes horribly wrong yet is firm enough to hold for any knitted fabric.
Do you see how the garter stitch fabric is made up of ridges and valleys?
We are going to work with the ridges.
First put the needle through the bump nearest to the edge on the right side of the fabric.
Pull the yarn through so that it is firm but not taught. If you pull through too far, the fabric will bunch up, if you don't pull it through enough, then the seam will drift apart over time. The ideal tension is as close to the knitted fabric as you can get. This takes practice.
Now, on the left side of the fabric, do the same.
Keep on keeping on. This is all there is to it. Once you get the feel for what you are doing you can seam both sides at once as shown in this next photo. It makes it go twice as fast.
Once you get to the end of the seam, fasten the yarn with a half hitch and weave in the ends.
The seam will be almost invisible on the right side of the fabric, and will look like this on the wrong side.
Once you do it, it is surprisingly easy. In fact, it took me more time to explain how to do it than it did for me to sew up this vest.