Cute and Cuddly Mutant Zombie Squirrel of DOOM

There’s a sort of unofficial mascot on the indigodragonfly forum called the Cute and Cuddly Mutant Zombie Squirrel of Doom (CCMZSOD). The concept was the result of a sort of mind-meld between Maget and indigodragonfly. Apparently they were planning on naming a new colorway “Zombie Squirrel” or something similar and then Maget mentioned something about mutant zombie squirrels of doom which were not only evil, but cute and cuddly, so the colorway name ended up being “Cute and Cuddly Mutant Zombie Squirrel of Doom” and Maget got the inaugural skein! Then she knitted some Cute and Cuddly Mutant Zombie Squirrels of Doom and sent them on adventures around the world. After that we all just sort of ran with it…

For the last Ravellenic Games Heather of Joey’s House drew a CCMZSOD for the indigodragonfly team to use as our Ravatars.

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I used this drawing as inspiration for needle felting a CCMZSOD to give to Maget!

First I started roughing out some shapes that could be used to build the squirrel. After only an hour I had the basic outlines for the body, head, and hindquarters started.

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Then I attached the hindquarters to the body, made a tail, and started to add some shape to the head. The basic head shape in the illustration is sort of triangular so I started to add some corners to the top of the head where the ears would go. After adding the corner for the first ear I stopped and thought, “What if the other ear is missing? It is a mutant zombie squirrel after all…” I decided to leave the head misshapen and see how it would play out.

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My initial attempt at the tail was too small so I added a lot more bulk to it before I attached it to the body. Then I started felting brown wool on top to smooth out the shapes and lay down a nice base color to build on. As I started coloring the head I decided the missing ear could actually be turned into a more gruesome exposed brain, so I left that spot black in preparation for that. Once I had the base coloring down I started shaping the hind legs out of the dark brown wool.

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I attached the legs and arms, but the squirrel still wouldn’t sit up at this point. Luckily, I learned from my experience in felting Ducky that it was way too early to worry about it. The head could drastically affect the balance, so if it was still unstable after the head was attached I could work on adding some more bulk to the base of the tail to make it sit up straight. I also learned from Ducky that for fine details like faces it is really helpful to be able to manipulate the head freely, so I should wait until I was finished with the detail work before I attached the head.

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At this point I was ready to start adding detail and I made a breakthrough! I had recently visited my local yarn store Canvas Works and discovered that they had some needle felting supplies there! One of the things they had was a pack of needles that came in multiple sizes. Until I saw those I had never even considered that different sized needles might exist for needle felting, but in hindsight it makes perfect sense – use the larger needles for building larger shapes, then switch to medium-sized needles for the smaller shapes and contouring, and use the smallest needles for the fine detail work.

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I put the smallest needle to the test for creating the exposed brain. First I covered the hole in a nice deep bloody red and then I mixed a bit of pink wool with some tan wool to create a brainy color. I spun the brain colored wool between my fingers to create a thin snake-like cord and started folding it back and forth across the red wool as I felted it into place with the small needle. It worked great! I was able to create some really tight curves by taking advantage of the precision of that small gauge needle!

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I also started experimenting with some color blending to create a suitably mutant-zombie-esque look for the squirrel. I had a multi-colored blend of purples, blues, and reds that looked great when lightly layered on top of the dark brown base color. I also was able to create a nice rotted look by blending dark green with the dark brown. For the belly color I  blended some orange wool with a lighter brown wool. Then I added a neck so I would have something to attach to the head to later.

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I finished the brains and made an ear for the other side of the head. At this point I held the head on top of the neck to see how it looked and realized the tail was still too small. I tried to make the tip of the tail taller and fatter to balance out the size of the head.

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Once the tail size was corrected I went back to focusing on the head. I added the eye and started working on the teeth. With the small gauge needle I was able to create some very fine black lines to draw the teeth!

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Considering a large portion of the squirrel’s skull was missing, I figured the eye socket was probably unstable so the right eye would be missing. Initially I had intended to have both eyes and just have them be different sizes, but in the end logic dictated that I should stick to the illustration. I put on the nose, re-colored the tip of the tail and attached the head.

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The squirrel still wouldn’t sit up so I did end up having to bulk up the base of the tail so it wouldn’t keep falling backward. I made a few final finishing touches including moving the ear (I had initially put it too far back), and smoothing out some of the joins.

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I could have called it done at this point, but I had one more dreadful thought that kept nagging at me – what happened to that other eyeball? I decided the squirrel still had it with him, so I took some red embroidery thread to represent the bloody muscles and nerves and tied a length of white wool around the middle. I tied it several times, front and back, until it had formed a rough ball shape around the middle of the thread. Then I folded the thread in half, wrapped the remaining wool around the end and started felting a ball around the thread.

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Once the eyeball was large enough I added a black pupil to the end. Then I loosely braided the strands of the embroidery thread together and threaded them onto a needle so I could attach them to the hand. Once it had been threaded through the top of the hand I made a knot so it couldn’t be pulled back through, then I fed the ends back through the hand so they stuck out the bottom. I cut each strand of the embroidery thread irregularly so it looked like it had been ripped from the head. With that, the Cute and Cuddly Mutant Zombie Squirrel of Doom was finished!

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It’s so horrific it’s adorable!

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Needle Felted Earrings

I needed to whip out a quick gift for a friend so I decided to make some earrings. I wanted it to use as little wool as possible, so I cheated. I got these needle felted balls in a grab bag from one of the knitting events I’ve attended lately. They have Canada in the name so I’m guessing it was from Knit City in Vancouver, but I’m not really sure. Apparently there’s a lot of cute stuff you can do with these balls and you can check them out at Honey Canada’s Etsy shop.

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Unfortunately, the ones I had were all different colors, so I had to fix that.

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Once I covered the balls in coordinating wool I went through my bead stash and found some beads that looked nice with them. I strung them together, tied them to some earring hooks, and before I knew it I had made some earrings!

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The great thing about these is that even though they’re on the large side they’re made of wool so they’re super light!

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They were so quick and easy to do and I think they turned out looking very pretty. I predict I will be making more of these in the future.

Monster BFFs

A while ago I was working on a monster. Then I started to see the light at the end of a tunnel with Ducky and just worked on that until I finished. Well, I picked up the monster again and gave it some horns!IMG_6610

Then I gave it a tail so it could sit up easier. The monster was a bit small though, so I decided it needed a buddy.

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I started shaping a lumpy blob body based on another illustration my sister made for me.

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I gave it some legs.

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Then I added a belly button and finished the face. I made a horn for this one too and started attaching it.

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Before I knew it, I had made a second monster!

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Now the purple monster won’t be lonely!

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Best friends forever!

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Drumroll Please…

Last time I updated you guys on Ducky I had just started coloring the face. Since then I’ve done a lot more work. I finished coloring the brow bones and the cheeks.60 Ducky finished coloring brow and working on coloring cheeks

Then I worked on coloring the rest of the head.

61 Ducky working on coloring back of head

Once the coloring was done I was able to attach the crest to the top of the head. That was one of the very first pieces I made and I only needed to add a bit of bulk on the bottom to get the proportion correct! I also defined the nose shape a bit more and decided on the ear placement by sticking pins in their place and adjusting them until they looked symmetrical.

62 Ducky crest attached nose shaped and decided ear placement

The ears were a bit small at first so I added just a tad bit more wool to bulk them up before attaching them. After that I worked on the most nerve-wracking part of this whole project – the eyes. All along I’ve been telling myself that as long as I get the eyes right all the other imperfections will be less noticeable. Of course the converse of that logic is that if I DON’T get the eyes right the while thing will look like a mess. Fortunately I think I nailed it! I finished the eyes and started working on the eyelashes.

63 Ducky ears attached colored eyes and working on eyelashes

Once I got the eyelashes done I added the nostrils, and with that Ducky’s face was done!

64 Ducky eyelashes and nostrils done

All that was left to do was the arms. I left that step for last because I thought they would get in the way when I was working on the fine detail work on the face. I did end up needing to manipulate Ducky quite a bit in order to get the details right, so my instinct was spot-on. I used pins to work out the arm positions and started building the basic shapes for the shoulder joints with some yellow wool.

65 Ducky decided on arm placement and started building shoulders

I attached the arms by making a doughnut shape on the body and then inserting the end of the arm into the middle and felting it in place. By alternating between stabbing the end of the arm directly into the body and stabbing the raised parts of the shoulder into the arm I was able to make a very secure connection. Due to how thin the arms are they still can be moved around a bit, but they certainly aren’t going to fall off. Once the arms were firmly in place I started coloring the shoulders with the last bits of light green wool.

66 Ducky arms attached and coloring shoulders

I finished coloring the shoulders, made some final adjustments to the angles of the arms and ankles, trimmed off any fly-away bits of wool and with that Ducky was finished! She even stands up!

67 Ducky is finished

It’s pretty damn close to my reference picture too!

I learned a ridiculous amount from needle felting Ducky and she was well worth all the time and effort. Now that I’ve finished Ducky I know I can make anything. BOW TO ME FOR I AM THE GOD OF NEEDLE FELTING.

I took a ton of pictures in the light box, so here is Ducky from every angle possible:

Ducky 1 Ducky 2 Ducky 3 Ducky 4 Ducky 5 Ducky 6 Ducky 7 Ducky 8 Ducky 9 Ducky 10 Ducky 11 Ducky 12 Ducky 13 Ducky 14 Ducky 15 Ducky 16 Ducky 17 Ducky 18 Ducky 19 Ducky 20 Ducky 21 Ducky 22 Ducky 23 Ducky 24 Ducky 25 Ducky 26 Ducky 27 Ducky 28 Ducky 29 Ducky 30 Ducky 31 Ducky 32 Ducky 33 Ducky 34 Ducky 35 Ducky 36 Ducky 37 Ducky 38

Detonating the Yarn Bomb

I know I’m over a month late with this, but better late than never, right? I have a ton of yarnbombing photos to share!

For my contribution I made sure to do much of the work ahead of time so that the actual installation would be as quick and painless as possible. It only took me about 10 minutes to get this up! I just pinned the top middle and bottom together on the light post with safety pins to hold it in place and then I climbed up onto the railing and quickly whip stitched the seam together.

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I was going for a vague Welcome to Night Vale theme, so I included the purple eye logo on the front.

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I made a tentacle too. There aren’t really any tentacles in Welcome to Night Vale that I can recall, but it seems to be the universal symbol for “creepy and/or weird” so it seemed appropriate. I also included a handful of red dots for Dot Day. I thought about including a few blue dots as well, but I don’t really know what the consequences might be for such a subversive action. I figured the yarnbombing organizers might be upset if it resulted in an explosion or a black hole or something, so I decided against it.

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That pale yellowish pink thing is my pathetic attempt at a Glow Cloud. There’s silver thread woven through it and I used lots of bobbles to make it look cloud-like. It didn’t turn out as glowy or cloudy as I had hoped. Oh well. I tried.

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The whole time I was making this and thinking up ways to incorporate the Night Vale fandom I was pretty much resigned to the fact that no one would get it. I mean, I know the fandom seems to have completely taken over the internet and any pictures I might post on the internet would probably get some love (and there was indeed a huge spike in views on my Tumblr page), but I wasn’t making this for the internet I was making it for a bridge. Well, someone DID get it! There was a poster board set up to allow people to leave comments about the project and it appears a city council representative stopped by to inspect the yarn bomb.

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I was able to help put together a second lamp post cover on installation day. There was a really cool looking panel of black knitting with a gold spikey detail, but it was just a small section and needed a lot more added to it to fit around a post. I crocheted enough extra black fabric onto it to wrap around the post and added a small panel of knitted black eyelash yarn and gold-ish stuff at the bottom. Then I sewed on a woven piece that was donated and some black feather boas and tied it all onto a post in the dead of night. The next time I saw it someone had added a spiderweb to it which I think really ties the whole thing together.

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Since mine was so quick to go up I was able to help install some of the other pieces. I helped out a woman named Amber with a few of hers.

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There was a person stationed at the bridge most of the day to help out and give directions, but most of the time everyone was too busy to sit down.

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Someone from the local TV station came by to check things out.

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It was amazing how quickly we were able to fill the bridge.

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After all was said and done Spectral Spiders managed to cover every single lamp post on the bridge – 30 in all! I’ve already shown you a few, but here are the rest:

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Apparently we couldn’t stop at just the lamp posts. A few other yarn bombs were found at the bridge.

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It was all up in time for Arts Walk! Unfortunately some of the pieces didn’t last beyond that night. Vandalism is something that happens frequently with yarn bombings, and this time was no exception. By the next day several of the pieces were gone, including Yoda which was a beloved traveling yarn bomb that had graced the streets outside the creator’s house for years.

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The giant octopus was cut down as well, and was doubly painful due the fact that it was made by the same artist who made Yoda.

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It sucks to have art vandalized like that, but that’s a risk one takes when making street art. There was one uninvited guest I found who seemed to really understand what we were trying to do. A tiny spider showed up on one of the spider-themed pieces in honor of the Spectral Spiders.

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All in all it was a great experience! I’m definitely going to participate in more yarn bombings in the future!

Photocalypse Re-cap

Ever had one of those weeks that seemed so inhumanly busy and emotionally draining that you simultaneously feel like only a day or two has passed AND feel like it’s been dragging on for years? Well that was the first week of October for me. I’m finally starting to catch up now, which brings me to the long-awaited Photocalypse Re-cap!

Every day in September (or approximately every day as the case may be) I followed the Instagram prompts posted by Princessdeia and took a picture to upload to Instagram. I also edited each of those photos on my computer to compare and contrast my Instagram style with my usual editing routine. The results were fascinating!

Locations and Lighting

During my month of photography I tried out 13 different locations, but I frequently stayed within my photography comfort zone – my bedroom, the living room, and the backyard. Even though these locations were already familiar to me I did learn a few new things about them. The lighting in my bedroom is best in the daytime near the window. Check out this awesome photo! I had no idea my bedroom could get such great natural lighting!

edited with iPhoto

edited with iPhoto

The other side of my room pretty much sucks for photography. The overhead light just makes everything look flat.

edited with iPhoto

edited with iPhoto

I used to think the living room was a terrible location for photography, but if I take a few seconds to open the curtains and remove some clumps of cat hair that red futon is a great background!

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Instagrammed

Instagrammed

Instagrammed

Everywhere else in the living room is still a no-go though. I mean seriously, look at these.

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Instagrammed

edited with iPhoto

edited with iPhoto

Horrendous.

Outdoors is always a good choice for photography, but I learned to love the clouds and shadows. The best lighting was always through heavy cloud cover, of which there was plenty during this stormy month. Early in the morning there is some especially fantastic lighting.

edited with iPhoto

edited with iPhoto

If it’s really bright out with hardly any clouds in sight, the shadows provided by a few small trees is great place to shoot.

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Instagrammed

There were a couple of surprisingly good new locations I found through all of this experimentation. The side yard proved to be absolutely magical for yarn photography!

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If I need to photograph something at night when I don’t have access to natural lighting I should head to the bathroom.

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Instagrammed

edited with iPhoto

edited with iPhoto

If I want a dark background with dim lighting I should go to my sister’s room.

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Instagrammed

Another spot with good natural light in the house is the small desk in my mother’s room. I just have to move all the cat bedding to get to it…

edited with iPhoto

edited with iPhoto

So those are all the locations and conditions I found that work well for photography! I also figured out what to avoid. The kitchen is definitely off-limits. It’s brightly lit, but the lighting seems to come from odd angles and the counter and backsplash are way too busy to serve as a decent background.

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Instagrammed

I can catch some more natural light in front of the back door, but to one side there’s a cat tower, a chronically fur-covered curtain, and a cluttered desk, and to the other side is an ugly fridge covered in coupons and reminders, so it’s pretty much impossible to get a shot without some distracting background elements.

edited with iPhoto

edited with iPhoto

My bedroom has a similar problem with distracting backgrounds as I could see from my very first photo in the challenge.

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Instagrammed

But if I turn off the overhead light and rely only on the natural lighting from the window and use my bedspread to cover up the bottom portion of my bed, then the distracting parts of the background are far enough away that they fall completely into shadow. I can’t really pull off that kind of trickery in the dining room.

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Photography Style

I also learned about my own personal photography style. I always try to photograph things from several different angles and distances so that I have lots of options to choose from when it comes time for editing. You may not realize this though, because I always seem to choose the same shots. I seem to overwhelmingly prefer the shots that were taken level with or just slightly above the subject with both the subject and the horizon line near the center of the shot. I call that angle “The Monolith.”

It makes even the smallest and dullest of subjects look interesting and important. I use it A LOT. It’s almost obnoxious.

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Instagrammed

Instagrammed

Instagrammed

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Instagrammed

I also seem to have a fetish for close-ups.

edited with iPhoto

edited with iPhoto

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Instagrammed

I guess all of that just shows my disdain for staging decent-looking backgrounds. I’m a lazy photographer.

Instagram and editing preferences

One of the goals with this challenge was for me to get used to Instagram. I used 12 of the 19 filters available in Instagram during this challenge, and I did start to show some slight preferences. I used the Sierra filter the most often, closely followed by Mayfair and Hudson. Depending on the original lighting, one of those three filters was usually able to correct for color or provide the right amount of glow to the photos to make them more appealing than the original. Here’s an example of each:

Sierra -

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Instagrammed

Mayfair -

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Hudson -

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Instagrammed

I really enjoyed the borders on all the photos. It very quickly got to the point where it is looked really weird to NOT have a border. Some of the Instagram filters have more creative borders than others, but my least favorite border is the one for the Nashville filter.

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What IS that? It’s a decent filter, but the border just kills it.

I also had lots of fun playing with the Lux and Tilt-Shift settings. I learned how to control the size and location of the blurred sections with tilt-shift which helped refine my photos even more. While I LOVE both functions, they were not universally appropriate. I used each function on only about half of the photos, and for a third of the photos I didn’t use either.

I’m not sure exactly what Lux does to the photos, but it was something that I couldn’t replicate with iPhoto. In the Coke photo the Lux function was the only thing that made the badger show up on the glass. Here’s the iPhoto version:

edited with iPhoto

edited with iPhoto

See how the badger is nearly invisible? In the Instagram photo the Lux function made it visible.

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Instagrammed

I quickly became OBSESSED with the tilt-shift function. It didn’t work for every photo, but when it did work it made the photos SO MUCH BETTER.

Take the $5 photo for example. Here is the computer version with no blurring:

edited with iPhoto

edited with iPhoto

It’s a perfectly fine photo. If you turn on the tilt-shift function in Instagram though, it makes Lincoln look 3D!

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Instagrammed

It really worked well with my “Monolith” angle to add even more depth to the photos. Even without my usual photography conventions it helps add depth to the photographs.

Observe, the computer version:

edited with iPhoto

edited with iPhoto

And the far superior tilt-shifty Instagram version:

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Instagrammed

I could simulate the tilt-shift effect by photographing with a huge depth of field and making sure the camera focuses on the middle of the frame. That’s what I did with the street photo. There is no tilt-shift effect used here:

Instagrammed

Instagrammed

I did a few photos in grayscale. The grayscale filters in Instagram – Willow and Inkwell – produced more interesting photographs, but if the grayscale was used for instructional purposes, like distinguishing color values for Fair Isle, then iPhoto’s “black & white” function showed the biggest range in values.

For each set of photos I decided on a “winner” and for about two-thirds of them the Instagram was the better photo, however it did seem to depend on the subject. As I discussed several times throughout the series, because my knitting and yarn photos are used for purposes other than the love of photography I tend to have very strong feelings about how they should be edited. For 8 of the challenges I chose knitting or yarn as a subject and for all but one of those photos I had a very strong preference for the computer edited version of the photo because I was able to control the editing more precisely in iPhoto and produce photos that accurately portrayed the color and texture of the subject. Color and texture are VERY IMPORTANT with knitting photography and those are not Instagram’s strengths. Instagram is really great at creating certain moods with the various filters though, so when photographing things just for the sake of photography it can turn some mundane photos into fabulous shots with the right filter. It was really difficult for me to recreate those effects on the computer. When the subjects weren’t setting off my rabid need for editing control I preferred the Instagram version almost every time.

I also learned a bit more about the limitations of iPhoto. In some of my attempts to mimic tilt-shift on the computer I learned that the “edge blur” function in iPhoto is completely useless. It only blurs in a circular shape and it accomplishes the “blurring” by making the edges look more pixellated. The “definition” slider was something I rarely used in most pf my photography, but during my experimentation I learned why – when the subject is something soft or fuzzy like knitting (my usual subjects) it makes the image look grainy, but when the subject already had hard lines in it (like coins) increasing the definition makes the picture look more crisp and realistic.

Conclusions

This Instagram challenge was lots of fun! I got pretty comfortable with using Instagram and even started taking some photographs spontaneously and immediately uploading them to Instagram. I still don’t know what’s up with those hashtags, but eventually I’ll learn what people tend to use for their hashtags and start using them. It was so fun that I’ve started following along with the October prompts as well!

Instagram will not be replacing my regular photo editing on the computer, but if I’m not taking pictures of a project I’m more likely to just use Instagram for it and not worry about editing it later. It’s a bit of a time-saver in that way!

I also learned that I may want to look for another photo editing program for the computer so I can se some of my favorite features from Instagram in all of my photo editing. I REALLY need to find a program with a tilt-shift function! It would also be nice if I could add a border to my photos on the computer. A few filter options similar to the ones in Instagram would be nice too. The latest iPhone update included some built-in camera filters, so I might try playing around with those, but I would really prefer to be able to add filters to existing photos than to have the original photo taken with a filter. I’m a control-freak.

Top 10 Instagrams

I went through all of my Instagram photos (not just from the challenge) and picked out my 10 favorite photos.

Through all of this I have made an attempt to analyze my photography aesthetic, but I really haven’t been trained to look for that sort of stuff. One thing I know all of these have in common is that they were all sort of spontaneous. A couple of them were for the photo challenges, so I did have some idea of what I was going to photograph, but I didn’t set out with a specific shot in mind. I didn’t see the “street” prompt and think “I’m going to go find some artfully arranged leaves on the pavement and photograph them at ground level.” I just found a street, looked down and saw some nice leaves and them pointed my camera at them. Same goes for the rest of the top 10. I didn’t plan the framing of them or look for something specific to photograph, I just wandered about until I found something nice-looking and pointed my camera in that general direction.

Other than that I don’t know what this collection of photos says about my aesthetic. If anyone with more photography or art training than me has some insights I would love to hear them!

 

Last Days of the Photocalypse

I’ve got five days of photos to catch up on!

1 – Coins

Staging and lighting: I set out some of my sister’s foreign currency (no idea where she got any of it) on the windowsill in my room. I turned off all the lights so the only light came from the window. It was early afternoon and very cloudy.

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Instagram edits: Lo-Fi filter and border

Computer edits: cropped, enhanced, increased definition to the maximum, increased exposure

edited with iPhoto

edited with iPhoto

This is another photo that sort of had a faux tilt-shift effect because of the angle of photography. I usually don’t mess with the definition so much because my subjects usually have soft edges (yarn, knitted things) and it just makes the edges look grainy and weird, but with hard-edged things like coins it works great! It makes it look like I could pluck those coins right off the computer screen! Both photos are great, but I think I prefer the crisp realism of the computer edited version.

2 – Stripes

Staging and lighting: I took these right after the coin photos, so the lighting is the same. I learned from the last time I took photos in my room and paid a bit more attention to the background this time. I moved my comforter down so it hung almost to the floor to cover up my bed. I moved the rolling cart completely out of the way and the cat scratching slope off to the side.

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Instagram edits: Sierra filter and border

Computer edits: cropped, enhanced, increased blue

edited with iPhoto

edited with iPhoto

Since this is a PROJECT! photo I donned my “serious business” hat while editing. The computer version is better, hands down. It shows the true colors of the yarn and the texture of the stitches. The Instagram version was as good as I could find, but it doesn’t compare to the full control I get when editing on the computer. I was really surprised at how good the lighting was considering it was dark and dreary out and further limited by the thick trees and tiny window! Having only a single light source had another benefit that I had not considered – the far background is completely in shadow, so I only had to worry about making the near background nice and neat (you can see how that worked out in the photos below).

Once again, I could not help myself and edited all of the photos from that session and picked out a few more cool shots. For the curious, the pattern is Color Affection.

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3 – Needles

Staging and lighting: Since my focus this past week has been on the yarnbomb it was only fitting that I should use it for one of my photos. For the knitted portions I’ve mostly been using my short Addi Turbo circular needles, so I draped the yarnbomb over the back of my computer chair, stuck the needles in it and shoved the chair up against the back window. Once again it was stormy and gray outside and the photos were taken in the late afternoon.

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Instagram edits: tilt shift horizontally, Mayfair filter and border

Computer edits: cropped and enhanced

edited with iPhoto

edited with iPhoto

I like the softness of the Instagram photo a bit better than the computer version. The tilt-shift also helps draw my eye towards the needles and not stay stuck on the busy yarnbomb at the bottom of the photo.

4 – Relax

The obvious choice for this photo prompt would have been to photograph knitting in progress. When I really thought about it though, I realized knitting isn’t actually that relaxing for me, it’s too exciting! When I really need to wind down and stop thinking for a while I go to bed and read a book. I just finished A Game of Thrones last night, so tonight I will start on A Clash of Kings!

Staging and lighting: I put the book on my pillow and pulled up the covers. I used my bedtime lighting for this one, which is the reading lamp attachment on the standing lamp next to my bed.

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Instagram edits: tilt shift horizontally, lux, Sierra filter and border

Computer edits: cropped, enhanced, increased blue, decreased exposure, decreased saturation, decreased contrast, and increased red

edited with iPhoto

edited with iPhoto

Looking at both of these photos side-by-side, the Instagram version looks more relaxing. I think it’s the combination of the tilt-shift blurring out parts of the photo and the soft glow added by the Sierra filter.

5 – Leaves

Staging and lighting: It’s been storming like crazy this week and it was cloudy out (though thankfully not raining) when I took these photos in the late afternoon.

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Instagram edits: Lux, Inkwell filter and border

Computer edits: cropped, enhanced, black and white effect, increased exposure, increased highlights to the max

edited with iPhoto

edited with iPhoto

The leaves on the trees in my backyard haven’t changed color yet, so I focused more on the shape of the leaves than the color when taking the photographs. Then when I went to do the editing they looked almost black and white anyway, so I decided to go all the way with it and use one of the black and white filters in Instagram. I like the way the Instagram turned out better than the computer edited photo. The differences are subtle, but the Instagram looks like it has more of a glow to it while the other one looks more flat. I may be crazy, but it looks like the Instagram version is a photograph and the computer version is a still from a movie. Not sure why.

I’ll do a full analysis on my month of Instagramming after I’ve had a chance to look over the data and sleep on it!

 

Radio Silence

I have been taking pictures I just have barely touched my computer in the past few days so they are sitting on my phone unedited and unexamined. I have until Wednesday to finish putting together my yarnbomb and then we’ll be installing it on Thursday so I’ve been frantically knitting crocheting and sewing this thing together. Until I’m finished with it I won’t really have much computer time. When I come back though I’ll have lots of pictures to show you! Stay tuned!

 

WIP-Cracking Wednesday: Zooming, Bombing, and Sculpting

WARNING: This post contains a ridiculous number of pictures.

Part 1: Zooming

The photo prompt today was “extreme close up,” which is what I frequently seem to do anyway. This time I decided to see just how close I could get.

Staging and lighting: While I was out and about I decided to zoom in on an art installation. It was about 3 pm and partly cloudy. I took the photo about an inch away from the surface of the piece.

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Just for fun, I Instagrammed the full photo of the art piece too. I like it better than the reference photo.

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Anyway, back to the actual challenge photo…

Instagram edits: Lux, Mayfair filter and border

Computer edits: cropped, enhanced, increased definition and sharpness to the max

edited with iPhoto

edited with iPhoto

It’s hard to go wrong with something this abstract, but for the Instagram version I went with the filter that gave the biggest range of colors without darkening the photo. For the computer edit I wanted to bring out all the cool bubble shapes in the glass, so that’s why I pumped up the definition and sharpness. They both turned out awesome!

Part 2: Bombing

You may have noticed that for once my challenge photo is not in my house or my backyard. The reason I was lured out of my cave in the first place was because I needed to do a fitting for my yarnbombing. I have a whole section seamed together at this point, and many more pieces pinned together, but I needed to actually put those pieces up on the light pole to see how they all might fit together and how much more I need to do.

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The main section I have seamed together fits on the lower part of the base quite nicely. I just need to smooth out the edges.

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I purposefully did not seam together enough pieces to fit all the way around the pole yet. I needed to figure out where I would stitch up the piece when installation day comes. I think I will stitch it up along the corner to the right of the tentacle.

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So now I just need to add about 7 inches worth of pieces to the other end of this section so it can reach the tentacle corner.

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This strip of swatches should help pull the bottom section in tight around the middle of the base and prevent it from slipping down.

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I had another strip of swatches that I wanted to use for the top of the piece to hold the whole thing up, but it didn’t quite fit around the rounded section I had initially intended it for.

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It fits perfectly above the rounded section though, and it should help hold the piece up even better with that lip in the way!

Part 3: Sculpting

I made a LOT of progress on Ducky this week! I worked on filling in the holes around the left cheek.

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Then I smoothed out the shape of the cheek.

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I filled out the head shape some more and started building the brow ridges.

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Then I attached the brow ridges and filled in the eyeballs. And with that, the sculpting of Ducky’s head was FINISHED!!!

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I started coloring the nose and the brow ridges.

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Ducky is really starting to look like Ducky!