September – The Photocalypse

I’m on Twitter. I don’t tweet much (still haven’t figured out how to do that without looking like an idiot), but I do follow a lot of knitterly people to keep up with knitterly news. I saw a tweet from someone mentioning a knit-themed photo challenge and followed the Tweet-trail back to this:

Why yes, I AM interested. I’m still figuring out Instagram, so this seems like a perfect opportunity to learn how to use it!

princessdeia, the intrepid Tweeter behind this challenge, posted the photo prompts on Friday.

Because I like to make things way more complicated than they need to be, I’m imposing rules on how I create these photos.

  1. I cannot use the light box. I really want to learn how to take decent photos in places that are not flooded with light and have a carefully controlled background. The only way I’m going to learn is to DO IT.
  2. I’m not going to pre-edit the photos before I Instagrammize them. All the photos I’ve posted on Instagram before have gone through the process of being uploaded to my computer, edited in iPhoto (usually cropping, adjusting brightness, and color correction), and then sent back to my phone to be uploaded to Instagram (with added filters, of course). That’s just too much work, and not really what Instagram seems to be for. I will do all of my pre-screening on my phone and whichever photo looks the best on my iPhone will be the lucky recipient of a shiny new Instagram filter.
  3. In order to compare and contrast my Instagram photo style with my usual style I will ALSO edit my photos on the computer. The winning photo from my iPhone screening will also be treated to my usual photo editing routine in iPhoto.
  4. After all of that, I will post both photos here on my blog and tell you how I did them! I’ll show you my light sources, how I staged the photo, and I’ll tell you exactly how they were edited.

Yep, that’s right, you’re in store for another month of DAILY BLOG POSTS! The photos may end up looking like crap, but I think we’ll all learn something.

Oh look, it’s September already. Here’s the first photo – UFO.

Location and staging: my bedroom, on a chair several feet from the window. I moved that set of drawers a bit to the left for the photos to obscure my bed, which just looks weird and ugly without a bedskirt. I mean, I hate bedskirts with a burning passion – they never stay put – but that would have been a nicer background for the photo if I had one.

IMG_4519

Light source: Overhead light, and some light from my window. The sun does not face my window EVER, so it’s hard to use the window as the only light source even on a really bright day like today.

IMG_4521 IMG_4517

Photo editing: For Instagram I did that blur function thingy (anyone know what that’s called?) to blur the top and bottom of the image, and used the Lo-Fi filter with a border. There’s also some automatic cropping in Instagram to make the photo fit the prescribed frame, but I didn’t do any cropping manually. For iPhoto I used the “enhance” button and did my usual color correction – increased the blue and decreased the yellow a bit to correct for the yellow cast from the light sources.

edited with iPhoto

edited with iPhoto

Another note about my photo-a-day challenge – I will be plastering these photos all over the internet, so if you don’t care about my blathering on about my fledgling photography skills but still want to see the photos you can follow me on Instagram, Twitter, Flickr, or Tumblr. Don’t expect anything too polished or professional from me on those sites though – that’s basically a list of every social media platform that I have barely a passing knowledge of how to use. I want to know them better, but I haven’t had time to sit down and read the manuals yet. You’ve been warned.

Welcome to the Photocalypse.

Resting

I just wanted to interrupt my silence to say I’m not dead! I do have things I want to post about, but typing kinda hurts right now. I suspect the computer is at fault. Something is going horribly wrong with the ergonomics of this new laptop and I’m still working on figuring it out. I’m going to take a few days to rest my hands and then I will have loads of gratitude to express for my Indiegogo contributors and I will have pictures of my hand posture to show you. Perhaps someone can tell me what I’m doing wrong.

Awards!

I’ve been nominated for some bloggy awards! The first one happened a couple weeks ago, but I was so stunned by it that I really didn’t know what to do about it. Duh, post about it! I’m really thrilled to be nominated for both awards, it warms this new-ish blogger’s heart to know that people not only read my blathering posts, but enjoy it.

Susan from Down the Mountain Road nominated me for the Reader Appreciation Award! She called me entertaining! I like her.

Reader Appreciation Award

Then, Isobel of Center Pull Photography nominated me for the Liebster Award! She called me smart! I like her.

Liebster Blog Award

“Liebster” is a German word meaning dearestbeloved or favorite.  The Liebster Award is given by bloggers to other bloggers – intended to showcase exceptional blogs.

And the Liebster Award came with instructions! I’m not sure how to do #1 yet, but I will work on figuring that out.

How It Works:

1. Add the award icon to your blog!

2. Link to your nominator to say thank you.

3. Each blogger should post 11 facts about themselves.

4. Answer the questions the tagger has set for you, & create 11 questions for your nominations to answer.

5. Choose 11 up-and-coming bloggers with less than 200 followers, go to their blog, and tell them about the award.

Facts About Me:

  1. I am very introverted. As wordy as I am here on the internet, if you met me in person I would not be talkative At. All.
  2. Despite the above statement, Pinkie Pie is my spirit animal.
  3. In second grade I correctly spelled “dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane” (AKA DDT) on a spelling test. It is still my proudest academic achievement. (Also, I just looked that up to make sure I spelled it right and I only missed one letter. SCORE!)
  4. This does not make me a spelling genius, it just means when I put my mind to it I can memorize ANYTHING.
  5. I once dented my butt by falling down the stairs. You heard me. Dented it. Bruised it so hard the fat cells died and left a stair-shaped dent behind. It’s filled in some now, but I can still feel it.
  6. I am afraid of lettuce. I can still eat it, but only if I don’t look at it first.
  7. I have very bad luck in Skyrim despite adjusting the difficulty settings. Seriously, it’s never just a dragon, it’s always a dragon AND a giant AND a mammoth AND a sabre cat all trying to kill me at once. WTF?!!
  8. My theme song in college was Schadenfreude from Avenue Q because my bad luck is not restricted to Skyrim. That song always cheered me up whenever something awful happened to me and my friends would start singing it to me.
  9. My favorite activity as a child was alphabetizing my collection of animal cards.
  10. I love cats, yet I’m allergic to them.
  11. I would shank someone for salted caramel flavored popcorn. Or Smitten truffles. I would mow down a room full of babies for those truffles.

My Answers:

1. What are you most passionate about?

Knitting! Really anything related to fiber arts, but knitting is my favorite!

2. Why do you blog?

I got sick of having to explain my passion for knitting to everyone I meet. I intend to make this my career, so by blogging about it I can do several things at once: raise awareness about knitting culture – it’s not just a silly hobby, it’s a lifestyle; detail the process of becoming a professional in the knitting industry – I feel like it’s a bit of mystery how one gets from knitting enthusiast to knitwear designer, or accomplished tech editor, or indie hand-dyer, or editor of an online knitting magazine…whatever path I end up on, I want a record of how I got there so others who want to do something similar can see how it’s done (or not done, depending on how badly I screw up along the way!); by blogging about knitting it sort of legitimizes my passion so I don’t have to explain so much to people about why I knit. I just have to say I blog about the knitting industry and they tend to shut up. I’m still not sure whether they take that as an explanation for my knitting or if it just tells them not to poke the crazy.

3. What is your favorite meal?

Rib-eye steak. I really could care less about the sides, but baked potatoes always go good with steak! And a Coke. I’m a Coke addict.

4. What book or books do you think everyone should read?

World War Z by Max Brooks, and Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. They are both very different books, but both explore how humans behave under extraordinary circumstances through the medium of science fiction. I’m sure there are other must-read books that also do this, but these are the first two that came to mind.

5. If money were no object, how would you occupy the rest of your life?

Learning ALL of the fiber arts! I’d attend as many fiber arts events and classes that I could, I’d get a bigger place so I could have space for more equipment like floor looms and more spinning wheels and dyeing equipment, I’d buy a bale of wool just so I could roll around in it like Scrooge McDuck swimming through his pile of money…

6. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

“Well, this is awkward.”

7. What is one thing you’ve never been able to/had time to/had funds to do that you still want to do?

Learn weaving. I simply can’t afford to get any more equipment, nor do I have any space for it.

8. What is your favorite television show and why?

Doctor Who! It’s sci-fi that doesn’t take itself too seriously, so WHO CARES if there are inconsistencies? It’s timey-wimey.

9. What is your least enjoyable chore?

Laaaaaaauuuundryyyyyy. It never ends!

10. What one thing about you is cool?

One thing? Well I think everything about me is cool, but the most recent independent observation of coolness – I use the term “there’s a yarn for that” the way some people say “there’s an app for that” because there is! In this case we were discussing sciency/spacey things on Facebook and the other person made a joke about “string theory” because I play with string all the time, so I sent him a link to String Theory Colorworks.

11. Do you have pets?

Four cats – though technically only one of them is mine, the others just like to hang out on my lap all the time.

 My Questions:

  1. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  2. NOW what do you want to be when you grow up?
  3. Why do you blog? (I couldn’t help stealing this question, it’s a good one!)
  4. What is your favorite color?
  5. What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?
  6. Pirates or ninjas?
  7. What is your favorite movie and why?
  8. If money were no object and you could magically skip all immigration proceedings (if applicable) where would you want to live?
  9. What is your guilty pleasure?
  10. What skill do you want to learn, but haven’t been able to/had time to yet?
  11. Who is your favorite artist and why?

My nominees:

Oh man, this is the hard part. There are so many blogs out that deserve this award, but I just don’t follow that many blogs! Many of the blogs I do follow are very popular and have way over 200 followers, and for the others, I’m not sure how I can tell how many followers they have! Many of the blogs on my “following” list are pretty new to me too, so I haven’t really gotten a feel for them yet. I’ll nominate as many as I can, but I might not get to 11…

Jessica’s Yarn Tales A brand new blogger and a good friend of mine. Every post she’s written has been delightful to read! We tend to feed off of each-others yarn lust.

Green Bean’s String Factory More tales of knitting to feed my obsession! She has FANTASTIC FO and in-progress photography!

Jean’s Knitting This is one of the newer additions to my reading list, but already I love it! It’s another knitting project blog, but with lots of wit and hyperbole thrown in. I find myself giggling at something in almost every post!

PottyLips This one isn’t at all knitting related! It’s a truly hilarious blog that aims to expand one’s vocabulary. I bow to the linguist talents of this fabulous blogger.

That’s all I’ve got. The rest are all either huge names who have way more than 200 followers or are too new to me. I really need to read more blogs!

November Wrap Up

Here it is, the last day of NaBloPoMo, and I have succeeded in posting 26 out of 30 days of the month! The only days I missed were due to illness, holiday activities, or sheer exhaustion (seriously, one of those no-post days was because I literally wasn’t conscious long enough in that 24-hour period to even look at the computer). I learned a lot during this experience. For example, I learned that I am wordy. Unless the post is a reblog or a total cop-out, I typically can’t hit publish until I’ve reached at least 900 words. Sorry.

I picked up quite a few new followers this month! I’m not sure how much of that is just due to more frequent posting, or if that was from posting daily links to my blog in Ravelry, or what, but I’m glad for the extra views!

While the daily posting was a bit much for me, it was a great experience and has helped establish a bit more structure for the blog. Here are some of the things you can expect from me moving forward:

  • I just don’t have enough content to justify posting every. single. day. and sometimes I’m just too busy. I think posting about every other day would be a far more reasonable schedule.
  • Vocabulary for Muggles is going to continue! It’s really fun for me, and it seems to be entertaining for others, so I’m going to try fitting in a vocab lesson once a week.
  • WIP-Cracking Wednesdays will continue as long as I feel the WIP-shaming is necessary for me, but I will restrict them to a single WIP per post.
  • There will be more small business/artisan/knitting industry related content! Having less frequent posting should allow me more time for research and such so I will actually have useful things to write on those subjects.
  • There will be the occasional re-blog or short announcement of new links in the blogroll whenever I come across something noteworthy on the net.

Best of all, the daily post-a-thon has really helped me get over the performance anxiety I once had when it came to blogging, so one thing you can expect NOT to see on the blog from now on are weeks-long dry spells! Yay NaBloPoMo!!

(Hey look at that, I’m going to publish something with only 386 words! Weird!)

 

Four Things

  1. Sorry about not posting anything yesterday. I was feeling really ill.
  2. I’m still a bit off today, but that’s probably because I haven’t slept in 26+ hours.
  3. Apparently my brain is really, really good at tricking my body into thinking it’s dying when I’m under stress. This is not the first time it’s done this, though it always seems to switch up the symptoms just to keep me on my toes. Usually I figure out it was stress related when I suddenly start feeling better. Despite being over-tired I feel so much better today because…
  4. I HAVE A COMPUTER.

We shall return to your regularly scheduled useful posts tomorrow.

In Which Technology Hates Me

I know I promised to blog about Knit Fit today, and believe me, I really want to. Unfortunately technology has conspired against me. I took some awesome photos while I was there and I’m still struggling a bit trying to figure out how get them onto my sister’s computer and formatted and edited properly. It was so much easier on my computer…

In addition to that, our DVR box is on the fritz and will be replaced tomorrow morning, so I have to watch all of the shows we have recorded TONIGHT or they are gone forever.

In the meantime I will try to entertain you all with a new blogging trick my friend Jessica taught me. On the sidebar right underneath the calendar I now have a Blogroll! This is where you will find useful or interesting links (not all of them are blogs). It’s small so far but I will slowly add to it as other links come to mind.

Jessica just started her own blog called Jessica’s Yarn Tales, and her first post was today, so go check her out! She already has a blogroll set up ’cause she’s smart like that.

At Ars Poetica you can find handcrafted candles made from natural and sustainable materials and beautiful hand drawn cards. A college friend of mine started this business very recently, and in the Poet’s Corner she has blogged about the grueling process of setting up a small home business.

Another artist friend of mine is Peppermint Monster AKA Sarah. She is a wickedly fabulous artist/illustrator who just released a Sueussian, nudity-filled comic called Star Power. You can buy it in her Etsy shop (and I highly recommend you do).

If you want to know what is going on in the knitting world, just look to the Yarn Harlot. She has her finger on the pulse of knitting culture, and when she speaks, fiber fanatics listen.

Last but not least is the Craft Emergency Relief Fund which provides emergency assistance to professional craft artists. They also provide emergency preparedness information for artists. In the wake of Sandy I’m sure there are many people out there whose studios have been badly damaged putting their livelihoods at stake. They have set up a special emergency response page specifically dealing with Sandy aftermath here.

Plenty can go wrong even without the help of a hurricane, as Judith MacKenzie-McCuin can attest. Her spinning studio at The Rainforest Arts Center in Forks, WA  burned to the ground. Friends of Judith have set up a site, Rebuild Judith’s Studio, where you can donate money or materials to help this international artist and teacher return to her craft. I know the loss of my computer has pretty much leveled my ability to pursue my business, I can only imagine what it would be like to lose EVERYTHING.

Hopefully I can get the photo situation sorted out tonight so I can share my Knit Fit experiences with you tomorrow!

Greetings and Salutations!

I’ve had a huge spike in page views in the past few days! Welcome new readers! There have also been waaay more comments than I’m used to, which is wonderful and thank you to those of you who left them. I will be responding to all of the comments tomorrow. Tonight I am exhausted from the exciting weekend I spent at Knit Fit in Ballard, WA. I would love to tell you all about it tonight, but I think I need a good night’s sleep before I can use the English language properly again.

I will leave you with one fun factoid before I go to bed. I’m a relatively new blogger, so I’m still figuring out how the whole blogging stats thing works. Sometimes it will show you the search terms people entered into search engines which led them to your blog. Today one of the search terms which directed someone to my corner of the internet was the sentence “Ever since my sister moved back in everything is terrible.” I giggled for like five minutes straight after reading that! Whoever that was, thanks for the laugh. Goodnight everyone, I’ll have much more to say in the morning.