Just Jayne ‘n’ Me

I don’t really have a lot to say tonight, but my camera’s been put away since Saturday and I had the urge to dig it out. With no people, or animals, nearby for shooting at this hour, it’s just the yarn and me. So here is a progress photo of the Jayne Hat:

 closeup of yellow and orange knitted hat in progress.

Jayne hat in progress

Exciting, huh? I knew you’d think so. :)

Truthfully I am not a huge fan of orange, or yellow. If you’ve been reading this blog long enough, you know what my favorite color is. But I’m liking the way the yarns are combining to create a richness of bright color that doesn’t feel too “crayon-y.” Am I making sense?

Only about 10 rounds to go, then on to the earflaps. I know most knitters could probably finish up in an evening, but I’m shooting for the weekend. Wish me luck.

I’ve Seen the Light!

I’m going to geek out a little in this post.

If you know me, you know I love my camera almost as much as I love knitting and yarn. I’m always striving to take better pictures. I am not a photographer, nor will I ever be, though very rarely my photos do get used in the context of my day job. I like it when opportunities to be creative present themselves.

There is a problem, though, in that I have always hated working with flash. When possible I prefer natural light, or nice, bright indoor light. However, in today’s energy-conscious world, fluorescent lighting is the norm, which, if you take pictures, you know, is the definition of UG-ly.

I never use my camera’s built-in flash. About three years ago my husband very generously gave me a Speedlite for my birthday, which was a huge improvement. But, I still hated the harsh shadows often produced. So right away I started looking for ways to get the benefits of using flash while at the same time, softening the effect. I can’t remember how it was that I stumbled upon the Gary Fong Lightsphere, but it made a huge difference for me.

The only problem was, the thing was bulky, a little hard to get on and off quickly, and its rigid form took up too much space in my camera bag.

Then I discovered the Lightsphere Collapsible. It folds down into a nice, flat shape and doesn’t demand too much of my gear bag. It’s a lot easier to take on and off, and it produces such a wonderful light that is not too harsh and produces wonderful color, something that my energy-saving, but ugly-as-sin light fixtures can no longer do. Want proof?

Photo of orange yarn taken without flash

Photo of orange yarn taken without flash

The above photo was taken in my dining room, which is fairly brightly lit with a nice, off-white ceiling. The colors in this image are soft, but a little muddy, and kind of all run together. Not bad, and certainly better than i would have gotten with plain flash. But then, look:

Photo of orange yarn taken with flash

Photo of orange yarn taken with flash

This photo was taken with the Collapsible Lightsphere in place. Yes I can see a slight shadow, but it’s not harsh at all. And best of all, guess what? The photo is showing you the actual colors of my yarn. Not too bad, eh? I think after all my years of using flash only begrudgingly, I am finally starting to make peace with it. I’ve even gone so far as to realize that natural light isn’t always best, and there are situations where having nice, soft light from the flash will really improve the photo.

I love it when my love for yarn and my love of photography converge. Look for lots more bright, happy project photos from me.

That’s my husband’s Jayne Hat in progress. It’ll be done in time for this spring’s round of nerd conventions.

Yes, I’ve Been Knitting, Too…

It’s been a long time since I’ve actually posted here. I’ve been in a knitting (and thus, blogging) funk. But this year I have decided to try to fix both of those things. But, none of my knitting of late has been making me, well, happy. And what’s the point of knitting if not for the zen and happiness of it?

So I’ve been struggling along for weeks, trying to find the perfect project. And then my husband said that he thought he should buy himself a Jayne Hat. To which, I said, “I can knit that!” And so I am. In all the years I’ve been knitting, he’s only affected a mild interest (to keep me happy) and has never asked me to make him anything. So, he finally asked for something, and I said I could do it. And I can, really… except this particular hat has been subject to much opinion and debate as to how it’s made. I am following this pattern, but am finding the analysis of the hat on this site to be most helpful.

Of course there is some debate about the actual color of the hat, because it is often seen in deep shadow. But I see it as a sort of pumpkin-orange and goldenrod, with brick red earflaps. With two strands held together and a combination of colors from the stash, and adding a couple of other shades with the help of a store credit from The Loopy Ewe, I think I will be good to go. What do you Firefly knitters think of my color choices?

five shades of orange and yellow yarn

Jayne Hat yarn

As you can also see, if you’re visiting this blog, I’ve done a bit of work here, too. I’ve decided that this is the year I’m going to really focus on my photography skills, so I wanted a blog format that would allow me to easily build photo pages. And this one called out to me. I’ll be building my photo galleries over time, but you can check them out, here: Photo Galleries.

For tonight’s photo of the yarn I experimented with my flash. I generally hate flash photography because of the washed out colors and harsh shadows I usually get. But, since my whole house now is full of energy saving (but ugly as sin) fluorescent light bulbs, I figured I’d better start making friends with the flash. So for this photo I mounted the flash on the camera, but added a Gary Fong Universal Lightsphere diffuser, to cut down on the harsh shadows. Not bad, eh? And the yarn colors are accurate and vivid. Of course I am a bigger fan of natural light, but when none is available, this setup might just do.

As I was writing this post, my kids were behind me, laughing. And this is why:

Clyde the grey tabby peeking out from under a sheet

Clyde is hiding

Clyde had run under the chair where I had set up for photos, and got himself draped in the sheet I use for a backdrop. And stayed there, at least long enough for my daughter to snap a few kitty selfies. Never a dull moment around here, I’m tellin’ ya.

We’re expecting a boatload of snow tomorrow so I’m hoping that means lots of knitting. Stay tuned for Jayne Hat updates.