Saturday, January 15, 2011

A tale of two bulbs

See that? That's a 42W warm CFL and a 65W daylight CFL (6500 Kelvin, full spectrum, CRI 80), behind a piece of white tissue paper I'm using to soften the light. A 65W CFL is about equivalent to a 300W incandescent bulb, so it's bright.

The 65W bulb isn't bright enough on its own, and tends to cool things down just a little too much; it's just a little bit flat.  Pairing up both lights seems to give me a better range of color.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


First up, January's giveaway of a pair of earrings from Written Insight goes to AbsolutGillian! I'll contact via Ravelry. :)

Second up, a repick for December's giveaway is Ilina!  I'll contact via Ravelry as well. 

Meanwhile back at the ranch, I'm making a lot of stitch markers lately.  The January Phatfiber theme is Chinese New Year, and I was able to squeak in this month's samples under the wire.  I received the beads I wanted to use yesterday and shipped out the samples today. I was focused on finishing so I didn't take a picture, but I have the pieces I'll be making for the shop in progress.

6mm widget removable stitch markers in progress, jade and red brass.

I'm actually pretty pleased with this picture. I tweaked the contrast but not the color or white balance, and I think it's pretty good.  Of course, that's partially because I started with this:

I'm still putzing around with trying to take more color accurate pictures and it seems to help to put something pure medium blue into the frame. I suspect the camera registers the blue and no longer feels compelled to compensate so hard in that direction.

That leads me to put my scissors in everything, so if you see them hanging out at the edge of a shot that's why. To whit....

This my anvil for when I make the widget stitch markers. My father is a retired civil engineer and this is a piece he picked up on a job site.  It's a small discarded section of a long threaded steel rod that was cut with a diamond saw.  They're used to draw together items under tension.  It's 1.5in in diameter, weighs a hair over a pound, and is the perfect size for my purposes.  I've used electrical tape to wrap the sides so the rough sides don't damage my beads, but the top where it was cut with a saw is very smooth.  The scissor serves double duty in this shot, adjusting the color as well as providing a sense of scale.

And here it is with my knitting which I put on pause for the stitch marker frenzy.  Six balls of yarn were a bit annoying to move around whenever I had to clear my work surface, so I stuffed everything in the basket. This is one of those times I particularly appreciate center pull balls that can sit neatly stationary while still feeding out the yarn.

OK, hammer back to the anvil time, I need to finish my markers for the shop!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Light and helices

First up, today's the last day to enter my January giveaway for a pair of earrings from WrittenInsight, so do pop on over there!

Next, I wanted to talk about two things today.  The first is my latest knitting project and the second is trying to take product photographs when the light doesn't comply.

So, knitting.  I got itchy fingers and decided to try a technique that has intrigued me for lo these many moons.  Helical knitting, or spiral knitting for single row stripes. There's a short description here at Grumperina's blog.

The idea is that since knitting in the round is actually a spiral, it should be possible to stack those spirals for single row stripes that positively do not jog. And it works. It doesn't even have to be just two colors, it can be as many as one likes. So, I decided to try with 6.  I dove into my stash last night and picked out 6 skeins of yarn that seemed like they would combine well, if unconventionally, and set to work.  Helices (Rav project page)

Lots and lots more pictures and blather after the jump.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year! (a belated eclipse post and a giveaway)

It was a very busy December with my father's 80th birthday banquet on the 19th and family coming home for the holidays, as well as other assorted goings on.  One cousin's family has expanded with a bouncing baby boy, and another's is expecting any day now.  It's been full of moment and now that I can pause to breathe and blog, I'd like to post about the lunar eclipse on the solstice since I took a lot of pictures that make me ridiculously gleeful.

I'll talk about the giveaway first, though.  One thing is that December's mystery box remains unclaimed (and no, it's not exactly the same as the Rav group box).  Soooo, I'm going to do this.  I'd like to send it to cols journey who won it, but if I don't hear back by the end of January's giveaway, I'll do another random pick from the existing entries for December and announce it at the same time as January.  I think that's equitable.  Meanwhile, January!

This month I have a pair of earrings from a friend of mine who has a thoughtful and literate Etsy shop called Written Insight (closed for the holiday, it'll reopen tomorrow).

These earrings are about 2in long and they're made of text on newsprint that's been carefully dipped in resin, as well as green and white marbled glass, wood, and silver beads.  The hooks are silver plated brass.

For this giveaway, I'd like to talk books. Specifically favorite books.  I have a lot of favorites since I was one of those kids who would read under the blankets with a flashlight.  But if asked, the one I always go back to is Jane Austen's Persuasion.  It's got the right blend of funny and heartfelt for my tastes, and I like how Anne isn't remarkable or perfect, but she's mature, intelligent, and good (almost too good for her, Austen said).  Her Frederick has the whiff of a storybook romantic hero, but when you get to the real him he's just a man who's a little foolish but ultimately well meaning to go along with the "handsome, capable, and rich".

So, what's tops on your list and why? Comment by Thursday, the 6th to be entered in this drawing, and as always leave some way for me to get in touch with you.  I'll pick a random winner on Friday, January 7th.  And I do hope everyone will visit Written Insight and take a look around. It's perfect for logophiles and bibliophiles, and nature lovers, too.  The Rav group has a different pair of earrings, and as usual entering both giveaways is fine.

*** Eclipse! ***

The 2010 complete lunar eclipse was entirely worth staying up for, even if I didn't see a single falling star.  We lucked out and had a gorgeous, clear night for it although it was very cold.  I found my half-fingered gloves in the pockets of my parka so only my toes froze.  I had to pop inside and take off my shoes to warm them up periodically.

More after the jump....