Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tea Cup Birthday Cake

Here is a tea cup birthday cake I made for my gran, Mams, who was 85 on the weekend. (The plate and jammy dodgers are real!) Went down well, just wish I could get my icing a bit straighter and neater. . .

BUT to help with that I have enrolled on a cake decorating course at http://www.sweetartconfectionerysupplies.co.uk/ in Port Talbot. Can't wait! It starts 2 weeks tomorrow and my mum is coming along too. Will let you know how it goes.

Next cake is a cupcake tower for my husband's nephew's 21st birthday. (I know technically that makes him my nephew too, but I'm 27, not old enough for a 21 year old nephew!!) Colour to be red.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

How to photograph your knitting

As I have started posting more photos of my knitting and studying other blogs, I have decided that I should do my knitting some justice and take some good photos of it. Plus I am hoping to start selling patterns and knitted items, so photos will, hopefully, make all the difference.

So, I will take some before and after shots of my knitting while I research and put my findings into practice. At the end of this post is a list of links that I came across in my research.

Natural Light V Artificial Lighting

There are a number of schools of thought on this. In many cases professional photographers will use staged lighting so that they have total control over light and shadow. I am not a professional photographer. Generally, in order to show items in their natural beauty, natural/daylight is best. Obviously this is hard to do an night, which is usually when I take photos.

However, if you do have the inclination, WikiKnitting has a great post on making a lightbox: http://wikiknitting.com/wiki/How_to_Take_Detailed_Photos_of_your_Knitting

I won't talk too much about this, but obviously the camera you have will make a difference to the final photo. I have a 12 megapixel Canon PowerShot, which has a vast number of settings and can produce excellent quality photos...once I've worked out all the settings!

This post at The Walker Treasury Project
has some great tips on angling the camera, and a bit more on lighting: http://thewalkertreasury.wordpress.com/photo-tips/

The following two posts have plenty of information on using the camera with a tripod or without, looking at exposure and white balance.

So what have I learned?
I haven't out anything into practice yet, but here is what I'll be trying to do next time I photograph my knitting.

1. Paying attention to the light, taking note of how colours change and how best to represent them.
2. Going for an intersting angle - one that will highlight the texture, yet still show the piece without greatly distorting it.
3. Keeping the background clean, clear and uncluttered, and in a tone to complement the piece. Maybe something light on a dark background, something plain on an interesting pattern.
4. Learning what all the effects on my camera do. I know that 'macro' mode is great for close up work - showing stitches in fab detail, but learning how to set exposure, white balance etc.
5. PRACTICING. I will take plenty of photos until I get the one I want and only use the best ones. :)

Keep an eye out for my practice photos to come....

ps - i know the photo at the top has nothing to do with taking photos, but I thought it was quite cute. The one time the pair of them ever get on!

Peepo Blanket Progress

Here it is! My progress so far on the Peepo Blanket from The Knitter magazine, issue 4. It's about 4" so far. But I did manage to work out how to make the stripes look nice in moss stitch. Will post photos tonight with a bit more detail.

Am planning a post on how to photograph knitting - a learning thing for me as I have been reading a lot of blogs lately and noticed that the photos are much better than mine!! Anyone willing to share tips?

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

9 Reasons to Knit

1. Because it's cool! Yup, knitting has become more popular over the last few years along with the resurgence in craftiness and home baking. It's no longer just something your nan does, but a bone fide hobby.

2. Because it's relaxing.
I spend most of my day in front of the computer (and most evenings too, really) and watching TV doesn't always help you relax. Knitting is one way to get your mind totally off the crap that has gone on at work, and a lack of flickering images give your eyes a rest.

3. Because it's sociable.
Knittng is one of those hobbies that can be done with a group of friends, hence the build up of Stitch N Bitch groups, as you can still talk and knit.

4. Because you'll always learn something new
. There are so many things that can be done with some yarn and a pair of needles, so whether you find a new stitch pattern, a new way to cast on, using double pointed needles, felting, different yarn...you'll never stop learning.

5. Because you'll find new friends. Whether by joining a knitting group, at your local yarn shop or on the internet. I have recently starting chatting via Ravelry with my felted purse swap partner in the USA.

6. Because everything you make will be unique - guaranteed! No matter whether it's for you or a friend - the yarn you choose, the pattern, your own knitting gauge, a missed stitch here and there, every garment, accessory or toy you make will be totally and utterly one of a kind.

7. Because it can be cheaper. While nowadays knitting is done more for pleasure than for making cheap clothes, it is still possible! Besides how much would you really have to pay for a totally one of a kind scarf or corsage?

8. Because the Internet makes the whole world your local yarn shop. Finding the perfect yarn for your ideal knit has become easier as yarn can now be shipped all over the world.

9. Because there are so many gorgeous patterns. We are spoilt for choice with patterns, whether free, downloadbale or in a book, there is guaranteed to be something you'd want to knit.

Why do you knit? Feel free to leave your comments for a 10th reason, it would be great to hear why others knit too.

Build a Better Blog

I have decided that while I will be continuing the blog challenge, I won't mention it every day as it will probably detract from what I am actually trying to do. It may also make this blog sound like an experiment, while I am really trying to make it more interesting and build on my blogging skills. (Also so I can souns like I know what I'm talking about in work! :)

So, I would like to thank Darren for what is already turning out to be an interesting and informative course, and now on to my blogging....

Inspector Gadget & an Elevator Pitch

Above is my latest birthday cake. A teacher's desk with an Inspector Gadget drawing - long story!

Yesterday was the start of the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Challenge (31DBBB) by Problogger. The task was to write an Elevator Pitch for my blog, which got me windering why I started theis blog and what makes me carry on. Mainly it's a personal thing, somewhere I can keep photos and details on everything I am up to. However, I am looking to start selling online and I guess this blog will then become part of that.

So, in an ideal world then....this blog is intended to inspire like minded crafters and bakers and push me to be more crafty and creative. How's that sound? Any thoughts?

Friday, April 03, 2009

Weekend Plans - Cooking, Baking & Knitting

It is Friday, I am finishing work in 5 hours and looking forward to a weekend of knitting, sorting and cooking. M (Hubby) is cooking tonight, I'm cooking tomorrow and we're out on Sunday for a friend's birthday so will be making a birthday cake with a teacher theme.

Will also be ordering the yarn so that I can start the Felted Purse Swap I have joined on Ravelry. Have to get it done by May 1st!! But I have decided what I'm doing, and it shouldn't take too long.

We have people starting work in the garden next week, which is VERY exciting, and we'll be heading off to garden centres this weekend too. Plus M wants to get chickens, so we'll be looking at chicken supplies.

The photo above is of a desert we had at a wedding in a castle in Scotland. It's gorgeous and something I want to try tomorrow night. If it looks any good maybe I'll post a photo...

Nex week starts the 30 days to a better blog challenge so prepare to have plenty of posts. Have a good Friday!