My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


I’m Ready For My Close-up, Mr. DeMille

Katrina commented:
You always take such wonderful pictures of your projects. Do you have any tips? I can never quite get all the detail I want in mine. Maybe I just need to upgrade my camera.

Well thank-you! When it comes to photos, I am certainly no Cara. I ain’t no Bonne Marie, either. But I am mighty pleased that you think my photos are any good.

Anyhow, most of the photos in my blog are taken with my Canon Digital Rebel EOS SLR camera that I purchased in December 2003 — so it’s now obsolete. But it is still a great camera, even if it is only 5 megapixels.

Some photos are taken with a Canon Powershot SD400 — that’s the small camera I keep in my purse. All my Maryland Sheep and Wool photos were taken with that camera.

While I am by no means anything approaching a “real” photographer, I do love taking pictures. So I take a ton of them. Then I pick the best ones to post on the blog.

Whenever I can, I try to take photos without the flash, in natural light, so the colors of my knitting are as true as possible. When photographing Lucy, I almost always use the flash because she doesn’t hold still, of course, for the slower shutter speed of the natural light photos.

I use Paintshop Pro to crop and resize photos. I wish I knew how to use Photoshop — no doubt taking a class in it would be the right way to go. But I’ve been using Paintshop Pro for eons, so I do actually know how to use most of the features, so I’ll stick with that.

I crop, resize, and compress photos in Paintshop Pro. The only other editing I do is to sometimes sharpen an image slightly, and adjust contrast and/or brightness. That’s pretty much all I know how to do in image editing.

The other thing — I try to use backgrounds that don’t fight with or obsure the object I’m photographing. Sometimes I’m lazy and will drape my sock-in-progress across the keyboard of my laptop, or photograph work-in-progress on my knee — I did both of these things yesterday.

So that’s my story. I did a brief Google search, looking for tips for good blog photos, but didn’t really find anything definitive. If anyone knows of good sites for blog photographers, please do mention them in the comments.

In Knitting News . . .

Mahogany sock number two is done.


Ooh! Ooh! Excitement!


Erin comments:
I love the idea of using the picot edging for the top of the sock instead of the traditional ribbed cuff.
I was wondering if the sock slouches at all without the ribbing, or does the double thickness from the fold-over provide enough “grab” to keep it in place?

My picot edge socks don’t slouch — they stay up nicely. That could be, of course, because I have fat shapely legs.

In Stash News . . .

My latest stash enhancements, courtesy of Lisa Souza:


The colors are denim, pink, sky drama, and jonquil. And the roving is Blue Faced Leicester.

New York/New Jersey Book Gig

We’re making the final arrangements for my book tour trip to New York and New Jersey May 19-21. Please note that the time of the event at Knitty City on Sunday May 21 has been changed to accomodate the travel schedule — it will start at 12:30pm instead of 2:00pm as originally scheduled.

Also note that to attend the Friday evening event at The Point, you need to RSVP — please see their events page for details.

Pandemic Flu

In his post yesterday, the KOARC mentioned pandemic flu and the movie about it that was on the ABC network last night. I only watched about half the movie, but decided to switch to some mindless cable nonsense after an hour.

But it reminded me of an incident at work last month. All our regional directors came into the national office for a three-day powwow, and one of the (many) presentations was on pandemic flu and what the government is doing to prepare for the likelihood of an outbreak, and what we can do to protect ourselves in an outbreak. Someone in our agency arranged for a specialist from OSHA to come and give his half-hour presentation. OSHA guy comes and gives his presentation (which was actually pretty interesting). One of the things he stressed was attempting to minimize spread of the virus by limiting contact between people. He talked about having people work from home, and also talked about making an effort to avoid physical contact — like shaking hands.

So, at the end of the presentation, after a q&a period, the guy in our agency who invited him got up, thanked him, and the two shook hands vigorously. Heh.

Well Lookie Here

Considering I had nothing of value to say today, I certainly did ramble on. How ’bout that?

Lucy seems unimpressed.



  1. I loves me a good ramble!!! I can’t wait to get my mahogony yarn; your socks are great!

  2. Any chance you’ll be doing some signings in NJ?
    BTW those socks are just lovely!

  3. I’m not sure why you want to learn Photoshop. I took 2 semesters worth of of classes on it. Yes there are some neat things you can do with it, but Paint Shop Pro does just about everything if you find the right plug-in. I like making tags for friends and I started out using Photoshop. I got PSP as a gift and I swear I haven’t used Photoshop in over a year now. The last time I tried to edit a photo in it, the only thing I could figure out was how to resize it. hehe

    BTW Love the socks. I’m seriously trying to finish my wave socks but man, short row heels just suck. Well the holes in the sides suck. hehe

  4. you are going to love that roving ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I read an article in the NYT about the “elbow bump” which is what scientists do in ebola land. It apparently allows the social grace of touching to greet one another without the risk of hugging, shaking hands, or kissing. The article went on to talk about how the face mask in SARS land was rejected by most of the population even given the threat that SARS was to the masses, until the mayor of Taiwan (I think it was Taiwan) required subway riders to wear them. Well, then it was all over. Face masks for everyone!! Here where most of the country doesn’t use public transport., I wonder if there will be “face shield only’ lanes on the highway or something like that. Or the Wal-Mart express lane becomes “20 items or less WITH a face shield only” lane. Um, just so you know I know, grammatically speaking, that should be 20 items or fewer, but it does sound weird.

  6. I’m with Becky. I have both Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro, and I use PSP exclusively. I spend my day job editing photos for two of the company websites, and that’s THE program to use. And I use it at home every evening, also. PSP can do everything PS does, and FAR more. So, you got the right program in my book;)
    Nice collection of Lisa S, too.

  7. Hey! Speaking of book tours…now that Corpus Christi has it’s own knitting store…

  8. Isn’t it funny how fast things like cameras become obsolete? I remember how excited and impressed I was with my first one, which I got early in 2000, I think. It was a 1 megapixel Sony something-or-other. And now we’re so far past that!

    Have you spun up any of the Lisa Souza roving before? I’ve drooled over her site many times, but I’m new to spinning and can’t quite comprehend how color in roving looks like color in yarn.

  9. Hee hee – the shaking hands at the end bit… Have you ever watched 12 Monkeys? Can’t decide if watching it again now would be good… or stupid.

  10. Alice in Richmond says:

    I just giggle every time I see a photo of your feet in your new socks! They look just like a little kids feet in new shoes. How they pose and cross their feet.

    And then there is KOARC with his manly foot pose….

  11. 1. Your legs aren’t fat shapely. They’re the perfect size for those socks. And those are some mighty fine socks if I do say so m’self.

    2. I’ve been hovering on Lisa’s site for the past few days, wondering if I can justify a fair bit of sock yarn purchasing, and now…*sigh*…I’m just going to HAVE to give in to temptation. You are a Bad Influence(tm). (In a good way, at least.)

    Yarn pusher.


  12. I *love* the mohagany socks, Wendy! Also, I used to be affiliated, but am not longer really affiliated with them, but a nice place for affordable, yet quality classes on photo editing using either Photoshop or PaintShop Pro is Eclectic Acadeny – The focus is on personal development classes so it’s no stress, though you get out of it what you put into it of course like any on-line class.

  13. Good lighting is the one thing you really need to take photos of knitting. Outdoors in the sun, by the window, or a few lamps are all good ways to get some lighting. Even use the monitor on a bright page (like this one) to take those quickie lay-it-on-the-keyboard shots.

    Macro mode is useful for close-ups of knitting (usually the flower icon on your camera). Other things like a DIY light tent setup like or as simple as a poster board taped to a chair with a few floor lamps as lighting helps immensely.

    Polish it off with a good crop (framing your picture) and there’s a blogworthy picture.

    There in-depth tutorials here All else fails, google “ebay photo tips”, the concept is similar.

  14. Killer pretty socks and socks to be!

    Here’s my photo question… Why don’t you ever post a clickable version for closeups? You often take close-ups (and your pics are great!) but I wanted a closer look at the Lisa Souza yarn…no go ๐Ÿ™

  15. The socks look great–its such a wonderful colorway! And I’m so excited that you’re coming to NJ on the 20th. I’m still going to be travel-jagged from driving home from Massachusetts on Friday, but I’ll be there! (Hey, If you can travel all the way up from DC, I can make it to Montclair, right?)

  16. Your rambling is educational to say the least…..and as for the movie, KOARC listed a web site that debunked the movie claims…….hmmm……let’s bring back little white gloves…..that’d do it…….oh, and you have sturdy pins, dear, said the girl with Fred Flintstone feet!

  17. Yes, I’ve always noticed that your photos were really clean too!! I think I have a bit of an eye for photography since I studied graphic design this year ๐Ÿ™‚

    You should see the funny pic of my kitties that I have on my blog now.

  18. Hi Wendy – you’re right on about composition and natural light whenever possible; get the clutter out of the shot (because a photo flattens everything out, so that thing in the background will suddenly get huge) but the other important thing you can do if your program has it as a feature is to sharpen the image after you resize it.

    I don’t know PSP at all, I can only get around in Photoshop (har) but I hope that helps somebody! ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. karen w says:

    As far as photo editing, Bonne Marie has a great tutorial on her website about resizing photos. Check it out!
    I love the colors you chose of the Lisa S yarn. I might have to go take another look……No, must refrain….going to the Fold this weekend…..

  20. KnitMary says:

    I guess the OSHA guy has never been in a first grade classroom. One of my kids walked in this week and the first words out of his mouth were, “I have a fever.” He forgot to mention the cough and sneeze fest that accompanied him all day. Yea, handwashing might help, but that isn’t going to do a thing to keep kids from coughing on each other. ick

    Oh, nifty nifty socks.

  21. Lisa’s BFL. Oh, you are lost now. Enjoy, it’s wonderful.

  22. Thank you for the heads up about the time change at Knitty City. I was checking train schedules yesterday and already informed “the men I live with” that I would be hitting the Upper West side on the 21st! Can’t wait, Wendy!

  23. Oh, Wendy, I am so glad someone else uses Paint Shop Pro. I sometimes feel as if everyone else uses the other software. I stil have traumatic memories of trying to learn it. I have used it for eons too, like most of the software I have. My resized photos look a lot better now. I have been a little jealous since you got that Rebel, and I just got a Nikon D50 last week. Love the Lucy pictures (as well as your project photos)

  24. Wendy, you could try Photoshop Elements. Its like the watered down version of Photoshop, its cheaper, easier to use. You can get a 30 day trial from Adobe.
    I was using straight Photoshop (my husband is an artist, whos medium is electronic art/web media) so I learned all the basics from him, the pro.

    A friend of mine was recently telling me, she was on a county council with an infectious disease specialist for a particular region of upstate NY. This person told my friend that she had already started planning for it by stocking up on canned foods, drinking water, a source for cooking food like a camp stove, alternate heating, and health care needs. Because worst case scenario, people may be stuck in their homes without basic services we’re used to, for up to three months. She even mentioned making sure she has ammo for her hunting rifles, to protect her property and family if it comes to that. Scary stuff.

  25. Ooohhh! This is so helpful because not only did you mention me and give me some help, but there are so many wonderful comments posted with helpful links! Thanks!!!

  26. I was hoping the event at The Point wouldn’t be rsvp only, so I could wait and see how my energy was that day and drop by if I was up to it. Sorry to say I’ll have to skip it. Based on past experience, it isn’t a good bet to count on my being up to an event in the evening. I’m so sorry I’ll be missing you! Have a great event, and I do hope we’ll get to meet in the real world one of these days.

  27. Awesome socks! And I love the new aquisitions. =)

  28. Hey – I like your rambling! Love to Lucy!

  29. Ann in CT says:

    But how do you keep Lucy from getting Green Eye (the pet version of Red Eye)? My puppies always get Green Eye and look like demon puppies in pictures. Might just be their true nature coming out.

  30. Wow…those socks!

  31. Wow, I love those socks. I can’t believe how many pictures of stranger’s feet I’ve seen since my wife started knitting–but I do love those socks, I’d wear a pair like that.
    Speaking of my wife, I’m trying to help her out with a knitting project of sorts. Please visit me at and scroll down to “Close to Home” to see what I mean. Help Jen out, won’t you?

  32. Of course Lucy appears to be unimpressed. Cat’s can’t let we humans think they are about anything other than what we do for them.

  33. Oh, lovely sock yarns and roving! I’ve been window shopping over at Lisa’s site too much lately. Must. Resist.
    I went to your tutorial on cabling without a needle this afternoon-it gets easier, right? I sure hope so, this aran (FLAK-with Janet Szabo)is going even slower than my other knitting. I’m ‘gittin’ desprit’!

  34. Ohhhh – you makin’ me blush! Thanks for the simply generous and fine compliment Wendy!

    I hope someday you make a flip book with all the wonderful pictures you’ve taken over the years of Miss Lucy…

    [I also have a love affair with natural light – day in day out, I prefer it to set-ups with artificial sources.]

  35. I love the color of those socks..and browns aren’t usually my color. I have been hooked on socks lately, and started following your toe-up pattern. This is my favorite way to do socks, now. But, I’m having a small problem with the short row heels. On the purl side I’m getting small eyelets. Your close up on the mahogany socks was a great reference for me, and I redid the heels of my new Opal yarn 3 times. They look very neat, but I couldn’t eliminate the eyelets. What am I doing wrong? I’m sure it’s something simple that my brain just isn’t focusing on correctly.

  36. Hey! I’m late to the party, but thanks for the shout out! I’m a PS girl myself, but I’ll tell you the most indispensible tool I own is my Wacom tablet. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Oh and light is everything. EVERYTHING. And Lisa’s Biffle is to die!

    See you Friday at The Point!

  37. When was the last time you saw Demolition Man? Cheeky movie, it’s true, but what an example of a world without physical contact. The characters seem to have no emotional contact as well.

  38. MamaLana says:

    The main reason your pictures of Lucy come out so cute is that the subject is TOO CUTE.