Sunday, May 29, 2016

A Little Fiber + Design Swap, Anyone?

Hello my crafty friends - I hope everyone in the United States is having a wonderful Memorial Day weekend, and you are paying tribute to any and all of the appropriate people in your life for whom we celebrate this holiday.

As for me, I've been busy the last week or so gearing up for a fun summer swap. I am thoroughly enjoying making things in my Ravelry group a-longs with my crochet and knit peeps (and pay attention on Wednesday for the next a-long announcement). However, I wanted a way to get the good and meaningful interactions I've had with my fellow designers during the holiday Indie Gift-A-Longs to continue throughout the year ... so, I thought a fun swap with designers and indie dyers (cause hey, who doesn't love more indie in the form of dyers, and it is, you know, yarn - designers and dyers seem to go hand in hand) would be just the ticket.

I created some fun graphics to underscore the idea (the main artwork is above), started a Ravelry group along with a fellow designer, Denae Merrill, and voila! the D+D Summer Fun Swap group is alive and over 100 members strong. Sign-ups for this secret, international swap start on Wednesday, 6/1 (June, really? already?) and will be open for two weeks. If you are a designer with published designs anytime since the beginning of 2015, and/or an independent dyer currently selling yarn, and are looking for some fun connections this summer, do please join us in the group and get in on the swap. And, of course, there will be a few yarny prizes - send a great swap package to your fellow swap participant and it could land you some awesome fiber. What could be better than that?

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Sadly I Say Good-bye to Shawls

Well, I say good-bye only to my shawl a-long! I thoroughly enjoyed this CAL, and I am so impressed with all of the lovely projects people worked up. Here's a sampling of a few of them:

A great version of the Colorblocked Scarf in some
dynamite neutral colors.

A lovely interpretation of the Pommi and Pearls shawl
that the maker plans to wear to the upcoming Knit and
Crochet Convention in Charleston, SC. Must ward off
the evil air conditioning chill.
And get a load of that color! The Wyvern Warmer looks
dyn-o-mite in Malabrigo Rios' teal feather colorway.
Thanks to everyone who participated, as well as Annie's Publishing and Berroco for providing such amazing prizes. I'll be drawing the winning entries for these in just a few days!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The (Not so) Secret Language of Hands

We are entering the final week of my current 
(c), used with
kind permission
Spring Shawltime Thing A-long, and I am so pleased with the lovely finished things including, of course, my own. I've made two wonderful shoulder warmers, and I'd like to focus on the first one I completed, my purple version of the recently published Springtime Decadence Shawl (at left). I just love all that purple! You are looking at the front of my shawl, because I added buttons and flipped them to the back to make a poncho (since I am a lover of most things poncho). 

So, you might be wondering, what does all this have to do with hands? Well, let me show you the initial photograph of this shawl as seen in the published version in April's edition of (at right). The model is clutching the shawl in the front. I have no idea why, especially since the description of the shawl indicates it's shape makes it easy to stay on the shoulders. Personally, I find the clutching hand in this particular photo really makes the model seem far more dowdy than she probably actually is, as well as quite cliched (haven't we all seen elderly women clutching shawls at/to their chests?).

I've taken a lot of photos on a whole host of non-professional models. They've all done a wonderful job, but the first thing they ask me: "What should I do with my hands?" There is something about the camera that makes most of us who don't stand in front of it for a living get self-conscious about hands and where to place them (I expect myself included). Of course, these non-professionals completely understand that hands speak volumes, so where one places them can make or break a photo. I usually just tell them, at least in the beginning, to act naturally. I also am usually talking to my models throughout the process, and in many instances our conversations will get them off of the hands focus, and then they are quite fine. In yet other instances, I'll provide a few specific prompts, and that definitely gets them going in the right direction. All of my models are intelligent and have busy and varied lives, and their experiences always inform their modeling in very positive ways. 

I so wish a few prompts might have been provided in the published version of this shawl, and here's why: I have taken additional photos of my sample for self-publishing once my rights revert, and I'm going sneak one to you to show the difference a little styling and one good prompt can make.

I envisioned this shawl almost cape-like, so I suggested that my model strike her best Wonder Woman pose. With that great spring-like flower dress and beads at the wrist, this shawl comes to life with strength and beauty. Now its got personality!

I'll share more photos of this shoot later throughout the summer and year because we shot several pieces. In each of them. my model uses hand placements (some prompted, some all on her own) that compliment the garment being modeled and further the vision I had for it when I created it. That is pretty much all a designer can ask for.

Indeed, the hands tell a story.