Why haven’t I been blogging?

Usually when you title a blog post with a question, it implies that that question will be answered and perhaps remedied, rather than contemplated at length, but I can’t make such a promise in this instance.

My interest in blogging certainly waxes and wanes, both here and on my regular blog. I have a plethora of “life excuses,” including another long trip to Italy in October and November that I forgot to mention, crazy lots of stuff going on at work, and all kinds of illnesses ranging from bronchitis with borderline pneumonia (which almost prevented that Italy trip) and my current malady, swine flu. Bleh.

This blog, unlike my everyday blog or my non-sequitor Twitter and Facebook updates, is so focused in its subject that if I don’t have something specific to say about knitting or crafts, I tend not to say it.

More to the point, the way I “say” things here is largely through photography. It’s not that the words are just spacers between photos – I care a lot about those too – but I am not likely to write about a project if I don’t have photos.

(People who read a lot of knitting blogs are probably all “Ha, photography, that old chestnut!”)

I used to live in a light-filled apartment, with a photographer. It’s not that he shot my knits for me (at least not without some begging), but our whole apartment was set up in a way that was conducive to shooting (along with painting). We had white counter-tops and white windowsills, white desktops, off-white curtains and white walls that wouldn’t distort colors, and plenty of fill lamps and photography stuff that would block out the clutter or shadows or what have you. If I needed to take modeled shots, I lived in Brooklyn and was never shy for a backdrop.

Now I am living in my parents’ house, where there is very little consistent light. Every room is a different color, and there are all kinds of furniture and decorations (lovely stuff, of course). You’d think this would make for easier shooting, since it should be more interesting (and unlike our apartment, it’s usually very clean), but I struggle to find anywhere that doesn’t overpower the knits themselves with pattern and texture. More often than not, when I am shooting my knitting projects, I find myself laying them out on a large sheet of drawing paper on my bed or resorting to the top of the washing machine, to get a neutral background.

It should have been easier in the summer, since my parents have a truly lovely garden, but I struggled with boats, coolers, neighboring houses, and so forth always intruding in the background. And while my mother is patient and a very talented photographer, she doesn’t seem to understand, the way my ex-boyfriend did, that sometimes I need a couple dozen photos to get one where I don’t look agonizingly awkward and uncomfortable.

That said, I haven’t fully sorted out the photography situation, but I will at least make some attempts soon. I have quite a growing pile of FOs, which I’ve been mentioning since the spring, and I’m either lacking proper photos or am fairly dismally unhappy with those that I have. But I’m going to work on them and try to get back in the habit of posting more frequently.

I’m really looking forward to it.

Technical difficulties

I’m having some trouble with FTP publishing on this blog, and more and more I think I may jump ship to WordPess since they seem to do a lot better with self-hosted blogs.

I have a few things I’d like to post, but I keep seeing weird errors and screwy things, so I’m going to hold off until I get that sorted out, I hope sometime this weekend.

Sorry for the (continued) delay!

An abundance of light but nary a stitch

In the winter, I complain that my knitting photos are thin on the ground because there is insufficient light or lousy weather. Here I am surrounded with gorgeous spring light and ample opportunity to photograph knits… and I’ve been too busy.

The end of this past semester was incredibly demanding. I spoke at a science & art symposium, which required weeks of preparation. I postponed my thesis and graduation until the fall. I took a trip to Boston. I got a new sailboat (early graduation gift from my parents) and I have been pretty obsessed with getting it ready to take out on the water (and learning to sail). I attended a conference for a week in Los Angeles (didn’t even bring a knitting project – what is wrong with me?!). It’s just gone on.

And now that I’m back, I’ve been taking an Organic Chemistry class at the university down the road. It’s a 6-week intensive course with lab, meeting all day every Monday through Thursday, with hours and hours of homework, reading, and lab reports every evening. It is no exaggeration when I say I’ve had barely any time for anything else. Oh, but I’m trying to stay on top of work projects and my art history thesis too. It is exhausting.

The thing is, I haven’t lost interest in knitting. Or in knit-blogging. The scarce few minutes a day I spend looking through knitting blogs are some of my most pleasant moments, and I daydream about picking back up needles and yarn.

Like many knitters, I am currently obsessed with two Hannah Fettig lightweight cardigans. First, the Whisper Cardigan from the spring 2009 Interweave Knits, which I’ve cast on in this surprisingly lovely Knit Picks Palette in Twig:

This yarn has a history, as I originally bought it to make my ex-boyfriend a Henry scarf. I decided the color was not right next to his greenish-brown coat and when I thought about it next to his neck, I opted for softer Knit Picks Gloss instead. Then we broke up, so I had 800+ yards of both yarns sitting in my stash cabinet kind of mocking me.

I decided I would quite like a slinky little fly-away cardigan to wear over spring and summer dresses, and I love the way this project is going so far. I’m just about to start the second sleeve, but I’ve been totally remiss in taking any progress photos so far. I hope I’m not lying when I say, “Soon.”

This project got me all amped up for using thin yarns to make cardigans, so I went on a rash of queuing sweater-type projects using the laceweight I’d previously designated for various shawls. Making and attempting to wear my Flower Basket Shawl was an interesting lesson for me. While I can always go for a good scarf or rectangular wrap, I feel really awkward in a triangular shawl. I’m not ready to say they’re not my style yet, but they may not be.

Part of my attraction to knitting is this idea that you can create whatever you can imagine. I often open my closet and dream about all the types of garments I’d like to have floating out of it, which is how I know I really need to learn to sew. Whenever I put on a sleeveless dress, I open the right half of my armoire (where I store the sweaters, shrugs etc), and I wish some light-weight, airy colorful little cardigans with 3/4 sleeves would spring into being. Fortunately, I can knit them! And this is wonderful!

I wound one skein of Knit Picks Gloss Lace in Aegean, in preparation for the Featherweight Cardigan, my second obsession-sweater of this summer. I’ve already bought and swooned over the pattern (such elegant construction), and I can’t wait to make it.

I finished another project, too, and predictably, not made time for FO shots.

This brings the total to-photograph and to-post list for FOs up to:
– three hats
– two pairs of socks
– two shrugs
– one scarf

The list for WIPs is staggering and ridiculous, so I’m gonna leave that one alone until I catch up around here. I even have an indigo-dyeing project and articles on mordants and natural dyeing from, well, a year ago. Yikes.

I’m going to try to make some time for knitting in this coming week if at all possible. I really, really miss it!

Oh hello there, I’m home.

I keep forgetting to come back over here to say hello, and I’ve been back from Italy over a week already!

Since I last wrote, I’ve finished two pairs of socks and started three more. I still have to photograph the two (yes, two) hats I finished before I left. I have other new projects to talk about too! This is to say, I’ve been a good knitter, but a bad blogger, and I will attempt to remedy that this weekend.

In the past 10 days, I’ve been to the opera twice (wheee!), I’ve made a major decision about my academic career, and I’ve gotten incredibly obsessed with the data I’m analyzing for a talk I’m giving later this month.

I’ve also been photographing flowers in the April sun, enjoying time relaxing with my parents and pets, and getting back into the swing of life in the good old USA.

So, I will take some photos and be back with the beginning of a parade of FOs soon!