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Merging


I started blogging in 2001, when it wasn't called a blog, but a “online journal”. All throughout college, I updated it with musings, lists and ideas. After I started knitting, I started a knitting blog, which also included bits of my life: pictures of family, grocery lists, etc. I maintained it until last fall, when I felt that it was important to have a separate business blog, one that didn't include too much personal information; a place to fully discuss my materials and methods. I didn't link to my old blog, but I feel that without that great big archive a big part of what BCB is and who I am as a knitter and dyer is lost.

To remedy the situation, I'm now importing some of my old posts into this blog, mostly the posts about finished knitted things. At each year's end, I've done a recap of all my knitting through the year. However, those year-end posts are mainly lists of links to other posts, so I also have to import the post that originally discussed the piece.
While I move things here, some links in those old posts won't work . Please bear with me until I can fix it all. Oh, and I think that every time I add a post, it'll generate an update in my feed. If you keep track of me via a feed reader, just ignore all those “new post” notifications! If you don't subscribe via a feed reader or you don't know what I'm talking about, read Sharon's excellent post on the subject. It makes blog reading SO much easier!
What prompted this was a search for banana bread: I remembered that my old blog linked to my favorite recipe. All of a sudden, I wanted to start merging all of this together TODAY!
As I look back over the old blog, I realized I started it the day I dyed my first skein of yarn. That day, I felt I finally had something to say. As I was typing this post, I thought I should go back and read my first knitting blog post and was shocked to discover that I started it exactly 3 years ago, on March 13!

So today is my (knitting) blog and dyeing anniversary!


The pictures in this post are the first I every blogged.

Photography

When admiring the photography of my yarn-photo heroes, I often wonder how they do it. I'm not so interested in the cameras and settings (I don't plan on buying a new one for quite some time), but want to know about when and where. Lolly has written a great post about making a lightbox and although I don't have one, I appreciate her generosity. In the same spirit, I'll share my “photo studio”.
It's located in the 2nd bedroom, in “the office”, in one corner. My “studio” is straightforward: a sheet, on a chair. When not in use, the sheet gets folded up (to avoid the inevitable snuggling by the pup and cats) and the chair goes back to being a chair.

I photograph a week's worth of products all at once, after I've spent the previous week making it. I love this schedule because it gives me free time to create during the week, with a deadline of when at least 5 skeins need to be dyed, spun and dried. During the photo shoot, I try to take at least 3 photos of each of the following “poses”:
Swirl:
Hot stuff

Pile:
Vegan delight

Nub:
Grass - Bananiere

side view of swirl:
Fire in the Sky - side

long view of skein
Plum tweed

I take pictures on the weekend, usually 1 or 2 in the afternoon on Saturday (if I have my act together that week) or Sunday (after spending the morning spinning to finish the last bit). The room has high windows that face West and at that time of day the sun is just coming through them, but not directly onto the chair. The best days are sunny, but if it's overcast, I take the pictures in my living room (which has East AND West facing windows and the light is more diffuse).
After taking the photos, I transfer them to my computer, crop the best 5 or 6 in Photoshop (I do NO other alteration of the picture color or clarity: just cropping for size!) and save in a ‘ready to list' folder.

If you have any photo tricks or questions, please comment!

Inspiration Monday #7: Recycled

After just an hour in the fabric store

I'm thinking a lot about spinning with ‘non-traditional fibers': plastic, newspaper, material. There are many cool options out there and so many people willing to share how to do it! Here are just a few of the tutorials, ideas and inspirations:

Now that we're in Daylight Savings, my evenings are full of sunshine and I plan on taking more pictures of the process and will share if I make anything with these odd fibers.

Have you spun or knitted with anything not intended to be yarn?

inspiration: Asheville

Every Monday I try to post a list of things I've found inspiring throughout the weekend, something to make Mondays a little more pleasant.
This Monday needed no help, since I took the day off and went to Asheville in search of art (Jay had a school project that involved writing about an exhibit).
We started with the Blue Spiral gallery, where we were completely mesmerized by the work of Kyoko Masutani (click any pictures to see bigger):


That's at least a hundred tiny shoes made entirely of…used teabags!

artwork of Kyoko Masutani

Most of her work was ink on paper or wood, intensely dense line drawings of repeating, organic patterns, layered on each other. I kept commenting that I was drawn to them like fabric and some of the pieces, from afar, looked like a pile of patterned paper or fabrics, collaged on top of one another.

ink on wood

This sort of obsession with detail and tiny little lines is the stuff I'm made of. There's such a…fantasy and organic quality that reminds me of smurfs. I'm no art critic, but this stuff just overwhelms me with happiness.

Early Girl Eatery

The happiness kept coming with a lunch at Early Girl Eatery, grilled asparagus salad (newly in season!) with local goat cheese and creamy sweet potato soup. The perfect lunch for hiking all over Asheville. Next we hit Chocolate Fetish and I carried my truffle and chocolate-covered fig to Malaprops,

Malaprops

my very favorite bookstore in the entire world. I enjoyed the truffle with a coconut mocha while appreciating the coffee art.

Coffee Art

We dawdled there, talking books and green architecture and found some books that I'm hoping I get from the library, on sustainable farming and self-sufficiency.
Next up was Earth Guild, as I had some supplies to pick up for the Boutique and well, I can never pass by this behemoth of crafting. Hours passed as we browsed books, I dithered over dyes and we chatted with the very crafty, very hippy employees. I love that place.
Before going home, we grabbed a Thai dinner at …oh, I can't remember the name of it OR find it on any maps…it was Dr. ____, a Thai restaurant on Biltmore Ave….and a cupcake at The Sistster's McMullin

All in all, a lovely day trip!

Inspiration Monday #5


This weekend I spent much time curled up with hot fudge sauce, my puppy and Robert Grudin's The Grace of Great Things. I can't think of anything better to prepare me for a Monday that involved 2 meetings for a total of 4 hours in the airless, miserable conference room.
So I thought I'd share the bits that moved me, while I continue to ponder the connections and beauty:

“in both good science and good art, the mind must suspend it's usual assumptions in order to meditate on something fundamentally new” (p 50)

and his definition of Integrity:

“1. an inner psychological harmony or wholeness
2. a conformity of personal expression with psychological reality; of the outer with the inner self
3. Continuity…through time” (pg 73)

Monday Inspiration #4


Ok, so it's not still Monday..but here's my weekly round-up, inspired by my trip to Boone, NC. If you're ever in Boone or Blowing Rock, these are the places you should check out (I'll be adding pictures later today)
Espresso News: Good coffee that is roasted on site, fantastic truffles, cozy/grungy atmosphere with 3 walls of floor to ceiling windows and loads of magazines and newspapers to read whilst lounging. There's a used bookstore upstairs, but we didn't check it out. On a brisk, sunny day (like Saturday was), I could spend hours soaking up the sunshine in the warm/coffee drenched air.
Cha-Da Thai: we've only had Thai food one other time (which is crazy, since we're vegetarians) and it didn't impress us. This place turned it all around. The dishes were complex and totally satisfying. Although we both had brown sauces, Jay's had chilis in it while mine was sweeter and they tasted completely different. Ah-mazing! The restaurant also has a definate ‘vibe' going on with tapestries, gilded chandeliers…so much that you wouldn't think $14 would cover both lunches!

Ms Babs yarn

Laura's Yarn-tastic: Cheesy name, amazing shop! It truly was a fantastic experience as the employee (not Laura) was friendly, knowledgeable and FUNNY! Even my husband had a great time talking with her about men's knitwear fashion. I found some locally dyed yarn (always a bonus!) – Miss Babs handpainted yarn. I got the Rose Garden colorway, in sock yarn…which isn't really me at all, that's how much I loved this place and wanted to buy something! Oh and for selection: they had all of the Rowan yarns, including the new organic, naturally dyed cotton; a big selection of Noro; Brown Sheep; Arcaunia; SWTC; and much more!

Monday Inspiration #3

Gray branches

I was in a bit of a funk, this weekend, feeling the pressure of the full-time job + BCB + school; wondering if I have time/energy for it all. Last night when planning my Weekly Inspiration post, I couldn't think of a single inspiring thing. As I was stewing about this, my brain got off track thinking about this opportunity. Now, I really can’t imagine myself on TV…but I did have fun ‘performing’ my submission to my dog while getting ready for bed. I enjoyed it so much, I realized that this little bit of fantasy had inspired me right out of my funk.

Maybe inspiration isn't just that impetus to go, create; maybe it's anything that changes the track I'm stuck on.

I've also found Thing-a-day is causing me to look at things differently. I've long known that everyday I'm creative, but I just don't document it like I could. I believe that creating breeds creativity and that simply by celebrating my daily creations , I can reinvigorate my tired brain. Baking, serving meals, knitting, spinning, dyeing, writing…all these small acts add up to build…well, my life. Documenting it all gives it its proper…weight and focus, I think.

Other things sparking my interest is this article and Fluffy Flower’s series on having a booth at a Farmer’s Market.

Monday Inspiration #2

Carrie & Big - Handpusn yarn
(a yarn inspired by a TV show)

I’ve spent a lot of time in bookstores and watching movies the past week (yay, long weekend!) so today is going to be all about book and movie inspiration:

I lovelovelove Juno: the handwritten titles are so beautiful and the music is so vulnerable and sweet. I buy very little music (more about that in a minute) but I very nearly might buy the soundtrack.

We watched Paris, Je t'aime last night and it was just I had hoped: small, quirky stories that were neither too emotional or sappy.

I’m particularly loving the book about creativity that I’m reading: The grace of great things : creativity and innovation, by Robert Grudin.

How to Make Books (got a great review on Supernaturale), such thorough instructions in a great tone

This month’s Fiber Arts and Selvedge both had articles about sustainability in textiles and gorgeous pictures.

Oh,and why I don’t buy much music (other than a small budget): there are some very good podcasts that have free music:

All Song’s Considered
Song of the Day

I also listed to Itunes radio nearly all day at work (my favorite channel, under Eclectic: Radio Deliro)

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