Tag Archives: white

April Phat Fiber Sampler Box – How Does Your Garden Grow?

My past month was sort of crazy, and I had to work very hard to get my samples into Phat Fiber headquarters in time for the box this month. I really wanted to be a part of April’s garden, because I had so many ideas floating around in my head. In the end I think I was a bit inspired by the volatility going on in my life, because I chose a Wars of the Roses theme, continuing my Tudor series at Exchanging Fire.

The Wars of the Roses were a series of dynastic wars fought between supporters of two rival branches – the Houses of Lancaster and York – for the throne of England. Both sides were descendants of the House of Plantagenet, which had ruled England during the Middle Ages. The symbol of the rose came into being during these battles for control of the throne of England, when the York supporters wore white roses to show their loyalty. The origins of the Rose itself stem from Edward I’s use of “a golden rose stalked proper” as a badge of England’s Royal House.

The White Rose of York

The wars ended when a relative unknown Lancasterian living abroad, Henry VII, the father of the infamous Henry VIII, was raised up to be the next king. He married Elizabeth of York, uniting the two dynasties together and creating the House of Tudor, which ruled for the next 120 years.

The Red Rose of Lancaster

Don’t forget, if you purchase anything in my store from April 20 – May 17 you are eligible for the Phat Fiber Superbox Giveaway! To win this month’s Phat Incentive, which includes the contents of the April Video (aka The Superbox) AND A $150 Gift Certificate to one of the participating shops, you need to join the Phat Fiber group on Ravelry and then post what you’ve purchased in the incentive thread.



In the heart of the oyster

Kate, the owner and master dyer of  Dragonfly Fibers, contacted me after the New Year with a last minute request. The final round of her 2012 yarn club was wrapping up and she wanted some goodies for the club members and thought of Exchanging Fire. I always enjoy being part of yarn clubs (I’ve participated in several for Woolgirl) so of course I said yes!

Well, I sent out 60 adorable packages this morning and I am so pleased with the way everything came out that I wanted to share it with all of you. I won’t show you the whole giftset, because I don’t want to give away the surprise for everyone who will be getting these in the next week or two, but I thought I would show off the best part – the stitch markers I made. Often clients give me themes that they want and I go off of that general concept as my inspiration. Sure enough, all Kate had to do was say “think marine life” and I immediately had an idea.

This is a set of stitchmarkers inspired by the magic of unwrapping a gift bit by bit. These gorgeous pearl markers are simplistic but not simple. The luxurious, semi-baroque freshwater pearls add a touch of class to your knitting, and I swear, their rich depth of color just can’t be caught on film.

Meet Heart of the Oyster.

Heart of the Oyster

“Keep the pearls in the shells / They should stay at the bottom of the sea, waiting / Hopefully one day the time will come / Pulling them from the depths of the sea floor / Casting them upon the shores. / A sunbeam will embrace them, / Penetrating warmly, lingering / In the heart of the oyster…” ― Malak’ Abd al-Aziz

How to take a good fibery photograph

I think I take pretty good photos on Ravelry and Etsy, and all I use is a simple point and shoot camera – a little Samsung digital camera purchased at Sam’s Club. This is my model:

I did take a couple B&W photography classes growing up (one in middle school, one in high school), and I’ve always loved taking photos, but it really just comes down to a few simple rules. I’m so low-tech it’s funny.

1.) Indoors during the day: I fine a flat, plain white space like my desk to pose my yarn on. I open the sheers and wrap them around the desk, which creates a light box effect. Make sure that the sun is not shining directly on the yarn. The key here is a nice bright day with indirect light (and yes, cloudy days that are nice work too).

2.) Indoors at night: Use bright lights. I take two plain white/off-white pillow cases and cover my armchair with them. I turn on all the lights in the room and place them as close to the chair as possible. Make sure your background is plain. Busy backgrounds like carpets and prints detract from the item you are photographing.

3.) I turn off the flash first. I do not use the camera zoom. I use my macro setting, which is the tiny flower button on your camera:

4.) I get up close and personal (like within 6-12 inches) and hold the camera VERY STEADY in my hands. Sometimes I have to take several photographs because one or two might be blurry and shaky. I push down on the button HALF-WAY and allow the image to focus on something. When I can see that the part of the yarn or object I want to photograph is crisp, I take the picture.

5.) I pop the card into my computer, use a photo program like Microsoft’s built-in fix it tool (it’s part of Windows Photo Gallery) to auto adjust the image brightness and contrast, and my image is ready for Etsy or Ravelry.

And here’s a great “before” and “after” example of what these simple rules can do for you.



And here are some examples of how different lighting situations can produce different results:

Ravelry Stash Photo – natural lighting, indoors during daytime on bedsheets

Ravelry Stash Photo – artificial lighting, indoors at night on sheet-covered chair

Ravelry Stash Photo – natural lighting, indoors during daytime, use of macro tool for extreme close-up

I know it sounds crazy, but its really that simple. I know that it’s not just me thinking that its easy either, because I was at a friend’s house this weekend playing with her stash and I showed her how to take photos like I do. Now she knows how to as well. Here’s her latest photo:

Ravelry Stash Photo – natural lighting, indoors during daytime on white windowsill

Good luck!