Quotidian Charms: Mid-January

One of the reasons that I’ve fallen in love with Instagram over the last year is the way that it allows me to capture the little bits of joy in everyday life. However, ultimately my real camera is much more flexible and powerful than my iphone, so this year I’d like to extend that habit to picking up my camera as well. I thought it might be nice to share some of the resulting photographs on the blog. Feel free to offer suggestions or criticisms; I consider photography an art that I’ve barely begun to master so I’m always looking to grow! I have another, more structured photography project planned for this year as well, but I’ll save that discussion for another post. If you click on any of the photos they should enlarge. As you can tell, this week I was most entranced by a fresh snowfall, albeit a light one.

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Knitting Video (Podcast) 7: Gift Knitting

It’s time to delve back into my knitting basket! So bring out your own crafting project, take a seat, and listen to a bit about my finished projects, current projects, and my thoughts on gift knitting.

In lieu of detailed episode notes, I’ll direct you to my Ravelry project page, from which you can find any yarn and pattern specifics that might have caught your eye (or friend me for that matter). Here is my queue and stash, in case you want more information about my new acquisitions or the patterns I plan to make with them. There’s now a Ravelry group; I’d love to ‘meet’ my viewers! If you’d like to follow along with my projects, I post frequently knitting photos on Instagram; my account is thecharmofit.

I explained how I find yarn to buy from other Ravelry members, which I’d also explained in this comment last month, in case seeing it written out is more helpful. 😉 When I was talking about gift knitting, I mentioned that I add tags for personal and gift knitting for my own curiosity (and that I’m quite happy to spend far more time and yardage on objects for me!). If you’d like to see how my projects divide on those lines, here’s the personal tab and the gift one. I highly recommended Elizabeth Wayland Barber’s Women’s Work: the First 20,000 Years as my book review (and forgot to mention it has a lot about spinning as well as weaving of course).

Finished Objects

Procyon Lotor Softie

Sloth

Bradypus Variegatus Softie

Current Projects

Pointelle Socks

Marzipan Socks

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A Pinch of Nutmeg Shawl

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Cardinal Song Hat

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Soaring to the Heavens Beret

Knitting Video (Podcast): Episode the Third

It’s time to delve back into my knitting basket! So bring out your own crafting project, take a seat, and listen to a bit about my finished projects, current projects, and why the Melusine cardigan is not much closer to being finished.

In lieu of detailed episode notes, I’ll direct you to my Ravelry project page, from which you can find any yarn and pattern specifics that might have caught your eye (or friend me for that matter). My stash page might be helpful this time too; I have it sorted so the newest additions are on top. The three Rav groups I mentioned are Folklore & Fairy Tales, Sock Knitters Anonymous, and SolidSocks. If you’d like to see more frequent updates of my knitting, I am quite active on Instagram; you can follow me at TheCharmofIt.

I also referenced several books: Twisted Stitch Knitting by Maria Erlbacher, Sock Architecture by Lara Neel, The Handy Book of Sweaters by Ann Budd, The Knowledgeable Knitter by Margaret Radcliffe (this is the one that I couldn’t remember the name of but has tons of helpful sweater knitting advice), The Art of Fair Isle Knitting by Alice Starmore. And two podcasts: Math 4 Knitters and The Tolkien Professor’s Faery and Fantasy Course.

Since video format has its colour and detail limitations, I’m also sharing photographs that are fairly colour accurate (on my monitor at least) and that can be enlarged if you’re a details person too.

Finished Objects

Woodsman Mittens

Cloudy With a Chance of Kittens Cap

A Clutch of Bunnies

Dragonfly Seatbelt Cosy-1

Dragonfly Seatbelt Cosy

Deck the Halls Socks

Gawain’s Shield Beret

Works in Progress

Antiquarian Scarf-1Antiquarian Scarf

Ent WIfe Socks-1

Ent Wife Socks

Melusine Sleeve-1

Melusine Cardigan (the sleeves)

All in a Golden Afternoon

I am fortunate enough to have a little patch of woods within easy reach of my urban apartment.
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t’s not terribly large, but it is full of tall trees and mossy logs, which is all that it takes to make my soul feel at home. It also offers various seasonal delights, and with its current quiet, dappled shade, it has even begun to convince me that summer can be beautiful. The light is so green at the moment, filtered as it is through an exuberant canopy of leaves, and the chipmunks and robins have become terribly busy, so that rustlings and scurryings accompany me around every corner. Making time for daily visits feels like a spiritual exercise.
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For all that the woods are magical, though, I’ve found it challenging to capture that magic in photographs. I’m instinctively drawn photograph details and still lifes; landscapes feel so broad and unfocused by comparison. The woods usually repeat the same colour throughout the frame too, and so many trees and branches create a mess of lines that’s difficult to bring a sense of order to. I have a little wide angle lens now though; I also know that the verdant summer moments are almost gone. So yesterday, I timed my walk for the golden hour, and brought along my camera to chase that light.
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Of course, I couldn’t resist photographing a few details as well, like this spider’s web in the old roots of a now-toppled tree.
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Or the fading purple flowers on the edge of the woods, that just last week were in full bloom, but are now tired and ready for summer’s end.
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Or the single fern frond growing above its group of companions, all clustered together like some kind of fern island amongst the leaf littered forest floor.
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But I tried record the trees and the woods in a general sense as well, as shown in the first photograph of the post and this one, taken as the light was about to move on.
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After I had turned for home, I happened to catch a chipmunk out of the corner of my eye. Usually, the chipmunks simply blend in too well to the leaf litter or tree trunks they’re sitting on to make strong photographs. But this one might as well have posed for its portrait, it was so obliging! Of course, as soon as I snapped this shot, it ran off again; I was so relieved when I got home and discovered the focus was good.
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The light was so delicious, and I loved the challenge of trying to view the woods through a lens instead of my eyes, but I must admit that the song from Disney’s version of Alice in Wonderland kept running irreverently through my head the whole time!

Have you ever tried to photograph a place you loved or capture the spirit of a landscape? I’d love to hear about your experiences and advice. I’m planning to continue photo walks in the woods, with a special emphasis on wider angle and landscape perspectives; next time I visit the library, I think I’ll plan some time with photography books as well.