Monthly Archives

April 2012

Finished Kitty Knitting Photography

Hug a high speed hoodie


The British weather is a fickle friend, just ask anyone who left their laundry on the line in a blaze of sunshine, only to find themselves pinned down in the supermarket carpark by a cloud burst of epic proportions that seemed to have snuck out from behind a neighbouring tree.

But if you play her fair, and keep a watchful eye on the window even the gloomiest of days sometimes springs a brief window of opportunity to hustle your toddler into her newest jumper and sneak out for some photos.

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Kitty’s hoodie has been knit since before Easter, and buttoned shortly thereafter but as my abilities with photoshop do not stretch to the computerised removal of spaghetti bolognese sauce from knitwear, it’s been tucked away in the knitting basket until after the pictures.

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As in the course of the photo shoot it survived pavement chalk, crawling under the patio table in search of a clothes peg and a determined bid to puddle stomp a rain-filled paint tray and was still clean enough to wear to nursery the next day, I think it’s going to withstand being Kitty-ised.

It’s a Martin Storey pattern from Rowan’s Mini Classics in some Calmer that I recycled a while ago from a wrap cardigan I made for myself and never really wore.  It’s knit almost to the pattern; I knit it all in one piece up to the underarms and then split it, rather than knitting each piece separately, but other than that I don’t think I made any other changes, it’s a miracle of pattern following I know.

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The Calmer is a cotton/polyester mix that’s soft and stretchy and wonderful and it’s a complete mystery to me why Rowan have decided to discontinue it because it’s just perfect for children’s knits and nothing they currently produce is in any way similar.  Oh well, I’ve probably got enough left from my recycling for another jumper for Kitty, always assuming she doesn’t grow too fast.

Mademoiselle’s latest growth spurt seems to have coincided with a speed spurt; this girl clearly takes after her father because she can be properly fast when she wants to be.  I was trying to play around with some of the top tips from BlogCamp for taking interesting photos, but most of the time it seems to be a challenge to keep up with her long enough to get things in focus.

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This is my favourite photo of the day, we were playing hide and seek behind the patio door and she has such a look of gleeful mischief you know she’s plotting something and wondering whether I’ll notice!
I’ve taken easily a few thousand photos of Kit since she made her arrival 19 and a bit months ago and I like most of what I shoot but I want to get better. I’m also a firm believer in taking the hint when the universe gives you a massive nudge in the right direction.  For example, when two bloggers whose blogs I follow and photos I love decide to band together to run a photography e-course focussing on taking pictures of your children….
Enter Capturing Childhood, run by the Kats of Slugs on the Refridgerator and Housewife Confidential.  I’m all signed up and the course starts at the end of May.  I can’t wait.
The Bare Necessities

Pattern: Ashton by Martin Storey from Rowan Miniature Classics
Size: 2 years (the second largest size on the pattern).
Yarn: Rowan Calmer in Coral
Alterations: Knit in one piece to the underarms and then split for the top sections.
Time to make: a month of picking it up and putting it down again to knit it, then another week to find the buttons and get around to sewing them on.
Would I make it again: Possibly, the Calmer is what makes it work and I think another yarn substitution would make it too heavy to be comfortable for Kitty to wear if it were pure cotton.  Perhaps in a nice wool for the winter.  I’m at the upper end of the pattern scale anyway.

Blogging Exploring

Camping in the rain


This weekend I went camping.  Happily for all concerned given Birmingham weather’s recent unannounced but abundantly clear intention to refill all the reservoirs everywhere with the water solely falling in the city centre, it was inside (with a teeny option of outside) at the Studio.  The enticement to an early (ish) Saturday morning and the re-enactment of my week-day commute was the very wonderful and brilliant BlogCampUK, organised by the talented peeps at Tots100 (and others).

Those of you that have been around since my early forays into blogging (that’ll be my Mum then), know that I started simply to keep a record of my knitting projects.  But times change, and a wedding, a bump and a baby, and six years down the line, sees me call this little corner of the internet my own, and what an eclectic hotchpotch little place it is.  It’s a bit like my house if you could see that (actually at the moment I’m glad you can’t; blog camp = no housework = minus wife points).  Before Kitty’s arrival I was vaguely aware that people wrote blogs about things other than making lovely projects, but it wasn’t until I had my own little pink-cheeked, squeaky night-owl that I really started to explore, and found a whole new world waiting for me.  And through that melee came two words; Blogcamp and Birmingham.  A day on blogging, near my house? Sign me up.

Miss Bangs and a Bun kicked off the day with a great opener on self-branding and blogging, demonstrating that she does blog exactly how she talks, which would be why I enjoy her confident, thought-provoking posts so much.  Let it be noted that she also has fabulous tights.  I’m chartreuse with envy.

For the first of the optional sessions, Phil Szomszor of The Red Rocket proudly raised his geek flag to talk about the pros, cons and how tos of self-hosting your blog.  Whether Space for the Butterflies every finds a new home remains to be seen, but I know an awful lot more about self hosting now than I did.  Actually, that’s not hard, I knew practically nothing, well actually nothing more than it means having your own www. address.  I know more, and to Phil’s everlasting credit, I actually understand what I know.

Susannah Conway has a beautiful blog, and some really really tempting e-courses, and if her session on setting up and running an e-course does nothing more than inspire me to start taking some courses, I’ve got a feel for what to look for in a course that should run well, and those that, shall we just say ‘might not be so inspiring’.

My last ‘choose your own adventure’ session I could have stayed in all day.  John Arnold’s class on photo editing, was funny and packed with tips and tricks, and I’ve bookmarked the tutorials on his Photowalkthrough site for a day when I’ve a little more time to play with my photos.

Given that I’ve only ever been approached by two brands/their PRs in six years of blogging (neither of which seemed particularly relevant and one of which was really rather bizarre) I found the final discussion of the day on the interaction between bloggers and brands fascinating, particularly as the topic seems so much more of a hot potato in the parent blogging circles than in craft blogging; not a massive surprise when you consider that despite many knitters’ best efforts, parents as a whole will still be a larger target market (and have a greater group spend) than the creative peeps.  If there was one thing that became apparent throughout the conversations it is that social marketing through bloggers is still in its infancy, and everyone is trying to work out how it all fits together.  It’s going to be interesting to see where it ends up.

But as everyone knows, camping is really about two things; the food and the company.

I met lots of lovely people, including Kylie from Not Even a Bag of Sugar, a fellow knitter who took me under her wing and explained the techie google not follow things I couldn’t get my head around, and Angela from This is Life whose photo of her children raised a collective “awww!” from the photography class, and has a serious appreciation for some good cake.

Speaking of cake….

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My afternoon tea-break; hot chocolate and a sort of Black Forest Gateaux sponge that I’m going to have to work out how to replicate because I could quite happily have eaten an entire tin’s worth.

If I’ve been metaphorically ‘sitting on the beach’, BlogCamp was that first cautious toe-dip in the ocean. I didn’t know anyone going, I didn’t really know what to expect, and had a brilliant time.  It turns out the water’s lovely and warm!


Travellers’ Tales


Well then friendly peeps, I really didn’t mean to fall off the face of the earth in quite such a dramatic fashion, but sometimes life is for living rather than blogging, and sometimes small cute adorable little girls decide to entirely forgo the need for sleep in favour of announcing to the world the arrival of some new teeth, and their mamas decide to entirely forgo blogging in favour of naps, and trips to the dentist when their own teeth decide to join the merry havoc.

So, in potted summary catch-up style, here’s what the last couple of weeks have held (apart from the aforementioned trips to the dentist).

The weekend of Palm Sunday we headed into Yorkshire to help H’s Mum celebrate a landmark birthday.  Discretion prevents me from naming the age attained, suffice to say that it was a birthday worth celebrating, and she doesn’t look it (do I get my gold star now?).  We brought chocolates, a charm for her bracelet as chosen by Kitty, and, of course, socks:
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The yarn is Opal Hand Dyes ‘Say it With Flowers’ in shade 5123.   it seemed appropriate to deliver some longer lasting blooms in amongst a veritable hot house of pretty posies (Interflora and friends had been very busy!).
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We went out for a delicious celebration supper on the Saturday night with Kitty stealing the show in her best party frock and sparkly red ‘Dorothy’ shoes, out-glamming even her very glamorous auntie (who lost out because her shoes, whilst both red and precarious, were insufficiently sparkly).
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Fast forward a few days, and as H loaded up hockey kit for a tour to Normandy, Kitty and I packed the car to head south for Easter to visit Grannie and Grandpa and the beach.  My hands were a bit too full of little girl to take too many pictures; we went to the beach and made pebble castles, and took Grandpa on an Easter Egg hunt around the Coleton Fishacre garden on Easter Saturday.
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(Filling in clues with Grandpa)

I was also completely and utterly knitterly defeated by a baby (not Kitty), when my newest second cousin, teeny tiny wee C, chose to arrive a whole month early (but just in time to make his new Grandpa’s best birthday present ever) on a very Good Friday.  I take some comfort from the fact that he was a whole month early, and is therefore also on the more petite end of baby sizes so the baby surprise which I’ve cast on for him should fit nicely by the time it actually arrives!

We came home late on Easter Sunday and H returned on the Monday and we’ve spent the remainder of the week meeting up with friends, enjoying good food, and trying to get as much sleep as humanly possible before real life starts tomorrow.  I hope you all had a wonderful Easter break.