Archives for category: Photography

Aside from the obvious reasons for making a trip to an island as remote as Shetland, I had another wonderful reason for the trek.  My friend and colleague, Gudrun Johnston, had asked if I would photograph her new collection of knitting designs on her home turf.  Long have I daydreamed of the mythical light in Shetland, so from a photographer’s perspective I was thrilled by the proposition.

Aside from the obvious perks of our location, Gudrun’s collection was fantastic, which made my job so enjoyable. We shot the book in one very full day (from pre-dawn to sunset in a Northern Latitude) and to our luck, the weather cooperated.

The green vest above was one of my favorite pieces of the day.

The collection has a great range of projects from small accessories to full garments (the beautiful cardigan below is knit with a lace-weight wool/silk blend) that I think is wonderfully edited.

All the patterns shown above (as well as some not pictured) are are included in Gudrun’s book which is available in print through her website.  A digital version of the book is also available.  Thanks for such a beautiful collection, Gudrun!

One of the new knitting books to hit the shelves this month is Brave New Knits by Julie Turjoman.  In her book Julie profiles 26 knitting bloggers, each of whom have submitted a design of their own to create a collection of patterns that has a lot of wonderful variety.  I was honored to not only be asked to be a participating blogger for this project, but also to be hired as the book’s photographer.  It was so much fun seeing so many pieces designed by many of my friends and colleagues and putting it all together into one cohesive collection of images.

We shot the project on a steamy September day last year in one of my favorite natural-light studios here in New York.  I’ve put together a quick sampling of some of my favorite images from the shoot, as well as sharing my own personal pattern contribution at the bottom of the post.  I hope you enjoy!

Knitted flowers by Kat Coyle

Shrug by Melissa Wehrle

Cardigan by Mari Muinonen

Mitts by Clara Parkes

Pullover by Stefanie Japel

Hat by Woolly Wormhead

Cardigan by Hilary Smith Callis

Pullover by Connie Chang Chinchio

Cloche by Norah Gaughan

There’s many more patterns and interviews contained in the book than shown above, so please feel free to check it out if these images have sparked your interest!

In putting together the book, Julie also worked to include smaller yarn companies that sell online and have their own ‘following’ in the way bloggers do.  When Julie asked me to design an accessory pattern for the book, of course I asked her if I could call dibs on Beaverslide Dry Goods — one of my favorite small American wool suppliers.  Armed with fingering weight American Merino, the Woodsmoke Scarf was born.

The scarf is a very simple concept — central garter stitch rectangle is knit length-wise (using a provisional cast-on) knit in one color and not bound off. The second color is used to work a knitted-on lace edging, also in garter stitch to frame the whole piece.  I chose a long, skinny proportion for a lighter, spring scarf that could be wrapped a generous number of times around the neck, but the pattern can be very simply adapted to make proportions you might find more suitable for your wardrobe (wider, shorter, etc.)

I had a lot of fun working with Julie on this project, and I think it’s a unique addition to the Knitting Section at the bookstore/library and helps promote the lives that go on behind the curtain in knitwear design.  Happy reading!

A picture can say a thousand words… needless to say, I’m in paradise.

Sheep, sheep, everywhere you look.

Hand-grading and hand-sorting of Shetland wool at Jamieson and Smith.

Fishing boats in Lerwick.

Laceweight Shetland wool on a sunny windowsill in the Textile Museum.

Stone boat houses.

Robert Williamson‘s original hand drawn notebooks

Fair Isle stocking cap from the Shetland Museum archive.

Flowers cling to cliffs.

Sunset near Sandness.

Be still my heart.

I’m a bit behind on sharing some of the wonderful experiences I’ve had in the past couple of months — like, oh I don’t know…. the day an original Elizabeth Zimmermann came walking through my door?

EZ's Green Sweater

Many of you have hopefully already read about the surfacing of this historic garment over at Twist Collective and, if you haven’t, don’t worry — I’ll be directing you to the good stuff in just a moment.

EZ's Green Sweater

Back in the spring, the lovely ladies of Twist came a calling with a question: Would I be interested in photographing an Elizabeth Zimmermann sweater that had recently surfaced through an old family friend in New Jersey? I paused momentarily to wonder seriously if I had slipped into one of my many knitting-fantasy-daydreams. When it seemed that, yes, this was actually happening, I mustered all of my self-control in an attempt to respond in a professional manner. “Yes. Yes, that would be fine.”

Juuuuust fine.

EZ's Green Sweater

The sweater, knit with a heathered green, firmly spun, single ply wool, entered the apartment with a palpable silence, and, upon immediate inspection I found myself admiring its industrious, masterful technique. Right away the sheer Integrity with which this sweater was achieved became evident: not just its obvious cleverness, or knitterly construction (EZ’s Hallmark) but rather the serendipitous balance of tenacity and care that is so clearly present as your eyes maneuver over mitered hems, prim buttonholes and directional details.

At that point I muttered to myself something colossally obvious yet seemingly so epiphanous: “Elizabeth could really knit!”

EZ's Green Sweater

Sunday Holm recreated the sweater after it was presented to her at a New Jersey LYS by Joan Morhard Smith, a childhood neighbor and friend of Elizabeth and Arnold. Read Sunday’s account of decoding and re-knitting the original here, and Joan Morhard Smith’s recollections of Elizabeth (“Betty”) here.

What a pleasure to spend an afternoon with this sweater and its re-incarnated version. I was truly grateful for the experience.

EZ's Green Sweater

The original sweater, so well-worn after two generations of love and adoration under Joan’s roof, is a testament to the lasting power of good materials, good technique, and a good home — all the ingredients for Knitting’s finest heirlooms. Elbow holes aside (which I find make the sweater even more endearing, if that’s possible) this garment has taken its ardent wearers through two lifetimes with strength and grace. What could be better than that?

EZ's Green Sweater

Among the other appreciations this garment conjured up that day, it incited me to reflect on one of our loftiest and most noble knitting aspirations — to spend a life making beautiful, lasting, technique-rich garments whose value and worth can never diminish.

Adding to the the thousands of times I’ve uttered these same words before in my life, both privately and publicly: Thank you, Elizabeth.

My all-time favorite jobs as a photographer are those that involve shooting artists’ spaces, and, of course, the artists that they house. So I was completely thrilled when Knit.1 asked me to pay a visit to designer Wenlan Chia’s studio in Manhattan to spend the day with her for a few portraits and studio shots. We had such a great time together – and I thought I’d share some of the shots with you, as I’m sure there are some big Twinkle fans out there.

Wenlan Chia
A Day at Twinkle
 

In the handknitting community, Wenlan is probably best known for her signature super bulky merino yarn – Soft Chunky (pictured below) (kinda looks like cotton candy, doesn’t it?) and the wonderfully chunky fashion knits she conjures up with it.

 

A Day at Twinkle

She carries two other yarn lines, which I hadn’t ever experienced in person – and let me tell you, being surrounded by handknit samples of throws everywhere you turn isn’t a bad way to experience a new yarn either.

A Day at Twinkle

And while of course I had plenty of delicious knits around to keep my lens busy all day… there were certainly a few other things that I had a hard time keeping away from…

A Day at Twinkle

Wenlan’s dog, Milan, has a huge personality and wanted to be a part of the action all day. Aside from being a photogenic little canine, he serves as inspiration for many of Wenlan’s home designs as I soon found out.

A Day at Twinkle
A Day at Twinkle

I think I mentioned in a previous post about my Twinkle Chunky throw (Finished! Photos soon!) that I had come into a small stash of Soft Chunky in a special circumstance – well this is how. I saw these luscious throws in the studio and had to have one. And since Wenlan basically
forced me to take yarn… what was I to do but gracefully oblige?

A Day at Twinkle
A Day at Twinkle
A Day at Twinkle


If you’d like to read up on Wenlan’s inspiring story, check out the article in the current issue of Knit.1 for more. My very own Chia-designer-throw will be featured here in just a few short days… if I can pull myself out from under it long enough for a photoshoot.

Wenlan Chia

I hope you are all enjoying the holidays and giving your knitting some extra special face-time. It feels like the first time I’ve been able to take a breath and truly enjoy my knitting for some time. And it’s wonderful.

[If you haven’t gotten enough of Ms. Chia, see more photos from Twinkle here]

I’m working on a special location photo shoot, but until then here’s a little peak!

Brooklyn's Got A Brand New Yoke (by b r o o k l y n t w e e d)

 

More soon!

I’ve had a great time getting acquainted with my wheel and have been rocking the handspun many a late-summer night. I figured this Friday Fiber Flash would focus on the handspun yarns that seem to be accruing in every vacant nook and cranny in sight. Click the images for more details.

Burning Bush
Pulse 2-Ply
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Have a wonderful weekend!
Blocking
Blocking
Blocking
Don’t you just love this part?


Tension
Double Drive Tensioning
On-Board Lazy Kate
Oriface and Bearing
Kromski Minstrel
Small Whorl Storage
Hooks and Flyer
Kromski Minstrel
Mr. Footman
Bobbins
Hand Turned Spokes
Kromski Minstrel
 

pictured: my new Kromski Minstrel

It’s been awhile since I posted any gratuitous yarn shots on a Friday. And boy do I have some beauties to show you today. *Sundara Yarn. I think that’s all there is to be said.

I Die For This Color
(I live in fear that I’ll never find a project worthy of this perfect color)
Sundara Sock "Brown with Red"

Sundara Sock

So Saturated it Hurts

Colorwork!
Did someone say colorwork?

Enjoy your weekend!
[*Yarn pictured is Sundara Sock in unique semi-solid dyelots.]