Knitography!

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Well hello everyone! How the hell are ya?

Coloring!

So I haven’t updated since April, and since then I’ve been able to meet up with friends, hang out with my sister, and eat in a few restaurants with Doug. Hallelujah! Except oh wait – this is Texas, after all, and our super-low vaccination rate means the Delta variant of COVID-19 is on the rise in a major way, and Doug and I are back into quarantine mode. I’ll be damned if after committing to avoiding this stupid virus for a year I’m going to turn around and get COVID, even if it most likely wouldn’t be in some serious form since I’m vaccinated, because a bunch of people refuse to do their part and just take the damn shot already. And yes, I have family members and friends who refuse to get vaccinated, and they are all absolutely on my shit list. There’s no way in hell our governor is going to mandate masks, social distancing, or vaccines at this point, so if we’re going to stay healthy AND do our part not to spread the virus (since vaccinated people can carry it asymptomatically) we’re going to stay home. Again. Sigh.

Knitting!

But hey, I did this whole stay-at-home thing for like 14 months already, so I’m good to go. I’m still knitting a LOT, and although I still have much to learn I’ve managed to knit a few decent scarves so far. My plan was to keep knitting scarves until I had several more advanced stitch patterns down – my first full scarf was a basic garter stitch (and that one was a bitch because I bought a light weight yarn that was hard for a newbie like me to work with), then a seed stitch, and then a rib stitch. I tried stockinette with a border but the damn thing still curled up, so I don’t know what I did wrong there.

Check out my fancy multi-colored knitting needle!

I was going to move on to a basket stitch when I got the idea to learn how to knit roses – and now I am obsessed. My goal is to knit a shit-ton of roses together to make a blanket, but that’s going to take a while, so in the meantime I thought I could at least get enough made to use in photos. Even that was going to take awhile, so I got the bright idea to just use photoshop to pretend like I’d made a shit-ton of roses. Problem solved!

This was done with only three different roses

I just snapped a photo of myself, then stood in the same exact spot and stuck a knitted rose on a knitting needle and held the thing up in all the different positions I wanted it to be, and then layered them all on to the original photo.

Yep-more roses

These little roses I turned into tea light holders, and they sit in a little silver platter on my office table. I’m pretty pleased with them! I’m currently learning to knit leaves I can add to my roses, but that involves both increasing and decreasing stitches, which is a new skill for me, so I have so far successfully knitted — one. I have a long way to go folks. But thanks to the Delta variant and a plethora of stubborn Southerners who won’t get vaccinated, I have plenty of time now!

*And yes, I realize many, many people cannot get vaccinated for various reasons. I do not fault those people one bit. In fact, the high risk of COVID to people who cannot get vaccinated make me fault the ones who could get it but won’t EVEN MORE.

This was done with one rose

Anyway, I’m enjoying both the knitting AND how I am finding ways to incorporate it into my photography – or knitography, as I have taken to calling it. I feel like there is loads of potential here to take both activities in some fun new directions.

This is one scarf I made that is half white and half yellow – I just layered several different shots of me throwing it around into one photo.

Aside from this, my summer has been light. I have put on some weight again, and tried to taper off my Lexapro since I dropped 20 pounds the last time I stopped taking it, but emotionally I couldn’t handle it. I finally realized it was ridiculous to put myself through the wringer mentally to lose a few pounds, so I went back on it and am trying to get the weight down without having to lose my peace of mind in the process. It ain’t easy, but at this point I have at least stopped the weight gain, which was really starting to climb. Haven’t lost any yet, but am no longer putting it on, so that’s a start.

Penny!

Our old girl Penny had a rough June. She has vestibular disease, which is common in old dogs. It’s essentially when small blood vessels burst in the inner ear, and the symptoms can be scary because they mimic a stroke, but vestibular is much less serious in the long run as dogs generally recover from them 100%. Penny has had three vestibular “events’ as we call them, where she gets major vertigo and struggles to walk and stand. Initially she also gets so nauseous that she throws up, but now that we’ve dealt with this before we have medication on hand that helps her with both the dizziness and the nausea. Mid-June, she had another bout of this; she was lying down on a beanbag chair when all of a sudden she rolled off it and started shaking her head around. We knew right away what it was, and tried to get medicine in her before she threw it up. It was unpleasant night as she couldn’t walk well enough to go outside, so she peed and pooped in her dog bed for about 24 hours before things kicked in enough for her to be able to walk with our assistance.

Dog harness

We bought a harness like the one pictured above, and it was a real lifesaver once Penny regained enough balance to be able to walk outside. She was still terribly dizzy, but she COULD walk, and with this harness we were able to help her keep her balance. Her recovery took a while this time – it’s been a little over a month now and it’s just been in the past few days that she’s been completely back to normal. We still keep the back harness on her all day and use it when she goes out, as her back leg strength still isn’t as good as it used to be and it allows us to help her stay upright when she goes to the bathroom. But she’s finally back to walking around the house on her own, and even being able to sleep on the bed with us again – although she still needs help with the stairs that get her up there. For the first three weeks, when she couldn’t get up on the bed, I actually slept on the floor in my office right next to her, which was not good for my back let me tell you, but it was good for my heart. After losing Sprocket in December, we are both even more sensitive towards any pet that gets sick right now. Even after so much time has passed, we still miss that old boy something terrible.

RIP Sprocket. We miss you!

That’s all for now, although I do have a bit more Knitography to process. So maybe we’ll be speaking again soon!

Knitty Kat

Over spring break, I had enough free time to get in the mood to take pictures again. I’d gotten so stuck in a certain setup and process that I’d “perfected” over the years that it never occurred to me it might not be serving me well anymore. Looking over some really early photos gave me the idea to experiment with some techniques I hadn’t used in years, and they worked out brilliantly.

I’ve always been partial to using softer light than this, but I’ve had the technology to use stronger, brighter light for a long time. As I’ve gotten older, all those soft shadows I’ve been using on my face weren’t as flattering as they used to be – LOL – and directing more light to my face really did the trick.

I’ve also gotten away from using my wide-angle lens for portraits, because to be honest, that totally makes sense, but when I first bought my 17-40 I used it for everything, and in looking over old portraits I realized that hey, they actually didn’t look half-bad. Plus, when working in a space as small as mine the wide-angle really makes it easier to take photos, even if I am just doing portraits. It allows me to incorporate more movement and flowy fabric as well as creating stronger lines that for whatever reason are really working for me right now.

Obviously, I also used a LOT of makeup.

I had a lot of fun doing this over the course of two days, but soon real life emerged again and I haven’t had time to do a photoshoot since.

When the pandemic began, my husband and I committed to staying home as much as possible because we didn’t have to leave the house at all. I switched easily to tutoring from home, and he was already retired, so we went into full lockdown in March of 2020 and still have just barely come out of it. We got vaccinated a month ago – Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but since it’s been over a month we aren’t at risk of blood clots – and while my husband was able to meet up with a few friends to sit outside and have a nice lunch, no one I know has been fully vaccinated so I haven’t ventured out yet at all. But, when this all started I decided since I wasn’t going to be anywhere or doing anything, it would make sense to just tutor as much as possible so I didn’t get bored. So, since last March I’ve been tutoring every single day, seven days a week, and now I’m pretty much stuck with it until the end of the school year because I don’t want to abandon any of my students so close to the end of the semester. But part of my own personal return to normal will be setting some new boundaries and giving myself some days off again. My point is that this should allow me more time to get inspired to take photos again. But we’ll see – I’ve got some other creative endeavors going on at the moment that I’m balancing.

I’ve written about how I took up coloring last year, and while I am still doing that fairly often, more recently I decided to learn how to knit. I’ve only been doing it for about a month now, so I’ve not knitted much more than a bunch of lumpy squares, but I have to say it’s a very enjoyable hobby even when whatever I’m trying to make doesn’t turn out.

I’ve only managed to make one actual THING so far, which is a very skinny scarf -I tried to make a normal width at first but I kept screwing up when I got past about 6 stitches, so I settled for a very skinny one. It’s also kind of short because after successfully knitting a bunch of rows without having to start over, I began to fear screwing up and went ahead and bound it off.

It’s a “knitty” – get it?

I am currently trying to make a wider scarf in a different stitch pattern, but I’ve had to start over a ton of times so far, which is fine, because as I said before, it’s still a relaxing hobby even when I keep messing up. It only took me a few days to get the basic knitting stitches down – knits and purls – which is pretty miraculous considering my inability to follow instructions, so the rest of it is just finesse and practice. If you’ve ever wanted to try to knit, trust me, you can do it if I can. I am generally hopeless and being crafty with my hands. I’ve tried to learn to sew I don’t know how many times and have always failed, for example.

That’s all for now – I hope you all are getting your vaccine on and otherwise doing well!