Christmas Knitting

My knitting time is scarce, yo. But it is Spring Break at school – woo! – and yesterday I picked up the Christmas stockings I started a while ago. The pattern is really quick to knit, actually, and I might even finish this angel stocking today if I don’t have to rip out the heel twice like I did on the first one.

Stockings

They will all be personalized at the top with our names. I am going to make six stockings; four for us, one for the cat (the kids insist) and one for my mother in law who is often with us on Christmas morning. So I’m one quarter of the way to being finished, and it’s only March 5th!

The yarn I’m using is Bartlettyarn Maine Wool and it is so woolly and sheepy and farmy. You know I love it.

Guess what else? Today is Maggie’s birthday. She is SEVEN. Here she is on her first birthday (I always post this picture, I can’t even help myself).

Maggie's first birthday

 

And here she is at her little party on Saturday, hugging the beef jerky that her father gave her. She is his daughter, that’s for sure.

Jerky

 

Happy Birthday, sweet Maggie!

 

All the Knitting

Mandy Powers Knitting Photography

It was about halfway through my first semester of photography school that I started knitting like crazy. There came a point when I felt like I couldn’t take a picture to save my life, and I found solace in the knowledge that I am, in fact, a very good knitter. I kept at it with the camera, but also churned out knitted FOs like a boss. It saved me.

Shown above is the family of slippers that were made to replace outgrown and holey pairs. The moccasins are from the book Felted Knits by Bev Galeskas and the others are adult and kid sizes of the famous Felt Clog pattern, also by Bev Galeskas.

Mandy Powers Knitting Photography

A Noro Striped Scarf, knit with four different and unknown shades of Noro Silk Garden. This is at least the third one of these I’ve knit. I find it endlessly fun, totally mindless, and highly wearable. Won’t be the last one I make.

Mandy Powers Knitting Photography

This is the Charoite Hat and Mittens from my Crystal Collection eBook. It’s knit with worsted weight yarn, and works up quickly. Instant knitting gratification; I needed that this semester.

Mandy Powers Knitting Photography

Oh! Talk about instant gratification! When Kate released the Snawheid pattern I downloaded it and packed needles and yarn in my backpack within about 5 minutes. It was one of those patterns that I knew I needed to knit the second I saw it. I made two with Nature Spun Sport and they are both still pompomless for now.

Mandy Powers Knitting Photography

Phew! That was a lot of sanity-saving knitting.

Photography School

I can’t believe that I am already at the halfway point of this first semester. Registration for Spring opened last week, and just looking at the class names is making me so excited for what’s to come.  But first I need to get through Fall!

The beginning of this semester had a slow start as we got acquainted with the labs, the equipment, and each other. Before we could check out cameras, we had to be taught how to use the cameras. Before using the enlargers, we had to be taught how to use the enlargers. Et cetera. At this point, we are in full swing, shooting our own film using medium format cameras, developing it ourselves, making prints in the darkroom, and mounting prints for presentation. IT IS FUN.

Here’s one of the first projects I did – a photogram. It was a way to get our feet wet using the enlargers.
(NB: We haven’t done any digital work at all, that will come next semester I think. All these pics below are only pictures of the work, not the actual work. Are you picking up what I’m laying down? Moving on…)

Trying to choose my favorite photogram. #rccphoto #photography

We mounted them, then had an in-class critique.

Before really getting to work on our own photos, we started learning how to mount our work. Here’s a picture of my first mounting assignment, using a leftover print from a previous student.

Photography School

The black edge shows the mat board. We use a dry mount press with tissue to secure the print. For me, this precise measuring and cutting of the mat board reminds me a lot of quilting and cutting fabric.

Our first real photography assignment involved gray cards and various lighting situations using the Sunny 16 rule of exposure.

Contact sheet. #ilford #xp2 #chromogenic #film #rccphoto

Because we had not yet learned how to develop the film ourselves, one of our teachers did it for us, in the pro-lab that they have on campus. I only had to re-shoot this assignment once, which I counted as a success! Matching gray cards in the darkroom, though, proved a trying experience. I used a lot of paper.Here’s a pile of 4×5″ prints that I went through trying to get it right.

Hopefully I'll get more efficient at printing, because dudes, that paper is spendy.

Just this week my second order from B&H arrived; more film and more paper. I have a feeling it won’t be my last order!

Here’s the film we’re using. It’s 120 film for medium format cameras.

Photography School

And my camera!

Photography School

This gal has given me a lot of grief the past few weeks. It’s older than most of the cameras my classmates use, and the main issue I’m having is with the gears. Film spools that were used when this camera was made were just slightly bigger than films spools of today (and film was thicker, too). So the gears are calibrated in such a way that my frames overlap by up to 1/8″, which is not okay when you are required to print your negatives full-frame. Luckily, there’s a very clever camera expert who works on our school’s cameras, and he suggested I tape my spools to make them slightly larger. And by God it worked! No more overlapping frames! Just when I had that problem solved, the shutter in the lens stopped working.  Sporadically. But it’s working now so keep your fingers crossed for me.

Photography School

Here’s my green light meter, which was required for use on our “motion” assignment. And all future assignments I presume.

And probably the most exciting thing I’ve done so far — develop my own film!

Photography School

That’s a rather mundane picture of what is an exceedingly exciting (and at turns infuriating!) process. Going into the dark with a roll of exposed film, coming out with negatives! It’s magic (and science). I’ve only ruined one roll of film so far, and that was a result of my own stupidity.

A handful of my classmates have already felt the pressure and have dropped out. I’m not specifically sure what their reasons were, but the lab is nicer without the crowds, as harsh as that sounds. And even though we’ve had a lot of projects to do, I have a feeling that it’s only just the beginning. We are preparing for a career where missed deadlines means lost jobs, and shoddy work is unacceptable. The high standards are there for a reason, and not everyone can keep up.

I feel like I’ve learned so much these past few weeks, but with that comes the feeling that I know nothing about photography. Absolutely nothing. I am grateful for the slow start. I look forward to the challenges. Getting to know all my classmates is fun. I really am having the time of my life.