Welcome to National Craft Month 2016!!
March is National Craft Month, and all this year we will be celebrating with a series of fun blogbosts, exciting news, and of course the GIVEAWAYS! We all like a little free stuff right? How about 5 weeks of giveaways?! WOOHOO!!
Lets start off this month with a bang! We're going to give one of you lucky readers an enrollment to Jason's brand new class on how to take FAB photos of your handmade items using your smartphone or tablet.
This Nation Craft Month Week #1 prize is provided by our friends at F&W Media in association with their Craft Online University. This class officially goes live March 15, and one of you lucky folks gets to take this course free!
I’m so excited, I just can’t hide it, I’m about to lose control… forgive that Pointer Sister’s moment.
This class will teach you how to create photography tools out of common objects to use in conjunction with your smartphone or tablet to produce images to help you sell or exhibit your work.
If you want to take better photos of your handmade items, and have a mobile device you owe it to yourself to enter this contest for a chance to win this course free.
Enter through the Rafflecopter widget below starting at 12:00am PT on February 28, 2016. The winner will be randomly chosen at 12:00am PT on March 6, 2016. Some of the entry points can be earned daily so take advantage of that and be sure to come back every week to see what FAB National Craft Month fun we have in store for you!
UPDATE: March 7, 2016 WINNER ANNOUNCED
Thank you to everyone who entered this week's contest. The winner of the Week 1 Giveaway is....
Drum roll please... Linda K.
I've sent an email off to Lynda with information on how to register for Jason's class.
Be sure to check back often this month and register for our other weekly giveaways as well as our Grand Prize. Directions for entering the grand prize are in all subsequent weekly giveaway posts all month.
Good Luck and Stitch On!
iCan Click – Professional Quality Photographs of Handmade Items Using Smartphones and Tablet
Inspiration… weeks of work… elbow grease… the occasional tear… They’ve all gone into making perfect handmade item. It’s finished! Time to show it off on social media or sell it online; but alas, photography is not a skill you’ve honed. Now what?
It’s time to pull out your phone… Your smartphone camera is the ideal tool for taking that perfect shot of your handiwork; compact, powerful, and almost always found in your front pocket. It’s capable of capturing any special moment. You only need to learn to harness its full potential.
In my course you will learn the basics of how Smartphone cameras work, find the right light for photographing any handmade project, create a professional environment for taking your photos, explore a few downloadable apps to assist you in your quest for the perfect photo, and I’ll give you one sure-fire tip that is certain to take your photos from drab to FAB.
I’ve spent the past 10 years learning how to take breathtaking photographs of handmade items on any camera. Come and learn the simple techniques you can use to get professional quality photos of your handmade projects with your Smartphone.
The class runs from March 15th – May 9th 2016, and covers topics such as:
To make learning simple and because we know you're going to want to practice each technique before going on to the next, only one segment will be released weekly. You'll never feel pressured to sit down and try to absorb everything one evening. You can register anytime during these weeks but I recommend you register now to take full advantage of the time available to re-watch previous lessons. Here's an added bonus... I'll be monitoring the forum/gallery, answering your questions and giving feedback to all your posted projects.
Who should enroll in this class:
Now's a great time to learn all the tricks to using your cell phone for taking amazing photos of your handmade items! Enroll today by clicking the button below.
Come see Shibaguyz LIVE classes at the Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival
Designing crochet and knit garments takes an in-depth knowledge of yarn content and construction, textile design, stitching techniques, and garment construction. There is a certain level of "design eye" that a person must have as well in order to create garments that people want to make and wear.
While we can't fit all of this into a three or even a six hour class, we do have a unique opportunity to present a big chunk of the skills it takes to design crochet and knit garments at the upcoming New York State Sheep and Wool Festival.
On Thursday and Friday at the 2015 New York State Sheep and Wool Festival, we are presenting two classes, Fashion, Fit, Form & Function and Design It! These classes can be taken separately or, as some folks are doing, as a two day course to give them the tools they need to start designing crochet and knit garments.
We'll kick off things on Thursday, October 15, 2015 with Fashion, Fit, Form & Function. This all-day class is designed to help you alter existing crochet and knit patterns to fit your body and your style. Whether the pattern needs a little better fit or you like the silhouette of the garment but want to use a different yarn and a different stitch pattern, we'll give you the tools you need to make good choices and then alter patterns to better fit YOU… in every way. Proper body measurements, stitch patterns, yarn choices, and garment functionality are all covered in this six-hour class.
Then, on Friday, October 16, 2015, we'll dive into our Design It! class. This all-day class covers everything from body measurements through fabric design and making a pattern schematic. You will leave with a working knowledge of crochet and knit garment design and will have the tools you need to delve into your own design work. Whether you are designing just for yourself and your friends and family or if you have always thought you had some of that "design eye" it takes to be a professional designer, this class is the place to start.
Again, these are two very strong stand-alone classes with very distinct goals. So you will take away a ton of great information and skills whether you take one or both. Fashion, Fit, Form & Function focuses on fitting existing patterns to your body and your life. Design It! is focused on starting from scratch and creating your own designs. Both good classes to take on their own and are very appropriate for the hobby stitcher or professional design students.
However, if you have ever had ambitions of being a full-on crochet and knit garment pattern designer, you should consider taking the two classes together. Between the two classes, you will have a very strong foundation for developing your design skills and even becoming a professional designer… if that's what you want.
Either way, together or separate, you will leave these classes with a clearer view of how crochet and knit garment patterns are created and how to make them work for you.
For more information and our fun intro video about our classes at the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival, jump on over to our page by clicking this link:
Classes with the Shibaguyz at New York State Sheep and Wool Festival 2015
And make sure you get registered today to reserve your seat. Space is limited!
And we'll see YOU in the classroom!
In The Classroom With The Shibaguyz
If you did not guess it from my cryptic clue, we’re going to be chatting with Marly Bird on her Yarn Thing Podcast on Blog Talk Radio live and in person Tuesday, April 28th at 9:00am Pacific Time.
You can expect to hear some great conversation and a whole lotta laughs too.
If you listen live and want to call in to ask a question of Marly & Me, (the show-host and myself, not the book…I SO cried when… wait, back on topic) the listener dial-in number is: (347) 539-5589. You can also join us LIVE in the chat room… that's always a hoot too!
Can’t make it to the live broadcast? No worries! You can catch the re-broadcast anytime after Tuesday on iTunes.
Click on the banner below to be taken to the Yarn Thing Podcast page on Blog Talk Radio where you can set a reminder to listen in!
Don't miss this… you never know what's going to happen we Marly and the Shibaguyz get together!
Photographing in Natural Window Light For Great Shots
- a guest post by Jason Mullett-Bowlsby, owner of Shibaguyz Photography
Shannon's been busy doing designer stuff and asked me to come up with a post that you would find enlightening. So I took that suggestion to heart and decided upon taking a look at... light.
Very specifically, the light coming in your windows.
Natural light has made a comeback, not only for amateurs but for pros as well. I love it. It’s warm, it’s easy to manipulate, and it’s free! Natural light is the new look for portraits of newborns to seniors, and it’s popping up more and more in fashion photography. With minimal equipment anyone with a basic camera (even a camera phone) can take exceptional indoor images utilizing nothing more than a window. So, how do you nail it?
The key to great fiber photography with window light is as simple as using your eyes. Look at what’s in front of you, decide if you like it. If not adjust it to suit your taste. It’s that easy! Let's do it.
The direction of it does not matter. Many photographers insist on having a northern or eastern exposure, but I find any direction will work. The trick is you have to wait for the moment when the light is right. You should have bright light without direct light hitting your subject. For my living room shots, this generally happens between 11:00am and 3:00pm. Because I live in Seattle where we have a lot of cloudy days, my shooting schedule can be augmented depending on if the clouds keep the sun in check.
One important note… I recommend you turn off all interior lights if possible. They may cause a color balance shift making your garment’s color look off.
It should be obvious, but I’ll say it nonetheless, you can’t move the window, so you’ll need to move your subject to control where the light hits. Positioning your subject directly in front of the window will give you’ll get flat, even light with little shadow, but you can run into problems if the shadow from you or your camera falls on the subject, and sometimes because the light is flat you lose texture. A better option is to position your subject so that the window is just to one side of it on an angle. This is called Side Lighting
What did you see? The massive majority of images show side lighting. It's flattering to almost every subject. This kind of side lighting set-up will help accentuate any soft lighting streaming across the fabric of your subject which is perfect for enhancing the texture in crochet and knit items. Side lighting is also ideal if you decide to use any kind of a light modifier like bounces and diffusers. Bounces are positioned on the opposite side of the light source, (i.e. further inside the room) bouncing light back to the shadowed side of your subject. They help lighten any strong shadows, acting like a miniature light source.
You don’t need to go broke buying professional bounces to get the “perfect shot”. You can easily get impressive results with a few of sheets of basic card stock, aka "poster board" (available from an office supply store or any store with a craft section). I always carry one plain white piece and another covered in aluminum foil for bouncing light where I want more. Occasionally I’ll use a black piece for intensifying shadows. That’s it… just pieces of thick paper.
Moving your subject closer to or further away from the window is going to change the “contrast” in the lighting. Contrast is the difference between the dark and light portions of your photo. Being closer to the window increases contrast, thus increasing the difference between the lit side and the shadow side of the subject. Moving it away is going to reduce the effect. Be careful here. If you move too far away there is a chance your subject will look dull and flat. The sweet spot is usually a couple feet away depending on how bright it is outside.
NOTE: Pay attention to the sun. Just because we’re inside doesn’t mean we can ignore it. Remember as the sun moves the positive effects of window light will go down the tubes if harsh sunlight starts pouring in. You want light, but not at a direct angle. If the sun is raging in you’re going to have over-exposed highlights and hard ugly shadows on your subject. It’s easy to see when that occurs. If that happens, you have three options:
1. Place a soft curtain or otherwise gauzy piece of fabric over the window to lessen the effect of the hard light (this is called diffusing). Diffusers are placed between the light and the subject to help scatter harsh direct light into softer light with reduced shadows. Think of how sheer curtains in a window soften hard light scattering it.
2. Wait for the hard light to move out of the window.
3. Go to another window that faces another direction. The sun can’t be on all four sides of the house at once!
Focus on your subject and adjust the exposure and focus on the garment. Placing yourself so the window is in your photo will sometimes over-expose that part of the photo, which is a justifiable style choice. I recommend you move around taking your photo from different placements. If you don’t like the composition, move yourself again or move your subject until it looks perfect. Be sure to check your photos in your camera and on a computer before you break down your set.
Want to see more of Jason's work? Check out his website at ShibaguyzPhotography.com.
Want more training with Jason? You got it! He has two webinars available online from F&W Media and the Interweave Store. Together these two webinars are a FAB starter pack for anyone wanting to take better photos of their projects… or just better photos in general! Here are the links:
How to Create a DIY Photo Studio: Get Professional Results at Home!
Photographing Your Projects Like a Pro
All the details about the classes are at the links.
Thanks for stopping by another Technique Tuesday Tutorial! We love sharing the skillz with our community and hope you all enjoy adding new skillz to your toolbox.
Drop us a line and let us know what you'd like to see in future tutorials and you might see your idea right here in a future Technique Tuesday Tutorial!
talk to you soon…
Come look us up on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest by clicking on one of these icons.
Yup… that's right. I made something just for ME!
I don't do that very often but this one had to happen.
If you follow along with us on Twitter or Facebook, you know I gained a serious obsession for blanket scarves this past fall and winter.
For me, a blanket scarf is more than just an opportunity to wrap up against the elements. Although, let me just say that, on our trip to New York City this past February, we were VERY happy we had them. We were in the FAB city on the day of the coldest temperatures since the 1970s and our blanket scarves were VERY useful. But I digress…
For a crochet or knitting devotee, blanket scarves are the perfect way to showcase a stunning yarn or a dramatic stitch pattern. Also, they are great projects for just sitting and stitching when you don't want to think too much about shaping.
So… yeah… I'm a little obsessed. And I don't see this obsession ending any time soon because I have only begun to dive into the endless combination of fabrics, stitches, yarns, colors… MAKE ALL THE BLANKET SCARVES!!
Looking back, I'm realzing this post could have been subtitled:
Why A Blanket Scarf Is A Many Splendored Thing
The story of this scarf is kind of funny. You see, I have this Craftsy class called Quick and Easy Crochet Cables and the project for the class is a FAB little envelope clutch made from a simple rectangle of crochet cables. When I was on my way to Denver, Colorado to film the class, I realized I didn't have anything particularly warm to wear in my coat closet. You know… Seattle winters just aren't that harsh and the only time we get into temps that cold is when we go hiking in the mountains and I didn't want to wear my beat up hiking jacket for my trip.
Then it hit me… DING!
In my studio is a large wall of shelves full of yarn that inspires me. On one of those shelves, was a bunch of yarn that we purchased on a particularly snowy trip to Wyoming around ten years ago. The yarn was a bulky, single-spun, slight felted wool we found in this little shop in Dubois, Wyoming (pronounced Dew-boys for those not from Wyoming). Like many of you, we sometimes buy yarn and fabric without any idea of what we are going to make with it. These purchases are made because the yarn or fabric is inspirational and I make no apologies for buying inspirational product. This wonderful, wooly, Wyoming yarn was one of those inspirational purchases. The natural colors, the soft hand, the fact that the wool came from the shop owner's own flock… it was the perfect storm for us and we bought as much of it as she had on the rack in her shop: nine big ol' gorgeous hanks in total.
This is where the DING! happened…
I know… long story… but a good one, yes? This project is the perfect example of inspiration meeting opportunity. That's what makes the resulting blanket scarf even more special for me.
Here are some shots Jason took of the finished scarf while were in the Shibaguyz Photography studio one day. Yes, it's good to be married to a professional photographer.
The pattern is the exact pattern stitch for stitch from my Craftsy crochet class. Upon seeing this blanket scarf, some folks have taken the class just so they could learn cables and make a scarf like this for themselves. Heck… while we were in New York City, we were walking along the shops on Madison Avenue and folks came out of the shops on two different occasions to ask where I purchased my scarf. Of course, they left with our card in hand.
So many things I love about this scarf. Even though the weather is warmer here now, I'm looking forward to our trip to New York this October when we teach at Rhinebeck then spend a few days in the city. Yes, I've already started on new blanket scarves. More photos and patterns later…
Details about our classes at Rhinebeck here:
Workshops with the Shibaguyz at the 2015 New York State Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY
For now, enjoy the eye candy! Oh… if you do decide to get your crochet cables groove on with my Craftsy class, be sure to share your finished project photos with us. Clutches, blanket scarves, however you decide to use the pattern from the class… we want to see how YOU are inspired too!
Here's a special link for you to use for my Craftsy crochet class:
Quick and Easy Crochet Cables Class on Craftsy by Shannon Mullett-Bowlsby
Be sure to not miss out on future announcements from the Shibaguyz. We'll keep you up to date on events and classes as well as send you special offers and exclusive tutorials you won't see on our website. Sign up for our newsletter today and we'll keep you up to date so you don't miss a thing! (It goes without saying that we never sell your email addresses… right? There… we said it anyway.)
Sign up is easy… just click here: Shibaguyz Newsletter Sign Up
In the Classroom With the Shibaguyz
New York State Sheep and Wool Festival
October 15-18, 2015
We’ve been selected to teach 6 classes beginning Thursday morning and going right through to Sunday evening. This is our first year teaching at Rhinebeck and we could not be more excited to have this opportunity to share the skillz with y'all in such a FAB setting!
Our classes range from all day sessions on crochet & knitting design on Thursday and Friday to photography, crochet, and math on Saturday and Sunday. We wrap everything up on Sunday with, appropriately, our very popular Foundations and Finishing class for crocheters. What a weekend!
We are so looking forward to spending a few FAB days with out in Rhinebeck! Here's a quick lineup of our classes.
UPDATE 05/11/15: Registration is LIVE! Register NOW for classes before they sell out. You can get more details and register for our classes at Rhinebeck here:
New York State Sheep and Wool Festival Website
To be sure you don't miss out, sign up for our newsletter here: Shibaguyz Newsletter Sign Up
You can read in-depth descriptions on our Classes page here: Shibaguyz Classes
And full details will be up on the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival website once registration opens here: New York State Sheep and Wool Festival Website
Remember: Registration opens sometime around May 1, 2015 so mark these pages and get your registration in before classes fill up! Classes are expected to sell out so you’ll want to register for classes early to ensure a seat.
UPDATE 05/11/15: Class registration is LIVE! Register today to ensure your seat here: New York State Sheep and Wool Festival Class Registration
We will keep you informed when the registration goes live and give you links to each of our classes… but save those dates in October and we'll see you in the classroom at Rhinebeck!
Be sure to not miss out on future announcements about this and other events as well as special offers and exclusive tutorials you won't see on our website. Sign up for our newsletter today and we'll keep you up to date so you don't miss a thing! (It goes without saying that we never sell your email addresses… right? There… we said it anyway.)
Sign up is easy… just click here: Shibaguyz Newsletter Sign Up
3 Easy Tips For Taking Better Photos - a guest post by Jason Mullett-Bowlsby, owner of Shibaguyz Photography
It is no secret that fiber folks and, indeed, folks who make handmade items in general, like to take photos of our handy work. In fact, if you have a handmade business, it is a VITAL part of that business to be able to take FAB photos of our work in order to present that work in a way that will appeal to your clients. If your product photos aren't good, it doesn't matter how gorgeous your pottery, yarn, or garment designs are. People just aren't going to see that beauty and craftsmanship shine through.
To that end, today we're placing a different spin on our Technique Tuesday Tutorials and we're going to focus (see what I did there? Focus. Photography. *ahem* moving on…) on another aspect of the Shibaguyz. Specifically, Jason, the other half of the Shibaguyz is going to put on his Shibaguyz Photography hat and give us his 3 Tips for Taking Better Photos.
Take it away, Jason!
As a professional photographer I get asked questions… lots of questions. People ask me about my camera, my lens, and my equipment. Conversations sound something like this:
“So, I’ve been thinking of upgrading to a new body. What one do you like?”
“Do you like prime lenses?”
“Is that a ‘nifty-fifty’ you have on there?”
“I once read that Cannon’s are better than Nikon for shooting Mountain Sasquatch in their natural habitat…”
While all of these questions have merit, the answers will not necessarily make anyone a great photographer. Buying an expensive camera with big fancy lenses will not allow you to take professional quality photos any more than buying a professional-grade Viking gas range and new All-Clad Stainless Steel pans will let you cook like a five-star chef. It just doesn't work that way.
However, there are tricks to make your photos (regardless of what camera you use) look more professional.
This year, at Shibaguyz Designz, we have double the reason to celebrate. Just in case you have not heard let me fill you in… our newest book, Designer Crochet: 32 patterns to elevate your style, from Lark Publishing will be released next month!
To say we are excited about it is a bit of an understatement; [pulls out the thesaurus] enraptured, jubilant, agog, or maybe ebullient… yeah those are the words we’re looking for. This is the book we've wanted to create since we started designing. We packed Designer Crochet with everything I wish I had when I was starting to make crochet garments way back in antiquity. Plus it has 32 patterns sized Small through 5X… 32 patterns!! With charts, tutorials, illustrations, and the FAB photography of Jason Mullett-Bowlsby, Designer Crochet is our DREAM project! And, now, we can share it with YOU! (happydancehappydancehappydance)
Read on for how y'all can join in!
Designer Crochet is available for pre-order RIGHT NOW! Although the book will not be shipped until around April 20th, everyone who pre-orders a copy is eligible to enter a drawing for a full pattern’s worth of yarn for free! Yes I said it, FREE YARN. Not just one, but TWO chances. Here’s the scoop:
Designer Crochet: 32 patterns to elevate your style will be available in bookstores this April. But don’t wait until then! Pre-order, your copy of Designer Crochet right now and send an email to Designer.Crochet@Yahoo.com with proof of purchase before April 1st . By sending the email with your proof of purchase, you will be entered into a lottery for 2 chances to win an entire project’s worth of yarn!
You can pre-order your copy of Designer Crochet today by clicking on this link:
Pre-order your copy of Designer Crochet: 32 patterns to elevate your style today!
(Pssst… that link goes to a site where the pre-order of Designer Crochet is on SALE!)
Yup… we will be sending 2 people enough yarn to create either the Beginner Cardi or the Lace Tank projects in your chosen size. That's a lot of FAB yarn!
Also, not only do you get a full garment’s worth of yarn, you will also receive the pattern for that garment before the book is released. YES! You get to be the first one to have that pattern!
Finally, each of the winners will receive a signed bookplate to put in your copy of Designer Crochet when it arrives.
1. Designer Crochet: 32 patterns to elevate your style is the NEW crochet book by Shibaguyz Designz with a LOT of FAB patterns, charts, and tutorials.
2. Pre-order Designer Crochet here: CLICK ME! (and it's on sale right now!)
3. Send in your proof of purchase to Designer.Crochet@Yahoo.com
4. Win a signed bookplate for your copy of Designer Crochet.
5. WIN an advance copy of one of the patterns in Designer Crochet.
6. Win FREE YARN to make one of the patterns in Designer Crochet.
(Admit it… all y'all saw was the "Win FREE YARN" part… hehehe…)
So hey… don’t wait until April to order your very own copy! NOTE: If you have already ordered your copy of Designer Crochet, be sure to email your proof of purchase to be entered into the drawing. It doesn't matter when you pre-ordered… as long as you do it BEFORE APRIL 1st!
And remember: You can pre-order your copy of Designer Crochet today by clicking on this link:
Pre-order your copy of Designer Crochet: 32 patterns to elevate your style today!
We'll have more fun info about Designer Crochet all during National Crochet Month including sneak peeks into some of the designs and the creation of this new book from Shibaguyz Designz.
LIVE Web Seminar: Photographing Your Projects Like A Pro
Tips and tricks for taking professional quality photos of handcrafted items
This webinar is presented by F&W Media, the folks who bring us publications like Interweave Crochet, Beadwork, Interweave Knits, Quilting Arts, Spin-Off, and so MANY more!
These webinars are the perfect solution for those of you who want to take classes with us but just can't get to where we are teaching. Now you can just turn on your computer and interact with us live and in person from the comfort of your own home or anywhere you can stream content on your devices. WOOHOO!!
Here's the details:
Live Web Seminar Date: February 25, 2014
Start Time: 1 pm EST
Length: 60 Minutes
Yup… that's an hour of instruction with a professional photographer for under $20. AND you get an archived version of the class to watch over and over again!
Can't make the live event? No worries! The archived seminar will be available to all who register and will include any class materials given during the live event as well as ALL questions asked during and AFTER the class. That's right… no question goes unanswered!
So… jump on over to the Interweave site via the link below. There are more details about exactly what Jason will be covering in class and you can get registered TODAY!
Tips and tricks for taking professional quality photos of handcrafted items
Oh yeah… if you want to see more of Jason's work, hop on over to ShibaguyzPhotography.com and check out all of his work in fiber, fashion, and portrait photography.
See you in the virtual classroom!
International Crochet Month
National Craft Month
National Crochet Month
Shibaguyz Designz Indie Maker Pattern
Tools Of The Trade
Vogue Knitting LIVE
Warm Up America