It's a hard knock life, for us

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Three sleepy girls

One Wild Scarf

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Scarf
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Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

It's always good to have one little mindless project on the needles that can go anywhere. I've been toting this little project around for a month now, and mostly working it on the train, when my more involved projects would be unmanageable.

The final piece is really dense, so very warm, long enough to wrap around the neck several times, and bright and cheery enough to counteract the winter gloom in Portland.

Stats

  • Pattern: my own
  • Fiber: Merino/Silk roving from Red Rock Fiber Works
  • Color: One Wild Night
  • Spun on: El Matchador (Schacht Matchless)
  • Plied: 3-ply using the chain plying method to produce self striping yarn
  • Weight: Approximately worsted
  • Needles: US#9/5.5mm
  • Finishing: Single crochet

Rainy, muddy and fantastic

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This weekend, we made a long overdue trip to the beach. It was a little cold (thought not too cold) a little rainy (no one here minds the rain) and foggy like you wouldn't believe.

Check out these shots.

Manzanita Oregon
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That's the same stretch of beach we almost always go to. We would have spent all day there, but the rip current was pretty strong and Thea is not the most buoyant dog around. Visions of her being pulled into the briny deep made us uneasy.

We thought the day might be shot, after about a half hour, but we decided to do a little hiking to make the long drive worth the while.

Off we went to Ecola State Park, where we had nearly the whole trail to ourselves. The fog made the view look like a fantasy.

Trail to Indian Beach in Ecola State Park

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By comparison, this is how it looked the first time we went.

But I think there's a pretty good reason why we had the whole trail to ourselves. By the end of the hike, the four of us were coated in mud.

Getting muddy on the trail
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We learned that Panda would make every effort to go around giant puddles of mud, while Thea would aim for them. Either way, there was no keeping clean, but we definitely appreciated Panda's efforts to stay clean.

We had to put the girls in the car, however we decided that a dip in the ocean before we leave would be much preferred to a bath, when we got home. So we headed back to Seaside and played a wee bit of fetch.

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It was good to see their beautiful white coats again.

As we were clipping on everyone's leash, someone nearby said, "Did you see the elk?" and pointed to the hill ahead. I looked up and saw three little heads, just showing above the ledge. Leo had the the good sense to go put the dogs in the car, and I walked over to where a small crowd had formed, a safe distance from the herd.

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We've seen our share of elk at the coast, but never this many at once. Such a great way to end a fantastic ocean trip.

Our day wasn't over with the ocean, though. My sweet guy treated me to a delicious meal to celebrate our 8 year anniversary.

It was a great meal, beautiful view and, of course, perfect company. And for the toast, he said "Here's to 8 years, 8 years more and nothing more."
Of course, I refused to toast to that nonsense, so he said, ok, well, what if we lay the second 8 on its side?"

Cute.

There's a reason I keep him around.

It's a shame to have this lovely long weekend end, but it was great while it lasted.

Using Photoshop to color your sketches

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Most images can be clicked to zoom.

Perhaps you need to submit sketches of a pattern for consideration in a publication, or maybe you are just designing for yourself and want to play with color combinations, regardless of your reasons, you don't need a full set of pencils and markers to colorize your drawings and if you use Photoshop, you change the colors over and over again, without having to do a new drawing. I'm going to cover some very simple techniques, that you can build upon to create your own style.

As with all my tutorials I want to make it clear that I'm not an expert, these are just some suggestions. I don't supply support for these methods and cannot offer instructions for older versions or open source alternatives to the program indicated. I am using Photoshop CS3 on a Mac, but will try to provide PC equivalents when I know them.

And, of course, if you have any suggestions, leave them in the comments. I love learning new tips.

Start your sketch

You may download my original, unretouched sketch here, and play along at home. The final document is available here.

I generally do my sketches on paper. I'm not a fine artists, so I often use catalogs as reference for the way clothing drapes and the correct proportions for the human form. I don't like to actually trace images, because I think this looks too stiff. I prefer to just use the image as a visual reference and draw the images by hand. You should do what produces the best results for you.

In this case, I want to draw a skirt. I looked around online and found this cute number over at the Gap. I lightly drew my sketch with pencil then outlined only the most important features with a thick dark marker.

If you have a scanner, great, scan it. I have one but I generally just take a picture with my digital camera, like I have here. The lighting was atrocious that day, so the paper is pretty dark, but that's totally fine.

Now, open the image in Photoshop.

A knitter you might enjoy

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You know that YouTube thing that's all the rage with the kids today -- the ones who won't pull their pants, up, turn their music down, and get off my lawn? Yah, well sometimes those kids make these talkies and they post them on the YouTube and a subset of those ain't half bad.

Whilst perusing one day, I found this delightful knitter. Actually, it was a while ago that I found her but she's only recently outed herself as a knitter, so, VOILA, it's now legit fodder for the knit blogger (poetic license in effect with that near-rhyme.)

So here she is, singer, song writer, ukulele player, and hat knitter, Julia Nunes

That was one of her own songs, but she does some beautiful covers as well.

Gone -- Ben Folds Five

Survivor -- Destiny's Child

Keep Fishin' -- Weezer

Adorable, no? Adorable, YES! And she's clearly talented.
Go check out all her videos here.

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