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Archive for the ‘Pandemic-at-home’ Category

Making an overhead camera stand for online teaching

Monday, June 22nd, 2020

As I transition to holding online classes to supplement live and in person classes, I needed an overhead view of my work table. The traditional way to do this (outside of a fancy filming studio) is with a “C-stand” that is sturdy/heavy, stands on the floor next to your work table and has a boom arm that extends over the table. Then you hang the camera/iPad/iPhone from the boom arm. Cue COVID delays in shipping. I tried the one I could get in time for this week’s Perfect Bindings class at the first ever Mancuso online shows. The accessories didn’t fit the boom arm. Back they went!

Cue: Mama’s brainstorming, Mama and son’s (Joshua) creativity, and Joshua’s awesome tools (Band saw! drill! Random bits and bobs) and construction experience and help, and a stand using leftover stuff and $5 in supplies.

A DIY overhead camera stand

The wooden “light stands” were built based on information from Holly Knott’s wonderful “Shoot That Quilt” section on her website about taking great photos yourself of your quilts to enter in shows and magazines: two pieces of 2×4 lumber and four cheap shelf brackets for each stand.

Ignore the dust, cat hair, pug hair and thread. Please. Sorry. Here’s the link to Holly’s useful webpage on quilt photography.

Joshua, our older son, did some electrical work for Mom and Dad (us) a while back, and introduced us to something called Unistrut. Link here. It is a bit heavy, which is why I looked at C-stands to begin with, but that is also its virtue: it is totally rigid. Rigid helps keep your camera (in my case my iPad) stable.

The upper brackets were from something else that was modified. Knew they’d be handy! I bought two small black brackets with one hole on each side. Joshua said I needed two holes to prevent the small L brackets from wobbling, so using his awesome power tools (tool envy!), he just drilled an extra hole. He cut the Unistrut in about 8 seconds with his band saw. It would have taken me the better part of an hour with a manual hacksaw! The length is the width of my table plus an extra inch or so to help maneuver the stand into place.
The ruler is serving as my iPad’s stunt double because I was too lazy to run upstairs and get the iPad while taking photos. Can you tell from the clutter how chaotic it has been?
I CAN’T WAIT to have a MASSIVE TIDY ATTACK!
I wanted the iPad above the bar for added stability and so I could have full access to the screen while teaching live online workshops.
A close up view of the stand attaching to the unistrut. Here’s a link to the iPad holder on Amazon. It isn’t the most rigid thing and the little grip thingies that hold the iPad in place aren’t huge, so that’s another reason to have the iPad on top supported by the cross bar and not just those four little pads.

SO if you are wondering what your teachers does to get ready for you, this is just one small but vital component. If you are going to TEACH online, I hope this helps you–please feel free to ask questions! MASSIVELY HUGE thanks to Lyric Kinard for her help on so many things on the technical side over the years, and to Lee Chappell who gave us newbie online teachers for the Mancuso show a studio tour by Zoom to share with us how she set things up. And THANK YOU to my wonderful, creative son who comes home and always wants to do some sort of “fix up” something for his mom and dad. Joshua, you ROCK!

A “Covichat” with Lyric Kinard

Monday, April 6th, 2020
Had such a fun chat with Lyric…this is a screen shot, but I’ll embed the video below, and you can also see it on Lyric’s YouTube channel, Lyric’s blog, and my YouTube channel too.

What FUN! My friend and artist and teacher extraordinare Lyric Kinard has started doing a series of taped video chats with folks in our line of work and art. We chatted last Friday, and the Lyric uploaded the video today. So ENJOY!

In the video I mentioned a bunch of things…things which aren’t on my blog yet! BUT…

Mastering Metallics workshop is described here on my website, where you’ll also find the class supply list (I may need to update that though, so just get a rough idea). It is a half-day class that will debut at International Quilt Festival Houston this coming Fall–sign ups usually start up in July. You’ll learn tons, get a full kit with top, batting, backing and thread so all you need to do is show up. This is the project, a wintry tablerunner. Additional fabric will be available for purchase, and I may make it available on Spoonflower for orders from home. Let me know if there is interest.

I also mentioned some bags and projects fro Michael Miller Fabrics using byAnnie patterns. The first blogpost will go live on April 9th, and there will be another in May. Stay tuned!

And if you liked that floor cushion, the fabric line is Space Pals and Super Fred. You can find the fabrics usually at Fabric.com, but right now things are messed up due to international shipment restrictions and low staffing at workplaces. So when all this stay-at-home is over and quilt shops can get back in business, as your local shop to carry the line.

The PATTERNS are free and available here with even more information on my blog. Go Here (1) and Here (2) for pdf links and lots of great info and detail.

Widgeon loves the cushions!

I’ve already watched Lyric’s interview with Robbi Joy Eklow and look forward to catching up on the chats with Pepper Cory and Thomas Knauer. Thanks for asking, Lyric…it’s always so easy to do these sorts of things when you’re already friends!

A sweater-hug

Sunday, April 5th, 2020

Talk about COZY and warm! I fell in love with the relaxed and comfy look of the Sunday Cardigan (on Ravelry) mohair edition and regular edition immediately and knew I wanted a slouchy, oversized hug-of-a-sweater. So I made one! And then I made another. Here’s the second one, which is what I was craving:

Yes, it feels like a hug!

Now I KNOW many of you are thinking “mohair…ITCHY!” I agree. But this one is made with Rowan’s Kidsilk Mohair, a blend of mohair and silk and it is heavenly soft and doesn’t itch me!

BUT, before I got to this one, I used up some stash. Yes, I used yarn stash! I had this alpaca boucle (according to the receipt in the bag) about a decade. Ahem. I wasn’t sure if I would have enough, so I made a size medium just to be sure. I couldn’t believe how quickly it knit up. My previous sweater was 24+ stitches to 4 inches. This was 12 (!!!!) stitches to four inches. And it knit up in a matter of a few weeks! It is quite fitted, and I’m fine with that. I like the sweater, it is comfortable, and looks good. But I wanted that huggy-oversized look.

As you can see, the blue sweater fits and looks good, but is not that oversized hug. I can tell already, though, that it will get a lot of use. And did I mention, I used up yarn stash?!!!!

So I bought new yarn at Heavenly Yarns in Belfast, Maine. Thankfully, they got in a new order of the Kidsilk before the current shelter-in-place-followed-by-quarantine-then-extended thing. I wanted mine quite long, so I used just over 4 skeins of Cascade 220 in an oatmeal color (reasonably priced) and four skeins (down to the last 30 inches) of Kidsilk (honestly, a bit expensive) in a soft white. If you want to geek out and are a Ravelry member (free to join), you can see project notes here. The blue version is here. I could have done the math and made a different size of the regular version, but I sprang for the whopping $6 for the mohair edition pattern which did the math for me. My version is a bit of a hybrid: I made the mohair version using one strand of Cascade 220 held together with just one (not two as recommended) strand of Kidsilk and got the gauge of 14 stitches to the inch. Given how warm it is, I’m glad I don’t have another strand of mohair in there!

Even after blocking, it didn’t grow longer…hooray! just what I had hoped it would be.

I opted to make the fold-over collar from the standard version and sew it down as in that pattern (even though I didn’t sew down the collar in the blue one!) and add buttons. I followed the directions in the standard pattern for opening up the stitch rather than making a proper buttonhole. Since I had no idea how long I was going to make mine, that was easier. However I think next time I will do a proper buttonhole that looks better. I also made my sweater longer, with sleeves that are neither snug nor full.

Side view: if I am not tugging on the front of the sweater, it is actually FLAT and even at the hem!
Most garment patterns are made for full busted women. I am not among that group. So I always need to make modifications. changing a front and neckline is tricky. It is far easier to do short rows on the back to even out the tilty hem. Above, the bottom of the ruler is on a single row of knitting. The pins mark where I did short rows, turning the work to add almost 2 1/2″ of length in the center back. I went beyond the side seams about 1-2 inches onto the front area. Next time, I would extend the short rows to within 3 inches of the center front. I would also do the short rows just above the hem, but I thought I was gong to make this as long as the four skeins of Cascade lasted, but after doing the short rows decided I really wanted it longer. But the short rows mean that the sweater doesn’t hang down and sag and point to the ground in the front! Problem solved!
On the blue sweater, the medium version really wasn’t large enough for my broad shoulders, so the collar–which was designed to be doubled over–got pulled outwards. So I decided not to fold the collar to the inside and stitch and just left it as is because my neck gets cold in winter. For my oatmeal version, I made a size L and made sure that I had enough rows in the yoke that I didn’t have that problem in my Hug Sweater!

So that’s what I’ve been doing in the evenings while watching Midsomer Murders on Amazon Prime on my iPad. Next up: a pattern hack of Jeri Riggs’s stunning Lily of the Valley vest. I’m attempting to do my own thing and make a linen t-shirt with two columns of the Lily of the Valley motif up the center front, mimicking one of my favorite cloth shirt patterns that has a square neck and short sleeves. The Quince and Co. linen yarn isn’t fun to work with my arthritis, but everyone tells me I will LOVE the yarn once it is all done and washed. About 24 stitches to the inch, so it is slow going, but I’m about 6 inches up from the bottom. Hopefully it will be done by the time it is warm enough to WEAR it! And hopefully we’ll be able to go out!