This time, in addition to shooting in and around the mill, we shot on a farm nearby. Sheep!
As always, Mari was a delightful shoot manager and stylist,
I love that Harrisville Designs always puts together a lookbook for the whole collection too. Seeing it all come together it ridiculously satisfying.]]>
I received an email through the shop contact form a week or so ago and it was one of those pieces of feedback that wasn’t quite as nice as I like.
I just wanted to tell you that your bags look like they might be beautiful and the photography seems great, but when you photograph the bags on the fabric that they’re sewn out of, it’s really hard to see the actual bag. And because of that I’m going to go to a store that makes the bags more appealing to buy by photographing them so you can actually see them.
When I first read it (ok, the first 10 times I read it) I heard it as a schoolyard taunt. “I suppose your stuff is ok, but I’m taking my money elsewhere. Nyah nyah.” And I dwelled on it for a bit. Why would someone say that?! Why wouldn’t they just look, decide they didn’t like the set up, and move on? Why take the time out of your day to make me feel bad?
Friends told me to ignore it. Over cocktails, another pal helped me work out a snarky reply. But after a few hours I had that feeling. There was a cry of truth in her note and my crankiness was preventing me from hearing it. All I heard was the nyah nyah and not the issue that prompted her to contact me.
I grew up in the hospitality industry. I am Canadian. It would be next to impossible for me to reply in any way other than with kindness. So three days later, the email was still sitting in my inbox, now taunting me because I hadn’t responded yet. I took a deep breath, agonized, typed and deleted, and finally replied.
Gosh [name redacted], I’m sorry to hear that my product photos didn’t meet your expectations. Was there a particular bag you were interested in? I may have some alternate photos on a different background that could answer any questions you may have.
(And you know what? The email bounced. Argh.)
Sending that reply was what I needed to strip away the noise of her note and listen to the feedback she was giving me:
Caro, it’s hard to see the product you’re selling.
In Shoot It, I talk about finding a background for your products that is unique to you. Something your customers can see anywhere online and instantly recognize as yours, whether they’ve seen the product before or not. (Dear every seller on Etsy, your white backgrounds make you look like everybody else.) That was what I loved about the fabric on fabric shots. You knew it was Splityarn before knowing it was Splityarn. While I think photographing the background in the same fabric is fun, and *I* can see the products just fine, I’m also incredibly familiar with them. You don’t sew 45 wee pouches of the same fabric without getting to know the little suckers by heart.
I started thinking about what I could do to help make the products clearer. Photograph them on the alternate colourway of the same print? Maybe. Find a neutral fabric that coordinated? Boring.
WAIT. I KNOW! Someone in my quilt guild recently finished a project using chalkboard cloth.
I can draw the fabric motif on and clear away the visual static at the same time. It’s still unique to me (at least I haven’t seen anyone else doing it) and the background combined with the product identifies it as Splityarn. Happy making.
The TL;DR version: The shop has been updated.
So next time I get cranky about something negative, ask me if I am hearing noise? Or if am I listening to the problem.
I’m also introducing two new pouch sizes! The first is the Perfect Pouch which I think is, um, perfect. It’s big enough for a folded 8.5 x 11 pattern, or a 6″ embroidery hoop, or all the fiddly bits for your GPS in your car, and that kind of thing. The 2nd pouch is the Gigantor Pouch. This one is limited edition, and I won’t do many more because they’ll be unwieldy to ship. It is so gigantic that it will fit a 15″ Macbook AND a long pouch with all your cords in. Or a folder of legal sized paper! Or a 10″ emboidery hoop! It’s bananas how big this thing is.
They’re all listed in the shop now.
The next update will be in two(ish) weeks with another couple new fabrics. If you want to have a preview before the shop goes live, get on the shop update newsletter list!
We found this willow tree with yellow leaves that looked shockingly springy.
And Rebecca was charming, as always.
I got to put some photoshop skills to the test when this dude in an orange jacket walked into frame.
Now you see him…
now you don’t. (Cambridge now has new office buildings. Ha.)
The next day we were not as lucky. The temperature dipped well below freezing and the wind was fierce. Our poor model Doran toughed it out though. You’d never know by looking at these photos that her teeth were chattering between outfit changes.
We did our best to keep her in a coat and scarf until the last minute and then woomph, she’d throw off the coat and managed to look happy in spaghetti straps while the wind howled all around her. She’s a tough cookie!
You can see the rest of the photos in the collection on Ravelry.]]>
But then! We had houseguests this weekend and one of them was an adorable 18 month old named Fox. When they left on Sunday, I was dying to sit at the sewing machine and make something. Anything. Quick Robin, to the Pinterests! Browse, browse, pin, nope, pin, browse, wee fox paper piecing block!
I cracked open the stash, picked a foxyish colour, fired up the Craftsy paper piecing class, and fumbled my way through. Paper piecing eats more fabric than I expected. There’s so much detritus left afterwards and that suprised me.
I toyed with buttons for the eyes but after letting it sit over night, I knew embroidery was the way to go. Before sandwiching the quilt I’d added a light interfacing to the back where the eye buttons would go. The interfacing would have added stability if I’d sewed buttons on but as it turns out it was just an added pain in the ass for the embroidery. Oops! The end result is ridiculously sweet though.
The fabric is Kona Cotton all from the stash. I used a variegated green Gutermann thread for the grass blades and a matching blue nameless cotton thread for the wind.
I added hanging pockets to the back by folding two squares and sewing them on with the binding. That piece of wood in there is a snippet of an old bamboo fence. It should be a dowel but who has time to go to Home Depot?
And used my Martha Stewart Self-Inking Stamp Set to make the label.
Has this adventure kindled an interest in paper piecing? If you’d asked in the first 10 minutes while I was figuring out what to sew where, I’d have said hell no. But now that it’s finished, I quite like it.
I’ve already started sniffing around for the next project so that should tell you something. Have you seen any paper piecing patterns that you’re dying to make? Let me know!
Blogs are dead they say, but eff those people (I might be one of them). I still have a need to document my sewing though and there’s no Ravelry for quilting and I quit my day job and I just reopened the shop, and I’ve been doing heaps of photoshoots so here I am. Time to tidy up, update themes, fix broken links and all that.
So, uh. Hi!
At the end of May I flew to Denver to shoot the class. It was scary, but super fun. I tend to tell stories better in photo format, but since I was in front of the camera instead of behind it, I’ll take a stab at how it went:
Things I Learned Shooting a Class for *Craftsy
Looking directly into the camera when speaking? Harder than it looks.
Speaking normally into a camera? Also harder than it looks. (Sounds? No. Looks. No. Sounds.)
Time it took for me to shout “LINE!?” 2 seconds.
Number of times I said, “sorry!” I lost count (I’m Canadian, I can’t help it!)
Ways my brain reminded me the internet is forever, thus freaking me out? 4 and then I lost count.
Number of times burping on camera? 5. I think. It may have been more. (I was nervous, ok?!)
Number of hours spent in Spanx? 30+ (Which is 29 hours more than I would have liked.)
Minutes spent debating whether Americans would understand the command “Control-Zed”? 7
Ways the production crew at Craftsy rock? 400 and then I lost count
And y’all, the low humidity in Denver made my hair super flat and super shiny. I should live there all the time! (Having a makeup lady every day would be pretty kickass too.)
Want to see the trailer?
And here’s the official spiel about Shoot It! (Apparently I’m irreverent! Hee!)
If you’ve ever noticed the beautiful photography on someone’s blog, book, published patterns or Etsy page, and wondered, “How do they DO that?” this is the class for you. Quality photos make the difference between marketing that sings and stuff that makes you look like a total amateur.
Knitter and photographer Caro Sheridan explains it all – from planning before the shoot to editing afterwards, and all the details in between. Whether you’re looking to shoot product pics, or just want to learn more about photography, you will benefit from Caro’s upbeat, irreverent and detailed instruction.
What You’ll Learn in Shoot It!
- How to plan and execute a photoshoot from start to finish
- Making a storyboard and shot list to create the story you want to tell
- What a pro keeps in her tool kit – from lipstick to legal forms
- How to capitalize on the fancy features of whatever camera you have
- Directing your model and getting the hero shot
- Photo fundamentals like composition and color
- The basics of digital editing – without expensive software
*You know about Craftsy, right? They have online classes that you buy and watch on your schedule and own forever. There are instructor interactions, ways to make notes during the video, student forums; it’s awesome! Their online classes are better than a live class – you can take it as many times as you want, whenever you want and access never expires. I’ll admit, when I first checked it out last year I was sort of skeptical, but OMG it’s fantastic. I’m taking the quilting Block of the Month class as well as Miriam’s Lace Shawl Design class and they’re fab. I honestly thought I wouldn’t groove on learning this way but I’m a convert.
So my Shoot It! class is there! Check it out! Come join me in the class! You can sign up anytime and the class is yours forever to watch whenever you want. COME PLAY!]]>
I always love when Thea pings to set up a photoshoot. She comes stocked with ideas for styling, props and location. Invariably we leave the prop bag in the car, but I love the energy she brings to a shoot. She’s so much fun to shoot with, and I think that comes through in the photos. I never have to ask her to laugh or smile, she’s always just ready.
We had a specific beachy theme in mind for this shoot, but the weather wasn’t cooperating in the slightest. We’d planned on cut-offs and flipflops, but what we got was drizzle and temperatures in the 30’s. We drove around the North Shore for a bit looking for just the right spot, but in the end, this beach in Nahant was perfect. We got out of the car to take some test shots and it was SO DAMN COLD we decided to just knock the whole thing out right then and there.
The weather isn’t everything though, I think we got that beachy casual feeling without the sunshine and warm weather.
The pattern is Charleston Tea, by Thea Colman. (Or find it here on Rav.)]]>
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(Frick is gorgeous, so that makes it easy too.)
Sur bicyclette! (because nothing gives French flair like a striped shirt and a bicycle, right? Ha!)
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And lovely Specs,
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The pattern is the Frick Frick Beret which you can get here on Ravelry.