Saturday, October 27, 2012

Calendar of Hope

With so many fun things to discuss on the podcast, I haven't had a chance to tell you about this great opportunity to raise money to help eliminate breast cancer and since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I wanted to share this with you via the blog.

The Calendar of Hope is a collection of great knitting patterns and they are in their 5th year of publication and has raised over $5000 for Breast Cancer. 

The calendar contains 14 never-before-published knitting patterns.
You can download one of the for FREE patterns at to judge for yourself the quality of patterns.

All proceeds of the sale of these calendars (except of PayPal fees) go to whose goals are

  • To recruit one million healthy women of every age and ethnicity, including breast cancer survivors and women at high-risk for the disease.
  • To partner with breast cancer researchers and directly participate in the research that will eradicate breast cancer once and for all.
  • To challenge the scientific community to expand its current focus to include breast cancer prevention research conducted on healthy women.

We’ve come a long way in finding a cure for breast cancer. Now let's find the cause.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Episode 17

Episode 17

This Week’s Segments Included:
On the Needles
Off the Needles
From the Armchair
Crafty Adventures
On a Happy Note
Knitting in Passing
Quote of the Week

On the Needles
Color Affection Shawl

Off the Needles
Basic Cuff up Mittens - free pattern by Patti Pierce Stone


Peeta: free garter stitch, short row shawl pattern- mixes worsted and fingering weight yarns on size 8s

Tony the monster from the book More KnitWits which I got from the library. The pattern is by Katie Boyette. Shown in blue and black stripes. Super cute. I can see my nephews liking him.

Boot Toppers- I’m contemplating just creating my own pattern. I figure I’ll measure the circumference of my upper calf, do a gauge swatch, and then just whip together a very basic ribbed and cabled pattern.

From the Armchair

Urban Forest Knits

  • 5 pattern collection in eBook by Judy Marples 
  • Definitely take a look at this pattern collection! It would be a great addition to your library.
  • Don’t forget that this eBook is one of the prizes available for the Sept/Oct section of our holiday KAL

Dishcloth Diva by Deb Buckingham

  • This book features 20 patterns. I mentioned a few of my favorites. Well worth a look. Dishcloths are quick easy knit, would be great for some holiday gift sets, and are a great palette cleanser!
  • This is available as an ebook through Cooperative Press for $9.95 US or you can get the book and ebook versions together for $15.95 plus shipping.

The first ever Down Cellar Studio Knit-a-Long is in progress! We are up to 42 finished objects entered in Round 1 so far! Nearing the end of Round 1 so get those projects finished and entered before October 31st.

We have two Rounds of the KAL
1. Objects started on/after September 1st and finished by October 31st.
2. Objected started on/after November 1st and finished by December 31st.

Prizes be awarded by choosing using Random Number Generator at the end of each KAL.

Two prizes to announce so far for Round 1

  • OhLoops Skein of Yarn- Prize
  • Urban Forest Knits eBook provided by Judy Marples. 5 pattern ebook with gorgeous patterns, which I will review on next week’s show. Will link to the ebook in the show notes, so check it out before then! Great patterns. I’m already itching to cast one on!

For Round 2, I have the following prizes:

NY Sheep and Wool in Rhinebeck - October 20 & 21st
· Podcaster Meet-up: Saturday at 1p on the Hill near the entrance in the same spot as the Ravelry Meet-up which will be from 12p-1p.

Podcasters Attending:
Maria- Subway Knits Podcast 
Kristin- Yarngasm Podcast 
Sharon- TVKnitting Podcast 
Jen- Commuter Knitter Podcast 
Jen- Down Cellar Studio Podcast 
Karrie - Knit Purl Gurl Podcast 
Lori- Happy Crafter 207 Podcast 
Ellen and Jan from the TwinSet Design Podcast 
Tammy- The Proverbial Knitter 
Allison- Hollywood Knitter Podcast 
Laura- Apocalyptic Diner Podcast 
Emily from Watcha Swatchin Videocast 
Carin- Round the Twist Videocast 
Laura & Leslie- Knit Girllls Videocast 
Kim- Craft Stash Videocast 
Diane- Knitabulls Videocast 
Aimee and Darren- Knitting in Circles Videocast 
Amy & Megan- Stockinette Zombies Videocast 
Jadee- Twisted Strands Videocast 
Tina- Knitting Blooms Videocast 
Carolyn- Girlfriends Knitting Videocast 
Lisa- 90% Knitting Videocast 
Kari & Sue- Two Tangled Skeins Videocast 
Wendy & Sheila- Knit1HeartToo Videocast 
Vicki- DragonflySoars Videocast 
Kathryn & Michelle- 3 Stitches Videocast 
Julia- Sticks & Stones Videocast 
Melissa & Shawn- His & Hers Videocast 
Stephanie- Knitting Samurai Plus 1 Videocast 
Nicholette- 20 Minute Thrifty Knitter Videocast

My podcast buttons came in the mail. I ordered them from Tiny Peach Buttons on Etsy- super reasonably priced and I love how they came out, so check out that seller if you’re in the market for some pins.

Crafty Adventures

Last Saturday was woodchopping weekend at my house!
Boys- chop wood
Girls- made some food, sewing and knitting by the fire inside.

Fabric Pumpkin Tutorial

On a Happy Note

Fitting into smaller jeans (2 sizes smaller!) Hooray!

Quote of the Week

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.
-George Eliot

I’ll be back again in 2 weeks- but in the meantime, feel free to reach out to me!

Contact Info:
Ravelry: BostonJen
Ravelry Group: search Down Cellar Studio Podcast
Twitter: @BostonJen1
Show Notes:
Facebook: Down Cellar Studio Podcast
Pinterest: BostonJen

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Photography: Engagement Photo Shoot Tips

Engagement photo shoots are such a happy time. Spending a few hours with a couple who are totally in love is a lot of fun.  Whether you're doing a photo shoot for work or for pleasure, it is an afternoon well spent. 

But what do you need to do to get ready for the big day? Here are my tips from the engagement shoots I've done, using some photo examples from the more recent of the two.

Before the Shoot: 

Talk to the couple about what feel they're looking for. Serious and formal or casual and carefree? Maybe they want to wear their favorite football jerseys... get some ideas from them and then scout out some locations.

In terms of choosing a location, I’d try for something that has multiple different types of locations within walking distance (or perhaps a short drive). I did one shoot near the ocean but there were different areas along the shore- grassy areas, the beach itself, a dock where boats came in and a huge stretch of rock. Then the second shoot I did, we started out in downtown Boston in the Beacon Hill neighborhood, which had great brick and cobblestone streets and old buildings... then we walked to the Boston Common which is a park setting. Its nice to have different settings without involving too much travel time in your day.

If you have time and if you’re new at this, I’d recommend going to that location and scouting out good shots in advance of the shoot- ideally with someone else who will let you take some test shots of them. I did this before one shoot and my mom graciously came along with me. It helped me find different shots and see what angles would work well. It also took a lot of pressure off me on the actual day because it felt like I’d had a dress rehearsal.

Find ideas you like online. Use a pinterest board. Save some images to your phone or a Word document. Whatever works best for you. Or simply make a list of poses you'd like to try. If you get nervous, pull out your list. Bam! Your answers are right there. If nothing else, it will get your creative brain in motion...

The Day of the Shoot:
Take advantage of natural light but aim for morning or a couple hours before sunset so you’re not competing with bright mid-day sun.

ISO: 400 f/1.4 1/1600 

Get shots from a ton of different angles. Shooting from above can be really flattering- no double chin look from that position :) The lady you’re shooting will be happy about that.
ISO: 400 f3.5 1/100

Always aim to make the woman look beautiful. She’s likely the one who’s most interested in the whole photoshoot idea anyways.... that’s not to say to make the man look terrible, but you know what I mean. Aim to make her look slim and gorgeous and the couple will likely be satisfied with the photos. If her hair is out of place- fix it. Ask nicely before touching her if you’re not comfortable, but she can’t see herself and if you think she looks amiss, she probably will too when she gets the prints. Take a few seconds to make her look perfect.

ISO: 400 f/1.4 1/1225

Go for a wide-open aperture if you can.
ISO: 800 f1.4 1/2000

I almost exclusively use my 50mm 1.4 lens for photoshoots. I love it. I can get a nice crisp focus on faces and that really makes the shot. This is the only other lens I currently own for my DSLR and its a great investment. If you are looking for a lens, look into this one (and I'd strongly recommend saving the extra pennies to get the f1.4 over the cheaper 1.8).

Focus on each individual. Make them each the center of attention for a shot or two.

ISO: 400 f/1.4 1/200

ISO: 400 f4 1/125

Get some kissing shots. Its sweet. They'll appreciate it when they're 70, even if it feels a little cheesy now. Insider tip: Giving the soon-to-be-groom an alcoholic beverage or two in advance of the shoot is not a terrible idea. Just enough to loosen him up, mind you. You need a coherent subject.

ISO: 400 f4.5 1/160

Focus on the ring. Its special. Its new. Its something the bride will want to show off. Use the close-up on the ring to highlight special moments and small, more intimate touches between the couple. This is one of my favorite shots. Its not a traditional portrait- their heads are purposely cut off, but look how much emotion is still portrayed.
ISO: 400 f5 1/50

ISO: 400 f1.4 1/2000
ISO: 800 f.14 1/1600

Don't be afraid to get silly! Encourage them to tell each other jokes- or have some of your own at the ready. Go spur of the moment and try something you hadn't planned. It can pay off big!
ISO: 400 f/1.4 1/1000

A little tickling can go a long way. The person being tickled may obviously laugh, but getting the natural reaction of the tickler is even more priceless!

ISO: 400 f2.5 1/320

Mix up the backgrounds. A hanging flower basket below a window adds a little femininity and warmth to the brick and mortar of the city.
ISO: 800 f2.2 1/1800

Go for the shots that may not be so obvious. We can't see their faces, but we can feel the connection between these two. Its going to be a long {happy} road ahead.
ISO: 800 f1.4 1/2000

Don't forget that your subjects will need some direction. I wanted to capture another side of their faces that I hadn't yet seen. In this case, I asked them to look up at a lamp post. I think there was a bird nearby and I got talking about the bird... maybe we named the bird, or made up a silly story. When in doubt, give the direction and just keep talking. It will make even a fairly comfortable subject more at ease with a rather forced, unnatural situation- not to mention that the uneasy subject will be very grateful.
ISO: 800 f1.4 1/2000

ISO: 400 f8 1/20

Bring some props if you think it will help. A picnic blanket if you’re going to a park. Maybe some wine glasses if you want them to pretend to toast. A flower for the man to present to the woman... be creative. And again- make sure it fits what the couple is looking for.

I hope this is helpful for you budding photographers out there. My best advice it to practice, get familiar with your camera so that you can enjoy the experience. Do whatever you can to avoid being nervous and just have an enjoyable day!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Episode 16- Thrice as Nice

Thanks for listening to Episode 16! I was so happy to have Ryan and Kim join me for a couple segments on this episode!


On the Needles


Milk Run Shawl- on hold right now after Kim found 1 extra stitch on one side. Its in time out for now.


Color Affection Shawl: finally in section 3!
Used Cat Bordhi's YouTube video on short rows to help get me started.


Puffy Basketweave Baby Blanket
Continuing work on her first hat which is a pattern she's improvising on her own.

Off the Needles

Natural Cables Throw- check out Kim's FO photo. This afghan is beautiful!


2 Bow Headbands- free pattern by Beth Postelwait. 
Version 1: sky blue 
Version 2: purple notes on pattern page to indicate mods to make this child's size.

Odd Ends Cuff- free pattern by Carina Spencer

Great first project if you want to learn: i-cord cast on, mattress stitch, linen stitch.

Finished washcloth #7

In My Travels

Kim, Ryan and I talked about our adventures during the Greater Boston Yarn Crawl on Friday 9/28/12

First stop: JP Stitch & Knit

Jen bought some Cascade 220 Superwash. Ryan bought some gorgeous fabric remnants

We met Virginia Fitzgerald- fiber artist- who was absolutely lovely! All three of us did some stitches on her current fiber art.

We had dinner at Canary Square in JP- delicious! Try some white sangria while you're there. We enjoyed it very much.

Second stop: Stitch House in Dorchester

Jen bought:Mirasol Yarn 2 skeins each- pink, orange, turquoise, lime and off-white3 Amy Butler fabric remnants, a shawl pin, some wooden buttons and free sewing magazines

Ryan & Kim bought:

Classic Elite Yarns- Mountain Top Chalet in kit containing multiple colors to make the Coors Cowl, a pattern supplied by the Stitch House

Kim: 3 skeins of Malabrigo to make a cowl

Ryan: Amy Butler fabric remnants


Neighborly vest (stripy this time)

Stripy legwarmers like these ones

One Skein Boot Toppers (thanks to Robin from our group who posted hers in the Holiday KAL FO thread!) Love these.

From the Armchair

I've been listening to the Robinznest podcast hosted by Robin, a member of the Down Cellar Studio Ravelry Group. Link: Robinznest Knits Blog

And I've enjoyed watching Craft Stash with Kim C. I’m really enjoying Kim’s show! 

Thank you to Kim for creating a new logo for the Down Cellar Studio Podcast!

Life in Focus

This week I talked about ideas for an engagement photo shoot. Notes on this segment and more photo examples coming in a separate post. 


The first ever Down Cellar Studio Knit-a-Long is in progress! 32 finished objects when last I checked! You guys are just rocking this. Keep up the great work!

We have two Rounds of the KAL1. Objects started on/after September 1st and finished by October 31st.2. Objected started on/after November 1st and finished by December 31st.
Prizes be awarded by choosing using Random Number Generator at the end of each KAL. Enter as many times as you have finished projects that you will gift for the holidays (knit, crochet or spinning)

Two prizes to announce so far for Round 1

  • Urban Forest Knits eBook provided by Judy Marples. 5 pattern ebook with gorgeous patterns, which I will review on next week’s show. Will link to the ebook in the show notes, so check it out before then! Great patterns. I’m already itching to cast one on!

Upcoming Local Events:

Stitches East-  October 11-14

NY Sheep and Wool in Rhinebeck - October 20 & 21st

  • Podcaster Meet-up is official. We’ll be meeting up on Saturday at 1p on the Hill near the entrance where the Ravelry Meet-up is usually held. Podcasters I know will be there:
  • Maria- Subway Knits Podcast
  • Kristin- Yarngasm Podcast
  • Sharon- TVKnitting Podcast
  • Jen- Commuter Knitter Podcast
  • Jen- Down Cellar Studio Podcast
  • Karrie - Knit Purl Gurl Podcast
  • Lori- Happy Crafter 207 Podcast
  • Ellen and Jan from the TwinSet Design Podcast
  • Tammy- The Proverbial Knitter
  • Allison- Hollywood Knitter Podcast
  • Laura- Apocalyptic Diner Podcast
  • Emily from Watcha Swatchin Videocast
  • Carin- Round the Twist Videocast
  • Laura & Leslie- Knit Girllls Videocast
  • Kim- Craft Stash Videocast
  • Diane- Knitabulls Videocast
  • Aimee and Darren- Knitting in Circles Videocast
  • Amy & Megan- Stockinette Zombies Videocast
  • Jadee- Twisted Strands Videocast
  • Tina- Knitting Blooms Videocast
  • Carolyn- Girlfriends Knitting Videocast
  • Lisa- 90% Knitting Videocast
  • Kari & Sue- Two Tangled Skeins Videocast
  • Wendy & Sheila- Knit1HeartToo Videocast
  • Vicki- DragonflySoars Videocast

Feel free to come and say hi. I’ve ordered buttons with the new show logo so if you see me anywhere at Rhinebeck, ask for a button! :)

Crafty Adventures

Work in the studio continues. Dan and I picked out marine plywood to use for my counter tops. Dan made the cuts and put the counter in place. It still needs to be sanded, stained and sealed.

On a Happy Note

I started teaching my best friend Kris to knit! She's cast on and done the knit stitch, and she's a pro! So happy to share one of my favorite crafts with my very best friend!

Thanks to all of those who have contacted me and a special thanks to all of you who have left iTunes reviews in the last month!

I'll be back in 2 weeks.
Feel free to contact me in the meantime:

Contact Info:
Ravelry: BostonJen
Ravelry Group: search Down Cellar Studio Podcast
Twitter: @BostonJen1
Show Notes:
Facebook: Down Cellar Studio Podcast
Pinterest: BostonJen