Friday, July 16, 2010

Review: Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs

I recently bought a gorgeous book called Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs by Edie Eckman and I'm just loving it. The cover caught my eye with it's incredible colours and textures, and I couldn't pass it up! I've been carrying it in my yarnbag all summer and showing it to every yarncrafter I know.

There are so many cool motifs to play with to construct blankets or even just yarnbomb the town in (not that I admit to participating in such subversive activities ;) ). It's spiral-bound so it lays flat while you read and stitch, the patterns are written out in easy, common terms as well as graphic chart, and the pictures are in gorgeous, full colour. There are patterns for all skill levels here, though none of them look too daunting if you are familiar with the basic stitches. This cover alone, worthy of hours of admiration, makes me smile every time I look at it.

I highly recommend this book to my fellow hookers!

Now playing: Evil Genius Orchestra - Han Solo And The Princess
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Creating Amigurumi Episode 2

Wow. Episode two is finally out of the gate after two weeks of recovery from a pinched nerve in my back (thank God for a Massage Therapist from heaven and an incredible Chiropractor, both of which finally got me out of bed rest).

In this episode, I pick up where we left off after our first round, and demonstrate how to single crochet in the round with regular single crochet increases. You'll also see how to use a stitch marker and, I have to admit, you'll learn that fluorescent pink isn't probably the best colour to be using in a video demonstration with artificial lighting. Yikes.

I used some new video editing software (Cyberlink PowerDirector 8) that I'm not 100% comfortable with yet, but am getting there. My video camera is a HP v5060h, which looked incredible when I was shopping for a new video camera.

Photo courtesy of Hewlett Packard.

I'm really happy with how easy it is to use, but really ticked off that the format it records is .mov. I've gotten used to using Windows Movie Maker to edit my videos, but it doesn't recognize quicktime's .mov format, so that meant not only looking around for a decent editor that does, but also meant having to pay for said editor. I had the camera for several months and returning it to Walmart isn't really an option now. So I bought the software (how else would I spend the little money I recieve from for making these special videos for them, huh?) and can now properly edit the footage. My new problem is that my videos are still turning out blurry despite the quality of this camera. I'm sure it's probably a focus and lighting issue (I'm leaning to macro with these close up demonstrations, and perhaps I shouldn't try to get so close). Not only that, but what quality of file should I be making? An 8 minute HD video ran 395MB and takes an hour and a half to export, making it difficult to hand to my editor at for her approval. I mean, I don't even know if that HD video looks better than this or anything. How do I make these decisions??? Help!

As it stands, despite my little old Canon A570 making me a "YouTube Amigurumi-teaching superstar", *chuckle!* I still am very much a newbie at the whole movie-making process and while I'm happy to oblige all those people who write me everyday asking for advice and more videos, I still feel like I should be able to give them better product than I seem to be putting out there. So if you are a movie-making genius and you have advice for me, lay it on me! I'd be happy to hear it. Meanwhile, I'll keep muddling through trying to learn as much as I can, for as long as I have fun doing it!

Thanks for the encouragement, everyone!

Now playing: Black Uhuru - Right Stuff
via FoxyTunes