knitting, Photography

#Beautifying March #Instagram

One of my ‘things to do in 2016’ is to learn more about photography and back in January I signed up to do a ‘Photography for Knitting & Crochet Course’ with Emily Quinton at Makelight. However, due to unforeseen circumstances the course was rescheduled to March and I couldn’t attend as it clashed with the  C&G knitting weekend.

So instead I signed up to take one of the Makelight online courses Beautify your Instagram.

I’ve had an Instagram account for a while but only really used it for taking pictures of the cats or pretty sunsets. But spending time looking through other people’s pictures made me realise that it is actually a great platform to engage with other like-minded knitters and crafters.

The course encourages you to use your iphone or smartphone for taking and editing pictures (this appealed to me very much as my DSLR scares me bit!) And each day for 5 days a video from Emily would drop into my inbox offering lot’s of inspiration and handy tips on how to take beautiful flatlay photographs.

Some of the many topics covered included: using natural light, composition and styling, using hashtags, creating a beautiful gallery and forward planning. There was also a Facebook Group set up for all students on this course so we could discuss the lessons and share ideas.

I couldn’t wait to get started! One of the first things Emily asks you to do is think about what you want to use Instagram for and the audience that you want to attract and engage in. That was easy for me – it’s all about the knitting!

I started by gathering a selection of different backgrounds that I could use in the pictures.

Photograph backgrounds.JPG

I already had a selection of 12″ x 12″ scrapbooking papers, a neutral colour cotton table mat, and peeking through top left is a dark grey slate tile which I bought for a couple of pounds at Homebase, which works surprisingly well as a background. Next time I go I’m going to look out for a marble tile too.

Then I put together a prop box of things that could be used in the photographs such as buttons, stitch markers, pretty little boxes, beads, notebooks etc

Prop Box.JPG

It’s been rather fun to look at things with fresh eyes and think how it could work in a photograph – I’ve dusted off many trinkets and keepsakes hidden in the back of a cupboard that I could include in future photo’s 🙂

Here is the first lot of photo’s taken at the start of the course, playing around with content and composition.


One of the tip’s Emily gives is to make sure you post regular content on Instagram and to that effect I have been posting up 1 photo a day. For me this requires a bit of forward planning as I work during the week so I have to set up my photo’s at the weekends. I am hoping that the more practiced I get the quicker I will become, but at the moment I am spending quite a bit of time thinking about each image – for every one I post there are at least 10 more that didn’t make the cut!

Here are a few that I am really happy with:

Vintage purse

The starting point for this photo was the gorgeous vintage evening bag given to me by my mother-in-law, so I went for a silver theme.

Starting a shawl

This one is of the start of a new project, I noticed that tea features quite a bit in styled Instagram pics so I thought I would give it a go too.

Stitch samples

Knitting and flowers seem to be a winning combination 🙂 (The stitch samples here are the Roman Stripe stitch and the Eiffel Tower Stitch).

And finally….introducing the cat lay!

Cat lay

Er, Mr. Pea!!!

Mr Pea

He does like to ‘help’ with things 🙂

The course has given me so much to think about and I have very much enjoyed the new channel of creativity it has inspired. If you are interested in learning more about the course details can be found on the Makelight Website.

And if you are on Instagram do come and say hello, I am on there as @jemarrowsmithknits


knitting, Photography

Photography & Knitting

Happy New Year!

As a PA by trade I love a spot of forward planning and the start of the new year is a great chance to do just that. I took the opportunity of the break between Christmas and New Year to work on some unfinished projects and think about things that I would like to accomplish this year.

One thing that I have always wished I could do better is to take better photographs so over Christmas I enrolled on the Craftsy Course ‘Shoot It – A Product Photography Primer’ with Caro Sheridan. It’s a 10 lesson online course that teaches you how to take beautiful shots of your handmade products and garments. At 2 and a half hours it wasn’t a long course but it did offer some useful tips on composition, colour and post processing. A couple of areas I wish there had been a bit more content on were on camera settings and lighting. However, it was great as a starter course and the instructor really knew her stuff. And now I want to learn more!

So next Saturday I am off to London to do a ‘Photography for Knitting and Crochet Course‘ with Emily Quinton from Makelight and Kate from A Playful Day. I can’t begin to tell you how much I am looking forward to it!

I also signed up to the free online taster course with Makelight, every day for 5 days Emily sends an e-mail with hints and tips designed to improve and inspire your photography. I am on day 4 and there has been much to think about, including how to use Instagram better. I have had an Instagram account for a while now but not really paid much attention to it so I spent some time the other day looking at other people’s photo’s and it has really inspired me to get more creative with my pictures.

If you are on Instagram I would love to see you there, I am @jemarrowsmith so do pop by and say hello!

Another thing I want to improve on this year is using Ravelry better to document projects and stash. It’s a chance to delve back into the stash and think a bit more about what I have and what I can make with it. I love that Inspiration Knits recently declared 2016 the ‘Year of Yarn Stash Love‘ and has invited people to join in by sharing photo’s on Instagram of yarn stash and WIP’s with the hashtag #yarnstashlove

So here is my offering for today, my most favourite yarn ever! This gorgeous silk and baby camel blend from Copperfield Yarns and hand dyed by Oliver Twists was purchased at The Knitting & Stitching Show in Alexandra Palace in 2014 and I am still searching for the perfect pattern for it…

Copperfield Yarns Oliver Twist

In knitting news I have finished my Spectra which I started at the brilliant workshop with Stephen West in Dec. It’s blocking at the moment but will post some pictures soon.

I have also nearly finished Peggy Sue, I just need to add the button bands.

Peggy Sue Progress

My next project is going to be a shawl that I am designing as part of the C&G knitting course. I am going to be using the Uncommon Thread Tough Sock yarn in colours (top to bottom) Bois, Tea Smoked and Squirrel Nutkin.

Uncommon Thread Tough Sock

2016 is already looking to be an exciting year with lots of fun things planned including making my first custom made sweater, a knitting weekend and a trip to Iceland! I do hope you will join me along the way 🙂

Until next time, happy knitting! x


Let There Be Light!

One thing I am trying to improve at the moment is my photography skills. If you are a regular reader you will probably have noticed my Sunday Stitch sample photography varies in quality from week to week. I think some of this is down to the fact that it’s winter and there are few daylight hours at the weekend in which to get some quality photo’s, but mostly it’s down to lack of knowledge on how to work a camera properly!

Last week an e-mail popped into my inbox from Interweave Studios ‘How to Create a DIY Photo Studio: Get Professional Results at Home’ It was details on a Web Seminar with professional photographers, the Shibaguyz,  which explored how to get professional looking photographs of items at home by building basic photography equipment with everyday items. This was perfect for me!

During the 1 hour webinar, the Shibaguz talked about different types of cameras and it was a revelation to me that a phone camera can be just as effective for taking professional photo’s as a really expensive one! They also covered natural light vs artifical light, I had always thought that to get the best results from photographing yarn and knitting, this had to be done in natural daylight but again this is not always the case. The class covered how to make your own light box for taking photo’s of small items, even when it is dark outside!  Other areas covered were how to utilise the space around you to create the best setting for your photographs, and they also touched on diffusing and bouncing light. It was a lot to cover in 1 hour but I came away feeling really inspired and immediately went in search of a big cardboard box to make my own light box….ta da!


As I photograph my samples from above I cut out 2 large rectangles each side for the lamps and a big hole at the top to take the photo’s through.


I then covered the side windows with tracing paper and added some decorative paper at the bottom.


I popped out to get a couple of cheap lamps from Homebase then it was time to put it to the test!



Here is the result…


Daylight was fading fast but I took a shot of this same sample using natural daylight to compare the results. What a difference!


I have a lot to learn about photography but I am so pleased to have discovered this cheap and cheerful top tip. Now where did I put the rest of those samples…..