Saturday morning cartoons

It’s Saturday, but Mr. Kninja has work this morning, so I’m at home with the monkeys, trying to work up the enthusiasm to come up with something fun to do.  I’m thoroughly worn out.  This week was a busy one at Casa Kninja.  It was a long series of a lot of little things that needed doing, culminating in the yearly IEP meeting for the middle Kninja child yesterday.  I’m pooped.

Earlier this week, the Beetle Tracks pattern went live on the Knit Picks site.  This means a decrease in the price to $1.99, so if you’ve already purchased the pattern at the original $3.50 price, next time you purchase one of my patterns, let me know and I’ll give you a $1.50 refund on the purchase.  There are a lot of lovely patterns up on Knit Picks through their Independent Designer Program, so if you haven’t checked it out yet, now’s the time to do it!

I knit the new sample in Andean Treasure in Meringue.  It’s a lovely cream with a slight golden tone, and I actually think I’d like to use some for a sweater project in future.  My McQueen Knockoff is knit in Andean Treasure, and it’s one of my most worn knits.  (Incidentally, I think it would be nice to do an occasional return to an old project to see how it’s holding up and how often it’s worn.)  I wasn’t as sure about the yarn when I was knitting with it, but after wearing the sweater repeatedly for over a year, I have to say that it’s held up well, with some pilling, and that’s it’s very comfortable and warm, and the fit is still good.  This is better than I can say for a number of my sweaters where the yarn made a more favorable first impression!  The Andean Treasure has gotten softer and softer with wearing, and I love the way it looks.

We took pictures on one of our weekend walks on a recent (rare) day without rain.  I’m crazy proud of Mr. Kninja for this picture.  I don’t think he or I have ever taken such a good modeled shot between us.  I’m not a model and he’s not a photographer, and I think we muddle along pretty well for all that, but neither of us has an easy time with our photo shoots!  I feel silly posing and he’s dealing with a lot of technical stuff and trying to get a good shot that doesn’t make me look like an idiot and that also shows off the knitwear, and by gum, it’s tricky!

In the interest of full disclosure and also in keeping with previous posts on beauty and feminine ideals, I will say that all of my photos are edited in Photoshop, by me, and that I do some smoothing of my skin.  I tend to break out, even at the ripe old age of 31, and I have some minor scarring from previous breakouts, so I’m very self conscious about my skin.  I try very hard not to smooth out my freckles and other detail when I’m cleaning up my pictures, and I don’t change anything about the knitwear other than a little color correction, but my vanity is appeased only with a little clean up to my face.  I do not change the shape of my body, though.

Photos for this sort of thing are interesting.  They have a double aim.  On the one hand, you want them to accurately represent the knitwear to the customer, and to show them what they’ll get if they knit your pattern.  And on the other hand, you also want to present an idealized form, not so much of the knitwear, as of the model, because photos tell stories.  And we musn’t forget that these pictures are selling something.  I’m not a professional model and I don’t go as far as a company with a lot of money would to try to sell my patterns.  I have grey hair and wrinkles and my eyes get red around the rims, and I’m not so much of an expert or a liar that I can correct all those things in post.  But I am trying to show you a more idealized form of myself a lot of the time when I take photos of my knitting.  It’s more fun to think about walking around in nature than sitting on a couch, which is my more usual state of affairs.

While you do generally see the outfits I’d be inclined to wear anyway (that coat is one I wear almost daily when it’s at all cool out), I have found that since I’ve begun modeling my own creations, my clothing purchases have changed.  I tend to eye things with a thought of how it would look in a photo, or with knitwear on over it.  I buy more plain colored tees than I did in the past.  There’s a definite, but small, change in my wardrobe in consideration of how it would help with displaying my knitting.

One blatant exception to the daily wear is the wedding dress I donned for the Entrechat shoot.  I do not usually wander the beach barefoot in a wedding dress, however tempting it might be.  That was a fairly Rowan inspired shoot.  Rowan’s really good at getting into the heads of knitting fangirls of English literature and forcing us to picture ourselves out on a moor or at the seaside or in a lovely cafe, wearing our beautiful knitwear that makes us look so lovely that the handsome man wandering in from the side of the picture is sure to fall in love with us immediately.  I can’t compete, but I can create my own fantasies.

It’s like Saturday morning cartoons.  It’s all a lot of fun to watch Saturday morning cartoons, but the point is not just the entertainment, but what the entertainment sells.  And in the case of knitting patterns, photography is the cartoon that sells the toy.  I’m not trying to be cynical.  I have no problem with people making money from their work, myself included, and I have no real problem with the fact that good photography is what sells the pattern.  It’s not just the knitted item, but the story behind it.  The best selling patterns on Ravelry are usually accompanied by photos that don’t just show you what you’re making, but also tell you a lovely story.  So I’m trying to work on my photography and posing and storytelling skills.

(Please note: most of this post was actually written on Saturday morning before the weekend got crazy busy and I lost track of everything!  It’s most definitely not Saturday morning as I hit the “Publish” button.)

Anyway, I think I’ll describe my amateur photography/modeling process in more detail in future posts, to offer a look inside this particular sausage factory.  I’m learning a lot by not knowing what I’m doing, and hopefully others can benefit from all the things I try that don’t work and the few things that do.

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4 Responses to “Saturday morning cartoons”

  1. mick Says:

    Thanks for this post! It really is interesting to consider modeling designs, especially when they’re of a product you want to sell. The above photo is absolutely lovely, by the way!

  2. WillyG Says:

    I agree…thanks for the thoughts!

  3. Leah Says:

    Thanks for such a thoughtful post. You touched on a lot of things about the knitwear business that knitters don’t often think about!

  4. Sheldon Says:

    You are absolutely correct about taking pictures of your FO. Its not about the FO per se—it really is about presenting it in its idealized form. Great post.

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