This and That

Random bits of my life

Archive for September, 2009

HDR Photo in Late Afternoon

Posted by Avital Pinnick on September 29, 2009

I still play with HDR occasionally. I think that it has some potential when it’s done well. Too often, though, the results look like rather surreal:

Construction site

It’s an interesting effect but I’m not sure one can still call it photography at this point.

Today I took a photo of the front of my workplace in the late afternoon. Normally, when the sun is low in the sky, the other side of the building is in deep shadow, as this normal exposure shows:

Assignment 38: Buildings

HDR produces a characteristic flattening of tones when it brings up the details in the shadows. I tried for a more natural result in this photo (gotta watch that halo-ing!). Photomatix was used for the HDR image generation and tone-mapping. I’ve never gotten the hang of HDR tone-mapping with Photoshop CS2, which also takes a much longer time to generate the 32-bit image.

Assignment 38: Buildings

The last time I tried HDR, I used a Canon Powershot S5 and Photoshop. I think I’m getting better results with the Rebel XSi and Photomatix.

Almost every HDR tutorial I can think of has been collected on Tutorial Blog.

Posted in HDR, photography | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Going to the Dogs

Posted by Avital Pinnick on September 29, 2009

My knitting, that is. I don’t own a dog and probably never will. I’m more of a cat and small rodent person because I’m lazy and cats and rodents don’t have to be walked. But I do like dogs. Friends asked me to knit a dog sweater for their minpin (truthfully, she’s more mini-mutt than minpin) because it’s so hard to find dog sweaters in Israel.

Dog sweater in progress

I started the dog sweater just before Yom Kippur, using the Magic Loop techique, which allows you to use a long circular needle in place of double-pointed needles or a short circular. After the first couple rounds, handling the twisty loops becomes much easier, but I confess that I switched to 16″ circulars after about 6 inches. I would definitely use this technique if I had only long circulars (which tend to be the only circulars readily available in Israel) but I can knit much faster with small circulars and double-pointed needles. So it’s a useful technique and I’m glad to have learned it, but I will probably use my painstakingly gathered collection of small circulars and dpns in the future.

I knitted 3/4 of the dog sweater, loosely based a pattern posted by SpunKnit. In the end, I ripped it out and started over with a larger needle. The original size, with the doubled Sirdar Snuggly Double Knit, produced a very dense sweater. Laura said she wanted a cosy, warm dog sweater, not a bullet-proof vest.

On a different note, we’re well into the Jewish holidays. Yom Kippur was yesterday. I came through the fast without a headache, although I’m a caffeine addict and I don’t bother cutting down before fasts. Lucky physiology, I guess.

As I was getting my morning cup of espresso and frothed milk in the cafeteria, I took this picture:

Hodesh Elul

Where else but in Israel would you find a stack of pamphlets on the religious laws of Elul (last month, a month of repentance and introspection) beside the cutlery dispenser in a work cafeteria?

Gmar tov!

Posted in Israel, knitting, needlework | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Updated Teller’s Bakery Entry

Posted by Avital Pinnick on September 25, 2009

I updated my entry on Teller’s Bakery after I received the latest Jerusalem Kosher News email from Yehiel Spiro. Teller’s kashrut certification is Jerusalem Rabbinate Mehadrin. A copy of the certificate is posted on the Jerusalem Kosher News site. Kudos to Yehiel for providing a valuable public service!

I haven’t had much time to post this week because we are in the thick of the Jewish High Holidays. Rosh Hashana was last weekend. Yom Kippur is this Monday and Sukkot is the week after. As a friend said, Jewish holidays are like an eating disorder: feast – fast – feast – fast …. 🙂 My son was at his yeshiva high school for Rosh Hashana, came back briefly for the fast (Tsom Gedalia) following Rosh Hashana, went back to school, and will be returning on Monday night, when the fast of Yom Kippur ends. Then he’s home for a couple weeks for the Sukkot vacation.

I wish you all an easy fast, if you’re fasting on Yom Kippur, and G’mar Hatima Tova.

Posted in Food, Israel | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Panorama of North Jerusalem

Posted by Avital Pinnick on September 21, 2009

It was too quiet at work today. Is everyone sleeping off the heavy eating of Rosh Hashanah? Or has the fast of Tzom Gedaliah induced a catatonic state in the project managers at work? I went out on the fifth floor balcony and tried shooting a panorama of Jerusalem looking towards the neighbourhood of Ramot. It’s hard to get the full impact of the photo here. If you click the photo and go to the Flickr page, you can see the larger sizes.

North Jerusalem Panorama

I learned some things:

1. If there are clouds in the sky on a windy day, it’s nearly impossible to align them.
2. Seven photos is probably a bit too many for a beginner. I should have started with something less ambitious, like three or four photos.
3. The Photomerge function in Photoshop requires quite a lot of computer power, so it’s a good idea to downsize the photos first, unless you enjoy staring at an hourglass for 20 minutes.
4. Fix exposure problems in the camera. If the photos are too dark, they are going to be hard to align. I did a test shot on the sixth floor, then walked down to the fifth floor, chatting with a friend on the way. Probably 15-20 minutes had elapsed, long enough for the sun to sink, more clouds to blow around, etc. I should have done another test shot but I didn’t think of it at the time.
5. Don’t even think about fixing the exposure problems in the individual photos and then merging. It just isn’t worth the headache.
6. Allow plenty of overlap because you’re going to have to crop a lot more than you expected: “Whew! Finally got the horizon nicely aligned. Oh, darn, those roads at the bottom don’t meet….”

This panorama shot is made from seven separate photos, taken with a polarizing filter.

Posted in panoramas, photography | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Rosh Hashana 5770

Posted by Avital Pinnick on September 18, 2009

My last post of the year! The Jewish year, that is. May you all have a sweet, healthy, and prosperous new year.

I’ve been cooking in preparation for the two-day holiday. Here’s a photo of the round challahs I baked this afternoon. I also made two apple-walnut cakes but they’re not very photogenic. Tasty but definitely not pretty! This is the first time I’ve used this method for weaving the round challot. I found the instructions on line at

Rosh Hashana 5770

Posted in Food | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Typophile Film Fest Video

Posted by Avital Pinnick on September 17, 2009

I’ve been very busy getting ready for the Jewish high holidays, so I’ve been reading a lot of food blogs and sites on the Web.

I found this lovely stop-action video of a title sequence from the Typophile Film Festival.

I dream of doing something like this someday with my camera (and the oodles of time that I will have on my hands if a secret admirer decides to pay me millions to retire and devote myself full-time to art). The biggest hurdle I always seem to face is the music. I don’t have a talented composer in the family or any notion of how to find good music clips or how to deal with copyright, so I just make the occasional video and hope that no one notices. What do other people do?

From Serious Eats

Posted in Food, videos | Leave a Comment »

Periodic Table Sweater Goes Viral

Posted by Avital Pinnick on September 15, 2009

My Periodic Table sweater has taken on a life of its own. It’s fascinating to see its lifecycle on the Web. By the way, not every one likes the sweater. I learned to ignore nasty comments.

As far as I can tell, this is the progress my sweater took:

1. Sister Diane of Craftypod tweeted it on August 10, 2009.

2. Rachel Hobson picked up the tweet and posted the sweater on Craftzine on August 11.

3. Neatorama picked it up on August 11 from Craftzine.

4. Cory Doctorow posted it to Boing Boing (even has its own verb, “boing-boinged”) on August 12.

From this point the chronology gets a little hazy…

4. German knitting forum on August 12.

5. Geekologie on August 13.

6. B3tq newsletter on August 14.

7. Friday Randomness on August 14.

8. Makezine on August 14.

9. Discover Magazine in September (not sure of date when the slideshow went live).

As of this morning that page had 15,900 hits and the Flickr photo, 382 hits.

Spawn of Periodic Table Sweater: The Shawl

I am truly grateful to Gilding the Silly for undertaking to complete the Periodic Table of the Elements on a shawl. I have to hang my head in shame and say that when I knitted the sweater years ago, in the days before Wikipedia, I had no idea that new elements had been discovered in the 1990s, so the last row of elements is incomplete. I had no desire to reknit the sweater, so I’m very glad that Gilding is doing just that, on a Bond knitting frame. She is working the plain stockinette fabric with stripes and duplicate-stitch embroidering the divider lines and letters. Also, she is working the Periodic Table sideways, which fits the dimensions much better. (That should make it easier to update IUPAC approves more elements!)

Periodic Table Shawl

Posted in knitting, needlework | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

More Leaf Tally Videos

Posted by Avital Pinnick on September 14, 2009

Shortly after Tess made her video, David Collyer, an Australian Arachne member (and a very fine lacemaker and musician), published his video on leaf tallies.

David’s Tønder lace is amazing. Below is a photo of an edging in progress. I think it’s also pinned to his lace pillow in the video.

Here’s another video in Italian by Francesca, a Cantu lacemaker.

Now about those hundreds of bobbins — although it looks very intimidating when the bobbins are fanned out, the lacemaker is not working with all of them simultaneously! The hands only handle two pairs (four bobbins) at a time, crossing and twisting the pairs. The rest are kept in waiting, often coralled with stitch holders or homemade bobbin holders. Beginners usually start with a simple pattern like cloth stitch, worked with 6 or 8 pairs, then progress to a bookmark or narrow edging.

Posted in bobbin Lace, needlework | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Teaching Yourself Bobbin Lace

Posted by Avital Pinnick on September 9, 2009

Bobbin lace collar, “Johannan Ruusu,”, from Roses in Bobbin Lace, by Eeva-Liisa Kortelahti. I worked it in linen thread, Bockens 90/2, probably around 1998. Wish I’d kept records!

Kortelahti bobbin lace collar

Collar in progress:

Kortelahti collar in progress

You’ve been bitten by the bobbin lace bug? You want to start but aren’t sure how? My first piece of advice is to buy good materials from the start. Stay far, far away from the Bobbin Lace Kit sold by Lacis, Joanne’s, and a few other places. It’s cheap but the materials are of such low quality that they are frustrating to work with and they’ll never be used again. Get your materials from The Lacemaker, Snowgoose, or Helen van Sciver. These merchants (who are not paying me to say nice things about them) will give you personalized attention. Their supplies are excellent quality and often you can call them and ask them to put together a kit for you, based on the kind of lace you want to make (if you already know), your budget, and needs.

It does cost more than knitting or crochet or tatting (it’s also a lot more demanding, which is probably one of the reasons that it’s not a widespread hobby these days). On the other hand, if you decide that bobbin lace isn’t for you, the supplies can easily be sold on eBay. Also, most of the initial cost is up-front. Once you have a pillow, pins, bobbins, and patterns, the cost of thread is minimal.

I recommend starting with Torchon because it is straightforward, logical, and not too fiddly. No leaf tallies! It works up fairly quickly and looks quite handsome in fine or coarse threads.

Some good books for beginners:

Posted in bobbin Lace, needlework | Tagged: , | 5 Comments »

Leaf Tallies in Bobbin Lace

Posted by Avital Pinnick on September 9, 2009

I haven’t done bobbin lace in ages, but I wanted to mention Tess’s video on making leaf tallies. These things are tricky! I know Tess from the Arachne lace list, which I moderate. I don’t use this method but I’m posting it because good videos on bobbin lace technique are not very common.

It’s a little tricky to see the tally itself because the camera is so far back and the light is dim, so here’s a close-up photo from an edging:

Cluny edge (closeup)

The trick is to get fat, nicely rounded leaves with smooth edges — not “holly” leaves!

I started this Cluny lace edging in December, 1998, for a bobbin lace demonstration/lecture that I gave at the Dec. 31 meeting of the Jerusalem Fiber Craftsmen, at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. The pattern is from Pamela Nottingham, Bobbin Lace Making, worked in Bockens 50/2 linen. It was completed in February 1999. When I started this edging, I had no idea that it would eventually have over 200 leaf tallies. I also didn’t realise how difficult it would be to keep talking during the lecture while working a leaf tally, which depends on such careful tensioning of the bobbins.

I drew threads from the edges of a piece of linen and triangle pin-stitched (not to be confused with the embroidery stitch of the same name) the edging to the fabric center.

Cluny bobbin lace handkerchief edging

UPDATE: Just found out about Jean Leader’s excellent drawings of a leaf tally. She also has a video, which is very clear.

Posted in bobbin Lace, needlework | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »