This and That

Random bits of my life

Archive for January, 2010

Project 365 – January

Posted by Avital Pinnick on January 31, 2010

Today is January 31. I’ve managed to take a photograph every day for Project 365, although it wasn’t easy when I was tired or busy. These are the photos that I liked the most from January.

This pigeon was eating seeds in the park just after dawn. I had been trying to photograph the twin towers of Amman but realised that I just didn’t have a long enough lens to get a decent shot, so I started photographing birds instead. These brown pigeons look more interesting in the golden light of sunrise. Actually, almost everything looks better in that light!


These hyraxes were sitting unusually close together in the wadi. Sometimes they’re spread some distance apart or not even out of their burrows. This photo was also taken shortly after dawn, which is why they look redder than usual. The hyraxes live in a well-established colony near my home, so they’re an easy subject to photograph. The wadi is quite steep, with a fence separating it from the sidewalk, so one needs a decent telephoto.

6/365 - Hyrax Quartet

The kashrut supervisor at work is kashering the liver by broiling it over a high flame. I love the expression on his face. He really seems to enjoy his work! When I asked him if I could photograph the process he insisted on posing. I gave him a copy of this photo the next day and he was delighted.


It was one of those dark and rainy mornings when there seems to be nothing to shoot. And who wants to take a camera out in the pouring rain at that hour? The sun hadn’t yet risen. I pointed my camera towards the window and focused on the shadows of the raindrops hanging on the screen. The lights of the E1 police station on the opposite side of the wadi blurred and merged like a Venn diagram.


My son’s hands. I know this shot is a cliché but I liked it. He was playing at the time, so I had to use a flash and a fast shutter speed to get a clear shot.


Here are a couple that didn’t get into Project 365, mainly because they were taken on the same rainy day and I had to choose one photo! Isn’t it terrible when you have too many choices? 🙂

Maybe I should have chosen the raindrops photo below instead of the other one. I’m still not sure.

Lights through Rain

Cyclamen in Rain


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Finished Orenburg Shawl

Posted by Avital Pinnick on January 31, 2010

Orenburg shawl

On the blocking wires:

Orenburg shawl

I’m not sure when I started this shawl but it’s been on the needles for far too long. Last night I realised that I only had another 7 inches of the upper edging, so I sat and knitted it until I came to the end. Then I turned the corner and grafted the last stitches. Ugh. I don’t think I will ever love the Russian method of grafting stitches!

The mitered corner is, in my opinion, a bit too tight for a 45-degree corner at the ends of the triangular shawl, although it works for the 90-degree corner at the bottom. I had to block the corners into submission to get them to lie flat. I also had difficult with the length of the edging matching the diagonal upper edge of the shawl. Maybe I knitted the edging tighter than the body but it had to be stretched rather hard during the blocking stage to eliminate puckering.

The shawl pattern is from Gossamer Webs Design Collection: Three Orenburg Shawls to Knit. I will probably try the square medallion shawl in this collection in the future.

I just had a look at my previous postings on the subject. It looks like I started in August.


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Miniature Bobbin Lace Tablecloth and Pattern

Posted by Avital Pinnick on January 26, 2010

I designed this miniature tablecloth in 2000 at a friend’s request. Joan, a friend from the Knitlist, told me that her daughter Andrea (age 17) had been diagnosed with leukemia. Joan bought a miniature house, hoping that it would take Andrea’s mind off her declining health and asked me to design a lace Shabbat tablecloth.  I’ve included a link to the pattern below.

Miniature Bobbin Lace Tablecloth

Miniature Bobbin Lace Tablecloth (corner detail)

Torchon Miniature Tablecloth Pattern

I don’t often name my designs but I called this one “Andrea” in her memory (z”l). Thread: DMC Broder Machine 50. Grid size is 2mm or ten dots per inch. 30 pairs of bobbins.

Click the thumbnail below to open the image in your browser or right-click and save to your hard drive. This pattern is only the pricking. There are no instructions because it presumes that you know the basics of how to hang pairs of bobbins and work Torchon lace stitches. Finished size is 8 x 5.75. Ten dots to the inch, measured along the diagonal. Because I did not create this design with lace design software, the grid might be slightly wonky, so check with a ruler if you suspect that something needs to be straightened.

Hang the bobbins on the marked pins and work straight down. After turning two corners, work up the second side, sewing into the center edge.


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Rainy Day Flowers

Posted by Avital Pinnick on January 24, 2010

Cyclamen in Rain

Anemone in rain

Cyclamen in Rain

Anemone in rain

All photos taken with my new Canon 55-250mm lens on a Rebel XSi.

It was pouring, I mean, really bucketing down, as my English husband would say. I went out with a big umbrella and my camera. At first I took a few photos from the shelter of a doorway, before venturing into the courtyard at work. Although these are Israeli wildflowers (cyclamen and anemones), they’re part of the landscaping of our building, so I guess you could call them semi-wild.

Did you know that it’s possible to squat down, clamp an umbrella handle between one’s knees, and operate a camera with both hands? Unfortunately, keeping a skirt out of the puddles is a challenge because you have to fold it into the bend of your knees as you squat (all that yoga is good for something, huh?), so I ended up really soaked but my camera stayed dry.

I’m pleased with how the cyclamen turned out. I find them a challenging flower  to photograph because you can’t see into the center of the flower unless you’re lying on your back, directly underneath. They can be impressive in large groups but they’re so small and pale that it’s difficult to take pictures of masses of cyclamen that have much impact.

The anemones, the purple and red flowers that look a lot like poppies, are actually related to buttercups.


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Lady with Unicorn Update

Posted by Avital Pinnick on January 22, 2010

Lady with Unicorn: Sense of Hearing - Jan. 18, 2010

Started Nov. 23, 2009. 3529 stitches completed. Hey, that’s 2.7% of the total!

Actually this is almost half of the first page of charts.

Lady with Unicorn: Sense of Hearing


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Photography: Interesting vs. Pretty

Posted by Avital Pinnick on January 21, 2010

I’m facing a dilemma with Project 365 — sometimes I have nothing I want to post (mostcommon occurrence) and sometimes I have too much. This is about the second problem. If I have more than one photo to choose from, should I choose something interesting or something pretty?

This sepia photo of a vine growing on a rusty piece of fence is an example of “pretty.” The paint was peeling and the metal had rusted, so it had nice textures. I turned it sepia with Picasa and it looks like everyone else’s sepia shot of a vine on a rusty fence. This is the one I chose for Project 365


I think the massage photo is a more interesting picture because it invites questions, like, why are there only men in this photo? Why are they all getting a massage in what a corporate building? The electrical cupboard vent in the background is a giveaway. (The metal sculpture, incidentally, was done by the Yohanan Black, a local silversmith and Judaica maker who used to own the flat we now live in, and someone else. Yohanan found a way to colour silver, although I’m not sure whether this sculpture is silver.)

The massages were part of a Nestea promo at work. They set up a table in the foyer with free bottles of Nestea. Three masseurs in Nestea shirts worked on the other side of the foyer. Two of the three men are wearing kippot and would probably not accept a massage from a woman (Orthodox Judaism discourages physical contact with the opposite sex). The man not wearing a kippah is Ethiopian but you can’t really tell from this photo.

Great Place to Work!

The collage below is to mark the end of a work-related project, corporate photos of the marketing department. The man in the large central picture is, appropriately enough, the Head of Product Marketing. He told me I could take four photos and that’s it, so I was very careful to make sure they were all focused. I learned a lot but it wasn’t easy! I’m very glad it’s done.

The attitude of subjects in these photos varied from “I love being photographed!” to “This is a nightmare. Are we done yet?” to “You can take four shots and that’s it.” (I’m not sure why someone who hates being photographed would choose marketing as a career.) The photos were requested by someone in PR at our head office, so that the marketing guys would have photos to provide to journalists when they’re interviewed. A couple were very photogenic and looked good in almost every shot but a couple others needed a lot of coaxing and many, many frames.

Corporate portraits collage


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Masha with Balloon / Eilat Festival

Posted by Avital Pinnick on January 20, 2010

Masha with Balloon

My officemate, Masha (who is still in my room and hasn’t been moved upstairs yet), is blowing up a balloon for Martine’s (our AA) birthday. Masha is one of my favourite subjects because she is always willing to let me photograph her. I can’t think of many women who would let me post a photo of themselves, slightly cross-eyed, with a balloon in her face.

On the bulletin board behind her you can see a notice for the Eilat belly-dancing festival (there’s also an English site for the festival). OK, they actually call it Arabic dancing, but it’s a belly-dancing festival. She and her mother, both of whom have studied belly-dancing for a few years, plan to go this coming weekend, if the roads aren’t washed out by the Negev floods.

Eilat Festival Notice

I didn’t realise that there were male belly-dancers, until Mashi told me about Mayodi, a French dancer who teaches at the festival. His site has a video.


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CNN Video: Israeli Field Hospital in Haiti

Posted by Avital Pinnick on January 19, 2010

CNN mentions the Israeli field hospital in a video clip about rampant infections in Haiti. HaAretz has an article, Israel’s Haiti field hospital: a microcosm of a country’s turmoil, with contact info for donations.

At work, HR posted a call on the intranet for donations for Haitian children via the Israeli Fund for UNICEF. (Note to coworkers: the donations are integrated with the “Gifts on Line” app and are matched by the company.)


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“Rainy Days and Mondays …”

Posted by Avital Pinnick on January 18, 2010

… can be fun to photograph. I got up before the sun and took these photos of the E1 police station lights across the valley from where I live. These were taken around 6:30 a.m.
Lights through Rain


Dark Rainy Morning


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First Solar Eclipse of 2010

Posted by Avital Pinnick on January 15, 2010

The clouds that morning were beautiful. Good conditions for taking sky photos but not so good for viewing the partial eclipse (24%). I took this photo at 6:45 a.m. from my balcony, not long after I got up.

Cloudy morning sky

I got to the small park in Mitzpeh Nevo, Maale Adumim, before Roy had arrived, so I went to look at the hyraxes. I could kick myself for forgetting my long lens. This photo, greatly cropped, reminds me of those “Where’s Waldo” books. I think there are six hyraxes in this shot.

Where's Waldo?

Roy, a neighbour who is extremely active in the Israel New Moon Society, set up his tripod with binoculars. It’s a funny-looking contraption, no denying it, but it works.

Setting up binoculars

The wind was blowing from the west, so the bank of clouds that had been over Jerusalem was now directly over us and between us and the sun. This photo was taken with a 3-stop ND filter.

Clouds during eclipse

We’re in luck! The clouds cleared for a few minutes at the maximum point of the solar eclipse, around 8:03 a.m. This photograph was taken from the projection of the eclipse, through the binoculars, onto the white formica-covered board. You can see sunspots on the lower part of the sun. If you click the photo to go to the Flickr page, I’ve marked the spots with a note.

First solar eclipse of 2010

A neighbour stopped by at 8:11 a.m. to see what we were doing. By this time the eclipse is about 12%.

Viewing the eclipse

A couple hours later, Roy sent me his interpretation of one of my photos, enhanced with Photoshop. You can see the sunspots (electrical storms on the surface of the sun, near the top of the disk) quite clearly now.

Enhanced version of solar eclipse


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