knits by sachi

Mini Knitted Farmyard

My Facebook says I made these four years ago. It has come a long way.

The last week in June, I had a three-day photo session for my next book, ‘Mini Knitted Farmyard’.
I did Safari and Woodland book previously. This one will be a nice addition to the series and I was really looking forward to work on this book. It will include many fun projects; cottages, family car, farmers, shepherds and of course, lots of farm animals. I made tiny vegetables and a cart for my green grocer. It is a bit like playing with a dollhouse.

Actually, I used a lot of dollhouse accessories for photo props. I have a small collection for my dollhouse and I also placed a new order to go with my farmyard. I could not see the sizes of items online so that I just had to take a wild guess.

My farmyard props arrived!

Fortunately, their sizes are perfect for my figures.

Not everything in my farmyard is in perfect proportion to each other anyway. My cottages are too small for farmers and most birds are too big, but I had decided not to worry about sizes too much from the beginning. I think it is fine if the creatures look cute together.

We had very busy days at the studio. I guess I got too excited and had made too many items. There were so many photos to shoot and we even had to drop some of the projects because they would not fit into the book. We even extended from original 96 pages to 102 pages, but still, we ran out of spreads!I am grateful to my editor, May at Search Press. She ever so patiently listened to my requests and is doing all she can to squeeze as many projects as possible. This book will have amazing value for money!

Search Press art team was fantastic as usual. We shot great photos and what a fun we had!

We try hard to get the best effect;

Our art director, Juan and his assistant Emma. I think they enjoyed playing with my creatures.

Each photo tells a story and you will be very much entertained. If my boys were 10 years younger, I would enjoy the book at their bedtime.
Sneak peek;

We still have a lot to do, but the book should be ready early next year.

I wish I could show this book to my mum. She passed away early morning, on the second day of this photo session. She was supportive and always happy to see my new books come out. She would like this farmyard, too.

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Christmas Felt book

It is always so fun to work in the Search Press studio.

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We have just finished the photography for my next book, ‘Christmas Felt Project’ (title is provisional).

There isn’t any better time to work on this book. The timing is just so perfect. Our designer went out and bought a fur tree, baubles, tinsels and crackers for props. We got radio playing Christmas songs in the background. We were certainly in the Christmas spirit.

For the Christmas publications, the photography is often taken place in summer. You can get a fur tree all year around, but the summer trees has yellow-green tips of new leaves. You may notice branches are cut off at the ends next time you see Christmas tree in a magazine! It is great that we did not need to worry about that detail.

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This is my first sewing book. It opens with easy and quick ornament projects as angels and teddies, and then, move on to larger projects which are a little more involved. It comes with many photos showing sewing steps. I had prepared items in different stages to make the photo sessions run smoothly, but it still took quite a long time just to photograph images to go with instructions.

I find it difficult to explain sewing steps quite often. However, my editor, Sophie, has been so great. She sat by me with patience, taking lots of notes while I carry on sewing. I may be able to improve my writing skill a bit as I work on the text for this book.

The book will have beautifully styled photos as my previous books.

I like images to tell stories. We used props carefully for each photo.

This is our prop room at the back of the studio. It looks like a collection of junks, but many of these items have appeared in my books. They are all so useful.

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We experimented with lighting to create warm atmosphere of holiday season and I think we have achieved it. The photos all look amazing.

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My photographer and designer made up a cute charming story with Santa scene. I would love to show the photos, but I think I should keep it a secret until the book comes out.

Sewing felt was the first craft I really enjoyed as a child. I hope the book will inspire many people of all ages and genders.

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Mini knitted ocean

My photographer and designer collected props from the beach on a chilly rainy day.

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We didn’t know what to call this book, but it seems the title has been set:Mini knitted ocean.

We had a photo shoot session recently again at the Search Press studio.
For this book, I hand dyed many pieces of fabrics of different materials. I also tried Shibori tie dye. Because it is all about sealife, there was a risk of the photos becoming a little boring. We did not want the same blue back ground all the way through. We tried to throw in different colours as much as possible.

I also made some props for my designer.

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A treasure box, a boat with a keel and a cage.

We wanted a treasure box for the scuba diver scene. I made the box with cardboard, painted with acrylic paint and glued a gold ribbon.

The boat with a keel is to shoot from the bottom of the sea, looking up the surface.

The cage was to go with the shark scene, but unfortunately, we didn’t use this one.

See, I did my homework.

I created these knitted creatures thinking of my father.

After my mother was diagnosed with her illness, my parents had to give up hiking and mountain climbing that they enjoyed very much. My father bought a large fish tank and started collecting little tropical fishes.Growing up near the ocean, I guess he always loved sealife.

But after the large earthquake in 2011, he decided to give it up, too. So, I am dedicating the book to him.

The photo session was challenging, and sometimes, we spent over an hour on one project. The composition is not right, the balance of the colours is not right, the proportion is not right, the figures at the wrong angle….

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Lots of hanging with wires and threads, too.

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It will be a colourful book. I was excited to use all the bright coloured yarn in my stash. And the photographer is very good at bringing them up of course.

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And you will have a little bonus.

A knitted Yellow Submarine.

Not just the submarine in yellow, but “The Yellow Submarine”. My editor spent months to get the permission to use it in the book.
Sadly, we did not receive a permission to use four guys to go in it, but I am sure readers can make their own.

I am not showing the submarine here yet. When the cover is ready, you will see.

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20 to make photo session

The photo shoot for my third book went very nice and smoothly.

This book contains 20 projects, which is less than my other books. I kept the patterns and assembly instructions simple since there is not enough space for step-by-step tutorials.

Although this is a mini A-5 book, my editor and the art designer had spent a lot of time on planning the shoot.
And we took a lot of care into the session.

As always, we started with the flat shots.

When we did the previous books, we struggle to photograph animals knitted in all white because for the flat shots, we need to have plain white background. Now, I know this and I try to use pale grey or off-white yarn when it is possible.

Another difficult colour to shoot is black. It often turns out brown or funny grey colour. We do need to correct a little digitally.

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Some of my animals do not want to stand on their own. In that case, my photographer has a great tip.

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A-ha! He uses a Bluetack and a cocktail stick. The stick will be hidden behind the item and will not show in the photo.

When our art designer comes down to the studio, the real fun starts. We take styled shots.

Many authors use very simple background without props, and I think that is one strategy, but I like my photos to tell stories.
My photographer and designer know this very well and they make so much effort to make things just right.

Here, he is trying to make my boy angel sit on a cloud.

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He also had a very cute and romantic setting for my little cats. The cats are supposed to be sitting on a brick wall. The moon is a paper cut-out.

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We also had a rather grandiose props like this one in the studio. It is handmade by one of the stuff at the Search Press and it was just perfect for my rockets.

Yes, we take matters very seriously.

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For each photo, we spent lots of time and care. Juan, the designer got this large branch from outside just for my owls.

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And he also sent his wife shopping to get some plastic seaweeds for this photo.
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You can tell already that this will be another very exciting book!

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The next photo session

I will be in studio next week again.

This time, it is for “Tiny toys to make”. This one is a small A-5 size book from 20 to make series.

I like this 20 to make collection and have several in my book shelf myself. The books are handy and inexpensive and give you good introduction to a new craft, too.

http://www.searchpress.com/search?terms=20+to+make

And when I was browsing their website, I found my 20 to make book listed already!

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Ha, ha! This must be a provisional book cover for promotion purpose, but it looks lovely.

You can see the book is a collection of mini toys. The projects are all so simple and easy and you can make one in a couple of hours. You can take it to a holiday and knit on the go, too.

Here are some of the projects. They are all pocket size.

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Usually, the photos for 20 to make books are done outside of the Search Press studio, but my editor kindly accepted my request. I am quite fussy when it comes to photos and do not like the sessions carried out without my presence. I also like their artwork team very much.

Recently, my editor asked for 21st project. This will be a special gift for readers.

I have many projects already made, but I gave it a thought and came up with this one.

Knitted rings.

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I do like these very girly stuff.

WATERSTONES book shop is currently running a promotion with a special discount on all my books. You can get a fantastic deal on my upcoming “Mini Knitted Toys” and “Tiny Toys To Knit” too!
https://www.waterstones.com/books/search/term/sachiyo+ishii

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Almost there!

My third book is at the final stage of editing and is almost ready to be sent to the printer.

I have received the final proof. This one is printed on nice glossy paper and is sent from the reproduction team. I am to check the colours of the photos and spot any flaws.

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We had photo shoot sessions back in March. Since then the photos are nicely laid out by my editor and the text has been checked by a pattern checker and a proof reader thoroughly.

Checking the patterns is the hardest of all the process. I always try my best not to trouble my editor but my original patterns do contains errors. With the help of the pattern checker, we correct any errors in the patterns and reword some of the instructions if necessary.

When we are done with writing, then, the draft is sent to the art designer.

He has done art work on my previous books and I loved what he did for them. I was really looking forward how he would add art work on this new book.

I knew he would not disappoint me and I was right.

He has added cute and quirky drawings and nice backgrounds. I heard some of the drawings are done by him. He is very talented.

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And the cover page. It is always very exciting to see the cover page.

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Yes! Isn’t it cute? My son said this one is his favorite of all three books of mine.

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This book has many many patterns. It will keep you busy for many days.

I have heard it is the few Search Press titles selected by Waterstones to be made available for pre-order on their website. Customers will get a discount. I will post the link once it goes on live.

The book is scheduled to be out in December. It is a Christmas present for myself.

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Challenging group shots

It is always so exciting to receive a draft with the photos arranged in place.

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It is still at the early stage and no art work is added by the designer. The editor has just placed the photos from the session. But the book is already looking great.

A little worry we had for the last day of the photo shoot is the group shots.

We enjoy group shots, well, usually we do. We choose a background and place items pretty much at random at first. We consider the colours and the spaces as we take a few shots and see the balance of the items in the picture. We take the photos of the entire scene and take a few close-up shots.

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The group shots for the last two books were rather easy. We could make a fun scene and all elements worked very nicely. But we realized that our photos were not working too well this time. I guess that instead of complimenting each other, the items fought against each other. When we see the Snow White next to a dinosaur, our brain start sending warning signals.

After some trials and errors, we manage to come up with a few nice shots. These photos are scattered in different parts of the book.

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I think they look lovely.

I have promised that there are lots of projects in this book.
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Now the patterns are getting checked by a professional pattern checker. We will be working on the text to make sure there will no errors. Then, the art designer will add some art work.

It is a lot of hard work, but is very very rewarding.

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More from the photo session

On Day 2, we did lots more style shots.

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We wanted to create a warm, homey, children’s room atmosphere for this book. Maybe a little retro or country style thrown in for some of the pages.

The studio has many props stocked in the storage room and I had brought in some objects. I had some old toys that my boys used to play with.

Here, we used my boys’ toy cars in the background.

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They are very well used and some of the paint had peeled off, but I think that make them look even better. They have sentimental value to me with my boys’ name written underneath. I am very pleased my designer decided to photograph them.

The last style shot was this one: animal finger puppets. We had a lovely volunteer from the office.

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Our star model, Lyn.

She works as a sales rep for the Search Press, but has also modeled for many of their books. She has very nice skin tone and pretty hands. She is wearing the chef’s coat so that her clothing colour will not reflect to the toys she is holding.

These finger puppets’ pattern will be in the book.
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The basic figure is quite simple and the body and head is knitted in one. You can enjoy variety by adding different ears.

We had a lot of fun in the studio again.

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Our designer, Juan, is testing the position, looking slightly embarrassed.

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Photo session, day 1

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(Paul, our photographer is working on flat shots of Mammoth and cave people.)

It has been intense but fantastic three days in the Search Press studio last week.

On the Day 1, we did the step-by-step photos using the Snow White. I sat in front of the white screen wearing a chef’s coat so that my clothing colour will not reflect on my hands. My knitting patterns are all so simple and assembling isn’t too complicated either, but I like to include photos to show the assembling steps. Maybe that is because I do not like reading long instructions. Visual images are much more easy to take in and can prevent unwanted mistakes.

Then we worked on flat shots. Flat shots are photos with plain white background to show the details of the items. This is to show readers how each toy looks like when it is done.
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It is a little daunting for me. With a plain white background and under the bright lights, you can see every stitch of the knitting. I hope my toys will appear as neat as I hope them to be.

We spent most of the first day shooting step-by-step pages and flat shots. We have so many projects in this book. Just morning alone, we did over 100 shots.

Then the real fun starts with the help of the designer. We did styled shots.

I had brought in many pieces of hand dyed fabric, and the art team had have carefully made plans for each scene which tremendously helped the session go smoothly.

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For this book, we attached a string to many items and hang from the stick to make them look like flying in the air.
Here is a flying saucer with aliens.

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We worked hard all day and came up with cute pictures. I am pleased.

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This is my favorite chubby parrot. He is in the book, too.

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The next book

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The photo session for my third book, “Mini knitted toys” is scheduled next week.

How exciting! This book will have more than 35 projects. It is an extended, deluxe version.

The thing is, I had brought too many items at the editorial meeting. Editors picked what they liked for the book, only realizing later that we had too many. We ran out of pages so that we decided to add more pages rather than dropping projects.

Problem solved!

We tried to squeeze in as many projects as possible.

After some discussions, we finally decided the last project to include in, and this is the one we chose.

Snow White and seven dwarf.

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I found that I have created quite a lot of boy toys as dinosaurs, airplanes, castle and soldiers so that I wanted to add something a bit more girly.

And this project is perfect for step-by-step page. I can include all the making up techniques with assembly steps of Snow White.

This set comes with a cottage.
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Usually, I place a light weight cardboard box inside a knitted cottage to keep its shape, but this time, I stuffed with wool. I thought since this book is a collection of toys, I should make it softer and rounder to make it child friendly.

Because the toys are in different sizes and styles, it is challenging for art designer and photographer, but I know I am in good hands. They always do great job.

I had a meeting with the designer last week. He seemed as excited as I am. He has lots of ideas for the themes. I had hand dyed many pieces of fabric to use for the background, too.

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So finally, you will get the pattern for these guys.

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