Book Reviews and Some Tips

Curling up with a good book is one of my comfort activities…unless I happen to be in bed with a virus. Then it loses some of its cozy appeal.

Books still make the involuntary bed stay more bearable and I got the chance to spend some time with some new books.

intentional spinner

I’ve been spinning for 19 years and I have a pretty good sized spinning library. I just can’t seem to resist books of any kind :-). If I were recommending just one book to a spinner, this would be it. Very concise and very well written.

My fiber tip…
putting a washed, dry fleece in the clothes dryer for 20 minutes on no heat/air fluff will take out an amazing amount of tiny vm (little bits of plant stuff). This works best for the really tiny stuff that is hard to pick out manually. Larger pieces of hay/straw don’t come out as easily in the dryer, but are easy enough to pick out manually. Now, here’s the caveat —- it’s been said to me that this practice can be dangerous and can cause a fire. It’s not going to catch on fire while you are running the dryer on no heat, but those little bits of vm are flammable. Clean your dryer after fluffing fleece – not just the lint trap, but under the lint trap to the bottom of the dryer. And the exhaust hose. Since I tend to never clean out the pockets of my jeans before washing them, I probably get as much straw and miscellaneous flammable bits in the dryer with regular laundry as I do when fluffing fleece.  I am a serious pocket person – I never wear anything that doesn’t have pockets -EVER. By the end of the day, I’ve probably gained 5 pounds just from what I’ve put in my pockets.  Once I donated an old jacket to the thrift store and found, when checking pockets – two syringes, three elastrator bands, miscellaneous bits of yarn and fiber, some dried leaves, and an egg. So I clean the dryer often anyway.


I’d just gotten this book the day before I took to bed. It’s a hands on type of book with step by step workshop lessons, using the author’s photos. When I looked at the first photo to fix, I thought – geez, you ought to be a good enough photographer to take something better in the first place.  I was browsing this book away from my computer. Computer is upstairs – bed and bath is downstairs. I stayed downstairs. Once I got back upstairs and worked through a few of the lessons, I saw the wisdom of the author’s teaching methods. I’ve  had photoshop for probably ten? years, moving from PS7 to CS3 over the years.  I think I’m pretty good with it, but realized working through this book that I get good results by trial and error more than by really knowing what I’m doing.  That said, this book does not really explain in detail why you should use an adjustment of such and such, but you can see what’s happening and intuitively “get it”.

My Photoshop tip…
This book talked about using threshold to find your brightest and darkest spots, but I learned to do it abit differently. Open your photo – click “new adjustment layer” and choose threshold. Move the slider all the way to the right until the image goes completely black. Move the slider to the left until you see a white spot. Place the furthest right eyedropper (the highlight picker) over the white spot.  Press shift and left click.  A little gunsight will appear. Move the slider all the way to the left until the image goes completely white. Move to the right until you see a black spot. Place the furthest left eyedropper (the shadow picker) over the black spot.  Hit shift and left click. Another little gunsight will appear . Then hit cancel because we really don’t want a threshold layer.  Now do another new adjustment layer and choose curves. The image will come up with the two little gunsights. Number 1 is your brightest point and number 2 is your darkest point.  Click the appropriate eyedroppers (shadow/highlight) into the centers of the gunsights. Why is this different from using the eyedroppers to chose your white point and your black point? Because you want your brightest/darkest point, which might not be your white/black point.

Try it – it’s fun 🙂

Sheep tip…
sheep will eat zucchini.  Anyone that has ever raised zucchini knows that a 4 inch zucchini grows to  about the size of a small submarine in three days. Neglecting the garden for a few days made me desperate enough to toss a few to the sheep. They love them!


About patchworkfibers

Registered Jacob Sheep
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7 Responses to Book Reviews and Some Tips

  1. Funny about your pockets! LOL

    I love that Scott Kelby book too… I haven’t completed all the lessons but it sure taught me a lot when I first got it. Most of his books are great!

    Thanks for the tips and I enjoyed this post! 🙂

  2. Some great tips! So how old was the egg in your pocket? Too funny!

  3. FarmGirl says:

    I’m going to forward your PS technique to my 14 yr old son, cuz he’s really into it, while I just perform tiny modifications, like contrast and image size.

    My sheep like green beans on the plant when it’s time to pull them up and corn stalks! I save those submarine zukes for zucchini bread. Eat a loaf and freeze a loaf for breakfast later on. They love poplar and white pines, too. Like hogs but with lovely fleece! 🙂

  4. You have me laughing at the contents of your pockets because that is what I often find in mine! Thanks for the tip of throwing the washed/dried fleece in the dryer – I have one that I am going to try that on. Very clean except for little tiny seeds. I can toss the fleece around and they fall out easily, but it is kind of time consuming. My sheep won’t eat zucchini, but my ducks and chickens go crazy over it. I swear zucchini can grow a foot a day!

  5. Patrice says:

    (See – I can’t even figure out how to get my photo as the avatar here….)

  6. Patrice says:

    I have to laugh at what you say is fun… (kidding) … Just reading the back and forth directions you have given makes me dizzy. This is why my computers will always remain primarily puzzles that are never solved – like all the Rubik’s Cubes anyone ever gave me way back when…

    Hope you feel better soon!! It’ about time for another luncheon…

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