how do i do it? and, the first-ever contest

So that picture from the last post, of me knitting at the post office? I took it myself. Really! I used the self-timer, and I set the camera down on a woman’s package that she had propped on a small pylon. It’s totally staged–I set the camera up, set the timer, and got my hands into position. (For those who asked: the yarn is in my purse, over my right shoulder.) The self-timer is pretty long (10 seconds?), so I had plenty of time.

I’ve been using this feature and playing with my camera a lot so far this year. Why? Well, maybe partly because I live alone and if I don’t take them myself, who will? (Don’t you always wish you had a staff photographer, who would follow you around and document your life, the way presidents have?) But I’m bonded with my camera–and have no qualms about taking it out to set up a self portrait in public–because I’ve undertaken a project for the year.

self-timer selfportraits (redo)

I’m taking one self portrait a day. 365 days, 365 self portraits. I figure, it’s 2007: The Year of Erin, I should have a solid visual record. The photos above are just a sampling of the ones I did using the self-timer, including one on the subway, one running down the hall, and the one today, celebrating the first lunch outside of the year. I’ve taken more while holding the camera in my hand, because it’s easier–check out my Flickr set to see the rest. Edited to add: I’m participating in the 365 Days Flickr group, with nearly 3,500 other folks–some of whom started on Jan 1, but plenty of others who started on a random Tuesday. It’s just 365 Days, not necessarily 2007, so if you’re interested in participating, don’t wait!

Today is day 73, and I see no signs of flagging. I really like it. Most days, I try to think of what that day was all about, and I try to find a way to capture it. Like the post-yoga bliss after my first class since moving to New York, or my first burger at Le Parker Meridian, or heading to a potluck brunch at a friend’s. Of course, that’s not the case every day–it would be impossible–but looking back at the photos so far recalls specific memories, and I’m so happy to have them. It’s also a way to be honest with myself about where I am, what I’m feeling, how I look, who I am on this journey into my new life.

• • •

Shifting gears: We’re about to cross a milestone comment number here at Pepperknit. The 2000th commenter is going to win a prize. And because I like for contests to have a, you know, contest element, there will be two prizes. To win the second prize, guess how many books on knitting I own. (This does not include Interweave Knits issues, which are not books, but does include Rowan Magazine, because it’s so booklike.) If more than one person guesses correctly, I will do one of those random number generators to pick a single winner. (The 2000th commenter will be exempt from winning the second prize.) I haven’t decided yet what these prizes will be, but I’ll think of something. Besides, you don’t really care what it is, right? It’s all about winning, not the prize! (Or is that just how I play these games?) Anyway, it’ll be yarn or something knitterly. And if you’re a nonknitter (I know there are some of you), I’ll think of something else suitably appropriate. Contest closes on Sunday, March 18, at 8pm EST.

77 Responses to how do i do it? and, the first-ever contest

  1. sprite says:

    I think the portrait-a-day idea is a great one. What a terrific record to look back on in years to come!

    My guess for the book count is 44.

  2. Jessica Rose says:

    Wow 2000 that’s fantastic. Me and my friend Amie just started our blog… we have 0 comments to date.

    I’m going to guess 25 on the book count (not sure why just seems like a fun number… could be that i’m turning 25 this year and trying to make the number fun).

    I love the picture a day thing. What a fantastic idea. I might steal it for next year. *grins*

  3. kelp! says:

    The photo a day thing sounds great, especially since you’re still enthusiastic after a few months of it. I’m guessing 43 books – here’s hoping that you collect them!

  4. Pink says:

    I’m guessing you have 37 books, for no other reason than it seems like a nice number.

    I love your self portraits…I can’t take photos of my projects without spending forever to set them up and they still come out like poo, so I am really, really impressed that you do the ten second timer thing!

  5. jen. says:

    I have to de-lurk to say your photo-a-day thing is awesome! I am doing one, too. Doesn’t it seem to become a habit where you’re thinking about how things will look through the view finder? I like that aspect of it because I feel like I notice more details about things now.

    I’ll guess 74 books. Heh.

  6. Knitopia says:

    I’m guessing 48 books. I’m also guessing I’m too early to be lucky #2000, but if I wait until I’m up tomorrow I might be too late! I’m a night owl on the West coast. It’s tough sometimes.

  7. Carla says:

    Thrilled I was first- but shocked at my self for it being my first time! I have made 3 of your headbands and love the pattern – should have thanked you sooner!

  8. Liz K says:

    Minty, I admire your photo project, as it seems it focuses you on the beauty of every day. It keeps you in the moment. You find something worth remembering daily. That is a good thing.

    My book guess is 35. Congratulations on your 2000th comment.

  9. Rachel says:

    Cool, we’re neck and neck on comments — I just passed the 2000 mark a week or two ago. And yesterday was my blogiversary, and I have completely failed to have any contest or giveaway to mark either one. I’m a bad blogger.

    Are these “Price Is Right” rules — closest without going over? Assuming not, I think you own 83 knitting books. I’m guessing high but it’s because you work in a field where you might have additional access to these kinds of things.

  10. Rachel says:

    Ooh, forgot to say I’m always very impressed with the quality of your self portraits. I think you often capture something about the moment that makes it unique, as you say.

  11. Kelly says:

    What a great idea to take a picture to document whatever defines each day. reflecting on those different photos and being able to really see the day-to-day will be so much more meaningful than photos of big events (and knitting). I always regret not taking more pictures. And I give you mad credit for being comfortable whipping your camera out anywhere. I’m always too self-conscious.

    As for knitting books, I’ll guess 32?

  12. Sarah says:

    Thanks for posting about your self portraits. My camera has the capability, and I keep meaning to try it. Reading that you do it every day just makes me feel lazy for not at least trying…thanks for the inspiration!

    I guess that you have 62 knitting books.

  13. laura says:

    Knitting book guess: 42.

    I love your self-portrait a day project. I started a new blog with my friend Preeti where we post a picture of Cleveland every day. It is fun to get in the habit of taking lots of pictures & you look at things differently when you do. I am going to check out those Flickr groups!

  14. Shannon says:

    I admire the self portrait commitment – I though about the 365 group – but couldn’t convince myself I’d keep up.

    As for this guess about the number of knitting books you have, I’m going big I’ll guess102.

  15. stacey says:

    great self portraits. i love using the self timer. a much under appreciated feature in cameras!

    congrats on the comment milestone. my guess for number of books – 22.

  16. Miss T says:

    Congrats on all the comments–you have a great blog. Very cool self-portrait project. I hope you’ll write about it when the year is up. My guess: 57 books.

  17. Lise says:

    I love contests! I’ve noticed that 365 photos thing on other blogs. What fun! I think when I get a camera phone, I will think about doing that too. Our camera is a family camera, so I couldn’t in good conscience have it with ME all the time – not very fair.

    So, number of knitting books … hmmmm – I just counted mine, and without any mags, there are 48. So … I am guessing, including the Rowan mags, you probably have 53 on your shelves.

    Happy 2000th comment!
    thanks for sharing moments of your life with the world!

  18. knittingphilistine says:

    Yay, blogiversary! Me thinks you have 31 books. Really, I have no idea… because most of the time I end up buying yarn instead of books (the grad school lifestyle doesn’t really allow for both…). I have no clue what people with jobs are able to afford. Perhaps 31 is a little low, but I’m going with it!

  19. Karen says:

    I love your Self-Portrait a day plan – it does seem like the perfect way to document your new beginning in New York!!

    As for the knitting books, I’ll guess 54.

  20. sdunbar says:

    ooh, a contest! i will guess you have 60 books. (i was going to say 52 but someone beat me to it).
    i love the idea of a year of self-portraits…if only i had a camera.

  21. Emily says:

    Happy almost or maybe over 2000 by now comments!

    I guess, and I haven’t read through everyone’s comments, that you have 46 knitting books. That seems like a lot to me!

  22. Stef says:

    Hi! My guess is 27 knitting books.

    You’re very good at self-photography. I enjoy the color themes and composition of your flickr set. Whenever I take my own picture, I look like a blob with a mega-arm leading to the camera.

  23. Jodie says:

    I love the photos, plus you have such a great outlook on the whole project.

    2000 comments! Congratulations.

    I’m going to guess you have 18 books.

  24. Specs says:

    Heh. When we were hiking a few days ago, I snapped a few arm’s-length shots of myself looking tired in front of majestic views. R made fun of me for this, so it’s good to see that someone else manages to take self portraits without looking like a crazy woman.

    I’m guessing eleventy billion. I mean, 34.

  25. MeBeth says:

    I like this photo a day idea- I may have to start now, I think I’ll be able to do plenty of interesting photos in the next few months! And I’m going to guess on the low end, that you have 17 knitting books.

  26. Mom says:

    Love the pics of you, and your “Year of Erin” album! What a great idea to chronical your first year in NY. It’s like I get to see you everyday :) I love that idea.

    Ok this is a Mom thing… you’re an editor and you wrote: ‘celebrating the first lunch outside of the year’ !!! :) I guess you’ve been sunshine deprived to come up with that.


  27. Laura says:

    Here’s your 2000th comment. yeah right, it was probably one of the first comments on this post.

    My guess for the books is 73. I think it’s high, but I have this thing for symmetry.

  28. Donna says:

    I’m going to guess 41. I’m trying to visualize that many books in a bookcase or sprawled out on the floor. And I love your 365 days pics idea. Really puts you in the “here and now”.

  29. Schrodinger says:

    Thanks so much for satisfying my curiosity about how you take your pictures. I love that you plan to a self-portrait picture a day, and you’re sticking with it :)

    I’m going to guess 29 books.

  30. Robin says:

    I’m a bookaholic and I assume you are, too. When I come home with another knitting book, his response is — “Does that book have something in it that the other 2000 don’t?” My guess is that you have 112 books.

  31. Leah says:

    Hello! I found your blog a few weeks ago, and I’m delurking to say, 23 books. I love your socks, and my mom has just requested the anastasia sock pattern for her next pair.

  32. modjac says:

    This contest made me start trying to think logically, based on what I do when I’m interested in a topic like knitting or cooking, and how I go about selecting books to buy and keep. But what it made me realize is that I’ve never seen a place you’ve lived. Ever in my life. And then I realized you’ve never seen where I live. I’ll be in NYC in May, as you know. When are you coming to SF?

    Oh, and maybe it’s 56. Maybe not.

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