Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Sneak Peak: Longies

Working on my resolutions for new items, I have already completed two longies in a camo variegated green and brown yarn, and this nearly completed one is #3!

Monday, January 28, 2013

More Cowl Colors

(That's a bit of a mouth full to say... "cowl colors...")

Remember this sneak peak?

With my custom sock order winding down, I'm happy to announce more color options for my favorite cowl pattern will be available in the shop.

Oatmeal Cowl
Rust Orange Cowl

What colors would you like to see?  Sometimes I feel like this guessing game is hit-or-miss for me, so I'd love a little hand in this department.  Who wants to be my assistant designer?  ;-)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Goals for 2013 - New Items

Continuing my goals for 2013, I have a few new items I'd love to add to the shop:

Longies & short-leg soakers (What do you think about these?  Do you think they would sell well?  Do you know someone looking for these?)

More Baby Blankets/ Lap Blankets.  Maybe even some Chevron that's been taking off on Pinterest and in Etsy shops.

Socks - this would be the first made-to-order item in the shop.  

Baby clothes (booties, hats, sweaters) & toys - these are still on the back burner.

And then there's this crocheted flower bouquet that has me scratching my head...

Is there something else you'd like to see?  Please post it in the comments :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Socks - Completed!

Lynn contacted me at the end of November to knit up some socks for her two grandkids and herself, two pairs each.

Six pairs, that is!

little girl's pair #1

little girl's pair #2

boy's pair #1

boy's pair #2

Lynn's brown & pink stripe pair
Lynn's oatmeal pair

And I'm happy to say I now have my basic sock pattern memorized!  Maybe there will be socks for the shop in the near future...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

New Page

^^ Check out the new Tutorials Page along the bottom of my banner.  So far it only has three links to my pattern notes and tutorial posts but I promise to update it as I add more in the future.  Check it out and let me know what you think.  Suggestions?  Advise?  Leave them on the Page's comment section or on this post.


Monday, January 21, 2013

Goals for 2013 - Physical Markets

Last year I started writing out goals for 2012 and accomplished one.  Maybe two (one sale per month; I didn't reach this goal specifically, but I did if you average my sales over 12 months).  

So this year, I'm taking that list and updating it for 2013.  Not much has changed, other than dreaming with a little more daring.  I've started talking to people at the Farmer's Market and friends about the craft shows they attend (if I couldn't go myself) and I've even hooked up with a fellow crafter, whom I met through my mother(!).  I intend to make her my mentor + go-to Crafter in my quest to make a small, steady income from Etsy.  But I'll save that for another post.

With these^ in mind, I've started thinking about physical markets to try in 2013.  

Farmer's Market

Thinking about my attempt last year, I'm willing to bet that my craft is limited to the cold weather season.  So with that in mind, I'm guessing I should only apply to physical markets that are held in September or later; assuming that people are starting to think about bundling up for the coming winter that early.  

Perrysburg Farmer's Market - A large, fun environment in quaint downtown Perrysburg along their main street.  I've only come across one or two handicraft booths (one being knit dishcloths, but different from my style).  Runs April to October, Thursday afternoons.

Downtown Toledo Farmer's Market - Open year-round, and with only little heaters mounted on the ceiling in the winter, I think I could make Jack Frost nipping at your nose work in my best interest.  A large, established following attend every week.  I've only seen one other knitter with her dishcloths here in the summer (different design from mine).  Other handicrafts are soap (which is my favorite), candles, and a handful of jewelry-makers.  I asked one jewelry-maker if she thought items like mine would be out of place here but she was quite confident they would be a perfect fit (thus my confidence to try this market is growing).  Saturday mornings.

Craft Shows

Maker's Mart - November 16, 2013 (I'm guessing; based on last year's date).

Baltimore Methodist Church Craft Show - October

If you have any suggestions or shows you would like to see me in, please drop me a line or leave it in the comment section below.  I'd love to hear any and all advice, too! :) 
Are you planning to do any shows this year?

Read about my goals for Etsy shop offerings here.

Friday, January 18, 2013

A Basic "Longies" Pattern

Courtesy of Mother, Erin

As I've written it down and worked it out.  Obviously I don't have a baby or child of my own to measure these on (only those I babysit, as modeling below) nor to test their wear-and-tear*.  So by all means, measure as you go: try them on your little one once you've finished the top & bum before you stitch up the crotch, and again before you cast off the legs for your inseam.

I rolled down the waistband (the white ribbing) as these are for a much taller 1-year-old.  I tried adding a few extra rows in the bum and legs, as well as a few extra stitches when casting on the waist, in order to allow room for growth.  The drawstring will keep these pants snug while they are growing into them.

With Circular needles (size 2) CO 78 or 82 for a 9-12mo.  *I tried to make the crotch a little longer so these could last a bit longer, maybe even making them a 12-18mo range as the waist band could be rolled down for a 12-month-old and tied a little snugger with the drawstring.

K2 P2 for desired waistband length (I did 16 or 17 rows for this one, but now I realize this may have been too many.  Next time I think I'd go with only 12 rows).  Swap to main color (with US size 3 needles) and continue to knit around, adding a short row every 5th round, being sure not to end (or start crotch) on one of these rows.  *Short Row: Knit half way around, turn, slip first stitch then purl back to start of row.  Turn, slip first stitch and continue in K pattern.*

Crotch: Once desired length is reached to crotch (I think 6 sets of short rows would be a nice normal rise; or 48 total rows before crotch), knit around the first half of the row (half the number of total stiches).   Kitchener-stitch closed 3-6 stitches, being sure that there are equal number of stitches on either side (to make up the legs).  Leave the circular needles on one leg and pick up the other leg's stitches with double point needles (dpn).

Leg: After stitching the crotch, pick up 8 stitches along the crotch area and increase twice (=4 stitches in 2) half way around the leg.  Continue knitting around the leg until you reach your desired length.

Admiring the stitched crotch as it starts to take shape.

Measuring leg width

Change to accent color (in my case, white) and K2 P2 for a ribbed cuff for about 14-15 rows.  If you have an uneven number of stitches (must be divisible by 4 for this rib pattern), Knit 2 together (k2tog) until first number divisible by 4 is reached.  I had 54? stitches.  Once desired length is reached, cast off.

Ribbing makes the cuff shrink a little for better fit.

Second leg:  Slip stitches onto dpns.  Pick up 8 stitches along crotch area and don't forget to increase twice half way around the leg (making 2 stitches in one, twice, along the outside of the leg).  Continue knitting until it is the same length as the first leg.  Change to accent color and K2 P2 for cuff for the same number of rows as the first.  Cast off.

*Great news!  Here is the feedback I received from this recipient's mother who lanolized them at home:
     "Let me just say I LOVE the longies!  I am obsessed!  They fit her amazingly.  There is so much room in the bum for her bulky diaper!  I have never had a pair that fit so well on her!  And I LOVE the cuffed ankle and slim fit on the legs.  I'm happy to report they lasted over 12 hours over night with not one hint of wetness in the morning!"

Now you have something to try over the weekend :)  Does anyone have Monday off from work?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Day in the ... Office?

Would you believe yesterday was my first "office" day when it comes to working for my Etsy shop?  (Remember, it launched back in November 2010)

Yeah, I was a little shocked when I thought that through, too!  But really, I've never had a block of time that I could hole-up at my little desk and focus solely on an Etsy task that wasn't knitting or packaging an order.  Sure, I've sewn packages at the coffee table while catching up on my PBS episodes or printing business cards at 3am before my first show, but I'd never gotten to actually feel like I'm "at the office" like when I was interning at the Cable Company.

Until now.  And it was GLORIOUS!  Dare I mention, addicting?  And forget about the fact that I actually finished taping over 70 package envelopes...

...and also redesigned & printed 400 new business cards

The back of the card is new, with a product image and QR code linked to the shop.  What do you think?  

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Meeting Kim

Monday, I was very blessed to be meeting a long-time, *virtual* friend of mine from xanga.  I can't tell you how excited (and a touch of nervous, hehe) I was to finally get to meet her after 5 years!  We discovered each other while she was living in the States and homesteading in Missouri(?); I was a recent college graduate and dreaming of my own little homestead.

I brought along a small bag of yarn for her kids to crochet whatever their hearts could dream up.  Grant (her middle child) was already set to working on a hat for his younger sister not two minutes after I explained to him the whole bag was his (to share with his family of course).  :)  And I'm told his older sister was happy to pick up the hook after we left (she was a bit shy).  

Me & Kim

I love how similar Kim & I are.  The more we got to talking the more similarities we discovered.  (And I completely agree, Kim -- if only we were neighbors!)  I guess when you share one love (homesteading) together, you're bound to find more to share.  Does anyone else experience this in their life?

Check her out!  Kim is the creator behind Charis Baby Designs and sails full-time on a sailboat with her family of 5.  She blogs about it here (when she can find wifi, that is) and uses a solar panel to power her laptop and sewing machine.  
(I have to admit, I'm a little jealous of that energy independence & her amazing talent at the sewing machine.  Have you seen her etsy shop!?)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Sneak Peak: Oatmeal Cowl

I whipped this up during babysitting.  It's so cozy and warm! 

My favorite part is how nice it stretches to double wrap around your neck with out strangling you. :)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Custom Order: Socks

A friend of mine from xanga asked if I would be interested in making six pairs of socks for her and her two grandchildren.  Of course I would love to give her handmade items to enjoy!  Not to mention it would give me an excuse to dust off The Ultimate Sock Book and my sock-knitting skills.

Granddaughter pair #2 - New Year's Eve

Grandson pair #1 - denim inspired. - Christmas traveling

I can happily say I am back to knitting a sock, not only competently, but by memory now!  ... if only as of the most recent sock...

Pair #1 - "oatmeal"

I completed the whole leg of sock #2 at a hockey game Saturday night...

Hockey game

and I was able to get the rest of the heel and almost the whole foot done while watching Downton Abbey Sunday night.

This is wonderful progress after the first sock took nearly 5 days (due to my own mess-ups on measuring properly).

Are you crafting anything post holidays?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Remaining Christmas Gifts

A few last Christmas gifts to share:

I gave my sister my first Granny Afghan.  She kept eyeing it while I stayed with her after her wisdom teeth surgery so I knew it would be a good fit.

And she gave me this beautiful card holder which she engraved herself!  (She engraves at her job, but I think she is really good at it, looking at her handiwork)

Now I have to figure out what to give her for her birthday Saturday.  Any suggestions?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Newest Cowl

I'm so excited about this new cowl.  Not only is it my favorite style to wear, but I was also able to get my beautiful cousin to model it for me while we visited her family for Christmas!  :)

I have to admit I'm not normally much of a color-red fan, but this variegated skein was calling out to me in the store and I couldn't wait to get it on my needles.

Long enough to wrap around twice for extra neck coverage.

I was hoping to have enough to make two double-wrap cowls but I guess I didn't realize how much I truly needed.  So this time I have one long (above) and one shorter (below).

How do you think they turned out? 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Season Premiere

Who else joined me in watching the much-anticipated premiere of season 3 of Downton Abbey last night??  I think I started getting anxious around 4:30pm.

Plotting together.

I think the Dowager Countess is becoming my favorite character this season, after loving Mary's character so much in the previous year (and Sybil tying with Mary as Branson's relationship increased).

What was your favorite part of the premiere episode?

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Friday, January 4, 2013

It's One of Those Days

The ones that are too-few coming in 2012 but have hit me like an Energizer-Bunny tonight :]

The beautiful productivity of constant-motivation (still going strong for over 4 hours!!).  Almost seems like one of those new 5-hour-energy commercials.  Anyway, check out all the progress!

I have photographed & drafted 6+ listings today; including a new cowl with my cousin modeling!

I will be staggering the dishcloth listings over the weekend, but you can enjoy the new cowls tonight!

My Autumn earwarmer was featured in a treasury today!

See it?  Bottom-right corner.

Did I blow up your Newsfeed today?  I apologize; some sort of creative bug grabbed hold of me this afternoon and I couldn't help feeling the need to share those stories with my followers.  Did you find any inspiration?  Or should I stop sharing others' posts/pictures and keep it to just Etsy shop-related stories?

I have more to share but I guess I ought to save some for another post and that energy is finally starting to slow (after 6+ hours!).  Anyone else excited for the new year?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Home Sweet Home

While on the road (between Columbus, Ohio & Moultrie, Georgia) I completed 9(!) sets of dishcloths with another set on the needles.

A little sneak peak of two new sets for spring.

But I admit, we are both so happy to be home!  I think my little kitty would agree, too.  This is the face we came home to (snapped while unpacking):

How did you celebrate the holidays?