Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A little personal knitting

Between my Etsy store and my sewing jobs, it is uncommon that I have time to do any personal knitting.  This holiday, I found myself with quite a bit of down time, though, so I thought that I would utilize it to get some knitting done for myself.  I have an overabundance of projects that I have accumulated over the past few years (thank God that I have such a basic taste or the patterns would go out of style before I made them!!) so I pulled one out and thought I would share a few of the steps at a time as it will probably be a year from now that I am done with it!

From: Indigo Knits book
My yarn: Denim Freedom by Twilleys of Stamford (which I assume is discontinued given price and my inability to find it online to link to) Shade 104 and 102 - Navy and Sky blue respectively
Needles:  US 6 (and as calls for in book)

The pattern calls for Elle True Blue indigo cotton and provides a gauge and specifies "before washing".
The yarn I am using has some "yearn characteristics" listed that were reasons WHY I was excited about getting this yarn, however, these "characteristics" are also concerns.  This top has stripes.  They yarn warns that there WILL be dye loss.  Not MAY be - WILL be.  It is made to "Fade like jeans" so I was concerned that there may be some color bleed, especially since the Navy color is SO dark.  It also notes that there is a considerable shrink in length - so much so that it gives before and after washing gauge measurements.  For all of these reasons, I did a swatch.

Swatch BEFORE washing
Now, I KNOW that everyone and everything says to ALWAYS swatch.  Yeah, well, I don't always swatch.  I USUALLY DON'T swatch.  A. I hate wasting the yarn.  B. My swatches never seem to be anywhere close to what I get on the actual garment.  C. I never know what to do with the swatch once I am done with it.  However, I was very concerned that the colors would bleed so I did it.  While I was also concerned about shrinkage, it was not enough that I would have swatched only or that.

Once it was machine washed and dried (this is how I will care for it so I wanted to make sure I did it at this point as well), I found that my gauge was smaller than the pattern but I liked the way the gauge looked.  I made the decision to make the next size larger (the right size knitted exactly would have fit a bit more snug anyway).  It is rare that anything ever comes out too big for me (if the pattern even comes in my size) but in the off chance it does, I can always sew it to alter it like commercially made knitted items are.  Also, since this top is for me, I am not going to sweat the small stuff.

Swatch after washing and hand after knitting for an hour
I have already knitted quite a bit of the back and I have a few notes on this yarn.  
It is BEAUTIFUL  - particularly once washed.  
It WILL bleach in the sun.  The skeins were discounted and had a defined line where the label was wrapped despite the store having UV coating on the windows.  It you have this in your stash, keep it in a closed container.  Personally I LIKE the color fluctuations so it isn't an issue for me but since I am unsure how much fading I will get with successive washes, proceed with caution. 
You WILL have dye on your hands for the duration of knitting with it.  I wash my hands obsessively and barely get it off before staring again the next day.  All of my clothes are dark so I don't know if there was any transfer onto my clothing so BEWARE.

I will have more on this project as it progresses but I will be picking up production work tomorrow morning so, as I said before, it will be slow going.  I also have a shawl that I ran out of yarn on that once I get to the store (I hope they still carry the yarn!) I will get to finishing.  Since I was about 95% complete, that should be sometime next week.  I hope your holiday was as productive as mine!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Busy and Productive Day

I came across this great idea on the Internet.  I don't remember where I saw it and wish that I could link back to her post.  (I swear there should be a 'Lost and Found' for bookmarks because I could SWEAR I bookmarked it for this reason!!)  Anyway, ever since I saw the post I have been wanting to make these.

 Beading (short of putting beads on a string) is really a bit out of my element but since I can't find them on Etsy (I do remember the woman had the one she made on Etsy for about 5 seconds before it sold) I figured I would make them.  For me, it is more fun that way but I am always for supporting the Handmade community.  The pictures, as usual, are lacking and don't do how pretty they are justice - particularly the ones in the dark.  I DO hope that I will find the woman's info so that I can contact her to see if she minds me selling her idea in my Etsy Store.  These I made for gifts.

After finishing those, I finished up a long overdue project (of which I have far too many!).  These while very cute, a lovely yarn, my favorite sized yarn to work with, an unconfusing cable, and a small project, failed at keeping my interest and I have several times picked it up and put it back down for more interesting things.  I am unsure what the struggle was but even in the final hour, it took all I had to not put them back in my UF Project bag for another day.  These were the February Bonus Pattern from the Knitting 2011 Calendar - how spectacularly sad that a 3 hour should take 10 months!!

Owl Booties by I. Halvorsen
Unknown hand-painted lace-weight yarn (leftovers) (I have used this for SO MANY projects and have lost the wrapper :(  )
Crystal Palace US 1.5 bamboo needles

I used to keep track of every project I did in a binder with the pattern and all the info but when I started doing this as a business and doing a lot of repetitive work, I sort of lost that practice along the way.  It makes me sad because I really value the ability to go back and have the notes from when I made an item before.  I also enjoy looking back at my first binder (from 2006-2008) and seeing how much my knitting has improved.  Perhaps I should add that to my goals for next year.

OH!  And, I almost forgot!!!!!  In case you didn't know, I have another blog here that, believe it or not, is even MORE neglected than this one is!  While writing Neurotic Needles, I try very hard to keep the topic to knitting, sewing and craft related stuff (and the occasional cat story!).  I found over the past year that I HAD things to say, but they didn't always fall into that scheme of subjects.  That said, I will be maintaining my Waste Not blog with not just my "Reduce, ReUse, Recycle" spiel but I am added "Rejoice" to the 3 R's.  It will still cover all the eco-babble but it will also contain anything else that I want to share but don't feel is subject appropriate for this site.  SO, go check me out!!

Friday, December 9, 2011

FULL Store!

Well, I have been busy all day taking pictures and posting items in my Etsy store. As well as DPN Holders, I also posted baby hats and headbands. I think I have finally mastered the DPN Holder pics but my other pics are still VERY lacking. And, why don't they make baby dolls accurately shaped?? MY baby doll has this very large and odd shaped head so nothing quite fits properly. I wish my daughter were just a bit older - I'd ask for a grandbaby model for Christmas but I guess I better wait a few years.

I have some small purses on my list to make next week. I already have them partially cut out but I don't anticipate getting much
done this weekend. I am volunteering at a tree planting even tomorrow so I will be up and out at 8am (why don't events that want volunteers do things in the afternoon??!) and dinner with a friend on Sunday. Maybe a few Christmas movies in there (I hope!) I hope your plans are fun and festive. And, don't forget to check out my store. I would LOVE your feed back and suggestions.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Busy, busy!

I have been in a crating FRENZY after a day of shopping for materials yesterday. What started out as a trip to get a few items for a few new projects (more on that in a later post) and last minute gifts, turned into a "let's get enough to last me until the end of the year" trip. JoAnn's was PACKED (seriously, are there THAT MANY people that don't work in San Diego??!) and there was NO WAY I was going back there again until after Christmas. I am resolve in this statement despite the fact that I got to the register and only then realized that my coupons weren't valid yet. UGH!! I bought it all at whatever cost it was without the coupon - I stood in line at the cutting counter TWICE - there was no way I was leaving without my stuff and comi
ng back in a few days!!

As bad as JoAnn's was, I drove right past Michael's!! On a good day, Michael's is a trip is a challenge for me so I passed. Since I was in the neighborhood, I stopped at my favorite bead store for a little inspiration. I got a "bit" more than I planned but, as I said, I have been working all day and unfortunately missed the good photo taking sun so I am taking a small break to write this and then starting back up again! Someday I will have a studio that isn't cave-like and actually gets natural light.

Anyway, I FINALLY finished some LARGE sized DPN holders for my Etsy store. These have been long overdue but have not been a priority since I sell more small size than anything else. They will be posted in my store sometime tomorrow but unlike my other DPN holders, they are not adjustable and will be $2 more. These have larger and more bead, unfortunately making them a bit more expensive.

Also since there are more beads, I am unable to shorten the length. They will fit 5 US 11 needles comfortably (the picture shows US 10's since I don't have 11's).
Well, 27 needle holders made, blog almost posted and 3 loads of laundry done, I think it is time to get to making dinner and getting some more work done wile watching a movie later tonight!


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Square Storage Tin

My Square device came in a foam mailer and it got me thinking that having a storage container might be a a good idea. Now I wish I could say that this was an original idea, but I have to admit that Bethany over at 42nd & Orange had the idea before I did. She actually was the one to answer all of my questions solidifying my decision to get one. SO I looked into what I had around and this is what I used:

Using an old mint tin, I placed it bottom down centered over the Square cut out and traced it with chalk. I then cut the foam on the inside of the line (remember that we traced the outside of the tin so we need to cut it just a bit smaller to account for the thickness of the box).
I then took one of the side pieces and sliced it in half through its thickness. I did this to make the foam sit higher in the tin. I didn't want the Square to have enough room to work its way out and
rattle around in the tin.

Lay this thin piece in, then the cut piece, then the Square and you are done!

WAIT! I did do one more step. The mailer came with a sticker to announce that I take credit cards. The sticker was too big with the Square logo on it. I thought about just cutting it off but wasn't sure if there was a reason to keep it (think of the ATM logos) so I opted to print a copy of it and cut just what I needed for now and used packing tape to attach it.
I set it upside-down if you are looking at the opening end so that when I am at a show I can place the open tin and the "label" will "sit up" on the table.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I now take credit cards!

For the past several years while doing craft shows, my biggest sales breaker was the inability to take credit cards. I know that I am not alone on this. It is because of this that shows that have a central check out will charge a larger show fee ( and usually also a percentage) for the "convenience" of being able to take credit cards. There WAS a time that, technology being what it was, this was a feasable way to justify paying the extra fees. These days, things are different. It has all been changed for me with this little Square.

This fabulous little device has no annual fee, is pay as you use it and plugs into my Xoom (it can plug into any 'smart' device including iPhones and Droids). The per use percentage is in the same range with PayPal, varying slightly with how you run the card (swipe or manual). It DOES require an internet connection to run the cards, however, most people already have that capability. this is doubly exciting for me as I start to do larger custom jobs, my clients now have a way to use credit and with the economy the way it is, who isn't using that to their advantage?

P.S. - NO, I don't have any affiliation, I am just super excited to find relief to a nagging issue.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Long days of summer

Living in San Diego, I really don't feel right about complaining too much about the weather. We really do have the weather market cornered and despite all of my whining and muttering, I DO realize how good we have it. That being said, UGH!! The heat is here!!!!! I have no tolerance for heat - I never have. Anything over 75° is uncomfortable and anything over 80° and everyone around me is uncomfortable. I hate sweating too - it makes doing everything more difficult.
Yesterday, I realized that I wasn't the only one I the house that was miserable. The cat didn't want me to touch him and throughout the day he got longer

And longer

And longer.

Maybe that is the REAL reason the call them the 'long days of summer'.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ridiculous amounts of packaging

WOW! I really suck at this blogging thing! It has been almost a
year since I have blogged. I didn't THINK my life was that boring but thinking back, there wasn't all THAT much that a reader would miss. Just about the only exciting thing that I HAVE done? - Well after 20 years of wanting one, I FINALLY got my nose pierced. I figured at 40 I should stop worrying about what everyone else thinks.

Well, said nose ring is surgical steel which, like most metals, I am allergic to. SO, I ordered a white gold one that arrived today with EXORBANANT amounts of packaging. They could have stuck this thing in an envelope for the price of a stamp and no one would have known the wiser.

But, they boxed it - OK, but in a much larger box than necessary.

And then in an envelope that was
too big for the box... - come on REALLY? THIS THING IS TINY!

Anyway, it is super cute and I love it - I just hate that it required so much paper and plastic.

I hope you are enjoying your summer. I will write more soon - I PROMISE!!