Jumping on the Band Wagon

The yarn shop can be a strange place. Probably not what you expected me to say, but hang with me for a moment and let me explain.

A few years ago, it seemed that everyone at my LYS was knitting the Ivy Vest by Kay Dahlquist. I admired all the vests that were being knit, but had not started one for myself. I liked the pattern, but I was working on other things then. I bought the pattern and stashed it away.

Fast forward to this past Wednesday, and the gal I usually work with had the day off so I worked with someone else. It was fun to catch up with Ann and see what she was working on. Well, she is working on the Ivy Vest. In fact, she informed me that several ladies were working on it and they had come up with a schedule to have it done by September. I mentioned that I had it in my queue but that I was probably so far behind that I couldn’t catch up. They are already three weeks into the KAL. But Ann can be quite persuasive and she convinced me that I could catch up. And I believed her. (See, the yarn shop does strange things to people.)

Well, it turns out that they did the back section (section A) the first week. Then weeks two and three were spent knitting all four panels for section B. This week they were completing one panel C. So I jumped right in and got the back finished yesterday as well as the first panel B. I started the second panel B last night and maybe by the end of the weekend I will have the four panels for B finished. Then if I can get through two of panel C I will be caught up. I can do this right?

Now to totally change the topic, I planted a hibiscus plant this spring and it started blooming this week. It is stunning! Just ignore the weeds.

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Have a fabulous weekend and keep creating!

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Creativity Abounds

I have made a decision to no longer let life get in the way of my creative pursuits. I have been having a lot of pain in my wrist lately so I have seen an orthopedic doctor. After a round of x-rays and an office exam, I have been given a splint which braces my thumb and have been scheduled for carpal tunnel testing. I have been a bit down about this, but I have come to the conclusion that I just need to press onward. The doctor gave me clearance to do as much as I felt able to do, so that is exactly what I am doing.

First off, I have added four new listings to my Etsy shop. The first one is a lovely shawl/scarf that I crocheted about a month ago.  I finally got around to blocking it and taking several photos so that I could list it on Etsy. This was a fun project. I am thrilled with how it turned out and am already digging through my stash to see what I may have on hand to make more of them. (The links in the photo captions will take you directly to the Etsy listing for the item.)

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Crocheted Shawl/Scarf – available in my Etsy shop

My second endeavor has been to make cute stitch markers. These were a blast to make and I have already ordered up some more beads to make more. Knitting is just so much more fun when you have awesome stitch markers. Make sure to check them all out.

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Panda Bear Stitch Markers – available in my Etsy shop
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Fantasy Stitch Markers – available in my Etsy shop
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Ladybug Stitch Markers – available in my Etsy shop

I have also been spinning and spending some quality time with my sewing machine. I am reminded of my sewing skill deficit every time I sit down at that machine. But the only way to get better is to practice, practice, practice. Hopefully I can improve my Neanderthal rudimentary sewing skills. I’ll let you know how that goes.

In the meantime, keep creating and make the world a more beautiful place!

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So Many Plans, So Little Time . . .

First off, I want to give a HUGE thank you to my doctor. She has finally given me the answers I’ve been looking for the last 7-8 years. I finally have a diagnosis and with my current treatment, I am feeling better every day. Without going into an extremely long story, suffice it to say that I’m glad I persevered, changed doctors, and I’m starting to feel like myself again.

Now that I’m getting my energy back, my creative juices are flowing like a river at flood stage. I have to rein myself in a bit as I have a serious case of “startitis” at the moment. It seems that every project I see I want to start. Every idea that pops into my head makes me want to start seeing if it will work. Everything is shiny and grabs my attention. I do love this manic phase I’m having, but I can’t start all the projects at once.

Enter the notebook. I’m keeping track of all my ideas for later. Eventually this creative flow will slow down and then I can look at my thoughts and ideas in a calm, rational manner. In the meantime, let the ideas flow!

And just so you know, fiber arts aren’t the only way I’m creative. I’ve taken up sketching.

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Thursday Musings

While I was working at my LYS, a customer was admiring some sweaters we have on display for upcoming classes. Each one has a sign stating the name of the pattern, the dates and times of the classes, and at the bottom a simple request, “Please do not try on.” The customer turned to me and asked if people actually try on the samples. This sparked an interesting discussion and I am interested in what other knitters think.

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If you see a sample sweater/hat/shawl/mitts, etc., in a yarn shop, would you just try it on? I personally do not try anything on at a yarn shop unless one of the staff invites me to do so or I ask one of the staff if the item is available to be tried on. In our shop, some of the models come from the yarn companies and those we allow customers try on if they desire. We also have a lot of models that were knit by our staff which are their own personal items.

I have encountered many customers who politely ask if they may try on a model. But there are just as many who walk in, take the model off the display mannequin, and proceed to try it on without asking. I wonder if they are mistaking the yarn store for a department store. Is that possible?

I never allow a customer to try on someone’s personal knitted item without that person’s permission. A shawl or scarf is permissible in my opinion. Allowing people to try on a model risks having that particular model stretched, snagged, or worse. I personally don’t want numerous people trying on my own handknit sweater, hat, etc. I do let customers try on my scarves and shawls as there is less chance of damage to the item.

I also encourage customers to touch the finished projects. Knitting is a very tactile process. I think most knitters are initially drawn to a yarn’s colors, but many knitters skip over a lovely dyed yarn because it feels rough or harsh. Knitting is not a speedy craft and we want to enjoy the yarn as it runs through our fingers while we form the stitches. I do not want to spend weeks knitting something with yarn that feels awful in my hands. In fact, if I don’t like the feel of the yarn I will probably not knit on the project much. Then we have to think about how the final garment is going to feel while we wear it. This is where touching the models comes in. Sometimes a yarn may feel a bit rough in the hank or ball, but once it is knit up it becomes soft and yummy. It’s all about how it feels . . . during the process and as the finished project.

This also brings up another knitting etiquette question . . . if you see someone knitting something, do you just walk up to them and start fondling their knitting as you ask them about the project?

So what do you think? Do you walk into yarn stores and just try things on without asking first? Do you think customers should ask or do you believe the models are there for you to try on? How about touching someone else’s knitting while they are working on it? Speak up knitters!

Sorry for the long absence

Wow! I can’t believe that February is almost over. It is definitely true that the older you get, the faster time seems to go. Weren’t we just celebrating Christmas and the New Year just a couple of days ago??

I would like to apologize for my long absence here. I was doing fairly well with updates and then it was like I dropped off the face of the earth. Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you and throwing a monkey wrench into your carefully made plans. My work schedule at the yarn shop changed and I am still trying to get back into some kind of routine. (And the time change in a couple of weeks will mess me up even more.) Then to make it even more complicated, my mom had surgery. (She did well and is recovering nicely.)

In the midst of all this, I did manage to bribe my dad into helping me hang the antique crates on the walls in my studio. (He’s so easy . . . just say, “Let’s do breakfast and I’m buying.” LOL!) We spent most of that morning hanging four crates. Of course we had to make a trip to the hardware store to pick up the proper anchors for my plaster walls. We had a few laughs and I enjoyed the time I got to spend with my dad.

Now that the crates are hung I feel like the studio has finally come together. I’m sure I will be tweaking it forever, but it is in a very usable state and I LOVE it! Here’s a look inside:

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Whew! I’m Exhausted

Wow! It has been a productive few days on the studio project. Sunday afternoon, my Dad came over and helped my hubby and I move the very large (and heavy) cabinet to the rec room in the basement. That was quite the feat! I”m sure glad that we borrowed Dad’s hand-truck. Then he stuck around to help us move the sewing table upstairs.

This morning I spent a few hours arranging furniture and organizing things. There is still lots to do and furniture may be moved . . . again . . . but I can actually start working on “fibery” things in the studio.

Here are the progress pictures, as promised.

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Stash storage has taken over where the large cabinet once lived. I still have lots of stash to bring into the room and organize in the drawers. I’m hoping that I can hang some of it up later.

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Here is the sewing table in its new home. The spinning wheel will live here unless I am sewing. Then it has to move so I can put up the drop leaf on the sewing table. Perils of a small house. But this is much better than my tools being kept all over the house.

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Winding station, bookshelves and fiber storage are on this side of the room. There has been much organization in this area since the photo was taken. The rug you see on the floor is gone (I’m thinking of using it on top of the cedar chest for the cats to lie on) and I have put down a nice area rug that my folks gave me.

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Finally, we have Agnes in her new home. She is right as you come in the door and she fits perfectly in that small space. Still lots to do, but I am very pleased with what I have accomplished thus far. I think I need a nap now!

Small Update

As I push forward with my plans on building up this business, this blog/website will be a large part of it. So even though I don’t have a formal post ready, I want to get myself in the habit of updating the site.

Things are moving forward at a good pace. Yesterday I registered the business name with the County Clerk and set up a bank account as well. The next step will be to get my new studio in order. I am turning what used to be our spare bedroom into my studio so I can have all my supplies and tools in one place. Plus I will have a place to work where I can shut the door if I leave it a mess. First thing that needs to be done is some furniture moving. I am hoping that will happen this weekend. Photos of progress will be forthcoming.

Happy Creating!