Tag Archive | craft shows

Yesterday Was (not so) Awesome

It started off pretty well with morning tea and knitting, but after lunch I went shopping for a few new clothes. Unfortunately, I needed a bigger size and only had one pair of jeans and maybe half a dozen long-sleeve shirts that fit well. The up side was that I found a few good things, but I wasn’t thrilled about the size I had to get. So I wasn’t feeling too great about myself after that, but I was trying.

Then last night I got in trouble. I got in trouble for letting my son order a shirt in a size that ended up too big, then for getting upset when he snapped at me about it. I got in trouble for running down the hill that morning to take him the frosting he needed for a class project (“Someone was THERE, mom”) and then found out that he was letting me walk with him to school not because he liked the time, but because he didn’t know how to say he didn’t want me to. I trust him to get to school safely, but it was one of the few times I got to spend with him alone, and I liked our little chats. Guess I was the only one. Then I got in trouble for not knowing where the rubbing alcohol was (“We have all these beauty products and nothing USEFUL”) and then in trouble for getting upset by being snapped at unexpectedly.

So yeah. Yesterday was SUPER. Maybe it was just a bad day for everybody. Sigh. Today I let him walk alone, I will email the band director about ordering a smaller size, and I’ll find the darn rubbing alcohol. AND I’m going to knit! That was about the only good thing about yesterday. I now have two finished Royal blue hats to take to the craft show, and I think I can get one more done today. It’ll be a beanie in super bulky yarn so it should go quickly. IMG_3569The brim on this one came out a little bigger than I wanted, but it should work well for those with slightly bigger heads, or with lots of hair. And if it doesn’t sell at this craft show, I might see about adding a bit of elastic to snug it up some. IMG_3575And I love how this one turned out! The gray and blue is a little less common for a KC Royals hat, but I love it. And I showed the side with the joining seam because I was pleased with myself. It’s still noticeable if you look for it, but overall it came out really clean and smooth. I just have to decide whether to add a blue pom pom. Personally, I’ll always vote for a pom pom. How about you?

Craft Show Madness

It’s setting in, the frenzy of an upcoming craft show. I feel the urge to MAKE ALL THE THINGS that I think will sell because I’m convinced the stuff I’ve already made is not good enough. I know I won’t be able to put up an attractive display by myself so I’m crossing my fingers that my knitting SIL will help me out. I’m fretting about how to take essential breaks when I’m working my table by myself. So yeah, normal pre-craft show jitters.

All the broken-rib hats have buttons attached and yesterday I cast on for a new hat. It’s a simple slouch hat in stockinette but I’m doing red and white, a candy cane look for early holiday shoppers. I like it so far, and it’s going quickly. IMG_3523But this morning it hit me: WHY am I not doing blue and white?? My Kansas City Royals are heading into postseason baseball, and KC is baseball crazy this year. I’d be silly to not have some blue in my inventory this weekend, so I’m setting aside the red and white for now. Good thing I have extra circular needles!

The most exciting progress from the weekend comes from the husband. IMG_3507He got 36 of 41 fence posts installed! I am SO excited to see this taking shape. It’s going to look fantastic. Plus we’re all ready to retire these stupid chains for the dogs. The lack of running-around time is making Grace crazy, so that when I take them for a walk in the evening, she’s uncontrollable with energy. It makes walks miserable for both me and Jack, who gets tired of being pulled around when they’re on the double leash. So if the rain holds off, I’m going to see if I can handle taking both pups to the dog park to run off some of the crazy. Wish me luck!

Back to the Fun Yarny Stuff

I am so humbled by the responses I’ve gotten to my last post about my fight with depression. So many people have thanked me and shared similar experiences, and though it saddens me to know that it affects so so many people, I’m encouraged that the more we talk about it, the more we heal and the stigma grows weaker. Thank you to all who liked and commented. You made my heart a little fuller and stronger.

But now I want to go back to a happier topic. I have lots of little knitty things to share. First of all, I’ve got FIVE new hats for my craft show! IMG_3502I’ve decided to add buttons to all of them. I was undecided at first, thinking they might discourage someone from buying one. But as my wise daughter pointed out, there might be someone who would be more inclined to buy it with buttons. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t looked at it that way, but it seems so true to me. The buttons make them stand out, make them more unusual. Sure, my button choice might not be what they would pick, but that’s okay. I only need one person who likes my choice. So now I have lots of buttons to sew on before Friday. Yikes! Friday. I’m a little nervous about this craft show. It’s a bigger two-day show at a popular venue. It should be well-attended, which is great…as long as I can put up an attractive display and a few people like what I’ve made.

Yesterday I got to have breakfast with my sister and nephew, which was delightful, and then we hit the thrift store to see what treasures we could find. I did well: I found a big stash of circular needles for only $2 each. I resisted the urge to BUY ALL THE NEEDLES and just came home with 5 sets. Sadly, in my frenzy I picked up two of the same, so I’ll probably just pass the extra on to my Knitting SIL. No, I probably didn’t NEED any of these, but they’re different lengths and it’s always handy to have a good variety of circs.IMG_3503I also found this gorgeous tote bag that looks kind of like silk. I have a serious tote bag addiction. I tried to resist but my sister encouraged me. “But it’s so pretty!” Yes, yes it is.IMG_3504
See, look at that hot pink lining! How could I resist? Definitely worth the $5.IMG_3505Later, the husband took the afternoon off so we hit a really cool vintage store downtown. I found another big stash of needles, both circs and straights, but this time I was strong and resisted. It helped that they were $4.50. Not a bad price, just not as cheap as $2. The only one I couldn’t resist was a fantastic set of bone knitting needles, hand carved in Nepal.IMG_3506It’s a more unusual size but seriously, how cool are they? They even have their own fabric zip-up pouch. The needles are a bit heavy but I’ll still be on the lookout for a project I can make with them soon.

So there you go, all the knitting stuff that’s made me happy the last couple of days! Now I need the time to actually KNIT.

I See a Red Moon Rising

Busy busy weekend! Does everyone else have weekends like this, where it’s pretty much GO GO GO from Saturday morning until Sunday night? I’m ready for a boring weekend. Someday. Instead, we started off with a parade, and I do love parades. Especially ones with my daughter’s band playing! They were fantastic, of course. After that she had time for a quick lunch, then she was off for a day-long band competition…where her band got FIRST PLACE in their division! See, I told you they were fantastic! I wasn’t able to go to this one, though I would have liked to, because we’re still trying to make progress on the fence.

We’re at the heavy labor part of the process: digging by hand the post holes with roots/rocks. Then the husband went and bought fence posts, gravel and concrete, but we just didn’t have time to get as much done as I’d hoped. That’s okay, it’s still forward progress. Just no fun photos yet. The fun photos come later. We went to the local Fall Festival that night, a fun craft show/carnival/fair kind of thing, and had a blast. I found treats for the puppies… IMG_3402and treats for me!IMG_3403I was also on the lookout for a new collar for Grace, since the buckle snapped on hers. We use martingale collars because they’re both pretty squirrely and like to wriggle out of regular ones. The first booth I tried had really cute ones, but the martingales had no buckle, and when I asked, the lady treated me like I was an idiot. “They don’t come like that. This is how the martingale works,” she told me, demonstrating how the loop tightens. Well yes, I understand that part, but the dogs go outside on chains and if it’s loose enough to put on and take off, it’s loose enough for her to slip out of, and that’s not okay. This lady clearly thought I had no idea what I was talking about so I moved on, and glad I did, because I found a booth selling Slik Hound collars. We’d bought collars from them before and they really are high-quality. I just wish we’d bought martingales at the time. Fortunately, the kind woman at this booth knew about martingales with buckles and didn’t think I was crazy and helped me order one for Grace. I can’t wait until I get it!

I ended the weekend on a good note: I sat outside last night and watched the eclipse and did some knitting in the dark. With two craft fairs looming, I’ve decided to focus on making more basic slouch hats, since they always sell well and I’ve got great yarn in my stash. That’s what I was making while I sat in my backyard with the puppies frolicking around me. It was lovely to see the moon and sit outside where it was so quiet and peaceful…for the most part. The dogs heard an owl next door and went a little nuts since that was a new sound to them. We made it to about ten, the moon was fully eclipsed and gorgeous, and though part of me wanted to stay up and watch the whole thing, the rest of me was tired. So here’s my Lunar Eclipse hat: IMG_3450It’s a simple broken rib pattern and I did really well for a long time. Then came a row where my k1,p1 pattern was wrong at the end, and I had to tink (in the dark!). I’m pretty sure the error is right here; I’m just not sure how to fix it. So I might tink back another row or two. Even doing that, I should be able to finish this hat today.IMG_3451

Time for a Break

Saturday was craft show day. It was from 10-4 and it was in a more affluent part of town, with the promise of lots of shopping moms. I had a friend with me and she helped me create a more compelling table display than I’d done the last couple of shows. My hopes were high. IMG_2056Oh, and did you notice, I played with my hair again? Apparently I’m no longer a natural blond (I know, who knew?) so I’m trying to grow out all the processed stuff and find my real color. I had some leftover bleached blonde, so my fabulous hairdresser MIL gave me teal tips. Love them! Of course, my own mother’s reaction was different: “What happened to your hair??” LOL. Can’t win ’em all, right?

Anyway, yeah, I thought the table looked good. I had a selection of bags and lightweight spring hats, as well as spring mesh scarves and some cute baby hats. Too bad people decided they didn’t want to attend this show. It was slow all day long. I had three super wonderful friends from my old Coldwater Creek days show up, and that was such a treat. Plus they bought a couple of things! Other than that, I had ONE sale. Sigh. There just wasn’t much traffic. One vendor packed up and left at 1:30. But I did make table, and I had fun with my friends, so it wasn’t a complete loss.

It also clarified something for me: I’m slowing down on shows for now. It seems clear that spring/summer months are not good for the kind of things I love to make, and I don’t want to completely change my crafting outlook to cater to that. Plus, I was stressed out before these last two shows. I was worried about whether I’d have enough stuff, or whether it was the “right” stuff, and I felt guilty working on anything for myself or my family. That’s not what I want my knitting life to be, and I’m so grateful that I have the ability to step back. So for now, I’ll be knitting for fun. I’m still going to work on my Etsy shop, and I’ll still do the Etsy at the Exchange events when I can, but no more paid craft shows for now. I’m signed up for a big one in October and I might just let that be the next one.

I had another epiphany of sorts over the weekend, too. Another Creek friend, Terri, invited me to a dinner theater show, and we had a marvelous time catching up. We hadn’t talked one on one in ages, but she said she loves to follow along with what I write on Facebook so she felt like we were still close. At one point she asked me about the retail memoir I’d been working on. I’ve been working on that thing for that last four years, I think, and I keep working and leaving it and coming back and leaving again. But Terri’s question, and the fact that she’s not the only one who’s said they’d love to read it, made me realize that I’ve got something going on with this writing thing. No, I’m no literary genius. But I do love it, and I think I do connect with readers sometimes. So I’m bringing writing back into my life, more than just this blog, and I’m going to do my best to finish revising my manuscript. Maybe then I’ll be brave enough to start querying agents, or maybe I’ll just share it with friends and family. Who knows. I think for me, the process is the most important part.

Thanks for listening, friends. I know this was a more introspective post, less fun knitting talk, but I promise, there will be fun stuff in days to come. Still yarn, always yarn, but writing talk too, maybe even manuscript excerpts. And puppy photos, too. Today is Captain Jack, my furry little baseball fan. IMG_2061

I’m a Winner! And: Who’s that Maker?

Seriously, I won some prizes. Remember I told you about the Meet the Makers event at Ugly Glass & Company? I got to enter a drawing for a $20 gift certificate just for attending, and then I got entries for door prizes for making purchases. Well! I got a call a few days ago that I’d won the gift certificate AND a door prize! How cool is that? (Spoiler: Very.)

First up: the door prize. I got four entries. There were several door prizes to choose from, and each one had it’s own jar. I could put all my entries in one or split them up. I was torn between a lovely handsewn tote bag and a wonderful rainbow dotted cup, and ultimately decided I have a lot of tote bags (I think it’s a legitimate addiction) so I’d go for the cup. With four entries, I felt pretty good about my odds. And I won it! See how cute it is?IMG_2051I’m pretty sure each little dot is hand-painted. I can’t imagine how long that took. But I absolutely love it. It was made by PiCeramics, and she’s got a lot of beautiful cups, vases, pitchers and more.

Then it was time to spend my gift certificate. That was hard. I looked at GeekChic because I just love her nerdy handmade bags. She’s the one who made my awesome Doctor Who tote. And I looked at PiCeramics, but I needed to stay close to my budget, and her pieces had a deservedly higher price. But I kept going back to this booth of infinity scarves made with soft jersey-type fabric. I covet them every time we go to Ugly Glass, so it just seemed like destiny. I picked out two.IMG_2052 IMG_2053I love them. I put the blue one on right away, and I wore the gray/black one yesterday. I’m already trying to figure out what else I can wear them with. Sadly, I didn’t pay enough attention to the name of the booth, and the tags were removed when I bought them, so I can’t tell you the name of the maker, and I hate that.

I think more makers need to consider what goes home with their items. My cup came home with a tag that had a pi symbol on it, but I still had to go to the Ugly Glass website to get more information. For the scarves, I came home with no tags whatsoever. There are several clothing/accessory vendors listed on the website, and I have no idea which is which. I bought an adorable bag for my niece’s birthday at the craft show on Saturday, and I have no clue what her business name is.  IMG_2059I think it’s so neat how she has the little slots for crayons on the front, and it came with a Frozen coloring book. Plus there’s room for a few other things, so it’s perfect to take to church or out to dinner, things like that. I wish I could direct you to her, but I can’t because I forgot to get a business card and the tag only has a price.

So, a note to vendors: think about attaching a tag with your information on it. Or punch holes in your business cards and attach one of those. I put two tags on my items, one with a price and description, and one with my name, email, website, Facebook and Etsy. I want to make it as easy as possible for you to find me later.

Today’s puppy photo is brought to you by Grace, who seems to think she must be higher than the rest of us and therefore claims tables. IMG_1988

Just keep making, just keep making!

Well, tomorrow is craft show day! It’s a full day affair so I’ve got my fingers crossed that it’s a good one. I just keep making new stuff to sell, like this red cotton tote.IMG_2042I like the shimmery gray buttons a lot. They’re just decorative of course, but they add a nice pop of style to the bag.IMG_2041Then I whipped up this mini market bag. It took all of an hour at the most, and it was a great way to use up the last ounce of Berroco Weekend left over from the slouchy hat. I have no idea what it’s good for. Little yarn bag to hang on your wrist, so you can knit while you’re out and about, I guess. Hang it in your bathroom and fill it with hair scrunchies and headbands. Put some bubble stuff and plastic sand toys in there for a child to carry to the beach. Heck, I don’t know. But it’s little and it’s cute and I like it.IMG_2044I’ve got one more hat to finish today and then I’m calling it quits on making all the things. I’ve got to get the car loaded up so I don’t have to do it early in the morning. I’m so grateful I’ve got a good friend helping me with this show! She’s got a great visual eye, so I’m thinking my table will look pretty darn good. I’ll be sure to take some photos for you.

Puppy photo: Jack loves to nap on the couch next to me, and I thought it was so cute, with his head on the pillow. See, they’re not destructive *all* the time! IMG_2037

A Handmade Market and Cool Makers

One of the best things about living near Kansas City is the wide variety of businesses you can find. If you go downtown to the West Bottoms Historical District, you’ll find warehouses converted into great stores selling antiques, vintage clothes and accessories, upcycled and recycled items, and handmade items. They do big events the first weekend of every month, and it’s always packed. It’s hard to find a parking spot, and you have to maneuver through huge crowds, but all the food trucks come out, and there’s a vibrant energy in the whole area.

My favorite shop is Ugly Glass and Company, located on the fourth floor of Le Fou Flea. It’s a handmade market comprised of lots of different vendors, with the store manned by the Ugly Glass people. I just love all the different things you can find: soaps, candles, bags, t-shirts, screenprinted kitchen towels, jewelry, baby blankets, diaper pads, Kansas City-related photos and prints and quotes, scarves, and so much more. The vendors refresh their inventory regularly, and there are always new vendors coming in, so it’s different every time I go.

Saturday night they hosted a Meet the Makers event with refreshments and door prizes, so I dragged Alex out there with me. My initial reason for going was to support Cocoon, an upcycling business run by a friend of mine. She makes birdhouses from cowboy boots, wind chimes from teapots, birdfeeders from tea cups and saucers, necklace holders and bowls out of records, and earrings made from aluminum cans. Everyone who came got to design a pair of earrings, so I got Coke can ladybugs! IMG_2003Aren’t they cute? Very simple, and lightweight too. She’s got a ton of colors, and you can do ladybugs, butterflies, or owls. Fun stuff.

Other than that, I was there to check out the space and get ideas for display fixtures. I’m pondering renting a space there, but just don’t know what to use. Bookcase? Metal shelving? Pegboard? I’m still pondering, and I’m not convinced it’s the right time for me to rent a space. With knit/crochet items, maybe I’d do better in the cooler months? But traffic will be higher in warmer months. I just don’t know. Any advice?

While wandering, I found a booth of handmade dog collars made by SLik Hound Pet Collars. Well, I have dogs. Two of them, in fact, and I love spoiling them. But they have collars, didn’t need new ones, I could walk on by…Hey! They had Wonder Woman! I do love me some Wonder Woman. This fabric also had Supergirl and Batgirl and it’s just fabulous. They were running a special that night of buy one, get one 30% off, so we picked out a KC Royals collar for the boy pup. LOVE them!IMG_1978They make them in tons of colors, patterns, and pop culture themes, and each one has a coordinating fabric sewn inside. These collars are available in a variety of sizes, they’re well-made, strong and sturdy, and they’re machine washable. Check out their website here.

We spent a while chatting with the makers, Nick and Amy. (I know what you’re thinking: Gone Girl. But I assure you, this Amy was SO much nicer than the Amy from that book!) I mentioned that I’m a crafter too, scoping out the place, and they were both so helpful and encouraging. It was a great reminder of why I love the handmade movement: people are so passionate about their craft, and they want others to succeed too. It’s not all about ME. It’s not all about the money. Sure, it’s a business and they’re trying to make a living. But they’re not trying to get rich. They’re trying lead a rich life doing something they love, and that’s definitely something I aspire to. It’s also something I want to support, so my pups will be wearing their collars whenever they go out. IMG_1992

Thrift Store Finds

Today, while I was running errands, I hit two thrift stores in search of good fixtures to use as displays for my craft shows. One was a bust, but the other yielded several goodies. Check them out:IMG_1950I don’t really know what most of them are, except the taller metal one in the back which I can tell is a candlestick. But now, they will display my handknits!IMG_1951That gold one on the left will be great for purses and scarves. I’ll set it up on a box, higher than the table, so the pieces can hang down nicely. The others aren’t perfect hat stands, but I think they’ll show the hats off better than just laying flat. I can’t wait to do my next table display now!

I also stopped by the LYS to get some yarn. I had a good reason, I promise! My sister has commissioned a lined project bag with wooden handles, and I needed to get the yarn for it. I have the perfect handles and the perfect closure and now I have the perfect yarn! I wish I could show them off, but she reads my blog (I think) and I want it to be a surprise, so you’ll have to wait along with her. I’ll do my best to knit fast, but it won’t go as fast as these hats:IMG_1953I have two more I want to make, a red and a blue, and then I’ll be ready to move on to something else. This is the first pattern I’ve made so many times. Guess it must be a good one!

Another Craft Show Done

Yesterday I had a little craft show, another Etsy at the Exchange for local Etsy vendors. Here’s my little table display:IMG_1928I want to start hunting for display options at some thrift stores. I need some height variation, some visual interest, and if I could find a good way to hang purses, I’d be thrilled. These shows are short, just four hours, but they’re free and I think it’s going to keep growing into something big and cool. I sold a couple of things, gave out several business cards, met some interesting fellow vendors, and the local paper was there taking photos, so that could lead to some good exposure. Both my Etsy traffic and blog traffic were up yesterday evening. Coincidence? I don’t think so. I also bought something. I just can’t resist Wonder Woman.IMG_1938This was made by Rosete’s Thread, and she had a ton of neat stuff made with pop culture fabrics: potholders, dish towels, baby sets, dog bandanas. There was Walking Dead, TMNT, lots of superheroes, and some other stuff I didn’t recognize. She also had really cute ruffled scarfs and fleecy shawls. If you’re interested, you can find her on Facebook or on Etsy.

After the show, I found some solitude and worked on a hat, a custom order from Etsy, and this morning I finished it, except for closing the top and weaving in tails.IMG_1935 IMG_1937This is a pattern I’ve made before, and I found it much easier this time around. I even managed to do some of the cabling without a cable needle! It was a little scary, but it sure made it simpler.

But the best thing about yesterday’s show was it helped me find my short-term focus. I need to build my inventory of warm-weather knits. I think a lot of people walked past my table because it was 70 degrees and sunny, and they didn’t want to think about hats or cowls. My next show is in two weeks, so that’s how long I’ve got to make some spring hats, skinny mesh scarves, a market bag or two, maybe another purse. I’ll display fewer items and make sure they’re all perfect for higher temperatures. I better get busy!