Tag Archive | etsy shops

A Good Week

Guys, it’s been a pretty good week. My most recent post, Changing Direction, might have been my one of my most popular, with 93 views and 18 likes! And that’s even with me forgetting to add any categories or tags. I mean, sure, it’s not like I’m going viral or anything, but it’s encouraging for me. And looking at the stats made me realize that I have over 400 followers on my blog! That’s so cool, that over 400 people like what I have to say enough to follow me. I am always grateful that you’re reading, so thank you!

I got a couple of nice comments at work this week, one a vote of confidence from my boss, which is always encouraging. The other was from someone in another department who said I’m “one of the best AAs” she works with. Well! How about that? Made me feel pretty good, especially after all the times where I felt like I was at a disadvantage because I have no science knowledge or background.

And we went to see Wonder Woman again. Still amazing. Want to see it again. And again. If you haven’t seen it yet, GO. Go now, while it’s still in theaters. Seriously.

This week was a good mail week too. I got some cute earrings I ordered from Etsy, a new shop with a young maker. I was her first sale and she included an awesome note thanking me, complete with kitty sketch. The shop is So Crafty Kitten.

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My other delivery was my wrist ruler from I Love Handles. I saw it on Instagram and ordered on immediately. Mine is the black 15″ and I want one of every color. This is the 15″; next time I think I’ll get the 16″. Perfect for on the go sock knitting! Or any knitting, really. Get your own here.

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So, yeah, not a terrible week. And I promised some knitting in the next post, so here’s the sock I finished last night.

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Pattern is Blueberry Waffle Socks, kind of. The pattern called for DK weight and I had fingering, so I just took the waffle stitch pattern and applied it to the same basic sock recipe I’ve been using. I’m quite tickled with myself, that I’m comfortable enough with socks to just kind of make one up based on what I’ve done in the past! Just wait until I know more heels to choose from!

The yarn is Knit Picks Stroll Glimmer, which is dreamy to work with. It’s super soft, which I love, and the sparkly thread isn’t scratchy at all. It is splitty when you have to tink back to fix mistakes, but manageable. However, once I got the sock done and on my foot, either the yarn or the pattern doesn’t feel snug and elastic. Definitely soft, but slightly looser than some of my other socks. I used the same needles and stitch count, so either my gauge has changed slightly or it’s the yarn. But they’ll be fine, and I’m looking forward to having the second sock done. However, it wasn’t until I got this one on my foot that I realized: I forgot to do the contrast toe in gray! Darn it all. It’s fine, though, who sees the toes anyway, right? And it leaves more gray for other pairs of socks.

That’s kind of all the knitting I’ve been doing. I seem to be on a strange little knitting hiatus. I’ve been so tired in the evenings that knitting makes me sleepy, so I’ve been watching more TV. I’ve also been re-reading Furiously Happy for our work book club, and loving it just as much as I did the first time. (Funny stories about mental illness. Can’t go wrong.) My goal is to work a bit more on my baby blanket this weekend. I have about two skeins of yarn left, out of seven. SO close!

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It’s going to be Fabulous when it’s done. (Pattern is Raishan by Laura Cameron.) Now I just need to do my chores and errands so I can get to the needles!

What a Weekend!

There was so much going on this weekend! I’m glad to finally have a quieter day. The kids have a long weekend, thanks to parent/teacher conferences and Washington’s birthday, so they had Friday off. I drove downtown to take the girl to a weekend-long honor band, and that was only a little stressful for my small-city-driver self. The fun bit was that we met a knitter from Vietnam! During our downtime, we hung out at the B&N cafe, and I was knitting a Yoda hat. An older woman came over and asked where she could get needles like mine (I was using my 12″ Addi Turbos). She lives in Vietnam and comes here to visit her son, who attends the local university, so she didn’t know the area well at all. She was really only familiar with Michaels stores, and didn’t seem to understand the concept of local yarn stores (so sad). We chatted a bit as best we could with the language barrier, and it was neat to share the love of knitting. It made me realize that’s really the only time people come up and talk to me, when I’m knitting. It must be a good ice-breaker! Either that or I suffer from RBF (Resting B*#@% Face) when I’m not knitting. We may never know.

Saturday morning was my craft show and it was a whirlwind five hours. I had some family visit me (and buy a couple of things) but I also had several real customers too! I focused on hats for this show, and I think I sold 6 or 7. The Yoda hats were a hit, of course, but so were the black hats. Note to self: make sure to have black hats at every show. My Knitting SIL was up there with me, and we had a grand time knitting and chatting between customers. Really, it went much better than I expected, and it makes me think that focusing on hats might be a good strategy. But…I LOVE cowls! Love making them, love wearing them. Why don’t people buy them? I just don’t know. Still, hats are good. I like hats.

Yesterday was the concert for the girl’s honor band, and though it was a struggle to get the boy awake (forget about happy) by 9 a.m., we managed. The concert was marvelous…IMG_5069and the lunch afterward was marvelous too… IMG_5074Look: the boy has a new hairdo! It was a bold move for him; we love it!IMG_5077And look: the girl has a new smile! She got her top braces off finally and is SO HAPPY!

Then we came home and I took a bunch of photos of my newer hats and updated my Etsy shop. It’s all current now, and I’m going to step back from Yoda hats and work on the rainbow cowl for my mom.

But now I have a question for you fellow sellers of knitted goods: I was invited to do a show in June. It’s a good show, well-advertised and popular, and the booth fee is very reasonable. BUT, that’s the middle of summer. It’s warm here then. How well do knitted things sell during the summer? In my experience, not that well. I can modify my inventory a bit, have more summer-weight hats, baby hats, cotton bags, etc, but I’m not sure I’d have enough for a show. Have any of you done well with summer shows? What advice do you have for me?

I will wait patiently for your replies, as patiently as Jack waits when it’s dinner time. (Sorry the photo is so bad; I had to take it quickly before he moved.) I just love how he sits!IMG_5145

Photo Editing of Yarn Stuff

Yesterday was spent without yarn in my hands and strangely, it felt okay. That’s not to say I avoided yarn completely. Instead, I worked on photos for my Bonny Knits business. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while but wasn’t sure what apps or programs would be best. Photoshop is the obvious one, but it’s too expensive for my needs.

Thanks to a fellow fiber friend, I discovered PicMonkey and started playing around with the free Basic version. It has a good variety of effects, overlays, themes and fonts for free, which is great. The biggest flaw is how slowly it runs on my computer, and I’m not sure how much to blame on the site and how much on my laptop. When there’s nothing else open on my computer, I can use it without too much frustration. Here are a couple of early attempts. yodaHeartbeatLoveHatSadly, this one has a wee typo (should be ‘shop’, not ‘shops’) and I couldn’t go back and edit once I saved. It would have to be re-done completely. I don’t know if that’s something that’s different in the paid services, but it would be nice to keep the images in a library and edit them easily.

Then I tried Foto Editor Lite, another free app, this time on my phone. There were some different filters that I liked a lot, ones that seemed to alter the background without changing the focus of the photo too much. The text was easy to add and alter, but the app crashed a few times while I was editing text, and I’d lose everything I’d done. Still, I liked it well enough for a quick edit of photos on my phone that I could then easily post on Twitter or Instagram. IMG_4889

Then I moved to the iPad and played with LiPix, another free app. It’s easy to use with a ton of variety in frames and shapes. You can alter the colors yourself to get just the right shade. It has just as many filters as Instagram, if not more. Adding text was simple, with great options for color and font. There were stickers you could add, which were fun, probably not something I’d use for this kind of thing but great for personal photos. I think this might have been my favorite of the three. It was easier for me to work on the iPad than the phone, it didn’t crash once, it had a ton of variety for free, and the photos were easy to save and share. IMG_0348IMG_0349There you have it, if you’ve been looking for ways to spice up your photos but like me, didn’t know where to start. I’m looking forward to all the fun images I can create!

A Yarn Pick-Me-Up

It’s easy for me to get discouraged right now. I fight it off most days, or at least I pretend to. Fake it ’til you make it, right? But sometimes good things happen that boost my spirits right up. Yesterday’s mail brought me something very happy: a single skein of lovely yarn that I impulse-ordered recently.

I follow a lot of yarn-dyers on Instagram because I’m a knitter, right? That’s what we do. I look at pictures of yarn and puppies. It pleases me greatly. Most of the time that’s all. But then on Black Friday, @_lolodidit posted a photo of this yarn, Purple Rain, on worsted weight, and said it was the LAST ONE! Well. Of course. Strike one: purple. Strike two: worsted weight, when so many hand-dyed skeins are sock weight. Strike three: last one?? That was just fate calling my name so sweetly. I immediately went to her Etsy shop and ordered the little beauty and yesterday it arrived. IMG_4340I immediately wound it into the most perfect little ball of yarn.IMG_4341I knew it would be something for me (and I mean it this time) but what? It would make a gorgeous hat, but I just don’t wear many hats. I like fingerless gloves, but I wanted something faster. That meant a cowl, and my favorite cowl has to be River Deep, Mountain High. I’ve made it twice and want to keep both of them, so I need one just for me. I cast on after dinner and today I’m ready to start the pattern portion. IMG_4372I just love this yarn so much. You should check out her Etsy shop, lolodidit, and her Instagram handle is @_lolodidit. She makes such pretty yarn, I can’t wait to order more! This came at just the perfect time, too, because I was starting to feel that tiny bit of discouragement. The good news is that I finished almost all my lingering commissions (except the ones that need yarn that hasn’t arrived yet) so I got to work on personal projects. Remember, I cast on for the Color Tipped Shawl, and I do love the style and the color combo I picked. (The third color is a dark teal.)IMG_4373But I don’t love the yarn. It’s Berroco Maya, a blend of cotton and alpaca, and while it feels nice in a cake, when it’s knit up it feels kind of…crunchy? Crispy? Not as soft as I would want in a scarf. So now what? Do I frog and find a different pattern for this yarn? I think I have to. If I wouldn’t wear this, I don’t know that I should continue making it. So that project went into timeout.

I do have another personal project that I started yesterday. The boy is a huge Sherlock Holmes fan (of the Benedict Cumberbatch variety) and he got a dark gray peacoat this winter. What else would do but me making him an appropriate Sherlock scarf? I’m using Knit Picks Preciosa Tonal in the Captain colorway. I’m really enjoying this yarn. Lovely softness and gorgeous colors. IMG_4374I just can’t work on it when he’s home, so here’s hoping I can finish it before school lets out for the holidays!

And just so you all know: it looks like I’m knitting a lot, but I’m being careful with my arms, I promise! I’m wearing my brace on the left elbow and the supportive glove on the right hand, and I’m taking lots of breaks. I finished the Vanessa Diffenbaugh book (very good, if not as good as her first), re-read an old favorite (Theory of Relativity by Jacqueline Mitchard) and am now happily in the middle of The Glass Kitchen by Linda Francis Lee. The balance is nice, even if there’s a part of me that would still rather be knitting all the time.

So there you go. Yarn is still saving me when I need it to. I go back to the doctor on the 8th for another x-ray. I’d like to say I’m expecting good news, but I’m not really. It will only have been 5 weeks then, and my foot is still achy/tender enough that I can’t imagine him giving me clearance to walk on it yet. But I’ll keep resting it and hoping for the best. That’s all you can do, right?

Red & White Knitting

Fun knitting yesterday! I took a quick break from commissions to make a baby hat, and since the holidays are coming, it needed to be a red and white stocking cap. I only love it a little and wish I had a baby of my own to put it on. Or maybe I just need to make one for myself. Anyway, here’s the hat. It’s cute. IMG_4120It’s made with Knit Picks Brava worsted, all acrylic so it’ll be soft and washable. I’ve got more of the yarn and it was quick to make, so I’m sure there will be more of these coming off my needles this winter.

I also started something new for me: a dog scarf! I’ve got a wonderful Etsy customer who wanted three candy cane scarves for family photos, and decided her dog needed one too. How cute will that be? So I’m making a little circle scarf. I just started last night, and I should be able to finish it today. IMG_4121We had a family birthday party yesterday, and I got to give a nephew some hand knit fingerless gloves. He’d been coveting them for a while, so it was fun to see his face when he opened them. He put them on immediately and wore them while he opened presents, at least until they got too warm. IMG_4112 This kid is one of the best people to give hand knits to; he just loves them. So I’ll keep making stuff for him. He wants a crocheted brain slug for Christmas. Seriously. I love my weird family.

Oh, and hey, something really cool happened yesterday: one of my shawls was featured in a treasury on Etsy! You can see it here, and it’s already generated four more favorites for that shawl! Etsy is fun, isn’t it?

Okay, I better get back to work. Today I need to focus on commissions: mermaid blanket and dog scarf. To make it more fun, I think there will be a movie marathon involved. Now I just have to decide what movies. Harry Potter? Toy Story? Back to the Future? I won’t do Twilight because they family’s home and they’ll complain. What’s your favorite series for knitting?

I might be…a good knitter…maybe? Sometimes?

I got a fantastic email last night, another thank-you from a happy Etsy customer. This one turned into another special order, so now I’m making two more scarves before December. That’s added on to a mermaid blanket, an earwarmer and two pairs of fingerless gloves. Whew! I’m gonna be a busy gal. I better get out my elbow support and just start wearing it every day.

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would have any kind of knitting-related business, not before a couple of years ago. But then I learned to knit in April 2013, and now here I am, with glowing reviews from Etsy customers and craft show customers, repeat business from those customers, special orders, and it feels…perfect. I feel so very lucky. It’s hard for me to think very highly of what I do, because it’s not that special, it’s not unique. Many people knit just as well as I do, and many do more complicated, unusual patterns than I do. And that’s okay. I’m happy where I’m at with my knitting.

So why am I succeeding now? No idea. My attention to detail, maybe. My commitment to customer service (thank you, Coldwater Creek), maybe. I put myself into what I make and I share myself with my customers (and all of you!) and I think people respond to that. I don’t really have the answer, and that’s okay too. As long as I can keep doing what I’m doing, it works for me. It’s not like I’m making a ton of money. Nowhere near it. But I’m at a point where I think the knitting can be self-sustaining financially and that’s huge. (That’s also assuming I can resist big splurges at the yarn stores!) And I think if I keep at it, I might actually profit someday. Wouldn’t that be cool? Yep. Very cool.

This weekend might have been my last free-knitting time before I plunge into all those custom orders. I splurged on some buttons recently, wanting to make more button slouch hats before a craft show next month. IMG_3705I decided the big pink one was perfect for the black and white hat.IMG_3708Yesterday I spent a couple of hours listening while my daughter rehearsed with her local honor orchestra, and cast on for another Borealis beanie.IMG_3715I was done 20 minutes before they were.IMG_3718The girl saw the hat and promptly stole it. This is the same girl who spent an entire day off school making cookies to sell to help offset the cost of the tuition for that orchestra. Voluntarily. So, she wants a hat, she gets a hat.IMG_3722How can I resist when it looks so cute on her?

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

You would think, with a couple hours of high school football game knitting last night, that I would have made great progress on my Where’s Waldo hat. You would be wrong. I kept looking at it as I knit on the second stretch of white, and I realized that the proportions of the sections were going to be wrong. See, I’ve been going a little nuts recently, making hats on the fly without a pattern. I look at patterns to get an idea of how many stitches to cast on, and then I knit. I’ve done enough hats that I usually have a pretty good idea of when and how to start decreasing. And that’s really cool! I like that I’m learning enough to be able to do that.

But I’m second-guessing myself on this particular hat, probably because it’s a special order and not just for my inventory. I want to make sure it’s exactly what my customer wants, with the right amount of slouch and everything. This is one time my perfectionism slows things down! So here’s what I had: IMG_3649I’m only doing one thick red stripe, and when I started on the second white section, I realized it would be significantly bigger than the other two, and the red stripe wouldn’t be centered. With a sinking feeling, I knew what my next step would be. I spent the first half hour of the game frogging and then picking up stitches. After counting rows and estimating how many I’d have total, I made the first white section bigger. Here’s where I am now. IMG_3660You like my little helper there? Yes, that’s pillow-eating Grace. At least she doesn’t eat yarn. Anyway, I have high hopes of finishing this hat today. After that, I’m moving on to building up my hat inventory for my next craft show in November. I’ve even wound the yarn I want to use.IMG_3662These are my last two skeins of Berroco Borealis, a gorgeous mix of blues and greens. They should make lovely slouchy hats. Hopefully I have good buttons in my stash for them, because I have no place close by to buy good buttons. Have you seen the selection at Michael’s? It’s sad. I swear, I got so spoiled by Joann. Hmm. Maybe a trip to Joann can be my reward for finishing the Where’s Waldo hat!

Finally, here’s a tiny elephant. The girl found it in Jack’s mouth this morning. We have no idea where it came from, and the poor thing is missing a leg. As small as it is, I can’t believe Jack didn’t swallow it whole. So this is a survivor elephant. He will live in my craft room now. IMG_3664