31 October 2007

Moved to Ohio

Well, my sweetie and our pups have successfully made it to Ohio. It's absolutely gorgeous here and I think that we are coming at just the perfect time to fall in love with it (the leaves are still changing!) We're in the process of house hunting, we haven't found anything we fell in love with, although we did find one we absolutely love the inside of, but it's on a major road with quite a bit of truck traffic. It may be worth it though given how perfect it is inside.

I've had no time for knitting but I will update soon with more news from Ohio.

24 October 2007

A finished object

I forgot to post this:

Sweet Pea Socks
Yarn: Hill Country Yarns Sweet Feet
Color: Periwinkle
Needles: US 2.5
Finished: October 17, 2007

Notes: Love love love the yarn and the pattern. A great combination. The only problem I had was the foot was too baggy so I decreased the number of stitches picked up from the heel flap from 30 to 20. I finished these just in time to wear them to Rhinebeck. They felted just a little bit under the ball of the foot and at the back of the heel but I did do quite a bit of walking and it was super hot to be wearing wool socks so my feet were probably a little sweaty!

22 October 2007

Rhinebeck Swag!!

What an overwhelming 2 days I just had. Rhinebeck was quite the experience, but before i get to Rhinebeck, let me show you some pre-Rhinebeck swag.
My mom and sisters got this for me when they went on the NH fiber tour. It's 2 skeins of Claudia handpaint in boot camp. I already have this yarn, but I think my sweetie can have 2 pairs of socks in the same color. There's not much boy yarn to choose from anyway. Then there's a skein of tofutsies. I've really been wanting to try this yarn out since it was introduced.

OK, onto Rhinebeck. My first purchase of the day:
Some sock yarn that's right up my alley, variegated green. It will make some gorgeous socks.

Next up was this:
3 SKEINS OF SOCKS THAT ROCK!!! I kept saying I wasn't going to go crazy for socks that rock, but I feel into the frenzy. I didn't go hunting for it at first but then come 2pm or so, I just had to see what this stuff was like. I figured they'd be sold out of everything, I'm sure they sold out of a bunch before I got there, but they still had some fantastic stuff. There were very nice multicolor yarns, but I couldn't buy them since I have such a problem finding good patterns to use with multicolor sock yarn. So this are all slightly variegated. I love them!!!

And this was a purchase inspired by my sister:
She had to get fiber to spin on her new wheel(!!!!!) and I just had to buy some too cause it was such a good deal. 1 pound of the softest merino ever for $15! I'll try to spin it on the drop spindle then have Val dye it for me.

This is a sock kit. It had enough yarn to make 4 pairs of socks and a booklet with 6 patterns (all for $45!) I probably wouldn't have bought it if it wasn't for the samples. The drawings on the pattern book do not do them justice. They are all beautiful fair isle patterns in cream and grey. I can't wait to make these!!!

Other than the yarn craziness, I had a great time watching the border collies herding the sheep:
The weather was fantastic, the yarn was scrumptious, the company was entertaining, and the dogs were stalking. . . all in all a great day (although I really would have had a much better time if about half of the people would have stayed home!)

Then Sunday was another overwhelmingly great day. I went into the city (New York City for you non-Long Islanders) with all the girls in the family to celebrate my grandma's 80th birthday. We saw Mama Mia and went out to a fantastic Italian dinner. It was quite an exhausting day after Rhinebeck.

OK, well, sorry I'm not putting any links in for anything, but I've got 2 million things to do before Thursday when the movers come (AHHHHHHH!)

19 October 2007

Knit sibs episode 2

We actually got an episode of our podcast recorded, despite many technical problems! Come check it out here.

We'll have real shownotes and I'll write MUCH more when we get back from Rhinebeck!

17 October 2007

Hogwarts Quidditch Round 3

I'm trying to get this done before I leave. I still have to pack and it's 10 at night, so you Ravenclaws know I love you!!

1. a
2. d (thanks AuntlyH!!!)
3. b
4. a
5. d
6. d
7. a
8. a
9. d
10. b

Bertie Botts Beans
Jelly Slugs
Chocolate Frogs
Blood Pops
Jenean's first HSKS kit (Bonus Point: Who made the kit? Ansley)

OK, I'm off to pack for Rhinebeck! Wish me luck that I don't spend too much money!


16 October 2007

Things on Etsy!

I posted most of the things I took to the craft show on my etsy shop. Please feel free to browse and buy something!!! Everything is fantastic, if I do say so myself!

My etsy shop

15 October 2007

Catch me if you can!!

Here's a little hint for anyone who may have me on their Blogger Bingo card. . . There's a picture of me and my sisters on our podcast page. I'll be with my sisters just about the whole time and one of my knit sibs (Valerie) is also a square! We'll be carrying blogger bingo totes that will be busting with yarn.

14 October 2007

My first (and last) craft fair

So, the craft fair was a total disaster! I'm far past the fun fur craze, in fact I never thought I was part of it. I'm a bit of a high-brow crafter. Not that I'm not always on the lookout for a good deal, but if I see something that's handcrafted that I like I'm more than willing to spend the money to buy it. I think the best way to describe the crowd at his craft fair is to document a few conversations I had. First is the conversation with my husband via cell phone about 3 hours into the fair:
My sweetie: So, how's it going?
Me: OK, I guess, I'm not really selling much.
My sweetie: Do you think you'll sell much?
Me: No, probably not. I don't quite fit in here.
My sweetie: Is it more of a Walmart crowd?
Me: Yeah!
My sweetie: OK, good luck!

The second conversation is with a women who was selling these gorgeous penny rugs for less than it would cost for the materials! (if you don't know what a penny rug is, check here for an example):
Me: Wow! Did you sew this all?
Penny rug lady: Yes.
Me: By hand????
Penny rug lady: Yes.
Me: Wow! You should charge so much more than you are!
Penny rug lady: You have to know your audience here.

Now, there are two major responses I have to these conversations. First off, I will be the first to admit that I am anti-Walmart, but in the sort of situation where that is all that is in driving distance I guess I can't get mad at people who shop there. For people who have other options I say "shame on you! Walmart is evil!!" Now, by the "is it more of a walmart crowd?", my husband meant "is it the sort of crowd that think they can buy anything for $10?" In which case I say YES!!! They didn't think paying more than $10 for anything is worth it and they seemed to go crazy for all things football. More than half of the tables featured goods made from NFL team fabrics and fleeces. They sold like hotcakes. Sure they may not be things that you run across in your normal shopping scene, but they are not what I consider craft fair quality.

And in response to the conversation with the penny rug lady. I'm am not willing to lower my standards!! Just because the customers were not willing to pay more than $10 and may be used to paying $10 for that "quality" item in Old Navy that goes out of style in one year or starts to come apart at the seams in 2 months does not mean that I'm willing to make negative profit. My "big ticket" item of the craft fair was my laptop case. I had it for sale at $80. Which I think is pretty good. I spent about $60 on the yarn to make it and it took more than 2 weeks of working on only that project to finish it. Even if I figure I'd pay myself $1 an hour for making this bag, it still doesn't pay for my labor. Despite the tons of "oohs" and "ahhs" I got about this bag, I was not willing to pimp my knitting self out for less than $1 an hour!

I've come to 2 major conclusions from this experience:
1. High school craft fairs suck!!!
2. I'm more likely to reach my target audience through etsy where people seem to appreciate the quality of handmade items a little better.

So, what exactly did I sell:
9 packages of small dog treats
4 packages of large dog treats
1 pair of baby booties

No one wanted any key fobs, which I think are just adorable and extremely handy. Maybe no one else has the problem where they have to walk 2 dogs in exercise clothes with no pockets! I did get lots of "Oh, that's a good idea." comments about them, but no actual buyers. As I already said I got lots of positive comments on the laptop bag but no buyers. A few comments on the newborn mittens, but most of the people there were just walking around while their sons were in wrestling practice. I'm guessing if they have kids old enough to have kids in wrestling then they probably don't have newborns and aren't thinking of grandkids yet.

My overall opinion of the craft fair was pretty negative. It's rather disappointing when people walk right past your handmade quality items to run to the crap jewelry from China!

Will I ever do another craft fair?. . . . HELL NO!!!!

Will I ever attempt to sell my goods?. . . . YES!!!! While my faith in mankind has been greatly damaged, I still believe in the general good taste and appreciation of quality craftmanship that I know is in there somewhere. I'm going to go forward with my etsy shop (hopefully I can have some stuff posted tomorrow, when I sober up a little) and see if I sell anything there. I'll probably give the etsy shop a few months so I can settle in wherever our new house will be and hopefully get a few more crafty things done (like making soap).

12 October 2007

Etsy Shop

OK, I took the jump and started my Etsy shop. I'll be listing lots more stuff after my craft fair tomorrow.

My etsy shop can be found at:


Craft fair, here I come!

I completed a few more things for the craft fair.

Another set of baby mittens, hopefully I can get another pair or 2 made before the end of the day. This one is made with leftovers from my Fawkes socks:

A very small felted bag. Perfect for throwing keys and a wallet in for quick errands (do you see those gorgeous handmade socks in this picture! We turned the AC off yesterday and it's already sock wearing weather, a 20 degree drop in one day. . . fantastic!):

My messenger bag is dry and just needs a toggle to close it. It came out much better than I expected. But the yarn alone cost $60 so I'll have to charge more than most people would want to pay for something at a craft fair. We'll see if it sells there, it may just wind up on my etsy shop, which I have to get up and running by the end of the day. Oh, and it's now a laptop bag not a messenger bag. Pre-felting:

Post-felting (with my iPod nano for size comparison):

Owf! so much to do in the next 24 hours! I wanted to make at least one more small felted bag and some more baby mittens. But it's 930 and I haven't even walked the dogs or showered. I need to get a move on!

11 October 2007

I'm a podcaster!!!

Me and my sisters are starting a podcast. I know, pretty silly, but Val and I are pretty knitting obsessed and this was the next logical step. Here's the link to our podcast shownotes and here's a link to download our first episode. Gloria was absent since she hasn't downloaded skype yet. We're working on getting it onto iTunes, apparently you have to go through an approval process. Keep your fingers crossed that someone will actually want to listen to me and my knit sibs!

One Craft Day Remains

Until the craft fair. I've still got lots and lots and lots to do. Including getting an item felted and dried by Saturday morning. Here's my monster messenger bag that I had a major problem with:
My major problem is that I ran out of yarn. It was supposed to have a flap that would fold over the top and cover the front. And it's supposed to have a massive strap so it can actually be used as a messenger bag. Instead its got a rather pathetic little flap that I will have to fins a toggle to add on post-felting. And the strap is just horrible. I was hoping to do it all in green but ran out of green so I had to use some of the yellow. And I didn't realize until I was just looking at this picture that the second skein of yellow is ridiculously different than the first skein. We'll see just how salvageable this bag is when the felting finishes. That's my iPod nano for scale.

And then there's some cute as a button baby booties:
These match the baby thumb-free mittens that I made the other day. I'll try to sell them as a pair. But this isn't an original design. I found it on someone else's blog (I can't remember who)and thought it was just too cute not to make. So, I don't know if I can legally sell it. I'll be designing my own soon with just a single strap so I can sell them, and one button would be much better anyway.

OK, I'm off to knit some more thumb-free mittens. Much better than the booties, as cute as the booties are, they require a seam and the mittens are seamless (a definite plus on a deadline). Oh, and I'll have an etsy shop soon. . . Stay tuned for details. I hope to have at least a few things posted before the craft fair and then whatever doesn't sell will be posted for sale on etsy.

07 October 2007

A Very Crafty Day

Today has been a most productive, crafty day. I thought it was going to be a wash out of a day after the slow morning that I spent playing on the internet, reading people's blogs, and browsing Ravelry. But after lunch things turned around. I started a batch of my homemade dog treats. I'll hopefully be selling a lot of those at the craft fair, if not they'll find a good home in the bellies of a kennel full of poodles I know. Then I finished the second thumb-free baby mitten.I think it came out just about as cute as can be:
I just ran next door and tried them on to my 4 month old neighbor. He is a large baby and the mittens just barely fit. I would say they'll fit a newborn to 3 month old baby pretty well. I'm going ot work on some booties now to match.

I also finally figured out my whole key fob thingy and started sewing those today. These are strips of fabric with interfacing to give them some rigidity and some hardware to attach a key. They just slip over the hand and stay on well. I'm going to start using one for when I walk the dogs and just need to bring the house key (currently I use an elastic hairband to hold my key). So, anyway, I started with this one:
It came out real nice. It was a bit frustrating the first few until I realized that ironing before I sew the fabric together through the metal piece was a whole lot easier. But then I started thinking maybe there is just a bit too much hardware. There's a piece with a clasp thing so the key chain is removable, but then when there's actually a key on it may dangle a bit more than would be comfortable. So then I just switched to doing this:
Much more streamlined, much easier to sew, and much more attractive overall. I just hope people want to buy them! I wound up making 10, 6 with the elaborate hardware and 4 with just a keyring. I think I'll make a bunch more. They go quick now that I figured out what I'm doing.
OK, off to make some booties!

What's better than free yarn?

Fantastical gorgeous yummy free yarn!!! I won a skein of Lotus Yarn from the Sock Knitters Anonymous group on Ravelry. It was from the September knit-a-long where we had to knit something by Sockbug or something lace. My entries were the River Rapids sock by Sockbug and the Fawkes sock. They had over a hundred entries and only 4 or 5 winners. I never win things like this so it completely made my day. I got a ravelry message right away from Melanie at Lotus Yarns saying I just need to pick out a color and she'll send it right out. I chose Dig and my sister commented that it matches her winter work wardrobe quite nicely. Sorry Val, it's all mine!! Two days after telling Melanie what I wanted, it showed up in the mail!It's so nice and soft I can't wait to work it up into something. I thought I took better pictures but they were all fuzzy. Oh, well, I'll take awesome pictures when it becomes a sock or 2.

I've been working on some more stuff for the craft fair. Right now the main project is a messenger bag:
It's made out of Manos and will be felted. I have no idea if I have enough yarn, I just kinda sketched something out and started knitting so it may be much shorter or the color pattern may change drastically or it may not have a front flap if I run out of yarn. I'm going to work on some sewing stuff for the fair today since my sweetie is out of the house most of the day.

I'm slowly making progress on the Sweet Pea sock 2. I'm still finding it interesting to work on and I'm excited to try a different sole on the second one to make it fit better.
But I'm getting very distracted by all the craft fair projects including this little cutie:
It's partner is on the needles right now. It will be a pair of little thumbless mittens for a baby. I'm going to make a bunch out of the leftover sock yarn (this is the leftovers from the River Rapids sock) and try to sell them at the craft fair. I may also make matching booties if I have enough yarn left.

05 October 2007

Quidditch round 2

Here are my answers for the Hogwarts Sock Kit Swap Quidditch Round 2:
1. c, 2. b, 3. a, 4. c, 5. b, 6. d, 7. a, 8. b, 9. b, 10. d

And the pictures

Ravenclaw Quidditch Uniform
Gryffindor Quidditch Uniform
Hufflepuff Quidditch Uniform
Slytherin Quidditch Uniform
Room of Requirement

As a bonus, here's my own personal room of requirement!

04 October 2007

Oh Boy!

My sweetie quit his job on day 2 after he showed up on day 1 to find out that he was not going to be doing the job he was hired for and that the pay on the job he is going to do is far lower than what we can live off of. So, the job search starts all over again. We're surprisingly upbeat. He's got an interview in Ohio. We're not very excited about Ohio, but if it pays well we may be able to have me be a stay at home wife (hopefully mom), which would be perfect. We'd be a little farther away from my family, but if I don't have to work it's worth it. But I'm getting ahead of myself, he hasn't even interviewed yet.

I've got my knitting mojo back, although I haven't taken any photos. Sock 1 of Sweet Pea is finished and sock 2 has about 3 inches done. Super Secret Project #2 is finally making a LITTLE progress. The first part of about 20 or so is finished. I'm also putting a few rows on my sweetie's sweater here and there. Although now that I'm much more experienced then I was when I started that sweater, I realize I'm not a fan of working with cotton. Oh well, I'll push through and get this thing done sometime. I'm also working on a messenger bag for the craft fair. I have a few other projects I want to work on for the craft fair. I've already bought supplies so I really want to get them done. And if they don't sell I have some ready made Christmas presents and some charity items for my favorite charity that my knitting group has an auction for every year.

Sorry about no pictures, I'll take some today and post them later.

02 October 2007

Can you say freak out?

Wow, life has thrown us a few punches this week. We redid out house budget and realized we can't afford anything like what we thought we could. It's my fault, I never realized just how much is taken out for federal taxes. I never made much as a student so my taxes were $100 a pay period and my sweetie didn't get pay stubs sent home. Now that we have $1000 less a month than we figured, we're kinda screwed. I've started searching for a job and hope that something comes through soon. In the meantime my sweetie started his job yesterday and it was just miserable. No one thinks that he is going to have the job he was offered and it seems like he's going to be stuck in a job that he's far overqualified for. He's talking to the person who offered him the job today and if it's not what he was lead to believe it was going to be, he's going to quit and he'll have to start the job search all over again. That sucks, but I'd much rather do that than have him stuck in a job that he doesn't like and that doesn't pay much. In the meantime, we close on the sale of our current house the end of October. If my sweetie quits his job, we just may have to take my parents up on moving into my grandfather's house for a while. We'll have to live off our savings, which sucks big time, but I'm glad that we have a back up plan. This has probably been the most stressful time for us. Hopefully everything will be settled by the end of the October cause I don't know how much longer I can deal with this stress level.

Not much knitting has been done lately. I've been trying to keep my mind off of things and knitting just gives me too much time to think. So, I've been reading a lot. I just finished the latest Kathy Reich's book and I'm just starting The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (Or something like that). It's pretty good so far but it just may be a little too involved for me. There's a lot of European references that I don't understand but I'm barrelling trhough the first few chapters and I'll see if I get hooked.

01 October 2007

Flash my stash

My Secret Pal 11 host is having a flash your stash contest. So, here's my stash.
It's relatively well contained in one of those cubicle bookshelves from Target:

And here's what's in the cubes:
I recently had a major clean out of my stash so most of what's in there is quality stuff. The middle top cube is roving and my drop spindle, which I still haven't gotten the hang of. And the bottom right is my basket of sock yarn that lives on top of the bookshelf for some daily inspiration.