Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Milam Gap Boatneck Sweater


I have found that I enjoy designing sweaters more than any other item.... at the moment. That can change at anytime.  I try to find inspiration from fashion magazine trends, but most of all, the landscape around me.

Milam Gap Pattern Via Ravelry $6 (psst... read on for discount code below)


The Milam Gap is my recent self-published sweater.  The inspiration came about the summer of 2011 when my family and I spent our vacation in the Blue Mountains of Virginia. While in Virginia, we spent a day on the scenic and winding Skyline Drive. This sweater is my memory of that day trip. The intricate details of the cables on the front of the sweater is reminiscent of the slow winding path of the Skyline Drive, while the plain stockinette back is a reminder of the calm of sitting on a porch in a rocking chair with a glass of local wine on a cool evening watching the mountain lines fade into darkness.


CONSTRUCTION NOTES:
The boatneck sweater is worked in one piece in the round from the bottom up to the armhole opening, then separated for the back and front.

Shoulders are seamed and sleeves are picked up and worked in the round from the top down with short rows shaping the sleeve caps.

PATTERN INCLUDES: chart and schematics

Yarn: Knit Picks Swish Worsted (100% Superwash Merino Wool; 110 yards/101 meters; 1.76 oz/50 grams); Lemongrass Heather; 9 (10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16) skeins.
Needle: US 6 (4.0mm) & US 7 (4.5mm) 32" Circular (cir),
& double-pointed needles (dpn) or Magic Loop for the sleeves; or size to obtain gauge.

Gauge: 20 sts and 32 rows = 4" in St st; 30 ½ sts = 4" in Counterpane Cable Patt on larger needle.

DISCOUNT - Get 10% OFF this and any other pattern in my Ravelry shop using coupon 01BLOG2013 ending March 31, 2013.

Special Thanks to photograher E F Ruegsegger - Leahnari.deviantart.com

ERRATA:

Front decrease should read - Dec Row (RS): K1, *k2tog, rep from * to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1 – 52 (60, 68, 76, 84, 92, 100, 108) sts.

Sleeve Row 2 should read: Sl1, p15 (19, 23, 27, 31, 35, 39, 43) sts, W&T

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Goals, NOT Resolutions for 2013

I don't do resolutions. Personally, resolutions do not work. For me resolution has a negative unattainable
connotation - what will I give up and what will I not do in the new year.  However, I love, love setting
goals and challenges which is a little different from resolution in that it is usually more attainable and involves mapping out ways to accomplish these goals and to adjust those end goals as situations change.

2012 has been an amazing year for me and my family in so many ways. We have been so blessed... I guess it's to compensate for a horrid 2011. As we close out the old year, we enter the new and unknown, filled with endless possibilities. I think the start of the new year for me is a time to open up to the endlessness of untapped potentials.
       
The new year is a time to envision what can be, to open yourself up to the many possibilities of the future that lay ahead ready to be uncovered, to shake off the past and all it's disappointments, and to face a new day where anything can happen. Because so many wonderful things happened to us in 2012 (don't get me wrong, last year was not all sunshine and puppies. We had a lot of difficulties and trial, but in the end, we pulled through as a family and came out stronger) for me and my family, 2013 will be a year of giving, a year where we pledge to give back even more. In 2012, we became active in our local community; giving of ourselves even when it was difficult. This new year we are taking it a step farther to give even more of ourselves, beyond our my local area. To embrace causes we feel strongly in, not just by writing a check, but to lend a hand whenever possible. While there are a lot of organizations that need monetary assistance, there are those that need a human touch and time even more. I challenge readers of this blog post. Look around your local area, there just might be an organization that needs you. Spend an hour or two helping out at the library or at the senior center. Volunteer to teach your craft to kids during school breaks. How can you give back to your community?
       
To start the new year off right, as part of my pledge to give more, in addition to my current volunteer activities (at the library, senior center, and elementary school) I will be choosing individuals at random to gift copies of my patterns. These people will be chosen at random each Tuesday in January (starting Jan 8-29) , then the first Tuesday every month for the rest of the year to coincide with Knit Purl Gurl's Random Act of Pattern-RAP. The recipients will be selected from those who have favorite, queued, or purchased one of my patterns. This will be one of the ways I plan to give back this year. What do you plan to do in the new year to help a fellow man in need?





Thursday, December 13, 2012

All Politics Aside and Holiday Cheer


Last evening, Senator Stephen Brewer came to our small library (Monson Free Library) so far from Boston to read Hanukkah and Christmas books to the kids. Our family's first experience with the Senator's annual reading was last Dec when we happen into the library the afternoon he stopped in. From speaking to the library director after that reading, we discovered he's been coming in at Christmas time to read for quite a number of years - this was is 17th year coming out to read. After last year's reading, my son wanted me to make sure we would come back this year. As soon as I saw the newsletter from school announcing the day and time, I knew we had to be a part of it, again. It's now our new tradition.

What I loved about Sen. Brewer's visit is that he did not have a huge entourage of photographers and media snapping pictures for show off.  Sure, he might be doing it for political gains, but it felt real to the kids and their families. He reminds me of a grandfather with lots of grand kids at his knee at the fireplace. I am glad to be able to show my son the other side to politicians besides what is going on right now in Washington.

It's such a small thing, but the impact to the kids is immeasurable. Thanks to Senator Brewer for taking time out of his busy schedule to share such a simple tradition with long lasting effect on the kids who look up to you.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Hoilday sillies coming out.

I can hardly believe we are mere days away from Thanksgiving. Everybody says this all the time, but seriously.... where did the year go. So much has happened this year and while I was going through all those "happenings" I was wishing for the year to end. But looking back now, it all went by really quick.

So now that we have resolved ourselves to the fact that the big "C" (insert the letter for your winter holiday here) is among us, let's get down to business. What do I get for the fiber enthusiasts in my life? Well, I'm sort of on a budget. I say sorta because I am frugal (I am actually very cheap... I've been cheap before being cheap was cool) and I don't want to get a bunch of junk to fill a quota. For me, I want the gift to mean something, and to some extent regardless of price. Call me crazy, but to me it's about the quality rather than the quantity. Yes, I am that parent that give my kid a handful of gifts instead of buying out Toys R Us for a bunch of crap my kid won't be able find a week after christmas. 

Side note: I was petitioning for my family to cancel Christmas this year. I started the propaganda way back in June (yes! I was thinking about Christmas and how to get out of it way back then), but no taker. Can you believe that?!?!? They are so selfish! I'll show them!

Anyway, back to the point of this blog post, I am getting off track...  So, like I said, I have a few fiber enthusiasts in my life that really appreciate woolly goodness. Some of them having every known tool, and if they don't have it, I'm sure is already in their stockings. I was going through my lovely fiber and handspun stash and found some items that would work for most of my fibery gift recipients.  My handspun is very special stuff - you or any normal person might not think so, but that's OK, just don't tell me, I like to think everyone think my handspun is the bee's knees like I do (does anyone even uses the term bee's knees anymore? geez, how old am I??) - so to me, my handspun would be the ultimate gift, right? I mean, just the amount of time spent on the spinning out-price a lot of store bought items! And bonus if I am having happy thoughts and good intentions, right?! If I am wrong, don't tell me.

So I have some handspun for gifts set ready to be tagged and gifted. I also, have some extras that I will be putting up in my Etsy shop. You might not be a spinner, but appreciates handspun yarns. You can gift to your fellow fiber enthusiast or gift to yourself. There is nothing wrong giving yourself a little holiday cheers. It might be the only way to get something you really want. You buy one gift for them and one for you, one for them, one for you, etc. It's Christmas, a time for giving... to yourself.  hehe hehe I'm awful! But seriously, what do you expect when Black Friday starts on THURSDAY! 

In addition to the handspun currently in my shop, I will be listing the following also (price starting @ $24).  Now stop putting off that Holiday knitting and crocheting. Your blog reading break is over, back to those hooks and needles (crack whip).


 





Thursday, October 18, 2012

ENNIS COWL - New knit pattern + 20% Discount

Over the weekend I added my newest pattern, the Ennis Cowl, to my Ravelry Pattern store, my Etsy and Craftsy shops.

The Ennis Cowl is a long 41" circumference and  6 1/2" wide seamless cowl worked in the round in one piece. The cowl is worked in one piece in the round. The design is simple but not boring due to the combination of cables and garter ridges. NOTE: Pattern has written and charted instructions.


The cowl uses 4 skeins of Lotus Winter Sun Aran in color 08 - Merlot. Lotus Yarns is a new to me brand out of China. While the brand is new to me, it is quickly becoming a favorite.

So what do you get? The Winter Sun Aran line is their 100% superwash extrafine merino.  Each skein is 92yds/84m for a 50g ball. This yarn knit up like a dream and frogs better than I would have liked to know. I frogged this project ALOT (nothing to do with the yarn, it was all user error) and the yarn looks just as good as it did knitted up the first time. The yarn is loosely spun, which makes it super soft, squishy, springy, and super luxurious to wear next to the skin. However, because the twist is not very tight, the yarn can be splitty when worked at a loose gauge. I found that working on a smaller and pointy needle will combat that issue.

So, in honor of the new release of the Ennis Cowl, I am offering up a 20% Off Discount of purchases made through Oct 31, 2012 in my Ravelry Store using coupon code ENNIS1012. Stop by, take a look and say hello. I love hearing from you.





Monday, October 8, 2012

New pattern + 20% OFF.... Mansfield Shawl

I've been thinking about shawls, A LOT, lately. There are so many great knit shawls out there in so many different styles and shapes. I love 'em all but knitted shawls take forever.

I wanted something quick, easy, not too lacey, that I could wear under a winter coat as a scarf or just as a shawl, casual and practical with jeans. But most importantly, tjat it will take less than a week from start to wear. So, with all these 'must haves' in mind, the Mansfield Shawl was born one night while watching Jane Austen's Mansfield Park on DVD... for the one millionth time.


The Mansfield Shawl is a top-down triangular shawl that begins with a long foundation chain and shaped with short-rows and slipped stitches.  Once the body of the shawl is complete, stitches are worked along both legs of the triangle for the lace edge.  The pattern uses a wool and alpaca blend sport weight yarn on a large hook for a lovely drape, but would work equally well with heavy fingering wool blend.

Until the end of October 2012, use coupon code MANSFIELD2012 in Ravelry and get 20% OFF this pattern.

If you are not familiar with doing the Foundation Single Crochet (Fsc) beginning chain, there are tons of lovely tutorials on Youtube.  Below are a few of my favorites to get you started.

Furturegirl Youtube channel
Futuregirl.com - Blog written tutorial
Art of Crochet by Teresa chainless single crochet foundation - Youtube 
ChiCrochet Youtube channel

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A little thrilled....

I just got home to sit down to read through the newest issue of Interweave Crochet (Fall 2012) I'd picked up earlier at my local Jo~Ann Fabrics. The magazine was the usual: table of content, letter to the editor, yarn company ads, and more ads ... until page 5. Yes, it's another ad, but this was not just ANY ad.  This is a Premier Yarns ad with MY DESIGN - Cordelia Cowl & Capelet.



I am so over the moon to see this ad. This design bring back a lot of memories.  The concept was developed and sample completed during an emotionally trying period last summer. It's amazing that I was able to create anything at all, but this project was great therapy to forget about the present tangled ball of mess and look to the finished product. 

Cordelia Cowl and Capelet are available on the Premier Yarns website as a free download... check it out.

Thanks Premier Yarn for including my design in your ad. It really made my day.


Friday, February 3, 2012

A poem entitled....Countdown

Countdown...

How harsh and bitter the cold can be,
At times I feel it's grasp take a hold on me.
I try to fight it and look towards the lights,
Of the warmth and joy Spring will bring.

56 days is all I have left,
Of this bleak and dreary existence.
A lot is riding on sticking it out,
I hope I'm strong enough to last.

How I long to be done with all the games
And the soul-less practices for profits gained.
Less than two months and I will be free,
To explore the riches money cannot offer.

Everyday I count,
Soon to be free
My plans for the future,
Are nearly complete.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

THE PROFIT TRACKER- excel tool

AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE FEBRUARY 3, 2012!!

THE PROFIT TRACKER can do so much for you and your business. Whether you are a seasoned craftpreneur or just starting out, you can't go wrong with THE PROFIT TRACKER.

USES & BENEFITS OF THIS TOOL:
The PROFIT TRACKER is an easy to use Excel base tool offering a comprehensive analysis of the profits and losses of your business.

As a craftpreneur, I often have a hard time (1) figuring out how much I am making on a sales on Etsy, (2) accurately account for how much I am spending on supplies, (3) identifying which venue (Etsy, craftshow, etc.) I am selling at is more profitable, and (4) determining if my overall business is profitable.

For many years, I used QuickBooks, both in my professional career and in my own business. However, over the last few years I found that I needed something simpler that I can use anywhere. Therefore, I created The Profit Tracker using Microsoft Excel, which allows for easy data entry and quick analyses.

THE PROFIT TRACKER is geared specifically towards Etsy sellers (formulas already imbedded to calculate fees) who might sell in other marketplaces, such as craftshows. However, the tool is completely customizable for other online marketplace fee structures. If you need assistance setting up for other online marketplaces, please contact me to discuss.

Here are some of the things THE PROFIT TRACKER will help with:




  • Track the health of your business every day.
    Instantly get a snapshot of your business profitability.
    See how your business is performing.
    Compare overall performance from month to month and/or venue to venue.


  • Analyze which marketplace is more profitable.
    If you sell in multiple venues, easily see which one is more profitable, at any given time.
    See if your Etsy shop is more profitable during a specific month, season, etc, so you can focus your marketing.
    For the same item or a given time period, determine whether one venue (i.e. craftshow or wholesaling) is a better value (including fees and other related expenses) than an online marketplaces (i.e. Etsy and Paypal fees).


  • Analyze your product offering and promotional efforts.
    See which item is more profitable.
    If you run an advertisement or promotion for a month, look at prior months to track the effectiveness of the ad/promo. Did you make more money during the period of the ad/promo run? Has sales consistently increased since the ad/promo?


  • Analyze where you shop for supplies.
    Look at all your vendors to see how much you are spending.
    Compare overall performance among your vendors.
    Basically, see where you are spending your money and how often.


  • Makes the TAX SEASON relatively painless.
    Get your receipts out of your shoebox and into a more manageable system.
    Print and take to your tax preparer, all the information you need is there in one place.


  • Assist in making decisions.
    Can you afford to make that big purchase at vendor X?
    Should I do another craftshow?
    Overall, how is my business doing?




What you get when you order THE PROFIT TRACKER:



1. You will get a file ready to load your data
File contains built-in formulas to calculate your data.
A pivot table file that summarize your data in an easy to read format.




2. You will get an e-book training file.
The e-book will contain a sample files of the excel spreadsheet and pivot table.
There will be many notes with pictures/screen shots.
Detail explanation of the information you need to enter verses what the tool will calculate for you.




3. In addition, you will receive technical support for 2-weeks after purchase.




AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE FEBRUARY 3, 2012!!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011 and Hello 2012 - A Year in Review

Let us hope 2012 will be a little better than the last year. 2011 for many has been a very challenging year. So much has happened locally, nationally, and around the globe. The world has seen political up rise and revolution, destruction, disasters and renewal of faith in humanity.

For the KNitDesigns household, it has been a mixed bag ranging from good (published patterns) to down right scary (tornado and snow storms) to a renewal of faith (angels who aided with the tornado clean-up). But together we made it through to see another year, where the possibilities are endless.

Below is the KNitDesigns household year in photo.








NEW DESIGNS for Frabjous Fibers




BACKYARD FRIENDS


MAY 2011 - Celebrating my little boy's 7th Birthday


MAY 2011 - More Backyard FRIENDS.



- View from our bedroom after the June 1st tornado.




- Assessing the damage the day after the tornado.





-After a summer cleaning up, finally a vacation.

- Off to Virginia we go for a week. And guess what, we were hit by a earthquake, while in the caverns!!!
- Luray Cavern


- Shenandoah Skyline Drive


After a long, hard 6-months, our house is finally back to rights.
- New roof and siding. Isn't it beautiful.

- But there is still work to be done outside.



Despite all that we have loss, despite the frustrations we face with our insurance company, despite the stress and emotional turmoil, through it all, we are optimistic about the future.



HAPPY NEW YEAR !