Posted on August 11, 2011
Some days you just need instant gratification. Working on a sweater, blanket or shawl is nice, but some days you just need to feel accomplished.
Welcome to my week.
The good part about making a cowl is that they are simple, you get to use fun, colorful yarns and try out new stitch patterns.
I just bought the new (to me) Vogue Knitting Stitchionary 5, “Lace.” I’ve been dying to try out and experiment with some of the lace work, so my current cowl is made of a lightly variegating yarn in a nice mesh pattern. You can buy it soon at Coffeeandt.etsy.com. Right now, I have a handful of cowls and shortie scarves posted.
The second thing I like about making cowls, is they are perfect train company. Mine are done on circular needles that are very short. I tried knitting a bag once on the train with very long metal needles. My neighbor was not happy and after a few stitches, I realized it was not a smart choice to have long pointy needles so close to other people’s faces. I got the “New York” glare. (Traditionally, I find New Yorkers to be passive aggressive, “huffer and puffers” and eye rollers; not outwardly aggressive…BUT there is always an exception to the rule. And you don’t want to be sticking pointing needles on a moving train in that person’s face…)
The final part about this cowl fever is it’s been a great stash dash. I have been using up a lot of random arty yarns that I got because I loved, but “didn’t have a project” for yet.
A lot of the yarns in my stash that just aren’t right for clothing articles that you would wear as a main piece, but they are perfect for cowls. They will add that pop of color you need on a dreary winter day, is solved. It’s sad when your stash becomes so big that going through it is like going to the yarn store and discovering “new” treasures… Trust me, it’s a good thing for me to use some of it up.
For example: While on my honeymoon in Amsterdam, my HB picked out a yarn he wanted for a scarf….Little did we know, it knitted into a rainbow! Now, he’s all about fun colors and crazy yarns, but it was a little too much. So (in the picture above) I finally knitted it up this week into a fun cowl. I am sure there is someone out there who loves rainbows! I got Brian a nice tan yarn as a replacement…
So, if you need some instant gratification, I suggest a cowl! (Or if you don’t knit, pick one up at CoffeeandT.etsy.com!)
Posted on August 9, 2011
For the past few weeks, I’ve been very involved in crafting. I worked on sewing all of the crochet hook and knitting needle bags, Tara and I prepared in Ohio. I have been doing great with my finishing up my knitted UFOs (unfinished Objects). I am almost done with the summer vest I talked about in the last post (FO Joys), I finished 3 cowls (which will be posted on Coffeeandt.etsy.com soon!) I just got a delivery of 1000 new buttons to press! On top of all of this exciting crafting, I’ve been trying to keep our store’s stock current. I just added 6 new items to the store: An Autumn Cowl, A baby Tomato Hat, A new Button Cowl, Our Market Bags (that we started at my grandma’s), a beaded bracelet, a new new “shortie” scarf (designed a little longer as created via request from my mom and grandma.)
(And did I mention I have a real world job, that seems to collide with knitting time…)
I actually had a great weekend that wasn’t fully knitting. I met two girl friends for brunch, Kaitlyn and RBK. We continued on to a local yarn shop, Patricia’s Yarns, in Hoboken. It was the store’s 7th birthday. It’s run by a young married couple. It’s nice because even the husband, who doesn’t knit, is totally into their shop and helping you pick out yarn.
RBK bought her first skein of yarn to learn to knit. She has moderately expensive taste (and good taste!) right off the bat, but it was on sale…So that makes it ok, right? She choose a nice Alpaca-Wool Blend in a super bulky. Her goal: To make a cowl. I found a couple of random colored balls that I also thought would make nice artsy cowls. (One of them is the Autumn Cowl)
On Sunday, I taught her to do a knitted cast-on, K2 P2 (knit 2 purl 2) ribbing and then stockinette stitch. She did great!
Though I love to lose hours in knitting, it was a great weekend that was out and about.
This morning, I like to think because of the good karma I received from spreading the gift of knitting, we made our first sale in our shop Coffee & T! I was so excited, that when I got the email at 6am, I bounced out of bed and began to put together our packaging.
I made washing instruction tags and I wanted to attached them to the item, without harming the item.I just bought new package of clothespins, so I added my favorite stamp, “knit happens.” Our packaging has been born.
I also made new shop labels to sew in the items. I used printable fabric sheets to print our logo on. I then infused the fabric onto a nice thick ribbon. The HB said it was still missing something, so I added some stitch work around the edges. It looks just crafty enough, but I like it.
Hopefully this is a blooming beginning to our etsy store!
Posted on August 1, 2011
So, during the past few weeks, there has been a crafting frenzy: bags, tomato hats, hair pins, pressed flower pins and necklaces…The list goes on.
But now I am coming to a new dilemma. Making a sale. I am hoping that our store will catch on once it’s a shopping season. The only problem is, the listing we pay for on etsy are only good for 3 months, and then we have to pay again, to re-list it. So, Is it worth listing now, when everyone is really out enjoying the sunshine and not internet shopping or is it a good investment to list items as soon as possible?
Obviously if I don’t list anything, nothing will sell. Then our apartment will get more stacks of items. (On chairs, in baskets, under pillows, in closets, on desks, on counter tops…) So profit will automatically =$0.
But on the flip side, I list now, say 10 new items. That’s 10 new chances of making a sale and keeping our store on top, with new items. However, that’s fees on 10 items and they won’t be new at potential shopping season.
So the thought remains….To list or no to list?
Posted on July 28, 2011
Tara and I have been staying with my grandma for a few days now. Tara, my mom and I went treasure hunting, looked through pressed flowers for pin back buttons and other pieces of jewelry. Next on the list: sewing.
I found a great pattern for making fold-able market bags from 1977.With a little bit of updating, they were perfect for what we wanted to make.
Tara said “They were green before it was cool to be green!” I love how no matter what the style or object, fashion is just a large circle. If you keep it long enough, it will be wearable/usable again.
Along with the market bags, we also planned to make knitting needle and crochet hook cases. These will be the first additions to our store that other knitters/crocheter may be interested in. (What knitter wants to buy another knitter’s wearable, when they can just knit it themselves?) I hope it’s at least interesting/inspiring to other knitters.
We began to scour my grandma’s cupboards for fabric to use in all of our endeavors. We found dresses from my childhood that were made of pretty fabric my grandma couldn’t get rid of, lots of denim and lots of American fabrics. My grandpa used to dress as Uncle Sam and ride his wooden horse in all of the holiday parades. So that explained the whole section of American prints.
As we dug, my grandma said with a smile, “Now, you girls are ruining my chances!”
“Chances for what?” we replied.
“Whoever dies with the most fabric wins! ” she said pointing to a sign in her stash closet. …I think she was serious. We replied again, “No grandma, you’ll still be in the running, after we clear out!”
So, we cut, threaded, aligned and sewed for two days, trying to get the stash of fabric we chose down to a smaller pile so my husband wouldn’t have to move out when I took it all home (due to a lack of space in our 1 bedroom apartment). My grandma suggested space bags, the bags that you can suck out all of the air to take up less space. “Then he won’t notice how much you bring back with you!”
Before I left town, Brian’s friend asked him, “What are you going to do when she comes home with an Aztek full of crafts?” Brian replied, like the loving supporting husband he is, “I only need my instruments, so we’ll clear more space.” And that’s what he did. When I finally took the drive back home, I came home to a clean, de-cluttered home: Ready for my 15 bags of fabric, flowers, yarn and so on….
So, to wrap up my wonderful trip back to Ohio, that makes me think I could leave my job and craft for the rest of my life, because who needs money?…or food?…or electricity….oh wait. My sewing machine does.
EITHER WAY. I had a great time spending 5 or 6 days with my grandma, Tara and my mom, Tiffin. It’s so motivating and inspiring being around so many wonderful women. Maybe someday, I can stay home and craft. Without the guilt of needing to paying bills.
Posted on July 19, 2011
No, I’m not pregnant. Just to clarify.
I was never really into making baby things until I realized, I can make the most ridiculous items that look like fun to make, but no respectable adult would ever wear. It’s not like babies get to decide what their outfit is for the day. They just lie there while you dress them up as cute little animals or vegetables or flowers and then they just don’t care! Plus I can whip up a baby hat in only 3 episodes of Fringe.
Goodbye to the days of photographing your naked baby on a animal skinned rug and hello to Auntie CourTney’s outlandish baby clothes. Remember the classic bunny suit from The Christmas Story? (if not, Google it NOW)
Damn it feels good to be a knitter.
Posted on July 16, 2011
There has always been a connection between cats and yarn. Thinking of a kitten playing with a ball of yarn isn’t such an outlandish thought. They go hand in hand.
Meet my kitty, Karma. She has a love for yarn. If I am knitting on the couch, she will attempt to sit on my arms while I’m knitting. If I leave her at home with yarn in a basket, it will soon be all over our apartment. Up the stairs, down the stairs, around the table, through the chair legs, back up the stairs, under the bed….
She’s a very supportive kitty. Many of times, I finished a project and only had Karma to show. She doesn’t judge when my stitches aren’t perfect, so it’s a good audience.
Every time I pull out the yarn swift to ball up a new yarn, she comes a running and sits and watches (like this morning).
Then one day, I began to wonder…does Karma love yarn…or does she envy yarn? Maybe she is angry at the amount of time I spend with yarn instead of her. Is she cuddling up with me and my yarn on the couch or is she trying to stop me from knitting? Is she being cute and chasing a ball of yarn or is she attempting to destroy and hide it??
That’s the thing about cats. You never really know what they are thinking.