The Knitting Factory

Monday was a good night of combining the arts. The HB (husband, Brian) is in a fun, fantastic band called Leaf Pile. They played recently, at a bar called The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn. They have always “included” me in the band by saying I play the needles. I am not musically inclined, whatsoever! But they always say I should sit on stage and knit leaves and them throw them into the audience. I always thought it would be fun, but it never seemed to fit. But Monday was my grand opening performance. I knitted while sitting on the stage at The Knitting Factory (it felt like a sign.)

After the show a few people asked what I was knitting and if I sold the stuff I knitted. So yay! Cross promoting! I will be knitting at every show in the future (if the band will have me, of course) and I decided to make business card buttons for our soon-to-be store and the band to hand out at shows…oh the ideas!

Check out the band at: www.leafpilemusic.com and view the show below!

Watch live streaming video from theknitbrooklyn at livestream.com

Search and Rescue

Exciting things are happening!!!!

First of all, I FOUND MY NOTIONS BAG!!!

The Notions Bag Bandits.

The yarn stash ate it.  They await sentencing for Tampering with Owner’s Sanity.

Here’s a story:

In sixth grade, I was voted “Most Organized” which is….shocking.  (Well, I also won “Shortest” in the class…which is not so shocking.  Or important…)  But I honestly can’t remember ever losing my homework or having to ask my mom where my other sneaker was (which she would have promptly responded, “wherever you left it.”)  It was a friendlier existence, the time before the hostiles of my subconscious had to fight to keep up with the insanities of responsible adulthood.  Thankfully I have CourT, who is a natural taskmaster, motivator, inspirator (not a word?  is now.) and for that I am eternally grateful.  She should probably be put into a lab and studied to benefit all of mankind, but we are trying to open a shop here.

Cheers to The CourTney and finding stuff you thought someone had viciously stolen!

Whale of a tale

By CourTney

My husband is super supportive of my knitting. He makes suggestions, picks out yarn and dislike patterns with me. I have tried to make him several items but every time I knit for him, it turns into a nightmare. I made socks once for him (size 13 feet) that ended up perfect for myself (size 6.). It is almost as though the knitting gods are angry that I found myself a gentleman that is willing to roll up yarn during a 2 hour movie.

The latest project he asked me to make was a whale hat. He wanted nothing for Christmas and his birthday or Easter, Halloween, or even our anniversary, except for this whale hat. I was super excited! He had a specific item. And I love hats! They are my favorite thing to make. I spent a day drawing on graph paper to get the math of his big head to match my repeating whale. It all worked out. I knitted the hat and to my dismay, it was TOO BIG! So, lucky for me, I knitted the hat from 100% wool. ( I know I just heard a huge groan out there from knitters and sweater wearers). But I knew better. I would be the first to conquer shrinking something in a washer by a couple inches without it coming out like a baby hat. ( truth be told, i sat on the hat for weeks, petrified to put it in the washer…. Afraid that it would come out like a huge ball of disaster.)

So, one weekend, while Tara was visiting, I got the courage. 5 minutes in the wash, nothing happened. 5 more…nothing. 5 more nothing….and then I….walked away for what I thought was 10 seconds…..nope. 10 minutes.

Never never never never walk away! No matter if u have to pee, or get more coffee or your cat is crawling out the window of your 5th floor apartment building.

So, after many tears and lots of husband disappointment, the whale hat, which he loved loved loved, was shrunk to a cone that wouldn’t even fit my head.

So, fast forward about 4 or 5 months. Tonight I did my first sewing project. I am making whale change purses, made from the wool-to-felted-cone-hat. I cut them out, drew a pattern and did a quick mock up. It was my first full use of the craft room. And it was all motivated by my Love. He even threw in a button flap suggestion.

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So, very soon our easy store will be ready to sell! And I think I owe someone a anew whale hat.

UFOs and nowhere to go

by Tara

Anyone who knows me would say that I have a tendency not to finish things.  I have a jumper for example, that has been on the needles for SEVEN years that CourT periodically nudges me to revisit.  Lately I have been struck with a glorious case of finishitis.  As in, I need to finish things.  Well, I certainly have the UFOs (UnFinished Objects) to do so, let me tell ya.

Last February I megabussed it to Jersey City for a yarn crawl with CourT and her awesome knitter friend, Kaitlyn.  I had an amazing time and bought lots of yarn for hats (I  still had beret knitting fever), and a baby sweater kit to make for a good friend who is expecting.  When I got back to Ohio I tore into the kit.  It was my first baby sweater but the thing flew off the needles in two days, tops.  It was a fun knit.  Then, it sat there.  Like most knitters, I hate seaming.  Ew.  About a month later I blocked it.  Then, it sat there some more.  But, in the height of my finishitis last night, I laid it all out and…couldn’t find my notions bag. I searched my tiny apartment for 3 hours last night.  Nothing.  Want to know what else is in the notions bag?  The teddy bear buttons that MAKE THE SWEATER SO STINKING CHARMING AND IRRESISTIBLE!  Dangit, dag nabbit, and mother trucker.  I probably stared at my UFO basket for another 2 hours, the knitted fabric scraps of a soon-to-be teddy bear, a mitten waiting for its top to be seamed shut…all dressed up and nowhere to go, the desperation is palpable.

I shall now distract myself with the ETSY store policy writing.  Perhaps I will finish something after all.

Work in progress

by CourTney

So Tara and I have decided to start an Etsy store.  We have a lot of homemade items that could be useful to crafters and non-crafters alike.  At this point, we have a name, a digital store front, graphics and some merch.  Now we just have to put it all together.

I think the hardest part to beginning the listing process is figuring out prices.  You want to make that cowl worth the 9 hours you put into it, but you can’t charge $90 or else you’ll never make a sale.  I’d be too scared to wear a $90 cowl!  So that’s the next hurtle.  I would love feedback if anyone has figured out a super magical math equation of time spend crafting/ what it’s worth to someone who doesn’t understand the amount of time put into it.

But maybe that’s the main thought.  People who don’t appreciate a handmade cashmere lace scarf would probably just pick up a bulky acrylic machine made scarf from Target for $5.  (And nothing against Target, it’s one of my favorites!)  I suppose people shopping on Etsy realize the difference, to an extent.  I know I love buying something that I know someone put some time and thought into verse grabbing it cheaper at a big box store, and don’t mind paying a little more.

However, there is the “grandpa garage sale love” side in me that LOVES bargins.  I may end up buying that $5 scarf at target because, Hell!  It’s only $5.

The last point of the argument in my head is the simple fact that I LOVE crafting.  Be it knitting, crocheting, sewing, painting, beading…You name it, I would probably enjoy it or am already doing it.  So, this is really just an outlet to help fund my yarn shopping adventures and to have somewhere to put the 25 scarves I have in the closet.  (I’m sure my family could do without another round of scarves for Christmas!)

So, I think I could argue all sides of this matter until I am blue in the face.  Any opinions out there?

Excuse Me While I Dye

by Tara

Last Thursday I dyed for the very first time.  It was magical, and special, and everything I thought it could be, and more…

OH!  The excitement I felt, as the wool soaked in its warm bath of blood red, black cherry Kool-Aid, came bumbling up from my gut in nervous, skittish giggles as I churned it about in ceremony.  With surgical care, being sure not to felt the untreated wool,  I toweled it off,  and hung it to dry, and then…waited…staring at my creation, hypnotized,  imagining how it will feel knitting it into the most perfect sweater…it was the most fun I’ve had in months.  Now, it is Monday and I already need another fix.  I had planned to scrub the bathroom tonight, but…it’s an emergency.  I just might die if I don’t dye.  I’M NOT BEING DRAMATIC!

If you have not dyed your own yarn, let this be a warning to you.  Look at me!  I’ve only done it once and I’m already out of control.  Now, I truly feel that what I create is unique and one-of-a-kind.  A new era of crafting has begun.

Yarn is a state of mind.

By CourTney

So. The beach was very successful at relaxation..

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But now, I’m back in the real world. I’m back sitting at a desk only to think of yarn and beads and buttons and zippers.

After we got back from the beach, my husband and I tackled the office and made the transformation into the office/craft room.  I hope it is Grandma approved!

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After 2 full days of moving/ cleaning/ rearranging, I was so happy to have it ready, yet so sad that it was now 11 pm on a Sunday evening and I had to go back to work without trying it out. Brian said ” but you’ve been yarning all weekend!” and I said “no, just thinking about yarn, but only cleaning…” and he said, “Yarn is a state of mind.” I thought that was brilliant. And he’s right. So, even though I am sitting here at a computer, I am thinking about all of the crafts that are to come and it’s getting me through the day.

…and I am Tara

by Tara

Now. Ahem.  A little about me:  I live in small town Ohio, hopefully making the move to NJ soon to be with the best of the best of best friends, CourTney.  Right now I work as a consultant, helping college students with computer related projects for class.  I love my job, but…I also love Yarn.  So does CourT.  She is my proud enabler.  We binge on skeins of alpaca and silk, knitted lace shawls, warm wool berets, crocheted rugs, and pattern books.  My favorite memories are of  CourT and I crafting.  In body I may be in my white walled, 310 sq ft apartment in Kent, but in my mind we are together, sitting on an overstuffed brown sofa in her cozy living room in Akron, a CourT-crocheted afgan laying across our laps, a steaming vanilla latte or spicy chai tea on the coffee table, season after season of House, or The Office, or indie films checked out of the library in the DVD player, our needles and hooks moving methodically as we chat about life.  I miss my partner in crime.

You see, CourT was right.  We did lose ourselves when she moved away…uninspired and lacking passion for the thing we always did together, not alone…until there was Ravelry.   CourT started posting her projects, suggesting I do the same. (See my projects on Ravelry here.)  She posted the Gretel Tam by Ysolda Teague and it was over. (See her Gretel here.)

So, here we are now.  CourT in NJ, me in Ohio, committing to start a business together doing something we love…..Let the inspiration begin!

Taking a break

by CourTney

I’m heading to the beach for a nice week of nothingness and knitting. No phone! (just the iPad – gotta jot down the thoughts when they come.) i started thinking about all of the randomness that equals my daily wardrobe and it made me remember sewing with my grandma.

Over the years, we’ve sewn halter tops, vests with matching skirts, purses, bags, scrunchies, a suit jacket, and more. I miss sewing.

In our 1 bedroom apartment, we have an office that takes up half the upstairs. Due to some motivation of awesome people at work, and the ok to take over my husbands personnal space, i’ve decided to take over the office and make a sewing room.

Let the crafting begin!

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In the beginning…

by  CourTney

The first entry is always the hardest.  I don’t want to be one of those “Dear Diary” types, but I suppose that gives a focus as to who you are speaking to.  I suppose I need to start with the purpose.  My purpose is to write about the new adventures of starting up a….something.  It’s to small to say company, but it’s a big idea that needs a name.  How about this.  I will introduce the characters…

Hi, my name is CourTney.  I’m an editor.  I sit at work for anywhere between 40 to 90 hours a week. At a desk.  I love to do other things.  Many other things, but one day my life ran away from me.  So, this is me getting it back.  I grew up surrounded by artistic people and need to grab ahold of those values and bring them back to a higher position in my life.  I love to knit, paint, do yoga, sew…<insert other crafts here.>

I live and work in NJ/NY and my BFF <Tara> lives in Ohio.  Tara is my crafty partner in crime.  She taught me to crochet and knit.  When I moved away, part of me hid.  I can’t speak for her, but I think the same type of deal happened with her.  So, this is us, joining forces and crafting together, from afar.    We will both be writing, when the want/need hits us.

This is the journal of our affairs.

To be continued…