Monthly Archives: August 2017

  • Project Round Up

    Summer is winding down and I am starting to think about the next projects I want on my needles. But let’s keep it real… I am pretty much ALWAYS thinking about my next projects!

    Finished Have you ever seen Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries on Netflix? I kindof want to be her when I

    I don't know, I think Miss Fisher would wear this well!

    grow up. She's smart, ahead of her time and has impeccable fashion sense. Last year I took a screenshot of an outfit she was wearing and thought “someone needs to dye yarn inspired by this”. Earlier this spring when I was at the Carolina Fiber Fest, I spied a mini skein set in the same colors. It was called Miss Fisher and I believe it was fate. I knit that set up into the Genesis Wrap by lolodidit and I love it. There are quite a few mix and match mini skeins listed on FiberCrafty that could be used in this pattern!

    In the Works

    I have started the 6th and final wedge of the Imagine When shawl!

    I have been working almost exclusively on my Imagine When by Joji Locatelli. I am using some handspun that I finished in October 2015 during Spinzilla. I am in LOVE with this project. My brother, Walter and his wife Amy gifted the fiber to me for my birthday (let’s give credit where it is due, it was totally Amy, my brother didn’t have anything to do with it). I would have never picked out this braid out but I adore it. Isn’t it funny how that happens? This pattern is a perfect match for handspun and highlights the color changes. This yarn would also be stunning with this pattern!

    I also started the Aurelia Cowl by Hillary Smith Callis. This is a gift for my mom and I am hoping

    This yarn from The Spun Bunny is perfect with the Aurelia Cowl.

    she doesn’t read this. The yarn came from The Spun Bunny and it is lovely to work with! I really like a round, firm yarn and this is just the ticket. Marissa, proprietress of The Spun Bunny, has a number of skeins dyed up with a similar effect that would work well with this pattern, or any of the the other Yarniad “scowls”!

    On my spinning wheel, I have a braid of stunning fiber from Shari of ShariArts. It is 50% Merino, 25% Silk and 25% Bamboo. It is so amazing to work with and I am able to spin it so smoothly and finely. I am fractal spinning and can’t wait to see how it turns out!

    Gorgeous blend of 50% merino, 25% bamboo, 25% silk. I love the pops of apricot.

    In the Queue I have my eye on a couple of projects to start next! I really want to make a pouf. My desk is a little tall and I am a little short so I need something to rest my feet on. Right now I am winging it with a plastic box but a pouf would be perfect! I have quite a bit of brightly colored acrylic that I am thinking about using and I must be feeling brave because I think I am going to wing it <gasp!>. I think I will crochet it and that should give me the flexibility to make it as wide and tall as I want so that it will fit under my desk nicely. I’ll keep you posted on this one since it will be experimental!

    Indigo Dragonfly yarn, the small bit will be the tassels.

    I also have some yarn that I purchased last year from the Ottawa Knitters Guild Vendor Night. I was on my way to Ottawa for a business trip (pre-FiberCrafty) and saw in my Instagram feed that the vendor night was happening THAT NIGHT. Fate! I bought some yarn from Indigo Dragonfly and have one skein left. I also have 13 grams left of another skein that compliments it beautifully and I wanted to use them together. The plan is to make the Stormy Sky Shawl and use the complimentary yarn for the tassels. If I have enough, perhaps a stripe as well. This pattern would be great with any single skein of sock yarn!

    Finally, I really want to make some gloves! I love my dog but I hate to be cold and I am her primary walker. I have some Silver Spun yarn in my stash. Have you heard of this? It has silver spun INTO the fibers. It helps with warmth and connectivity so you can use your phone if needed. It also have some other health benefits for diabetics and arthritis but I don’t know as much about that. Silver Spun also has some Spandex in it for elasticity. The Connectivity Gloves were designed for this yarn and the Worsted yarn layer will really help keep my hands warm. I’m small and can’t wait to have some quality gloves that fit me well. One of the FiberCrafty shop owners is dying some yarn for me to coordinate with the Silver Spun. I will certainly report back on this project!

    Are always planning projects ahead? What projects are you currently thinking about?

  • Fixing Mistakes

    We all have that little voice in our heads. You know the one… It is so easy to tune out or brush aside.  I have made it a personal goal to actually listen when I hear it, but it doesn’t always work. Especially when I’m knitting.

    See that section that's a little too wide?

    I have been working on the Imagine When shawl by Joji Locatelli. I have had this in my queue for a long time and was finally able to cast on. The handspun I'm using and the pattern seems to be a perfect pairing.  Without giving anything away… the shawl is worked in sections and there are evenly spaced eyelet rows.  I had finished one section and was moving on to the next but it just didn’t look right. The spacing between the eyelet rows seemed too large.  I decided to look at a picture and thought, well, it will all work out. (you have never said that to yourself while knitting have you…) Sure enough, a few rows later, I realized I had started knitting section 3 and switched to section 4 of the pattern! No wonder it didn’t look right! One of the biggest challenges for new knitters, is finding and fixing mistakes so documenting this process seemed like a helpful task.

    Once I have figured out there is a mistake that needs to be fixed, I follow this general process. This might not be for everyone but fixing mistakes is a chore and I should clarify that I mostly use this process on garter or stockinette. If it is lace, that’s a whole different story.

    Find the last known correct row. In this case, the pattern is a 12 row repeat and I made a mistake on row 7 of the pattern. So I needed to rip back to row 6. To find row 6, I look for a row that has an easily identifiable pattern or increase and count from there.  In this example, the last correct row with eyelets was row 7.  So I found the top of an eyelet and counted from Row 7-12 and then 1-6 to find row 6 (remember this is a 12 row pattern). I counted twice, just to make sure.  Row 6 is where I need to rip back to.

    Find the last known correct row, put on your readers and start counting.

    Pick up the right leg of each stitch. The blocking pins are just holding the fabric for the picture.

    Pick up stitches on last correct row. I prefer not to rip back and have a lot of live stitches so I take another needle, or use the same one my project is on, and pick up the right leg of each stitch across the row.  Usually this is not difficult but sometimes because of stitch patterns, there can be a few stitches that are harder to read. But if you have 110 stitches and you can grab 107 correctly, that’s a win!  If there are stitches that are “wonky”, I might mark them with a stitch marker.

    Rip back, carefully. Remember that some stitches are harder to read? Sometimes there are some issues, perhaps you picked up a stitch in the row below or above. Perhaps the yarn got caught under the needle cable. You can use stitch markers to catch any precarious loops or mark issues to address in the next step.

    Sometimes the yarn gets caught under the cable.

    Check your stitches. For my own mental health, take a few extra minutes and just slip each stitch from the left to the right needle.  This way I can catch any twisted stitches or other issues that need to be corrected. It doesn’t take long and helps prevent other potential issues.

    I should clarify that before I embark on this process, I try to make sure there is enough time to finish, have stitch markers on hand and the ability to focus.

    How about you? Do you like to live on the edge and just rip or do you take a more methodical approach?

  • Is it really a unicorn?

     

    Probably like you, I am in quite a few fiber related Facebook groups.  FiberCrafty has been popping up recently in a couple of posts, which of course got my attention. In one thread I saw someone refer to it as a unicorn!  I have to admit, that is a pretty flattering comment and made me blush a little.  

    One post in particular caught my attention.

    Let's talk FiberCrafty.

    Do you all think it is really the replacement for Etsy we're all hoping for? I opened my shop as a hobby shop but I'm looking to move more toward making a real go at this. I was paying for ads with Etsy so my shop fees were running $100 a month and that just feels like far too much to pay for a not super busy shop.

    I know I'll have to do more legwork on my own to get people to my page, which is fine with me. I'm just wondering if anyone is having success with FC?

    This is, of course, what everyone is wondering and it was an opportunity for me to be very candid with my thoughts and dreams about FiberCrafty. It seemed like a post and response worth sharing so I am, with the permission of the original poster, publishing it on my blog.

    A couple of notes: I am being real and baring my soul. If you have comments or feedback, please share but remember that I am a human putting myself out there. If you have constructive criticism, please share! I am all for it because I believe that together, we are more powerful. A criticism is less meaningful without suggestions for change so please share any thoughts you have for change.  One final note, I don’t like comparing myself to Etsy though it seems a logical thought process.  It is hard to compare a 12 year old, $200 million organization to little ol’ FiberCrafty.  

    And now… my response:

    Hi! I'm the owner of FiberCrafty and thought I would weigh in on this. My opinion will be slightly biased but hopefully fair and will provide insight into my thoughts and vision. :-)

    Yes, I believe that this is the replacement we are looking for, however, it will only be so if people make it so. The very idea of this is dependent upon shops opening, adding products and people shopping. If everyone "waits and sees", it will be a steeper climb and will take much longer to get there. FiberCrafty launched mid-May so we have only been around a little more than 2 months. From my perspective, there are a lot of people paying attention in a very short amount of time.

    Regarding putting in legwork for your business, I have two thoughts... One... It is your business. Every business owner should be putting in that legwork no matter where you are selling. That is what separates your brand from others. Two... When FiberCrafty shop owners put in legwork, they are lifting EVERYONE that has a shop on FiberCrafty. Not only are they building their own brand, but they are also promoting FiberCrafty and, indirectly, all the other open shops. There is much less of that "rising tide" impact on a site as bloated as Etsy.

    What sets FiberCrafty apart from Etsy (and other platforms)? - me, the owner. I am a knitter and spinner and I love this craft and community. When you have an idea, request, problem you have a direct line of contact. - FiberCrafty is not what it will be in a few years. Why? Because I want the feedback, ideas and suggestions to improve and grow the site and make it what the community wants and needs. I don't think I have all the answers myself. I will look for them from our users. We had to start somewhere and we think it was a pretty good start. - Supporting FiberCrafty is supporting small business, just like yours. - Since I am not a corporation, I don't have special interests and I don't have investors. My goal is to have a small business doing something I love for the community I love, and I don't have any desire to gouge small business owners. I know you have slim margins. - Also since I am not a corporation, I started with less and had to make tough choices about what to include or set aside for a future phase. I made choices based on what, as a knitter and spinner, I wanted to see in a new platform. I tried to put the development into the functionality.

    I spent a lot of time (2 years!) and have a significant investment backing up my belief in the need for this. Is there room for improvement? Of course. There probably always will be. I have been in the software industry for 20 years and you are never done. However, we worked hard to start with a pretty robust site with some capabilities that are unique, fiber specific and provide value to the shop owners and users.

    FiberCrafty shops are having varying amounts of success. Those that have great photos and descriptions AND do legwork are having more than others. We launched in May which is when the entire industry slows down. People are still learning about FiberCrafty. We only have about 500 products listed. That's a lot but not really. We need a LOT more so that when a shopper starts clicking, they find THAT SKEIN (or braid, or or or) - the one that speaks to them. Again, that is part of the rising tide of lifting everyone.

    I hope this helps with understanding my thoughts and perspective. If this resonates with you, I hope that you will jump on board and don't hesitate if you have any questions at all! Thank you for reading this lengthy post!

    By the way - the person that posted this did decide to join the rising tide and she opened a FiberCrafty shop. If you are on the fence, I hope that you will too!

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