Archive | May 2015

Day Seven: Your Time, Your Place

Day Seven (Sunday 17th May): Your Time, Your Place
Where and how do you take time out to knit and/or crochet? Maybe you don’t take time out at all and instead have your needles twirling as you try to juggle a multitude of other tasks with no ‘spare’ time to think of. Maybe you enjoy nothing more than to crochet whilst winding down from a yoga session, chatting with some friends in a nearby cafe.

Whether social or solitary, tell readers about your crafting time and space, and where you either most enjoy (or can simply find a few snatched moments) to turn yarn into something even more beautiful.

There are two main places you will find me with hooks and needles. Either on my couch in my living room (probably watching Golden Girls) or in Mom’s chair at my parents’ place. Or on the deck in either place. But it’s very rare that I leave home without some project in tow. I’ve stitched during my son’s swimming lessons and soccer games. During his Christmas concert. Waiting to pick him up at school. At the doctor’s office. At the dentist’s office. At Tim Hortons. At the movies. Camping. By the waterfalls. From scenic lookouts. In other words, there isn’t a place I won’t stitch. I think it’s more rare to see me without something in my hands that it is with!

This makes sense though because fibre is my career. Of course I’ll probably never make the same amount I would with a conventional job, but I’ve come to accept that. I would rather work 16 hours at something I enjoy than 8 hours at a higher wage at something that will stress me out, send me into anxiety/panic attacks and flare up depression. I’ve been there, done that. I won’t do it again.

So this concludes the 6th Annual Knit and Crochet Blog Week. I had a blast! I hope to see you next year! Thank you for dropping by.


Day Six: Polls Apart

Day Six (Saturday 16th May): Polls Apart
Almost every blogging platform offers a way to easily put together and host a poll, and polls, surveys and questionnaires can be a great way of engaging with your audience and readership. There are times when readers do not feel that they want or have time to think, compose and post an answer or response to a post, but short polls can often be completed with just a few clicks.

Importantly, survey findings and poll results can give bloggers an absolutely wonderful source of information to blog about. Whether you are looking at basic statistics of the percentage of knitters, crocheters and those who enjoy both or the results of a more opinion-led set of questions, you will be gathering a greater understanding of your readers and may find out some surprising results.

Think of a knitting or crochet related question (it can be literally anything from favourite yarn weight or colour to which month readers believe they complete most projects) and host a simple survey. Hopefully once Knitting And Crochet Blog Week is over this year you’ll have that information as inspiration for yet another blog post when you are ready to write about your findings.

Again, I didn’t get this done until today (Sunday). I was out yesterday helping a friend skirt fleece while her husband sheared. While this is important, I figured you’d all understand that playing with fleece comes first. I know you’d do the same 😉

Anyway, if you would be so kind as to answer the questions on the pole below, I would really appreciate it. I would love to add more posts geared to what interests others. I’ve sort of been using my blog as a diary, but if I can also use it to fan the flames of other fibre junkies, you bet I’m going to do it! Thank you in advance.

Day Five: Something A Bit Different

Day Five (Friday, May 15): Something A Bit Different
It’s the annual challenge to blog in a way different to how you normally blog. You may choose to create a podcast, or vlog, create a wordless post, a beautiful infographic or write in verse. You can post on any topic you like, but be sure to post in a style different from your usual blog presentation. There’s not too much guidance for this one simply because the more varied the posts are on this day, the wider the sources of information for other bloggers will be.

Well, I would like to say that I’m confident in my creative writing skills, but I’m not. I think I use up all my creativity with my fibre. I figured I would give it a shot anyway.

My hooks are flying.
Yarn stash is getting quite low.
Must replenish now!

It is 2am.
I should be sleeping right now.
Just one more row please.

I’m at the yarn store right now.
Lost in fluffy paradise.
Please don’t look for me.

I’m on a roll now. This is totally out of character for me. I may edit this post later if I keep going LOL

Day Four: Bags Of Fun

Day Four (Thursday 14th May): Bags Of Fun.
Time to delve into that most treasured collection of tools, notions and oddments as you are asked to spill the contents of your knitting or crochet bag, caddy or other method of organisation and put your crafting unmentionables on display.

You may wish to talk about your bag of crocheting tools as a whole, or delve deep into the contents of your knitting caddy and talk about the contents each in turn. Good, clear photography can help readers familiarise with your tools, and you might just help someone find a new item for their wish-list if they are awe-struck by your pom-pom maker.

So here are the contents of my toolbag. This thing goes with me EVERYWHERE. It’s the first thing to be packed when I’m away from home. It comes with me to pick up my son from school. I have it in the car just in case when I’m not stitching! I’m not necessarily fond of the colour, but I do like the clear part so that I can see what’s in it. I’ll be sad when the zipper gives out on it or it cracks. I’ve been using this for a few years now. I’m not even sure when I started using it!

My Toolbag -

My Toolbag

My Toolbag Contents -

My Toolbag Contents

1. Darning needles – I HATE sewing in ends (don’t we all?!). But these needles make it a little more pleasant. I don’t use the green one all that much, but I use the other two all the time. They have a plastic loop at the end (rather than the traditional eye), which makes it super easy to thread your yarn through. I got these ones at Walmart.

Darning Needles -

Darning Needles

2. Flashlight – You know, but cause you never know when you’re going to need one

3. Knitters pins – These are the handiest, dandiest little things! I use them for positioning applique, amigurumi, sewing pieces together, markers… They have a blunt end, so they’re fine for carrying around in your work bag. Mom got these ones for me at a yard sale, so I’m not sure where they can be purchased. I think Knitpicks may carry them. Totally worth the investment!

Knitters pins -

Knitters Pins

4. Pens – Yes, multiple pens. Because you always need a pen. Or two. Or somebody else does.

5. Stitch Markers

Stitch markers -

The various styles of stitch markers I use

6. Scissors

7. Flash Drive – I keep my pattern library on here as a backup to my computer

8. Measuring Tape – I’ve had this measuring tape since my first knitting project

9. Hooks – Of all shapes and sizes! I mostly use the purple polymer clay handle hooks in the photo

My hooks -

My hooks – the pink and purple were my first attempt at polymer clay handles. The others I purchased off of Etsy

10. Buttons – These guys found their way into my bag and just never found their way out LOL

Day Three: Experimental Photography And Image Handling For Bloggers

Day Three (Wednesday 13th May): Experimental Photography And Image Handling For Bloggers
Every Year Knitting & Crochet Blog Week tries to feature at least one day where photography takes a key role, because it has been proven many times that what captures reader’s attention for the first few seconds to hopefully hold them long enough to invest the time to read your words is your pictures, and so this topic crops up each year, but every year it yields such different results!

Okay, so this one really tripped me up. Well, not really. But I spent Wednesday and yesterday playing around with my camera. You see, I’m going in the direction of opening an Etsy shop. I wanted to get some great product shots anyway, so the timing of this post couldn’t be better. While I didn’t go all funky like many others, I focused on getting the best possible shots I could. I tried different backgrounds and different settings.

I used a white sheet as a background here. While it did do what I wanted it, it was difficult to work with outside if a breeze crept up. It was also a challenge to get all the wrinkles out.

Next I went with a bristol board background. That worked far better. I took two pieces and taped them together so that it would reflect the light a little more.

Edited version of the previous photo

Back view with the bristol board

Edited version of the previous photo

I tried to see what it would look like on a different background

Back view

Doing this project, I found a couple of things. White is REALLY difficult to photograph. The other is just because it doesn’t look good on your camera’s preview doesn’t mean it won’t look good on the computer. I took a LOT of photos because I wasn’t happy with how they looked on the camera. When I loaded the photos on the computer, I was quite surprised!

I know I need some work with colour balancing etc, but I’m thinking this isn’t too bad for being self-taught. When I was reading Etsy’s tips for effective listing photos, they indicated that a studio shot with a white background was the best. While I do agree that some products look sharp with that kind of setting, I think there are some exceptions to the rule. Such as this dress. I think that you just need to play that one by ear. I guess I’ll find out, won’t it?

Chances are you’ve probably fallen in love with this little dress, so I’ll tell you where I got the pattern. It’s from Crafting Friends Designs.You can also find her patterns on Ravelry and Etsy. Her blog can be found here. She’s also on Facebook.

Day Two: It’s All About You

Day Two: It’s All About You
Cast your hooks and needles aside!

This year you are challenged with one of those tasks that some bloggers can find quite daunting: but there’s never a better time then when we’re all in it together, so let’s shift the focus and turn the attention from the things we make to the things that make us.

The important thing here is to remember that you don’t have to go into great personal detail and certainly do not have to reveal anything too personal. You can be as candid or as private as you like, but you can also give your readers a feel for those things that you like to do outside of your crafting.

Do you like to walk or keep fit
Do you read or enjoy movies – are there any personal favourite books or films that you would recommend?
What is your dream holiday destination, job, dinner party guest list?

This post can be about your reality, your aspirations, past, present or future. Enjoy talking about you. If you really don’t want to write about yourself, though, use your creative license and invent yourself an alternative persona, whether you are a spy, deep-sea diver or astronaut (who just happens to love yarn).

This is a tough one. Aside from my son and my dad, wool/yarn is my life. I live it. I breathe it. I love it. There are other things in life that I do enjoy, but I usually do them/watch them as I work.

Some things you may not know about me…

I have a background in dog training. Sixteen years ago, I went to Harrisburg, Pa. to do a service dog trainer internship with Susquehanna Service Dogs. That is how I got my beloved Kirby. I applied to places here in Canada, but they did nothing to help me. One of my dreams is to start a service dog program of my own, even if I only train one dog at a time. What’s holding me back now is that I don’t have the space. Another tidbit is that my Kirby was also a therapy dog. We went on visits for a while, but then life happened. In late 2004, I adopted my Panzer. While I was confident that I had the skills to train him, I knew that I could not provide socialization for him. So I signed up for dog training at Petsmart. When they found out about my background with the service dogs and my intention of socializing Panzer, I was encouraged to apply for a dog trainer position. I did and I loved it! Not only did I get to help people train their dogs, I also got to take my boys (Kirby and Panzer) to work with me! They took turns coming with me.

And staying with the doggy theme, I am also a pet sitter. One of the reasons why I have chosen fibre arts (aside from it being my passion), is that it’s highly portable. When I pet sit, I’m also house sitting as well. I stay in their home while their “parents” are away. I highly enjoy it. It’s nice to have pets to snuggle and get a change of scenery. This is also a big reason why I haven’t got another dog. I have a bunch of others I can love! When I pet sit, I treat the pets as I would treat my own. They all have left paw prints on my heart.

I used to be a hairstylist.

After I left the hair world, I primarily did factory work. I actually enjoyed it.

I left an abusive relationship 7 1/2 years ago. I decided that while I was rebuilding my life, I was going to follow my dream and take the Fibre Arts Program at Fleming College. That’s where my love of spinning started.

Aside from wanting to make a better life for my son and I, one of my big reasons for going back to school is to set an example for my son. I want him to know that you’re never too old to learn something new. AND when he hits a rough patch in life, I can genuinely tell him that if I can do it, he can too!

Other little tidbits:
-my favourite colour has been purple for as long as I can remember
-you can tell what frame of mind I’m in by the colours I work with
-I am a HUGE NKOTB fan. I went to 2 concerts when I was 13. Then I went to their first reunion concert in 2008 and another one in 2009. Jordan was my first love
-I will give you the shirt off my back. I may even forgive you if you burn me. But mess with my baby or burn me more than once and hell hath no fury…
-I LOVE to laugh. Sometimes too much
-I used to figure skate and coach. I miss it so much!
-I want a red rag top ’64 1/2 Mustang in the worst way
-my all-time favourite movie is Dirty Dancing. I also love Despicable Me, Despicable Me 2, the Iron Man movies, both Avengers movies, (okay, pretty much the whole Marvel series), the Lethal Weapon series, North and South,the Lego Movie, Planes… Okay, I could do this all day!
-my all-time favourite TV show is the Golden Girls. Closely followed by Friends. I also love Ghost Adventures, the Dead Files, Dr. Who, Big Bang Theory, the Simpsons
-my favourite group is ACDC, favourite artist is Meatloaf. I also like Walk Off the Earth, Brooks and Dunn, Garth Brooks, the Stones, George Jones, Johnny Cash – classic rock and country. I also like 80’s and early 90’s music too. My life’s theme seem to be the chorus from Tub Thumping.
-I secretly adore Justin Timberlake. And don’t tell anyone, but I watch Hell’s Kitchen. It’s like a train wreck… I can’t turn away!

I had started a list of pet peeves, but I’m just going to leave it at this… I despise rude/arrogant/phony/fake/know-it-all/narcissistic/deadbeat/inconsiderate/ignorant/confrontational/manipulative/pushy/disrespectful people!

Take me or leave me. But don’t try to change me. You can help me or encourage me to grow. But you won’t change me.

Knit and Crochet Blog Week, Day One: If You Were Yarn.

Day One: If You Were Yarn
If you were a type or brand of yarn, which would you be? Are you a classic pure wool? Is there extra tension but a bit of bounce in you because of your high twist? Would you be more like a high-maintainance, strictly hand-wash fluffy angora or a ‘bring it on’ acrylic, bravely heading into the world of possible baby-sick laundering disasters knowing that you will always come out bright and unharmed?

Spend some time browsing yarns and getting to know their qualities, and decide which yarn you think best matches your personality.

This one is pretty easy because of the spinning. I’m sure my answer will change as I discover more fibres on my spinning journey. But for now…

I would be a handspun Alpaca/Corriedale blend, with some Angelina. My colours would consist of all the colours of the rainbow in long blocks. I would be spun Z/S because as much as I love knitting, I think I would want to be a Crocodile Stitch item.

The Alpaca represents my softer side. While I love my day-to-day hippie/country girl thing, I do enjoy getting dressed up and being “fancy”. Fancy, yet functional.

The Corriedale represents my more durable side, the stability that I offer my son. While he needs to discover the world on his own, I’m always the strength quietly doing my job in the background. As with the Corriedale in this blend, it also offers strength and stability. It helps the alpaca hold its shape, just as I help my son hold his as he faces some of the injustices this world has to offer. I’m warm, soft and snuggly, yet durable and protective.

The Angelina… Well, you HAVE to have some bling! I’m a colour/sparkle freak. I think it makes the world just a little more interesting. This shows my fun-loving side. And is possible further proof that I may have been a bird in a former life.

As for the colours, they represent my many moods. But put them all together and it makes me very happy. I’m blown away with how colour affects me. When I’m down, I bust out a project with bright, vibrant colours. It helps pick me up. Add some sparkle to that, and oh my goodness! As for the long sections, while my moods vary, they don’t vary enough to be variegated (which I’m sure my loved ones are thankful for! hehehe)

I would want to spin myself. I have a lot of energy (and a lot of baggage) that only I can take care of. Only I would know how to handle all of that. And I would LOVE stitched up into this pattern.

This is a spinning project that I’ve been dreaming about for awhile. I’m hoping that I can make it a reality this summer (or at least dye the yarn). I don’t know if I’d be able to stitch it up though. I have a feeling that it may become a “petting skein” hehehe