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Cable Zig Zag Square Pillow

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I won’t bore anyone with too much detail about why I’ve been so quiet. Life. One word sums it up. Single mom. Helping out Dad with appointments. Spinning course. Pattern testing. Pet sitting. I could go on.

In September I found something that has made things easier to keep those interested in my work in the “loop.” Instagram. While I know not everyone has it or even wants it, I have come to love it. With the touch of a few buttons and some clever hashtags, I could get seen on Instagram AND Facebook in one shot. How awesome is that?

So I’m going to try reposting my posts here. If I don’t get a chance, I’m hoping you’ll make your way over to have a boo (you don’t need an account to check it out) and perhaps follow me. 

Thanks for hanging in there! ❤

I Heart My Minion Onesie

Mom always got us pyjamas for Christmas. That is one of many traditions I have kept alive. This past Christmas, I bought myself a Minion onesie. It even has a hood!

Today is one of those days where I’m grateful that I got it. It’s dark, dreary and damp. Pretty sure I’ve caught the bug my Sweet Pea was fighting off. I’ve changed into my onesie and I’m curled up in a blanket. There is so much I should be doing. I had to take a day for myself though. If I don’t, my body will take control and MAKE me take the time off. So I give.

I decided over the weekend that I was going to at least start a sweater for a crochet-along hosted by A Crocheted Simplicity. Whether I finish it or not will remain to be seen. I’m off to a good start though. It’s a cool sweater.

Since I’m feeling like crap, I won’t take the energy to post all the links I could. I will post a link to my project page though. That has all the links. It also has a pic of my gauge swatch and the yarn I’ll be using.

Here is the start of my back panel:

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Crossover Pullover – back panel

Just in case I don’t have the time to update my progress here on the blog, you can follow along on my Ravelry project page.

Elmo

I had a loyal customer contact me about an Elmo hat a couple of months ago. I was reluctant at the time because of how busy I was. I did explain that too her. I figured I could squeeze it in though. I had no idea what life had in store for me. I did see it through though and finally finished it on Friday.

keepmeinstitchez.wordpress.com - Elmo Hat

Elmo Hat

He is actually a combination of three patterns. The original pattern was for a baby. So I had to make a bigger hat base. I wasn’t fond of the nose, so I worked it from another pattern. If you’re curious about my project notes, you can find them here.

I Assure You We’re Open

I didn’t realize I had been away from my blog for so long. I knew it was awhile, but over a year? Oh my goodness! So what has happened that can be summed up in one post? A LOT. So I’m going to do my best to catch up over the next while. I hope. Things have just gotten a little more crazy for me this month, but I’m going to hold that under my hat for now. What I will say is that it was already intense because I have a spinning assignment due at the end of the month. And I have a HUGE spinning assignment due at the end of February.

So yes, I’m still plugging away at the OHS Spinning Certificate program. I am in Level III. I had questioned last summer as to whether or not I could pull it off. There is still some ongoing personal crap that just won’t seem to die (seriously anticipating the day I can let that rip – it would blow your mind and you would question whether or not my blog turned into a somebody’s horrible nightmare). I didn’t want that to be the reason I didn’t carry on. I will NOT give ANYONE the satisfaction of stopping me from achieving my dreams. I also got a fortune cookie that told me “Never Quit” on the day I contemplated it. The cookie doesn’t lead one astray. So I’m continuing to put my all into it. I will do my best to chronicle what is going on with that. I still don’t want to forget. Someday when I’m kicking back in the hot springs under the northern lights after spending a day with my sheep in Iceland, I want to remind myself just how determined I am.

My work life has taken a serious unexpected turn. I’m sure at one point or another, I may have mentioned my love of animals. I may have mentioned I did an internship with a service dog organization. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned I am a pet sitter. That was something that just sort of fell into my lap. I sat for a breeder. That breeder gave out my name to another breeder. And then word got out to other people. Then I was down to just one breeder. Then one day somebody asked a friend with a kennel if they knew anyone who looked after pets in their home. She gave them my name and BOOM! I’m pet sitting again. You know, timing is a funny thing. The pet sitting was quiet when Mom was so sick. There was no way I could have done it and helped her out at the same time. About six months after she was gone, that’s when things exploded. I don’t advertise. All of my clients are word of mouth. And that’s the way I love it. We have regular people that call us. It’s so wonderful. My Sweet Pea just loves this job. He’s got such a big heart and the animals know this. This is the perfect compliment to our lives. It allows me to carry on with my fibre work and I’m still available for my Sweet Pea. So yeah. That’s been keeping me busy.

I did a LOT of pattern testing for Crochet by Jennifer‘s new book, Crochet Style: Over 30 Trendy, Classic and Sporty Accessories for All Ages. It was released in November. I didn’t post any photos because we needed to keep quiet until it was released. Oh my goodness, that was one of the hardest things ever! She had us start testing in December of 2015. So now that it’s been released, I would like to post some of the finished product photos. I just need to get past my perfection paralysis when it comes to taking photos!

Speaking of perfection paralysis and the quest for the perfect photo, I finally launched an Etsy shop. Before you get too excited, I have to update it. I have a LOT of items I need to list, but I have to get the perfect photos. Or as close to perfect as I can.

Before I close this post out, I have one more thing to share. I got to cross something off of my bucket list last spring. I went to see Meat Loaf in concert. IT WAS AMAZING! The man didn’t stop! When I found out he was going to be playing in Kingston, ON, I jumped on the chance to go. It was the ONLY weekend I wasn’t booked for pet sitting. I did have a job come up, but I had to decline. I don’t know how much longer Meat Loaf is going to be touring (he actually collapsed during the show after the one I saw), so I wasn’t going to take any chances. I put it out to my friends on Facebook to see if anyone wanted to go with me. Nope, no (local) takers. So I said screw it, I’m going by myself! It took me over 4 hours to drive down there. Dad paid for a hotel room for me. I navigated Kingston transit alone on a Saturday night. And I had the time of my life. When I was 17, I made myself a promise that I would see him perform Paradise by the Dashboard Light live. So now I can say been there, done that. And yes, I did get the t-shirt! (It says Paradise by the Dashboard Light 2016!)

So that’s the last year+ in a nutshell. If you’ve made it this far, I thank you. I promise my next posts won’t be this long! I think I may start posting more photo posts. Because eye candy can be inspiring. And that the real reason I’m here in the first place.

And yes, that IS a quote from Clerks.

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.

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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.

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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.

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Edited version of the previous photo

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Back view with the bristol board

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Edited version of the previous photo

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

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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.