It's almost the New Year and in Honor of a fabulous 2016 I am putting my hats and art on sale at 50% off. If you've had your eye on a beret or beanie, this is the time to get it. All hats are one of a kind. I don't duplicate my designs. Seriously, what would be the creative fun in that? Use the coupon code HappNewYear (all one word- I know I spelled it wrong. Sigh!) at checkout. Thank you and may you have a blessed New Year!
An infinity of passion can be contained in one minute, like a crowd in a small space.
― Gustave Flaubert,
This is the EMILY SCARF. She saw me knitting the cowl for my niece and said, "Well, when are you going to make an infinity scarf for me?! (note pout and pathetic look) You know I get cold while standing outside waiting for the bus at 5:30am." My daughter is subtle as a sledge hammer. So while talking with a friend about Christmas, I realized that I didn't have much for my daughter. We decided to have a lean Christmas this year as we have all we really need and well, funds are tight. But my daughter needed an infinity scarf! I had the prefect yarn. A friend at my knitting ministry restashed some luscious Cascade Baby Alpaca Chunky. It is buttery soft and Alpaca is one of the warmest fibers on the market. Sweet Pea will no longer be cold while waiting for the bus, not on this mom's watch!!!!!! So shhhhhh, don't tell her about the scarf. It's a surprise, though the sneak walked into my studio as I was trying it on for the first time. She exclaimed- THAT's MINE! I WANT IT! Again, subtle as a sledgehammer. At least I know my last minute knitting will be appreciated! This cowl took about 4 hours from beginning to end. As its a chunky yarn, it is a fairly quick knit and a good almost last minute present.
I wanted a quick knit with lots of texture. I contemplated cables, but the yarn is soft, so the cables didn't have the pop I wanted, so I settled on a rib, but then half way through, I got bored and switched to welts. As a result there are vertical ribs and horizontal ribs. I like how the textures play against each other.
You will need:
2 skeins of Cascade Yarn's Baby Alpaca Chunky, 100g / 3.5oz 108yds /100m in color 0558 ( velvet leaf) Alpaca has a fabulous drape, so working this pattern up in another yarn will lead to a garment with quite a different flow and drape.
#9 26" circular needles.
Gauge: 3.5 sts to the inch an 4 rows to the inch.
Cast on 176 stitches using long tail or cable cast on method.
Begin 2x2 rib: place a stitch marker (K2, P2) repeat across the round, ending with a P2. Be careful on the first round not to twist your stitches. (I twist the cast on edge to the inside of the ring, so I can keep track of my stitches.)
Continue working in the 2x2 rib for the next 4 inches.
*Knit for the next 6 rounds.
Purl for the next 4 rounds.*
Repeat from * to * ending with a knit round of 6.
Bind off all stitches. Sew in tails.
An infinity scarf doesn't really need to be blocked. So, wrap and give!
What I especially love is that if she once again forgets a hat, she can pull up a bit of the scarf to act as a hat or hoodie. Toasty warm!
Turning science fiction into fashion fact. I am fascinated by smart materials. textile technology, especially fabrics that combine led lights. With the rise of new fibers and fabrics, wouldn't it be cool to get your hands on some LED embedded yarn?! I know I want some!
And for a bit more on smart textiles. I love smart jewelry that collects data such as my fitbit. But there are smart rings, smart charms and so much more. The field is basically exploding.
And as the mother with a young daughter, I worry about her constantly. Other than giving her krav maga lessons( a form of street fight training, used by the Israeli Army) or carrying a gun or pepper spray with her ( both of which could be forcibly taken and used against her), there is one new option. It's not perfect, but it is a start, the Siren Ring. It admits a very loud alarm to draw attention to a possible mugging or rape. It is rather expensive which is the only reason I am not buying her own for Christmas.
I want it to have GPS and send a signal to cell towers for police help. Think of it as the wearable bat signal.
What is bought is cheaper than a gift. ~Portuguese Proverb
I have an adorable high energy neice who refers to herself as a fashionista. She is a seriously silly little girl. And as my favorite and only neice, I wanted to make her a special handmade gift for Christmas. A few years ago I made her a pink and purple hat with her name embroidered on it. Given that she is still into pink and purple, I decided on making her a hot pink cowl that tucks into her jacket and keeps the winter chill out. It's also nice to wear indoors with a t-shirt.
You will need:
#8 circular knitting needle
1 ball of worsted yarn, approx 200yds (I used Red Heart Soft)
4x4 rib (knit 4, purl 4 and repeat
Guage: 4 sts to the inch in stockinette on an 8. For a firmer rib, go down a needle size or two.
Cast on 120 stitches and work in a a 4x4 rib for 10 inches. Bind off in pattern. Sew in all ends. Done! This took me approximately one evening to make, so not the very last minute of vey last minute gifts to make, but doable before December 25 given that today is December 18. And really is there anything more fun to give than something handmade and from the heart?
This would be equally cute for a boy in a tweedy brown, grey or forest green.
Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. ~Pablo Picasso
I love teaching children. I've taught in public schools, parochial schools, summer camps, and even at a greenhouse for an art and science course, teaching children to become better observers by drawing their natural environment. Given that I love working with children and see what inspires them to make, it should come as no surprise that I've developed a Pinterest board that now has 22,000+ followers. (Holy Moly and thank you!) I bring it up now as there are many ideas on it for children to make and do over the holiday break, to calm the worst of the antsy pantsys. And who knows they may become inspire to make a present for Santa???
Finger knitting is a great one for the car while not the way to the grandparents. I had some yarn in my bag as I traveled to Chicago by Amtrak. One little 6 year old was bored in the worst way. Some yarn and some fingers can make magic. To learn how, take a look at my directions on how to finger knit a blanket
Get them ready for the spring, here is an easy one to make while you upcycle old magazines and caltalogs with buttons from the button box.
Let them make their own thank you notes for gifts received. This is an article I wrote for Illustration Friday.
As a basic bak up, print out a few of these mandalas and allow them to color.
There is nothing mocking about a mocktail. I stopped being able to drink after my stroke. Rather than bemoan the fact that I can't enjoy a merlot, chianti or fab pinot noir, I now am now deep into the exploration of mocktails. Add the further challenge that they need to be low in sugar and free of food dyes to meet my funky dietary requirements. My drink du jour is the Arnold Palmer. A good one is slightly sweet with sour undernotes. My easy peasy version is simply store bought iced tea, with lemonade and a splash of peach juice. So 3/4 iced tea, 1/4 cup lemonade and a splash of peach juice. I follow that up with a twist of lemon, for a stronger sour note. But I''ve been poking around and found some far fancier versions. Check out the following recipes. You can really have fun varying it by making different types of iced tea like, Hibiscus which will give it a pink color. The three to one ratio of tea to lemonade keeps the drink from becoming too sweet. Make a raspberry one and add some fruit to the bottom and a spring of mint to make it festive.
Now thinking about upcoming parties I want to have, I am thinking a punch bowl of non-alcoholic Sangria might be fun. Here are a few versions:
And as mint, ginger and lime are one of my favorite flavor combos, here is a recipe for a non-alcoholic Moscow Mule.
I am currently experimenting with simple syrups made with Agave Nectar which will sweeten a drink but is less likely to give you a sugar crash.
Try offering a few mocktail options at your next party as someone needs to be the designated driver, but wants to have a fun drink too.
My book suggestion-
This book, Zero-Proof Cocktails by Liz Scott is filled with tasty ideas and well worth the investment if you are going alcohol free like me. If you have a great recipe, I'd love for you to share it in the comments section. Thank you.
So you are going to CHA, the annual Craft and Hobby Associations mega show. Oh, lucky you! I am having to miss it this year. What am I missing out on?
Hundreds of vendors each with hundreds of fabulous products for art and craft making.
Many of these vendors offer demonstrations on how to use their products, as well as make and take projects. I love this time to just wander the aisles trying out new pens, test driving various glues. I mostly work in textiles, the yarny arts, as well as surface design, so its great time to try out so many products I don't really know. But my favorite? My absolute favorite? I love the fashion show by Lion Brand Yarns. Here is a short video I made several years ago from their 2013 Fashion show, narrated by Vanna White. They often feature the work from student designers which gives you a glimpse of trends in other parts of the world. In 2013 the students were all from Israel. If you aren't a knitter or yarn buyer, you may not get a seat, but that's okay. Get there a little before showtime to grab a good spot to stand. Bring your camera or video recorder, with Vanna White as MC, you know it's going to be a good show.
As a vegetarian, make sure you bring some food with you. I tended to stick to the wraps from one of the kiosks outside the show floor. I also brought a refillable water bottle to stay hydrated. I'd buy my wrap before heading to the show floor, so I didn't have to leave when I got hungry. I prefer to sit at the tables in the back area near the hamburgers and such. Sit down and ask folks what they do. I found it a great way to hear the needs of shop owners and to have a personal conversation with them about how I could offer them my services.
Be sure to bring LOTS of business cards. I generally go through 1000 per show. I followed another designer's advice, have your photo on one side. This has made a huge difference for me. Folks recognized me at the second show. And make some sort of swag for vendors and editors to remember you. I made lavender sachets with envelopes I made. I sealed them with a sticker feturing my website. The sachet was usable and a nice way to sent their belongings while packed and it was light weight and noncaloric. Yes, candy is nice, but one can only eat so much candy. I also have a personal trademark, I always where unusual, brightly colored glasses. It helps make me stand out.
Another must is a folder to organize all the cards you receive. I always jot down snippets of conversation onto the cards so I can directly follow up after the show. I then organize them in a folder so I can easily find them. You will collect dozens at a time and they are easy to misplace, so a folder keeps it tidy and useful to use. I then reviewed them each night, making a list of 10 people I for certain want to contact, writing notes of ideas, etc. It's easy to get distracted by all the fun, but this is about business, and hopefully making some money. Right?
My last piece of advice, you will see many women dressed in professional suits wearing heels. But you will be walking miles every day, wear good comfortable shoes. Not sneakers unless you designed them. And wear something you made. It's a great conversation starter. I know some designers who've landed book contracts this way. Someone comments on their jewelry and a conversations begins and then you are asked to send a proposal. Go for it!
To see my reviews of past shows -
In honor of CHA's 75th anniversary, we are celebrating with a blog hop and giant cash drawing. Their are just three entry options to win a $500+ Visa gift card:
- Leave a comment on my blog (mandatory) answering the question - "What is your favorite "can't live without" craft supply or tool?"
- Tweet about the giveaway (tweet text includes #CHAshow hashtag; can tweet daily for extra entries)
Answer a multiple-choice poll about how often you "cre8time" for crafting (double entry value)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
You've been to a few craft fairs. You think to yourself, hey I could do that! Well you can, but it's a bit more complicated than you think. I sell mostly hand-knit beanies and beret for babies and adults. They are whimsical and part of my mission to bring color to the grey days of winer.
Here are the basics of what you will need to consider to get started:
business license - most cities require you to collect tax. Yes, this is a business so you will need to register as one.
Inventory system - An excel spread sheet of all items you've made and sold within a year.
Quickbooks or other form to keep track of expenses and income. Makes tax time much easier.
Portable table and for outdoor show a Tent (with weights)
Money apron or cash box
Tags to label all your items with price and inventory item
Labels with your logo and care instructions and possibly size.
Square or other app for taking credit cards which then necessitates a smart phone
Twitter account, Facebook account to advertise show dates and invite family, friends and collectors,
Newsletter - Mail chimp or other electronic newsletter system
Shopping bags ( I tend to buy holiday ones on sale to use the following year at holiday craft fairs as they make instant gift wrapping.)
A foldable dolly is and investment to save your back
Lunch box and water bottle.
Quality photos of your items, good photographs increase your chance of being juried into a show.
Items intended for children come under strict regulataions for safety reasons. Read up on them thoroughly.
You've gotten your business license and your smartphone with square app, you are ready to go. Not so fast. You need to do research into what shows are where and when. You can't be in two places at the same time, so make a calendar of deadlines and showtimes. This will prevent the "Oops, I have two shows this weekend!" I 've scheduled two a few times, but it always loses me money as only I the make can really sell my hats, plus I then end up having to pay someone to assist which eats into my profit. I tend to only show in the fall due to my inventory being wool hats and I tend to stick to my hometown and my former hometown. I could do more shows around the country, but unless I have a place where I can crash and can get there by car, it is prohibitively expensive. I am not ready to go to that level of capital investment.
Each show has a certain feel and therefor market clientele. Who are there clientele, if you sell jewelry, the largest category item, then it is worth finding out how many jewelers they allow. Do they allow vendors selling goods from other countries? Theses items are cheaper and therefore direct competition for spending dollars. Is the crowd young or older, you will pitch your items to that market. I don'r sell well at certain Indy shows and no to not even try.
How do you know when you are breaking even. Some folks think it is when you earn back your show booth fee. Well you also have to consder the cost of your items and your time sitting there selling your work.
How many folks do they expect on average? You need to be prepared with your inventory. Some shows like One of a Kind are so big that you need to be prepared for the sheer volume. They also have higher booth costs.
lunch box and thermos / water bottle
inventory, display items (mannequins, shelving or whatever highlights you work to the best advantage)
sunscreen and bug spray if outside
labels with bix name and website for sales book receipts.
I keep most of these items tucked into a couple of large boxes so on the day before the show, I can quickly pack my car without stress. I just have to remember my change and smart phone.
3 weeks before the show, send out a newsletter about it.
Build excitement about it b giving sneek peaks of your studio as you prepare
Retweet friends in the show with you to support them and they will hopefully support you too.
The week of, send out a digital postcards reminding folks.
If you forget, post a photo of you at your booth on Facebook, chill and enjoy the day (yesterday I forgot to do this....).
Here are the photos of the first finished panel. This one features the crocheted diagrams that are encoded with the actual data from the research. You can read more about the process on the project's blog.
I am still looking for crochet mandala contributions. They don't have to be super elaborate, just circular and showing a sense of radial symmetry. The exhibition will be in March, so the deadline to send them to me is February 1. Make them to bring awareness to strokes and heart disease. Make one in honor of someone you know. I am shocked that just within my high school class 3 of us have now had AND SURVIVED strokes.
The only gift is a portion of thyself. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Oh my goodness! Christmas is in just three weeks! What to make? What to make? You want it to be a nice gift with a sense of thought put into it, no problem. What about a spa package! WHAT?! Those are impossibly expensive. Not if you make it yourself.
I've become addicted to making dish cloths and face cloths. I have to admit, I didn't get the craze for these tiny knit treasures when they first started appearing on Ravelry and such until I received one as a gift from a student. A worsted cotton knit up into a wash cloth is super absorbent and extra soft and add that it is handmade, it's the ultra luxury item. Add it with a delicious smelling soap or bath salt, and you have fabulous spa gift.
You will need:
1 skein of Sugar-n-Cream
#8 knitting needles
This pattern is for a basic bias face cloth which is knit from one corner to the next.
Cast on 4 stitches.
Knit one row.
*Turn and K2, YO, knit across the rest of the stitches*. Repeat from * to* until you have 5o stitches on the needle and what looks like half a triangle. if you want it bigger, that's fine Keep going until desired width is achieved.
Next row* K1, K2tog YO, K2tog, Knit across the rest of the stitches.* Repeat from * to * until you are back to just 4 stitches. You will end up back at just 4 stitches. Bind off final 4 sititches.
Weave in tails.
Click here to download the pattern. - Download Bias Knit Dish or Face Cloth
For Bath salts,
Buy a bag of plain epsom salts. For every cup of salt mix in 4 drops of your favorite essential oil. I like lavender and rosemary mixed together, stir thoroughly. Use a glass or stainless steel bowl as plastic may absorb the essential oils. Package the salts in a pretty bag or jar.
Check your local craft store for a soap making kit or get plain glycerine and melt it down in your microwave and pour into a cute ice cube tray of heart shapes. Allow to cool and then pop out. Wrap them in saran wrap or in a cute plastic holiday treat bag. For more explicit directions, take a look at this website.