Sunday, December 8, 2013

Wrapping Things Up for Christmas

The part of me that loves the crunch of holiday knitting is having a great time right now.  I was really stressing about how much knitting I still had to do before Christmas, but I finished a couple things and I'm feeling much calmer now.  This year it's different- nearly all of my gift knitting is for other people to give- cupcake and other baby hats, scarves and hats for the Mary project, and a pattern I'd like to get done before then.  I'm thinking about maybe making Purdue golf club covers for my dad as he's gotten in to golfing more this year and he's impossible to shop for, a hat for Tall/Dark & Handsome, and a doily with his parents' last name in it.  And those two things are MY Christmas knitting.
But my Christmas knitting still needs to wait for an apple hat, an ogre hat, a mostly finished scarf, 1 mostly finished adult hat and a hat pattern for Good For Ewe.  And then as soon as mine is over I go right back to cupcakes, as a local boutique has picked them up and is doing quite well with them.
I am still madly in love with my quilt but am forcing myself to ignore it- sort of.  After I finish 1 Christmas project, I allow myself to put one more row on it.  I've made 2 more strips since this picture, but haven't ironed them and joined them to the beast yet. 
The pattern I'm using is for a twin sized quilt, and since I'm not going back to a dorm room anytime soon, I decided to make it for a Queen sized bed that I'll have once I move in with T/D & H. But I am having to adjust the pattern and since I don't currently have a queen sized bed to try it on, it's a little tricky to decide how many more rows I need before I move on to the next part- the first of 4 borders. 

What's this 4 borders crazyness you ask?
It's really very simple.  Once I decide that the middle is big enough (and if I'm not there, I'm getting really really close) then I do a couple inches (I think 2.25) of a "solid" color instead of continuing with the strips of squares.  Since T/D & H really loves blue and I love everything that isn't taupe, we're going with a blue batik fabric.  He even went to the quilt shop with me yesterday and picked it out.  (The stockinette stitch fabric was in this $6/yd cuts section and I couldn't NOT take it home- no idea what it wants to be yet)  So a couple inches of blue, a couple inches of the white/bone that is already in with the middle, a border of squares like the ones in the middle again, and another white border.  For binding I'll be using every single color that's in the quilt already- it will either be color-vomit or really really cool.  In my brain it is the latter. 

So that's my plan for the next couple weeks.  Knit knit knit quilt.  Rinse & repeat. Drink eggnog. 

How are your holiday projects coming?

*By the way, the 400th post is rapidly approaching. I'm thinking a giveaway- what do you think? 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A case of the blehs

Maybe it's the threat of impending winter or the exhaustion of the house (or lack thereof) drama, but I'm rocking a major case of the blehs.  The highlight of my day for the past week or so has been going to bed.

But since the craft fair is over (and I had the worst year ever!) I'll show you what I've been working on now that I can lay off the baby blankets (I still have 2 more orders for cupcakes and a big order for Christmas for someone).  First up...I'm back at the quilt.

I bought a few yards of Kona Cotton in the color "Bone" at a quilt shop back in May for the quilt.  I bought all they had but the shop owner assured me that matching it wouldn't be a big deal- Kona dye lots are really consistent.  So I bought the 2.5 yards they had at the shop and ordered the rest off etsy.  I didn't actually open the etsy package until the craft fair was over and I could return to the quilt without guilt.  That was when I realized....that the two different Kona Cottons I had were just that- different.  Really different.  Crap. I contemplated changing up the pattern and adding a colored border and then returning to the pattern so that it wouldn't be so obvious that we just went from off-white to taupe, but instead I kept searching for more Bone.  Found it at JoAnn, 40% off. I love to shop local/independent for fabric, but I'm cheap right now and I shopped independent and got the wrong color.  No sense paying full price twice. Washed and started cutting last night. As you can see, I had loads of help.

*By the way, if you're looking for 5 yards of Kona Cotton in a color that is not Bone but still very nice, let me know. I know where you can get some.

I have a bit of a destash project going on at the moment, and of course, have loads of help with that too.  She's been really needy lately.  

It's a shelter blanket and I'm using up a year's worth of partial balls and including 2 sweaters from the frog pond.  It's much bigger now but this was the best picture I had of it.  I love these shelter blankets- you get to clear up your stash and get a warm fuzzy feeling while you're at it.  Plus it saves me from deciding what to do about those 2 cardi's. 3 birds with 1 stone. The hardest part of these blankets is getting Madeline off them long enough to work on them. 

And lastly, I've got a little design that I'm working on.  The magic happens in the crown, which as you can see, isn't there yet.  It looks really neat on graph paper though.  The blue version is in Good For Ewe Sultry Steps, the green is in Chord- the pattern is definitely going to be written up for Chord-love that stitch definition.  I'm calling it the Main Squeeze hat as it was originally made for Tall/Dark & Handsome but due to gauge issues, is now going to be a trunk show sample.  He'll get his eventually- if I'm a really nice girlfriend it will be before we start snowboarding for the season.  It is a fun little knit though. 
So that's all for now.  Hopefully I'll have a couple finished projects to show off for my next post- and who knows- maybe a mortgage (but I think I'll have to sell a kidney to make it happen.  Banks hate small business owners.  Backbone of America my arse.) 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Setbacks, Frustrations, and Cupcakes

This weekend was rough. After a week in suspense over what the sellers of our house will and won't fix on our post-inspection requests, I got a call on Saturday from the lender to tell me that I was no longer approved for the loan he approved me for a month and a half ago.  Good For Ewe reported a loss last year- that's just what happens when you start a company halfway through the year with a ton of overhead- you don't break even.  And although they won't consider any income from Good For Ewe to be valid income for the mortgage, they will consider last year's loss to be a good enough reason to stop everything.  But they had to wait until after the sellers cashed the earnest check, I paid for 2 inspections (ouch!) and the sellers had started repairing what we requested to tell me they had changed their minds on the loan.  Less than 2 weeks from the closing date. Thanks, Huntington.  I'll be moving my 3 accounts to another bank within the next week.

Furious does not begin to cover what I'm feeling.

I knew that starting my own business would be slow and frustrating, but I wasn't prepared to put my life on hold for 3-5 years.  (I need 2 years of tax returns not showing a loss before I can be considered for a mortgage, and it will be a while before I make up for all that overhead- especially since any "profit" is reinvested into new colors and going to trade shows.) I also haven't really been paying myself much from Good For Ewe because I haven't had to.  I had savings, I sold cupcake hats and then I started working at the nursery.  So what was best for the company is bad for my mortgage.  There are days that I love owning a yarn company and everything is all butterflies and rainbows, but right now I'm regretting every decision I've made for the past 4 years.  Not a great time.

I'm meeting with yet another lender tomorrow that specializes mortgages for small business owners and people with inconsistent incomes. I really hopes this works out- otherwise I've blown months of savings on a house I can't buy. Once again, thanks Huntington.
Not a whole lot going on as far as knitting goes- trying to crank out as many cupcakes as possible before I drop my goodies off at the craft fair on Saturday.  I'll have a table there for a week and I'll probably spend the entire week it's there making more cupcakes and dropping them off- last year I took 15 (I think?) and came home with 1.  I currently have 2 finished- I've made 8 but sold the other 6 before I could finish them. Then back to a hired knitting project and then maybe some Christmas gifts.  I'm getting a little burnt out on cupcakes, but I'm considering sucking it up and trying to make them a year round thing- a little extra income wouldn't be a bad thing right now. The only question is how- etsy?  Boutique?  On the corner in a dark alley?  Facebook pimping?

And something that makes me smile- Party Girl in her ogre hat and pumpkin sweater.
Have a Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

New Chapters

I feel like I've been sprinting through the past few months.  It's been great, and busy, and emotional and a thousand other things but it makes my head spin a little to think of where I was three months ago and where I am and what I'm doing today.
I'm buying a house!  It's a rather plain little bungalow in south Broad Ripple that needs some serious landscaping and a little bit of color. But it's been time to move out on my own for a while now, and having a summer of a very intense long-distance relationship has been the straw that broke the camel's back.  Things with Tall/Dark & Handsome are great, but we are tired of driving an hour several times a week to see the other one.  So I'm buying a house that's halfway between our houses in a part of town that we both love.

Buying a house has been a frustrating process to say the least.  Since we are both small (and new) business owners, most bankers wouldn't even talk to us.  So I had to have the loans written up to work with my part-time job at the nursery because we can't look at any income through Good For Ewe or any knitting-for-hire/pattern sales income since it's not been registered with the state for more than 2 years. It took a lot of work and a stroke of luck and really good credit, but I finally got pre-approved for a very small mortgage.  So finding a house that's move-in ready in the area we like has been...challenging. 

We found a cute little 1920 bungalow right on the Monon trail that needed some love but had really great potential.  We put in an offer, went back and forth a few times and got it down to a comfortable price range.  Then we had it inspected and realized what the owner's rush to leave was- tons of water damage in the attic and subsequently, a ton of mold. The electrical was also on the fritz- it hadn't been updated since the early 50's and the inspector said he was surprised it hadn't caught fire.  So back to house hunting. We found another that was a smidge out of our price range but put in an offer anyway.  They said absolutely not and then came back a week later with a changed mind.  I'm not quite sure what deal T/D&H worked out with whom, and I'm not sure I want to know, but suddenly our offer was good enough.  We had it inspected and submitted our list of things that need fixed before we close.

The seller, however, is in no particular rush to get his end of the paperwork done, so our November 14th closing date is slipping away quickly.  We'll see when and if it happens. 
So that's that.  I'm still working a lot at the nursery and of course with Good For Ewe.  Most of the traveling shows are done for the fall, and while I'll miss the income, I'm enjoying not leaving the house at 4 am Saturday morning to get to a show. I'm also preparing for a craft fair that's the first full week of November, and that's coming right up.  Unfortunately it's boring knitting and even worse blogging.  It's a lot of big fluffy baby blankets and cupcake hats, but I need all the cash I can get to cover the ridiculous amounts of closing costs on the house.  If and when it happens.
I'm selling mostly baby blankets and hats but do have a few other items that I've made and not used- a couple lace shawls, some potholders, and even some jewelry from a beading phase a few years ago.  If you're needing something, let me know and I'll save it from the craft show box.
I'm trying not to get too excited about the house, because I got really excited for the last one and was absolutely crushed when the inspection came back with a list that we just couldn't afford to fix. That being said, I still find myself nesting and drifting off in would the kitchen look in yellow? Should I put the cross-stich sampler or the State Fair pig picture there?  Is Moulin Rouge an appropriate theme for a living room?  Does that spot get too much light for hydrangeas?
So my two nesting projects are...the quilt and the cross-stitching.  I've been working on the quilt since before T/D&H was in the picture but now that there's going to be a bed that needs a queen sized quilt, I find myself a little more motivated to get it done. It's even more exciting to work on it because he gets excited about quilts (I think it's a Southern thing.  When I went to his parents' house he took me on a tour of the quilts that had been made and passed down for generations- he seems to be excited about continuing the tradition).  But craft fair projects and projects that pay come first....most of the time.
And...the cross stitching.  I was on etsy a few months ago looking at cross stitching patterns for a friend's wedding and the hilarious pattern came up- a delicate script and flowers that said "Please don't do coke in the bathroom".  It was beautifully subversive and demanded a double take once you realized that it wasn't some inspirational quote or something surrounded in delicate petals.  I kept it in the back of my mind for my someday house.
I revisited the listing on etsy and realized that it wasn't a pattern for sale- it was a finished cross stitching, matted and framed and way out of my budget.  I mean...I've got fabric, threads and empty frames.  No reason I can't doodle something up on graph paper and have something done before we moved in. I'll probably go a little simpler on the floral motifs so that it goes better with the other cross stitchings I had planned for that room.
So that's my life right now.  I'm running around like a headless chicken trying to get the counter offer in by 5pm, and one more cupcake hat finished, and go through the closet and make a goodwill trip so I don't move a bunch of clothes that don't fit, and somehow work in 2 jobs around all that.  But things should settle down in a bit here, and I certainly won't miss the midnight drive home from the Westfield hockey game to be at work by 8. Fingers crossed that it's worth it!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Life in Fast Forward

Holy cow- I am a horrible blogger.  And as of late, a horrible crafter as well.  Well, not horrible as much as infrequent.

So here's an overall update and I'll try to cover all the bases that need covering.

1.  I've taken on a really big knitting project that's not really my style, but I really felt compelled to help.  A woman at my nursery job is currently engaged to a widower.  His late wife was a knitter, and left behind a tub of yarn.  (I'm amazed that it's only one frankly) It's a collection of partial hanks and a couple projects' worth of sock yarn.  There's a few projects already started- a couple baby bibs that are 90% done and include the pattern with them, one fingerless mitt, and there was also the first bit of a sock started.  The woman at work asked around (we have loads of knitters at work- it's a little weird) and several of them pointed her in my direction as the person to help.  She would like to make her fiancĂ©'s children something out of their mother's yarn so they have something finished instead of a tub of oddballs.  When she said "children" I automatically assumed you know- children and I agreed immediately.  Then I found out those "children" are 24 and 27 and those projects became a little bigger.  I'm still on board.  And I'm about halfway through the first one...

This was what I found in the knitting bag...
And here it is now.  The original knitter was clearly making a sock- she was partially into an eye of partridge heel flap.  I talked the new Stepmom out of socks though- especially as this is supposed to be a surprise and I'm afraid that I'd spend hours and hours making socks that won't fit.  So I pulled out an old faithful pattern- the Zetor Scarf.  I know.  This is my fourth but I'm thrilled with the results each time.  I love how the colorway is working up- I know it doesn't look like much all scrunched on the needles.
2.  I had knee surgery last Tuesday.  Considering how much resting/laying around I've been doing, I really haven't been knitting that much- just sleeping, which is frustrating. I bought a couple baby blankets' worth of big fat yarn for the baby blankets I sell at craft fairs in the Fall, and finally managed to finish one. 
(In case you were wondering, I had a cyst inside a tendon that was pushing on both discs in my knee, causing them to both slip as well as having a giant cyst that meant my knee didn't fit together very well. I'm doing fine now, still really stiff.  Stitches come out tomorrow.)
3.  Tall/Dark&Handsome.  We chatted online for a couple weeks and met in early August and have been attached at the hip since then.  The past few weeks have been like a Nicolas Sparks novel on speed, and it's kind of amazing.  He's been taking good care of me since my knee surgery (How's your knee?  Do you need to sit down?  Why are you carrying that? I don't care if you say you're fine, I'm getting you ice) and we went to his family reunion this past weekend in KY. He's a fellow Boilermaker and small business owner.  He's also a hockey player and cyclist, which means I've been knitting a lot at hockey games, and will be knitting on road trips to mountain biking tournaments.  
4.  The garden is a little insane right now.  Do you need tomatoes?  How about peppers?  Well tough- you're getting some.  Seriously- Indy area peeps- free produce.  Just holler. Today I'm drying some of the hot peppers to make my own crushed red (and orange) pepper. 
5.  I'm in a swap and putting together a package, including a small hand knitted item but I can't post that quite yet...

6.  I'm not cross stitching as much as I'd like.  And I have 2 audiobooks waiting for me.  I should work on that, but I have a ton of Good For Ewe stuff that needs to happen first- you know.  Real work. Tall/Dark&Handsome is going to be hiking and mountain biking (very manly stuff) in Colorado for Labor Day (my knee is not quite there yet) so I might take some time and work on it...between craft fair knitting, Good For Ewe project design, and the late knitter's stash elimination, I think it's a lost cause by this Halloween.  
But I'd like to hang it up next Halloween in my own house.  And that's a way bigger project than anything on fabric. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Everything but knitting!

The busy continues! I've been absolutely swamped lately, and haven't been crafting as much as I'd like- but that sort of thing happens when you own your own craft-related company.  No time to actually do it!

Things are the nursery have been slowing down a bit.  Things with Good For Ewe have been picking up a lot!  I had one trunk show in Bloomington at In A Yarn Basket (lovely shop, very knowledgeable staff, loved it there!) this past Saturday and I'm taking this Saturday off of trunk shows to go to my BFF Ben's wedding in Michigan City.  But I have also booked a morning appointment with a yarn shop owner in Champaign Illinois who wants some sock and lace yarn.  So I'll be in Champaign when the shop opens at 9:30 and then wedding-bound after that.  Whew- it's going to be about 11 hours on the road on Saturday but killing 2 birds with 1 stone is totally worth it.  I have 10 yarn shows booked for this Fall- one of which is a week long. It's in Chicago and I'm really hoping to sell enough that I have to make a couple trips back to Indy to refill on yarn.  We'll see.  I'm really just hoping to sell enough yarn to make up for the cost of the hotel for the week.

And I'm really really hoping that all of the shows this Fall mean that I can move out and get my own place in the Spring- fingers crossed! That would be awesome! Not that I've been checking out houses online or anything like that...

Still going on dates.  They're slowing down now that I'm on Round 2, but I think I might have another first date or two next week.  We'll see.  I'm taking it day by day right now.


I finished a potholder this week.  I found one that had been started and had 2 rows done a couple weeks ago and stuck it in my purse.  I finished it Saturday night and gave it away to one of the people that were sitting near me when I finished it. I have tons of dishcloth cotton hanging around so I might have a purse potholder for a while until the stash is a little more controlled.
I'm making a baby blanket for a friend of my mom's who is getting a grandbaby! My mom knows the drill with these- go buy the yarn and I'll make it sometime in the next week.  She got a different brand than usual because it was on clearance and very pretty.  Since she's not a fiber crafter though, she didn't think to compare the yardage to the brand we normally get.  We normally get 5 balls of the usual at 175 yards per ball, so she got 5 balls of this yarn as well.  Except that this ball has 71 yards on it.  Which means that when I'm done with my 5 balls of yarn, that's a really small baby blanket.  She did go to another Joann Fabrics to find the rest of it.  Now we have enough to make most of 2 of this color, which I'll start and then have hanging around next time I need another baby blanket- I'll just need to find another few balls of this yarn eventually. (I do need one more ball of yarn in this one to even it out a bit)
I'm having a really hard time keeping Party Girl off of the blanket.  She's quite the afghan-enthusiast. 
I'm still working on my Halloween cross stitching every once in a while.  I worked on it for a few minutes last night while I was finishing my Sookie Stackhouse audiobook.  I have another book lined up so there will be more work on this soon- or at least before my next book club meeting. 
And new project/obsession.  My quilt. 
I'm quite in love with my new quilt.  I spent about 4 hours on 3 different days on it (after all the cutting had been done).  So far I have the first 60 squares all attached (see above).  I have 3 more rows of 10 sewn together that I will attach vertically so then I will have 90 squares attached.  I probably have another 40 squares that are made but still floating around, unattached.  

When I went to buy the white fabric (technically the color is Bone) they only have 2.5 yards of it.  So I bought that, washed/dried/ironed/cut that up and once I have that initial 2.5 yards of white in there I will measure and do some math and figure out how much I need to order to finish the rest.  I'm doing a queen sized quilt- a generous queen to leave lots of quilt hanging over the side of the bed.  I'm also going to be continuing the pattern on a couple pillowcases as well so I can match it all.  But I figured I'd take a breather and finish a couple more knitting/design projects before I dive in to the rest.  

So that's that.  What are your summer crafting projects? 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Summer Lovin'...kind of

This summer I have been busy.  And I love it, but it's cutting in to my crafty time and that's bugging me a bit.

My biggest new addition to my life is dating.  I bit the bullet and joined one of the nicer (and more expensive) dating websites.  I had joined several of the free sites a couple years ago and was tired of seeing guys taking selfies with no shirts on in the bathroom mirror.  And the dates were getting progressively worse.

So I joined the fancy site the day after I got back from TNNA.  So far I've gone on 5 dates, and two of them were really fun. But that's a good thing- knowing what you don't like is almost as helpful as knowing what you do like.  I really haven't been in that many "relationships"- they're long, few and very far between and I'm getting to the age where that sort of thing doesn't really work.  So I'm dating.

Some of the highlights have been:

Finding guys who don't think knitting is the dorkiest thing in the world.
Guys love the ladies who wear ninja turtle hats.
Having something to do on Saturday nights.
Shutting down 3 bars in one night and going out with a karaoke duet from Grease.

Some of my very favorite omg bad moments have been:

Going out with a guy who hasn't figured out that he's gay yet.  Awkward.
Being told I'm really pretty...when it's dark.
Being told that my hair and eyebrows don't match.

I'm sure I'll be adding to the lists as this adventure in dating goes on.

And so we move on to the crafting...

I finished a few projects this week....let's start with some socks!
I love them.  They're plain Jane stockinette socks and have been living in my purse since April 2012.  Which is pretty embarrassing.  I went to knit night at Jessica's house on Friday with the crazy idea that I was going to finish a baby blanket and I ran out of yarn pretty early on.  I finished these socks instead, so it's still a win.  I love them and can't wait until a nice crisp Fall day to wear them.  The knitters at the nursery aren't sock knitters (yet) but they've been ooh-ing and ahh-ing over these anyway.  I think a few shall be converted this Fall when they see how toasty my toes are in that cold greenhouse. Yarn is Regia something or other, Erika Knight colorway.  I bought 2 set of the Erika Knight colors at Mass Ave a few years ago and still have the other left.  It will probably be a plain Jane pair of socks too.

Baby Blanket!  I've been carrying this project around since July of last year and finally took that one down this week. It's my design and I will be debuting it at the trunk show in Bloomington on Saturday. Which means I still need to weave in the ends, get it photographed with Jessica's adorable little girl, and then write up the pattern and have it printed.  I know the pattern will take a whopping hour to write and format, it's just getting motivated to do it seems to be an issue.

Naturally I have lots of other projects that I'm working on but the project count is a little bit down for the time being.  I haven't made any progress on the blue Chord Girasole since I last posted but that will be traveling all over the midwest with me this Fall for different trunk shows so I'm not too worried about that. 

I'm still madly in love with my Halloween cross stitching. (Just over 1/3 done) I can't get enough of the audiobook/ cross stitch combo and it's the ultimate stress relief.  By the way, the new David Sedaris book Exploring Diabetes with Owls is fantastic, the latest Sookie Stackhouse murder mystery book...not so much.  But I've been committed to the series for several years now and I have to know how it ends. I have a couple more lined up for after Sookie is finished though. 
I have 4 more oddballs of blue and green yarn that need to disappear into Party Girl's blanket.  I'm really very over this project, but I told myself I had to finish 3 more projects before I start my new quilt. And this one is way overdue to be finished.  I was thinking that I should finish my two cross stitch projects before I start the quilt too but I'm just too excited to get started.  I also rationalized with myself- I can't listen to audiobooks and quilt at the same time because I miss what's happening when I have the sewing machine going. So I'll just stick with the cross stitch/audiobook combo, the quilting/music combo and the knitting during every possible other moment thing.  But the baby blanket, socks, and the scrap monster blanket have been bothering me for a while. 

So that's what I've been making.  I'll flash a couple quick garden shots and then be on my merry way- I've got some Good For Ewe work to get done before the trunk show this weekend. Thanks for stopping by and have a great day! 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Breathe. It's over.

TNNA ended yesterday afternoon, and after a super fast break-down and a very fast drive home, it was really over.  I still have a few things to put away but I'm pretty much done with trade shows until next TNNA. And that's just fine.  The past 2 months have been devoted to working at the nursery and TNNA prep and I'm looking forward to moving on to the next thing... which I haven't quite decided on yet.

*To the non-knitters out there: TNNA is a needle arts convention, the biggest in the US.  It was my third time there but first with Good For Ewe.

So first I'll show you the very few pictures I have from TNNA...(you aren't really supposed to take any pictures inside the trade show)

I finally got this hat done!  We sold the pattern and the kits and have plenty leftover which I will take to trunk shows this fall. Thanks to my good friend Meghann and her lovely Lucy for modeling.
The Good For Ewe booth with myself, Meghann and my mom.  My dad met up with us for the last day of the show.  My parents are not fiber crafters and were bored to tears. 
Meghann and I chatted with Stephen West for a while.  He even picked out a hank of Kettle Steps to take home with him. 
Jeni's Ice Cream.  I went once with my mom and once with Meghann.  If you ever get to Columbus Ohio, make Jeni's your first stop. 
My loot from the show.  When breakdown begins at the end of the show, you grab your oddballs or some cash and ask other vendors if they're willing to make a deal so they have a little less to take home. I got some fabulous orange merino and patterns from Baah Yarns, some omgamazing yarn from Zen (they were across the hall from us, Neville (one of the owners) and I hung out at the reps meeting and he let Meghann and I each have a hank.  It's amazing yarn, the Zen Yarn Garden people are super kind, and if you ever see one of their beauties at your local yarn shop, grab it.  But of course make sure you're getting some Good For Ewe yarn too. :p

I also scored a yarn bowl from Pawley Studios (also super kind people) and my mom snuck over and bought me the matching mug when I was away from the booth. The knitting pirate is actually a tattoo I've been wanting for about 10 years but I'm too afraid of needles to get it.  So the Yarrrn bowl will suffice...for now. 

The brown yarn is Yak from Myak, a newer Italian company.  The woman in the booth was quite pregnant and came wandering in to the Good For Ewe booth and wanted to trade some yak for some Claddagh- my merino and baby llama tweed to make baby clothes.  I'm always game for a trade, so she's taking some Claddagh back to Italy, and I have 3 hanks of Yak.  I haven't a clue what to do with it, but it's going to be pretty fabulous when I get to it. And that's my loot.
Some other highlights of the TNNA trip:

Jess and Casey from Ravelry wandering into the booth and hanging out for about 10 minutes, talking about Bob and other dogs. 

Ysolda thought my booth was cute.  She told us twice. 

Picking up a rep that used to be a friend from Lantern Moon.  He's new to repping but I know he'll do great, and I'll be his first company to sign him on.  So I think that's pretty cool for both of us. 

Stacy Charles (who I met in February) remembered me and told me I could email him if I ever needed to bounce an idea off someone about a new product or marketing approach. 

Standing in line for lunch with Jess and Cat Bordhi and then sharing a waffle with Jess.  Casey remembering who Meghann and I were at the end of the show and waving goodbye at the end.  We did a fangirl squee as soon as we passed. 

I'm so glad Meghann, a fellow yarn dork was able to come to the show with me.  My mom was there the whole show but the significance of some people and events were lost on her.  It was nice to have someone to be starstruck with. 

So...the show's over.  What now?

Good For Ewe work is never done.  I've got a few orders to ship out and a few patterns I'm still working on.  There are 6 trunk shows on the books for this fall, and I'll need to prepare for those next.  

The first pattern I'm taking down is this baby blanket of doom.  I actually really like it, I'm just over the ribbing pattern.  It's been on the needles for almost a year now. I'd like to have it finished and the pattern written up for a trunk show that's happening in 3 weeks. 
I was really excited to start a new quilt after the trade show, but Esther the sewing machine called it quits halfway through the last curtain.  I'll get a new one after I save up a little more money and finish a few more projects.  It's absolutely killing me that I have all the fabrics washed, ironed and cut and I can't actually start my quilt top. Maybe it will force me to finish the lingering projects faster. 

I've also been in the mood for a cardigan lately.  I will need a green one or two for when it gets chilly at the nursery this fall.  We'll see.  I've got to finish this baby blanket, a circular afghan, a beaded shawl, a dog blanket and a pair of socks before anything new gets going.  I'm counting on you, dear readers, to hold me to this. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Look what I can do!

One of Good For Ewe's first customers (actually, my very first customer) is a little basket shop in Greenfield, Indiana with a yarn room.  I've been telling the owner for about 2 years how I'm going to take a basket class...after I finish a few more projects.  And then I was out there last week and she was dyeing some pastel reeds that were really talking to me.  So I signed myself up.  I also talked to my web-girl, Lauren, and signed her up too.  So bright and early this morning I picked her up and we headed out to Greenfield.

I'm not sure why I had been putting it off- I guess I didn't realize what a fast project it was and didn't need yet another ongoing project.  Margaret was a really great teacher and was so helpful in showing the steps for right handed weavers (Lauren) and left handed weavers (me).  As she started the next step she explained more about the "anatomy" of the basket and why this step is important and why it goes like this.  We started with a quick lecture on reeds- what they are, why they're used, how the plant becomes a basket and how to take care of it when it's done and woven.

First we made our base...
True to Paige-Gauge form, mine was way too tight and she made me loosen it up.  I protested a bit- what if I wanted it that tight?  I was glad I changed it though, setting the foundation for a much larger basket than the one I was attempting to make.
Then we wrapped a twine thing around the corners and started pulling the reeds up to make an actual basket and not a flat, woven wall-hanging.  The first couple rounds were stressful- the warp reeds wanted to lay back down and the weft reeds had no idea what was happening and just wanted to curl up at the angle of their choosing.

*I'm using loom-weaving terms.  Does that work for basket weaving?  I don't know enough about basket terminology to use it, so I'm just going with the weaving I know.
Got a few inches in and it was time to start adding our colors.  She suggested 3 and we were supposed to break up the colors with natural reeds in the middle.  But I've never been much of a pattern-follower. She saw my color choices and strongly suggested leaving out the dark blue, but I told her that I really loved the orange, and I needed the blue to complement the orange.

I'm sure she thinks I'm a little bit nuts and should probably have gone with 1-2 colors, but this is my basket, darn it! (Later on my mom called it my Easter basket and my friend Greg called it my Gay Pride basket)

A few more rounds of the natural reed and we began the top, which you really need 5 hands to do.  Since I only have 2, it was awkward and time consuming, but all in all, I'm really pleased with my first basket.
The very open weave at the bottom....
Was easily hidden by a knitting project! What a surprise!
So...I really had a great time basket weaving today.  If you're in the Indy area, I highly recommend Willowe's Basketry & Yarn Haus as a place to start.  The class was a great deal for the supplies you use and the attention you get- there was 2 of us for 3 hours and she was there working with us the whole time.
I'd love to do a little more basket weaving in the future, but I don't see it taking over my life the way knitting has (and quilting is starting to). I mean seriously- how many baskets do you need?  But if you have 3 hours to kill and want a project that you can actually finish in one sitting...this is the way to go.