Getting my MOJO back

As usual the winter knitting  the studio renovation and then the spring craft show has left me drained emotionally and mentally. I couldn’t even think of picking up the needles or hooks to do any kind of yarn work. I had totally turned myself off. Yesterday I came across a knitting bag full of green white and gold yarn and I said.. hmmm.. what is this?.. It turned out that I had started a pair of mittens to match  a hat I had made in the fall. Well true to form I took the back to the tv room and started working away. I couldn’t find the pattern that I had been using for the first mitten so I ended up counting stitches and rows and finished the first one last night and then today I made the matching mitten…..and.. I got the pattern written down now. I like the fit of these mittens so I hope I don’t lose this pattern so I can make some mittens to match the mommy and me hats I made a couple of months ago. I really want to use up the yarn I have in my cupboard so I can look at getting some new colours this summer. so.. here is the picture of the finished set

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of course,,, different cameras took the pictures of the hat and then mittens so we have a bit of colour difference in the collage. The colours are closer to the hat the way the picture looks.

So I am slowly getting my MOJO back and I plan on working on small projects such as Mittens and fingerless gloves until I am fully back.

So on that note.. I am off to empty out a shed to get ready for demolition and rebuilding a new shed.. ugh..would rather go to disney world…LOL

Rainbow Pasta Salad

Well I finally realized that if I don’t write this recipe down  that I might never find it again.

My cousin Jody is famous for her pasta salad. I made it today with a bit of a variation because I didn’t have everything on hand to make it identical. So here goes.

Rainbow Pasta Salad

Firstly it called for tri coloured pasta (didn’t have any so I just used the spiral type regular pasta)  cooked, drained and cooled. I then just put it back in the pot that I cooked it in while I chop the veggies and mix up the dressing.

Now I have seen many of these recipes but most call for italian dressing. I am not that particular for the italian dressing so here is the homemade version our family likes.

RECIPE:

a box of tri coloured pasta

cucumber, tomato and onion (chopped) and your choice of pepper (green or whatever)

sauce:

1 tsp pepper.

1/4 tsp paprika.

1/3 cup white sugar.

1/2 cup oil.

1tsp salt.

1/2 cup ketchup.

1/4 cup vinegar.

I mix this sauce in a bowl and put it aside while I cut up the veggies.

I put yellow/red/orange peppers….chopped (only about 1/2 of each of the peppers)

1/2 cucumber …chopped ( Now you can leave the skin on if you like but I prefer this time of year to peel and cut the cucumber. The skins in the spring are thick and tough so I just remove them).

1/2 cup of red onion ….chopped

pictures below are the as you make it pictures

rainbow pasta salad 1 IMG_0277

I also add Salt and lots of pepper.. about 1 tsp of pepper and 1 tsp of salt. It calls for paprika but I didn’t have it so I put a few shakes of the Lawry’s seasoned salt in it. Let’s see if anyone notices.. hehehehehe

rainbow pasta salad in bowl

all the veggies are chopped and waiting patiently for the sauce to join them in the bowl.

rainbow pasta sauce

Now here it sits with everything all dumped on top of the pasta. Now you just stir it all together

Rainbow Pasta Salad

AND THERE YOU HAVE IT. ALL MIXED. This should be made at least 4 hours before your meal or even make it the night before. The longer it sits the better it is.

So go forth and make the salad and nom nom it down!

Mommy and Me/Daddy and Me Hat sets

Well I am still trying to purge my yarns and this is a new idea I came up with. I am going to make hat sets. They will be adult and kid size in matching colours.

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The colours in the pictures don’t really depict the first set. They are grey and neon yellow (not the lemon yellow that is showing in the picture. I plan to get busy makins some sets for the October Craft show. These were fun to make and I love the colours. the weather here still hasn’t warmed up enough to go outdoors to work in the garden and the grass is still to saturated to rake so I decided to make myself busy by whipping up some hats to see if I like them. The are double knit, extra warm hats to fit adults and kids.

Revamping my studio

Originally posted on True North Knitting:

As most of my friends know I am always looking for the next trend to come around the corner. Well. this winter has been particularly nasty (yes we still have titanium snow on the ground) so I have spent a lot of time surfing and looking for new ideas. I went through a studio renovation and could not work so my laptop became my friend. The studio is now done (not without those.. do you want the good news first or the bad news).. Yup.. the window I was having redone turned out to be a big mess. It apparently had been leaking from the top and running down to the framing below the window

this was the area I was having redone. Initially I wanted to leave the center two windows and the skylight windows and then have the corners walled in and painted.. seemed easy enough right?

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Well…

View original 566 more words

Are you worth what you sell?

I saw a post on facebook today that really hit a sore spot with me. It is time for me to vent and express exactly what I think about knitting and Crocheting for craft shows and selling online.

This is the picture that got me going.

crochet

Now how flipping true is this. I will begin by telling my story.

15 years ago I decided I needed to make a bit of extra cash. Newly divorced ,,,trying to make it in the real world was not totally working out the way that was comfortable for me. So I decided to start knitting dog sweaters with a pattern that had been designed by a good friend. After many tries I got the design to work for the sweaters I was trying to create. For the first year I barely slept. The dog sweaters really took off and I was trying to build my customer base so it got to the point where I was not turning anyone down and I sat up for hours at night making and shipping these sweaters. I nearly drove myself into the grave doing this but I got a very loyal customer base that kept coming back for more sweaters. A few years went by and the economy took a bit of a nose dive and the knitting business slowed down (as  did I). I had knit so much that it was not fun anymore. So I put the needles away to take a well deserved break. Well a few years later I decided to start up again only to realize there was a whole new batch of customers with different mentalities. You know those customers.. “What?  you are not going to drop everything and make a sweater for me for $5?”  They could not understand why I was charging what I was charging for these sweaters.. Unbeknownst to them I had done a bit of a trial knitting session. I took my yarn.. (cost me $5) and sat down for the day. It took me 5 hours to complete a sweater to fit a yorkie or a pug. from start to finish. So.. if you figure out the yarn cost $5.00 plus 5 hours of labour at minimum wage ..$10.00 x 5 =$50.00 plus yarn $5.00  for the total cost of making this original design sweater  $55.00.  Now I realize you never get that for a sweater but seriously, people were complaining when I would charge $12 or $15 in my listings.  Seriously?  that would be labour at $2 per hour. Would you work anywhere for that amount?I think NOT!

So at that point I had decided to write up my pattern. That in itself is labour intensive. Each pattern has to have a sample sweater knit for the pattern itself, as well as the expertise to put it into a design and make it as user friendly as you possibly can. Like I have said about this new mentality. No one wants to purchase just a pattern anymore, They want a full tutorial with pictures (again more labour intensive than it is worth) . So now I have several patterns listed on my website and each year I have the plan to add 2 new patterns to the list.

So as the story continues, lately I have been trying to purge some of my yarns buy making hats and mittens. Again, same thing.. I made some wonderful chunky knit sock monkey type mittens for the fall craft show. Had them listed for $15 a set. People just looked and checked the price and moved on. Seriously.. if you want a pair of $2 mittens go to the dollar store or Walmart. Do not insult me by saying that $15 is too much for a pair of hand knit thick mittens that took me days to knit. So again this past craft show season left me a bit deflated, like the Patriots footballs. I am tired of knitting (which is an art in itself) and having people turn their noses up at my prices. I swear I am going to put a huge poster behind me telling people the breakdown of work done by hand knitters or crocheters. But I am sure this will just go over their heads as this is a society of non appreciative shoppers that expect everything for nothing. It is so disheartening.

So I will just keep knitting to use up the yarn I have for now , knitting for the church to give to needy families and when I get tired of that I will donate my yarn to a good cause.  Until the appreciation turns around again I will no longer be practically giving my knit and crochet items away for the price that people expect anymore. I am worth more than that, I am a professional hand knitter (or at least semiprofessional ) and I am worth more than $2.00 an hour. and good god I will never do socks because the yarn for socks cost almost $30 plus the hours put into it. I read somewhere on some other blog saying that (and get this)!!!!!   it takes as long and uses as many stitches to knit a pair of socks as it does to Knit a ladies sweater!.. Just sit back and think of that for a few minutes,, let it sink in.. amazing huh?.

With that being said. I am done for the day. That is my only and last vent about prices for knitwear.

Just remember.. when you see someone’s beautiful work displayed for sale, you now know how many hours of love went into each piece. If you don’t want to purchase it, at least tell them how nice it is. Do not grumble about the price because more than likely is it priced way lower than it should be. If you don’t knit then you have no idea the amount of time and money that went into each carefully made item. We truly love what we do.

Well Happy New Year

Christmas has come and gone and I thought I was going to slow down some…….Nope.. I decided to keep reducing my stash for the past few weeks. Well that is all fine and good but my mistake was posting pictures on facebook. I started doing extra thick hats (double strand worsted weight). Well the first one I did was dark purple. It turned out really pretty. I figured.. ok I will just knit and put them in my rubbermaid tote for next season… nope.. Several people jumped on the hats!!!..

the purple one was purchased and the lady ordered mittens to match.

purple double thick Hat and mittens

This is made with the bernat premium yarn. I absolutely love this yarn to work with but it is so difficult to find.

Vintage Lumbersexual Hat

the tan and orange went to my Daughter who had an orange jacket, the light blue with navy went to my son in law. the purple on the right lower side went to my Daughter in law. All these were extra christmas gifts. Who doesn’t like getting warm hats for christmas,, right?

Right now I am working on a medium grey hat with white and lavender and matching solid textured mittens to go with it.

grey double thick hatdouble thick hat and mitts

The mittens are in production and I will come back and insert the finished project when they are completed.

What an awesome way to purge your stash !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

After this I will be making another purple set  for someone that ordered it and then it will be on to a couple pairs of worsted weight socks I think.

I am having fun  mixing and matching colours  and since I have this pattern in my webstore you too can purge and have fun mixing and matching.

As for the mittens the pattern is from drops designs (sorta) they are called Astrid Mittens.

Well I am off to work some more on the mittens white the cats snuggle and try to keep warm on this windy day in the Maritimes

Lumbersexual Hats

Well true to form I have continued to purge the yarn stash in my studio. A couple of weeks ago I was sitting and thinking.. “What the heck am I going to make to purge this yarn?”  I woke up one night and it was there in my head!.. Retro hats, double thick. I had the pattern sitting in my web store for the last couple of years and just never got around to knitting any. Never seemed to have time with all the craft show knitting I was doing.

After this years’ season I knew I had to revamp what I was doing, and I had to make the decision as to whether I was even going to participate as a vendor next year. This year it seemed like there were several shows every weekend from the first of October until last weekend. This not only over saturates the craft show vendors but the shoppers as well. With so many shows in the area the shopper numbers were extremely low and anyone that makes it to the show they usually end up being tire kickers.

Anyway, enough complaining about the craft show season. Time to move on. So I did. I grabbed the skeins of yarn, needles and just sat and worked up a hat.. Hey it turned out great!  and as soon as I posted it on facebook, IT SOLD!.

It is a vintage, retro hat that I now call Lumbersexual.

Soooo.. I made up a few more.. and will continue using up the yarn I have until I can see the bottom of the shelves.. lol

Vintage Lumbersexual Hat

These work up quickly because I use two strands of the #4 Worsted weight yarn. Win win !!!!

I have this hat pattern for sale if you are interested in working up your own hat.

Retro White Buffalo Hats 

I am working on another one today, darker tan. Great way to spend the day, Christmas Movies and Knitting!