Archive for the ‘Flying’ Category

The Kitchener Curse

February 13, 2009

I’d like to apologize to the knitters straight away.  You’re reading this expecting to hear a tale of my woes with the kitchener stitch when in reality, the story has nothing to do with the stitch or knitting at all.  It’s about a magical place called Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.

I like Kitchener, really I do.  It’s just that when I go there, I have a hard time leaving.  The first time I went there, we were scheduled out in the afternoon, so I went exploring and found an amazing yarn store.  I don’t remember the name, but it was right downtown and I was able to purchase some enchanting bamboo/cashmere/bison yarn.  It’s a lace weight yarn and it’s slowly becoming a gorgeous scarf.  This was after a really good (and free) breakfast, so I was feeling pretty good.  We arrived at the airport to be told our inbound airplane was running a little late and had “some sort of mechanical issue”.  This unfortunate “mechanical issue” became an extra 24 hours in Kitchener.  I truly would not have minded if I wasn’t trying to get somewhere else that next day.  I had to delay my trip and the Kitchener Curse began.

A picture for visual interest and to break up the story:

The Curse Part II:  I had 3 days of reserve where I sit at home and wait for them to call me if they need me.  This started Tuesday, and they called me on Tuesday the exact minute I went on duty.  It was a trip to Kitchener that night and we would take the first flight out Wednesday morning.  We started late in the day, so they were able to keep us on duty all night even though we went to the hotel and got sleep.  We got to the airport the next day only to be told that we were delayed because of thick fog at our destination.  This fog eventually started to dissipate just in time for Kitchener to be fogged in.  We waited around for a while, but eventually we were out of duty time, so we headed back to the hotel with the intention of resting most of the day and flying out that evening.  I got a phone call just a few hours into our rest informing me that because of the weather we wouldn’t be leaving until the next morning.  That was this morning.  We were in Kitchener for 32 hours and I had only my uniform and my pajamas.  I think I looked kinda funny out to dinner in my pajama top and uniform pants, but I was sick of the hotel room!  We made it out OK this morning with the exception of the howling winds and a minor delay because the airplane had jumped the chocks and weathervaned into the wind. 

And now some store news:  I’ve been busy getting samples ready for the Phat Fiber sampler box.  Jessi said she loved them and I hope the box recipients feel the same!  I added some of my own handspun to my shop today for the first time.  All the other handspun has been someone else’s handiwork.  A picture of the fruits of my labor:

The red ply is handdyed and almost solid but not quite semi-solid.  It’s really pretty though! 

That’s all for now.  I’m off to London, England tomorrow and I need my beauty sleep.  Bye!


The Grand (Re) Opening

August 7, 2008

I’ve opened and begun to stock a new store!  This new store is also an etsy store and focuses on just my knitting items. Yarn, stitch markers, needle holders (coming soon!), things like that.  But more on that soon. 

First, what I’ve been up to with my knitting.  I managed to reduce my stash by 880 yards with the Stash ‘n Burn July challenge including finishing my Sheldon finally!

He’s already making new friends!  (That’s my sick kitty, aka Roxy.)  I also finished a couple other projects including the Petal bib below.  I’ve also been knitting samples for my shop so that people can see how my yarns knit up.  It’s been fun, but a lot of work. 

Back to the new store.  I’ve opened up the new shop for better focus on what I’m doing.  A couple of the items were transferred from my old store and some are new for this store.  I’m going to try and dye tomorrow to fix a few issues I had with my last batch.  I fear I used too much acid, but I think I’ll be able to save it and have it listed in the coming days.  I’ll be posting a picture of my latest yarns soon, or come check out my store! 

On the flying front, the only memorable event was more of a non-event.  We were in Ft. Wayne, IN at the end of a long day ready to go back to Detroit and be finished.  The right engine started without incident, but the left engine failed to catch fire.  Two and a half hours later we had new igniters and were on our way.  They’re similar to spark plugs and have the ability to turn a perfectly fine evening into a royal pain in the behind.

That’s all for tonight.  Come back and visit soon!

“No joyriding and Wisconsin is off-limits”

July 25, 2008

These are actually rules governing the use of the crew car in Iron Mountain, MI.  Sometimes when we fly to small, out of the way places, the hotels we stay in don’t have airport shuttles.  In these cases, either the company or the hotel provides us with a car (or early 80’s conversion van) for us to get back and forth.  It’s also available for excursions such as food-seeking and buying new deodorant because yours melted.  I went on one of these food-seeking missions this evening, but it soon turned into a joyride towards Wisconsin.  Honestly, I just wanted to check out the area and see what was up here in the middle of the Upper Peninsula woods and before I knew it, there was the “Welcome to Wisconsin” sign.  I turned around before I got there, not because I didn’t want to break any more rules, but because my food was getting cold.  I’m now anxiously awaiting for the sun to retreat so I can go to bed.  This airline life is an exciting one!!

I’ve been dyeing again finally!  I dyed much yarn on Tuesday before starting work on Wednesday, so I’m pretty excited to get home and see the dry results!  I ordered a sock blank from Knit Picks which I painted with loads of different designs to test knit with the intention of making my own blanks and selling both dyed ones and un-dyed ones.  I also wanted to spy on the exact dimensions/gauge/stitch counts also for replication purposes.  I’ll be showing pictures of the dyeing session once everything is reskeined/test knit.

I finally knit a sample of my handpainted yarn.  It’s a pair of socks, but I only have a picture of the first one.  The second one is done except for kitchenering the toe and weaving in the ends.  You’ll have to check my projects page on Ravelry to see both, but here’s the first one:

This pattern was from the Pattern-a-Day Knitting Calender from 2007.  The socks fit really well and they were quick!  The best part is the 200 yds I burned for the Ravelry Stash and Burn July challenge!  I’ve also been working on Kureopatra’s Snake, a super-awesome entrelac scarf, but I fear I may run short on yarn and have to track down another skein.  The stash-busting has been fast and furious, I just hope I can keep it up. 

That’s all for this time.  The sun is getting low and I want to be in bed by 9.  Thanks for reading!

Knitting heavily and treading lightly

July 15, 2008

Since my sales are not good, mostly because my marketing is not good, I’m reading a book.  This book is helping me develop a focused marketing plan that will hopefully generate better sales.  I like books because you can learn anything from a book, including developing a tagline.  And what better tagline for my eco-friendly knitting shop than “knitting heavily and treading lightly”.  This book has also refocused my efforts and made me realize that I need a second shop dedicated to my knitting supplies.  My current shop is just a collection of unrelated items with no cohesiveness.  This shop will stay open as such and my new shop will be focused strictly on yarn, stitch markers, and needle cases and such.  No finished knitting, no candles, no earrings, no random supplies.  Just knitting things. 

This new shop will be open once I build up a little bit of stock.  I have some that I’ll transfer from my old store, but I need enough to keep updating my shop for a while.  I’ve ordered some undyed yarn that should be here in a few days, and I’m planning on dyeing next Monday or Tuesday, so I should be able to start the transfer soon. 

I’ve been knitting up a storm!!  I talked in my last post about the UFO challenge, and I’m making good progress.  I finished my Petal Bib from a book called One Skein.  Turned out really nice and is in the hands of the recipient.  Made from organic cotton yarn.  I also realized that I still don’t like knitting with cotton.  One of these days I’ll actually walk away from the cotton project.

I’ve also been progressing on the BF’s socks.  Magic loop socks are really slow!!  Everyone raves about how great it is, but I like to see progress and it’s hard when you’re doing both at once and it’s going half as fast (seemingly, but I know I’ll be happy when they’re both done.)  I’ve also finished a pair of socks I’ve had sitting around for a few months and started another pair I’ve been meaning to knit.  I’m almost to the toe shaping of the first one and I just love how they’re turning out.  I’ll hopefully finish the first one tomorrow and get started on the second.

The flying has been going pretty well except for all sorts of unforecasted fog and other crummy weather.  I guess that’s good because it keeps me sharp and on my toes, but it would be easier if the first officers were also sharp and on their toes.  I knew I was going to be flying with new and inexperienced pilots, but it becomes really stressful in a high workload situation like a missed approach.

That’s all for this time.  See you soon!

War Stories and Salmonella

June 14, 2008

First, a letter to my current nemesis, salmonella.

Dear Salmonella,

You’ve ruined my day, but you will not get the best of me.  By rearing your ugly head in my beloved tomatoes, you’ve forced me to eat bland Subway, tasteless Taco Bell and unappealing salad.  I’m not afraid of you, but many are, so until I can go to the store and buy my own tomatoes, screw you salmonella. 

Love, Me

And now the war stories.  Unfortunately, I don’t have any good ones this time.  All I can say is that battling summer thunderstorms in a little prop airplane is a lot less fun than I’d hoped it would be.  My last airplane was a jet that was able to climb above most of the storms, minimizing their impact, but now I’m right in the middle of it, trying to find the best way to pick around the worst of it.  The learning curve has  been steep, but it adds to my experience every time.

My Etsy store is currently slow.  No sales since my showcase last weekend, but I’ve got another one booked for Sunday, so hopefully this one will be better.  It’s a more visible location this time and I’m hoping for at least a few more sales.  I just listed some fun new things including these rock star earrings:

I’ve also listed a set of stitch markers and some sock yarn.  I currently have some really pretty stuff on the drying rack waiting for me to get home.  (I’m working… again, until Sunday.)  I’ll have that skeined up next week and in my shop. 

I’ve finished my Pi Shawl!  It just needs to be blocked, but since I’m impatient, I’ll post a picture anyways because it’s so pretty.  It went much quicker than I thought it would and turned out much prettier than I imagined.  I’m now working on some socks for Haney that have been in a time-out for a while.  The heel flap wasn’t behaving, so I put it away for a couple  months and think I have most of the kinks worked out now.  I’m also working on a pattern for a cute and simple iPod cozy.  I’ll post that here on my blog when I finish it.

I’m still working on good ways to market my Etsy store.  I have a book that I need to start reading more seriously so I can incorporate as many of the techniques as possible.  I’ve been trying to post on Ravelry, but I’ve been so busy that it’s hard to do so with any regularity.  I’ll keep trying new things and keeping what works and trashing what doesn’t. 

That’s all until next time.  Bye!

Selling and knitting groups

June 8, 2008

More sales!  After a promising start with a sale on the 3rd day, things went stagnant.  I was listing 1-2 items a day, but no sales!!!  I tried swapping pictures, listing more often, listing less often and shameless plugs on Ravelry to no avail.  But last night I was cruising around Etsy, picking out things I’ll buy when I pay off my sick kitty, and I found the showcase feature!  For $7, you get your thing pasted on the top of whatever category you choose.  I’m thinking, what the heck, it won’t hurt much and I might be out 7 bucks, but who cares!  So I paid the 7 dollars and got my showcase.  After a steep learning curve as to what exactly shows up, I got a sale and the lady bought 3 things!  Yay!  Three of my stitch marker sets, gone!  (And I was a little concerned about one of them because although I love them, I wasn’t quite sure others would.)  So sales #1 and #2, out of the way. 

I do have some pretty cool yarn listed right now:


Above is a skein of 100% merino sock yarn, and below a skein of 100% merino worsted weight.  The bottom one is darker because I used a natural colored base yarn instead of white.

And a couple of my favorite stitch markers, available from my shop if you’re quick!


And now for some other news and whatnot.

I was social today!  I met up with a knitting group that I found on Ravelry today for the first time.  Super-nice group of ladies that I’m looking forward to meeting with again soon.  We met at a yarn store in Jonesville, MI called Knits & Knacks which is awesome!  Great selection of all sorts of yarny goodness.  Times like those are when I wish I had much $$ so I could buy tons of yarn.  Unfortunately, that’s not green, so I guess it’s good I’m poor. 

Sick kitty is still improving.  I can see that she’s beginning to put some weight on and is eating much better now that she’s on dry food.  More blood tests in 3 more weeks, so we’ll see then.

Work tomorrow.  Boo!  I guess since I haven’t been in almost 2 weeks it’s time to go and be a little productive.  Lots of time sitting around airports with this trip, but that means lots of time to knit.  Maybe Haney’s bad socks will start progressing again.  They’ve been in a time-out for a couple months now, but I think I’ve had enough time away to start working on them again.  My Pi shawl is almost finished, I’ve got the edging about half done, just need to finish the other half and then block.  Pictures soon!

That’s all.  I’ll be back after my trip with amusing war stories!  Bye!

Shop is open!

May 27, 2008

I’ve opened shop finally!  I put the first few items in last night and will be slowly adding items every day or so.  It’s pretty exciting to have it finally stocked and to watch the view counts go up and people add me to their favorites!  Currently, I have a few sets of stitch markers available as well as a skein of hand-dyed sock yarn.  Now the waiting game for the first sale!  (The first official sale from my store, I’ve already done a custom order.)  Now for the pictures you’ve been waiting for:

For sale and soon to be for sale in my shop

 These are the stitch markers that are being listed, a couple are available with a few more coming soon. 


And I hope that second one works.  It’s a collection of the yarns I’ve been dyeing lately.  Pretty!

In other news, I haven’t worked for almost 2 weeks, but I get to go early tomorrow and sleep on their recliners for the morning and then maybe find a quiet spot to knit or edit photos or something.  Basicly, I just have to be at the airport in case they need me.  They usually need me and I end up working, so it’s not too bad.

My house is finally aired out and less smelly!  Sick kitty has been on a canned food diet to help her get better and it stinks!  Especially the things I’ve added to make it smellier so she’ll eat it.  All I could smell for a week was wet cat food and tuna juice.  It made me throw up.  Really.  But luckily, it warmed up for the weekend and I had all the windows open and it was lovely and all is fresh smelling now.  With any luck, sick kitty will be able to go back on her dry food and my house will stop smelling.

My PI shawl is still in progress, but coming along nicely.  It’s turning out really gorgeous and that has been keeping me motivated to keep working on it.  I think if it was boring or dull looking I’d have lost interest long ago.  In fact, I’m going to work on it when I finish this. 

My other tasks are to keep motivating my sister with the graphics and web design, keep researching supplies, and figure out how to get my buyer to pay.  Some Paypal glitches are making it difficult.  It’s been going on for a week now and it’s getting annoying.

Store’s almost ready!

May 21, 2008

I’ve gotten the word that my graphics and possibly my website are ready for action.  I’ve hired my sister to work on these since I have absolutely no clue and she’s informed me that they’re ready and I’ll have them in hand this weekend.  Yay!  I’ll work on my store this weekend and hopefully start putting items in it.  It’s kinda silly, but one of the techniques for selling things on Etsy is to list items slowly.  My plan is to put 3 items in my store initially and then an item a day as much as possible.  (Pending what work does to me and when I’m home.)  So this is very exciting.

My first items will be some stitch markers and hand-dyed yarn.  I’m wrestling with whether or not to list some super cool yarn that I’ve dyed with food dyes.  I think they’ll sell if priced right, so I’ll probably do it, especially since that’s what I really want to focus my store on.  I spent a couple hours last night assembling some really cool stitch markers, pictures of those soon.  I’m also wrapping up my custom job which is taking longer than expected because of sick kitty.  I’m hoping to have it in the mail tomorrow. 

Sick kitty is getting better!  She’s eating better and becoming more and more social.  Sick kitty has been stressing me out for a couple weeks now, so I’m finally able to relax a little. 

I haven’t been to work since I wrote last, but I do have a funny story from the last time I did work.  I was flying with a very new and inexperienced flight attendant who was shocked by the looks the passengers gave her when I was on the PA.  They looked at her as if she was supposed to be talking, but she was just sitting there, looking out the window.  I’m always amused by this because people expect the girl voice on the PA to come from the flight attendant, not the pilots.  It’s especially good when the flight attendant is male.  So next time you’re on an airplane, don’t automatically assume it’s the flight attendant when you hear a female on the PA.

And lastly, I’ve been knitting!  I kinda put it off while I was researching and working on the business, but I really needed something to relieve the stress of sick kitty, so I cast on for Elizabeth Zimmerman’s PI shawl.  I’m using some fingering weight merino of my own coloring and it’s coming out really well.  I’ve made it past the last increase and with 500+ stitches on the needles it’s slowed to a crawl, but it’s still progressing and I’m estimating completion by the end of the weekend.  Pictures coming on that also. 

Road Trip!

May 18, 2008

Road trip details in a second…  First:

Sneaky Pig progress has been slow.  I’ve received an order of low-impact dyes and am excited to try them out, however… I don’t have the right tools quite yet.  I’m looking for a used steamer and pots so I can dedicate them to the dyeing.  I did get most of my custom order done, but ran out of daylight before I could finish, so the next sunny day it should get completed.  And that’s really all to report there.

Work has been kinda slow. I was called in yesterday to fly to an overnight and then ride back as a passenger this morning.  I did have a good crew, so it wasn’t all bad. 

I was worried about my kitty while I was gone.  She was diagnosed with kidney failure last week and after 6 days in the kitty hospital is home and doing OK.  She’s on a bunch of different meds and I had to enlist my mom to take care of her and administer them while I was working, but she seems to be getting better.  I was pretty worried for a while.  Poor little thing.

And if the sick cat wasn’t enough to deal with last week, I also turned 30.  Argh!  To celebrate, I left my kitty in the capable hands of the vet and went on a road trip around Michigan, sampling beers at microbreweries and brewpubs.  It was three days full of delicious beer and good food.  (And a couple yarn stores to boot!)  We ended up visiting 15 different places in 3 days, starting in the Detroit area and working our way north from there up to Oscoda, then northwest to Bellaire, down to Traverse City and following the coast to Holland before heading back home.  I found some new favorites and am really looking forward to the beer festival in Ypsilanti in July.  Yay for boyfriends that take me on brewpub tours even though they don’t drink beer!

That’s all for Sneaky Pig Weekly, hopefully next week I’ll have some good dyeing done and I’ll be able to post some pictures of my wares.  I’m really looking forward to opening my Etsy shop soon to start moving some pretty yarns!

My First Post.

May 3, 2008

I may be crazy, but I’ve decided to start selling hand-dyed yarn for a profit.  I’ve been researching the heck out of it and think it’s something I just might be successful at.  If not, I’ll end up with a bunch of awesome yarn!    My motivation is two-fold.  My new job is a little more stressful than I planned on (but I still love it) and I’m looking for a creative outlet, and my new job isn’t paying as well as I planned, so it’ll provide a little extra income.  I guess I’ll just blame this insane journey on my job.

A little more about my (slightly) stressful job.  I’m an airline pilot flying for Mesaba Airlines, a Northwest Airlink.  I sit in the left seat, which makes me the captain and while it’s fun, it’s also a fair bit of responsibility.  I often have first officers who have never flown near thunderstorms, landed on a snowy runway, or just aren’t sure how a certain button works.  I realize that I was also once in their position, so I’m happy to teach them, but it also increases my workload.  I will be occasionally telling “war stories” from work, but I’ll keep it basic so all can enjoy.

More about the endeavor.  I’ve been researching anything and everything I can get my hands on pertaining to selling on Etsy, dyeing yarn, treating my hobby as a business…  I’ve picked out a name and need to register it before I make any official announcements about it, and have slowly started gathering supplies that I’ll need.  I’ve been experimenting with KoolAid and Wilton’s gel coloring as dyes, but still need to learn how to use acid dyes.  I wish I could just stick to the KA and Wilton’s, but since I’m trying to be profitable, I’ll go with the professional stuff. 

That’s it for now.  Any suggestions or helpful hints are very welcome in the comments section!