Archive for the ‘Sneaky Pig Details’ 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!

Holiday Knitting Marathon

December 8, 2008

Well, it’s been a while, but I have much to report.  I’ve been adding items to my Etsy store, working on my holiday knitting, and fighting a losing battle to keep the kittens out of the Christmas tree.  I’m slowly adding yarn to my store as well as dyeing up more to keep adding more.  I’m also contemplating what to send to Phat Fiber for them to include in the January sampler box.  Work has brought even more excitement, having to fly around in the winter weather. 

I guess I’ll start with the knitting group I almost made it to.  First Saturdays from Ravelry meets at a different area LYS on the first Saturday of every month, so I got up Saturday morning with the intention of going.  I got to the gas station on the corner and seriously considered not going because the roads were pretty snowy, but decided to press on.  I made it about halfway there and was called into work.  Plan foiled.  I was hoping to go and work on my Autumn Druid mittens by Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed, but it was not meant to be.  This project is as of yet unphotographed and progressing very slowly because of more important holiday knitting.  Speaking of which…

I finished my second tea cozy ever!  It’s an original design and it’s going to my grandma for Christmas.  I made it with my own handspun and when all was said and done, I had about 6″ of yarn left over.  Here it is:

Pretty, huh?  I finished this yesterday morning after I got home from work.  Her teapot is a little smaller, it was a little tight on mine, so it should fit well!

My Tea Swap from the Odd Ducks Swap group on Ravelry is finished.  I got a lovely package from NYC and my package went to California.  I managed to erase the pictures of the package I received from my camera before I downloaded them, but here’s a picture of the package I sent out:

It was an uphill battle keeping the adorable kitty toys from disappearing as you can see from this one:

Rocco seems to like to get into those sorts of things.  He also really enjoys curling up in my knitting:

He’s also really enjoying my Hemlock Ring Blanket, which is in progress to be a Christmas present.  I’ve run out of room on my needles, so I’m planning on a trip to the LYS tomorrow to buy a longer one.  I only have about 15 rows left, but about a million stitches on the needles, so it might be a little slow.

That’s all for now, I’m going to be busy with my Christmas knitting, work and car shopping, so I’ll be back soon with lots of pictures and things to talk about!

Mooned by swans.

November 3, 2008

There must be something tasty lurking just below the surface because these guys have been hanging out right in front of my house for about 2 weeks now.   Most of them were just hatched this spring, the parents have lived on the lake for years, but now the babies are all grown up and impossible to tell apart. 

But enough about the butts…  I have new kittens!!  Rocco and Ranger came to live with me just over 3 weeks ago and we’ve all been having a blast!  First the pictures.  This is Rocco with his “Who me?” look.  He is very naughty and enjoys biting his brother and snuggling under the covers.

And this is Ranger.  He’s a bit more mellow, but more likely to be found on the counters and other places he doesn’t belong.  He likes laps and milk rings.

They’re different sizes in the pictures because Rocco’s is from when I first got them and Ranger’s was taken just today. 

I’ve been invited to participate in Phat Fiber’s sampler boxes!!  It’s a collection of yarn, stitch markers, and other assorted fibery things that is delivered to you.  This is a great way to try different products without buying a whole skein of something you may or may not like.  Numerous fiber artist are contributing, ensuring that your box is full of variety and fun!  Also check out their blog for reviews of the samples they’ve been receiving and watch for the release of the first box in January in their Etsy store.

My Monkey’s are done!!  I finished them about 2 weeks ago and am in love.  They are cute, soft, and super warm.  They’ll be worn to death this winter!  Here’s a picture…  The lighting is not good because they’re undergoing their final quality check:

I’m also working on finishing my Estes vest, I’ve got the body pieces and one pocket done.  I have the other pocket, the seaming, the hood and the i-cord edging left to do.  I’m hoping to finish before training on the 11th.  I met with my knitting group on Saturday.  It’s always a pleasure to sit and chat with the ladies.  I worked on my Druid Mittens that I’ve been saving for places besides home that I can sit and have a good place for my chart.  These may come with me to ground school.  I also started and finished Headline News, but don’t have any pictures of that yet. 

Coming soon to the shop:  I’m trying out a new base yarn in a big way.  It’s 100% superwash merino that I’ll knit into blanks and then dye.  It’s a slightly heavier fingering weight, which I prefer.  It should turn out really well, and that’s what I hope to include in the Phat Fiber sampler boxes.

That’s it for now, talk to you next time!

Learning new things!

September 8, 2008

I’ve learned to spin!  I went to the Michigan Fiber Fest and bought a learn to spin kit!  It was a wad of roving that came with a simple wooden spindle and directions.  I supplemented the directions with youtube videos and came up with this as my first attempt at spinning:

I kettle dyed it as a single before plying.  It was fun and I like how it turned out, but my second attempt was far superior:

I’ve done some more since then.  The rest of this roving turned out nice too.  I spun it into a very fine single that I’m going to make something small and lacy with.  I also bought some top from the festival and it’s not spinning up nearly as nicely.  It’s quite thick and thin and not drafting smoothly.  It’s certainly a challenge and I know that taming this top will make me a much better spinner.

What I’ve been dyeing!  Some laceweight, fingering, worsted and some handspun (not by me).  It’s working its way into my Etsy store, so look for it!

My other new skill:  machine knitting!  Yay for machine knitting!  I found an Ultimate Sweater Machine on sale at my local Meijer’s and snatched it up.  It sat in the box for a few days while I worked on other things, but it’s out now and I’m a machine knitting fool.  I knit all the practice yarn first, then I knit up a sample of one of my handdyed yarns.  It would’ve taken me an hour to knit it by hand, the USM took 15 minutes with all the set-up and finishing.  I love this thing.

I’ve been working on a pair of socks for the Sock Knitter’s Anonymous group on Ravelry.  The September Sockdown specifies either orange socks or a Cookie A pattern, with a mystery pattern available to knit in orange as well.  I chose to knit Monkeys by Cookie A in some of my own handdyed that’s orange and green with more orange than green.  They’re turning out awesome:

That’s all for this time, stay tuned for details and pictures of my Estes vest and more handspun adventures!

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!

Airshows and Thunderstorms

July 3, 2008

I’m back this cloudy 3rd of July after a short break which included aircraft simulators, a trip to Alaska, and cleaning up after a gnarly thunderstorm.  I’m still in heavy research mode with my Etsy shop and am about to place an order for more supplies.  Comparing prices between suppliers is a royal pain and it’s even harder knowing what kinds of yarn will sell the best.  I know that I want the most environmentally friendly ones, but people want superwash.  I don’t do superwash, so I guess my market is significantly smaller and I need to reach out to my potential customers more aggressively.  I’ll let you know when I figure out how to do this.

Last Saturday, I was lucky enough to get to the Arctic Thunder airshow at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, AK.  Pretty sweet show, I’ve posted some pictures on Flickr here

New in the store:  organic cotton face scrubbies! 

I also have an iPod cozy in the works as well as some new yarns and stitch markers.  And once I get my new shipment of supplies (that I’ll order today), I’ll have even more new and wonderful things in my shop. 

One of my Ravelry groups has monthly stash-busting challenges.  For those that don’t know, knitters have a collection of yarn that hangs out, waiting for a project.  Some have a lot, some have a little, but all of these collections are known as “stash”.  I have what is considered a fairly small stash.  It’s cute and I like it, but I’m also excited to see what projects my stash will become.  This month’s stash-busting challenge is to finish your “UFOs”. Those pesky UnFinishedObjects sit around, weighing heavy on the knitter’s mind.  I decided to accept this challenge and have so far finished 3, yes, 3 projects this month.  Actually, I finished them yesterday.  Yayme!!!  To be fair, they were all very close to completion and just needed some minor finishing, but they are officially done!  The next few won’t go so quick.  I have a pair of socks that I started working on the gusset last night, I have a second sock that’s only about 1.5″ completed, and a sweater vest that I’ve had on the needles since November.  Yikes!  I’m hoping to finish all 3 this month as well as put the finishing touches on a knit toy that’s been sitting in a bin for over a year because I didn’t understand the directions.  Luckily, with the new knowledge I’ve gained through the year, I am now confidant that I can tackle and finish this project. 

That’s is for this entry, hope everyone has a great 4th of July and holiday weekend!

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:

yarns

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!