Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I just wanted to share this shop with you, I think it is lovely and clearly very well thought-out.

It seems that everything about ShainaMote has so much thought and energy behind it, the clothes are gorgeous, the fabrics are beautiful and the photographs! Oh the photographs.

The artist has a clear view of what type of feeling she wants to convey to her shoppers. She styles the photographs brilliantly and has just enough background interest to keep your attention but not to detract from the piece being highlighted.

Now I need to learn how to do that with my photos and my not-quite-so-brilliant camera...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tuesday Learn to Knit Day 12 - Knitting in the Round

Hello knitters! In this week's installment of my knitting lessons, I will be teaching you the fundamentals of knitting in the round. This type of knitting is perfect for hats, socks, bags and other 'round' type things, it creates one uniform piece of fabric so you don't have to sew up the sides later.

There are two ways to do this, with circular needles (circs) and double pointed needles (dpns).

In both cases, the most important thing about knitting in the round is to make sure your stitches don't get twisted. This can take some practice (as does everything with knitting). The way I do this is to make sure that the ridge created when casting on is all facing downward. If the little ridge is twisted or snakes around your needles, you won't get a flat project and you'll have to start over. Unless, of course, your project calls for twisted stitches, but most of the time they don't :)

I find circular needles a bit easier so I will start with those first.

Cast on the desired number of stitches just as you would with straight needles.

Stretch the stitches over the entire length of the needle so that they reach the other point.

Place a stitch marker (the little elephant in the picture) to mark the beginning of a round. A round is equivalent to a row on straight needles.

Knit as you would on straight needles, passing the stitch marker over from left to right as you come to it.

Now onto double pointed needles.

With double pointed needles, usually they come in a set of 4 or 5. Depending on the size of the project, you will have 3 or 4 in constant use (kind of acting as the loose chord holding circulars together) and one for knitting.

Cast on the desired number of stitches evenly over the 3 or 4 needles. this part can be a bit confusing and frustrating at first. To keep the needles from falling out or getting twisted, I hold the ones with stitches on them in my right hand along with the needle currently receiving stitches sticking out a bit farther than the others.

Make a triangle or square with them as shown to orient the stitches so that the first cast on and the last cast on are next to each other.

Place your marker (the elephant in the photo) and knit two or three stitches from the first needle to the 3rd (or 4th).

Now take your empty needle, needle 4 in this demonstration, and knit all of the stitches from needle 1 onto needle 4.

This will leave needle 1 empty, and you will then use needle 1 to knit all of the stitches from needle 2.

Then you will use needle 2 to knit all of the stitches from needle 3, and so on and so forth.

Monday, March 29, 2010

New Shelves

How many of you know that I have a studio in my current living situation? Well, I do :D Its still in the process of being set up and organized, but its on its way!

I wanted to give you a little bit of a preview to the final review and show you some awesome shelves I found at the thrift store. They are vintage cheese boxes! I love cheese and these old boxes are still being put to use even though their days of housing delicious dairy products are over.

Matt helped me to adhere them to the wall and they now house a small collection of elephants.

I promise to show you more pictures as progress in this room develops!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Standing Out on Etsy 101

Hey everybody, if you're an Etsy seller I want to point you in the direction of Olivebites. She has a three-part series that she posted this week all about how to standout on Etsy and I think the information in there is not only informative, insightful and intelligent, its also very inspirational and an easy read. (sorry for all the i's, I mean, I like alliteration and all hehe). So please head over and check out what she has to say, I learned all kinds of new things that I will start implementing in my shop!

Flashback Friday - Big Mama

Welcome to this week's Flashback Friday post! In case you don't already know, Flashback Friday is a theme led by Tia over at Christopherandtia. Basically you find an older picture and you talk about it, tell whats going on, describe the people, the place, the memories that come from it, whatever you feel like!

Here is my picture this week:

Our Alaskan Malamute, Allie, had puppies. They weren't more than a week or so old in this picture and look how huge they are! I'm probably about 3 or 4. And of course, lets not overlook the huge doggie mama, she was easily about 100 pounds. Good thing she was gentle with us kids! (can't say the same for our goats....thats another story).

Before her puppies were born, we took her to a sled dog race and made a sandwich sign for her to wear advertising future puppies, some of them found homes with a park ranger, a young couple, and other good homes who hopefully knew more about living with Malamutes than we did! We were living in Idaho and all of the houses around us had cows. Allie liked to chase the cows. Luckily, she never caught one, that would've been one heckuva mess, in a lot of different ways.

But isn't she so cute? And fuzzy? And those puppies are so adorable! Maybe I'll have to give another malamute a good home in the future...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Signs of Spring

Its coming I promise! Even though the gloomy skies outside don't seem to side with my promises, Spring is on the way. These little spirally bulbs prove it :)

What signs of spring are popping up around your neighborhood?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tuesday Learn to Knit Day 11 - Stitch Patterns

Today we're not learning a new stitch so much as we are learning what cool things we can do with the stitches you already know, namely the knit and purl stitches.

These stitch patterns will let you practice both knitting and purling as well as show you some cool textures you can create with them!

First, stockinette:

This pattern consists of two rows: Knit one row, Purl the next row, simple, no?

Second, ribbing:

This pattern is very useful when making pieces that you would like to be stretchy, its pattern is some variation of the following:
CO 16
K2, P2 across row
You do this for all rows

Third, seed stitch:

This pattern is where you vary your knit and purl stitches, like so:
CO 16
K1, P1 across row
you will do this for all rows with an even number of stitches, for odd amounts, the second row will be to P1, K1 across all the stitches

Monday, March 22, 2010

New Earrings!

I recently won a pair of earrings in a giveaway from SweetBirdy, they are the sweetest little pearl earrings and I really cannot wait to show them off!

Oh, and the yarn they're posing on is a wonderfully soft alpaca and silk blend that is phenomenal to work with!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Flashback Friday - Breaking Bad Habits

Welcome back to this week's edition of Flashback Fridays! Flashback Fridays are put together by Tia over at christopherandtia and are a good way for bloggers to remember things, events, people, etc about their past.

This week my flashback post is about a bad habit that I had to break. I was a thumb-sucker. Everywhere I went my thumb was in my mouth. Not only was this not sanitary, it was also very gross (I assume) for everyone else. My Dad told me that if I quit sucking my thumb, he would get me a kitty.

I quit and he had to cash in on his deal :) The kitty above was Charlotte. We drove to the animal shelter and I got to pick out whichever kitty I wanted. She sure was a cutie and definitely made it worth it to try and quit sucking my thumb. Thats me on the right and my little brother on the left. I'm gonna guess that I was probably about seven years old.

Sadly, Charlotte didn't last too long in my house, my older brother was deathly allergic to cats and after an orange stray adopted us, it became too much for him and he ended up in the hospital and the kitties ended up in a new home.

So for those of you out there who are parents and may or may not have to bribe your children to break bad habits, just remember that you pretty much have to deliver on what you wager. Keep that in mind ;)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

It Has Begun

Remember that custom order I told you about? Well, I'm here to tell you that its being undertaken as we speak! I have it in my lap and wanted to share with you some of the progress.

I ordered a plethora of Berroco Vintage yarn (more than shown in the picture) in a cream color to create this amazing, one-of-a-kind piece and have started winding a few of the hanks into balls.

I started knitting the suit from the top down, so far the hood, shoulders and a few inches of the chest area are complete, the photo below was taken yesterday and I have increased a few more inches since, but it still basically looks the same.

I know its not much to look at right now, but this is the beginning! And I'm excited! Aren't you?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Ready for Warmth

Ahh Spring Break. It definitely accelerates my body's craving for warmer weather. I want to be wearing summery dresses, eating fresh fruits and breathing in the new warm air.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tuesday Learn to Knit Day

Hello folks, sorry I have been MIA this week, I am visiting some family members and won't have time to post a new lesson this week.

So take this week to practice other skills and try new things if you haven't made it through all the lessons yet.

As always, let me know if there are any problems!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Flashback Friday - Fresh Haircut

Another week of Flashback Fridays! In case you don't know, Tia over at ChristopherandTia hosts a flashback Friday post everyday. The basic idea is that you dig up an old picture and talk about it, tell its story or explain what's going on, or whatever the photo brings to mind :)

My picture this week was taken after a much needed fresh haircut. You know that feeling when you have gone months (yes, I go months, I know its not right, I know I shouldn't, but I do) without a proper haircut and then you go sit in a chair with someone else massaging the shampoo and conditioner in, you kind of zone out with the relaxation and then he or she makes you pretty before you even realize whats happening and all of a sudden, your brand new again!

Well...yea, that's what this picture was. My hair was soft, silky, and split-end-less and I felt pretty. The orange sweater was knit by my momma and given to me (I love wearing it, I get so many compliments!) and I think the color really helped to bring out the shiny in the hair.

My hair is currently growing out after a short haircut (shown below, not a flashback, unless you think December is far enough back...) and its at one of those awkward lengths where you don't really know what to do with it and it looks weird all the time. Soon though, I'll be able to swish it around my shoulders and not look like a twelve year old boy :)

I like it when its short, like above, but now its about 3 inches longer than it was and it just looks odd. Those of you who experiment with hairstyles and lengths can relate I'm sure.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


This 7 Foot Tie Scarf was listed in my shop the other day, its the second Tie Scarf I've made and I'm quite fond of it :D

I am also working on listing a chunky grey slouch hat with a bright turquoise band around the brim.

On the needles right now is a bright blue mohair sweater with a hood and I'm so excited to show you when its done!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tuesday Learn to Knit Day 10 - A Simple Increase

Since I taught you two simple methods for decreasing the number of stitches in your knitting last week, this week I'm going to teach you an easy way to increase. Its called Knitting Through the Front and Back (kfb).

Ok, so you knit to where you would like the increase to take place,

You knit the next stitch (stitch to be increased with) as normal but do not slide the stitch off the left hand needle, instead, insert your right hand needle through the middle of the stitch and through the back

Then wrap the yarn around the right hand needle again and pull the right hand needle back through the center of the stitch, similar to normal knitting, and slide the stitch on the left hand needle off, you will have made two new stitches on the right hand needle.

This is what it looks like in the long run:

Now you know many of the basics of knitting and can start making all kinds of projects! I will continue to show you various knitting techniques, and if you have something specific you'd like to know, don't hesitate to ask! Questions? Comments? I want to hear those too :)

Monday, March 8, 2010

What Do You See?

What do you see in the picture above? To the ordinary, untrained eye, it might look like three small pots of dirt and a vine in a jar but in reality to my highly trained eye, it looks like tomatoes, cilantro, basil and a vine in a jar!

That's right, I'm planting again, now that we are settled in a house (for better or worse) I can finally unpack (if I had the time) and plant some seeds. I am waiting on the vine to grow some roots so I can put it in my massive tea cup planter, and the tomato, basil and cilantro seeds just need to sprout into little delicious plants and I can move them outside :D

Are you planting anything this year?

*sidenote - all of the planters came from the thrift store :D

Friday, March 5, 2010

Flashback Friday - Three Stooges

Every Friday, ChristopherandTia host a Flashback Friday posting. Basically, you find an old(er) picture of yourself, your family, your pet, etc, and you talk about it however you please :D Wanna join the fun?

This week my photo depicts three shady characters.

I mean, who do you know with brightly colored, huge lensed sunglasses and Squeezers? If you look closely, you can see my older brother, picking his nose. On my other side is my younger brother, whose hair looks like he just got hit by lightening. It looks like we were camping (which was a very common vacation, who wants to try and wrangle three kids in a hotel or in the city? Nah, just take 'em out to the woods, at least they'll keep the bears away with their monstrous screams right?).

Thursday, March 4, 2010

These Clothes Speak Relaxing Melodies in My Ear

I recently stumbled upon the shop cocoricooo (I honestly have no idea how I really found it, I left my computer, came back and it was in a random tab...creepy cool :)).
I love the shirts, I love the dresses, the skirts, the pants!
They are relaxed and loose fitting while still remaining a bit sultry and sexy.
Its so hard for me not grab up everything in the shop!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wise Wednesday - The Art (or science?) of Pricing - Follow Up

So last week I shared with you my take on the art and science of pricing. A number of great comments were made and I chatted with CarolBradley about the formula and she brought it to my attention that I had mistyped! I wrote that you multiply your labor by your materials when really you add them together to get your At Cost price (you should NEVER sell at cost, by the way), it is now corrected in the original post. She also shared with me her formula for pricing which I really like. To price her jewelry, CarolBradley uses:

Materials = Raw materials for the piece + shipping, etc
4 x materials
add pro-rated labor at $xx an hour
add 10% for overhead
and this gives you the MINIMUM price for retail
Again, this formula can be personalized as needed, and make sure that you are paying yourself a fair hourly wage!
*Also, in all of these formulas, we are assuming that the seller buys their materials at a wholesale price, rather than retail.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tuesday Learn to Knit Day 9 - Two Simple Decreases

So by now I'm sure you'd all like to move on from rectangles and squares and maybe do a hat or something with shape! That's why this week I am going to teach you the two simplest decrease methods that are very widely used. I use them in most of my hats, sweaters, socks, etc etc, the list goes on.

Ok the first one I am going to teach you is the Knit 2 Together (K2tog) method.

Basically, it is what it sounds like. You knit to where you'd like to decrease, then insert your right hand needle into both of the next two stitches on the left hand needle as if to knit.

You then complete the stitch as one normal knit stitch. You wrap the yarn around the right hand needle from right to left, back to front, and slip the two old stitches off the left hand needle leaving only your new single stitch on the right hand needle.

Pretty simple no?

The next decrease method is fairly similar in appearance although the "direction" of the decrease goes to the right instead of the left, this will be more obvious once you've seen them both.

Again, knit to where you'd like to decrease, slip the next stitch off the left hand needle onto the right hand needle without knitting it (sl1).

Knit the next stitch on the left hand needle.

Now take the slipped stitch and pass it over the knitted stitch and off the right hand needle (Psso)

What do you think? Which is your preferred method of decreasing?
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