It’s almost the end of 2013. As this year comes to a close, I look back on the New Year’s goals I came up with at the beginning of the year. I have met most of the goals; the biggest and most surprising one was quitting my day job and doing Etsy full-time. I still can’t believe that dream came true and some days I pinch myself to make sure it’s real. The day I quit my day job was like any other day, I woke up and went to my job as a graphic prepress artist and even when I got to work I didn’t know that “today” would be the day. We had been talking about it for months and seriously talking about it for weeks. I remember the moment I decided. I was sitting at my computer and I decided I didn’t want to do what I was doing anymore and I wanted to move on and grow my business. So I did it…I handed in my resignation and gave a month’s notice. I was scared and excited all at the same time but I have never looked back and I couldn’t be happier.
I still do freelance for the company I worked for but it’s flexible and I am thankful that I am able to make the transition gradually. Working from my studio at home has made life so much less stressful and I have grown our business more than I could have ever
dreamed. We just had a record holiday season and our sales for the year are up 50% from the previous year.
We have a new look to our Etsy store for 2014. With over 100 different designs/styles for our personalized knitting and crochet labels, I needed a way to make it easier for our customers to look at all of our designs at once. Now, there is one listing in each section that shows all of our graphics that are available.
We have some new designs as well. I came up with a new style of label where customers can submit their signature and have it appear on their labels.When you give your handmade garment to someone and you have “signed” it, It takes it one step further to making it even more personal. These have been our best seller this holiday season.
We get several request a year to make “Loop Style” labels. Customers want their name on one side, and care instructions on the other. I am happy to say that we have added these as a stock item in our store.
I love the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Our business slows down a little and I have more time to knit and crochet. I received some gift cards to Webs yarn store for Christmas and I braved the crowds yesterday and went to their End of Year Sale that begins the day after Christmas. I thought by waiting a couple of days, I would avoid the crowds but the store was still packed with customer. I had to drive around for 10 minutes waiting for a parking spot. When I finally got into the store I was on a mission. I had already picked out a pattern on Cascade Yarns website for a boxy cardigan made in super Bulky yarn on size 17 needles. I found the yarn the pattern called for which I planned to buy but then I saw the luscious yarn next to it and I had to have it. It is sooo soft and luxurious to knit with. It’s called Mirasol Ushya and is spun in Peru. I started it yesterday and am just finishing the back. I will post pictures in my next post. Do you have extra time to knit between Christmas and New years? and if so what are you making?
I can’t believe it’s already the day before Christmas. This season went by so quickly but it’s the first year in several that I feel like I enjoyed preparing for it. That is because running our business fulltime I have been able to work from home. Usually I just throw things together for Christmas and hope for the best! I am so thankful to all of our customers for giving me this opportunity to follow my lifelong dream. Our business has grown so much this year, more than I could have ever dreamed possible. I have met most of my resolutions from New Years 2013….more of that in next weeks post. Here is my latest creation for Christmas decorating. I collect snowmen. I love snowmen. When my son was younger he used to count how many snowmen were in our house during the holiday season. I lost count after he came up with 32…I am sure there are more now as I add a couple every year. This snowman is made from a pattern I bought on Etsy. I filled the bottom of his body with sand so that he is weighted down and the rest of him is stuffed with wool roving. As I have mentioned in previous posts, wool holds it’s shape so much better than Polyfil. Next to him is a ceramic tree my grandmother made 30 years ago.
In crocheting news…I learned how to do tapestry crochet this fall. I love it because it gives the project a handwoven look. I have 2 WIP projects. The first one is a tote bag I am making.
I made a chart for Mountain Street Arts “Swirl” and incorporated it into this bag.
The second project is placemats. I am making 6 if them and here is a peek at them. I charted out the flowers on my every day dishes so they will match.
I also incorporated the colors in my tiled kitchen table.
I would like to wish all of our customers and subscribers a Happy Holiday season. To say “Thank you” for a wonderful year, we are giving 10% off our labels December 24th through December 31st, 2013. Just enter coupon code Save10 at checkout. www.mountainstreetarts.etsy.com .This is for labels only.
I started this bedspread a year and a half ago. It’s a pattern from Lion Brand. All the squares are a slip stitch pattern. I love doing colorwork in slip stitch because you don’t have to carry the second color. You only work with one color on each row. It was a pattern for a throw and I doubled it to make it the size of our bed. When I was sewing the 12 squares together this summer I couldn’t imagine it being cold enough to use. But, last night brought snow showers and 20 degree weather in Massachusetts and the 100 percent wool bedspread kept us so toasty warm. It was really hard to get out of that warm bed this morning. The yarn I used was Valley Yarns – Northampton. Since I grew up in Northampton, I thought it was an appropriate yarn and hopefully this will become an heirloom.
Here is the newest yarn bowl in our collection made from reclaimed wood. Last week we completely sold out of them in our Etsy store. We have just added 3 to our shelves and if you want one for Christmas, don’t delay.
Next post: More holiday ornaments from my new addiction!
Here’s my latest Christmas ornaments. I think I am addicted to making these. I like them because they only take a couple of nights to make. I decided I like using knitting worsted weight with size 3 needles and the wool roving stuffing holds the round shape. It’s hard to believe Christmas is only a month away. I am hoping to fill a large basket with these to put on my coffee table
I finally finished the bedspread I was working on. It’s pattern from Lion Brand and uses 9 different colors. I knit it in Valley Yarns – Northampton. I am pleased with the way it came out and it is sooooooo warm. I will include a picture of it in my next post.
Our new yarn bowls made from reclaimed wood are selling faster than we can make them. Here is our latest one. They make a great gift for a knitter or crocheter. Visit our Etsy store: mountainstreetarts.etsy.com
Every year I like to make a couple of ornaments for our tree. Most of the ornaments I have on the tree are handmade. Last year my son gave me Arne and Carlos book called 55 knit ornaments. The ornaments are knit in the round using double pointed needles. I don’t like to knit with 4 needles on small projects. So the first one I did I used a long circular needle and converted it to a magic loop pattern. I used knitting worsted weight wool, size 2 needles and I am pleased with the way it came out.
The second ornament I made, I decided to convert the pattern to 2 needles, draw my own design and used sport weight yarn and size 3 needles. I love the 2 needle design but I think I am going to stick to knitting worsted weight. On this ornament I attached one of my personalized labels with my name and the year. I stuffed both ornaments with wool roving. This is a much better filling than polyfil and it holds it’s shape. I discovered using this for filling when I made a couple of teddy bears for shower gifts. I loved the way the finished Item felt and was much denser than something stuffed with polyfil. Watch for more of my knitted balls over the next couple of weeks. In addition to making some for the tree, I am going to fill one of my baskets with them. What kind of Christmas decorations do you make?
October was an exciting month for us. Interweave Crochet featured our labels on their Holiday Gift List page in the Accessories Issue. It hit newsstands on October 25th. They contacted us in the summer and asked us to send them some samples of our labels. I was so excited as Interweave Knits and Interweave Crochet are my favorite fiber magazines. And then it got even better when they emailed me to tell me we would be in the Accessories Issue which happens to be my favorite issue. Our business is growing so fast! This really helped drive traffic to our website as did all the tips I learned at a Social Media for small businesses class.
Recently we decided to get rid of our landline. We have smartphones and the only phone calls we received on our house phone were from telemarketers and collection calls for someone that know longer lived at this house. After we took the phone off the wall there was a blank space where the phone was. I needed a small picture to hang there. I love coffee and coffee mugs so I decided to make my own art piece. My husband/business partner is a woodworker and frequently makes frames. A while back he had made 6 frames that were about 7″ x 7″ and about 2″ deep. It was perfect. I drew a chart for a mug and using stash yarn I finished it in a couple of hours. A little embroidery for the saucer and steam and Voila! Mini Fiber Art. If anyone wants the chart for this, comment and I will post it in a the next couple of days. I am going to do a series of these little pictures as they are quick and fun to make.
I love these frames because you can also display them on a shelf because
they are thick enough to stand on their own.
P.S. Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog and comment on my fingerless mittens to receive your free mitten pattern and be entered to win a free kit.
If you are like me you have a very large yarn stash. I am always looking for small projects to use up my stash. These mittens are perfect. I love fingerless mittens because I can wear them at my office and still work on my computer. These mittens make a great gift for co-workers. I like to experiment with different weight and textures of fiber. These mittens combine many different kinds of yarn.The pattern uses the Magic Loop instead of double pointed needles. This technique is easy to use and there are several You Tube videos that show you how.
The picture in my headline all the way to the left shows the different combinations I have done. If you would like to receive a free pdf of my pattern all you have to do is subscribe to my blog and one lucky winner will win an At Knits End fingerless mitten kit.
Contest runs from September 23-September 29th at midnight EDT. Winner will be randomly drawn on September 30th using “And the winner is” plug-in for WordPress. You must subscribe to my blog to be eligible or if you already subscribe, leave a comment.
A few months ago, I was in my favorite yarn shop, Webs in Northampton, MA and I saw this beautiful yarn called Madelinetosh Prairie. I had to have it. I wasn’t sure what I was going to make with it but I bought a skein anyways.At the same time, I decided I wanted to try Tunisian Crochet. I found a pattern online to make a vest that crosses over. It’s constructed by making to rectangles, sewing them together in the back and crossting the front over and sewing it down to the side. I started crocheting away and fnished my first skein of yarn. I had no idea this kind of crochet ate up so much yarn, especially when you have to use 2 strands to get the guage. I usually knit and am used to that yardage. Off to Webs I went to purchase another skein. When I ran out of yarn again, I realized this was going to be one very expensive vest. But I loved the feel and drape of the yarn and I didn’t want to rip it out at this point. I was convinced this would be my last skein I needed and luckily it was. Now it was time to construct it. I did it like the directions said but it just didn’t work out and it was really hard to get into. Again I didn’t want to rip it out, so I unsewed it and was left with 2 rectangles. What could I do with these 2 rectangles? I sewed them together to form a vest and then double crocheted around the left side, neck and right side. I like it better than the original pattern and it drapes really nice.
Linda D. She won a set of 3 cards from KathesCollection on Etsy.