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Word on the Street-A New Year to Organize!

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December 27, 2015

I love to collect knitting needles. I have my grandmother’s and mother’s collection of knitting needles as well as several sets that I have inherited and then there’s the needles I have bought just because they were a new design or unusual. I have about 100 pairs of straight knitting needles. Over the years I have tried to keep them organized but could never keep them all in one place. I tried grouping them by size and bundling them with rubber bands. Then I tried putting them in boxes by size, then I put them in mugs by size but none of these options really worked. I wanted something that didn’t take up much room and had several drawers long enough to fit all of my needles. I finally found the perfect organizer for straight knitting needles and it’s not even meant for knitting needles. It’s a jewelry organizer. IMG_2395
I put it on my Christmas list and my husband got it for me. It’s perfect. He bought it through a company called Fetpak. It has 10 drawers that are 8.5″ wide x 14 1/2″ long x 1″ deep. Even my longest needles fit in the drawers.IMG_2397

It also has a plastic pocket on each drawer so you can insert labels with the sizes.

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I always think of the New Year as a perfect time to organize areas of my life, especially my knitting area since I spend 8-10 hours a day in my studio. This one organizer has made such an impact. It feels so good not to have needles scattered everywhere.

I would love to hear how you store your knitting needles and supplies.

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Word On The Street-It’s beginning to

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look a lot like Christmas.

 

I love this time of year when I can decorate for Christmas. I put the tree up and decorated the house this past weekend which is about 2 weeks earlier than normal.  All of the ornaments on our tree in the family room are handmade which makes it really special. tree Next year I am going to put a smaller tree in the dining room and I am planning to fill it with tiny knit sweater ornaments. I designed my own cardigan sweater pattern which I will share on my blog sometime in January.  I am hoping to release a new design every  week and have a KAL. So watch for the announcement sometime in late December.

The stockings are hung…just waiting for Santa. All of our stockings are hand knit. My mother made mine over 50 years ago (second stocking from the left) and she made my son’s 21 years ago (3rd stocking from the left) stocking and although this will be my first Christmas without her every time I look at our stockings I have happy memories.  I hand knit my husband’s, stepson’s and our dog Bailey’s. Yes, even Bailey has a hand knit stocking. His is the one with the fire hydrants.

And here’s part of my snowmen collection. I think last count was upwards of 70 snowmen throughout the house.

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With only 3 weeks left until Christmas everyone is rushing to get their hand knit gifts done in time. Don’t forget to add the perfect finishing touch to your gifts-A personalized label and gift tag. We have several styles in our Etsy store, even some holiday themed ones. What gifts are you knitting this season? I would love to hear about them. Please share them in the comments. Happy knitting and Happy Holidays!treeel

 

 

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Word On The Street-Happy Fall!

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October 15, 2015

Happy Fall! It’s hard to believe the summer is over and it’s well into the fall season. gardeThe colorful trees are at their peak here in New England and I am enjoying the last of my flowers blooming in the garden.

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I finally finished the wall hanging I was knitting  most of the summer.  I purchased a wooden rod at a store called 10,000 Villages. It’s a fair trade store in Northampton, MA . Everything in the store is hand crafted by artisans in developing countries.

The wall hanging is knit from a pattern called Olympic Baby Blanket which features a textured tree pattern knit in a variegated purple cotton yarn from my yarn stash.IMG_2174

Now that the weather is cooler I finished up the Christmas stocking I kept putting off all summer. I embroidered some details on the Christmas tree and wreath and it’s ready to go to it’s new home.IMG_2167

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Word on the Street-Crocheting with Wire

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August 19, 2015

July slowed down a little  for our custom label  business. We were able to take a little breather and it was nice to enjoy some of the summer because it goes by so quickly. Usually we work 7 days a week  but we  were able to take the weekends off and even managed to go  to Cape Cod for 3 days.

I taught myself how  to crochet with wire. It is not easy! I tried several gauges and several different types of wire. After much trial and error I discovered artistic wire was the easiest. I found using silver plated 20 gauge gave me the best results. I am usually not a fan of silver plated jewelry but I really like the way it came out and it’s not tarnishing so far. I used an I-cord method of crocheting but since I don’t own a draw plate, I ended up hammering it after I finished it. I like how the bracelet and earrings came out but I am going to purchase a draw plate so that after I make the I-cord I can pull it through the draw plate to make it more uniform.

Has anyone crocheted or knit with wire and if so what type of wire did you use and what did you make? Do you have pictures to share? I would love to share them in a future blog. Here are my results:

The last few days it has been hot, humid and in the 90’s so it’s been hard to be motivated to knit a Christmas stocking for a client. There’s nothing like knitting with wool in the heat of summer…but it has to get done before our fall holiday rush begins.  At least it’s a portable project. Here is my progress so far:

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I am also working on a wall hanging. It’s a pattern called Olympic Baby Blanket which features a textured tree pattern and I am going to frame it. I am knitting it in purple variegated  cotton from my yarn stash and will post pictures in my next post.

Happy knitting and crocheting and enjoy these last couple of weeks of summer!

 

 

 

 

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Word on the Street-Cool Summer Patterns

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July 16, 2015

Cool Summer Patterns. 

I am always looking for unusual knitting and crochet patterns. I came across this month’s pattern on Etsy. It’s from a shop that’s simply called pdf PatternDesign.  And it’s just that, digital crocheted patterns that you purchase and download.  The banner of this  shop has the name Sophie and Me which upon reading Ingunn’s “about” page, I learned that she changed the name of her shop to Sophie and Me and Sophie is the name of her manikin, her dress doll! Sophie is about 3 years old, and is an important part of her work with crochet patterns, as there are no children in her neighborhood. Ingunn is so talented and it’s apparent in her designs and patterns. The patterns are very detailed with lots of pictures. When I first looked at the pattern it seemed overwhelming but as I got further in, I realized that every step is illustrated making it impossible to get stuck, even for a knitter like me who has a hard time following crochet patterns. After making my first pair of shoes,IMG_1782

I immediately ordered the pattern to make the soles with rope

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Again, brilliant pattern and idea!
I am addicted to making these summer shoes. I have made 2 pair. On the second pair, I purchased a ready made insole and glued it in, even though there are instructions on making your own. Now I just have to add one of my custom labels to them.

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Labels from your photos

Last week I had a customer contact me about making a crocheted themed label using a dog. She sent me pictures of her dogs so that I could get an idea of the kind of dog she wanted on her label. Imagine her excitement when I told her I could incorporate her own dog into the label. Below is the picture of her dog and my final design.

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Custom design is my specialty. I love to take customer’s ideas and bring them to life. Labeling your finished projects is so important, whether it’s for an heirloom or to sell. It’s the perfect final touch for every project .

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Word On The Street

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June 21, 2015

 

Summer Knitting Projects

 

I am about 3/4 of the way done with the sweater I am making. It’s a pattern from the Rowan Cotton Lustre collection called “RAN”. I am using a yarn from Schachenmayr called “Journey”
IMG_1714it’s a cotton jersey material. While I like the feel of the yarn, it’s kind of stuffed with cotton and every so often the cotton stuffing appears to come out. I love the color I chose though, it reminds me of the beach. Below the shoulder it has some short rows for shaping. I think I need to practice doing those as I am not 100% happy with the way they came out.
I finished the knit version of my family art piece. I like the knit version better than the crochet version. I stretched this over a piece of canvas and glued it with craft glue. If I do it again, I am going to knit the word “Family” using the intarsia method rather than carrying the black yarn across the row. I think it will have a smoother effect. IMG_1713

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Word on the Street

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June 10, 2015

I found this really cute pattern to knit a wooly-soap
-on-a-rope sheep on Ravelry. Rather than make
a soap holder I turned them into Christmas ornaments to give as gifts.   IMG_1668It’s never too early to start knitting for Christmas. It’s only 6 months away. I still have to knit a Christmas stocking for a customer so I thought I would get a jump on my holiday knitting. The pattern calls for cotton yarn but I used baby apalca and they are soooo soft. I also embroidered eyes and added mouths.  The pattern is available for purchase on Ravelry.

 

FamilyI finished the crocheted picture I started a couple of weeks ago. Wood slats are attached to the top and bottom to give it some weight. I may add cardboard backing if it stretches too much.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

homesweetHere’s a great idea for a housewarming gift for realtors to give to their clients after they purchase a home. I love pillows and they make such a cozy gift. One of our customer’s has a website where realtors can purchase a pillow and have their logo and a message put on a label that is attached to the pillow. How cool is that? There are several homey designs  to choose from. The pillows are made from organic canvas and the labels are printed onto organic cotton.
It’s a great eco-friendly gift. Be sure to visit her website: http://www.newnestpillows.com/

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Word On The Street…

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May 27, 2015

I have been trying to come up with a name for my blog so that I don’t have to come up with a creative name every time I post something as writing is not something I excel at. I wanted it to be related to our business name, Mountain Street Arts and yet be something catchy. So my new blog will be called “On the Street” as in  Mountain Street.

My Irises are finally blooming. They are a little late this year but just as beautiful as always, IMG_1605

I started making a crocheted art piece which I am going to frame. I might develop this into a pattern to sell. It will work for either crochet or knitting. Pictures and pillows with writing on them  have become quite popular in home decor.  I personalized it with our last name and year we were married. I hope to finish it this week as our anniversary is at the end of the week.

 

 

 

 

 

I got this awesome dog collar from another Etsy seller in the mail this week.IMG_1597 It’s too cute for words. The shop is Scruffytown Mutts. I love the name and if the name isn’t cute enough you need to check out the dog collars and leashes she makes.  Jennifer is very accommodating and she makes the collars and matching leashes out of very bright whimsical fabrics some of  which  are dog themed like the fire hydrants, fire hydrantssheep dogs and my favorite, the dogs which remind me of her logo.

 

My dog is now the envy of the neighborhood dogs as he sports his new collar on our walks. Seriously if you are a dog lover or know someone who is you need to purchase one of these fun collars. The hardware is sturdy and they are very well made. Visit her Etsy store at scruffytownmutts.etsy.com

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One of our customers shared a picture with us of how she uses the personalized labels she buys from us. I love the way she uses colorful coordinating threads that match her afghans.  The name of her Etsy shop is GeoffreyAndFlop and it’s named after her 2 favorite childhood toys. She also makes toys and her story is heartwarming. Check out all of her wonderful handmade toys and afghans at GeoffreyAndFlop.etsy.com or visit her facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/GeoffreyandFlop. There are lots of tutorials to get you on your way to crocheting.

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Spring cleanup results in new planters

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May 7, 2015

I despise anything that has vines. so we decided to clean out the woods on the side of house where  vines had taken over. They were wrapped around every tree, weed and piece of grass. I was tired of getting tangled up in them every time I mowed or weed wacked the yard. Someone was going to get hurt eventually and it would probably be me.

So the first warm Saturday we began our project. Every time we thought we had cut enough of a vine  to pull it out there were 10 more attached to it. After spending 8 hours on this project we came across three old rubber tires buried under all those vines and not only did I wonder what I was going to do with all that brush but what was I going to do with these tires. I knew I could bring them to the recycling center and pay $5 a piece to get rid of them. Then I remembered seeing a pin on Pinterest of some old tires turned into planters
so I purchased some spray paint and made them into planters. Of course  I spent more than the $5 a piece to get rid of them but now I have some colorful planters in my front yardtires

 

 

 

 

 

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I also planted a tree in memory of my mother this week. It’s a lavender  hibiscus tree and I am hoping it will bloom this year.

 

 

 

 

This week’s crochet project is a runner for a table  It’s a shell  pattern I designed myself. I love the colors because they remind me of the ocean. The yarn is a cotton blend from Valley Yarns at Webs in Northampton,

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