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Summer Knitting and Crocheting

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June and July are my favorite months. Our label business slows down a bit and I have time to breathe and be creative. Here are a few of the projects I have been working on.

I have had my eye on some crocheted wire jewelry kits from  Yoola design for a while. I finally purchased one and  I am addicted. She uses a technique called ISK (Invisible Spool Knitting). It reminds me of the spool knitting I did when I was a kid except you use a crochet hook and the technique is brilliant. It does take some practice but by the 3rd bracelet my stitches were coming out even.  It’s very relaxing and portable so I can take it anywhere and work on it. It’s a great summertime hobby.

This is the first bracelet which I made for a graduation gift.
It’s made from silver filled wire and I purchased the charm from Amazon.

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This necklace is also made from silver filled wire. After my mother passed away,  I was going through her jewelry and found my favorite earrings except one was missing. I looked everywhere but never found it.  I added the single earring as a charm to this necklace and creIMG_4665 IMG_4666ated  heirloom keepsake.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is my third bracelet and I am keeping it for myself.

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If you have a chance, check out all of Yoola’s designs at https://www.etsy.com/shop/Yoola?ref=pr_shop_more

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Word On The Street-Winter knitting projects

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March 2, 2016

It’s hard to believe it’s March and that means the end of Winter and beginning of Spring. I am not sad that we got less than a foot of snow all winter and that it was warmer. Less snow and warmer weather meant less (just a little tho) knitting than I usually get done during the cold winter months.

IMG_2648I finished my afghan for the family room. It was so much fun to make but I couldn’t really take it with me as it got bigger and bigger. It’s crocheted using bulky Click yarn from Sirdar. It’s so soft. The pattern is called Make it Quick Afghan. I modified it slightly. I didn’t put a contrasting border on it and I added cream color stripes to make it more unique. It’s made with  single and half double crochets all done in the back loops. It creates great texture. IMG_2649
IMG_2646The second project was a pair of gloves for my husband. These took forever as they were done on size 1 needles. I used llama yarn in a dark charcoal grey. I even have enough left over to knit a pair for me.  I purchased the pattern on Ravelry, His and Hers glovesIMG_2647
image-26-01-16-02-48-300x300Also in progress: designing a new tiny sweater each week for our Tiny Sweater KAL. If you haven’t signed up yet, it’s not too late. These sweaters only take a few hours each to knit and you only have to knit 11 sweaters to catch up. Sign up today, all patterns are free: http://mountainstreetarts.com/tiny-sweater-ornament-kal-2016/.

Have any of you heard of the monthly yarn subscription at Yarnbox? It’s a great idea. Who wouldn’t love to get a surprise box of yarn every month?  And, each quarter they have a special Luxe Box, which includes 2 skeins of luxurious hand dyed yarn as well as a couple of patterns and some goodies. I was so excited when they contacted me about adding a sample of our care labels to their Yarn Box Luxe this quarter.  For those of you who are members of Ravelry check it out here: http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/yarnbox/3386852/1-25

 

Happy Knitting!

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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 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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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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Freeform knitting using my yarn stash

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March 18, 2015

I have been knitting for 40+ years so as you can imagine I have accumulated quite the yarn stash. When I first started knitting I used Ugh! Acrylic! And back then the acrylic was kind of like plastic…Acrylic has come a long way. The only other option was scratchy wool.  I didn’t start knitting seriously until I was in my 20s and that’s about the time all the “fun” yarns became available. With that said, I have a collection of 30 years of leftover yarn.  I organized all of my yarn into colors and put them in different baskets. My first stash project was a sweater. I took all of my shades of blue and just started knitting. I mixed, weights, textures and colors. I used a basic cardigan pattern to gauge how many stitches I should cast on and for measurements. It was a fun project because I had no idea how it would come out. I bought the glass buttons at a craft fair. Here is the final sweater.IMG_1305

 

 

 

 

 

 

My second de-stash project is a crocheted afghan. I did have to purchase the main color yarn but then I used up several small balls of leftover yarn, again using different weights and textures. What kind of projects have you made using your stash? I would love to hear about them and see pictures

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On the needles-First Project of 2014

Happy New Year everyone! I hope everyone had a great holiday season.  I know I did and when our business slowed down for a couple of days, I was able to get some “me” time in which means knitting! Also in this post, our first giveaway for the new year.

I went to Webs yarn store In Northampton and used my gift cards to purchase some yarn to make the Boxy cardigan I had my eye on. It’s a free pattern from Cascade yarns.  It called for Magnum Cascade yarn, which is a bulky yarn and I was all set to purchase it until I spotted the bulky yarn next to it.  It was much softer and looked like the yarn was braided.  The Magnum yarn looked like it would break easily and I liked the color choices of the other yarn better. So I scooped up 6 skeins of Ushya Miraso, a very luxurious bulky yarn spun in Peru.  It is by far the nicest feeling yarn that I have ever knit with.  The sweater is knit on size 17 needles so it goes fast. I call it my week long sweater.  I already have the back, 2 sleeves and the left front done and I am already feeling that sadness of “the sweater is almost done and I won’t be able to feel that soft warm yarn between my fingers anymore”.  Here is the progress so far: FrontBoxyCardiganThis is the left front of the sweater. I ended up doing some shaping about 6″ up from the bottom on the front and back as I wanted it to be a little more fitted than boxy.And here is one of the sleeves and a pic of the yarn I used.sleeve   I will post the finished sweater as soon as I am done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And now to the giveaway. We will be giving away one set of our new “Autographed” labels. These are our own design and are copyrighted. We are able to take your signature and transfer it to our labels. We haven’t seen anything out there like this and it’s just one step further to personalize your handmade garments. You can have Knit by, Crocheted by, Handmade by or Made by on your labels. All you have to do is subscribe to my blog and comment on this post by telling us if you got in any extra knitting between the holidays and what is on your needles.  The contest is open from January 4th to January 11, 2014. Winner will be chosen on January 12th.  One  winner will be  chosen by the WordPress plug in “And the Winner Is”. Winner will receive one set of 30 labels, measuring 3/4″ x 2 3/4″ heat transferred onto cotton.  Winner will need to email  a .jpg of their signature (first name only, please) to pamelaparenteau@comcast.net.

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2013 Comes to an end….

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.
yarnclose 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.

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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,Autograph 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.

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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?

 

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Happy Holidays

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. IMG_0450 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.
IMG_0452 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.
IMG_0451 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.  

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The vest that almost wasn’t

IMG_0056A 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.

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