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Knitting Outside the Box

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This week I want to share a piece of artwork I knit. I like to knit outside the box and design my own patterns.

It’s that time of year when I am sick of snow and cold weather and  I look around my house and think of ways to redecorate. I try to DIY if at all possible. I have been staring at an empty spot on the wall above our TV all winter. Every night I hibernate in the living room with my knitting and watch TV and every night I think about hanging a picture  to fill the space. It’s an odd size. It has to be a landscape picture but not too tall.  I decided to knit a scene. I figured out my gauge so that my picture would come out the size I wanted.  I freeformed this pattern. I knit the background and the tree trunks and then embroidered the spots on the trees, the branches and the grass afterwards.IMG_1234

Now I just have to purchase a frame for it and Voila!

 

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Can I walk on it?

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When we renovated half of our basement into a new family room, I decided to design and knit a rug for it. I knew I needed a sturdy wool yarn for it to stand up to traffic. I chose Valley Yarns Northampton. Having grown up in Northampton I thought it was the perfect choice.  Valley Yarn is Webs Yarn Store’s own line of yarn. It’s  available in several weights and fibers and they are all named after towns in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts.  First I designed 2 different square patterns and then alternated them in 3 different colors.


I then sewed the strips together, washed the strips and blocked them. The strips were then sewn into a rectangle.IMG_1144

I purchased a 5 x 8 rug backing at Home Depot
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and then attached my rug to it using a binding stitch all around the rug.
And used a running stitch down all of the strips. This made the rug non-skid.

I am very please with the final rug but the first question company asks when they enter the room is “Can I walk on it?”  The bench cushion and pillows I mentioned in a previous post also made it into the new family room.

Have you ever made a handmade rug and do people walk on it?

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And the winner is….

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Congratulations to Verdi who won a small set of custom labels. Verdi please contact me so that we can create your labels for you. Do you have an idea for a label for your business or personal needs? The are the perfect finishing touch for your handmade items. Here are samples of this weeks custom labels:

Knitting for NicholaslittleJoys

JaneyJuly2014

 

 

 

 

 

Knitting news

I finished my summer tank top using the first and half of the second installments of the Kangaroo Dyer’s Joey’s Yarn club yarns. I miss knitting with this lightweight silky oh so soft yarn, so I can’t wait for the 3rd skein to be delivered next week so I can start another project.  Several people have asked me for the tank top pattern but I knit it freestyle and fitted it as I went.  I really need to invest in some knitting software so I can design and publish patterns. Can anyone recommend some software? I am looking for something I can design sweaters with.

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On the needles:

I am just finishing up my cat pillow. I will have pictures next week as well as the beginning progress of my newest pillow design. Also, I will be designing my annual “vacation scarf” made from local spun and died yarn that I bought on our trip to Stowe Vermont.

Happy knitting and crocheting!

 

 

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The Boxy Cardigan that isn’t so Boxy

I finished the cardigan I talked about in my last post. It was so fun to make and it only took me just over a week to finish it. I experimented with fitting it through the waist area with knit one, purl one ribbing as I didn’t want it so boxy.  I am very pleased with the way it came out and it is sooooo warm.  Check out our new style of labels that includes care instructions on the back–I couldn’t resist sewing one into the neckline of my sweater. IMG_0515IMG_0516 IMG_0517

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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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Read All about It!

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. IMG_0320 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.

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Free At Knits End Fingerless Mitten pattern

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.

atknitsendblogThe 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.

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