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2016 review and 2017 preview

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January 3 2017

Happy New Year! I can’t believe we have closed out another year and are already in the midst of 2017. I did more knitting in 2016 than I have since I was on bed rest during my pregnancy 22 years ago.  This was mostly because I spent a lot of time in hospital emergency and surgery waiting rooms while my father was being treated. There was also lots of  waiting time at the skilled nursing rehab.

Thank you to everyone who joined our Tiny Sweater KAL. Hopefully you were able to make a few of the 52 patterns and used them in your holiday decorating.

2016 was a very successful year for our label business. We grew by 12%! Not too shabby considering I had to turn away business to care for my father.

2017 will be another great year. We have added a line of knit pillow pattern covers  to our Etsy store. They feature simple lines, and use 2-4 colors per pillow. I like using a neutral color palette to keep in line with our labels. The pillows button on the bottom so that you can switch them easily. It’s an easy way to change your home decor when the need arises.  Check them out in our Etsy storehttps://www.etsy.com/listing/483296086/new-knit-pillow-pattern-home?ref=shop_home_active_11

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I like to use organic cotton when ever possible. These pillows were knit in Blue Skye Fibers organic cotton, worsted weight.

Some of my New Year Resolutions:

Update this blog on a regular basis

Find a little more “me” time

Exercise more

Eat Healthier

What are your New Year’s resolutions?

 

 

 

 

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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-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…

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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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Update on WIP projects

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March 13, 2015

This week I am trying to finish all of my WIPs. I bought a frame for my birch tree art. IMG_1285I love the dark wood on this frame and it makes the trees pop.

I also finished the “O” on my H O M E project and am almost done with the M. The M was a little tricky with all of the up and down strokes but I like the way it’s coming out.

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Also this week, Lori from Humble quilts is giving away a set of our quilting labels on her blog. Check out the amazing quilts on her blog and the helpful tips she posts. Here is  the link to enter:

http://humblequilts.blogspot.com/2015/03/friday-fun-and-giveaway.html#comment-form

 

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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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H O M E

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I recently purchased a pattern to make 3D letters from an Etsy shop. I had been looking for the perfect knit or crocheted letter that I could make to stand on a shelf in the stairway. I wanted to spell “HOME”. I stumbled upon the shop CAROcreated on Etsy and there it was, the perfect letter pattern in 3D . The samples she has in her shop are colorful with a white border around them, which are stunning but I wanted mine to be all black so I did modify the pattern a little . I quickly ordered the variety pack of 6 letters and bought H, O, M, E and K and N. The patterns are detailed and easy to follow.  I found a cotton/hemp blend yarn that is sturdy and holds it’s shape. I always forget how much more yarn crocheting uses than knitting. While this little home decor project is going to cost more than I expected, it will be worth it. Here is my first completed letter

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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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