Friday, February 28, 2014

Hit a slump in my knitting aka Knitter's Block

So now that the holiday season is over and the production knitting has slowed down, I find that every year around this time I find I hit a slump - knitters' block, similar to that fatalistic problem that writers sometimes get - writers' block. Production knitting will suck the life and fun out of knitting, if you let it. The non-stop knitting I do from August until December really gets overwhelmingly tedious and I find that when that last show of the season is over in December, I breath a deep sigh of relief.

I always think to myself afterwards, that I'm going to stop, give it up and try something else and I have these questions rolling around in my head, What am I doing? and Why am I working so hard? This was supposed to be a relaxing hobby! And then I think, I love this thing that I do with needles, I don't know what else I would do if I wasn't doing this. I work full-time and run this knitting business on the side and I think that it keeps me busy, sometimes busier than I want to be, but I enjoy the challenge and I like being busy. So I take a deep breath and take a little time off. I know its to keep the enjoyment of the craft from getting stale, I know if I didn't I would lose interest altogether.

So I usually try to occupy my time with something, anything that doesn't have to do with knitting. Well mostly doesn't have to do with knitting. I usually pull out my knitting books and/or magazines and peruse patterns and stories about knitting, spinning, yarn, etc. I also go through my WIP's (works-in-progress) stash and see if there is anything I want to continue working on, mostly not, but I always look.

And when I've done all of that I treat myself to a few weeks of reading catch up. Since I don't get to do a lot of reading for the enjoyment of reading during the high knitting season, I use this time to relax my hands, un-clutter my mind of knitting and reacquaint myself with some of my favorite authors. I look up to see what new releases they have out and browse the library's e-book selection to see if the next book in the series I was reading last year is available. This keeps me from totally losing interest in my knitting and deciding to give it up altogether, which I have done with many other hobbies over the years.

So when the times again to start knitting, I'm refreshed and ready to go! I delve into my books and magazines to look for more challenging knitting patterns, read about other people who have given up their day jobs to do what they love, open a yarn shop, start a non-profit to teach knitting/crocheting, etc.and dream about maybe doing the same all while my busy hands are creating something fabulous from yarn!

Have you found yourself getting knitters' block? How often do you find yourself hitting that wall? What do you do to keep from throwing in the needles? How do you keep your knitting interesting? Leave a comment, I'd love to hear from you.

Happy knitting!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Updates from Knitter Mama

So again, I've been neglectful with keeping up my blog. When you are a busy knitter, it's hard to take time out to write and keep you all updated. I apologize for that and will strive to do better in the future.

Some things that you may or may not know, I created a website that I attempted to keep up to date with information about Knitter Mama, my shop, and dates and locations of where I would be during the summer months, but I fell short. Again, it is a full-time job to keep a website up-to-date with information as well as creating an online shop on the website, time that I was taking away from my knitting. It's a great plan to have a website, but if I don't knit then I don't have product to place on my website, which kind of defeats the purpose of the website. It's this catch-22 for small business owners like myself. I work full-time, knit part-time and where do I find the time to also keep up with the digital world? With social media, websites, blogs, forums, etc...the list goes on and on. So, I decided it wasn't cost effective or a good investment at this time for me to pay for a website that wasn't accentuating my business because it wasn't being kept up-to-date. I may give it another try either later on this year or early next year.

Instead, I am going to work harder on getting my name out there through social media and learning to drive people to my existing online shop on Etsy and my new shop on Zibbet. As well as taking the time to keep up with my blog.

Speaking of my blog, you will note that I've made some visual changes to my blog and I will be making more as time goes on. But again, sitting down and deciding on what I want my blog to look like takes away from my knitting time and I tend to get anxious and frustrated because let's face it I'm not a website designer, even with the content managers that have boiler-plate designs, I struggle with color, content and overall design. But this year I've decided that if I'm going to really make my business work, I have to start working my business the way that I should.

I also will post here my locations during the summer so that if want to come by and say "Hi" to Knitter Mama you can at one of the famers' markets I like to participate in. I would like to also remind everyone that you can also follow me on Pinterest and Facebook. I look forward to a prosperous year and happy knitting!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

So Much to Talk About... So Little Time to Write

I know it has been a very long time since I last posted, geez nearly a year has gone by! And so much has happened in that year.

Let's see where to start, I turned 42 in January, yeah for my 40's, just means I'm getting that much closer to retirement and knitting on a full-time basis. In April I celebrated 9 years working at my day job, another milestone for me, I usually get pretty antsy after a couple of years of working in a job and start looking for a new one. But I guess I've gotten tired of the job jumping and am settling down, ah I must be becoming a grown-up!

My son and nephew graduated from high school this past June. I'm hoping Aiden will be starting college classes in the upcoming winter session. My brother came to celebrate the graduations with us. My sister, niece, nephew, and Aiden had a great week catching up with my brother and just having an all around good time together.

Aiden was working for a while last summer, but quit when they stopped giving him steady hours. He recently found another job and gets pretty steady hours each week. He got his first paycheck last week and was happy that he was making his own money again. He got his learner's permit over the summer and has been steadily gearing up to take his driving test soon. It brings me bittersweet joy that my baby boy is growing up and moving forward with his life. I'm looking forward to a new chapter in his life as well as my own - the empty nest is going to be hard to bear I'm sure, but it will get easier as time goes on.

Some sad news to share, we laid to rest our family pet last month, she got really ill a month after my son's graduation and we discovered after several visits to the vet and emergency veterinary hospital that she had a large tumor in her intestines and was a very poor candidate for surgery due to her age and all the weight she lost during the six weeks it took us to finally pinpoint the problem. It was a sad day when I had to break the news to my son that there was nothing more we could do for our Tara-girl. We adopted her from an animal shelter 8 years ago (she was 4 1/2 years old) and I feel our time with her was way too short.  And even though we were saddened by her loss, she will always be in our memories and hearts.

Tara enjoying some zzz's on the loveseat

I also spent the summer working at two different Farmer's Markets. I really enjoyed the comaraderie of the other vendors and the feeling of success when I sold my handmade knit and crochet products. I'm currently gearing up for the Renton Harvest Festival scheduled for October 5th at the Renton Piazza. Then in December I am once again scheduled for the Annual Kent Winter Craft Bazaar on December 6th and 7th.

That's all for now. I'll try to be more diligent about keeping up with my blog this year and in the future, but as you can imagine, life is changing around me and I'm just trying to keep up. Next post, I will take the time to share some of my finished projects and not so finished projects.

Happy knitting!!!

Tara enjoying the road trip to Long Beach, WA - July 2009

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Please join me at the 29th Annual Kent Winter Craft Bazaar

Knitter Mama will have a booth in the Green River Room at this event. I hope I will see many of you there!

Thankful for a wonderful holiday season this year, thanks to all my supporters out there.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The holidays are coming too fast...

This is usually about the time I start thinking about my holiday gift-knitting. I've had my list ready for months now and I know what I'm making for each person on it, I'm just not sure how I'm going to fit it all in. Do you get that feeling? Right around the end of September? When you see the leaves changing you know its time to switch over to your cooler weather knitting and before you know it, the holiday season has crept up on you?

Now that I am gearing up for the holiday crafts shows and events, my personal gift-knitting seems to get pushed further and further down the "to-do list".  I could remember a time before this became a business for me that I enjoyed knitting to make handmade clothing and accessories for my family and friends, now I hardly ever get the chance to knit something that I want to give as a gift. I've found over the last two years that the business side of my knitting has increased astronomically and the fun side has declined terribly. Does anyone else feel like this during this time of the year?

I like to spend time picking out the perfect pattern and the perfect yarn for each person on my list and every year, I say to myself, I will start earlier with my gift-knitting so that I'm not scrambling at the last minute trying to get them done. But for the last two years business-knitting usually picks up considerably during the months of October, November and early December and I'm cranking out other people's holiday gifts that they'll be giving away instead of working on my own personal gift-knits.

The holidays in general can be a stressful time for everyone, what with the holiday decorations already out on display in many department stores as early as October! Then there is the the cooking and baking, holiday card sending, the list goes on and on. For some people this can a miserable time of year and it can put the perkiest, most upbeat person on the verge of depression.  So in light of this fact, I scoured the web to see what others had to say about the ways they deal with the holiday stress:

Nancy at A Rurual Journal writes about how she deals with stress this time of year in a post from last December, and I found after reading it, she had some really good ideas on how to de-stress and not let the holiday season become too overwhelming. One such solution she had was: "Knit. For the sake of knitting, with no objective in mind. Just knit."

Ah, what a novel concept, I haven't knit, just for the sake of it in over two years and during this season, I'm going to make a point to do just what she suggested. Something else, I like to do other than knit/crochet for relaxation is read and this holiday season, that will be on the top of my list of must do's. My son bought me a Nook Color last year for Christmas and I'm going to put it to good use!

Denise Dador on KABC-TV Los Angeles, CA wrote: Tips on how to de-stress during the holidays, December 2010. She gave tips on de-stress on the go by using accupressure: Dr. Lawrence Taw, an assistant professor of medicine at the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine showed us three accupressure points that reduce anxiety and promote calmness. The first is a well-known one found on your hand: the pressure point between your thumb and your index finger.

"The most effective way of finding it is putting your thumb and index finger together," said Dr. Taw.

Apply pressure for 15 to 20 seconds.

"You press until you feel a sensation, that's how you know you're stimulating the point. For some people, it's very minimal stimulation, for other people you have to go much deeper," said Dr. Taw.

Jennifer Walters at Shape Magazine wrote: 3 Ways to de-stress over the holidays, November 2011. My favorite tip she gave was number 3: Say "no." Most of us get stressed during the holidays because we're overscheduled and feel obligated to do things when we really don't feel like it (or have the time). So this year, make a commitment to do less and prioritize your time for only the events that are the most important to you. Do this, and you'll kick holiday stress to the curb.

Saying, "No", yeah I have an issue saying that word, too often I find myself overwhelmed because I commited myself to doing too many things at the same time, because I just couldn't say "no". Well that will be my buzz word this year, well at least to a certain extent it will...

Above are only three of probably hundreds of great articles on tips and solutions to deal with stress during the holdiays, I know if you type in your search engine "de-stress during the holidays" you will get hundreds more, but I would like to hear from you, what do you to de-stress, or not get too overwhelmed, or deal with the anxiety of the holiday season, leave me a comment, I'd love to hear from you.

Happy knitting!!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Knitter Mama's upcoming events

I am signed up to have a booth at the Renton Harvest Festival on October 13th at the Piazza in Renton, WA, I'm signed up once again for the Pre-Black Friday Holiday Bazaar taking place on November 17th at Kent Meridian High School in Kent, WA, and I'm also signed up for the Kent Winter Craft Bazaar on November 30th & December 1st at the Kent Commons in Kent, WA. So I'm going to be pretty busy for the next two months!

I hope all of you are enjoying the fall season so far, with the leaves changing to the lovely colors of the season - orange, red, and yellow and all the variations of these colors. Now is the time to start pulling out those fall knit projects that you put away during the summer.

Now is the time to start thinking about your holiday knitting as well. Do you have your gift-knitting list ready? Do you have patterns picked out? How 'bout the right yarn for each of those patterns? I'm sure your LYS is starting to get in the great colors and fibers (wool, alpaca, cashmere, silk, etc) of the season, so go check them out!

Happy Knitting!!!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Time for another drawing

October's drawing winner could win one of the new crochet hats that I've completed over this weekend. The pattern designs come from Diane McGettigan, who if you remember my post from January 14, 2011 - Crochet Cloche Progress, I talked about a cloche I crocheted from one of Diane's patterns, that was a big hit for my friend's mother and one of my friends asked for one as well.  I really do love Diane's designs, so much that I bought two more of her patterns last week and now I'm offering one of them to one lucky winner of the this month's drawing.  All of Diane's designs are lovely and I will probably buy more because they are so quick and easy to make.

So here are the choices for this month's drawing:

Uptown Fedora
Gold Winged-Brim Beanie Cap
Tangerine Winged-Brim Beanie Cap
These are just samples of the designs, they can be made in different colors and the winner will have their choice of the following colors, Pumpkin/Tangerine (above), Butterscotch/Gold (above), Cranberry, Green, Grey, or Black.

To be entered in the drawing you have to go to my Knitter Mama Facebook page and post the final score of the Seahawks v. Green Bay game that aired on Monday night football (September 24). For everyone who posts to my page, your name will be entered into the drawing! Good luck!!!