Friday, December 23, 2011

It has been a while...

I've been woefully neglectful of my blog these past few months, because this is the busiest time of the year for a knitter.  Gosh, I feel like Santa Claus saying that! But it's been great making and selling my items.

In November, I officially became a Washington State small business owner/operator; I applied for a Washington State Business License and a local city business license. I am now obligated to pay state sales tax to the State of Washington! I never intended for it to go this far, I had initially began the online shop as a hobby business just to earn a little extra cash, but it has turned into almost another full-time job and my sales have picked up considerably during the months of October, November, and December. Which is wonderful for my Christmas fund money, but man am I tired.

If I'm not at my day job, I'm at home knitting into the late hours, then going to bed to get up at 5:30 a.m. to get to my day job by 7:00 a.m., work until 5:00 p.m. and then go home cook dinner for my son, feed and take out the dog and by around 7:00 p.m. I'm sitting on my couch watching my DVR'ed shows while knitting away. Whew! That's an over full day.  But I'm loving it. I really enjoy making the products that I sell and I'm happy that others are enjoying my craft.

So, Handmade Knits by Knitter Mama is now on Facebook as well as Etsy (Knitter Mama). But my Etsy, online shop is on vacation until after the new year, but that doesn't mean I get to take a vacation from knitting. I will be knitting new items all next week to post to my shop and having a 25% off sale for selected items that are currently in my shop.

Over the past few months I've knitted quite a few orders, here are just a few of those items:


I haven't let the knitting get too much in the way of enjoying other aspects of my life.  High school basketball season started in December and I've been catching all my son's JV games!  I'm not a big sports fan, and I don't watch basketball on television, but I love watching my son play.  Here he is going up for a shot at a game on December 10th:

#34 (my son - Aiden) making a shot against Kentwood
High School - December 10, 2011
(picture courtesy of BG Photography & Editing)
Here he is again, during the same game:

I swear he's about 3 feet off the floor!
(picture courtesy of BG Photography & Editing)
It is so awesome to see him play. I'm always the loudest one cheering when he scores.

It will be nice to have some down time, I will try to get some relaxtion in during my vacation, but I will be knitting, but not at such a frantic rate as I did these last few months.

Well if I don't get a chance to post again before Christmas, I hope everyone has a safe and very Merry Christmas and a prosperous and Happy Knitting New Year!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

What have I been working on?

I've been frantically knitting my fingers to the bone with hats...all shapes, sizes, and colors:

Univeristy of Colorado
University of Oregon - specifically designed for a friend
Univerity of Oregon
Purple & Gold stockinette & garter stitch beanie
Green Bay Packers
University of Arkansas

University of Washington
Third UW Ear Flap Hat

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It's Crunch Time!

I am getting down to the wire with the upcoming Pre-Black Friday Holiday Bazaar that I'm participating in again this year. I found out last weekend that they have extended the event to two days! Oh, I'm so not ready.  I've been working hard on orders from my Etsy Shop, that I haven't had any time to work on product for the craft bazaar!

I will be knitting every night until the day of the bazaar. Which by the way, will be held, November 19th and 20th, at the Kent Station Shopping Center in Kent. We will be located in the shop next door to Kay Jewelers. I'm very excited to be a part of this event again. I did fairly well last year with orders. Last year, due to our location we were hard to find, but this year we are in a better venue with a lot more exposure. The Kent Station Shopping Center has a lot of foot traffic and with the holidays coming there will be even more!

We are in a bigger space as well so there will be even more vendors this year!  Some of those vendors include: Andre Art (African-American artwork), Pearl Blossom (hair accessories), Handmade Jewelry by Amber Miller, Addie's Gifts (home decor), Scentsy (candles), Thirty-One (purses), Soap Society (handmade soaps & lotions), Miche Bags (purses), Mary Kay (make-up & skin care), Tupperware (cooking supplies, food storage, etc.), Dancing Light (crochet items), Pure Romance (adult items, lotions, creams, etc), Four Footed Fiber (hand-spun yarn and hand knitted items), Stella & Dot (jewelry), Cookie Lee (jewelry), Discovery Toys (educational toys, books, & games), Taylor Made Pantry (cake pops), Soul Boutique (vintage items: purses, jewelry, scraves, etc.), Hair Designs by Tracey (hair accessories), Dinner Pies by Carol (dinner pies), Usborne Books (children's books), Skarlet's Intimates (women's lingerie), and much more!

I hope I will see some of you there!  And now I need to get back to my knitting otherwise my booth will be very empty!  Happy knitting!

P.S. Anyone who places an order from my Etsy Shop between now and November 18th will receive FREE SHIPPING (to domestic destination only), use the following coupon code when placing your order: KMFREESHIP.  Thank you!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Countdown Begins...Only 11 Weeks Until Christmas

OMG, I cannot believe we are already in October.  I was in Big Lots two weeks ago and the Christmas decorations are already out! There wasn't a lot, but the fact that they were out in September blew my mind!

My goodness I'm so behind on my holiday knitting. I got started on these colorwork team spirit hats just to try my hand at designing and knitting in more than one color and I've gotten so many friends asking me if I could make them a hat.

What am I going to do? I love that my knitting has improved to the point that I'm actually getting requests to create or design knitted items, but I always do this to myself every year, I get bogged down with special request items that I fall behind on my gift giving projects because well there are a lot of people who want to give handmade knitted gifts to their friends and family too and either don't have the skill or just don't have the time to make it themselves.

Also, I've been trying to get items done so that I can post them to my Etsy Shop for purchase and everytime I complete a new project, I get a request to make one for a friend and I end up not getting it into my shop. Which is wonderful and exciting but my online shop really suffers because it isn't getting the exposure I'd like to get because I'm not posting new product at least weekly. But on the other-hand I'm not complaining because with the requests from my friends and co-workers comes more orders from their friends.

I'm hoping at some point, probably after the holidays, I will have some time to write down the pattern for the ear flap hat that am using to create my custom team/school spirit hats so others can make it too!

Happy holiday knitting to you all, and I hope you have gotten started on your gift knitting or if you haven't you are planning to soon - Christmas will be here before you know it!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Just in time for Christmas

I've been having so much fun designing the team hats and showing them off through Twitter and Facebook that I have been getting custom requests. So now you can place an order for your favorite team or school custom colorwork designed earflap or beanie style hat at my Etsy Shop!

Here are a few of the requests I've gotten so far:

University of Colorado Buffaloes
NY Jets
 I have modified the earflap hat so that it is more like the style of the old football helmets worn in the early 1900's. The brim is 1x1 ribbing, the earflaps are knitted double-stranded for additional warmth over the ears, the i-cord ties are double-stranded as well and the hat is embellished in an accent color using the reverse single crochet stitch, below is an example using the University of Oregon school colors, that I finished a few days ago:

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Baby Apple Bottom Pants

Last night I finished a pair of my own version of apple-bottom pants. These were made for my good friend, Jodi who wanted something special for her friend who had a baby girl over the summer.

I made a little yellow dress back in August and set it aside wanting to think about what to make to go along with it. Since Jodi didn't need the gift until October, I figured I had plenty of time to think up something.

Well I on Friday, I thought that a pair of pants would be great to go with the dress, since the weather is getting cooler. Since the dress had apple buttons, I thought I could make apple-bottom pants! And I've been doing a lot of colorwork these past few weeks and I've been wanting to learn how to add color to small areas without having to do Intarsia or stranded knitting - a friend from my Wednesday Knit-night mentioned the duplicate stitch.

I looked it up on Youtube and found a really great video on how to use this technique and below you can see what I learned.

The really great part about the dress I chose is that it can be worn first as a dress, then as a tunic, and then eventually as a shirt. It's made out of cotton and will stretch as baby grows.

Little Sisters's Dress (Rav link)
by Tora Froseth Design (Rav link)
Added apple buttons on the side closure
Baby Bell Bottoms (Rav link) by Alison Hansel (Rav link)
Used duplicate stitch (Youtube tutorial) to add little
apples to the bottom of the pants - my version
of the apple-bottom pants for baby.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Got my first custom request!

I received a tweet from a guy who saw my UW Team Spirit Hat on Twitter and wanted to know if I could make one for the Ducks?  Well, I thought, sure why not?! I tweeted him back to verify the team - University of Oregon Ducks? He said yes, and so I got to work on a design for them (see below), sent it to him and he tweeted back saying, "That looks great!" And he wants to place a custom order at my Etsy Shop!

Go Ducks!
Finished Ducks earflap hat - added
as a custom order to my Etsy Shop
Close-up of "O" using duplicate stitch
Wow, I was just having some fun with colorwork and making hats for my son to wear to school. Since he has been graciously allowing me to use his head to gauge the fit of my finished hats; I made him one in his favorite basketball team colors - Chicago Bulls - red and black. He's been wearing it to school in the mornings because its a bit nippy out there at 7 a.m. standing at the bus stop.  And he keeps getting questions from his friends on where he bought his hat, he just laughs and says, "my mom made it for me!" They of course are amazed and want to know can I make them one too?!

The red & black on the right is the one my
son likes to wear to school
A co-worker saw the WSU hat I was working on and she told me not to even bother posting it to my online shop, that she wanted to buy it for her son's girlfriend - and I wasn't even done with it yet!  It seems I can't make them fast enough!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Team Spirit Hats

I've been having so much fun with colorwork these days! I've been inspired to create team spirit hats. You saw from my previous post the Pittsburgh Steelers team color inspired hat - my son was crazy about it, so I had a thought - what if I made more of these kinds of hats?  My son gives me the ideas and I try to create a hat from the color scheme of the team.

For instance I came up with my own colored chart to create a hat for the UW Huskies:

Go Huskies!!!
Reminiscent of the early football helmets of the 1900's
Earflaps are knitted double-stranded for warmth
Made with Lion Brand Wool-Ease in Oxford Grey,
Violet, and Gold 
Learning colorwork has been challenging yet fun and its opening up more design ideas. Also, now when I come across colored charts I'm not so intimidated. In the past I have steered away from patterns that require me to read a chart and especially any that had colorwork designs!  Now that I've designed a few of my own colorwork patterns, I say, "bring on the colored charts - I'm not afraid of you!!!"

I am currently working on of course UW's rival team - Washington State University Cougars, for which I have also designed a colorwork pattern for and of course I can't leave out the Seattle Seahawks - I designed a really cool pattern for the team color scheme for them. I will post pictures of the hats when I'm done, but in the meantime here is a sneak peek at the design I created for the Seahawks team spirit hat: 

Have you started your holiday knitting?  Have you decided on patterns and designs for the colder weather yet?  Would love to hear from you, come on and drop me a comment.  Happy knitting!!

Update: Finished September 28, 2011

As promised here is the women's WSU beanie with pom pom that I designed and below is the colorwork pattern for it:

Model: Vanessa, a friend at work
Update: Finished September 30, 2011

Seahawks, Sounders FC, or Thunderbirds Team Spirit Beanie
Close-up of colorwork design

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Trying my hand at colorwork

I've been trying out different designs of colorwork. I mostly stay with two colors and I design my own colorwork patterns. I figure I should learn how to design them to understand them better if I'm going to try out other written pattern. My post New Hats on the Horizon have some simple designs I created on my own, but this one is a more elaborate design I created this weekend:

As you can see here the beginning design is stretched out - I knitted too
tightly and the design loses its look
From this angle you can see that the top design came out better, once I
loosened my hold on the secondary yarn
I realized when I started the next section of the design (the red strip) that I did the first section too tight and the hat is really snug and the design is being stretched out.  I learned to let up on the secondary yarn and weave it along loosely so the design doesn't get stretched when you put it on.  I'm thinking of frogging this and doing it again. Not sure yet. But I'm really happy with my first attempt at my own design and the results.  Will be trying it again and again, until it I can do it without thinking!

What are some of your colorwork designs?  Have you designed  your own? Would love to hear from you other knitters out there with some tips and tricks on how to make this easier for a knitter who knits too tight?

Happy knitting!

Update: Just finished September 19, 2011:

Pittsburgh Steelers inspired earflap hat
I did a little better with this tri-color earflap hat.  Colorwork is getting a bit easier the more I do it.  I'm no expert but I figure practice makes perfect!