Sunday, April 29, 2007

Midwest Masters in Neenah

From Midwest Maste...
I'm just back from the Midwest Masters in Neenah. Click the link above for the complete photo album. I only went for 1 class and to hang out for a little bit, but I had an incredibly great time. I took a class on vintage knitting with Joan McGowan Michael.

I have to admit, I hardly took the class. I was a very bad student. I was 1/2 hour late (the reason why is worth another post) and I was chatting far more than I was knitting. However, it was worth the class fee just to see the gorgeous garments she made. A beautiful young lady named Rebecca modeled many of the sweaters for us. They all looked terrific on her.

My trip up to Neenah really paid off for me. As I had planned to do, I delivered some of my Knitter's Journey Knit-with-Wire kits to Yarns by Design (the shop that sponsors this wonderful event) But I had additional, unanticipated sales that day. My knitted jewelry sparked great interest from my classmates. In addition to selling some jewelry, I met two yarn shop owners who may have me teach knitting with wire in the near future. It was truly magical how I was making sales without trying. After the class was over, I walked into a few shops with a friend. A gallery owner admired the necklace I was wearing and ordered half a dozen necklace,bracelet and earring sets on the spot! Sorry, I don't mean to go on about myself. Having a knitting business is something that I had dreamed of doing for many years. Even though Knitter's Journey is still a micro-business, I'm thrilled with every sale.

My afternoon ended on another upbeat note when I ran into Bonnie and Anne, fellow knitters whom I know only from these retreats. We keep meeting every 6 months or year or so, and it's sweet to catch up with each other when we meet. One of my favorite things about these knitting vacations is the extended community of friends that I have found. While it was a short trip, I've more to say about my "vacation" to the Masters. Watch for a future post.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Wildcat Mittens the Sequel

I should have known I would be outed! Young Friend brought in his mittens so that I could take a picture of them for this blog. Of course, other friends saw them. "Are you going to make me a hat?" "I'd like a scarf."

Since he has already been exposed, here is Young Friend, modeling his mittens. (Shown with Mom's permission) As you can see, he likes them. YF and his Mom were s-o-o-o-o appreciative, it was even more fun to give than to make. Mom tells me she only lets him wear them on special occasions, and that she will save these in her "treasures" chest. Now that is the joy of knitting!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Wildcat Mittens

One of the most enjoyable and quick projects I knit this year were these "wildcat" mittens that I made for one of the young friends I work with. They are just your basic gored thumb mitten knit with 1 strand sport weight wool and 1 strand of Funny. I am a little bit afraid to blog about them, for fear that other young friends will see this blog and wonder why I didn't knit them a pair. I acknowledge it might have been a bit unfair of me to have made a pair for just 1 of my 14 students, but here was my reasoning:

1) At the time, I thought that maybe, just maybe, I could actually knit 14 pairs of mittens by Christmas while working full time at the real job, teaching at my LYS, creating the kits and packaging for Knitter's Journey Knit-with-Wire kits, knitting hats and mittens like crazy for the school Christmas store/craft fair, and meeting the yearbook deadline.

2) I reasoned that I was making a proto-type for future craft fair mittens, I had to work out the pattern any way.

3) I chatted with Young Friend's Mom about knitting, and she seemed to really appreciate handmade things, so I knew they would be well cared for and appreciated.

4) I regularly give out prizes for accomplishments in my class and Young Friend had done well and qualified for a prize

5) He asked me if I would make him a pair.

Let's hope that my other 13 students don't learn the secret to getting a pair of mittens out of me. Surely they won't want mittens in Spring?

Let's see, if I start now and knit all summer, I might have mittens for all my students by Fall. Of course, that would take care of this year's students. Then there's next year's students. Oh, and my lunch table. And the entire kindergarten since I work with them on so many special projects, let's see, I think that's 70 pair. Oops, I forgot last year's students. Oh, dear. . .

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Totally Wired

Yesterday, I taught a class at my LYS on knitting with wire. It's the 3rd or 4th time I've taught it for them, and the students love it because they can actually finish a project in class. Here are some examples of what we did -

I first experimented with knitting with wire the summer before last, after I attended the Bead and Button show in Milwaukee. I've been crazy about knitting with wire ever since. Here is my first wire-knit necklace.

I've made a ton of jewelry, with the intention of selling it, but I haven't sold much because 1)I'm busy with my real job and grad school and it's hard to get the marketing done and 2)I keep liking what I make too much and deciding its mine and 3)maybe I'm just really shy about getting out there and selling my stuff.

I have been a little bit entrepreneurial though, because my LYS didn't sell all the clasps and wire needed for my projects, I had to supply it, so I've created kits that they sell. They are selling well, we are both happy. Now if I would just have time to get the marketing done and stop being shy about it. . .I'm not quite ready to go global, but I've taken the first steps on another journey inspired by knitting.