Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fiber and Folk 2010

I'm packing the car and heading to Grayslake for Midwest Fiber and Folk. This is my 3rd appearance at this festival and I'm so happy to be back. I love the folk music and the mix of vendors. I suppose its because of the music, but I've noticed that this is the one fiber festival with a significant number of men in attendance, with a male to female ratio of something like 1:3 instead of 1:100.

I am bringing some goodies with me that aren't listed on my website and may never be due to their limited availability or one of a kind nature, in particular the Heart of Stone kits and Flower Pin/Earring kits. I almost hate to part with some of the Heart of Stone kits that I put together -- each stone is unique and I put careful thought into the complimentary bead combinations. The Flower Pin and Earring kits will only be available while supplies last. I expect they will go quickly at just $9 for pattern, beads, wire, and findings to make 2 flower pins and 2 sets of earrings. Do check come and check it out this weekend at the Lake County Fairgrounds. I'm booth 203. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Haul of Hearts

I went to the Bead and Button show last weekend and I scored a haul of hearts! I've been desperately searching the internet for more gemstone donut hearts to use in my Heart of Stone necklace kits, and I was worried that I would never find more. I found 35 hearts in a variety of colors at the Eclectica booth, and I snatched them up. I think I have now cornered the world market in 42mm stone hearts. Now that I have a somewhat larger, albeit still limited, supply, I will be adding Heart of Stone kits to my web store. Of course, I will continue to sell them at the knitting/jewelry shows that I do. I will be sure to have a nice selection on hand when I go to Giralte Beads and Yarn this Friday and Saturday. It will be interesting to see how long it will take before they are all gone.
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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Trunk Show

I have some exciting news! Knitter's Journey will be hitting the road this summer, with Trunk Shows at local yarn shops.  The first such event will be at Giralte Beads and Yarn in Cedarburg, WI.  If you're in the area (Southeast Wisconsin), Stop in at the store Friday, June 18 between 1 pm and 8 pm or Saturday, June 19th between 10 am and 4 pm to say Hi!

I'm so excited about this event. Giralte is one of my favorite LYS, especially because they offer both of my craft addictions --beads AND yarn!  I have a feeling I may be doing as much shopping as selling while I'm there, because the selection is irresistible.  I will be doing in-store demonstrations of knitting and crocheting with wire on a continuing basis. It will be a great opportunity for crafters to learn all the tips and tricks for knitting and crocheting with wire without having to pay extra for a class. I'll have a huge selection of kits, including many bead and color combinations that are not on my website because they are limited edition.

I love meeting my customers, and I love teaching even more.  What could be more fun than meeting my customer's and teaching my favorite subject all day long?

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Well, it's about time I told you a little more about Barcelona. What can I say except LOVED IT! DH and I both enjoy city vacations, especially cities with unique culture, entertainment and street life. Barcelona has it all.

For unique culture --there is the fact that it is Catalonia and not Spain!
(A sign that we saw grafittied on a wall, by the way). Barcelonans are proud of their culture. I was a little surprised to find more people speaking Catalan than Spanish. That really was OK, everyone understood me when I tried to speak Spanish, not because my Spanish is any good, but because my college French kept getting in the way of my High School Spanish and the words that I kept coming up with were a strange half-breed Franglish which were actually more like Catalan than Spanish!

I loved that we came upon Catalan folk dancers and some sort of Saint's Day parade, complete with giant fairytale parade people. Neither of these were staged for the tourists, but seemed to be sincere celebrations by everyday Barcelonans--The folk dancers were everyday people dressed in jeans who met every week at the square in front of our hotel to practice traditional dancing. The giant statues were, well, we never quite figured it out, but it was obviously some sort of tradition for families to enjoy with their children because whereever we saw them there were families with children parading behind.

Barcelona celebrates its unique history and architecture,especially Gaudi.
We visited Parc Guel, La Sagrada Familia, and La Casa Mila and loved them all.

We saw lots of other tourist sites including several good museums, a beautiful downtown park, the seafront, Montjuic, and the Gothic cathedral but my favorite thing about Barcelona has to be the street life. People walking everywhere all day, all night--late night shopping and window shopping,street entertainers on the Ramblas and in the squares.

Barcelona is a great place to visit, and from what I can see, a great place to live.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Knitting Here and There--from MSN to BCN

Hola! Were you wondering where I've been? After all, it's been almost a month since I last blogged. Well, I've been busy keeping true to my name--knitting and embarking on some wonderful journeys.

My first journey was a quick trip to Madison, where I was a vendor at the Madison Knitting Guild's Knit-in. The Knit In is a great little event that I was lucky to be a part of--vendors are drawn by lottery, and I was fortunate to get in for the second year in a row. It was a long day, but thoroughly enjoyable. While there, I obtained some lovely handpainted yarn from Sandy of Sandy's Palette--I swapped with her for a sale kit, and I think each of us went away happy and thinking we had gotten the better deal. I couldn't wait to start knitting up my new acquisition, so even though I already have a pair of mittens on the needles, I started another pair with my swap yarn. It would be a perfect small project for my next journey--a week in Barcelona!

There is so much to tell you about Barcelona! For today's post, I'll stick to the knitting, but watch for another post in the coming days for a strictly touristy take on the city. My knitting adventure in Barcelona started on the plane. My DH admitted to accidentally pulling out one of my "sticks" when he picked up my project from the seat pocket where I had left it. We searched deligently, but the needle was nowhere to be found. I wasn't upset though. The loss of my needle simply meant that I HAD TO visit a yarn shop in Barcelona.

On arrival in Barcelona, we made our way to our hotel, checked-in, and immediately set out for the nearest yarn shop, All You Knit is Love. The shop name reflects the warm and friendly nature of the shop owner, Jennifer, an American ex-pat, and her Catalan spouse, Miguel.

Jennifer quickly helped me find replacement needles. I enjoyed a quick tour of the tiny store, and took special note of the lovely locally produced roving. Unfortunately, I don't spin, so I passed up the roving for a European (Norwegian?) yarn in a beautiful teal shade for more mittens as a souvenir. My husband enjoyed a lengthy chat with Miguel about business and European Cup soccer while Jennifer and I talked knitting. We enjoyed our visit so much that I decided to return for the shop's S&B knitting the following evening. The knitting ladies (and one knitting man) welcomed me with a Catalan kiss on both cheeks.

I cannot say enough about the friendliness at All You Knit is Love. The shop never lacked customers during the two days that I visited, and although I don't speak Catalan and my Spanish is both limited and rusty, I could tell that the customers were loyal and felt a sense of community towards each other and the shop. I was pleased to hear the owner's good news that they will be moving to a bigger location in a busier street nearby. They are moving just two blocks over to Barra de Ferro 8--a great location, just off of Princesa and around the corner from the Textile and Picasso Museums. If you are a knitter and a visitor to Barcelona, a stop at this shop really must be added to your itinerary.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Someone Reads This Blog! and Sheep in the City

I just enjoyed a nice weekend at Sheep in The City. It's funny how every one of these fiber festival/retreat things that I go to are different. Sheep in the City definitely wins the prize for being the most social. Jan, owner of Just 4 Ewe yarn shop and the organizer of SITC, knows how to network and create fun, and she has a loyal crowd of followers coming to this event for the classes, cakewalk and comedy!

I registered late and was lucky to get a table. Despite my cramped and less than optimal location, I had good sales, so I'm not complaining. The only thing that was not so great about this weekend was that I taught 2 classes, and I felt they didn't go as well as my knitting classes usually do. We were pressed for time and I was overtired from just 3 hours sleep the night before. It was Ok, but not great . . . I know I can revise and make it better.

I think that what I enjoyed most this weekend were conversations with customers. A couple of my customers told me that they first found me online. One mentioned that she bought a couple of kits online, and had no problem following the directions and making the bracelets without having taken a class on knit with wire. (That's always good to hear) Another told me she had downloaded my Tallinn Twist--the free pattern I have on my website and on Ravelry. I was especially tickled when a last minute customer on Sunday told me she likes my blog and that is actually how she found out about Sheep in The City. So hello loyal fan(s)! Thanks for the complements, it's what keeps me going.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Color and texture, that's what its all about. Whether it's yarn or wire and beads, I love making new combinations. Here's the latest new jewelry idea. I thought I'd call it Stonehenge because of the stone circle. I will have kits in sodalite/navy, brecciated jasper/brown, and snow quartz/silver. Love it! These kits will make their debut at Sheep in the City in 2 weeks. Can't wait, can't wait!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Heart of Stone for a Cause

I knitted up a few more necklaces over the weekend. I wanted to make a Heart of Stone necklace in pink because the heart is so different from the jasper one that I made first. The pendant is a bit smaller with a much larger hole. I could have done this in silver wire, but I want to offer something with pink wire with a percentage of sales going to ABCD - After Breast Cancer Diagnosis. This is a wonderful breast cancer support group in my community. I don't know if its that I've reached a certain age where these things seem to happen, or if its simply that we are poisoning ourselves, but lately every time I turn around someone I know is diagnosed with breast cancer. Currently, 5 women at work, 1 relative, and 2 good friends are battling the disease.So I hope by donating 2% of sales to ABCD for every pink wire kit sold that I can do some small part to help women deal with this disease. I suppose the large hole in the heart is appropriate for association to this cause. Of course, I've made this second necklace and I still haven't written it up. It isn't difficult though and should get done soon if other tasks don't get in the way (which of course they always do). I think by Valentine's day will be an appropriate goal.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Blogging Backlog

Well, once again, time has passed, and I haven't blogged. I was certainly busy up through Christmas. Grad school is over! Hoorah! Holiday entertaining kept me quite busy too. But now, that is all done, and I have been relishing having my evenings and weekends back to myself. I have been having fun knitting, knitting, and knitting.

I completed quite a number of projects that I haven't posted. These pictures aren't the best and I will need to retake some that I wish to make into patterns or kits for sale, but I just felt an urgent need to post something here, so I'm not going to be too fussy about the photography.

So here we go. This is what I've been up to:

1. The Buttonless many Buttoned Vest. This is a Cheryl Oberle pattern that I actually completed in August, but I didn't post a picture because I planned to get buttons and finish it before blogging. I haven't been eager to finish because, quite frankly, it's an UGH! Not that I don't like the pattern, but the yarn is totally blah! Blah color and a stiff texture. It is a silk/wool blend that I received in a stash swap. Now I know why it was swapped. The yarn has no elasticity and the vest doesn't hug the body. I will find buttons and finish it, but I'm not sure I'll ever wear it because I feel like a chunk in it.

2. This next item is another UFO. I started these mittens a few years ago. I call them my Baltic Mittens because they have a Latvian scalloped border combined with some Estonian braids. They are not quit an Ugh!, I do like the pattern and colors, but I knit them at too tight a guage and I wish I had made a gusset thumb instead of a waste yarn thumb. For whatever reason, I made many mistakes while knitting these and reknit several times. Now the yarn looks lumpy. One mitten is done, but I don't have the courage to start the other right now--too time consuming, and other projects are pressing to get done. Back to the yarn basket for you!

3. Adult sized All American Baby Hat Finally got around to figuring the size adjustments to my All-American Baby Hat pattern. I have the new pattern with baby, child, adult sizing for sale on my website. I'm not sure what to do about the pattern on Ravelry. Do I replace the original or post this additionally?

4. Heart of Stone Necklace This will be a new kit for Knitter's Journey. I still have to write up the pattern, but I will have this for sale by Sheep in the City at the end of February.

5. Ribbon Winner Mittens -- This is a child sized version of the mittens I knit that took 1st place at the Wisconsin State Fair a few years back. I really made these as examples for the Mitten class that I will be teaching at Sheep in the City and Hands on 2010. My knitting buddies are urging me to write this up as an individual pattern and offer it for sale. I suppose I should. The problem is, I used old yarn and I don't know if I can find similar ribbon yarn. If I can find the same or similar I may make kits.

6. Baubled Rib Aran Mitts -- I started making these as a sample for the mitten class, but I may also write this up as a separate pattern. I really do love these. I can see making a variation for gloves and fingerless gloves. They need a name though. Something Irish, I think. Ideas anyone?

Hmmmmm . . . looking back on this post, I see a theme here. Knit now, write later? So, now instead of a blogging backlog, I have a writing backlog. It may be a while before you hear from me again.