Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving here in the US. A time where we are to stop and think about the things we are thankful for. Oh, and gorge ourselves on food. 🙂

I’m thankful for so very many things in my life right now (in no particular order):

  • A family (both blood and chosen) that supports and loves me
  • A spiritual family where I’m free to grow and learn
  • Friends who are there through it all: good, bad, ugly, pretty, and fun
  • The ability to pursue my craft and my art as my business
  • The love of a great man in my life (and his most awesome son)
  • My health, because even on the really bad days, I’m still here and still able to move on my own
  • You, my customers and fans, who have given me reason to keep going and keep doing this

So, with that last one in mind, I want to give you a token of my thanks. Now through Tuesday, November 29 at midnight on the east coast, you can save 25% on your pattern purchases over in my pattern store using coupon code THANKS. There’s a lot of accessory patterns that make great gifts if you’re looking for small items to make for those on your gift list.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend. Don’t eat too much and remember to support small businesses in your holiday shopping. 🙂

Gift Giving Guide

Ah, it’s that time of year again. The time when the TV commercials gear up to tell everyone they need to buy the latest and greatest shiny toy or gadget to prove your love to everyone in your life.

My thoughts?

Eh.

I have always preferred either handmade or items from the heart. Doesn’t mean you can’t go out and buy stuff, but buy things thoughtfully. Buy what your loved one will really love and appreciate, not what the ad companies tell you will be a good gift.

This post will have two parts. Ideas for those of you who like to crochet gifts for your loved ones and ideas for those of you who have loved ones who are crocheters (or knitters or other fibercraft people).

Ok, so you like to crochet your gifts. I hope right now that you have either already started, have a short list, or are doing small items. Now is not the time to start that stack of afghan patterns (voice of experience here).

Some of my favorite quick-ish items to make for gifts?

  • Scarves (although not so much down here in FL)
  • Fingerless gloves
  • Hats
  • Socks
  • Slippers
  • Kitchen things (dishcloths, potholders, etc)
  • Device cozies (tablets, phones, mp3 players, e-readers, laptops, etc)
  • Jewelry items
  • Small bags (for holding little things that we all have a ton of)
  • Amigurumi
  • Ornaments
  • Small home decor items (small pillow covers, placemats, decorative items)
  • Mug cozies

If you’re smart (and I’m not, I’m still learning to do this), you could use your stash to make these throughout the year. Then you have a ton of ready made gifts to choose from for those who aren’t necessarily in your inner circle (thus qualifying for really great crocheted items) but who you still want to give gifts to.

If you’re more like me and wondering where the last seven months went, then this list is perfect for everyone on your gift list. My advice? Start making things for the people in your inner circle and work outward. If you run out of time, then just buy them something. Or, you can do like I did one year…I gave my sister one of her socks and an IOU for the other one. That was one of the years I was still learning just how much I could get done in 45 days. Answer: Not as much as I had planned.

And for the record, right now I’m in a good place. I have three gifts done, two gifts started, and three others planned with yarn at the ready. I can totally do this. I hope. The big stickler is that Tunisian colorwork scarf I mentioned in my last post. Hoping that I can carve out time to work on it and get it done in time.

So, what happens if you’re reading this and you’re not a crocheter but you know one? Or, you are a crocheter but have other crocheters on your gift list? Well, then here’s some tips of things to buy for them.

  • Gift cards/certificates to their local yarn shop. Most places will work with you to do something. If they visit the shop a lot, the owner may know what yarns they tend to fondle a lot but never splurge on. If you’re given this info, buy it. You win all kinds of bonus points for this kind of thing. 🙂 Otherwise, a gift certificate works well. And you might need to put the stipulation on it that your giftees use the amount to buy something for themselves. Often we fiber people tend to buy yarn to make things for others. Remind us not to do that.
  • Magazine subscriptions. If you know that there’s a magazine your giftee buys on the newsstand on a regular basis (or has a subscription already), pay for a year of subscription to it.
  • Look for book wishlists. Check to see if your giftee uses Amazon wishlist feature. If so, boom, you’re good to go. Find a book (especially if it’s one they’ve talked about) and get it for them. Some wishlists have other things than just books, so you can find what things they may want but wouldn’t buy themselves (I have a few things like that).
  • Ravelry wishlists! If you’re on Ravelry, you can see patterns that people have put on their wishlists. It’s easy to do. Go to their queue and click on the tab that says “wish list”. You can then buy the patterns right there for them and and it’s sent to their library. It’s awesome.
  • Manicure gift certificates. Seriously, crocheting is hard on the hands. Sometimes getting to take thirty minutes out of the day and have someone massage them and make them pretty is awesome.
  • Hand care items. Lotions (scent free preferred if they crochet all day like I do), paraffin wax hand treatments, crafting gloves, etc. These are all great. If you’re not sure what type of lotion they may like, you can build a basket of different sample sizes (perfect for trying to find a new lotion) and add some emery boards, cuticle cream, and cotton gloves (to put on over an intensive lotion treatment) to it.

I hope this has given you a lot of great ideas for this upcoming holiday season. Remember, the gifts aren’t the important thing. It’s the time you spend with those you love and care about. Your actions throughout the year speak more than the trinkets you provide once a year.

And remember, if you can, support your local independent businesses and artisans. We all appreciate it.

Look Ma, no floats!

Today I’m trying a new to me technique. I’m doing colorwork in Tunisian. I don’t know if I mentioned it before, but the Red Rocks Wrap was my first ever Tunisian project. Ever. So yes, if you’re new to doing Tunisian, it’s the perfect project for you. If I can do it, you can, too.

So, colorwork. Had to look up how to change colors since it’s a bit tricky. I ended up using this You Tube video to learn how to do it. Super simple once you get the hang of where your squares are.

But, I don’t want floats. I’m making a scarf, a Tardis Scarf to be exact, and I don’t want floats. So, what does one do when one doesn’t want floats? One uses bobbins.

But what if I don’t have bobbins and I don’t feel like going out to go get bobbins? Then, I dig into my craft bag and find the little plastic tags from the potato bags that I’ve been saving. Perfect size for small amounts of yarn.

Is it more of a pain in the tail to use bobbins rather than floating yarn? Sure. There’s gonna be A LOT of ends to weave in. I’m aware of that. But, the perfectionist in me can’t let there be visible floats. So, bobbins it is.

So how’s it going? So far, so good. I’m on row 7 of a REALLY long chart. I could have done it lengthwise (I think those who have done it on Ravelry did it that way), but I prefer to have fewer bobbins. So, starting at the short end it is.

This will be a holiday gift for a very special boy who loves all things Dr. Who (so much so that he dressed as the Doctor at Halloween…complete with a Fez that I crocheted for him). More pictures as I get more finished. I’m very excited about learning something new.

Branching out

I’ve been doing something related to crochet professionally for over four years now. For the most part, I’ve been designing and teaching exclusively. These have been enjoyable, but I needed to branch out and find a way to bring more revenue streams into my business plan.

If you’ve been a reader for a bit, you know I hit a burn out stage with my designing over the summer. I’m still on break, or as I’ve started calling it for the time being, semi-retired. I have no set date on when I’ll pick up the hooks to design again. My brain and my designer soul needs to have the pressure free space to just breathe and just be. I’ve been crocheting for fun again, and rekindling that love of feeling the yarn move through my fingers and my hook to create beautiful things.

Teaching here in Florida has always been tough. Especially over the summer. Now that the temps are starting to cool off and the snowbirds are returning, I hope my classes may start filling. But I cannot rely on that to provide the bulk of my income for the time being.

So, today (with the arrival of UPS) begins the start of a new venture for me. I’ve done some casual pattern testing in the past, but now I’m starting to do official testing and tech editing. A very dear designer friend has agreed to be my guinea pig and be my first official tech editing client. I’m also doing a testing and tech editing combo for another designer friend.

I’m excited about this. I’m also a little nervous, hoping that I can do it efficiently and correctly. I’ve been told I have a great eye for detail, so I’m hoping it will work in my favor now.

I’ll add information to the Services tab of my site here as soon as I get through these first ones. For the time being, I can only tech edit non-sized items (so no garment grading math) at the moment. I may expand into garments once I am a bit more secure in my skillset. Oh, and in case it needs to be said, I only test and tech edit crochet items.

So if you’re a fellow designer and need a tester or tech editor, I’m starting to branch out into that, so contact me if you need someone!

Now, I need to get to work. 🙂

You get the presents!

Tomorrow is my birthday. But I wanted to share presents with you!

If you go to my Ravelry page (you don’t have to be signed in or a member to see that page), you can purchase any of my designs and get 10% off with using coupon code MYBDAY.

This promotion goes on now until Monday, November 7th, so take advantage of it if you wanted any of my independent designs. 🙂

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! There will be a more insightful post on Monday about what this next year in my life.

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