Magnificent Obsession

I am in the process of moving a lot of things. I am moving project photos from a file marked 2009 – don’t ask – into one marked project photos because that just makes sense to me.

I am also breaking down the yarn that all of a sudden seems to have taken over my office again. It has not, it’s just that I’ve taken stuff out of the containers and it is free to look like a future episode of Hoarders – you know, like, the ‘Best of Hoarders.’ I grabbed some yarn that was the start of an afghan I quickly decided against and I have to separate the different blues from each other but once that is done, I will have more than enough to make a hat of blue colors.

So why am I showing you the scarlet though it looks orange hat? Because it was the first one moved from the old folder to the new one. Hey, my logic is my logic and you should be used to it by now.

The unwinding of the  yarn from the abandoned afghan will take some time – not a lot of time – but some time and in the past I would have just started knitting and paid the consequences later. One the one hand, I know there would be consequences and I would plow along anyway. On the other hand, it was totally unnecessary when just a little patience and prep work would have meant knitting without consequence – at least without the consequence of detangling old knitting from new. Better to take the time now. Let that be a lesson in more than knitting.

My friend Ruth writes that she will be opening and Etsy store selling vintage jewelry! I can’t wait to see it because I know it will be great. She has one of those golden touch things going on.  I know the pieces will be beautiful, I know she will take great photos of them and I know the shop will be successful. I’m trying to guess the name:  ‘Beyond Rubies’ as in a woman’s value is beyond rubies. All who know her sings her praises. See, I just gave her an idea. People used to pay me for that.

BTW, there’s a blog roll on the right and it is a list of just some of the blogs I visit and read. As I run across them from the old blog site, I will put them up – there are some new ones as well and they aren’t all knitting related – OK, 99% of them are but knitting is life. If you get the chance, click on one or two. You’ll not only find talented craft folk, but also great photography, good writing and little pieces of other lives that confirm we are all the same with a story to tell and a need to tell it.

Not alone. I like it.

 

No Problem

Updated other blog pages!

It’s found. It was in the other zippered container. Of course, knew it was there all along.

I dropped in on the sidewalk sale and my goal was to come away with some merino at a cheap price.  How about merino normally between $9 – $12 for $2 and $5? 23 skeins of 100% merino wool yarn – 13  skeins in a luscious violet and 10 in black for $83. Under $4 a ball.

Kiss the ring.

When I went to put the yarn in the trunk of the car, I found a bag of I Love This Yarn Mr. Honey didn’t bring in – so I got the added surprise of new yarn I didn’t know I had. What a great day.  Made going to church worthwhile.

We had the Sit and Knit yesterday. I promise there will be photos – I know cuz I took them and there will be a total hat count from both events. Because I have the hats, too. I will be in contact with the Cancer Treatment Center of America to see when we can take a road trip to Zion to see the facility and drop them off. Blesses and thank you to all who came out and made the day a fun day.

I gave away some books yesterday and do you know; I don’t miss them one little bit.

I am wishing a happy 40th anniversary to my brother-in-law, Norm and his wife MaryKay. They knew when they were in grade school that they were the ones and they waited until the ripe old age of 20 to tie the knot. Now that knot is tighter than ever as they are parents of 4 and grandparents of 4.

And on it goes.

 

Heroes

Still missing. But I am determined to find it and now I know I will have to redo the inventory anyway when I was going through the inventory and found a hat that I pulled out and said ‘this is nice. When did I make this?”

Yeah, we need to make an inventory list. I know you’re asking: “we, who?” I meant me, I just wanted to feel not so quite alone in my disorganized – ness.

Tomorrow at 9am I am supposed to be at Pleasant Home greeting knitters who are coming to make caps for Cancer Treatment Center of America. Am I ready? Hah.

That’s what the last minute is for. I will probably be pulling myself out of bed around 7, out of the shower by 7:30 and then I will be awake enough to know I should be getting ready right now and not then.  But that is then and this is now.

My sales are stuck on 47. Yes, I know, I had 33 at the beginning of the year and I didn’t get my first sale this year until March. I am not being ungrateful and I am being just a little whiny. I keep saying  to myself  it will pick up at the holiday season and I hope I am right.  The views and the other stats keep improving – the only left are the sales.

But there are little heroes everywhere. I have run into some folks on-line who are willing to provide tips and assistance along with their encouragement. That makes hanging in there a little better. I am now on three Etsy teams and I think two teams on Zibbet. I am making the effort. Would be very nice to see a pay off.

Hey, get your friends to like my Facebook page where I have a deal of the day going on – you’re eligible for it, too, though why you wouldn’t just knit your friends something yourself is beyond me.

I am praying for those folks, friends and relatives that are in the path of the storm. God keeps a watchful eye but that doesn’t mean disasters don’t happen and tragic things don’t occur. Make yourself safe. Help someone else who needs it and hopefully we will all see each other on the other side.

 

One Thing Leads to Another

We met Ellen last night at StitchCraft – poor darling – there was someone sitting in our usual spot so Vick and April – who were there first, sat somewhere else. I arrived and didn’t see them so I sat down in our spot – which was no empty. Ellen was right behind us and when Vick and April found me, Miss Ellen was about to give up until we decided the best thing to do was to find out if she was there for us. So sorry, Ellen. We will be so much better the next time – mainly because being worse would be so hard.

The decision has been made to make scarves the anchor product in the Zibbet shop. The decision has also been made to pay more attention to the Zibbet shop. That will be easier because Zibbet joined with MOO to give all shop owners 50 free all color, double-sided business cards. Mine (from the proof) will be beautiful and will feature five of my creations: three hats, an afghan and a sweater. On the back, with a black background, is a photo and the three websites and email. Like I said – snazzy. Can’t wait to get them in my paws. They should be here between the 5-8 of next month.

I have eleven hats and a scarf waiting to be photographed. I don’t know what I’ve been doing but taking pics isn’t among them – I guess I’ve been busy making hats for there to be so many of them.

I also need to knit more hats. I am crocheting hats to a ratio of almost 2:1. My knitting needles are getting together and I think they are going to stage a coup.

I don’t know if I told you I was making something with Sensation Rainbow Classic – I was frogging a UFO and the fibers kept catching and I got to the last two rows of the frog and gave it up and started using the nice, neat ball. So much nicer.  Originally, I was thinking to make a scarf then it was going to be a blanket now it’s back to being a scarf. It will match this hat. I can’t imagine the person who would be able to carry off that much rainbow-ness but God bless them if they try. I fear too much if it makes it look like a clown – and we know how scary they can be. I remember buying this yarn because of the color. This is why you don’t let me loose in places where they sell yarn. It took all these years to figure out what to do with it.

On the other hand, it is a testimony to the stash bust that I am down to it. Some plans just know how to come together. The Yarn Crawl is going on in Chicago and I have not visited a single store (or any store in case you thought I was playing with semantics.) I am holding out this weekend for the sidewalk sale at Mosaic. They don’t have the friendliest staff so it would take something like the great sidewalk sale to get me back to the store. Shame cuz they do have some nice stuff. If they had nice people to go with it I could see it becoming the place I go when I need to special order. But that won’t happen. But I am curious to see what fabulous deals they have on sale.  I promise, I will show all due restraint.

I will.

This River Runs…

Updated artisan profiles, stitchcraft and book review pages!

I was taking a walk the other day and it reminded me of a time when I was in high school. I was a freshman and I took tennis in gym. The only reason I took up tennis was because I had a crush on the tennis coach. He was also a school counselor and he was my brother’s counselor which meant he should have been my counselor the following year and I would have found a reason to need advice everyday.

But fate rerouted the plan and instead of him being my counselor, I got Mrs. Bierly, whom I adored but she wasn’t as cute as the other guy so I took up tennis even though he wasn’t the girl’s tennis coach, but it still gave us something in common.

I was lousy at tennis. So bad that I was the last person on the secondary team. This secondary team never got to play but they got to travel with the team. Over the summer, I decided to hone my skills. I got up in the morning and ran about a half mile, then walked the twenty blocks to the high school and met a friend and we played tennis three hours and then I walked back home. I was in the best shape of my life and the next year I was a highly ranked player on the first squad. Got myself a tennis scholarship went to college where my doubles partner and I lost only one match, transferred to another school where my doubles partner and I went undefeated.

I need that kind of focus and drive again. That was me back then and I need to call on her to help me in this last phase of my life.

Have I showed you this yet? This was such a surprise for me. I have a lot of this Sensations Rainbow yarn and I had no idea what to do with it when I decided to see how it would look as a hat. And it looks pretty darned cute.

Of course, I thought if I put it in the shop people would be beating down my computer door to open it and that hasn’t happened. I am hoping for a good Christmas season. I’ve been really busy. There are at least six hats and one scarf that need to be photographed and I need to get that done so I can put them in the shop.

The stats for the shop continue to improve and I am hoping that all the favorites people are marking indicate they will purchase something in the immediate future. Of course, when I mark a favorite it doesn’t mean that at all.  But I have made purchases from Etsy shops – got a beautiful pair of earrings a few weeks back – so I am hoping the karma is still good.

I had a goal of getting 100 views between the shop and the blog and that is on the road to happening with much of the traffic going to the shop – which is a surprise – but thanks to the changes Etsy made and the changes I’ve made it’s well on the way. I can now set a new goal of learning, creating and implementing a plan to turn folks into buyers.

Mr. Honey’s refurbishing of his car continues as well. Little boxes arrive almost every week with parts and get this, I told him I was going to Hobby Lobby because the fabulous April and beautiful Jessie had never been and instead of looking fearful that more fiber was about to invade the castle,  he sent me over to Harbor Freight (his Hobby Lobby) to purchase some brushes. Incidentally, I did not have a yarn invasion though I did come home with three balls of cotton yarn in colors I didn’t know they had.

I don’t think I currently have anything on the needles. I don’t even know what I want to do next so I am going to move to my right where there is a bag which I am certain is holding  some yarn. I will look in and see if the yarn tells me what it wants to be. Maybe it wants to be an afghan, scarf or hat – how convenient considering that’s what I sell.

 

A Woman In Love

I am a woman in love with life and with my life in particular.

Yesterday, though it rained mercilessly on the block party, was a good day. The wonderful Melissa, fabulous April, beautiful Billie and marvelous Vickie (with her wonder dog, Valerie) came over yesterday to enjoy the block party – which turned into a series of house parties because the weather sent everyone indoors.

However, the grill was going and on it was a pork roast that I prepared. And it was soooooooo good. I think there’s one little piece left and Mr. Honey and I are already circling each other to see who is going to get it!

On top of that, I completed a hat using snesations Rainbow fron Joann that is a mohair fiber and it came out so nice! (I know you are thinking insert photo here as proof) but I haven’t been downstairs yet this morning and I was busy with party stuff yesterday so I haven’t had a chance to take the pictures yet – but you know I’m good for them.

I also didn’t have any pain yesterday until late in the day. I don’t want to think two events could be related but I didn’t eat all day. My first meal was dinner at about 5. I have always held the view that an active life is the best diet.  Not one of those stressed out, harried existences we carve our for ourselves and call it busy. No, I mean one of those lives where you are doing what you have to do and also what you want to do. Where you enjoy friends and spouses – even when they get their annoying company demeanor – and overall good stuff. That kind of life makes you feel fuller so you don’t need food as much. Food becomes a detail.

But after I ate dinner, I noticed the pelvic pain and it stayed for a couple of hours but was gone before I went to bed. Can food cause pain? Yes, I know a visit to the doctor. It’s on my list of things to do.

Did I show you this cap yet? I don’t think so. I think I showed you the gray one that was a slouch hat. This one is a cap and I have dubbed it the Hall of Fame cap because it reminds me of a baseball cap with a little extra (the strip and buttons being the extra.) This one is already in the shop. The gray slouch will go in next. That could be in a day or two. I have to pay attention to the other entities in the empire. I’ve been having so much business fun with Etsy since they’ve made the changes that everything else has been ignored and that cannot be good for the book(s) that need to be finished or the new shop on Zibbett which needs attention.

One other great thing happened: because the outlook for the weather was rain and there was a possibility that I was going to have five people in my house, I had to do some straightening up. I didn’t go all out because I really don’t know what that means, but I did think it would be a good thing to change the living room from the yarn barn it was looking like to at least something folks could congregate in – even though mostly everybody there was a knitter or crocheter (poor Mr. Honey and beautiful Billie) I wanted them to think I didn’t have services for humans to sit on.

I took the opportunity to start the great yarn sort – the second phase of getting the stash under control. I got one of the huge gazillion gallon tubs and took it downstairs and filled it (not even to the top!) of unused skeins of yarn. In the big bags went remnants with the cotton yarn having its own bag. I must say it worked out reasonably well. People sat the yarn looked imposing but not overpowering (there’s a lot of it there) and as I said, the pork was really good. As was the cole slaw Melissa brought, the red velvet cake April brought and the macaroni and regular salad with homemade dressing Mr. Honey made. Miss Vicki and Miss Valerie brought Duke some dog treats – so he would snack on them and not on Miss Valerie how is about ten pounds to Duke’s 75.  I think she could have taken him but why take the chance?

A few of us are meeting today in Evanston and I thought about not going – I mean, I saw them Friday and I will see two of them tomorrow – but the lovely Laeh will be there today and I haven’t seen her in quite some time – she’s been away at camp – so that is worth the trip. Not to mention, it means a stop at Illinois Nut and Candy, one of my new favorite stores.

A woman in love, indeed.

That’ll Be The Day

I had to meet the girls over at Panera Bread for our StitchCraft meetup. We were going to meet over at Knot Just Knits, but the beautiful Elizabeth is on vacation and when she is on vacation, the store is on vacation. So we camped out at Panera Bread.

The attendance roll: April (who rode her bike) Vicki, Marion, Pilvi (back from Finland and she got a bunch of yarn none of which she is sharing with us – I don’t blame her a bit.), Jessie, and me. We sat in the corner and ate and knit, crocheted and mostly made sure our cars didn’t get towed. Believe me, once is enough for that.

I was working on the afghan – I think I got all of one square completed in the 2.5 hours I was there but being with my girls is the most important thing, doncha know? Besides, I will see some of the tomorrow for the block party.

Anyway, as has been the usual thing the last few times, I went into the office this morning to make a bag for Jessie – who has discovered a closet with shelves in her room – and is using it to hold her yarn – the closet is now called Narnia.  I went to make her a yarn bag of goodies and I couldn’t do it. I have culled a great deal of yarn that the true process of sorting and storing (same letters different arrangement) can now happen.

This makes me quite happy. I have several hats that have been knitted and photographed. Have I showed you this one already? Yes, it appears I have.

OK, let’s move on. Did I show you the new classic on in green? Don’t remember? Me neither. There are some really cool ones I know I haven’t shown you because I haven’t done the final cropping and editing but wait til you see them – they are cute. You’ll really think so, too.

I have an upstairs project going – it’s near the end. I also have another blog in Tumblr going. It is strictly about the back story about the hats I make. I have a knitted slouch on the needles downstairs. Requires some concentration, I’ve already started over once and declared some stitches to be design features. I am tempted to try it all over again and if there’s another design feature phenomenon I may have to do just that. Let us hope it doesn’t come to that I am fairly far along – not really – it would just be a pain to do.

The upstairs cap is aversion of this cap. Didn’t I tell you you’d think it was cute?

Listen, Mr. Honey has been gone all day. He is on a boy’s day out at a car show. I can only imagine how popular he is going to be when he is through with the car and taking it around.  As it is, he is very popular with my girlfriends. I think the girls will have to step aside because boys will want to hang out with him, too. I’m going to have to really get the house in order because we’re gonna be the cool house. I won’t begrudge him a second of it. He was pretty much of a loner in school and this is his chance to get some buds of his own. I have some and I know my life is the richer for it. He should have some, too, and find out how much better alone he is when he has folks he can hang with.

We’ll see how I really feel when he starts spending more time away from home.

 

 

Cloud Nine

I had a good day yesterday and I am heading towards a good day today. Now, having said that, I am having some pelvic pain like ly pelvic bones are being crushed but other than that….

I am working on newsboy caps. I don’t know why they have become an obsession but I am working on my third one in two days and I made a 3 rib hat yesterday as well. That’s right, I have done 3 caps in two days. (Leave your offerings at the altar.) And you know what else? I even took pics of them already.

I know it looks orange but this is red – scarlet red – and it was a quicker knit than I remember it being when I did it the first time last year.  In fact, it’s a little slouchy because I did rounds I wasn’t supposed to do because I wasn’t paying attention. I do like it though so in it stayed.

 

I did this hat after I did the first newsboy cap. I wanted a newsboy baseball cap so I lowered the rounds of ‘flat crochet’ in order to get this. It’s a little type so I would probably do one less decrease round if I have to make it again, though this one fits on my big head so it’s probably OK.

This gray one is pretty much a regular slouch with a bill attached to it. I didn’t want the big stitches so when I made the blue one, I changed the last rows of DC into HDC and that took care of it a little

These won’t go into the shop for a couple of days. I have another on the hook and this one is made of chunky weight yarn so I went from a hook size I to a J. It’s also very colorful. I’ve had this yarn for a couple of years and the only things I’ve managed to do with it is use it as a border for a baby blanket and giving some of it to the wonderful Jessie.

Do you like the buttons? I bought a bag of buttons from Hobby Lobby (Let us have a moment of reverent silence for the great HL…..thank you.) and I’ve been using them for various things. it’s an odd assortment so there’s no telling if these exact buttons will make it to another hat. Of course, it depends on my mood as well.

This Saturday we are having the block party.  Last year we moved the patio furniture to the front lawn along with the grill, put a leash on the pooch and joined in the festivities. The year before that we were invited and went down to a neighbors, the years before that we made sure we were out of town. This year, we have invited the wonderful Melissa, fabulous April, remarkable Chantal, terrific Vickie along with my BFF Billie to join us.  The house is not going to get too incredibly clean but clean enough – hey, we’ll be out front…

Nothing much else is going on…I have had no sales in August but I have done the work to have my items ranked better than they were before and I can tell by the tracking that traffic to the shop has picked up. I can only hope that means more potential buyers are looking and marking – as opposed to it being linked to ‘those kinds’ of sites. But then those folks need to stay warm between takes and I ain’t that proud.

There was a small furor on the forums because someone who just opened their store had 400 sales in one day and 600 over about three days but if someone googled her they would have seen she was all over the internet before her store opened. She created quite a buzz for herself and it paid off. I am going to study where she was to see if I can make it work for me. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and I want to flatter her all the way to my success!

 

 

 

 

 

Just One

After this I will be going shopping for a doll. I will be going to Goodwill store as I don’t want to spend a huge amount of money for a doll. I will be taking the two baby sweaters I made with me so I can try them out on the doll(s) and I know I will be risking looking like a crazy person trying clothes out on a doll – but you know my intentions are pure. Besides I look like a crazy person for so many reasons one more reason isn’t going to tip any scales.

I’ve got to finish a damn book. I’ve started some. I’ve even completed drafts but nothing to the point to get it off to a publisher.  I’ve got to finish a book. Fun things happen when you finish a book and then get the book published. I think fun things happen. I imagine fun things happen. But I won’t know for certain until I finish the book, get it published and then see if the fun begins.

I have a couple of them started now and I am diligently working on them. But hoping won’t get it done and wishful thinking only massages the brain. I need to finish a damn book.

Under the category of ‘who knew?’ this hat came off the needles a while back and it took a little while to photograph it. Then when I finally got around to it, the light was a little too dark and I had to do it again.  I did it again, put it in the shop two days ago and it has already made it to three favorite lists. Who knew?

I think this increasingly urgent desire to finish the book has to do with the competitiveness I am feeling about getting the items in my shop ranked higher – something which has already happened, I have even made it to the first three pages of the Google Shopping search under hand knit hats.  I am determined to have more items show up there. There’s one shop on Etsy where they are on just about every search page and that’s because they have over 500 items to offer. I am not going to get there because it’s more than one person knitting, but there’s no reason for me not to be able to make a mark. They have over 500 items, I have a little over 60 and moving fast.

Now I want the book to go with it because I think the synergy would connect all three. I can travel around with my knitting, signing books and connecting the two. Doesn’t that sound like fun? I am wondering if I want to go the normal route and try to get it published or if I should self publish and try to push it myself. Gee, that sounds like a lot of work.

I have in my head that Stephanie, Debbie and I will be on some talk show together talking about our craft and our writing.

It could happen.

After All

Still haven’t found this cap. Which means it’s probably exactly where it’s supposed to be – in the container with all the other completed hats and I somehow, inexplicably, do not see it. This will continue to bug me on and off (OK, mostly off..but still.)

I have already been hard at work since eleven. Mr. Honey and I were up after 3 this morning talking. Unusual for him but he is going through a bout of sleeplessness which means when I come to bed at my normal 2, I cannot drift lazily into sleepy land because my spousal unit thinks that I come to bed not sleepy because I come to bed about four hours after he does. The logic is that when one comes to bed at a ‘normal’ hour (any hour he goes to bed) it is because one is sleepy. When one comes to be at an ‘abnormal’ hour (any hour I come to bed) it’s not because I am sleepy, it’s just the next thing on the schedule. Add to that a bladder acting totally diabetic and I went to the bathroom a couple of times during the night early, early morning. Nevermind that my mind and body starts counting the moment I get into bed and will say it’s time to get up exactly five hours after I go to bed regardless of how many times I am awakened by a bothersome bladder or insomniactic  hubby. Yes, I created a word, call Oxford.

I’ve been spending that last couple of hours reading up on how Etsy is changing how folks find their way to the individual shops. It seems there’s a thing called ‘tag stuffing’ who knew? It sounds positively indecent. But it’s not indecent just immoral by some business standards.  See how interesting you find this – for every item I put in my shop I get to add tags to describe it so when a potential buyer is on the site they can put in something like ‘hat’ and all those items tagged with ‘hat’ will come up. We are allowed 13 tags. (I think at one time we were allowed more.) Some folks, call them clever if you like, are doing things like putting ‘hat cap beret’ all in one tag – in other words, tag stuffing.

This is expressly not allowed – you do something like sterling silver because that makes sense, knitted cap would be allowed as that makes sense, but putting different types of hat in one tag is not allowed. And folks are up in arms because, it seems, the algorithm that runs the search engine, rewards the tag stuffers with a higher position than those whose tags are unstuffed.

One would think the solution would be to change the algorithm so the tag stuffers are not thusly rewarded.

But that would be too simple a solution because..

While Etsy doesn’t like tag stuffing, Google seems to love it. And Google brings a lot of folks to Etsy. So, on the one hand: tag stuffing bad in the house. On the other: tag stuffing good because it brings people to the house. What to do? What to do?

This stuff fascinates me as does watching people turn themselves inside out over the morality of tag stuffing.  I am amazed at the human ability to make everything a crisis.

We are God’s funniest creation.