Friday, July 30, 2010

The scarf that launched a thousand tears

Behold: the bane of my existence.

Okay, not really. This is a traveling scarf that's going around my group now. I have to admit I loved it just a little bit - the colors of the yarn and the yarn itself were fantastic, and so is the pattern the original owner chose.

Except that I have attempted this pattern multiple times in the past and always wound up throwing out the result and crying. Well, maybe more like cursing.

It seems simple enough. On the right side, you knit one stitch then slip stitch with the yarn in front; opposite for the wrong side. But heck, if you mess up once, good luck keeping that all straight if you need to knit back. Of course, I did have to knit back a couple times because I wasn't paying attention (that's what I get for working on this in the car).

But as with all projects, I came out of this one unscathed and proud of myself for conquering my demon. I know, what a terrible demon it was, right? Working with beautiful yarn - awful!

She requested several flower colors, so I chose pink and purple. Are you all shocked? I used this Rose Brooch pattern that I've used a couple times with crochet thread to made teeny tiny scrapbooking flowers. It's much, much easier using a larger hook and yarn! I think they look great together - what do you think?

Hope you all have some great weekends planned! I'm getting together with some lady friends tomorrow night for a nice homecooked dinner, some Alice in Wonderland, and crafting - of course! I'll be taking my famous cookie dough cheese ball. What are you working on this weekend? :D

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

So, what is this OpenSky business I keep seeing?

You may have noticed that as of this week, there has been a pretty blue countdown clock on my blog.  If you haven't noticed, then you should drop by more and make yourself at home :)  I won't have tea, but there will be plenty of coffee, yarn, and unnecessary sass.

In any event, that countdown clock is doing just what it's supposed to do: count down to something exciting.  "But Jenn," you say, "Your blog is about yarn and cats.  And sometimes you throw in random wedding pictures of people we've never met, too.  Can it get even more exciting?!"  Oh, it can!

I am more than jumping-out-of-my-skin excited to announce that I will soon be opening my very own OpenSky shop!

For those of you who haven't heard about OpenSky, then you absolutely have to check it out.  Especially for beginning crafters, it can be hard to know where to begin.  You walk into a chain store like ACMoore or Michael's, stand in the yarn aisle, and become overwhelmed at all the different-sized hooks and needles that hang before you.  Some are tiny and come in groups of five; others are ginormous and are attached in the center by a cord.  And let's not even talk about those ones with hooks on both ends.  What do they do?!

If only you could buy something based on a recommendation...

That's where OpenSky comes in.  If you read my last entry about Independent Crafters vs. The Super Store, then you know how I feel about places like Wal-Mart and other overly-popular chain stores that kill local economies (okay, it's gonna take awhile to ween me off Target, but you know...).

I think it's time we all get back to our roots, support the people behind the products, and make buying a personal experience again.  I'm not talking about direct-selling, either.  I'm talking about being able to go to an online shop maintained by someone you trust and knowing that what you're buying is the right product for your needs.  It's being able to speak with people who have used the products before and can give you their honest opinion about the best ways to use them.

OpenSky is about connecting people, making buying something less of a chore and more of an experience (or maybe I'm the only person who looks at driving to our local densely-populated park-five-miles-away-just-to-buy-a-book mall as a chore).  That's why I love it, and that's why I'm opening my own shop.

So, I know what my goal here is: to bring the best-of-the-best kniting and crochet supplies to you.  My favorite yarns, gadgets, etc, are all items I hope to feature.  But forget all that - what would you like to see in my shop that you're just not getting anywhere else?  Or what's a fun feature of your local yarn shop that I could incorporate?  Because even though this shop will be under my name, its purpose is to make sure you guys have everything you need to make your hobby even more enjoyable.  So let me know :D

Okay, enough of that, and back to teh kittehs:

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Independent Crafters vs. The Super Store

Hey, everyone!  As most of you know, I'm working toward my MBA with a focus in Marketing.  As part of that process, I have to take pesky classes like Economics, haha.  Okay, so it wasn't that bad.  Anyway, my final project for class was to pick a topic related to economics.  Some examples given were how knock-off handbags affect the fashion industry, talk in-depth about Reagonomics, and all that good stuff.

Of course, I chose to write about the craft industry and its effect on the economy.

I'm really proud of this project, and I learned a lot about small businesses.  I thought I'd share my paper with you because you might be interested (and maybe it'll give us all a little boost to update our Etsy shops more often :P).

Independent Crafters vs. the Super Store

Insert some stuff here about how this is copyrighted by me and you can't plagiarize my project, blah blah blah :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My First Doily - And It's Purple!

My First Doily - And It's Purple!

Any normal person would decide to make a doily, pick up some white thread, and get to work. Me? I chose purple.

Which means my first doily doesn't match anything in our house, so I'll probably have to sell it or give it away or something, haha. In any event, I'm really pleased with the result.

So yes, this is my first attempt at a doily. I'd stayed away from them in the past because hey, doilies are for old people to make, right? Plus, I really, really used to hate working with thread. I'm used to it now, but in the past, I couldn't stand how it would saw through my fingers.

But I was inspired after my bridal shower last summer when a family friend crocheted a doily for me. I hadn't had much chance to sit down and actually make one, though. But there's been a two-week break in my traveling scarves group, and I had a week off from classes recently, so I decided to pick up some thread and go to town.

I worked this up over a couple nights. I probably could have done it faster, but I lacked ambition and I've been exhausted from working, classes, and having somewhere to go pretty much every weekend since the end of May. Not to mention, I had to rip back a couple rows at least twice because I added an extra stitch here and there. Then toward the end, I thought I was going to run out of thread, so I just wanted to stop, and the picot edging was becoming tedious.

But I made it through (with the help of several True Blood marathons)! And I'm so happy I did.

The photos were taken with my new iPhone :D Not too shabby! As you can see, I have yet to block the doily, but I'm usually too lazy to do the blocking I should. Maybe someday :)

If you'd like to make your own pineapple doily, visit this Ravelry link to access the pattern, or visit my doily on the Project page!
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