Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Stitches South

Did you think you were in the wrong place for a minute? :) Some of the changes that are/were being made to the blog actually got made a little ahead of schedule. My tech guy was free last night and he had the new logo all ready to go so we went ahead and changed the layout. My goal is to have everything fully updated by this weekend. By Saturday you should be able to link to this page through the Vivid Creation Fibers website and I should have a new updater thingy (that is the technical term for it I think) that will make posting to Twitter easier for me. The shop also got a new layout and the updated logo. More changes will be made by Saturday over there as well. And on Saturday I plan to launch my new names! I decided that I did want to change my Twitter and Ravelry names. As Kay pointed out in the comments, the Knifty Knitter is actually a loom knitting device (something I've never actually used in fact) and, while the name is catchy, it isn't unique. I'll be changing both user names to VCFibers. I think it's short, it's easy to share with people, it's easy to remember, and it connects me to my shop/company. Remember that on Saturday I will also be opening the Blog Relaunch Contest. You'll have to check back then to get the details of how to participate. Alright, on to Stitches South!

Day 1:
I took the day off work on Friday to go to Stitches South. I didn't take any classes this year (because up until a month ago I was planning on being a vendor, that, obviously, fell through) so I just went to explore the market. I'm one of those people who has to see everything there is before I can start to make decisions about what I really want. One thing I had to have was a picture of me with the entire Ravelry crew.
They were having a meet up in the concession area and I was waiting for a friend to come look over some samples for a custom order. It was like meeting celebrities. In the sense that it made me hot and sweaty to be near them and I was suddenly struck speechless. Which was pretty much how I felt when a few minutes later I went to meet Rachael (a.k.a. Yarn-a-go-go) and get her to sign a copy of her book, How to Knit a Love Song.
Thankfully Rachael is very nice and seems unfazed by the nervous, sweaty fan girl types. Plus she actually flagged someone down to take this illegal picture of us. And she took my business card. Which is nice because I'm practically a no body and she still seemed genuinely interested in meeting me. I went home and read the first 5 chapters of her book that very same night.

There was only one yarn purchase made on Friday.
A skein of Little Traveller in Springwater Isle from the Sanguine Gryphon. I love these colors and she always has such nice yarn. Plus I knew that it might be snatched up by Saturday.

Day 2:
When I came back to the market on Saturday I had calculated just what I needed to get and where I needed to get it from. I'd gone home and thought about what I wanted to purchase and had restocked the cash supply. The main thing I wanted was some Valley Yarns Amhurst in shades of green from WEBS.
I think I spent 45 minutes at the WEBS booth trying to calculate how much yarn I was buying, how much it would cost, and how much more I would need to buy to get the 20% discount. Turns out, not much more.
4 skeins of Northhampton
A skein of Colrain (50% wool, 50% tencel)
And a bottle of lavender Eucalan. The green yarns will become some sort of color work boys sweater. I think the Northhampton will become a hat or 2 and the Colrain I'm going to try and dye to see how the tencel takes color. The Eucalan I got because I'm forever in need of a no rinse soaking soap.

However, one of the coolest things I got on Saturday was something I paid exactly zero dollars for.

I was wandering the market killing time before I had to meet up with some Rare Purls friends for lunch and my friend Albert forwarded me a message from Kimberly, one of the Stitches South coordinators and someone I follow on Twitter. She was having a giveaway. All I had to do was find her and answer a simple question. Funny thing was, I had passed her twice in the last 15 minutes so I knew exactly what she was wearing. I had to hunt for about 10 minutes but I finally ran into her. Turns out she had taken a picture of a booth and I had to tell her which booth it was. I pulled up the picture on my phone and immediately recognized it as the Socks That Rock! sign from the WEBS booth. My prize?
This gorgeous yarn bowl from the Knit Witch. Very cool.

The rest of Saturday was spent meeting up with friends and looking at yarns. It was a rainy and yucky day but it ended up being a great one. I can't wait until 2011 when I can do it all again!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

I Feel a Change in the Wind

Tonight a great meeting of the minds happened at the Mellow Mushroom just down the street. Me and my friend and tech guru Albert got together to discuss some changes that are in the works. I mentioned briefly at the end of Tuesday's post that there are going to be some changes to the blog soon. Albert has been hard at work designing a new logo for Vivid Creation Fibers and also working to mesh the blog and the store. Next Saturday we'll be moving everything to the site. What does this mean for you, the reader? Well, thankfully it seems that none of my old blog posts will go away. And I should be able to update from Blogger and export to the new website. The layout will be a little bit different but no drastic changes. The biggest thing is going to be making sure that the whole process goes smoothly and making sure that, if need be, we put up redirection links. Now it will be easier for people to get from the shop to the blog or vice versa. There will also be a link to my charity group on Ravlery. The hope is that everything will be more streamlined and cohesive.

To show my thanks for bearing with me through this whole process I'm going to offer a little giveaway. There will be 5 prizes up for grabs:
(from L-R): 1 skein of Captain Planet BFL sock yarn, 1 skein of Trick or Treat BFL sock yarn, a copy of Fabulous Felted Hand Knits, a copy of dominKNITrix, and a copy of the Big Book of Knitting

Contest rules will be explained on the day of the new blog/shop launch which is set to be May 1st. Until then keep checking back for updates!

Another thing we had contemplated with the change of the blog and the shop is that I might change my Twitter and Ravelry name. I thought it might be helpful to sort of tie everything together. What are your thoughts on this? Should I stay thekniftyknitter or should I change to reflect my upcoming re-branding?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Party in the U.S.A.

Tonight many a fun happenings were going on. First, my friend Jonathan (of the alpaca scarf fame) was out and about town pushing his first book.
My mom and I meet up at the Border's near her house and listened to Jonathan give a short talk/reading and then got some books signed. If you are an environmentalist you should check it out. And if you are a Christian you should definitely get this book, regardless of your stance on the environment.
Love the little note he wrote me inside.
If I write a pattern book he is so getting a copy.

After the book signing I hightailed it over to the Cobb Galleria to the Ravelry party at Stitches South. This was the only good picture I got of Mary Heather, Casey, and Jess.
I plan on stalking finding them tomorrow in the market.

The party was great fun. I ran into some friends. Had a drink. There were gift bags and a giveaway. And a chocolate fountain (that I successfully managed to stay away from thankyouverymuch).

I'm not taking classes this year so I'm going just to hang out in the market, knit, and enjoy myself. Which means I should probably get a project together for working on. Details, details. Now please excuse me while I go pass out from exhaustion.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Secrets Revealed

My secret project has been given away to its intended recipients so I can reveal what I've been working on for the last few weeks.
Ta da! Dishcloths! Wedding themed dishcloths by Kris Knits none the less.
Hearts and cake
Dove and man and wife
Church and champagne glass (color is most accurate in this picture)
Rings and bells

They were a huge hit at the shower on Saturday and a ton of fun to knit. I could pop one out in about 2 hours so they were also quick, a real plus. I would definitely recommend these to anyone and I'm pretty sure I'll try some of Kris's other patterns in the future.

Dishcloths aren't the only thing I've been working on though.

My week 3 portion of the Road Scarf KAL for EEROP is almost complete.
I just need to knit the 4 rows of garter stitch that separate this section from the next. I'm really enjoying knitting on this scarf! It's so easy and yet, I don't get bored with one pattern. It's got me thinking about ideas for other scarves...

Also started teaching a new sock class last week which means I started my "demonstration" pair of socks.
It's just a child's size so it's moving along quickly which is good because I'm not terribly fond of this color (though it looks a lot better in the picture than in real life). I dyed this ages ago with gel food coloring in black and red. Gel food coloring is not the best thing to use to dye yarn as I found out. The colors came out really washed out looking. I might over dye with blue or something. Still not sure.

Nothing on the needles for myself at the moment. Or for friends and family. I wanted to start the Skew socks for myself but the pattern suggests using circulars and I don't have any in the correct size. Thought about just trying it with DPNs but I'm not sure. Suggestions as to what I should do are welcome.

I still have some requests from friends and family for knits and there is a shop sample to be made. But right now I just want to take some of this pink and purple and sparkly yarn and knit something. Probably another scarf.

I want to give all my loyal readers a heads up about some changes coming up. At the beginning of May there are going to be some changes made to the blog and to the store. For your patience with these changes I'm going to have some giveaways and prizes. There will be more updates coming soon (hopefully a whole blog post devoted to the subject) and you can follow me on Twitter to be on the cutting edge of changes.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Just when I think I'm finally starting to get on top of things, more things always crop up. So it was this week. When it gets crazy like this I often have the urge to completely shut down. Luckily, once I start moving on a project I can usually keep my momentum up to work on other projects, or at least finish the one I started. It's just a matter of finding enough hours in the day to sit down and work on whatever project it is and also fighting off the urge to just relax, unwind, and knit. It is helpful if your projects also includes some sort of knitting deadline. Then you can combine the best of both worlds.

My secret knitting project got finished in time but I still can't show you that yet. Soon, though. Very soon.

I finished the Trick or Treat socks.
These had nothing to do with "things that needed to be done" but were totally "things I wanted done." So I sat down one night and finished off the ribbing, washed, and blocked them. These socks, to me, embody everything quintessentially hand dyed. Both from the same skein but one pools and other doesn't. They have a variety of bold colors in a unique arrangement. I will have this color up for sale shortly in the shop. If you're in the Duluth, GA area then you can pick some up from Rare Purls Yarn Shop.

I mailed off my hand knits for the February/March charity group, the Adoption Center of Washington, yesterday.
That's 2 vests, 3 pairs of big socks, and 1 small jacket/sweater that I had made years ago out of acrylic (ACW isn't picky on fibers). The little tags have instructions for care on them. I'm quite proud of these items and I hope they find a good home with some children in the Ukraine or Russia. P.S. If you haven't been keeping up with the news lately Russia has suspended all adoptions to the U.S. following an incident where a Tennessee mother sent her adopted son (aged 7) back to Russia on a plane alone. You can read the story here. I know this is heartbreaking for parents who are trying to adopt (especially since adoptions from Russia are already difficult enough) but also for the orphans. There are over 230,000 children in state run orphanages and over 650,000 in some type of state care. This suspension only makes it that much more difficult for these children to get homes.

Now I'm working on finishing up week 2 of the next KAL that EEROP is hosting, the Road Scarf.
I actually had this on my list of things to do this week. As the moderator of the group (and designer and runner of the KAL) I feel it is my duty to stay on top of things. You can see that I've finished all of 4 rows there at the top. Here's a closer look.
Those 4 rows need to be 4 inches by tomorrow so I can start the next section of the KAL. It's not hard, just takes time, something I have been woefully short on this week.

Other than these knitting accomplishments I successfully administered the CRCT to 20 1st graders which is deserving of a raise (I think). And I taught a toe up sock class, started a Bible study, and dyed 4 samples of yarn for a custom dye job. When I put it all out like that I feel way more productive than I thought I was!

Next week is more Bible study, another sock class, more dyeing of sample yarns, more KAL, more sock knitting (for myself), and Stitches South! Looks to be another week of accomplishments.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Back in the Saddle

Today was the first day back to work after being off for Spring Break. I successfully pulled off 3 pep rallies, bought groceries, and taught 2 private lessons. I'm about to head to bed. Early. Last night I got little sleep. My mind was going in a hundred directions and it was hot which meant I woke up at 3 a.m. and had a heck of a time getting back to sleep. Having the cat decide that she must sleep on me the entire night also didn't help my comfort level. A few quick updates:
I made a slipper last week. If it looks weird that's because it is weird. It's from Knit Simple. I think. I'm too lazy to get up and look. It might be Knit n' Style. I'll check on it. Later of course.
The second Trick or Treat sock is almost finished. I got a lot done when I visited my parent's house on Friday and Saturday.
This is my parent's cat, Moo Moo. I put her picture here because she's cool. She drools when you pet her. She will sit on your lap when you're on the computer. She also rolls in pollen and sleeps on top of cars. She's awesome. Just thought you should know.

I have a crap ton of things to do this week (already) and I'm effectively behind (already). Sometimes I'm really glad that I don't have a boyfriend/husband/children because the state of the apartment is often best described as chaotic and yarn-filled. Plus I can't be bothered with actually making sure that there are clean dishes available on a regular basis (ditto on laundry).

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

On Charity Knitting

I said that I would post about charity knitting when I'd had the chance to gather my thoughts. I sat down and made a list of questions that I'd been pondering over that had to do with charity knitting. I had intended to share them here and get feedback but, after looking over them, I kind of feel that they are the personal sort of questions that you ask yourself to solicit your own thinking. Some I feel that I've answered, others I'm still sorting out. So, I'm not going to post the questions here. Next I typed out a blog post that was essentially about why I knit for charity but it just seemed too personal or contrived or preach-y or something.

What I came to find is that, basically, charity knitting is a personal choice. And, for me, it's become a real defining part of who I am. So I do a lot of it and I talk a lot about it.

Two books that I've read (and love) are Knitting for Good! by Betsy Greer
and Knitting for Peace by Betty Christiansen.
Both books ofter amazing insight into knitting for charitable causes. I especially like Betsy's book because it looks at the reasons behind why crafting is good for yourself and for others and how to use craft to make a statement about your beliefs. I've read her book, Knitting for Good!, 4 or 5 times (and I'm reading it again) and every time I do it pumps me up all over again to knit for others. In August of 2009 Debbie Macomber came out with a charity knitting book that I want to read (reviews of this book are welcome and appreciated).

Some people do Relay for Life, some people feed the homeless, other people may donate to United Way. As for me, I knit for orphans. It's just what I do :)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Unproductively Productive

I'm feeling as though I have accomplished nothing today despite the fact that I have actually done a lot.

I started today by skeining 2 pounds of sock yarn for dyeing (I did 1 pound last night).
 Still life with left over sock yarn bits, scale, empty cone and partial swift.

My arms were absolutely killing me from having to push the skeiner and the swift by hand. At least I'll have killer upper arm muscles. The only thing I'm asking for for my birthday this year is an electric skeiner. So everybody just pitch in and get me the best one you can afford (preferably the 2 yard, motorized one with the electronic counter...).

After skeining I took a small break to finish up the little girl's vest I have been working on.
It's a (very) slightly modified Keep Me Warm vest and will go to the Adoption Center of Washington.

The vest turned out super cute but I almost passed out when I realized how many ends I had to weave in. I think there were 19,765. Yep, pretty sure that's how many there were. Just check out the underarm of one of the sleeves.
And, if you don't believe me, here's the underarm of the other sleeve.
And that's just for the front side!

When I'd finished up the vest I ran some errands for supplies. Some for a secret project.
And some office supplies for mailing off my taxes. Then it was off to the post office to mail said tax information. Ran into some friends while there and chatted for a bit. Back to the apartment. Dye 3 pounds of yarn. Begin work on secret project. Change clothes and get ready for dinner with a friend.

So, today was actually productive. My mind is just trying to be tricksy since I'm on Spring Break and not working the usual 9-5 (or 8-4 as the case may be).

A side note: If you are looking for a quick and easy charity project take a look at the April/May KAL on the Eastern European and Russian Orphanages Project group on Ravelry. The scarf pattern I picked is easy but not boring and the owner of my LYS has offered to donate yarn if anyone needs some! Plus there are pictures of cute kids and beautiful countrysides so you should stop by and take a look anyways :)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Happy Good Friday everyone! And happy Spring Break to all the GA teachers and students :) Today is my 1st full day off of Spring Break 2010 and I couldn't be happier. I'm trying to get some cleaning and laundry done so that I don't have to worry about it for the next week. I've got a lot of stuff to catch up on but I already feel productive this morning. I've finished getting everything together for my taxes, paid lots of bills, done 2 loads of laundry, and updated a few things on the EEROP forum on Ravelry. Speaking of...I've added a little EEROP button to my blog. If you are a member of the Eastern European and Russian Orphanages Project group on Ravelry please feel free to use this button on your blog as well (just right click on the image and save it to your computer). If you aren't a member of the group but want to support charity knitting for orphans click on the button and join our group on Ravelry. And speaking of charity knitting...I finished up some big mittens for H to H International.
These go with a matching hat and slippers and make up the second set of charity items for H 2 H that I've made this year.
The goal was one set a month. This was supposed to be February's set but, obviously, I'm a little behind. I expect I can catch up during the summer months. I'm still trying to contribute 1-2 items a month to other charity organizations as well. Like this sunny little vest.
This is a vest that will go to the Adoption Center of Washington. Again, a little late on this vest as the ACW was the chosen organization to knit for during Feb. and March. I currently have a lot of ideas and thoughts concerning charity knitting floating around in my head but I'll save that for another post after I can organize my thoughts.

Ok, so now something totally different.

I finished a really good book the other night and I thought that I would share it. When I was a kid my passion was reading and I still love to do it though I find I have less time and there are less books out there that I want to read. When I was growing up I loved collections like the Baby-Sitters Club because there was always a new book coming out, and yet, many of them could stand alone (meaning you didn't *have* to read the book before it to understand what was going on). There aren't really any book series out there like that for adults. Which is a shame. Anyways, I often find myself picking up young adult lit because it's an easy read but, if you find the right book, well written. The book I finished was an example of such.
Princess Academy by Shannon Hale was delightful. It had the strong female lead, a touch of young, innocent romance, trials to overcome, and a few plot twists at just the right time. By chapter 18 I ended up staying up late at night reading the last 8 chapters to see how it would end. Highly recommend.

Off to finish laundry!