Tag Archives: knitting

Little Things

Standard

Hi! How are you doing at the start of this week? Have you had a nice Mother’s day weekend? I hope so πŸ™‚ Mine was very simple but really cute and warm and nice and all things cuddly that come with having kids and a Mother’s Day. I got cards from my little monsters, saying things like “Mommy is great” and “You’re the best mom in the world” (this one was from my little 2-year-old, so I suppose the phrase was written by the kindergarten teachers, not Gabriel himself πŸ˜€ But he drew a nice “flower”!), and a potted rose from my husband, and also a Princess Cake with neon green frosting with a cup of coffee for breakfast πŸ™‚ The weather was great so we had a long walk by the seaside and then had a quiet afternoon at home. All in all it was a good day!

And what’s more – somehow I got the urge to take up knitting my wristers again! I have no idea where that came from – I usually don’t have the slightest inclination to knit when the temperatures outside get higher than some +5 – but it came and now I’m finishing one wrister from the first pair I’ve come up with. So the update on this is coming shortly.

I am also almost finished reading a great book – about decision-making, our irrationality in this respect, consumer behaviour, psychology, marketing and many other things we make decisions about – and soon I’ll be sharing some thoughts about that as well.

And also my birthday is coming! So as of Friday I will have my wonderful sewing machine! I have already ordered a bunch of books from a library, like “Sewing Machine Basics” (I really need this, because the only machine I have ever sewn on was a really old one and I basically used only 2 seems – straight and zigzag. And even those didn’t come that easily…), “The Dressmaker’s Handbook” and the like, so I’m looking forward to immersing myself in the world of fabrics, patterns and threads.

Also there are still my studies of Finnish that I have every day (and I have a few exams coming in June), and I’m looking for different continuation courses or a job, and I already have plans to go to Tampere for a weekend in the middle of June, meet my best friend from Lithuania there and celebrate both our birthdays (everything’s already booked… oh, I can’t wait!) and we’re planning summer vacation with my husband… And the summer is practically on the doorstep!

…And when I see all these things in one place, I get so surprised by what an interesting life I have now!!! πŸ™‚ It’s really a wonderful time, full of possibilities and different directions. I hope I won’t get lost πŸ™‚

Have a great day!

Oh, what the hell!..

Standard

Hi πŸ™‚

Huh, it’s that simple, really… You know, having a blog is in some way exactly the same as having a friend. It’s so easy to talk/write when you chat on a daily basis – when you know every detail of each others lives there are so many more things you can discuss and share. But when you talk only once in a while, the range of available topics seems to shrink incredibly, you no longer know what to talk about to your best friend, and hence end up talking even less… because it’s awkward, isn’t it? As my own best friend (whom I really talk too rarely to lately… sadly) once put it: when you chat rarely, at some point the amount of details and small things to share just becomes too great to cover everything, so then you turn to the “big things” – but big things don’t happen that often in life, do they?

For us (at least up till now) the trick to getting back on track – as with most cases in life – is quite simple: we start talking again πŸ™‚ Someone says “Hi! How are you doing?”, the other says “Fine. How are you?” and we roll from there. So I really REALLY hope that the same thing will be true with this blog of mine. It’s really been two full months since I’ve written last. With my last pair of wristers and my promise to show you all (is there anyone left out there, by the way?) the sweater that’s been torturing my mind for a while. But then I’ve knit the sweater, I tried to knit a phone case that I actually started to hate someway in the middle of the project but couldn’t make myself undo what I’ve already done (it’s still there, half-finished in my drawer)… then came Easter with all our travels (as we live in Finland currently and all our relatives are left in Lithuania, we do travel each holiday) and the kids’ birthdays (both my little ones were born in April), and then – spring, and with spring – my usual aversion to knitting and love for sewing, decorating, writing and what-not. Sooo… the time passed, the pictures of my sweater remained untaken (though I gladly wear it), and with every passing day the blog seamed to grow more distant. “It’s been so long since my last post. Everyone thinks all this venture is dead anyway,” I told myself. “And what would I even write about? I don’t knit anymore, and I so pompously announced in the beginning that I’m making a business out of knitting! I’m a disaster…” Oh yes, it wasn’t merely “I don’t know what to write about”, because I actually do – there are millions of things I’d love to write about. But none of them is related to making a business out of knitting wristers. That’s the problem. I’ve actually been embarrassed…

But for maybe a week now I’ve been feeling a real longing forΒ  . I find so many wonderful, inspirational things every day, I have so many plans – I want to share all that! I want to have a place to share my joy that comes from the little everyday things I do with my own hands for my home, my kids or myself, I want to have conversations with you, guys (so please feel free to write comments anywhere and everywhere you feel like writing), I want to be part of the blogging community and I want this blog to be not only about knitting wristers but about all beautiful things out there in the world and here in my life.

And yes, about the business part: I haven’t given up yet πŸ™‚ Although I admit I had (and still do, maybe) a lot of doubts about knitting wristers for sale, but I haven’t given up on this idea completely, and I still entertain the idea of having at least some small “side job” of selling handcrafts – be it wristers, embroidered pillows or hand-drawn greeting cards πŸ™‚ So, it’s coming… sometime. But until then, as I want this blog to be alive – and I really WANT it to be alive, screaming and kicking – I will take the pleasure in writing about whatever I feel like writing.Β  So there… πŸ™‚

*Β  *Β  *

And now about that sweater of mine πŸ™‚ (you thought there won’t be anything about that anymore, didn’t you?) Here it is.

I know, I know, these are so not the best pictures in the world. I just hope they’re not the worst! (though that probably is a possibility as well πŸ˜€ ) But I promised to share and this is all I have for now and if I don’t do this NOW, I will again be waiting for “when I have more time to take proper pictures”, “good lighting” etc., and the blog will continue to wither. So, here it is as it is.

I actually really love this sweater! It doesn’t look exactly as I imagined it will when it haunted me in the beginning of the year, but it’s very cosy. I knit it in two weeks (that’s a record for me! πŸ™‚ ) and I basically haven’t taken it off for half of March and the bigger part of April. Now it’s a bit too warm to be wearing it under my raincoat and too cold to be wearing just the sweater, so it got some well deserved rest. But I still hope I will be able to find opportunities to wear it before the fall.The great thing about it is those short sleeves. I know they might look doubtful on a sweater knit of such thick yarn, but they so work – I can be warm and not too warm, the wool (it’s 100% wool) breathes, everything fits perfectly and all in all it’s my favourite sweater in the world now. And I’m so happy with that self-made knit “label” that says “IeVa”! πŸ™‚

If you’re interested, I knit the sweater combining parts of two DROPS patterns (here is the one I took the idea of a ribbed waist from, and here is where I took the cable pattern from) and used DROPS Alpaca yarn.

*Β  *Β  *

So, that’s it for today. See you soon!

Black-on-black

Standard

My first commission! I waited with big excitement how my friend – who became my first client – would react to what I have created from the rough idea she gave me and the specific beads she wanted used; she loved it! So now I can present it to you – Black-on-black wristers/bracelets.

What my friend wanted was the wristers that are more like bracelets (so they’re about 7 cm wide) and that they wouldn’t have a very strict order/pattern to them but instead would be kind of a bit chaotic. And the most specific request was that the square beads that you see in the photos are used. With all this in mind, I developed a pattern (I still needed one at least for the purpose of stringing the beads, if not anything else) and knit the wristers. You can see – and judge – the results by yourselves. I myself like them, though at first the idea of black beads on black yarn sounded a bit strange to me (somehow I didn’t think the beads would stand out enough to look good), but I’m so glad I went with the idea. One more new lesson and revelation! πŸ™‚ What do you think?

Also, as I already started taking commissions, EVERYONE IS WELCOME πŸ™‚ I’ve created a separate e-mail address specifically for the “business” purposes and added a new page to this blog with my contacts. Feel free to contact me about anything you saw in my earlier post that you’d like to have for yourself; or maybe you have a specific idea that you’d like to make into a knit-thing? Write to me and we will definitely work something out πŸ™‚

For now I’ve set my beaded knits very-temporarily aside because there was this sweater idea that I carried in my head for more than a month that would just not leave me in peace. I have to knit that sweater! (and I need one, anyway πŸ˜€ ) So the next “dispatch” will probably be without beads but it’ll have more colour and be “bulkier” πŸ˜€

Spirals

Standard

Yey!!! Finally! Finally, I can show you the very first pair of wristers with my original design!

Here they are πŸ™‚

First, a few facts:

  • the wristers are 13 cm long;
  • knitted in DROPS Baby Alpaca Silk (70% wool, 30% silk);
  • a total of 2032 seed beads 11/0 used (1016 for each wrister);
  • a total of around 20 hours of knitting (3 hours of stringing beads, the rest – pure knitting).

Now, beyond the facts: those who read my earlier entries might remember how I thanked all the higher powers after knitting the pair of wristers with simple double-colored bows for my daughter. I thanked that I chanced to start my creative experimenting from the relatively simple design involving merely a few hundred beads, because that process taught me so much. Now you maybe understand better why I was so grateful. My projects rarely lack in ambition and had I started from this project… well, I wouldn’t deny the possibility that I wouldn’t be here anymore at this particular moment πŸ™‚ I am patient but not that patient. Even this time I re-knitted one of the wristers (there was a blog entry about that as well – when I didn’t particularly like the way the design turned out) which meant that first I strung almost 1200 beads and knitted the whole wrister and then I had to take everything out and restring all the beads anew. But it was worth redoing because now I’m much more satisfied with the result.

The yarn that I used is actually kind of an experiment because traditionally wristers are made from pure wool – they say it’s stretchier and doesn’t change form so much after taking the wristers on and off many times. But the yarn with silk seemed much smoother and had a very subtle shine to it that I particularly liked. So, as wristers will be worn by me, I’ll see for myself how all the business with stretchiness goes.

Otherwise, a lot of work requiring a really concentrated attention, but that’s what I signed up for, isn’t it? I’m just a bit sorry that I couldn’t take photos of me actually wearing the wristers. But sun – or even a bright enough day that I could take the pictures at home and not go freeze my hand off in the -20 degrees cold outside – are very hard to come by at this time of year here in Finland, so only the “still-lifes” for now.

And now – for another “first”: I have my first commission! A very good friend asked for a pair of wristers for herself indicating the colors she wants, giving me a selection of beads she’d like to be used, and a general idea of what “mood” the wristers should be in. I came up with the design and we’ll see how that will turn out. Wish me luck!

Accountability

Standard

Is it really more than a week since my last post?! Wow… I thought it was long but not that long. Life flies when you’re busy, doesn’t it?

What have I been busy with? you might ask. RESEARCH! Research, reasearch, research – and reading, and studying (beside knitting, of course). I was actually doing quite a lot of that “behind-the-scenes” work that should make life easier when I actually get down to establishing my own business (I hope!) but doesn’t yield any apparent results to show you now, as in:

  • reading books about starting a craft business (“Craft, Inc.” by Meg Mateo Ilasco, “The Handmade Marketplace” by Kari Chapin, “Beyond Amazon, eBay and Etsy” by Hillary DePiano and some others). Each of them gave me some great ideas for how to set things up and running;
  • researching the possibilities of selling online (like Etsy vs. ArtFire, for example) and setting up an e-store (e.g. Vendio vs. eCrater);
  • researching local regulations on starting a business;
  • studying the instruction to my camera πŸ˜€ (in quest of making better pictures);
  • planning future projects (when I don’t have the pleasure of sitting quietly and knitting).

There was also a “take-two” on the mouse-y slippers last weekend. It seems that after almost five years of raising children I still forget that you can’t make some cute thing and give it to one of them without making the same thing for another. So now two pairs of little mice run around our home (the second one, I might add, turned out better – with both right and left feet πŸ˜€ ), one of them adorned with little pink bows.

You see, it really isn’t so exciting as presenting the wide world with my beautiful knits, there’s nothing very interesting about all the reading and research (unless you yourself are starting the same kind of business, but in that case you would probably know all these things already) – except that I’ve promised to give the “behind-the-scenes” details from the very start of this blog – and therefore there’s not much I can do to make this account of my recent activities into a very catching reading material. Nonetheless, it is an inescapable part of my work/life as an aspiring entrepreneur, therefore the account is here πŸ™‚ With hopes of not loosing too much of your attention and promises to show something real nice the next time I’m here πŸ˜€

Family things

Standard

One invariable feature of being a mom: when you want to have some time to be in peace and just do your own thing the most, something concerning children will always interfere. Always. But, at the same time, just as you want to focus on your own thing, there is no greater pleasure than take the time out of your busy day and, in result, see your kid lit up by a happy smile when you put a new slipper with a silly mouse’s “face” onto his foot. It may sound cheesy, but it’s true πŸ™‚ And so that’s the pleasure I’ve been experiencing this weekend.

‘Course, I wouldn’t have bothered “just for fun”, because I really do want to focus on my knitting. But it appears that my little one outgrew the slippers he had in his day-care and when even the patient teachers point such things out, there’s no way around – either I had to buy a new pair, or make one. As I had just brought home a pile of perfect yarn for making woolen slippers (and absolutely for free! Thank you once again, Ana Paula πŸ™‚ ) and all the other “ingredients” were on hand, guess which option I chose πŸ™‚

Here are the results of my home-y weekend: mouse-y slippers for my little boy πŸ™‚

I managed to knit two left foot slippers somehow – and not notice it until I took the slippers to embroider after washing them (four times!), drying and painting the anti-slip soles! – and the anti-slip soles aren’t really as neat as I would like them to be (I need a lot more practice… but do I? πŸ˜€ ), but overall I’m quite happy with how these cute things turned out. And my son was very happy with them! That’s really the main reason for taking the trouble πŸ™‚

If you want something just like that, the pattern is here (though you might consider knitting both left and right slippers after all πŸ˜€ ). I’ve already mentioned the DROPS Design website in one of my previous posts and I stand by my words – it really is an absolutely wonderful knitting resource page.

And now – the weekend’s over so it’s time to get back to “work” and to “my own thing” πŸ™‚

More than winning

Standard

“There’s more to racing than just winning,” said Lightning McQueen in “Cars”. He meant to boast, of course (that was in the first part of the movie while he was still the “cool racing car” without friends; I watch this movie at least 5 times a week – I have kids, remember? – so don’t laugh, ok? πŸ˜€ ), but this week I really was struck by the realisation that there IS more to racing a.k.a knitting than just winning (read: end-result). I was so absorbed in my “business plan” of making wristers as fast as I can and setting up my shop and getting to sell them as fast as I can, but… life’s not just about speed, right?

This week I made a great progress in knitting – I finished the first wrister of my first “pair for grown-ups” and I was so happy about it. It seemed that everything was finally coming together. But then I really looked at what I did and decided that… I can do better! The knitting is good, the process seems to be working well for me, but I’m not entirely happy with the design and I’m more than a little unhappy with the beads I used – they’re of different sizes which, I thought, would give more interesting texture to the knit, but I now think I’d be more happy if they were the same. Here’s how it looks in the present state.

And why did I start with talking about the process? Because I decided to spare enough time and improve the design until I really like it (it just needs a little tweaking but those little tweaks mean that I’ll have to recount all the beads and rewrite my sequence for stringing them) and use a bit different beads for the second wrister. If it comes out just as I want it, then I’ll remake this first one as well. Because I understood that there is no such thing as hurrying this all up so I can start selling fast. If I want to offer a really really good product and get a price that my time creating it was worth, I need it to be PERFECT. So, basically, back to square one and let’s start the process from the beginning with all the lessons that it already tought me firmly in mind πŸ™‚

And in the mean time… I’ve finally found time to look through some of this year’s designers’ Pre-Fall collections. And they are great! And I’m not talking here only about the fact that there are tons of things that are absolutely gorgeous for me personally, but there are tons of things that indicate I’m not completely off with all this wrister business! I understand that it is very very bold of me to put my humble starting creations next to such design giants as Chanel or Oscar de la Renta, but… We need to dream BIG, don’t we? Sooo… Here are some pictures I really liked (there are only a few because I haven’t had time to look though all the collections and, of course, I cannot put here everything that caught my fancy – there would be tens or even hundreds of pictures πŸ™‚ ) It’s just a very small selection but I was thrilled to see that Chanel, for example, had beads all over their designs – not only clothes but bags and gloves as well, Oscar de la Renta, Versace and lots of other designers had lots and lots of 3/4 sleeves that are perfect for wearing wristers with, and there’s also the trend of looong gloves and even kinds of “wrist warmers” (well, they at least look like ones) though in fancy materials such as leather.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect anyone who’s wearing Chanel to buy my wristers to go with the costume πŸ˜€ But the fact is, that the fashion – and all the “more wearable” things in more affordable stores that will follow the fashion trends – is indeed advantageous to what I’m starting to do here. And I am really glad! So I wanted to share my joy, maybe give you some ideas, and again… to be continued with better designs πŸ™‚

 

Wishing for 48/7 instead of 24/7

Standard

Yep, I was right: my adventures are faaaar from over πŸ˜€ Although is it still an adventure if I conquer the same problem again and again, though in different ways?.. Oh well, I promised you the peaks “behind the scenes” for my creative – and business – venture, so: whatever you call it, I was again wrestling with getting my tiny little beads for another project onto the woolen yarn I’m going to be knitting in… Good thing it’s not the first time and I decided to test my earlier found “technique” with only 264 beads for starters and not all of the almost 1200 (and that is for only one wrister, I might add!). The earlier technique didn’t work. After an hour of glueing my fingers together while trying to glue the threads of different yarns (and succeeding in glueing only my fingers…) I finally got frustrated and went to bed… This morning I found another solution that finally got me through all of the tiny little beads – all 1200 of them – without much trouble (only with the reasonably expected amount of patient work) πŸ™‚ One more skyscraper of a problem toppled… for the time being πŸ™‚

Meanwhile, I finally got my long-awaited book from the library! Only when will I have time to read it, huh? In between all the bead-stringing and knitting, looking after my sweet kiddies and making dinners, and studying one of the more difficult languages at least in Europe?! Here’s what my evening looks like so far (not including the kids and the dinner: the kids run around too fast and scream too loud – might fracture the camera lens πŸ˜€ – to take any kind of picture of them, and the dinner is already gone)…

Add to this picture a husband and list of the most interesting things I really want to watch with him, an even longer (like more than ten times) list of blogs I haven’t gotten to read – and I want to! – because I was stringing the beads like an obsessed person, a list of friends I promised to visit or meet for coffee, lessons for 3 hours of every day… Ok, you get the picture πŸ™‚ So it’s small wonder I can’t make those wonderful wristers more quickly, is it? But I’m working on it πŸ˜‰

P.S. You can see the pattern I’m working on in the picture. Consider it a sneak-peak πŸ™‚

Ta-daaa!

Standard

Ahm, maybe the fanfare’s too much πŸ˜€ I must admit that I myself was really looking forward to seeing my first design “in the flesh”… and it’s not that much to see. No, it is beautiful really and my daughter (whom it was made for) adores it, but it is such a small thing and it took me so much time to make… Well, not actual time to make – maybe rather find time to make. But, without further ado, here they are – Girly Wristers With Bows.

Now for those who would be interested not only in photos but in the actual process of making these pretty things, I have promised to tell more when I mentioned problems I stumbled upon, haven’t I? Here’s the list (and it’s not the full one, either): first, I thought I had suitable beads for the wristers – that’s basically why I decided to make the little girly ones in the first place: because I had a few batches of pink beads that I didn’t think I could find any other use for and half a ball of white yarn, but when I sat down to string the beads, I found out they had too small holes in them and the yarn simply didn’t fit in. So I had to go buy new beads. Second came the problem of stringing: the seed beads are so small and there’s a LOT of them (well, in this design there were only 306 beads in one wrister, but that was a really small design) and the woolen yarn, though I use quite a thin one, is not so tiny after all, so I had to find a good method to string them all together. When I knit wristers earlier for my own pleasure, I would just cover the end of the knitting yarn with glue and use it instead of a needle, but that was a slooooow process and having in mind that I’m planning to kind of make my living off of this kind of knitting, I had to come up with some more “productive” method. It took me four kinds of glue and a gazillion times of trying to glue yarns of differing thickness together, but I made it – the “productive” method was found! Then came the knitting itself that proved to be a bit more difficult because first, I was knitting with 5 needles instead of the usual 2, and as the beads were of differing colors for the first time in my whole “knitting history”, I found out the hard way that it does make a difference which way the beads are strung – you have to think where the beginning of the knit and the beads will be, and where the end will be (sure, I would’ve figured that out without actually experimenting if I’d thought about it, but I simply didn’t think about it. In Lithuania there’s a saying for such instances which could be roughly translated as “If the head doesn’t work, the legs [in my case – the hands πŸ˜€ ] suffer”). And, of course, there were lots of other small “light bulbs” along the way that I might not even remember now but I’m sure they will come to mind the next time I knit.

So there really was a great amount of experimenting, looking for “optimizations” (with the view of all the future work that would be easier when I found them), knitting and re-knitting in this project. I only thank all the higher powers that they steered me in the way of choosing something really small for my first design. Knowing myself – if not for those pink beads that I already had and the fact that I don’t wear pink but my daughter doesn’t wear anything but – I would have chosen to make long wristers for myself (it’s still – already! – winter after all) with some intricate design that would have taken me not a week but a few months to make with all this experimenting.

So you can guess what I’m planning to make next with all of my new-found knowledge, can’t you? πŸ˜€ Although I’m sure it is still far from the end of my adventures and experiments. So… To be continued!

Butterflies on the Toes

Standard

Oh, finally there’s something that looks like winter outside! You’d think that living at the end of the world (Fin-land, right?) – and in the most northern capital of Europe – we’d have winter from October. Not so this year: it was dark, wet, windy and autumn-y up until now. We started the New Year without a grain of snow! But now the winter is finally here, there’s lots of snow, the sun is shining and it’s -14 C… About time for warm slippers, which is exactly my most recent project that I was supposed to finish before starting my first “designer piece” in wrister department.

First of all look at the raw “product” from which the slippers started. "Raw material"Now it does look kind of ugly, doesn’t it? πŸ˜€ I myself actually hate this phase of making this kind of slippers because after hours of knitting you end up with something that looks like sacks for not particularly “appetizing” products. On the other hand, it’s just the “raw material” for felted slippers that don’t require any hard “hands work” and water-and-soap usually required for felting. This fact alone redeems the “ugly sack phase” for me. All that’s needed is knitting, sewing up the seams, crocheting a border and tossing these things into a washing machine. Admittedly, this time it took me 3 times of washing and spinning until the slippers shrunk to the size I needed. And all that just because I was too impatient to start and decided to knit them using another kind of yarn than indicated in knitting instructions…

Oh yes, I did use knitting instructions. This is not my original design, neither is it my original idea: it was the courtesy of a wonderful free knitting pattern page DROPS Design. If you’re into knitting, check it out! They have enormous amounts of gorgeous designs, great ideas and interesting techniques. Even if you hate knitting from a pattern, there’s lots of inspiration there.

And so, after knitting, sewing, crocheting, washing, re-washing and re-re-washing, adding slip-stopping designs on the soles and drying them all through the night, and then adding embellishments on the tops… Ta-da, the great wintry accessory!

Now I may not yet be a very good photographer but it is still apparent that these cute cosy butterfly slippers are far from the ugly things they started life as, right? πŸ™‚ Mhm, and they’re even not for me – it’ll again be a gift for someone else. I hope she’ll enjoy them!