Yarn Bowl Loves

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6

Yarn bowls, I want one or ten. How about you?

Knit. all. the. things! #2

As promised, I'll tell you about the other thing on my needles.

Knowing that I may very well regret telling you this later on, I'll share it with you anyway, because if I didn't, I'd
a) have nothing to tell you for a very long time and that's no fun when blogging.
b) not be staying true to my intention of showing you the ups and downs of my journey as a knitter and designer.

Sitting and knitting on the aforementioned socks, talk fell on my patterns and my man said "maybe it's time for you to work on a small collection to publish". I had been toying with the idea of making an ebook of sorts about knitting, but honestly hadn't thought of designing a collection. We started brainstorming and by that I mean, I bombarded my man with ideas and he nodded and said encouraging things at all the right times.

Thus it came to be that I grabbed some wool and cast on for the second time on the same day! The collection will be themed around beaches on the island. Each piece will be named after one. This second piece will be a shawl inspired by the sea in motion. I'm praying I have enough yarn to finish it.

This knit makes the count of designs pending publishing 5. Two are being test knit at the moment and the other three are the socks, the vest and this shawl.

Should the collection fall to pieces, I'll still have the those, i.e. the patterns I do finish, to publish individually, so I can't really see a downside to trying. I'm envisioning a stunning booklet with pictures from the island interspersed with the patterns. Maybe 5 patterns (which would double the amount of published patterns I have as of this moment). What do you think?

Knit. all. the. things!

Have I been knitting! I'm slowly making progress on the vest I'm designing, slowly.  It isn't really speaking to me at the moment and when that happens it is better to pick up something else, right?! Knitting and designing should be enjoyable activities and I'll do my best to avoid feeling like it's a work of duty instead of passion.
Thus I grabbed some stash yarn, cast on for a pair of socks and paused.

My knitting time is fairly abundant at the moment, since I'm still on vacation. That ends Monday really, so I have to keep in mind, that my knitting time will be very limited soon.  Instead of finding a sock pattern to knit, I decided to try my hand at designing one.

Out came the paper and I was staring at it, utterly mind blown by all the possibilities in front of me. I had to find a starting point, something to guide me as I knit each stitch. That is when I recalled this picture.

Ahhh, the summer that seems to have already turned to fall here... I just had to try and translate that into a sock.
Knitting one round at a time, I quickly had a repeat worked out. With much apprehension I began the second repeat of the sock and to my amazement it worked out perfectly, just like I had envisioned. That was a proud moment for me, a moment where I actually felt like a designer, not just some silly woman impersonating one. Needless to say I'm tickled pink by how this design is working out so far.

Now I'm back in that odd place of trying to share pictures of my knitting with all of you without revealing too much, until I'm emotionally ready for the ensuing ridicule storm of compliments.

This, however, isn't all that's on my needles as you may know from Instagram, so check back in on Wednesday for the second thing I cast on...

Knit Crush: Yellowcosmo

This month I'd like to share a designer with you who really has an eye for details, Yellowcosmo.  We all know those big names and I fully want to support their success, but it is also wonderful when you find someone equally talented, but not as well known! Frankly, you have to love someone whose first knitting project was a steeked two colour sweater. Connie says she didn't know she was supposed to knit simple things as a beginner. I think we shouldn't tell anyone ever again that anything in knitting is hard and voila they'll do just fine! For more of Connie's brilliancy, check out her blog Days By the Water.
As always, all pictures in this post are borrowed with permission from the Ravelry project pages and by clicking their name, you'll be taken right to them.   

Sage Blouse

Colors and Circles Shawl

From Echo to Aloha
Rock the Lobster

Are you having a crush on someone I should crush on too?

Looking for other knit crushes?
Tin Can Knits
Veera Välimäki
Helga Isager

Let's review: Simple Knits for Easy Living by Erika Knight

First impressions

This book really appeals to my aesthetic. It's calm, light and minimalistic. Very Scandinavian actually. It is also clearly aimed at beginners and with the different themes at the beginning, I believe any fashion conscious woman in her 20s or 30s would find it appealing. 


The patterns

The patterns are grouped after rooms. The projects in this book are very basic, but keeping in mind that the book is aimed at beginners, I figure that's a good thing. The patterns are kept short and don't seem overwhelming. There are several pages with inspiration, how to add embroidery, beads etc. 
To an experienced knitter (that would be me) some of the patterns seem redundant. How many variations of squares sewn together alternating the right side and the wrong side can you include in a book? Apparently at least 3.
I do love the versatility of yarn choice and especially the bathroom section provides a plethora of different projects. To a brand new knitter, I imagine seeing, that you can knit with regular yarn as well as fabric leftovers and sisal, make baskets, bags, bathrobes and scrubbing gloves must open up there eyes to the almost unlimited possibilities in knitting.

Aditional info

There is a large learn to knit section at the beginning of the book. the pictures are hit and miss in my opinion. Some are clear, some are not at all. They are all however of a decent size, which is a plus.
The care info at the back is okay, except for the notorious picture of a clothes line. Why are those so often included when knitting really should dry flat? (The book even says so!)

What I would knit

This is a tricky one. The answer is nothing. I've had this book for many years and I haven't knit anything out of it yet and I don't plan to either.  


Final judgement

I like this book. I wish I had a friend who didn't knit yet, whom I could run it by to see what the inexperienced eye would think. Most of the photography in this book is very stylish and timeless. To me, it's almost a coffee table book. I enjoy looking through it time and again. Another compliment for this book is, that it's now 14 years old and you wouldn't need to make any significant changes to publish it today. 
If you aren't completely new to knitting, I would recommend checking the book out from the library. If you have a friend who is just starting out and likes this kind of look, then tell your friend to go ahead and get the book right away.

Looking for more reviews?
Adorable Knits for Little People by Nuriya Khegay
Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush

I am in no way paid to do this review and always give my honest opinion. Your milage may vary. 

Micro Business - Learning from the Pros vol.3

Summer has been hectic and we have a lot going on personally as well (all good), but I've been trying to carve out some times to learn more about blogging and micro businesses and here are a few of the things I really found valuable.

First of all, 5 blogging mistakes you don't know you're making by Melissa of Freeing Imperfections (I just love that blog name!) is a great read. While there I would also recommend checking out 5 secrets of successful bloggers and How I keep up with it all: Blogging, Online life and more.

Staying in line with how to keep up with it all, Laura of The Turquoise Home has a great post on How to be an efficient blogger.

I've also been looking into advice on making a craft business work and have to say that 10 Things You Must Do to Have a Successful Online Craft Business by Create and Thrive put it very clear and made it seem manageable. #10 was right up my ally, since it was Learn, Learn, Learn..

What have you learned in the past month?

Want to learn more?
Follow Pia @ Noget Uldent's board small biz tips on Pinterest.

Some news, a thank you and the giveaway winner.

The news

Let's begin with the news bit. You know, in case you don't make it all the way through the post. (Oh, I know you always read it all...)
The first bit of news is (insert your own drumroll please): I have finally created a Ravelry group. In the future, it will be the place where all testing is carried out as well as a place of general fun and fibre goodness I hope. Please come join us, even if you don't want to test knit, but just want the group members only coupons and all that jazz.

The second item of news is that I now have all the test knitters I need for the baby sweater. If you missed out, then you can put you name on a list for future test knits right here. This also leads me to the second item on the agenda for today's post.

Thank you 

Dear Friends, I knew I could count on you! Thank you so much for answering my desperate call for help. I have almost burst from excitement every time one of you emailed me, offering to help me out. Thank you to each and every one of you.
Now onto the giveaway.

Giveaway winner

Random.org has spoken (I promised I only asked once) and the winner of this cute box bag from Rock Solid Designs is:

Congratulations Tahnee!
Please email me you address. 

If you don't already know Tahnee, then check out her blog Woollen Wilderness.

Knitters needed!

The baby sweater design I've been working on and off on for a while is nearly finished.
We did a photo shoot over the weekend, with a really cute baby and by golly, I hope the pictures turn out well.  The pattern is written up and has been through my tech editor and the only thing left is test knitting.
I have discovered that most designers have a tried and tested pool of test knitters, I have more like a night potty full.*

Honestly, I'm in dire need of people willing to spend their time and their own yarn helping me out in exchange for nothing but the working copy, the finished pattern and my gratitude. Are you such a knitter? Then please shoot me an e-mail and I'll give you more information.

*This term does not describe the quality of my test knitters, only the volume of people. Wouldn't want any confusion there...

My hands made me do it...

I swear, it wasn't me, no, no... Not at all. You see my hands made me do it, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

After my revengeful yarn attacked me, my hands just didn't want to knit with it. It doesn't help that I have made a design that includes the most dreadful words possible in a knitting pattern: crochet! oh no wait, that wasn't it, I believe that might have been The Savvy Girls talking.. Do you think Melanie is trying to brainwash me? Let's get back on track, the word is of course the much dreaded AT THE SAME TIME. Ahh yes, I went there, it was needed. If you have a clever way of shaping armholes and doing a v-neck at the same time, without actually having to do it, you know, AT THE SAME TIME, then please come to my rescue.

All that to say this: the vest is currently thinking about its behavior in my knitting basket. You give your knits timeouts too, right?
However, with said garment in timeout, my hands grabbed a skein of wool, wound it and was casting on for a stockinette hat before I knew it. I'm certain they have a will of their own at times. I didn't really know where I was going with the hat. I just thought I could use a new hat for winter and then I cast on and enjoyed all the stockinette. Next I told Instagram that I might do a free pattern for it, if it turns out well. What have I gotten myself into? And it gets worse (or better, I'm slightly ambivalent).

All I knew for sure was that it needs a good frogging. The odd thing is I didn't even mind. I will do just about anything to avoid frogging the vest again, but this hat? I'm ready to frog it and enjoy the stockinette again I though. Well, it didn't quite of that way. As I was frogging away merrily (I had about 12cm knit up), I looked over at my man and said would this be better ribbed and he said something to the effect of yes (I'll leave his exact words up to your imagination).

Instead of enjoying endless stockinette, I'm now enjoying endless ribbing, which is very strange. But what can I say, my hands made me do it.

Rock Solid Designs - Interview and Giveaway

Knitting is always a great icebreaker so tell us, what is on your sticks?
Oh man. I am horrible at project monogamy, so there are a few things going so far. Right now I’m working on an infant sized Antler Cardigan by TinCanKnits for our son due in October. I’ve also got a blanket in the works for him, plus a plain ribbed sweater in the works for my husband. Hmm...I just realized I have nothing in the works for me. That might need to change!

I get knit crushes on designers all the time, who is your favourite knitwear designer at the moment? 
Right now it might be TinCanKnits. I love all of their designs. They are so classic, but interesting to make. Plus I love the huge range of sizes available for each of their projects. I don’t have to worry about upsizing/downsizing a pattern I love.

Box bag

Now Stephanie, how did you come up with the name for your business? 
This is probably the most boring business name story ever. Back when I first joined Ravelry, I needed a user name. I was in school for Geology, so after casually mentioning it to my dad, he suggested “rocksolidstitches” to incorporate both things I was interested in at the time. Of course when I went to start a business, the most logical thing to do was to relate my business name as close to my internet name as possible, while still distinguishing it as a separate entity. Hence, Rock Solid Designs.

When and why did you start selling bags and knitting patterns? 
I started selling knitting patterns two or three years ago- more because I had written up a design I thought of, and figured why not. I don’t design regularly, but when the mood hits me I have to get something written down. I prefer to work with knitting patterns that way. I’m very mathematical, but not very creative, so coming up with designs is a bit more challenging for me.

As for project bags, that started in early 2013. I wanted something a little larger than I was finding online, plus I wanted to be in control of the design. Of course, there are only so many bags you can make before you have way more than you need, and friends were commenting on how much they wanted one. So, I figured why not? It’s been a ton of fun coming up with styles, sizes, etc. In fact, lately I’ve been working on a box bag style that snaps instead of zips close. It’s crazy how popular it is, and I’ve never seen anyone selling them before!

I know you have been selling your products at shows, what is your favourite part of going to those?
I love meeting other vendors, and being inspired by them. Whether it’s their booth layout, or logo design, there’s always inspiration somewhere. Plus sometimes you can see a configuration that you would have never thought of, and incorporating it into my space makes it even better! Being able to speak with customers and hear what they want is awesome, too. Like the above snap bags, for instance. Who would have thought of that? It was actually a custom request that I decided was worth pursuing further. I would have never had the suggestion if I didn’t attend that show!

Notion Pouches

Where do you get inspiration from?
Fabrics that catch my eye, customer’s ideas, anything around me. With my knitting patterns the inspiration comes from geometrics I see around me in life.

What is you favourite Rock Solid Designs item to make and why? 
My favorite item to make right now is actually my Aeryn leg warmers. It’s such a fun pattern, and easy to follow once you get used to the rhythm. Plus fall always sneaks up on me, so it’s nice to have something simple to work on to keep my legs warm once it gets here!

Aeryn leg warmers

How much time do you devote to Rock Solid Designs each week? 
Right now it’s only about 10 hours a week. Life is crazy this summer, so most of it has been with online promotion/prepping raw goods. In a few weeks I’ll start some serious prep for the fall craft circuit, and those are easily 30 hours weeks just on this business.

And finally, what are your goals and dreams for Rock Solid Designs?
I hope in another year or so to reach a point where I can count on this as a steady side income. Right now it’s pretty spotty, based on craft shows and how much time I have to devote to it. I want to reach the point where I have an actual pattern “line” to promote. I also hope to offer a small club program in 2015, which would contain a project bag, a pattern by myself or another indie designer, and a skein of yarn from an indie dyer. I’m still in the process of getting the details of that worked out, but cross your fingers we are able to make it a go!

Bucket bag

Thank you Stephanie, for answering all my questions. But wait there is more... Stephanie is generously giving away one of her bags: 

This bag is made from 100% cotton fabric and closes with a smooth nylon coil zipper. The bag is double-interfaced to help keep its shape and prevent anything from poking through. It’s fully lined and constructed with no exposed seams. The zipper opens at the top when the bag is hanging by the handle, so the contents will not spill out. Each bag is sewn with care, from only top-quality fabrics!

Dimensions: Approximately 8 inches x 3 inches x 3.5 inches.The perfect size for a sock knitting project or a cosmetic case.
To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment sharing your favourite item from Stephanie's store
The giveaway ends Thursday the 14th at midnight GMT and the winner will be announced Friday the 15th.

The revenge of the mystery yarn.

It had to happen, right?! You simply cannot knit with a mystery yarn and expect things to work out easily, can you? I guess what I'm about to tell you is another thing in the cons column of the designing and making do pros and cons list I have in my head...

I hinted at this in my micro business update and if you are on Instagram you may already know what the debacle is all about.  If not, then let me enlighten you. As they say, a picture speaks more than a thousand words...

One is not like the other, sigh. I have 3 balls of this yarn. Placed right next to each other they look the same. However, this is just their cunning disguise, so that they can make you feel all secure and happy, before they show their true colour and make you miserable! 

None of the 3 balls are the same. One is greener than the other. I started out knitting with the ball, that is the least green and more blueish. They also appear to not be spun quite the same. This and the presence of a good amount of lanolin, now makes me question if this was ever a commercial yarn to begin with...

As I viewed it, I had 4 choices:
1) Rip out everything and alternate the balls.   -   Never going to happen...
2) Be mad and never touch it again.                 -   Nope, I want to publish this design
3) Carry on, hoping you will never notice.       -  Not part of my design philosophy 
4) Tell you all about my misery and failure.     -  Now that sounds more like it, right?!

I decided a couple of months ago, that I would share the ups and downs of being a budding designer, because it was something I myself needed to hear about. All is not a dance on roses when it comes to life, knitting and designing is no exception to that. 

I leave you today with a close up of the difference in the garment. I'm still undecided as too if it needs to be overdyed or if it is fine. I can clearly see the difference when I stare at it up close, but at arm's length???   
What do you think?

Micro business update.

Can you believe it has been another month since my last update already? I find it difficult to wrap my head around how fast the days pass at the moment, but at least they are flying by because I'm having a lot of fun. Maybe even a bit too much fun (is there really such a thing?). Not much has happened business wise in the past month or so it seems, mainly because my baby sweater pattern still needs me to do a few changes before it can be send out to test knitters (btw. do you fancy test knitting a baby sweater?) and we still haven't found a baby to do a shoot with.

However according to my list a fair amount has been done. 11 out of 17 goals has been achieved. The remaining 6 has been deleted for various reasons. I'd say that is a fair amount, wouldn't you?

The only active knit on my needles at the moment is business related and going... Well, I'll tell you about that soon, if you are on instagram the picture below will give you a clue. When a relative had spotted it in another room and came to tell how great it looked, oh my, it made my day. She had no clue it was my own design. As for the pattern, everything is calculated, but nothing is actually written in plain English yet. I will have to prioritize that soon.

In other business related news, I have interviews, giveaways and more lined up for the next three months. If you would like to be futured here, then let me know and I'm sure we can work something out. I can't wait to share these great little micro businesses with you in the months to come.

Oh and my man surprised me with an iPhone 5s shortly before my MacBook finally died. I still have to rescue a few things from it, but I'm writing this on my wonderful new MacBook Air 11", which I have to say is my kind of computer, I'm positively in love. So the technology has all been updated and a smart phone is really nifty when you are trying to use twitter and instagram more.

How has summer been for you and your micro business? We are home again now and while we still have a few more summer adventures we want to go on before our vacation ends, I'll most likely be working a bit more. One thing is certain, I'll miss the company of my tiger as I knit away...

Picture Perfect July

August already?! Summer is passing by quickly and we're enjoying it as much as we possibly can. 
I love seeing round up posts like this one, so I though I would share one as well. 

^ Sightseeing on our island - church tower
^ Knitting on a design
^ Seagull 

^Medieval cast iron door  
^Medieval cooking  
^Medieval floor tiles

^ 3 berries jelly
^ Liquirice puffs (Let me know if you want a recipe)
^ Ditto
^ Freshly picked strawberries