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Sales Consultant and Trainer with great results and 30 years experience.  Very effective.  A little eccentric. Usually happy. Visit the Sales Dynamo website!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sock Stress

Last night I finished sock one of the Girlfriend Socks (aka surprisingly tiny feet), and have some serious doubts.  The pattern is a huge modification to a pattern I already had.  Looking at the finished sock, the proportions look very odd.  The sole is slip-stitched to add a little cushioning, and the top is ribbed.  Both of those things contract the work.  But my finished sock looks like it would fit a Wii remote much better than a human foot.  The circumference is tiny!  I can expand it with my hand, but wonder if it will be too tight.  I can't try it on, because there is no way my size 9.5 feet will fit in the "tiny feet" sock. 

I've looked up a couple of shoe size/sock measurement conversion charts, and it's not consistent.  I'm either right on the money or off by about an inch in functional circumference.  I'd really like to know for sure so I can either rip this one back or start sock two. What is a knitting maven to do?  I'll let you know as soon as I do.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Inspiration

I went out to a diner for breakfast the other day.  It was close to a SUNY Buffalo campus well known for its high percentage of foreign students.  I liked people watching, and the international and multicultural scene playing out over coffee and eggs. 

I noticed was that most couples and groups were of mixed nationalities, and each kid was dressed in a unique way. There were sweats of various vintages and styles, and occassionally absurd numbers of layers, but mostly real individuality.  Why don't adults dress this way?

One Asian girl had a sweater that looked handmade, and it was a long-sleeved crew-necked sweater with built-in mittens!  The sleeves had sock style ends, with a hole for your hand to poke out for practical things, and poke back in for the cold.  The colorwork was at unlikely angles in random sizes.  Cute as heck.

A guy with a Slavic accent had one of the widest knitted scarves I've ever seen on a man, in a mix of very deep and vivid greens.  It was very long, and wrapped several times, and worn over a gorgeous grey sweater with deeply carved cables.  It was probably the warmest looking combo I saw.

Maybe the most fun were the knitted hats.  There were Andean caps with earflaps and tassels, slouchy tams, watch caps, stocking caps and newsboys.  There were stripes, solids, cables, lace, pom poms, tassels, and appliques.  There were skull and crossbones, flowers, and nordic designs.  The colors were fabulous.  More was more, and the effect was cool and unique. 

It would have made a great magazine shoot for a knitting mag.  (Where are the camera crews when you need them?)  It was great inspiration to design.  The possibilities are endless!  Leave it to the kids to teach an old dog new looks.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Fun and Free Lunch Bag Pattern

This adorable lunch bag is in a back issue of the computer mag, Knitty.  It's a felted bag made in the round on big fat needles.  Try it!

If you're new to the idea of knitting in the round, this is a good pattern for you.  The bottom is worked back and forth, and then the edge stitches are picked up to make the body of the bag.  The clasp keeps the bag closed and in shape, so the shaping is minimal.  Make it in crayon-bright colors or traditional brown; it's a great gift for just about anyone! (Apple optional)

I love knitting in the round now, but remember how intimidating I found it back when I started.  I wish I had started on a pattern like this one! There is no danger of twisting or messing up the join because you're picking up stitches. If you're new to picking up stitches, remember to pick them up on a needle at least two sizes smaller than your working needles. (You can pick up on straights.) It makes it a smooth and easy process, and leaves plenty of room in the stitches to be worked.

New to felting? There is absolutely nothing to worry about.  This felting project has great instructions right in it.  Further felting info can be found here, including history, needle felting, washer felting, and how to info.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Again with the Newsletter

The blog is suffering its monthly lag because my writing time is being taken up by the Karma Knitting newsletter, due out on the 30th.  I'm still in a turkey-induced coma, more than a little studied out for school, and the writing is going slowly.

Sock one on the surprisingly tiny feet gift is almost done, making me grateful my dear friend doesn't have BIG feet.  (How long would that have taken?)  I still think I'll make it in time, but it will be tighter than I thought or want.

I'm looking forward to a change in December class planning.  Colleen suggested a monthly Knitting 101 class, and she was right.  The first Sunday of every month we will be teaching the very basics of knitting, purling, and simple increases and decreases.  I love the basic classes.  It's so cool to see people's faces when they get it!

Also, there will be a straight needle glove class.  (Picture at left.  The embroidery was an afterthought, and further proof I can't embroider!) )  They're really easy, and a good precursor to making gloves in the round to get an understanding of construction and shaping. 

I have to get back to the newsletter.  I hope to see you in class!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful

As a knitter, there are many things I'm very thankful for:

Alpaca, mercerized cotton, and superwash wool!

All the knitters for hundreds of years who have figured out the details of this craft and have written them down for me to understand.  (I would never have thought of this on my own!)

My LYS community, who keep me sane (ish), inspired, and plied with baked goods and yarn.

Knitting bloggers and Ravelry, who help me feel less alone when I can't write a pattern I like, or when I have to frog hours of work.  It's nice to know the "big kids" have these problems, too.

MaryAnn, Colleen, and Cecile, for our close-knit friendships.  I'd love you even if you didn't knit, but the knitting is so cool!

My family, who have loyally worn my work, no matter how strange or ill-fitting it may be.  They have heard "I'm almost finished with my row - I'll be right there" a million times, and only rarely roll their eyes.

All of you who read this.  Thanks for your comments, contributions, and talks in virtual and real life.  It's been a real enhancement to my knitting experience to hear from you.  Thank you.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Victory

I have conquered sock one of the holiday gift socks for the friend with surprisingly tiny feet.  I couldn't find the exact pattern I wanted, so I'm making a variation of one that I have and then adding the changes I want.  After no fewer than 7 attempts, the heel and sole are right where I want them and I'm steaming along toward sock two.  I hope I've made enough notes and accurate enough notes that I can successfully complete a sock two! Woo Hoo!

On a holiday note, I've been taking advantage of some quiet time at home this Thanksgiving week to get some heavy chores done, which means many trips to the basement.  Today, after one visit to the basement, I heard the dog whining (just a little).  I looked around, and he was closed in the basement.  Where his food is.  Where half of his food is.  The other half is in his tummy.  I can tell by the strange bulge in his abdomen (and the fact that the bag is a lot lighter). Max got his Thanksgiving feast a day early and without having to cook.  Genius!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Great and Cozy Quick Sock Pattern

The pattern for these beautiful socks can be found here.  It's amazing how such a simple (really, really simple) pattern can make such fabulous socks. 

Made in a DK weight (3), these knit up quickly and are a great addition to your gift knitting repetoire.  Somebody needs these as a holiday gift, care package, "because I love you", or charity project.  I've got mine.  I can't wait to see yours!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mean People Suck

I spent the afternoon at Karma yesterday, and was the designated Knit Doctor. A customer came in with a small problem and a big attitude.  Angry Customer was angry about an error my free pattern in the newsletter.  Angry about the correction I published a week later.  She had started tha pattern, had made some mistakes not related to my error.  She wanted me to rip back and re-knit the 18 rows.  (I didn't.)  She explained to me I was "foolish" to have made any mistakes, and that I shouldn't publish original patterns.  I should copy other patterns and cut and paste them into the newsletter.  (???)

I'm sure this balanced the universe in some way, but I wish I knew how. (Pride and curiosity are two of my Karmic tasks to overcome.) I didn't take the bait and argue, though I was tempted.  ("Foolish"?)  I said, "I sincerely and deeply apologize for any trouble my error has caused you."  I meant it.  If a mistake in a pattern can cause this sort of vitriol and condescension to be spewed into the world, I hope I never make another error!

Later, a Mother-Daughter came with yarn from a dear and deceased grandmother, and wanted to work her yarn into their projects to commemorate her.  They were confused and happy, asking answerless questions. "I lost the pattern, started this project a year ago, and wonder what to do next.  I think it was gloves.  Or mittens.  How can I finish them?"  It was hard to meet their needs, but they were happy.  What a contrast to Angry Customer. 

On reflection,  I hope Karma Knitting offers Angry Customer some peace in her life.  I hope Mother-Daughter gets satisfaction out of their commemoration project.  And I'm really glad that Angry Customer was gone before Mother-Daughter came in.  It would have ruined their lovely gesture of respect.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Swatch Journey

Swatches have such a strange reputation!  Some people look at them as a necessary evil, others a waste of time, and still others love them and see them as a resource.


Cascade 220 sampler afghan.  Pattern available.

My experiences with swatches have included all of the above.  And then I took a journey.  I had come back knitting after a hiatus of several years, and had knit quite a few projects.  I was worried, though, because I would read a pattern and not be able to remember how to do certain techniques I used to zip through with ease 20 years ago.  I very quickly felt boxed in with what I was able to do, and phobic that I might get into a project only to discover I didn't know how to finish it.  So I decided to swatch every skill I had any interest in or possible future need for.

It was just a notion until I saw a sampler afghan that a friend had crocheted.  Aha!  A possible use for all these swatches beyond a simple learning project!  Shortly after that I was off to the races.  I started simple with relearning stripes.  One swatch down.  Then intarsia blocks.  I probably worked and ripped two swatches for every one I finished in the beginning.  (My daughter ripped out a finished one early on because she had seen Mommy do it.  I cried.)  I was sure I was doomed.

I was also crazy busy during the day with work and four kids and a very sick mother in law, and a bunch of other madness.  When I wanted to knit, I only had a couple of minutes to maybe an hour.  I couldn't start a new project or take a class, so I kept cranking out swatches.  Cables...  Basketweaves...  Bobbles were nearly the end of me and my knitting career. 

Life settled down, and I had 19 swatches.  I realized I really had a shot at finishing this sampler afghan after all.  And as decided to repeat some of the blocks I was amazed at how much easier they were the second and then the third time.  The blanket ended up being 36 blocks large, and although I can tell which blocks were early swatches and which I did at the end, it looks pretty good, even now, 5 years later.  I'm grateful to my swatch journey for reinforcing (and sometimes inventing) my knitting skills.  And I'm very grateful when I see my kids cozied up under the finished afghan.  I made that!  I learned so much. Swatches and I are friends now.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

LYS Yarn and Patterns Giveaway

Super cool giveaway from Classic Elite, approximately a $20 value.  A guest post from Classic Elite.  PASS IT ON TO YOUR FRIENDS!  Use the share links at the bottom of this post.


Do you Love Your Shop?

Classic Elite wants to give back to those who risk it all to follow their dreams, open yarn shops and keep them open in these changing and challenging times. In fact, we have so much faith in those dreams that we want to give everyone a present.
Spend $40 or more on yarn or books between now and December 15th, send us a copy of your itemized receipt and we’ll send you a recent pattern book and three mini-skeins of Classic Elite Yarn, just for buying local.
It's our "thank you" to all the knitters and crocheters who recognize the value of supporting our local knitting communities.
Find out more about the Love Your Shop giveaway on our blog and view complete rules and details on our web site.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Little Red Car

This is a guest piece from my childhood friend Christina Anderson Barnhill.  She's creative, able, and more than a little feisty (as I recall), and not one to take "no" for an answer.  It sounds like her son is following in her footsteps!  (On this car, I LOVE the little wipers!)

"I was looking for something to make for Matthew (girls are so much easier to crochet for) because he saw me making stuff for his sister and was feeling left out. His brother, Ed, has a red Camaro and Matthew wanted a red car too. I made up the pattern as I went along. The wheels sort of match the wheels of the Camaro. After I finished it I realized it has no roof. Oh well, Ed's car has T-tops and so does Matthew's.

Matthew is very specific when he asks for something. I offered to make him a hat and he told me he wanted it orange with a red stripe, with red fish swimming around it and a sea anemone on the front. We ended up designing a coral reef pillow. I haven't done it yet but I have the notes for it. I made him a scarf to his specs once. I didn't think it would look right but it came out cute. He is my little designer, next month he will be 7."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Stag Leap Square

I made this pattern for the Square of the Month for my LYS Newsletter.  I will be sharing these graphs as I make them.  They are all 38 stitches by 50 rows. The idea is that as you choose to make them, if they all match they can be the front and back of a pillow or purse, or squares in a blanket or throw.  They take size 7 needles with worsted yarn, or size 5 needles with Dk.  Worsted makes an 8x8 square.  This work is copyrighted.  Please do not reproduce without credit, and a link to this blog.  Thank you!

Grey cells = knit on RS, purl on WS
White cells = purl on RS, knit on WS
©Elisabeth Marino 2010.  All rights reserved.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

We're Not Sheep

There are so many stereotypes in the world, it shouldn't be surprising that there are stereotypes about knitters, too.  Spending so much time in the LYS and with other knitters, I've noticed quite a lot about us knitters as a group.  Interestingly enough, the one thing we all have in common is that we don't all have much in common!

Some of us are 8 and in elementary school, some of us are 30, and some of us are retired. (Why do people always picture Granny in a rocking chair?)  Some of us are men, some women.  We prefer to knit alone or in groups or in front of the TV.  We insist on washable fibers, or we couldn't care less as long as it's beautiful.  (It's like we're clones, right?)

Favorite fibers vary, although based on sales, natural fibers are more popular than synthetics.  Many people will knit gifts in a more expensive fiber than they use for themselves, while some look for something inexpensive but durable.  Customers often use a different fiber than called for in the pattern as long as they can match the gauge, but almost as often insist on the same fiber called for in the pattern.

Most of us have abandoned using the specific yarn (i.e. Kraemer Classic) called for in a pattern, while some of us are very precise about using the yarn called for.  Color choices tend to be all over the map, from folks who love a nice grey to the wild "Crazy Aunt Purl" colors so many of us think of when we remember hand knits from our childhoods.  It seems we rarely use the color specified in the pattern.

While blends rule with sock knitters, what exactly is blended varies from yarn to yarn and knitter to knitter.  Cashmere and nylon, cotton and spandex, wool and acrylic, and wool and polyamid will readily all show up in one sock knitter's list of favorites.

What's true about nearly all of us is that we're a pretty cool bunch.  Most of us are happy to meet other knitters of any age, race, nationality, or profession.  We share needles, tools, patterns, and of course, food and drink with knitters we know well and with total strangers.  We're like a crafty little AFL-CIO.  (I'm sure some political conservatives just cringed at the reference.)

We are not sheep.  We're a community.  I love it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sarcasm

Holiday knitting is sometimes more labor than love.  I'm feeling a little sarcastic today, and think that could manifest very well in knitting. Sarcastic gift suggestions follow:

For the folks who have to put on jewelry with everything, make socks with gold yarn and sequins.

For the fashion forward type, obviously something convertible so they can change it at their fashion whim.

For the one who is always cold, a sweater with an inside p-p-pocket for a hot water b-b-bottle.

For the one who is always warm, start a sweater, and give it to them unfinished so they'll never feel obligated to wear it. 

For the shy, I recommend a flesh toned balaclava (ski mask).

For the wine drinker, something in a nice Cabernet (color).  For the beer drinker, something washable in case they spill while excited watching the game.  For both, a little pocket for the Tylenol for the possible impending hangover.

For the couch potato(e for Dan Quayle), a sweater with pockets for remote, phone, and snacks. The design on the front could be the blip line of an EKG, illustrating they still have a pulse.

For the angry curmudgeon type, any garment with a smiley face would be great.  (Gotta love the contrast.)

For the very vain, a hat that looks like their hairstyle so they'll never have to worry about hat-head.

For yourself, a good laugh and a good-natured hug.  Enjoy your holiday knitting projects!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Minis, Homework, and Future Projects

I had a knitting class to teach today.  It was a sock class.  I decided to teach a mini sock, ornament sized, because it has all the same skills as a big sock, but with a tiny fraction of the stitches.  (I like  minis as teaching tools in general.  Here are a few in front of our very small fireplace at the shop.)

I know some people want to come to class and get right to work on their garment or project, and although I get that, there's a reason I don't teach that way.  Each project contains it's own group of necessary skills.  In this sock, as an example, we have cast on, knit, purl, ssk, psso, k2tog, picking up stitches, knitting in the round, knitting straight (for heel flap), and of course toe grafting.  That's a lot of skills.  I try to reinforce all the skills in a single class rather than have students come back.  The only way to do this and accommodate all the different knitting speeds and skills is to work on a mini project or swatch.  Otherwise I would have to assign homework, and ask people to come back when they are ready for the next step.  This would make fast knitters as crazy as slower knitters. So, swatches and minis.  You can make the big projects at home.

On a more personal note, my daughter was really happy with her hat and mittens.  I'm thinking of doing a fair isle skull motif on mittens for my 18 yr old son.  After two more pairs of socks and my vest, of course.  **fingers crossed behind my back**

More Variations on Art Knitting

This link will take you to photos by my friend Christina Anderson Barnhill of projects she made for her adorable son.  You'll love 'em!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Chill Chaser Cable Cap

Ok, the truth is I just loved the idea of all those C's together in the title.  The designer of this pattern calls it Gehry, after Frank Gehry the architect (think Guggenheim museum).  She lives in Chicago, where winters are even more unpleasant than here.  These people understand the need for a good hat.

She indicates in her blog that it would be a great cap to use to learn cable techniques.  I'm going to trust her on that because I haven't made it yet.  Even so, I wanted to share it with you.  I've added it to my list of "things I need to make".  With a small amount of yarn and pretty big needles (9's and 10's!) I might be able to fit one in before the holidays!

What's On the Needles Now

Right now, I have to bind off my daughters cabled mitts.  I should have finished them two weeks ago, but I left them undone at the thumb gusset so I could use them as an example in a class I was teaching.  Now they've been around so long, they just aren't exciting anymore.  They're still beautiful, and on great yarn.  I think I'm just more into variety... I'll finish them today just to alleviate my guilt.

I've also started a pair of socks for a dear girlfriend (who has surprisingly tiny feet for an adult!), and since they are on the magical Nichole Sock Yarn by Schaefer, they are absurdly seductive.  They call to me like Sirens, trying to get me to forsake all knitting for them.  "Back to knitting monogamy", they urge!

I haven't started my cool vest in brioche stitch, mostly because I'm a chicken.  I don't want to discover I've bitten off more than I can chew.  Now that it's in print, however, I will get it on the needles this weekend.

PS - Has anybody seen the cute Spiral Cap and Fair Isle Mittens I knit for my daughter's birthday?  Her birthday is tomorrow, and I've hidden them from her so well I've ended up hiding them from myself! :(  I didn't take a picture, so if I don't find them, I can't even give her a snapshot!  ***frustrated grumbling***

PPS - I found them, hiding out in a sample bin at the knit shop.  They're a little washed out in the photo, but cute in person.  I hope she likes 'em!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Knitting Sins 1

Oh yes, I have sinned against my yarn, my patterns, and against my tools.  I hope for knitting absolution from the knitting gods. (I have several projects to finish before the holidays, and this is a bad time to have the knitting gods angry with me.)

I have used my knitting needles as a tool for things they were not designed for.  I've used the straights for backscratching, my DPNs as blocking pins, and short circs as stitch holders.  Needles have been used as bookmarks, and been accidentally put away in the book.  I have used needles to grab small things out of nooks and crannies.  I have used a needle as a straight edge to draw a straight line.  I have used them to hold together my gingerbread houses.  (Short DPNs work really well.)   Please give me another chance.  Things will be different.  I promise.

I have done BAD things to my yarn.  I have used fine, hand-made fibers to tie bows on doll hair, make a leash for my daughter's cat, and yes, even donated them to diorama projects.  I have split plies, and cut tangled skeins I should have carefully untied.  I have machine-washed yarns that were not superwash.  I have even used hand-made fibers to make pom poms.  (I'm mortified!)   I don't know what I was thinking. 

I have decided I am smarter than the pattern.  I have taken shortcuts, like using a different cast-on.  I have changed stitch patterns.  I have not corrected my mistakes, and ended up with the hideous garments I deserved.  I have arrogantly changed needle size and yarn weight without doing the math because I thought I could handle it.  (I couldn't.)  I have ignored assembly instructions, turning a perfectly good garment into an Escher cartoon.  I have started projects on  aluminum needles and finished them on plastic.  I have knotted and cut yarn ends instead of weaving them in.  And after these sins, I have blamed the pattern, because it couldn't have been my fault.

I have entitled this post Knitting Sins 1 because I know there are more sins I have committed that I just don't remember right now.  And of course, I know there will be more.  I'll admit them as they come to me, and I hope you'll share some of yours with me, too.  I'll feel less alone. :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Where People Knit

It's fascinating to me the places and times that people pull out their knitting.  I knit at home between chores, after dinner, or while helping the kids with their homework.  Other people knit at baby's naptime, or on their lunch hour, or waiting at the doctor's office.  Older women used to knit in the back pews of church when I was a kid.  WOW!  One of my friends knits at her daughter's swim practice.  It's 80+ degrees in there and humid, but she's happy with a lap full of wool.  I don't get it, but it works for her.

I read a story by a friend of mine about how she knits during dialysis, and she spends that time knitting for charity.  Spending her time thinking about people who are less fortunate makes those hours feel much more worthwhile.  She's a saint, no doubt about it.  I love that her hobby makes a time when she could easily feel sorry for herself into a gift of love.

There are also reports of musicians knitting between takes of music videos, and actors knitting on the set.  Not in their trailers, mind you, but right out in the open.  I wonder if  they say to the director, "Hold on.  I just have to finish this row..."

In Montana, one of my girlfriends can see cowboys on horseback hearding sheep and goats up the mountain's grazing flats outside her office.  She swears they knit in their down time during the summer.  Being a cowboy doesn't pay much at all.  I'm guessing being a cowboy is chilly work in the Cascade Mountains in the winter, and with those sheep in front of them all the time, I guess it makes sense.  It's the last thing I'd imagine in a cowboy's knapsack, though...

In the Andes, men are the principal knitters, and they tend to knit while walking.  They load up their burros, put their knitting stuff in pockets on the front of their sweaters, and knit for miles while they walk to and from market.  I don't think I could knit and walk without bumping into stuff or messing up the pattern, let alone manuever a burro over a mountain to and from market while knitting.  Yeesh!

Where do you knit?  Where are some interesting places you've seen people knitting?  Have you knit in a spot where people looked at you funny?  Where?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cozy Sweater Pattern for the Chill in the Air

The weather is wintry, with frost on the grass and the cars every morning.  Coffee and cocoa are replacing iced tea and lemonade.  All the little drafts in the house are evident once again, and the coziest throw in the family room is always in use.  This sweater pattern is cozy and quick, and will make a great addition to your wardrobe or make a great gift.  (Note: pattern is listed in CENTIMETERS.  There is a link to INCHES)

Alpaca is the warmest fiber, and in bulky makes an outer layer like a jacket.  If you want a lighter layer, make it in worsted weight, or in wool or acrylic.  Any of our bulky weight varigated yarns will make this project sing. For a different look, make it in a solid.

Because it's knit on 8's it knits up pretty quickly. Its rated as EASY by the designer/manufacturer.  And if you need a hand, ask a Knit Doctor at Karma.  We'll be happy to give you hand!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Where You Buy Your Yarn

The knitting ladies at Karma have been coming in for their visits, and their sit-and-knits.  In very large numbers, visitors have been coming in with yarns purchased somewhere else (usually online sources) and showing them off to the owner and the Knit Doctors.  They proceed to visit, drink coffee, knit awhile, and then leave without making any purchase of any kind.

Really?  I get that the economy is challenging all of us right now, and that no knitter will every buy all of their yarn from only one source. From time to time a fiber show, a vacation, or another shop will tempt us all.   I do not get people bringing in yarn purchased from competitors and expecting the staff of the Local Yarn Shop  (LYS) to be excited about their purchase.

In the national and local scenes, the LYS is threatened species.  None of us knit because we must. We knit because we love it.  It's a luxury hobby, whether you knit in acrylic or cashmere.  Since the economy is slow, fewer people have discretionary cash to spend on yarn.  Fewer yarn buyers mean fewer yarn  sales, which means LYS owners are making less money.  Sources indicate that the US has lost over 15% of its Local Yarn Shops in the last year!  Online sources have suffered as well, but to a much smaller extent. 

Our shop owner, MaryAnn, is perhaps the nicest woman on the earth.  She would never show her frustration or hurt feelings when people rub their purchases from elsewhere in her face.  I am not as nice, and am saying in plain terms "Knock it off!"  It's rude to show MaryAnn what you didn't buy from her.  Karma is a business, first and foremost.  The primary focus is to turn a small profit.  Every sale matters, no matter how small.

There are very, very few yarns that cannot be had through Karma, or a satifactory substitute is available.  Every possible price point is represented.  If the LYS is an important part of your knitting life, spend your money there.  Karma is a community shop, supported by the local knitting community.  When the locals stop buying, the shop will close.  It's karma at it's simplest.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cool Cabled Mitts Class

I'm up changing all my clocks, and thinking about my class at 12:30.  People have been really interested in these mitts, and they are SO much easier than they look.  I will be teaching at Karma at the new 12:30.  I wonder how many students will show up at the old one?

Remember, classes are free with yarn purchase on class day, so if you want these mitts, come get the yarn.  We'll give you the class and the pattern free of charge!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Variation on a Theme

Back to the Knitting as Art concept.  Monster Crochet is a fascinating blog by a woman whose creativity seems endless.  What I like most is that her sense of humor is a little bent.  Her photos are FAB, and her needlework is flawless.  My current faves are the Bacon Scarf and the Cherry Pie Beret. 

So gorgeous!  I can't crochet to save my life, but I surely appreciate the time it must take to chart these patterns, find the exact right colors of yarn, and work the right stitch combos to make it work.  My hat's off to Regina!  Keep up the beautiful (and inspiring) work!

Friday, November 5, 2010

First November Freebies

I've been so focused on changes at Karma and trying to keep up with my own life that I've neglected the Free Patterns of the week.  Let's remedy that right now.  A really pretty straight needle mitten pattern on 8's with worsted can be found here.  The cold days of this week had me digging out all the mittens and gloves I've made myself in the last few years (at least the ones the kids haven't "Borrowed") and I know it's time to have a pair in the pockets of all of my coats. 

The second pattern is more intricate, for more advanced knitters. It's a cozy cowl, perfect for feeling snug in a midweight jacket or sweater.  Cowls are also a huge style trend for this winter, worn with everything from long sleeved tees to turtlenecks to blazers. 

I'm off to the Wine and Cheese Help Party tonight at Karma.  I hope to see you there!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Knitting as Art

My friend Colleen sent me this link this morning. "Transcending the Material"  It's amazing what this man (yes, MAN) has designed and knitted!  Please click, and scroll through the photos. 

Another amazing knitting artist is Jan Messent.  She has written about a dozen books on knitted art projects, as well as another 2 dozen on other forms of needlework. Check her out at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.


A Ferrari, full sized, was designed by Lauren Porter. She submitted this as her final project at Bath Spa University for an arts degree.

There are thousands of knit artists out there, and doing truly amazing work.  There's a woman knitting DNA strands, one who has knit the major organs of the body, several who have knit sweaters for public sculptures and trees, and even one giant knit spider web. 

Knitting a beautiful garment or blanket is an art in itself. Outside-the-box knitting, as seen here, definitely isn't for everyone.  The true capacities of this craft never cease to amaze me, though.  There is always more to learn about design, construction, technique, and discipline.  As you become aware of other great knit artists, please let us know.  We'll be happy to show you more pictures!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Exhaustion

It's DONE!  The shop is complete.  The shoppers have hit the sale bins hard, and the new merchandise is also headed out the door.  And I'm tired.  Ridiculously, achingly, slightly bruisedly exhausted.  So are the others involved in making the updates and the new look.

The feedback we've been receiving from the customers is fabulous. Please let us know what you think of the changes.  See you soon!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Karma's New Look

Wow!  It was a ton of work, a lot of fun, and took more than a little creativity, but the shop is just about ready for customers.  (It will be ready in a few hours when we open!)  There are great new yarns, huge new sales, a new schedule to include Friday Night Wine and Cheese Parties, a few new policies...  It's so cool!  We are all very excited, so please join us and let us know what you think!  And remember, Tuesdays have additional markdowns.  If you can swing by today you'll have first crack at the very best pricing and selection!  We hope to see you soon.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Evolution

I spent 9 hours at the knit shop yesterday with the boss and a friend.  We moved things, cleaned things, built things, took things apart.  We put things on sale, pressed things, and brought in new product.  We removed furniture and brought in new.  We vaccuumed alot.  We forgot to eat, and later in the afternoon were amazingly grateful for tuna subs.  I was there for 3 hours this morning, and figure it will be another 5 or 6 before we're done. 

A few people came into the shop during the 3 hours our shop is normally open.  The shoppers were happy and want to see how it comes out.  People who come to sit and knit without spending any money, however, were out and out rude.  I was so defensive of MaryAnn!  I was shocked that people would speak sharply to her because they couldn't sit around and knit and drink coffee.  Of these able-bodied women, do you think anyone offered to help?  Of course not.  It was Halloween, so maybe it was the phase of the moon.  I hope so.