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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!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Last Call - January Gift Knits Kit Club

The orders need to get packed and out, so if you wanted to start the club with the group, jump in now!  Otherwise, you can pick us up next month.  This will be true until the remaining spots are taken.  January closes on Friday.

Features:
New kit each month including original Liz Marino pattern and premium yarns to make the Gift Knit of the Month, shipped on or about the 15th of the month

Exclusive Liz Marino Club patterns will not be made available to non-club members until 3 months after Club release date

The first Kit makes these!
Kits will not be made available retroactively or to non-members

Jan = Straight needle gloves for her (s,m,l)
Feb = Snuggly Socks - adult (men, women)
Mar = Woven-look Purse
Apr = Eco-Friendly Washcloth Gift Pack
May = Holiday Knit-Ahead Hat
June = Yoga Stirrup Socks - one size

No substitutions are available. Color and size is determined by Liz Marino. Each month's kit is the only kit available for that month. Kits are not available retroactively.
Membership will not be automatically renewed for July-Dec. Membership will be opened to current members in April and non-members in May based on availability.

Membership is open to North American mailing addresses only. The price is $27 per month, for a total of $162 USD. Payment must be received in full; no month to month memberships are available.

Thanks for joining this adventure! I can hardly wait!Thanks for joining this adventure!  I can hardly wait!






After joining, email me at esliney@yahoo.com with your:

Name
Shipping address
Do this even if they are the same as the ones on your PayPal ID, please, just to confirm! I want to make sure I know how to reach you via email and USPS. If this info is not emailed, your membership will be rejected and your payment will be returned. Thanks!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Knitting Sins 1

This is a post from just over a year ago, listing some of my knitting sins.  Sadly, I have committed some of these sins again, and soon I will have to list the sins that didn't make the first list.  I am not worthy.

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. :) Protected by Copyscape Online Plagiarism Checker

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Gaffs of Christmas Past

Every year my family celebrates Christmas on Christmas Eve. My dear friend Lisa (special ed kindergarten teacher) comes in from out of town, I make a huge meal, and we dine in candlelight in the evening. Part of the daytime tradition is to deliver trays of handmade holiday cookies to friends and family. It all starts with me getting up very early in the morning to bake bread, pie, etc. In '08 I had more to do than that.

I had knit a pair of fingerless gloves with mitten caps for my youngest, and somehow never got round to blocking the 2nd one. I blocked it 2 days before and it was still wet. I had made sterling silver earrings for my eldest, and they needed polishing. I hadn't finished decorating. My house guests were sick, and one a diabetic vegan which made for a complicated time playing Florence Nightingale. And of course there was the cooking.

I threw pie in the oven around 7am, and moved on to polishing the earrings. The first one went great. The second one disintegrated in my hand. 7:30am. I'd think of something. Oh! Mittens! Darn. Still wet. Gift exchange around 2pm. Dammit.

I checked on the pie. Fine. I washed up from the baking trying to figure out what to do. Apologize to eldest and make another one soon. Ok. 7:45. Take soggy mitten and put in toaster oven at 150 degrees for ten minutes. Maybe it will dry faster.

I went to get the candle lanterns out of the basement and decorate with those so we would have light for our candlelit evening. 8:00. The pie beeped, so I grabbed that, and went back to the lanterns, one of which I promptly dropped and smashed. In my bare feet I put the dog out, and cleaned up the broken glass. I checked the mitten. Now it was a hot wet mitten. Damn again. I turned up the toaster oven. Just a little. Let the dog in. 8:45.

On to making breakfast for the sick house guest, and starting a vegan holiday meal as well as the turkey dinner. I was stuffing acorn squash for the vegans and turkey for the rest. I chopped, I sauteed, and then I smelled it. THE MITTEN! I ran over to the toaster oven. 9:40.

Wool doesn't burn in the traditional sense. It just smells awful and disintegrates. It still looked like a mitten (though a little brown) but when I went to pick it up it just crumbled. Damn, damn, DAMN!

Stuffing almost finished. Gravy started. Squash roasted for soup. 10:45. Vegan Lisa comes into kitchen and asks about the "Weird" smell. "Turkey's supposed to smell like that!" I snapped. She's a vegan - she'll buy that, right? 'Cause burned wool smells so "holiday".

I was frazzled, and decided to go drop off cookies to my LYS. "Lisa, I have to get out of here for about 20 minutes. Help me out; keep the husband out of the pie, the kids out of the presents, and the dog out of the stuffing. I'll be right back in a much calmer mood!" I grabbed a platter of cookies and left for the shop.

"This is all you brought?" MaryAnn (LYS owner) was teasing. I explained my crazy failure of a morning, and sat for a minute gulping coffee. She chuckled, wished me well, and I went home.

When I got to my back door Lisa and my dog were waiting and they both looked sorry. Aw,crap.

"What happened?"

"The dog ate the stuffing."

"All of it? Vegan and regular?"

Yup. This woman can handle 20 special ed 5 year olds for 6 hours per day, but not my family and dog. I called my mother in desperate futile hope of recovering my day.

"Haven't you started drinking yet?"

"It's 11:15 in the morning!"

"Not in Australia. Things will look much more festive after your second glass of wine. Go for it!"  A little weird for motherly advice.

I took my wine and retreated for the tub. And she was right. Things were looking up. Protected by Copyscape Online Plagiarism Checker

Friday, December 23, 2011

Freebie Friday - Legwarmers!

Created by Stephanie Japel, these are quick and easy legwarmers.  It seems like a good seasonal idea, no doubt in part because I'm wearing a skirt today, and it's darn cold out there.  These are extremely easy, and will look terrific in variegated, boucle, or even eyelash.  The simple patterns open you up to a world of stash-busting possibilities.  Click on the photo caption to be connected to the original patten on Knitty.com.

Postmodern Legwarmers

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Crazy Holidays

Happy Winter Solstice!  It's the shortest day of the year.  What will you be doing in all that darkness?  I'll be knitting, or so I tell people. 

It's a bit crazy at my house, maybe more than a bit, and all the Zen in the world isn't buying me any more time.  Due to the craziness, I will be re posting some "classic" blog posts here until after the new year has come in and settled.  There will be occasional new posts, but not as many as usual.

In the holiday knitting department, I have finished everything that I've planned on, and shipped it all out yesterday.  Of course, now I have to finish samples for a couple of yarn manufacturers, one for an article in a print magazine, and one for my Gift Knits Club.  Either I'm over committed, or I'm a very slow knitter.  It feels like tackling these projects resembles an assault on Everest.  Where's my trusty Sherpa, you may ask?  Knitting for her own holidays.  Yep, the intrepid Colleen is not available to bail my butt out at the moment.  Even trusty sidekicks need time off, and I have to accept "no" for an answer occasionally.  Thank heavens it's only occasionally!  (I get her services back in about a week, thank heavens!)

Thank you, reader, for keeping me company on my crazy knitting journey.  Without you, there would be no reason for this blog, publishing all these patterns, and some of the fun would be gone from exploring the off-beat sides of knitting.  It's all so much more fun when I get to share it with you.

Thank you all for all of your support during my son's critical illness this summer.  Now that he's home and recovering, I still think of the support you sent every day.  From highs to lows, we've gone through quite a bit together this year.  It's been a great ride.

So, Classics coming up for a couple of weeks, with occasional new material.  I'll be back in the saddle soon.  Thanks.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Hanukkah! and gift tips

Happy Hanukkah!  Best wishes to one and all!  In honor of the holiday, I thought I'd list a few holiday knits "don'ts" based on things recently seen and heard.  Givers and receivers alike, listen up.

No pom poms on menswear.  No matter what the TV "stylists" say, apparently this trend only exists in the minds of a very few.  As a receiver, well, it's very trendy.

Easy on the fringe on garments for pet owners.  Apparently cats can't get enough of the stuff, and once they start after the fringe, the rest of the garment is on borrowed time.  If you receive a fringed garment as a cat owner, do the right thing.  Frame it.

No one really wants a knitted toilet paper cover.  Honestly.

Non-knitters will never fully understand what it took to hand-knit a garment, and you cannot exact revenge of any kind when they throw it in the washer and dryer and then complain that it shrunk.  You can't kick their shins, make them pay for the yarn, or throw the damaged garment in their face.  They don't take it the right way.  (This goes for folks getting tea on and washing tea cozies as well.)

When receiving a "random act of yarn" as a gift (like one skein of acrylic and a pattern for a sweater from the 80's) you must act grateful and promise to use it, even when it's green and orange eyelash yarn.  From Big Lots.  With the clearance price tag still on it.  Yes, you do.  It's the thought that counts, no matter how little thought there was.

A fun fact from my own life - I have a niece whose husband is in the US Air Force.  While stationed in Japan, she gave birth to their first child.  In anticipation of this blessed event, I designed and then knit her a baby blanket with an (accurate) American flag in the middle, and a border of flags of countries where they had been or might be stationed.  It took 5 months of her pregnancy to get it designed and knit.  I then lovingly packed it up with a congratulatory card explaining that I had designed the blanket specifically for their family, and shipped it to Japan.  The first baby pictures she emailed to all of us in the US had the baby wrapped in the blanket.  But she never sent a thank you of any kind.  Oh well, busy new mother.

And then, when she was stateside about a year later, she saw me knitting at a picnic.  "Wow!  I didn't know you could knit!" she said.  Yes, really.  After the shock wore off, I realized two things.  One, I should never assume non-knitters will understand knitting, and I should make and give these gifts for the joy it brings me to do it, and not expect joy on the part of the recipient.  Two, I will not be knitting for her family any time soon.

Happy Hanukkah, my friends.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

What To Give a Knitter - Notions

Random modern knitting tools
Lantern Moon Silk Needle Case
Knitter's Notebook
Still stuck for the knitter on your gift list?  Or maybe looking for a stocking stuffer?  Well, I'm still discouraging Random Acts of Yarn (giving them random yarn just because they knit).  There is a good solution:  Notions.

Stitch and needle gauge
Rosewood Cable Needles
Notions are all the things you need as a knitter that aren't yarn or needles.  Most knitters use tape measures, needle gauges, very small scissors, cable needles, stitch holders, and more.  There are stitch counters, gauge finders, stitch markers, and mini crochet hooks for fixing errors.  There are buttons and clips.  There are needle cases, project bags, tapestry needles, point protectors...  Go into any yarn shop in your area and ask the staff to direct you to the "must have" notions. 

The thing with knitters is because they spend so much time doing a handcraft, they tend to really appreciate hand-crafted versions of all of their tools.  Most of us start out with mass produced pieces from a craft store, and then slowly upgrade our tools over the years.  Beautifully made tools make every minute of knitting more satisfying. 

Hardwood Crochet Hooks in varying sizes

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Gifts for Knitters - Books

At this point, with 11 days until Christmas, you may have decided it's just too late to knit something for a knitter in your life, but they're still on your list.  Now what?  You probably don't want to give a Random Act of Yarn (a skein of yarn you think is pretty and have no idea what your knitter will do with it.)  And needles?  With so many kinds in so many sizes , circs, dpns, short straights, long straights... well, it can be hard to feel good about that, too.

Here's the thing: you're thoughtful enough to want to get it right, and yet don't know what that particular knitter dreams of at night.  These books would be welcomed by most knitters I've every met.  Try them for your favorite knitter, or leave this list out for folks who are shopping for you!

BOOKS:  Generic knitting books are usually safe and welcome.  Try The Knitting Answer Book by Margaret Radcliff, a tote-able resource that covers basic to intermediate knitting conundrums.  Vogue Knitting Quick Reference: The Ultimate Portable Knitting Compendium is another great basic, and is spiral bound, making it lie flat when opened.  (This is very handy when your hands are full of knitting.)

Any of the Knitting on the Edge  (Over the edge, Beyond the edge, etc.) by Nikki Epstein books are a great inspiration and addition, even if your knitter is still diligently knitting their first scarf.  Specifically containing only edge treatments, each offers a plethora of "spice it up" ideas with complete pattern instructions.

Stitch dictionaries are also very handy and popular.  Try any of these: The Encyclopedia of Knitting by Stanfield and Griffiths has explanations of how and why certain techniques are used, as well as abundant photos and directions.  Knit and Purl by Erika Knight covers hundreds of beautiful designs you can make with just the two most basic knitting stitches - an excellent reminder for those of us who over complicate everything.  Knitting Stitches Visual Encyclopedia by Sharon Turner is just that - an easy to understand visual index of knitting stitches.

For the knitter who has everything, try the latest in the Vogue Knitting Stitchionary series, Stitchionary 6: Edgings.  As this series goes on, it becomes more addictive.  Have a big budget?  Collect several of the titles above for your favorite knitter.  They'll swoon in delight!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Gift Knits Kit Club Gloves Debut

I brought out the gloves I designed for the Gift Knit Kit Club yesterday, and passed them around at the knitting circle at the LYS.  They were a hit!  I was thrilled.  This is the first of the patterns in the exclusive club collection, to be followed by Snuggly Socks, etc. 

Features:
New kit each month including original Liz Marino pattern and premium yarns to make the Gift Knit of the Month, shipped on or about the 15th of the month

Exclusive Liz Marino Club patterns will not be made available to non-club members until 3 months after Club release date

Kits will not be made available retroactively or to non-members

Jan = Straight needle gloves for her (s,m,l)
Feb = Snuggly Socks - adult (men, women)
Mar = Woven-look Purse
Apr = Eco-Friendly Washcloth Gift Pack
May = Holiday Knit-Ahead Hat
June = Yoga Stirrup Socks - one size

No substitutions are available. Color and size is determined by Liz Marino. Each month's kit is the only kit available for that month. Kits are not available retroactively.

Membership will not be automatically renewed for July-Dec. Membership will be opened to current members in April and non-members in May based on availability.

Membership is open to North American mailing addresses only. The price is $27 per month, for a total of $162 USD. Payment must be received in full; no month to month memberships are available.

Thanks for joining this adventure! I can hardly wait!

 




After joining, email me at esliney@yahoo.com with your:

Name
Shipping address

Do this even if they are the same as the ones on your PayPal ID, please, just to confirm! I want to make sure I know how to reach you via email and USPS. If this info is not emailed, your membership will be rejected and your payment will be returned. Thanks!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Gift Knits Kit Gloves Are Finished!

I've finished the sample for the Gift Knits Kit Club January kit, the Gloves!  I love them.  I made the sample in a small/medium, which is what I always do, and now I wish I'd made a large (my size)!  I always end up wanting at least one of every pattern, and at this point I should know better.  They can be made on straights or circs, and they're really pretty, if I do say so myself. 

This minor miracle of finishing the gloves coincides with the first snowfall of the year that stuck to the ground.  For the first time this season it really looks like Christmas is coming to Buffalo.

Yesterday I replaced my 15 yr old winter jacket, and my 8 yr old boots.  Is it coincidence that they both happen to coordinate nicely with the gloves?  It's hard to say.  Sometimes the subconscious sends a message.  Sometimes you just buy the stuff that's available in your size, no matter what the color scheme.  Sometimes I really overthink things.  Ok, often I really overthink things.

I'm so excited about this club!  I'm happy about the socks for February, and the bag for March.  Looking through all the yarns for these projects, making the selections, working out patterns...  I hope you have as much fun with this as I do!  If you're not already a member, join us.  There are a few spots left. 

Gift Knits Kit Club

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Life Without the Puppy

NatureSong Marino
Rosa puppy went back home to her family on Sunday, leaving the Marino household back in its usual mellow groove.  It was great and challenging to have her, and it's great that she left.  Rosa loved to eat my furniture and my yarn and my toes.  Knitting now without having to stop and manage the puppy every few minutes is refreshingly efficient.

My own dog, Max, doesn't seem to miss her at all.  He'll be 6 years old soon, and he is much more the elder statesman and much less the wrestling partner he was expected to be for the last two weeks.  He doesn't seem to miss his house guest at all, enjoying no sharing of his toys or his doggie bed.  He seems to think that all the time I used to spend managing Rosa should now be spent on rubbing his belly. 

Variety of Mountain Colors Sock Yarns
In other news, the yarn for the Gift Knits Kit Club's first piece has been custom-dyed, and is on its way to me.  I can't wait to see it!  Now I'm working on the yarn for the Snuggly Socks for the February kits.  It's a tough choice, and I'm really enjoying playing with large amounts of sock yarn.  All this test knitting makes me want to knit a whole pair with every single yarn!

Do you have a favorite heavier sock yarn?  Something I should be considering?  Let me know.  Thanks!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Straight Needle Gloves - Sneak Peek!

This is the swatch for the first pattern of the Gift Knits Kit Club!  The pattern is finished, and I'm knitting the sample today. (Yep, those are some little bitty cables on there!)  It's for GLOVES, and it is written and charted for BOTH straight needles AND for those who knit in the round.

There will be a contrasting, dark brick colored cuff.  The yarn for the body of the glove is called "Embers", 100% Superwash Merino DK Super Sheep, and it's from Holiday Yarns.  I love it!  It's knits up soft and warm and dreamy. The yarn alone retails for $22.00!  The whole kit, mailed to your door, is just $27. 

I'm making each of these items as a Holiday knit ahead for the 2012 holidays, so next year I'll be less frantic about finishing my gift knits list. 

I've just opened a few more spots in the club, so join us!

Gift Knit Kit Club Features: 
New kit each month including original Liz Marino pattern and premium yarns to make the Gift Knit of the Month, shipped on or about the 15th of the month

Exclusive Liz Marino Club patterns will not be made available to non-club members until 3 months after Club release date

Kits will not be made available retroactively or to non-members

Jan = Straight needle gloves for her (s,m,l)
Feb = Snuggly Socks - adult (men, women)
Mar = Woven-look Purse
Apr = Eco-Friendly Washcloth Gift Pack
May = Holiday Knit-Ahead Hat
June = Yoga Stirrup Socks - one size

No substitutions are available.  Color and size is determined by Liz Marino.  Each month's kit is the only kit available for that month.  Kits are not available retroactively. 

Membership will not be automatically renewed for July-Dec.  Membership will be opened to current members in April and non-members in May based on availability.

Membership is open to North American mailing addresses only.  The price is $27 per month, for a total of $162 USD.  Payment must be received in full; no month to month memberships are available.

Thanks for joining this adventure!  I can hardly wait!




After joining, email me at esliney@yahoo.com with your:

Name
Shipping address

Do this even if they are the same as the ones on your PayPal ID, please, just to confirm!  I want to make sure I know how to reach you via email and USPS.  If this info is not emailed, your membership will be rejected and your payment will be returned.  Thanks!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Freebie Friday - Christmas Pudding Tea Cosy

Pudding Cosy
This is the most adorable tea cosy I've ever seen.  Or maybe it's just the Christmas carols talking.  Either way, I wanted to share it with you.  It's from across the Pond in England, so the terminology is a little different, but it's a super easy pattern, and I know you'll do just fine!

By the way, when you knit up a Freebie from Friday posts, I'd love to see how they come out!  Email me!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Designing Around the Puppy

10 days ago, I picked up a puppy whose owner has become disabled and unable to train her.  She's 11 months old, and wasn't trained at all.  At all.  She is a beautiful English Setter from a top show line, with lots of fluffy soft fur and the elegance that goes with the breed.  Her name is Rosa.

She also bounces off everything - walls, floor, people, kids, adults, trees... She has boundless energy, and boundless curiosity about the world I've brought her into.  She's adorable and goofy, and constant work. 

Rosa also loves to eat my yarn.  Any yarn.  She picks up the skein, prances around the house for a few minutes playing keep-away-from-Elisabeth, and then tries to eat it.  I understand a love of yarn, but I don't think much of this eating it behavior.  I'm trying to design and test knit patterns for the Gift Knits Kit Club, and Rosa keeps trying to lick the project or make off with the yarn.  Talk about adverse working conditions!  I'm tempted to picket, but it is my house after all. 

There's an upside.  My dear friend Cecile has loaned me her swift and ball winder, so at least I'm not trying to ball yarn for projects on top of everything.  These tools are addictive!  It's amazing how quickly the balls get made.  I've always made my hanks into balls the old fashioned way - I hand-wound them.  This is so cool.

Did I mention?  Now Rosa wants to eat the swift, too.