Blog Archives

Treeline Cardigan – Finished

I finally finished knitting the Treeline Cardigan for Peep. Now I am on to working on some commission christmas gifts, and then my plan is to knit another Treeline to test my notes, and get the official pattern typed and ready for pattern testing by others. I’ll list the extra Treeline Cardigan for sale in the etsy shop.

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I downloaded this great app from the Google play store called Time Meter that allows me to track progress/time on multiple projects at a time, and calculate a wage based on an hourly rate. I’ve been using it to keep track of how long my different projects take me to knit. I’m surprised by how fast of a knitter I actually am. Also, I thought I knit a lot more than I actually do. There is an extension you can download that syncs the time meter app with your Google calendar, so anytime you use the time meter app, it makes a note of it on your calendar too.

The other thing I’ve been busy with is learning about pattern writing and how to properly price my crafts. Based on everything I’ve seen, we (collectively)aren’t charging enough, and under charging can give buyers a false sense of. ..ummm…lack of quality.

So – we under charge, telling ourselves we need to be competitively priced, but when it seems too cheap, potential buyers might pass thinking is cheap because it’s cheaply or poorly made.

So, expect to see my prices go up, even though I don’t really have anything for sale yet. The prices in my head just went up lol.

Here are some of the links I’ve been perusing.

Fair Pricing for Handmade Items
Craftsy has a class I want to take called
How to Say It: Pattern Writing for Knitters
And What the Craft has a great FANTASTIC article on Pricing Your Handmade Goods. Really, if you sell your stuff, it’s a must read.

Finally, I’ve been bitten by the Traveler’s Notebook bug, big time. My mom gave me two of them, one a passport size, and one a personal size. They sat on my shelf for a while because they are neat looking but I don’t like to “use up” gifts from my mom too fast, and I didn’t really know what to do with them. Then I stayed playing with them a little, making my grocery lists in one insert, then my “I wannie” list in another insert, then I started doodling some embroidery ideas in another insert, and suddenly I was hooked. Now I’ve got some really great ideas in the works for some inserts of my own design. I can’t wait to show you what I come up with!

I’d you want to learn more about Travellers Notebooks, here are some great links.

Organize Your Soul
Inserts, Inserts, Inserts
Traveler’s Notebook Forum

Pots in the Fire

I love spinning yarn, but I’m slow at it. I’ve been working on this merino silk blend for almost a year now. Really, I’m not a slow spinner, just an infrequent one.

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I’ve got too many pots in the fire between farming, preserving food, parenting, knitting, spinning, needle felting, mending clothes for myself, my family and on commission, and trying to start a (very) small home based business making spirit/altar dolls. (That’s the sorry list, too! ) I also wish I had the time and space to sew clothes for myself and my daughters.

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I’m a creative goddess of the fiber arts. I’m a stay at home mom to two children under the age of five, so most of the things I want to do only happen in my head, or during the elusive moments when I have both hands free and I’m caught up on housework.

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There is no easy solution, unfortunately. Timeis really what it takes. As the girls get older they will require less intense supervision and care which will free up my time to indulge in my crafts.

I don’t think it’s necessary to stop crafting either, those creative outlets are important for me and my children. Today, watching me spin yarn, Pip asked a lot of questions and showed interest in learning to do it too.

Moving into a bigger home will help a lot too, because it will give me a bedroom with a corner of my own that I can set up with my supplies. Supplies that will be out of reach of little hands, supplies that I can leave at a moment’s notice and come back to when I have free time again. Supplies I don’t have to clean up because company is coming over our I need to clear the table for dinner.

Besides, once the house is built, the yurt will be my new creative space next year. It will get moved out of the center of the yard and into the treeline,  and either recovered with new canvas or permanently sided so it doesn’t get musty inside when it rains.

Creative outlets are important for everyone, but I think they are truly vital for women like me: at home with young children, working off their land, or confined to a small space for whatever reason. It allows us to escape the confines of our lives and grow and explore, to not feel trapped by the mundane daily tasks of daily life.

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But you know, I’m no expert. This is just an opinion piece. Maybe I’m just making things harder for myself.

Light bulb moment

I was laying in bed listening to the rain on the yurt roof, trying to decide if it was regular reason or freezing rain last night around 0130. I couldn’t fall back asleep, so I got to thinking.

I love this little blog and want to take our relationship to the next level. I’ve been reading up on ways to increase readership through guest blogging, ways to monetize the blog without ugly, tacky ads.

You see, I’ve been a working woman since I was old enough to be a trusted babysitter and I’ve been earning my own income. Since deciding to be a stay at home mom and farm wife, I’ve taken on the hardest, most amazing job of my life. The only problem is that it currently pays zilch. I don’t need or want, really, too get rich. I’m happy living a simple life. But I want to own sheep, and sheep cost money, hay costs money, fencing costs money, a better rabbitry costs money and a bigger barn also costs money. As do spinning wheels, books, linen fabric and extra curricular activities for my girls.

Which brings me back to my brainstorming. I don’t have a lot of free time or space to make things to sell. Our farm and homestead are still young so we consume everything we currently grow and raise (which isn’t a bad thing, it just means we don’t have extra to barter with yet).

So it seems I’ve got a couple options.
1) Keep preparing. I’ve got time to keep preparing for the day when I do have space to make items to sell (goddess/altar dolls, hand sewn/felted/fur clothes)
2) look into some type of freelance writing gig, maybe some guest blogging on things I know about.
3) finally start writing up all those knitting patterns I have written down in my knitting journal and offer them for sale either through ravelry.com our some sort of national publication.
4) offer my services consulting on knitting projects and helping trouble shoot other’s knitting problems for a fee.
5) offer knitting workshops and classes

Here’s the funny thing.  When I came to item 3 in my midnight musings, my phone lit up the room. It was like the cosmos just wanted to get my attention so that I understood it really was an a-ha moment.

I’m the type of woman who is willing to listen to the universe. I believe in magic,  I have a tribe of sisters I love unconditionally, I have survived everything that’s ever been thrown at me or put in my way. Finding a way to make some money seems like such a small problem.

So maybe the way to take my blog to the next level is to just keep blogging, and start offering some of those knitting patterns I have for sale. I’m already writing and designing the patterns for my own family, perhaps the time has come to share them with the world.

What would you like to see on this blog space? How-tos? Tutorials? Knitting help? Homesteading trouble shooting?

Leave a comment below, or join my happy blog followers. Send me an email and I will personally respond to any questions you have.

Brrrritos

The freeze is imminent and the 5 day outlook looks like we’ve hit deep fall, and that’s where we’re going to stay. I’m okay with that, my knitting needles ate clicking away. I have managed to get 1.5 sleeves done on Peep’s new sweater and half a birthday crown done for Pip in the last two days.

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Yesterday Pip worked on her latest needlepoint project for about an hour while I snuggled Peep.

In the afternoon I remembered we needed to get the grapes picked before it got too cold. I bundled both girls up, even though the sun was shining there was a fairly chilly autumnal breeze to contend with. I managed to collect about 13 gallons of concord grapes.

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We’ll be turning them into grape jelly, raisins, grape juice and a small batch of wine over the next few days.

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I was going to cover our spinach and lettuce bed with some ground cloth yesterday to extend the season for another week or two, but then night before last or resident porcupine decided that napping in the asparagus patch want enough and mowed through about 2/3 of the lettuce bed. I guess I’ll just plant some fresh stuff inside when I start the windowsill herbs that didn’t survive transplant, cooler temperatures,  or the summer heat: basil, lemon grass, cilantro, lettuce, spinach.

After grape picking, of which 100% of Pip’s help was dedicated to eating as many grapes as possible, we came inside to warm up before Zach got home to take Pip to a birthday party.

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We only got about 20 minutes inside which was more than enough time, then we walked down the driveway to meet him. Pip is turning 4 so this fall she is very, very excited about the falling leaves. She was jumping, dancing, spinning, and kicking up a storm. She even stopped to make some leaf angels.

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The excitement was quite contagious, Fern was running back and forth and Peep even forgot her discomfort long enough to have a few giggles

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New knitting projects

I never JUST bind off. My good friend taught me (mostly for socks and sleeves, but I’ve adapted it to knitting in general) that whenever you bind off a project, you immediately cast on for the next thing.

It keeps the knitting momentum going, which is vital when it comes to socks and sleeves. You can end up with just one sock, a sleeve that’s a completely different size than the first, or a myriad of other problems. I usually try to completely finish an item before I cast on for my next project, which means weaving in ends.

I wanted to show you the 2 projects I’m currently working on right now.

The first project is a fingering weight, fair isle cardigan for Pip. The pattern is called Where the Wild Sheep Roam by Ann Myhre, and has been on my knitting bucket list for ages. The English version of the pattern only goes up to a size three in toddler. Given that Pip is weeks away from turning four, and is wearing a size five, I knew it was now or never to get this sweater done for her. Sizing it up hasn’t been that hard, basically I just went up a needle size.

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I always knit a sleeve as my swatch. It takes about the same amount of time as a gauge swatch, plus I get to start on my project. If the gauge doesn’t work out, no big deal, just re-start the sleeve.

I’m a fairly loose knitter anyhow, so by going up a needle size I’ve circumvented the biggest complaint about the pattern, which is that it is very tight. By adding 3 inches of length to the sleeves (I know, she’s a tall girl) I’ve managed to make it long enough and loose enough that she will probably wear it for at least a year (praying for no more growth spurts of 3″ in 12 months).

I’m not progressing very fast on this sweater for two reasons. First, Peep is almost 5 months old, so she needs a lot of in-arms time with me right now as she can’t sit up on her own yet, and when she’s in my lap she is grabby. Second, the main (background) color of this sweater is black. I usually only have knitting time in the early mornings with an oil lamp, or in the evenings by the warm glow of the tv. Both low light conditions make it difficult to see what the heck I’m doing with all the stitches.

Okay, on to my second project, another sweater, this one is for Peep. I just cast on this project yesterday during Pip’s swim lesson. It’s easy, straight forward, and is in a much heavier weight yarn. This pattern is a heavily modified pattern of my own design. Expect to see the pattern in the near future.

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The yarns I’m knitting it in are a handspun Romney, and Cascade Souk.

Bonnets

I just finished the second bonnet of my own design. The first I made for Peep in size 6-12 months.

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The second I made for Pip in size 3-5 years.

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You can find the links to my project pages on ravelry.com, which I made public, up above.

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