How to be a more Productive knitter

Have you heard words like Area 51, UFOs and PHDs?

Are you tired of being stuck in Area 51 (your stash) with all your UFOs (unfinished objects) and PHDs (projects half done)?  I’ve put together a list of ways for you to be more productive and organized with your knitting.

Keep Your Stash Under Control

We are all guilty of having too much yarn. You know what I mean. We leave the house and find ourselves in the yarn aisle at Michaels or our favorite LYS, and we just buy. It’s pretty, it talks to you, the shop gal tells you it’s the perfect color for you. Guilty! Why not start buying for a particular project and keep your Area 51 from growing out of control. Whew…done!

sock yarn pile

Choose Projects that you are serious about

Ravelry is the perfect place to spend hours, literally hours, searching for that pattern. You all know what I’m saying, I’m sure. It’s down the rabbit hole you go. But again, it will keep you from having to add on to the house for additional yarn space. *smiling*

Have 2-3 projects going at all times

I know what you’re thinking, “but Deb, you said not to buy yarn just because and I might not have the yarn in Area 51.” I gotcha. Here’s what I propose…you search through Ravelry, find 3 patterns that you’d like to make. One that is super easy and can be done while knitting with friends, one that is a bit more complicated and will take a couple months to finish, and one that makes you excited every time you think about knitting on it. Maybe its a new stitch or some part of the pattern you can’t get enough of. If you have more than 3 projects going at any given time, it will cause you to put them away and forget.

entwined2
Entwined Blanket Pattern
vanilla socks1
Free Vanilla Sock Pattern

Choose a podcast or listen to an audiobook

My favorite thing to do is to watch a knitting podcast or listen to an audiobook while I knit. Even if its a bit more complicated, I find myself able to concentrate on the pattern, yet listen at the same time. Weird, I know. But, it’s also a great use of your time. A couple of my favorites can be found on Youtube: Brooklyn Knitfolk, By the Lakeside, and Grocery Girls.

Take your knitting with you (always)

Remember the one project I mentioned that is super easy and can be done while knitting with friends? Yea, that one. That’s the one you grab on your way out the door in case you’re stuck waiting somewhere, or you are done running errands and just want to find a nice cup of coffee and sit. I do it all the time and love it. Make sure it’s in a cute project bag. Just ‘cuz.

me knitting

What’s your next project?

It’s ok to take breaks. Ravelry is a great place to go to. You can assign yarn and projects. You will find yourself back there, I’m sure, so why not have a list of yarn (in Area 51) that you’d like to knit with next. Assign that along with a pattern for future projects.

With these ideas, you will soon find yourself organized and productive; actually ticking things off that list and getting rid of UFOs and PHDs in your Area 51.

How exciting is that? Please share with me your plan, your new pattern finds, and of course your UFOs and PHDs. I have many myself.

(note to self, go through Area 51 and take your own advice.)

Knit On, friends!

Deb

 

 

 

 

Knitting For the Season

Don’t you love this time of year. It’s the season where we begin to dig out our handknits, to include hats. It’s the time where the leaves are beginning to fall, the temps are dropping just a bit, and the days are shorter.

My latest design is spectacular. Well, I’m told that anyway. I have this thing with creating a simple design that the beginner will enjoy knitting on, as well as a design that the advanced knitter can have done in just a couple hours times.

The Abby Hat.

A great gift idea! From Grandma/Grandpa to mom/dad, to sister/brother/ to just about anyone. This hat has 3 sizes to choose from. Small, Medium, and Large.

I believe hats are the in thing right now. This one is slightly slouched through the crown so it doesn’t feel as though circulation is being cut off. It’s knit with a bulky weight yarn.

I took a dishcloth pattern, my favorite rolled brim, and combined them to make this adorable hat. I’m pretty sure Abby will be your favorite go-to hat pattern. Fashionable, simple, yet sophisticated; a great hat to put on while walking the pup.

I’d love for you to head over to my Etsy Shop where you can read all the sorted details. You will also find several more fun hats there. 

So, as I always say,

Knit On!

Deb

And The Thunder Rolls…

…and has never sounded so good. Though, coupled with lightening, well, that wouldn’t be such a good thing right now for us. 

We’ve experienced yet another fire here in our beautiful Colorado. Almost to the day, a year ago, we had fled from the Waldo Canyon fire. The Black Forest Fire, as they are calling it, had people evacuating from their homes. Some lost their homes, others ran just in case. I can’t say I blame them. I think what we all learned from the Waldo Canyon fire was you can never be sure where it will go next, or when it will strike too close for comfort. Voluntary evacuation to me would mean, go. Just go.

I have sat here, clear on the other side of the city, watching, listening to others cry out on Facebook, hear the news crew when they would make their next briefing. Such a sad thing. For those that have lost everything, I can’t imagine how that feels. For those having to pack up, and get ready because they are on pre-evacuation status, I do know how that feels.  Running around, gathering stuff. 

Wait. It IS just stuff. I understand the heirlooms, the buckets of expensive cashmere yarns, but honestly, nothing is as important as you getting out. You can’t be replaced.

I guess for me, having lived that, I think back to what I could have done differently. Nothing. The fact that we all got out safe and our home was untouched, we can only breathe a sigh of relief. Some can’t do that today. And for that, I can only say, I’m sorry. I’m sorry that happened. And for what reason this fire had started, we may never know. They have begun an investigation into the point of origin, and as to why it got started. I do hope they find out. It would offer comfort, at least to know.

I’m looking out my loft window as I write this. It’s raining. And hard. It’s what we have all prayed for to end this horrible beast. As of 11:30am, the fire is 75% contained. Good news!

The one fun thing positive to have learned, was that my favorite yarn shop, Table Rock Llamas, that was located in the heart of Black Forest, was spared. Yay! We have a knitting group called Bitch ‘n Knit girls that meet every Tuesday morning there. I think we will rename our group, “Smokin’ Hot Knit Bitches”. The shop owners love it. 

Table Rock Llamas Knit Shop

Well, my friends, I didn’t mean to give this post such a negative feel, but just know, it’s part of life right now for many. Take comfort today in knitting something special, whether it be a new hat for someone in need, or a pair of socks for yourself.

So, as I always say,

Knit On!

Deb 

 (p.s. the yarn pics are to add a bit of brightness to this post.)

Booksigning a HUGE Success

You know, for years I sat and pondered what I would be when I grew up. That became a daily thought; one that could make or break my day. I wanted to do something I could be proud of, as well as, my family be proud of me. I went through years of jobs, some good, some bad, but only to lead me to where I landed today…

Dishcloth Diva has been a dream come true for me. I think it finally hit just this morning, as I sat behind the big table loaded with dishcloths and chocolate. Strung on a clothesline, my dishcloths hung behind me. I was feeling a bit anxious as my knittsters arrived one by one, and even those that don’t knit were kind enough to stop by and buy a copy for themselves. My hope is that they find time to sit down and learn to knit, because that morsel of time you take for yourself will bring much comfort to your day.

Ask me how I know…

Tears run down my face as I write this. I know it’s official…I’m an author. Author of something I love to do. Something I’m passionate about. Something I can be proud of; the photography and patterns are all mine. I truly believe that when you find your passion, you run with you. Whether it leads to something like this, or just self gratification. It’s all the same in my book.

Please enjoy a few photos of my never-to-be-forgotten first day…

 So, as I always say,

Knit On!

Deb

Dishcloth Diva’s Book Signing

The minute my publisher announced the book was ready to go to print, I was excited! I mean, who wouldn’t be, right?

What a journey. A year from start to finish. Just what the industry projects. I never believed it, but alot goes into getting your book published: editing, test knitting, editing again, sending it to your publisher who goes over it again (another edit), then the final draft comes back to me. Perfect!

Not to mention all the hours spent on knitting, ripping out, re-knitting, then photographing the dishcloths so they looks book perfect. I couldn’t be more proud of how the images came out. Colorful, brilliant colors. Just like my personality, right? *smiling*

The day is finally here, the one day all writers (designers) dream about…a book signing. My first book signing.  *squee*

To be held at Table Rock Llamas Fiber Studio in Black Forest.  Come one come all and join in the fun. 

So, as I always say,

Knit On!

Deb

How do I count thee (Knitting) ways

I’m so blessed to be able to attend so many knitting group during the week. I mean, who wouldn’t like to get away for a few hours, enjoy wine, coffee, dessert, dinner, and great company?

I look forward to these groups whether it’s Monday morning, Monday evening, Tuesday morning, Wednesday morning, or every other Friday morning, my calendar is filled.

Monday Evening lovely ladies & baby

Sweet baby girl just wasn’t having the sock monkey hat (hence, the blurry photo)- Monday Evening group
Hannah sporting her cowl-Monday evening group
Nadia sporting her very cute hat-Monday evening group
Yarn Crawl September 2012

The yarn crawl was fun back in September. I got to drive. “Sure no problem, I’ll drive.” I said. The car kept going and going up the mountain, and going up the mountain. “It’s just west of Denver.” They tell me. We kept going and going. If you know me at all, I’m a horrible traveler, unless I’m a passenger in the car, knitting. I guess our little drive to “just west of Denver,” took a bit longer.

Priceless! And YES, we got Lots of it!

Cute little shop tucked away in a shopping center

The perfect Lantern Moon find.
My girls!
Stopping off at the coffee shop on our return, I couldn’t leave without this. Right?

But all the whining aside, we had a fun time.

More pictures of my lovely knitting friends coming in future blog posts. I just can’t count the ways…there are so many of them.

So, as I always say,

Knit On!

Deb
 


Fall, Coffee, Photography, Knitting & Stuff

An escape from our regularly scheduled knitting events…

Our weather is drastically changing from those oh-so hot days, to cooler days and colder nights.

I’m ready.

Though, I’ve never been a huge fan of snow. I grew up in Michigan, but as a kid, snow was fun; snow boots, hats that grandma knit, and big over-sized coats that hung way below our fingers. I remember walking to school as a young girl with all the neighborhood kids…we all looked alike. The moms watched as we filed side by side, making our way to school. We could hardly walk. The snow in Michigan was never forgiving, as there was lots of it. But as a kid, you did everything to make sure you were wet from head to toe by the time you arrived at school.

As I’ve grown up (well, for the most part, anyway), I have a different take on the weather changes. I love to sit outside a coffee shop when it’s just cool enough to enjoy, and knit. The trees are brilliant this time of year, the skies are blue, and the brisk breeze is well received. Knitting offers me a feeling of calmness, much like fall weather does.

It gives me the urge to grab my camera, and shoot some pictures. Re-decorate my house, and fall in love all over again with my surroundings.

 Snow will fall sooner than we are ready, but living in a wooded area, the beauty never gets tiresome. I find myself, amongst the snow flakes and cold temperatures, with my camera. I never get tired of Colorado.

I know right? Who would?

Halloween will greet us, followed by Thanksgiving, then Christmas…holidays that remind all of us that winter is here.

It’s the time of year, my hermit instincts kick in. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I HAVE to get out or the walls close in, but when that snow falls…I’m in for the day.

Knitting in my favorite chair, in front of my favorite design show, creating my next favorite project.

Yep! My friends know me. They know I won’t be coming to knitting that day.

I encourage you to enjoy this day, whatever part of the country you are in. Find yourself a favorite spot and favorite hobby, whether it’s knitting, crocheting, or just sitting there pondering, and look at your surroundings. There is much beauty everywhere.

So, as I always say,

Knit On!

Deb

Dishcloth Diva – Knitting one dishcloth at a time

http://www.cooperativepress.com/shop/dishcloth-diva/
Do you have any idea what it feels like when your publisher sends you an email saying, “time to review?”
Let me tell you, It’s the most heart pounding, tear jerking, euphoric moment one could ever experience. I downloaded the PDF file, opened it up and just stared. 
In aw. 
Was this really happening? I’ve been working on this project for a year. Dreaming about this project for as long as I’ve been knitting, about 10 years.
Yes!
Dishcloth Diva features a foreword from Kay Gardiner of Mason-Dixon Knitting, a declared fan of the humble dishcloth.
You can order directly from my publisher’s website and get the print copy, as well as the digital copy, for one price. Digital available now, Print will ship when available (soon). 

Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best. ~Theodore Rubin 
 
Couldn’t have said that better myself…

So, my friends, I’m honored to be able to share with you my love for this craft. It keeps me content on a cold day, it gives me comfort when I’m alone, and it allows me to dream while I create the next diva-like dishcloth. 
 
My hope is that it does the same for you.
 
So, as I always say,
 
Knit On!
 
Deb

Interview with Diane Serviss – Knitting Designer

One of the biggest mysteries in the knitting world is how to achieve success as a designer.
I’m excited to introduce to you Diane Serviss. She’s known in the Etsy world as Pixiebell. I’ve “stalked” her for quite sometime now, just popping in and out to admire her fun photography and whimsical designs.  

I was looking through the free hat patterns on Ravelry when I stumbled upon Jakes Cable Beanie.

What an impressive knit. Fun. Fast. Not to mention, Fabulous. You know me, that’s what I’m all about. I actually knitted it in a couple hours, using the recommend yarn, Lions Brand Wool Ease Chunky. The cables are beautiful. But the one thing that I found fun about this hat was, you use dpn’s to knit it, not a circular. I enjoyed that. Alot.

My Knitted Version

So, I dug a bit deeper on Ravelry and found her Elfinwear page. Her About Me section is so much fun to read. What an accomplished woman. Did you know that her Signature Pixie hat and her gnome style beanies were featured in the 2012 episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Ty Pennington can be seen wearing her pixie hat, in olive!

I think it’s time to chat with Diane…

Thanks for joining me, Diane. I’m curious, what inspired you to design this awesome Jakes Cable Beanie? 

My nephew, Jake, is an avid outdoorsman in Montana. I noticed every time I saw photos of him, he always wore a hood but no hat. He mentioned he always had a hard time finding one that fit snug without being too bulky. Aunt Diane to the rescue!

What a great aunt! Is there anything in particular that inspires you to design, in general?

I am really inspired by movies, new and old. I am always amazed by the gorgeous wardrobes and garments worn especially in period pieces. You can see influences of cartoons, Dr. Zhivago, even Bridgette Jones in my work.

Dr. Zhivago, nice! So, what advice do you have for a new knitter?

Practice and challenge yourself! Find a fibre that you really love working with. Start off with a pattern that you feel comfortable with, then try another pattern with a new technique in it. Continue learning and growing and trying new things.

Great advice! You obviously have been knitting for awhile, can you share with us about 
how long?

I taught myself to loom knit in 2005. Along the way I realized there were some restrictions to what I could do. In 2007, I finally taught myself to needle knit by watching videos on youtube. Three years ago, I taught myself to crochet the very same way.

I can relate to you when you say you taught yourself to knit in front of youtube videos. What exactly was your first knitting project?

I think, like most new knitters, it was a scarf! It was garter stitched and green and I held onto it for quite some time until I learned to knit in the round and made one of my first hats to match it. 

What is your favorite knitting project now?

Felted Wizard and Princess Hats

I guess it is no secret that I love hats. My favorites are always something childlike in a grownup size. I love pointy pixie hats and gnome hats and big puffy tassels. I love any excuse to play dress up. One of my favorite patterns is in the book, “New Knits on the Block.” I could make a million of these and give one to every princess I know. 

Diane, for many designers, knitting has become a way of life, rather than a hobby. How has knitting changed your life?

Knitting has changed my life in every way imaginable. Knitting was only going to be a hobby, but when I graduated college in 2008 and realized no one was hiring, I fell back on my hobby. Now, in 2012, that hobby is a thriving business that employs both myself and my husband full time…he is an amazing knitter. Our eldest daughter knits for us seasonally. I certainly never planned to head down this road, but what an amazing lifestyle we have been blessed with.

I love to hear happily-ever-after stories. One last question, what is your favorite type of yarn to work with?

The yarn I most often use and design for is Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick. I love instant gratification. Give me a fat yarn and a fat set of needles and in one hour I’ll hand you a finished hat, my friend.

This was fun! I also discovered Diane (Elfinwear) has a Flickr account. See more fun pics there. 

Dear Readers, I’d be honored (and I’m sure Diane would too), if you’d check out her designs. She’s an inspiration to all of us.

Many, many thanks to Diane for joining me today. Please tune in each Wednesday for a new knitting designer. You WON’T want to miss a single week. I promise!

So, as I always say, 


Knit On!


Deb

 

 

 


Top 10 Reason Why I LOVE to Buy Knitting Books

Isn’t it fun to figure out 10 reasons (funny or not) why you do what you do? I’ll list mine, then I’d love to read your #1 reason…let’s go!
We all have different reasons for buying knitting books. Mine are a bit serious 😉  
Top 10 reasons why I LOVE to buy knitting books:
10 –  To keep the book stores in business.
9 –  It’s a treat to go shopping for a new one.
8 –  To get inspiration from others. It’s one thing to get inspiration from staring at your stash, but it’s (quite another) when you’re flipping through the colorful books, and the inspiration is right in your face. 
7 – To support those authors that I follow along with on their blogs. Branching out from internet to paper is a huge deal, and I’m all about supporting them.
6 – To give my shelf a bit of eye-candy. To brighten up my (already) lively book shelf.
5 – To collect ALL the books from my favorite designers.
4 – The luxury of flipping through the book to make sure it is what it says it is. It’s one thing to buy it online and think you’re getting the perfect book, only to open it up when it arrives and it’s nothing like you thought it would be.
3 – An excuse to sit in my favorite chair, sip on iced coffee with my corgi at my feet, and enjoy the content. A great excuse to do nothing.
2 – I love the smell of a book. Okay, weird, I know.
And the #1 reason I LOVE to buy knitting books (really, there are many) is to support the author, learn a new skill, and have a library full of brilliant, endless projects. A book to spend many hours with, while browsing the beautiful photography, and if the book has stories, oh…even better. Me, coffee, and a good story (especially, if it’s about knitting somehow), even better. I also consider it a bit therapeutic. 
I know these were a bit more serious than recent Top 10 lists, but I do take them serious. It’s important to acknowledge those that have branched into print copy, and support their efforts. 

Stay tuned every Tuesday where I share top ten reasons for all things fiber related.
As I always say,
Knit on!
Deb