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Knit Your Holiday Gifts

Welcome Knitters & Crocheters,

Did you know that Christmas is ONLY 177 days away? I know, right?

christmas

Have you thought about what your gift list looks like? Have you thought maybe a Knit along with me might be fun? I’m sure you haven’t. But, it promises to be so much fun!

If so, please join me over on my Facebook Page where you will receive Free, Paid for, and recommended dishcloth patterns, that will help you get a jump start on your Holiday knitting. I have a fun prize package (it may even include on of my books *smiling*) for the one that knits the most dishcloths in the month. Fun, huh?

b9230-booksigning5
Dishcloth Diva 

Your to-list, as well as mine, is to make a list of those people that enjoy receiving a creative gift. As we all know, not all recipients appreciate a hand-made gift. And, that’s ok, right? Be thoughtful in your list. It may even be fun to add some natural hand cream to your cotton dishcloth as a gift. That’s always a great addition.

Have a fun-filled weekend knitting your first dishcloth pattern of the month. It can be found here. Yes, it’s mine. 🙂 And I made it available for free for liking my page.

Knit On!

~Deb

 

 

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What are you passionate about?

I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying, The things you are passionate about are not random, they are your calling ~Fabienne Fredrickson

Fear and discomfort can paralyze you unless you choose to lean into your passion. When opportunity knocks, you are tempted to answer, right? Opening that door will be scary, will make your palms sweat, but may ultimately push you toward what you’ve been ignoring.

The things you are passionate about are actually your calling. When I decided to write my first book, I couldn’t help but wonder if I really knew enough about creating knitting patterns. Would people be able to follow along? Would I lose them? Would they love my style?

I realized that I DID know what I was doing. I WAS doing it. I had (still have) a successful Etsy shop, my blog had (still has) a strong following, I was doing interviews with successful creatives, and working my life was full.

My passion was my calling and I believe, to this day it still is. My books, Dishcloth Diva and Dishcloth Diva Knits On, are still going strong. They are found on Amazon, and will be added to my Etsy shop where my fans of my patterns can have them, as well.

I’ve recently tried a new adventure. Real Estate. For those that know me, and those that are just getting to know me, know that I’m realistic, emotional, passionate, sociable, grounded, adapt well to a situation, outgoing, though far removed from the “typical” real estate professional.

Oh, I wanted to be the best real estate agent in the worst way. I would spend the day at the office, look at properties online, send out handwritten notecards. People often ask me, why did you get into real estate? Well, my answer is always the same…HGTV.

#thestruggleisreal

the struggle is real

I love the glamour side of showing a buyer a property, helping the seller get to the point to be able to list their home. But, what others don’t show/tell is the other side of real estate. The scary contracts, the negotiating and more negotiating, knowing your role, feeling a sense of concern for your sellers/buyers when it’s not going so well, being accused of putting words of others in their mouth, being so stressed out that my body struggles to stay well, and most importantly, for me, is challenge in making everyone happy. Because, as we know, that is utterly impossible.

The emotional side to all this is real. It’s a hard job. No, I’m not afraid of hard work, but honestly, the older I get the more I realize it’s on my terms. I come from a hospice nursing background where my job was to console and educate families losing loved ones.

Why do I mention that? That’s who I am. Whether I want to challenge that or not. I love who I am. I love the person I’ve become as I’ve gotten older. I just don’t love being stressed over something that’s not in my control.

Well, nothing is actually. 🙂

Today was an eye opener for me. I’m not sure where it came from, but it came through pretty loud this morning. I’m not about to ignore it.

Blogging is my passion; it’s something I’ve neglected because of the recent job shift. I’m about to find a way to take this passion of writing and put it into something that will help others see their passion, live through mine, and be a part of a community that feeds into a creative side.

blog computer

Because that’s what’s important, right? And, the reason you follow me here. Thanks for that!

What’s next, Deb, you’re probably wondering? Please stay tuned and find out. I’m sure it will be creative and involve a lot of knitting and writing.

So, for now, friends, decide what you’re passionate about. It may just be your calling.

Hugs,

Deb

 

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Critique Matters

red-hands-woman-creative
Hello!

Today I have been working on a novel that I had abandoned. For what reason, I don’t know. I probably got off on another creative adventure. Shocking, huh!

So, here’s what’s on my mind. I’d like to revisit this novel. I haven’t really fully edited it yet, but, I’d like to take an honest approach to getting it published. I know I have work to do and have reached out to groups for some honest critiques, but I thought I’d give my readers a chance at it first.

Let’s be honest, you would be my audience, right? Or maybe intrigued enough to read through this first page and tell me three things:

~ Does it capture your attention enough to turn the page?

~ Are the characters, this far, likable?

~ Should I trash it and try again?

Please leave comments or feel free to email me at Debbuckingham (at) yahoo (dot) com. I always enjoy hearing from my readers.

Thank you! Write On!

Deb


All Lacy Parker wanted was a little breathing room and the only place she could find it was in her bathtub. Even though the bubbles were flat and the water was getting cold, Lacy took this time to reflect on her complicated life, especially the last few months concerning Dawson’s infidelity. The four years they spent married was rocky, some would say . . .  insane.

Dawson was frantically packing for his tour to Iraq; a tour that would hopefully prove more successful on his return.

The letter sat unopened on the kitchen table.  A promise of a new tomorrow felt deep within Lacy’s heart as she heard the front door slam.

“Dawson . . .” Lacy howled louder. “Dawson.” Tears ran down her face leaving track marks through her makeup, only to realize he may not return.

Lacy sank further into her cold water, tears of anger welled up inside. A goodbye would have been nice.

“Hey . . . Lacy,” Dawson’s voice took up the silence, “You here?”

How didn’t he know where she was? Maybe he thought she went outside.

“Yea, Dawson, I’m up here.” Lacy jumped from the tub and wrapped an oversized towel around her thin frame; long blond tendrils lay wet against her shoulders. The knock on the bathroom door indicated Dawson was there.  She opened the door wide enough for him to walk in. Her towel fell to the tile floor as Dawson wrapped his strong tattooed arms around her.

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Inspiring YOUR Creative Side

Hello February 2

First off, Happy February.

Ok, I’m a day late, but I’ve been snowed in with nothing but a warm fire, a hot cup of coffee and my knitting/micron pens/colored pencils and a sewing machine. I’m sure you understand.

So, here’s what I’m thinking. Inspiring A Creative Life is the theme to this blog. Why not, for the month of February, have a daily or every other day challenge. However you want to work it. I know, this will be for my own good as well as yours. It will keep us from being challenged with “what do I do now”. Yes, I have work stuff I could do, but this will be more fun, as well as, continue to feed OUR creative side.

I will provide a list below for the month of February. Yes, today counts.  You can choose to check off all 20 or pick the ones that speak to you. You probably noticed I didn’t do one for each day of the month.

That’s unrealistic. We all have busy lives, yet if you’re following along here on the blog, it’s because Creativity IS in your vocabulary.

Either way, you will be inspiring YOUR creative side. I’d love to see pics–which can be posted on Instagram by using #inspiringyourcreativeside OR here if you’re not an insta kind of girl or guy. Your comments below will be fun to read as well.

I want to be inspired by YOU!

cute-life-quotes
THIS is what inspire me to be me. What inspires You?

Keep in mind, we all interpret differently, so this may be your own idea of what each is. Your style is what’s important here.  This can be photography, drawing, knitting, crochet. It can be sewing or a coloring page. Maybe you doodle or create beautiful hand lettering. Whatever your interpretation is, is what makes it YOURs.

Here Goes…Let’s have funcreativity

 

February-Inspiring YOUR Creative Side

1: Flower

2: Texture

3: Playtime

4: Family

5: Home

6: Simplistic

7: Circle

8: Line

9: Happy

10: Morning

11: Hobby

12: You

13: Joy

14: Nature

15: Color

16: Mealtime

17: Inspire

18: Knit

19: Round

20: Heart

So, go be inspired, friends! Let’s share, chat, and be AWESOME this month. Show me what you can do.

CoLoR OuTsIdE ThE LiNeS and Find YOUR happy!

~Deb

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Grow Your Art

Hi Creative Friends!

As a creative person, I’m always looking for outlets that will put me in a happy place, or happy space.

I mean, who doesn’t, right?

I wanted to show you a creative space I walked into today…

Grow Your Art is a phrase I noticed as I walked into this beautiful, creative space. Heartseed Studio. It’s a place one can go to be inspired with paint, pencil, marker, yarn (I will be teaching a knitting class there soon), and just about any other medium you can think of. It’s a place I would love to own. My brain went wild on the drive home. That would be my dream, to have a studio space like that. I felt instantly in my (new) happy place. My happy space. They have it all figured out.

Heartseedstudio

heartseedstudio2

They believe artistic expression and creativity is vital to a happy life. You know what?

I do too! Now, more than ever. It’s a way to find YOUR happy. It’s a place you can go to find what inspires YOU. It makes life infinitely more fulfilling. Imagine YOUR life without a bit of creativity. Boring, huh? Imagine working a 9-5 job, coming home to kids/husband/chores, bed, then doing it all over again without squeezing something creative into your day. Fortunately, for me, I don’t have to punch a time clock, but you better believe, if I did, I would certainly have a creative outlet that would release tension, allow me to pull back from a stressful day.

Art makes you happy

Art is a true form of happy. It’s the expression of human creative skill and imagination. Doodling and drawing are my new art forms. Really new. I’ve began “coloring outside the lines” and am very proud of that. My friend said to me last night as I was taking one pattern and making it new, “Way to color outside the lines, Deb.” I hadn’t thought of it that way. I’m a left-brained thinker, coming from the nursing field, and have learned that both sides of my brain can, and do work well together. Most days, anyway.

paintoutsidethelines

So, what’s your creative happy? I’d love to know. Please leave a comment below and lets chat about it.

CoLoR OuTsIdE ThE LiNeS and Find YOUR happy!

Deb

 

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Embracing my LoPsIdEd Thinking

I really thought my blogging days were over.

faceplant

I wanted to title this blog post, Embracing my Crazy, but, well…I didn’t want you all thinking I was crazy. *smiling*

 

This past year, I found myself reflecting on how my journey began…

as a knitter, then learning the ins and outs of being a designer, then starting a business and beginning the next phase of my life. It really was the next phase. I left a nursing career in 2008 and went blindly into a creative field.

A BIG step. Learning to think with the right side of my brain rather than my left. Though, both work together in my world.

I was excited to see what was next. Where my creativity would take me. Etsy was my first business venture. Online was a safe place where I could show the (virtual) world what I was selling. October 2009 was the grand opening of Dishcloth Diva Knits On. Who knew the name of my store would one day be the title of my book(s). 

Even though I was ready for a change, I was excited to see where it would take me next. “Oh, the places you’ll go“, I kept telling myself. Or maybe, hoping. I was filled with doubts of, can I do this, and I want to be like (this designer). Comparing yourself is so easy at times, yet it fills you with self doubt and , can I be as good as them, type of questions.

ohtheplacesyou'll go

In 2012, I felt in my heart it was time to produce a book, Dishcloth Diva, geared toward those beginner knitters that I was teaching to knit. Their enthusiasm was contagious and often left me feeling proud of them for accomplishing this craft. Then in 2013, just one year later, Dishcloth Diva Knits On was published.

This past summer, thoughts of closing my Etsy shop quickly surfaced. I was facing burnout, and it was happening quickly. I was suddenly faced with mental turmoil and how or if, I could turn this around. It continued to get worse.

And then, late summer, I was introduced to coloring. Adult Coloring Books. My husband, Mr. Engineer, ordered one from Amazon. I remember him coloring down in our studio with these crazy cool markers. Oh boy! I became instantly curious. Maybe I could do this and take my mind off of my burnout. That led to drawing, then art classes online. Coloring offers me a place to go where nothing but me and my pencils/pens live. The stress of the day melts away. Have you tried it? Oh, you SO should!

coloring page1

shading

So, I’m coming back. Blogging is my way of being creative. And I have so much more in me. It’s helped me to grow and love writing, though writing has always been a part of me. Etsy will remain open, though I’ve narrowed it down to a pattern shop only. A (creative) type of nonfiction is being developed.

I’ve made a long list of topics to cover. Some will be short. Some will be “are you ever going to stop writing?”.

My message (or theme/motto) for 2016 is #inspiringacreativelife. I hope you’ll jump on my wagon and # along with me. I’m on Instagram as well. Come follow. My days will be filled with fun pictures of all things creative to include: knitting, designing, coloring, drawing and even sewing. I love my life and everyday am thankful for what I have, for the gifts I receive, and the talents that live inside me.

beingcreative

Take care and remember, being creative is NoT a hobby, it IS a way of LiFe. #inspiringacreativelife

~Deb

 

 

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Inspiration from a quiet place

Nighttime is quiet, other than the low hum of the diffuser, which large amounts of steam escape through the pin-like hole on the top. Drops of eucalyptus oil swirl around inside.

I’m awake, too miserable to sleep. The coughs come quickly, yet profusely. I look across the room, dimly lit by the one lamp on the table. My reader sits awaiting that next page to turn. My knitting sits beside it.

It’s 3:00 am, the clock tells me. Far from time to get up. I twist my neck to the side, take in a deep breathe. Ouch. Will this night ever end? Eventually, I hope to sleep. In the meantime, it’s me, my thoughts and my iPad.

Ever have those sleepless nights where it’s your own worries, a cold, or other ailment that keeps you awake? It’s probably the best time to reflect. Take a moment to think of all the things that inspire you. Clearly, it’s the quiet house that makes your mind go crazy, your thoughts to run wild.

I rally around those thoughts, and wonder what next year wil look like for my design business. My writing. What inspiring thoughts can I have that will be effective in creating the inspiration for the (master) plan.

Do you know what I mean?

I can feel the cough subsiding, the essential oils doing their thing. My eyes are getting tired, but now my mind is moving.

2016 feels like the year to up the anti with my business. Create another facet to the ever popular Dishcloth Diva, me. Reaching into the vaults, or my computer archives and pulling out those patterns I love so much and recreating them. Repurposing them, if you will. Inspiring to be that next superstar in the fiber industry.

Oh wait! I am!

Or maybe writing that next novel, memoir, or industry type of book. Spinning tales of my yarn business, how/why it’s led me to where I am.

Sigh…it’s time to close the iPad, turn off the lamp and attempt to get some sleep. It feels like a good time to say, thanks for being my loyal fan, my reader, or however you have come to me. I appreciate you. I know we all have inspirations. For me, apparently, they come in the middle of the night.

Night all!

Deb

inspire-photo

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Magazine Review: DIY Holiday 2014

Who doesn’t love a magazine, a craft DIY magazine at that!

Me too!

I love to sit in Barnes and Noble and browse through the 100’s of craft magazines, only to find half of them go home with me. I’m sure you will truly enjoy the this Holiday Issue.

Without giving too much away, it’s seriously packed, page after page, with projects. A sewn bib, rattle and burp baby set, Holiday Bauble Coaster Set, a cute crochet light bulb garland.

Oh, I can’t forget to mention the Knitted Garter Mug Cozies, or the Go-Retro Wool Quilt perfect for your wall.

Oh my gosh, the Fast and Fun Innovative Trivets, yes, quilted.

See? Have I convinced you yet?

Magazine: DIY Holiday 2014
Publisher: Interweave
Pages: 100 pages
Retail: $9.99

This issue is filled with hand-crafted projects for the Holidays. It caters to every type of crafter; quilting, sewing, beading, knitting, crochet, weaving, and mixed media.

DIY
pictures borrowed from Interweave site

And the best part, they provided me with a giveaway copy. Just leave a comment below and I’ll pick one lucky winner. This Wednesday, November 26, 2014. It gives you today and tomorrow.

Again, here’s the link to this wonderfully, Chock-Full of fun projects, you-won’t-be-able-to-stop-yourself magazine.

So, I bid you much love knitters, and encourage you to take a peek at this magazine. You won’t be sorry. I’m anxious to hear your thoughts.

Knit On!

Deb
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Your Knitting Gauge

Hey Knitters,

I can’t tell you how many emails I get, shout outs on Facebook, and just general, hey Deb, I have a question, kind of thing.

Sometime you may feel gauge should be a 4-letter word, am I right?

As Knitty States,From time to time, advice is offered to a knitter who wants to tweak the sizing of a pattern: “just knit it at a tighter/looser gauge to make it smaller/bigger.” While it’s true that altering the gauge of a knitted fabric will alter the size of the finished piece, it doesn’t always mean that you’ll get a finished garment that will fit — or feel — as expected. Some people get the relationship between “tighter” and “looser” and increased or decreased stitches per inch mixed up. Others assume that gauge is the answer to all yarn substitutions: if it matches, it must be all right. And a bigger gauge (fewer stitches per inch) doesn’t always mean easier to knit. Gauge might be a frustrating concept, but it’s also misunderstood.”

It’s super easy, once you have the basic skills to figure it out. I promise. 

I hope this is helpful…

Yarn A-Recommended yarn for pattern

Scenario: Your pattern calls for THIS worsted weight yarn, and a size 8 needle, and you want to use a different worsted weight yarn. 

Yarn label (ballband) for your intended pattern states just that. Notice the knitting needles? Under that is the US 8 needle size. The BIG number “4” indicates the weight, which is a worsted weight.

Now, looking up at the picture, we will figure out the gauge…stitches per inch for your finished object using a different yarn. To the left of the needles in the picture, you see the 4 x 4? that tells us their swatch was 4 inches by 4 inches. The 17S tells us it’s 17 stitches per that 4 inch swatch. 


Clear as mud so far? Good!

The way in which you calculate stitches/inch is by dividing the 4 into 17. 4 divided by 17 = 4.25 sts/inch. I personally would round to the nearest whole number. 4. Though, you could easily make the case to round to the 18, which would be 4.5. I would make this decision based on how tight/loose you knit. If you knit tighter, go up, if you knit looser/to gauge, go down.

Let that sink in a bit before you continue reading.  *tick-tock tick-tock*

So, for this worsted weight yarn you will get 4.25 sts/inch on a size 8 needle. Again, I round to the nearest whole number, which in this case is 4 stitches/inch. 

Now for the fun part…I’ll help you see a clear picture (my hope anyway) of what a substitution looks like.

Step 1: You will substitute with a worsted weight yarn for the best results. Now, that’s not saying you can’t use a different weight, but honestly, in MY opinion, I wouldn’t do it. You will have an entirely different finished object just by that, and besides, you would have to do a WHOLE LOTTA math to get the same gauge.

Step 2. Look at the yarn label (ballband) of YOUR chosen WORSTED weight yarn, Yarn B. This is where you will figure out how to match the gauge of the recommended yarn to the yarn you want to use.

Ok?

This is your new yarn label.
Yarn B-Your Yarn
Step 3. Notice the needle size is 7. The stitches/inch is 5. (remember, you divide the 4 inch into 20 this time.)

Step 4. You then look at the pattern recommended label and compare, Yarn A. You have 2 stitches/inch difference, right? (more to come on that) That can make or break your finished outcome of your project. Making it too small in this case.

*Go up a needle size when you want to make your garment bigger and get LESS stitches/inch, go down a needle size when you want to make it smaller and get MORE stitches/inch.* 

You need to go from 5 stitches/inch to 4 stitches/inch. That 2 jumps down, right? 5 sts/in to 4.5 sts/in to 4 sts/in.

You still with me?

We’re close.

Step 5. In remembering your pattern wants 4 stitches/inch on an 8, to get the recommended size it states, you must go DOWN 2 needle sizes with the new yarn to get the same 4 stitches/inch.  For new yarn: 20 sts on a 7 (5 sts/inch), 18 sts on a 6 (4.5 sts/inch), 16 sts on a 5 (4 sts/inch) Each jump is 2 sts. 

*refer to blue asterisk again

SummarySo, in order for you to get gauge for your pattern by substituting your worsted weight yarn of choice (in this case), you will need to use a size 5 needle. That seems like a huge jump, but all worsted weight yarns aren’t the same. This yarn will appear a tighter gauge as it’s on a smaller needle, though your stitches per inch will be exactly the same, therefore have a garment/scarf/cowl/mitts/gloves, etc that fits as you had intended per the pattern details.

I have a passion for teaching others the basics of the nitty-gritty “stuff”. I’m always happy to answer questions. So, if you feel this was helpful, I’d love a comment below or a shout out on my Facebook fan page that I did a good job. That tells me, you understood and I can continue to give my reader/knitters what they need.

So, as I always say,

Knit On!

Deb


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AH-HA Moment

Those of us that are designers, know there is a difference between knitting flat and knitting in the round, right? Have you ever wanted to, but the instructions given were so lengthy you thought, oh…forget it.

Well, I had an ah-ha moment this morning. (It may not be new to you, but if it is…) I do know how to convert the WS rows to make them work in the round, but I have to be honest, when I was first learning the “trick”, it was very confusing.

What I did was take my trusty notepad, my pen and charted out one repeat of the flat pattern. 

Like this.

Scribbles are good! 

You see my knits and purls? What I did was scribble the flat pattern. With the RS rows on the right and WS rows on the left. That’s what happens when we’re knitting flat.

To convert, I put the WS (there are no WS rows in working in the round) rows on the right in parenthesis. Because working in the round, we are ALWAYS on the RS right, right? So you read the pattern from the right to left, right to left, right to left. Get it?

I’ve written it out for you to work in the round, as an example. 

This ah-ha moment will have me out buying graph paper. No more sitting for hours trying to convert that fantastic pattern that is worked flat into working in the round.

If it’s already been done, don’t tell me. I want to feel like the genius designer this morning. *smiling*

Clear as mud? Or clear as a bright sunny day? I hope for the latter…

So, as I always say,

Knit On!
Deb