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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

 

 

 

 

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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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Sweaters and more Sweaters…

Hi Knitters!

If you have been following me on Facebook, you know I’ve been knitting sweaters. 2 in fact within the last month and some days.

Both are fantastic knits!

First one:

Little Coffee Bean. I knit it with Berroco Comfort, a super soft, worsted weight fiber. Of course, the recipient is 3 months old and mommy and daddy are super Bronco fans. So, hence the color scheme.

Cast On: August 9, 2014 Bind Off: August 11, 2014 (Quick knit)

Photo: Finished my, well Kamerons, little sweater. Little Coffee Bean, made with Berroco Cotton. ❤️

You know, I’ve always said, NO, I don’t knit sweaters. I ONLY knit accessories and of course, dishcloths. But, how that has changed. My lack of confidence in my skills (I know, right? I’m a designer for heavens sake) kept me from moving forward.

Second one:

Featherweight Cardigan. I knit this with Cascade Yarns Heritage Silk. An amazing silky fiber that has a beautiful sheen to it. It’s a bluish/green color, the name escapes me right now.

Cast On: July 3, 2014 Bind Off: August 2, 2014

I instructed my sweet husband to just point and shoot with my iphone camera. He did a good job, don’t you think?

I love this cardigan, and will DEFINITELY make it again. Soon.

So, let’s see what you’ve been working on. Care to share? Any cardigans that you can enable me with? Please?

So, as I always say,

Knit On! And On!

DEB

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Fun and Crazy Summer Socks

Summer is upon us. You wouldn’t guess it based on the weather we are having. I think our highs have topped in the mid 80’s. I’m not complaining, because this is our fire season; the one part of the year we all cringe when it appears.

I’ve been working on socks. Crazy Summer Socks. (psst…there are more fun socks coming soon.)

I’m in love with them. Colorful, easy to memorize, you make them as long or short as you like, and colorful. Oh, I said that, I know, but really, they are. I think the colors are what make this sock. You can see the basketweave effect in the leg. The cuff is a twisted rib. So perfectly matched with this design.

The yarn is from Mountain Colors, Crazyfoot, Summertime colorway. So, you can clearly see how I came up with the name. 🙂

I have them listed in my Etsy shop, and Ravelry Shop,

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do, and did, knitting them.

So, as I always say,
Knit On!
Deb

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Checking In…

Well, we’re here again. 

The time I get to share with you, and hopefully enable you, with what’s on my needles, on my Nook, what music has been my go-to, and maybe a bit about my sewing…

WIP’S

 I’m currently working on a couple new designs, and a pair of socks (for me). 

Cookie A, “Monkey” Socks. It’s a free pattern on Knitty.com – Oh So Fun Pattern!

A new design for a special collection from Mai-Deb Buckingham…stay tuned!

A new design to be sold in my Etsy shop…stay tuned!

 

FinishedObject

I’ve had so much fun creating. I mean, really! 

This is the Gris de lin, on Ravelry. Fantastic FREE Pattern. Well written. Will knit again! Soon!

 
Artist’s Music I’m currently listening to (most every day)

I have my favorites, as we all do. But, I’m really enjoying, and always downloading, Sara Bareilles. She’s a bit of soul, a bit of (soft) rock, and a lot of fun! I knit in the morning while listening to her and sipping on my coffee. They say she’s like a Nora Jones or Colbie Calait. I would agree.

 
Book I’m currently reading

I can have multiple books going at any given time, but the one that has my attention right now is “A Single Thread” by Marie Bostwick. 

Marie Bostwick weaves the unforgettable story of four very different women whose paths cross, changing their lives forever . . . It’s a long way from Fort Worth, Texas, to New Bern, Connecticut, yet it only takes a day in the charming Yankee town to make Evelyn Dixon realize she’s found her new home. The abrupt end of her marriage was Evelyn’s wake-up call to get busy chasing her dream of opening a quilt shop. Finding a storefront is easy enough; starting a new life isn’t.”

A fun enchanting read…

I can Sew…Yes! I can 

Having been asked to teach classes at a new fantastic fabric AND yarn shop, I decided to try my hand at making PJ pants. Pajama Pants. They are cute, fun, sassy, and oh-so-addicting…

And did I mention, the tote? Vera Brandley eat your heart out! (Yet, another addicting project)

 
Well, how’s that for Checking in…

So, as I always say,

Knit On! (or sew on! if that’s what you love to do)

Deb

 

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Top 10 Reasons I Love to Decorate with Color

I’m all about COLOR. Anyone who know me, knows COLOR  is what gets me in a good mood and keeps me there. I’m decorating my loft/work space to reflect me.  COLOR inspiration is something that tickles me to the core. This is the COLOR  palette I’m aiming for. 

 

Wall COLOR, and accent pieces all working together to create a cohesive look. Whether it’s monochromatic or pastel, neutral or complimentary, everyone has their thing. I love to go down into my fabric stash and choose COLORs that work well together. Like this. I love to have one COLOR that just pops. In this case, It’s the pink.

 

Now…what are the top 10 reasons I love to decorate with COLOR?

1 –  Decorating with  COLOR makes me feel like a designer.

2 –  Decorating with COLOR gives me permission to go buy things that I normally wouldn’t buy.

3 –  Because when studying about COLOR, I ran across what it says about someone who likes purple, for example…artistic and unique. Someone who likes pink is happy, blissful, content, artistic (there’s that word again), and quirky. Probably. A person who likes green is balanced, relaxed, humble. (well, not sure about the humble part, in my case anyway) *smiling* How about brown…solid, dependable, stable, realistic, mature. Definitely me, well, unless you want to take mature out of there. I’m definitely a kid at heart. *smiling again*

4 –  COLOR provides the creative inspiration in everything I design from dishcloths to accessories.

5   COLOR gives me that happy feeling. 

6 –  COLOR is something that can change a room or change the look of a whole house. For example, I painted one living room wall a rich red/burgundy COLOR, and yes, it changed the room instantly.
7 –    COLOR is always the first thing my friends comment on when they walk in one of my color inspired rooms.
8 –   COLOR gives me the satisfaction in my decorating than even placing a new accessory on a table would.
9 –  Loving COLOR so much, allows me to decorate “Diva” style. 

10 –   Because I get to highlight the word  COLOR every time it comes up in a sentence. 
What about you? Why do you love to decorate with COLOR? This is where you can share all of your secrets, good or bad. A place to (maybe) learn from someone else. 
Please leave a comment. I would LOVE to hear.
This wasn’t a fiber related top ten list, because I got a little diverted due to my current WIP. Not knitting wise, design wise.
So, as I always say, 
Knit On!
Deb
 
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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

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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

 

 

 


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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