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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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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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What Makes You Happy

whatevermakesyouhappy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is quite the profound statement. Kind of intense, yet insightful. I’d like to think that analyzing quotes can give us a place to start, or something to think on.

I often sit with my laptop, feet propped on my cute ottoman, in my office. Sometimes, it brings inspiration as I look out my window. Other times, it’s the simpleness of a quote.

In this case, it’s the quote:

I have the passion, the drive, the opportunity to make my life what I want. Some call it blessed. I’m definitely that! I feel that what makes you happy, makes you successful. In whatever medium you choose. In whichever way you’d like to interpret this.

In someone who delights in positive thinking, I love the idea of this saying and that someone thought enough of it to allow us to enjoy it.

Let’s describe happiness, because this is what they’re talking about, right?

As we are all human, I suspect you want to be happy. You want to do something that makes you happy. Happiness for me is sitting down to knit with friends, it’s teaching others the craft, it’s drawing circles, trees and flowers, then coloring them. It’s tearing up fabric (coming soon to my studio), it’s sewing on a special quilt, it’s designing wHaTeVeR. Happiness is spending time with my loved ones, reading a good book, or just sitting in my comfy spot with my thoughts.

Absorbing my Vitamin D for the day makes me happy. I know, it’s the little things sometimes. It doesn’t always have to be about work.

What makes me happy, may not be what makes you happy.

So, I say figure it out, friends, and find your happy!

~Deb

what-makes-you-happy

 

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Creative Journey

Hello Creative Friends!

keepcalmcreating

How do you describe a creative journey, or better yet, YOUR creative journey?

Creative journey can have many meanings. One which describes what it does, how it makes one feel, or how it helps one learn their strengths.

For me it’s inspiring others to create something that brings them joy, maybe relieves a bit of stress, or just allows them creative freedom. It’s what makes me happy. It’s what drives my day. If you’ve been following for awhile, or you’re new to my blog, you will have seen me go from writer to knitter to designer to author. I threw in some quilting, as that’s always a go-to for me. Then I discovered coloring and drawing. That led me down a path to learn more about micron pens and what else I could do with them. And oh, did I mention the beautiful lines you can draw with KOI markers?

I’ve been on a creative path for quite some time. It has allowed me to play with different mediums, bring new friends into my world, and even opened my eyes to a new form of art. I have so much to share in the way of this journey, yet I want to hold back a bit, as this may be my next WIP (book). There’s something in me that feels I need to bring my story to life. You may be interested, you may not. Either way, it will be a journey in itself.

A written journal of sorts, maybe blog style. I do love to write, so for me, this journey will be filled with pictures, projects and words of wisdom.

I found this and had to share. Oh, but look at the lettering. One of my favorite pasttimes is to figure out a different way to write a word. Hand Lettering how-to videos are my constant youtube obsession.

creative life

So what brings you joy? What drives your day? Your Creative Journey?

Let’s discuss…

Create a Creative Journey all your own and find your joy!

~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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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
 
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Write with Passion (and Knit)

The minute I sat down to write this post, every cotton-pickin’ thought I had just ran for the open window.

No, this isn’t really what happened, it’s the story starter to a romance novel that continues to roll around in that head of mine. She’s a writer and a knitter. Brilliant, huh? She struggles with blogging. 
Sound familiar?

Everyone who blogs struggles with content, or at least some do. My character sure does. She’s a romantic at heart, finds much comfort through knitting, and writes about the oddest things. She can’t find a boyfriend to save her life, and has a corgi she talks to like a human being.

Poor girl.
Details later.
So, as I always say,
Knit On! (or in this case, Write On!)

Deb

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Interview with Stephen West — Knitting Designer

One of the biggest mysteries in the knitting world is how to achieve success as a designer.

I’m thrilled to introduce Stephen West of West Knits.  I happened upon his FREE pattern for Purl Ridge Scarf and fell in (headfirst).

My knitted version

I sat down, cast on my 200 stitches and began this fun, fast, and fabulous find. It’s the kind of pattern that requires no attention; you either knit the round or purl the round. That’s it. I kept track, but that’s just because I get distracted easily.This is my version on the right.

So, this drew me in further and I searched for other things on Ravelry that said West Knits or Stephen West. Bingo! He has a Fan club. Who wouldn’t love to have a fan club. *me…jumping up and down with my hand flagging back and forth* Well, yes, almost 7000 followers.

Well, what are we waiting for, Let’s chat with him:

Stephen, What inspired you to design such a fun, fast and fabulous Purl Ridge Scarf?

I said I would make a scarf for one of my friends with the beautiful Hedgehog Fibres Merino Silk yarn. I didn’t want anything too complicated, so I stuck with stockinette stitch and garter ridges. The combination of those two basic stitch patterns never cease to amaze me.

Stephen’s Scarf

I love that Stephen! that this design is not complicated. Okay, is there anything in particular that inspires you to design?

I get the most inspiration from yarns. I love all types of yarn from wool and alpaca to silk and linen. I am intrigued by fiber characteristics and their effects on various stitch patterns. I am inspired by playing with color combinations and mixing different yarn weights and textures.

I always get excited when someone wants to learn to knit. THIS would be a perfect pattern. What advice can you give to a new knitter?

Play with all kinds of yarns to see what you like best. My taste in yarn is always developing and changing. I recommend saving up to get a little bit of yarn that you absolutely love that is a higher quality rather than purchasing a lot of cheaper yarn. Knitting is a physical experience and emotional too. The materials you choose to work with directly affect how you feel and think. It’s fun to educate yourself about different fibers so you can make more informed choices at your local yarn shop.

I totally agree with you; knitting with higher quality yarn is a better overall experience. So, Stephen, how long have you been knitting?

7 years

Nice! What was your first knitting project as a new knitter?

I knit a chunky turquoise garter stitch scarf with acrylic yarn. I have no idea where it is now. It made me happy at the time, so I’m glad I made it…but I feel nauseous when I think about it.

Stephen, I’m sure you’re like every addicted knitter, and it HAS somehow changed a portion of your life? Can you tell us how?

I met some of my best friends through knitting. Wherever I travel I meet the most friendly and inspiration people. It makes me practice my math skills. I am always warm. I always have something to do and knitting entertains me. I have learned a bit about photography. Knitting challenges me by making me problem solve and make educated choices. Knitting is emotional and physical, but it’s also just knitting. I take it very seriously and devote my creative time and energy to it, but I constantly let go of that serious passion and use knitting as a playful medium to explore color, form, texture, and rhythm. It has taught me to share and make different choices.

Taught you to share, I love that, though I am still learning that myself. *smiling* So, let me ask you, what is your favorite knitting project and your favorite type of yarn?

I love shawls. I have more than enough, but I use them to explore different shaping techniques and yarn combinations. Fingering weight wools and wool blends are my favorite type of yarn to use.

This has been fun, Stephen. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I have several new patterns and books coming out this fall and winter, so you can look forward to new patterns including several garments. I am especially excited about the beautiful photography in all the collections, and a couple of the books are collaborative, which result in a more eclectic and playful presentation. 


Wow, how fun was this? He’s amazing. I realized he also tweets, you can follow him here. AND he has a Flickr page.

Dear Readers, I’d be honored (and I’m sure Stephen would too), if you checked out his designs. He’s an inspiration to all of us. 

Many, many thanks to Stephen 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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10 Reasons Why I Knit

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!

Top 10 reasons why I knit:
10 –  gives me permission to shop for yarn (and buy it).
  9 – puts my mind in a relaxed state so all I think about are my kids issues. *sigh*
  8 – leaves my husband guessing who “this” is for.
  7 – helps me avoid housework (like I do it anyway) 🙂
  6 – if I knit too close to dinner, soon enough it’s too late to make something, ’cause chances are I don’t have  everything, and we HAVE to go out.
  5 – i have too much yarn.
  4 – so I know what everyone is getting for Christmas.
  3 – to keep me from being bored in the car as my husband drives me out of town to “just get away.”
  2 – so when my children are asked what does your mom do? They can stare blankly back and answer, “umm…she knits.”
  And the #1 reason I knit is – to allow myself “me-time.” A chance to keep myself from unraveling, and reason to do what I love, be a designer and offer knitted accessories and delicious patterns for others to devour.
Stay tuned every Tuesday where I share top ten reasons for all things fiber.
As I always say,
Knit on!
Deb

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Lazy Labor Day


It’s one of those days that leads from one lazy event to another.

I love these kind of days…knit, check email, knit some more, go for a short stroll with my husband, and head out to sit and work at my favorite coffee shop.

I’m hard at work on my week of blog posts. New ideas. New interviews. New themes, and just plain new “stuff.”

I can’t wait for you to see.

So, as I say Knit On!

Oh, and have a safe holiday and oh by the way, hug someone today…

Deb