Win Free Hand Knit Fingerless Gloves – Enter Our Pinterest Contest Today

How would you like to win a free pair of hand knit fingerless gloves?  Gloves that are completely unique and unlike any other pair on earth?   Simply enter our Pinterest contest, which ends Feb 25.  Better hurry!  See the rules in my earlier post.  We’ll even pay your shipping.

Here are a few new items in the Etsy shop, including a couple more pairs of fingerless gloves.

The first is knit of Malabrigo superwash yarn.

Malabrigo Ribbed Fingerless Mitts

And I just finished this spectactular and super soft shawl in an alpaca/wool blend (75% alpaca, 25% wool).

Alpaca/Wool Shawl

Isn’t that the cutest shawl pin ever?  You can get it here.  The artist is on vacation right now, but will be back in early March.  She has the best shawl pins I’ve ever seen, cows, mermaids, giraffes, you name it, she can make it.

Cheryl just completed this very sweet pink and white scarf.  Perfect for spring, it reminds me of apple blossoms.

Apple Blossom Scarf

And there’s another pair of Malabrigo mitts.

Malabrigo Mitts Aguas

There are a lot of other pairs of fingerless mitts in the Etsy shop right now.  Go take a look at all the available gloves, and then enter the contest today.  We will be choosing a winner on Monday, Feb. 25.  Entry is easy and Pinterest is always fun.

Good luck!

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Collaboration vs. Competition (and Clapotis Tips Too)

I’ve noticed something about some patterns lately that I don’t remember seeing on old, vintage patterns.

Once in a while, there will be a statement somewhere on the pattern prohibiting making the item for sale; I’ve heard these referred to as personal use only patterns.  I’ve seen this on both free patterns and patterns I’ve bought.

Now, call me crazy, but it seems to me that if I buy a pattern I should be able to do whatever I want with it (except sell it on directly, of course).  I think the time and materials I put into a knitted item, say a shawl, are quite a contribution, and give me the right to sell it, gift it, keep it, or even destroy it if I wish.

When you buy a cookbook, there isn’t a disclaimer that you can’t make cupcakes from the recipe and sell them.  The very idea is laughable, and I don’t see much difference, they are both intellectual property.

Attempting to place restrictions on the use of your creation speaks volumes about a mindset of lack and scarcity – which is not the way I choose to live.  I believe there is plenty of business for everyone.

I don’t see how it hurts the pattern designer for me to knit and sell from her pattern.  I’ve already paid for it, more people will see her designs, and that could result in more pattern sales to other knitters.

As a matter of fact, I know of at least one pattern designer, Natalie Larson, who recognizes that collaboration is a better way to do business than the old paradigm of competition.

Here’s what she says on her Star Crossed Slouchy Beret pattern page on Ravelry about knitting her patterns for sale.

If you buy the seller pattern, it allows you to sell an unlimited number of finished products. This is lifetime license with no sample knitting required. I ask that credit be given and that you provide a link from your listings to my etsy, HC and Ravelry pattern store. I will provide you with the links and exact wording. Additionally, I will link to your shop information from my stores – perhaps you’ll get some extra business!

She is a forward thinking business person.  Collaborating with other knitters will get her pattern more exposure, more word of mouth and very likely, more sales.  And it doesn’t cost her a thing. The knitter gets free marketing assistance.  Win-Win – I love that!

In news about my own knitting, I’ve received some custom orders lately.  I’m on the second one now, it’s a Clapotis in Malabrigo Rios, colorway Aguas.

Here’s a picture of the first Clapotis I knit.  This yarn is Cascade 220, the colorway is 9923.  It reminded me of a thunderstorm sky, I called it Thunderclap on my Ravlery page.

Clapotis in Cascade 220

And here’s the beginning of the new one in Malabrigo.  I’m thinking it will be spectacular.

Clapotis in Malabrigo Aguas

I find the clapotis pattern to be overly complicated as it’s written on Knitty.  Fortunately, Kim at SoulKnitting has made a wonderful checklist you can find here on her blog.  Makes the whole process very simple, just knit and check off the rows.

If you have any trouble with the checklist and can’t reach Kim feel free to contact me, I’ll email you the spreadsheet.

So, genius pattern design and easy to use instructions from someone else – see what I mean about collaboration?

What do you think about this subject?

At The Heart Of Challenge

Thanks to Vector Graphics for this lovely image.
Thanks to Vector Graphics for this lovely image.

The other day while listening to a talk by transformation coach Elayne Kalila Doughty, I heard her say something profound.

“At the heart of challenge lies grace.  In the eye of the storm lies the still point.  Within the muck is the diamond.  The grit becomes the pearl.”

She was talking about dealing with challenges in moving a business forward, but this obviously applies to all of life.

Attached to each and every challenge there’s an opportunity to show up within grace.

Kids arguing and you’re sick of it?  You can yell at them, or do something kinder – even just withdrawal may be better than yelling.

Someone just cut you off in traffic?  You can get mad, pound on your wheel, call them an ugly name – or you can bless them on their journey.

You get the point.  It’s about consciously choosing how we respond to what goes on around us.  Nothing terribly new or profound here, but we all need reminding from time to time.

I’m planning to write more than usual about stuff like this in February, hearts are a big theme this month, and I’m expanding mine as much as I can.

A Weighty Subject

I’ve been made aware (in a traumatic way) that not all skeins of yarn are created equal – they don’t all weigh what the label says they do.

Recently, I was knitting this lovely small shawl

Blue Lagoon Scarf/Shawlette

and I ran out of yarn long, long before I should have.  The only reason I caught on is that this was the second time I used that yarn to knit the same pattern.

The yarn was Knitpicks Chroma fingering weight.  I called the nice Customer Service queen and she apologized profusely and immediately dispatched another ball at no charge.  She asked me to let her know if there was a problem with the new ball, because that might indicate there were short weights for the whole dye lot.

The new ball was fine, but this whole experience made me think (uh-oh) and I began to weigh many different yarns.

Here are some results.

Yarn

Labeled Weight (grams)

Actual Weight (grams)

Noro Kureyon             100               99
            100               90
Noro Kochoran             100               92
            100              107
            100              107
            100              103
            100              97
            100              92
KnitPicks Gloss DK             50              47
            50             49
            50             50
            50             52
Karabella Soft Tweed             50             53
            50             50
            50             50
KnitPicks Stroll             100             102
Noro Silver Thaw             100             97

What I discovered:

1.  Yarn weights are all over the place.  8 were under weight, 6 were over weight, and only 3 were accurate.

2.  Some of the underweight balls were very short, up to 10% less than labeled.  This can cause a big problem if the weight indicates that there is less yardage than labeled.

3.  Noro was the worst offender.  The reason I weighed so many Noro yarns is because my first results were so crazy (and because I have a lot of Noro).  Karabella was pretty consistent, Knitpicks Gloss was pretty close to stated weight or a bit over.

Now, all this brought more questions to my inquiring mind.

What does it all mean?  Is the yardage short?  Is the yarn underweight because it lost moisture in storage?  Does humidity in my house affect the weight?

I am willing to believe moisture is a factor, but 10% underweight is a bit much.  I googled around a bit – searched underweight yarn skeins – and found plenty of yarns for sale with the disclaimer “slightly underweight”.

Of course, I absolutely do not believe any of this is done purposely.  But, it’s impossible to know how much yarn I use if I don’t know what I started with.  And sometimes I need to know.  For example, when designing a pattern it’s necessary to know how much yarn it takes.   Also, if I don’t know how much I started with, I don’t know what I have left.  Since I often use leftovers for smaller projects, that matters to me.

So,  I’m weighing all my skeins from now on before I knit them.  I’ll record the weights on my Ravelry project page.  And, if I notice a consistent pattern of shortages then I’ll be able to make an informed decision about buying that yarn in future.

Love Your Heart Pinterest Contest

Did you know heart disease is the number one killer of women in the US?  I’m willing to bet it’s pretty high on the list in all industrialized countries.

February is Heart Health Awareness Month, and to bring increased awareness (and to add to the Valentine’s Day fun) we are running our first contest on our Pinterest page.

Pinterest Contest

Here are the rules.

Follow us on Pinterest.

Between now and Feb. 25 create a pinboard entitled “I Heart Indigo Kitty Knits”.

Pin 12 images, each one representing one of  the following themes.  Do this in the listed order so we can tell which is which.

1.    Retro Valentine

2.    Red Dress

3.    Chocolate

4.    Handmade Jewelry from Etsy

5.    Heart Healthy Eating

6.    Flowers

7.    An Item You Love From Our Etsy Shop

8.    Love

9.    Favorite Exercise to Keep your Heart Healthy

10.  A Place For Lovers

11.  Stress Management

12.  Heart

Send us an email at indigokittycontest@gmail.com with a link to your pinboard.  We’ll select our favorite and the winner will receive a free pair of fingerless mitts (your choice) from our Etsy shop.  We’ll even pay the shipping.  If you don’t see anything you like right now let us know and we’ll make you something you’ll love.

Take a look at my sample contest pinboard for some ideas.

Valentine’s Day!

In honor of Valentine’s Day and lovers everywhere we are running a special in the Etsy Shop during the month of February.

All pink or red items will ship free in the continental US or Canada.  For shipping discounts to other locations, convo us or comment below.

Use coupon code HEARTS for free shipping until Feb. 28.

Here are a couple of items that qualify – there are a lot more.

Red Ruffled Scarf

Red Ruffled Scarf

Pink Lacy Cowl

Pink Lacy Cowl

Happy February!