Blogs I Love

Here are five more blogs I enjoy and read regularly.

Kate Larson Textiles – fiber arts and sometimes lambs!

Randall Smoot – culture, politics and history

Drinkers With Writing Problems – humorous and interesting things

Unraveled – The Ravelry Blog, all cool tips and new things to try with yarn

The Yarn Harlot – fiber arts and humor

Please comment with your favorites or your own blog.  I’m always looking for new things worth reading.

And a picture for fiber lovers

Rolags!

Let’s Share

I was poking around on a random blog and saw a great idea – sharing blogs we follow!  I’d love to share some of my favorites.  And I’d really like to find new ones by seeing what you love.

Here are a few of the blogs I follow.  These are in no particular order.

Granola Shotgun – urban design and sustainability

Socks for Mum – fiber

Curvy Lou – fiber

Colouring With Yarn – fiber

The Seeds For Life – philosophy and wisdom

I’m going to do this regularly.

Comment below to share your own blog or any blogs you love.

A picture of pretty fiber

Yummy Rolags
Yummy Rolags

Friday Finds Oct. 23, 2015

Here are some things I marveled about this week.

Top Ten Ted Talks on Creativity.  Sir Ken Robinson is in there twice!  Elizabeth Gilbert is number 10, but should be nearer the top, in my opinion.

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James Altucher says you shouldn’t send your kids to college.  What do you think about this?

Etsy sellers, Did you know there’s a way to back up your Etsy store?  If you have lots of items this might be worth exploring.

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Hope you learn something you need to know from one of my picks.

 

 

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 Fun (And Useful!) Tool For Business Growth In 2013

I’ve recently been looking for ways to brainstorm for 2013 goals, and how to keep moving my business forward.   I guess that’s just natural around New Year’s.

Yesterday I mentioned Leonie Dawson in my blog.  She is someone I recently discovered who is an expert in helping entrepenuers (mostly women, I suspect) grow their business(es).

She has a lot of super charged tools available, at a really reasonable cost,  that are fun, easy and very enlightening to use.  She jokingly says they are “spare change cost” – and she’s right.

My current favorite (and I still have a couple of her creations in mind to play with) is the 2013 Create Your Incredible Year Calendar & Workbook .  This has been incredibly easy for me to use.  It’s been very productive, and as a bonus, it has a lot of jazzy artwork in it.  I did a lot of smiling while looking at it.  It was very freeing to just brainstorm in response to her simple questions – and I got amazing answers!

One my favorite parts was the 2012 wrap up section that begins the workbook.  It’s a great idea to formally close out the past year.  She helped me clearly see how far I’ve come (a long, long way!) and summarize what I’ve learned in 2012.  Also, I have more clarity on what I’m ready to stop doing – which is a great bonus.

Then it was onto 2013.  I moved fairly quickly through the workbook, it was so enjoyable that I just kept at it, didn’t really want it to end!

And now I have a lot of goals for 2013.  Goals that I’m excited about.  Stretch goals, but not insane, pie in the sky goals.  Goals with timelines, broken down into doable steps.  Goals that I might miss, but I think there are a huge number of goals I’m going to hit too.

photo credit http://www.justintarte.com/
photo credit http://www.justintarte.com/

It’s going to be a great year!

Her website also has lots of free videos and articles.  You can sign up for a newsletter too.

There’s a personal life version of the 2013 calendar, too.  It’s all life changing (and highly amusing) stuff at her website!  Hope you enjoy exploring it all.

Book Review – Pinterest Power

I randomly picked up a book from the New Books shelf at the library last week. It was a lucky find – I think it’s going to teach me a lot!

Pinterest Power by Jason Miles and Karen Lacey outlines the reasons businesses should be using Pinterest to market their business, build their brand, and increase sales.  Then they give you specific, detailed information on how to do it.

Pinterest Power

Jason Miles and his wife, Cinnamon, own Liberty Jane Clothing, a wildly sucessful business which creates clothes and patterns for clothing for American Girl Dolls.  Cinnamon has gorgeous Pinterest boards and they are clearly experts at using social media to grow their business.  Jason also wears some other hats, including teaching as an adjunct professor at Northwest University’s School of Business Management in Seattle.

Karen Lacey is a writer and a guru on entrepreneurship.  She’s written several books and screenplays.  Her newest book is  The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Elance (which I have not yet read, but it’s on my list!).

Pinterest Power is well written and easy to read.  As I read, I find I’m very motivated to apply the information I’m gathering.  I’ve created well thought out pinboards, each with it’s own theme, and done some brainstorming to better understand who my customers are – both things the book recommends.

Maybe none of this is advanced business knowledge, but I am finding it very helpful in creating a coherent plan to fully utilize Pinterest (and other social networks).  My copy of the book is heavily marked up, full of stickies, and I’ve started a little journal for notetaking.

I also am finding this book is helping me to think like a business owner.   That’s a big benefit to reading it.

Jason has written several other books, Price It Like Picasso and Craft Business Power, both of which are on my short list to read in the near future (I bought them both).

Some of my favorite take-aways from this book so far:

1.  Not all social media is for every business.  My business is very visual, so Twitter isn’t a very useful venue for me, and I’ve decided not to spend a terribly large amount of time on it.

2.  How to decide if my Pinterest personality should be personal or corporate, the pitfalls and advantages of each, and how to create the personality I chose.

3.  How to build relationships with other pinners and encourage them to repin my pins, thus increasing my product’s exposure.

I recommend this book to everyone who has a business (for profit or nonprofit) who is looking for free and time efficient ways to grow their sales.

Jason has a blog called Marketing on Pinterest.  Check it out!

Finished Objects and a Great Give Away

I finished the scarf I’ve been working on for my lovely sister, Linda.  I’m very happy with it overall.  I did find the yarn, Lunabudknits BFL Sock (100% superwash Blueface Leicester Wool),  to be a bit kinky and thus tangly, but it sure did knit up into a gorgeous scarf!  The pattern is Milky Way Scarf, available free on Ravelry.  I’m really sure my sister will love this.  This is year 2 in the annual “Linda Picks, Sandy Knits” program my sister and I conduct.  We go to a fiber festival (with my mother) and Linda picks out some lovely yarn.  Then we come home and explore on Ravelry until we find the perfect pattern.

Last year’s result in the “Linda Picks, Sandy Knits” tradition was the Trellis shawl, knit in a hand dyed silvery purple merino/bamboo blend.  Click on the picture to see it more closely.  Lots of nupps in this pattern, I was very glad to bind it off!

I’ve been working on swatching some lace patterns for my Craftsy class, Lace Shawl Design.

Here’s one

Openwork Leaf Pattern from Barbara Walker’s A Treasury of Knitting Patterns

I’ve done four practice charts to see which ones I’d like to include or adapt in the first shawl I design.  As a result, last week was a bit short of actual productive knitting.

On Labor Day, I got back into the “real knitting” swing and started a new project.  The yarn is Mini Mochi, colorway 01.

Love free yarn?  The Making Spot is running a contest right now with a prize of a year’s worth of British Made yarn from Blacker Yarns.  Their yarns look lovely to me and well worth winning.  The Making Spot also has great patterns to dream over!  Join me in entering the contest.  Good luck!

Organizing

I am on a bit of an organizing binge here lately.  It’s mostly taking the form (at this moment) of making check lists, planning meals for more than 2 days out, and planning my blog posts.

I found some great free printables I wanted to share in case you are similarly inspired.

I love this checklist, because it has little boxes to check things off, plenty of lines to write,  space for monthly and weekly goals, and, to top it all off, it’s a pretty color.  This is from Jana Laurene, who says she is an artist, photographer and cupcake enthusiast.  Here’s a picture of this checklist.

Weekly Goal Chart in Blue

I really love checking off those little boxes!

I have a tip here – make a copy of the list and leave it at home if you go out with your original.  The first time I took it with me somewhere I lost it!  Horror!   Agony!  Trauma!  Had to redo the whole thing.  Could have kicked myself for taking the only original with me out of the house!

Here’s a menu planning chart I like, it’s got some green on it, and a nice long section for a grocery list!   The site calls it The Eat Sheet.  It’s the third document.  Check out all the other tools here too.

The Eat Sheet Menu Planner

Another new form I’m using is a weekly blog planner from Mommy Words.

Weekly Blog Planner

And my final new form is a Blog Brainstormer, which I’m finding incredibly useful, my first page is literally covered with ideas!  Many thanks to The Project Girl for this form

Blog Brainstormer

I recently read that for each minute spent planning, you later save 10 minutes, and I am finding that to be true (not to mention the much decreased stress level I’m noticing!).  Try it for yourself and see!

Now just need to figure out how to organize all that yarn!

Had strep throat last week, so did absolutely no knitting at all.  Boo, hiss.  Happy to be feeling better and getting things back to normal!

Inside Spring

It’s not quite spring yet here in Indianapolis, but I have a raging case of spring fever. I’ve made a pretty terrarium that sits on my dining room table, and last weekend I bought a couple of small phalaenopsis orchids to sit with it too.

I’ve got orchids on the brain, I’m afraid. I went to the Orchids by Hausermann greenhouse on my visit to Chicago last weekend. Their annual open house is Feb 24 – 26 and March 3 -5 this year.  Our new family tradition is to visit the weekend prior, to avoid all the crowds, and we still see all the fabulous plants and get a blast of springtime.  I stupidly forgot my camera, but I do have some photos I took at home.

Phalaenopsis 'Kitty Face' - I didn't buy it for the name, I swear

My spring fever is also manifesting as an irresistible desire to repaint the entire first floor of the house.  I’m sick to death of tan, and ready for something fresh and lovely.  Pink, turquoise and fresh bright green are my picks, poor Craig will be living in a Barbie tea party for a while, I guess.  Something like this, with turquoise added.

Add turquoise and you've got it

Love the site I took this from – Design Seeds.  She has dozens and dozens of beautiful color palettes you can use for home decor, weddings, the sky’s the limit.  She’s a color genius!

So, Lydia has been press-ganged into painting, my downstairs powder room is now a shocking pink shade that puts me in mind of an orchid everytime I go in there.  It’s pretty and clean (for the moment – nothing stays clean long in a house with 3 teenagers and 7 cats!), and I am liking it a lot.  Still many hours of work ahead, but Lydia is always looking for ways to make money, so, I will bribe her to paint a little every weekend until it’s all done.

I’ve been knitting a bit, the Mae Geri scarf is all done, and the new project is called Little Shells, which I’m knitting in a 100% silk yarn from Alchemy.  The yarn is Silk Purse, the color is Dylan’s Blue Depths, it’s a lovely watery silvery blue, nice for spring!

Little Shells Shawl - color is off, but pattern is clear

I have a new foster kitty now, her name is Felicity because she is so pretty and sweet, super friendly and loving.  She has really great markings, they make me think of a reticulated python.  She is only about 7 months old, already spayed and ready for her forever family.  I’ll be kissing her goodbye soon, I imagine.

Felicity is a very pretty girl

Going outside to enjoy a bit of sunshine now!  Maybe a cup of tea and a bit of knitting (I have things in a little tangle right now – got to sort it all out before I can move forward – shouldn’t talk and knit at the same time when I’m doing a tricky part I guess!).