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!