March 18, 2015

Just to make things interesting

I'm spending this week working on some baby wear for the soon-to-be-open alpaca shop (i.e. alpaca yarn, alpaca clothing, alpaca fiber ... alpaca, alpaca, alpaca!) in Lavonia, GA.  I'm having difficulty getting enough knitting time between--and let's be honest, the husband is out of town so I'm just doing the minimum--household chores, putting in the first garden of the year, and running a business, and battling my newly arrived seasonal allergies (damn you neighbors' Bradford Pear trees!).  I have, however, worked up these two REALLY cute hats (pattern is Little Scallops by Maria Carlander) and have started on a third hat, which just might have a run-in with a book of matches turn out to be really cute, too.



Enter the DPNS.  If you've ever read my posts before, you know that these tools of Satan knitting needles are not my friends and that I am a circular needle gal all the way.  However, I decided that wouldn't it be cute if I worked up a couple brioche baby hats and reminded myself that knitting brioche in the round is much less taxing on the ol' brain and hands than knitting brioche flat.  And then there was the join.


Before today, I would have said that I am a master magician at the invisible join.  Before today, I had probably worked a bazillion invisible joins.  But today, no matter what I did or how many times I started again--and a girl can only start again so many times before she loses her marbles--I could not work up anything but a gigantic holy ladder.  So, not to be outdone by two strands of yarn, I went to the cabinet and unearthed a set of US 5 DPNs (Harmony by Knit Picks--I love Harmony needles!) and I began again.  Frick wouldn't you know it if it didn't work like a charm on the first go-around?!  So, I worked a few more rounds, and I was about to switch it all over to a circular needle when that little devil on my shoulder said "I double dog dare you to knit that entire hat with DPNS, just for kicks."  Double dog, folks.  So I'm thinking it over.  Meanwhile, I noticed that I just keep working in circles with those damned pretty DPNS.

Until I got to about 1.25 inches, and then I started to notice that I was having to pick up and re-work several dropped stitches.  Some sections looked a little wonky and there were places where I hadn't worked a strand at all.


So off the DPNs this hat came and onto a circular needle.  One hour and about 27 fixed mistakes later (just kidding, it was only 9), I am an inch further and completely back on track.


I guess the moral of this story is that DPNs are good for starting brioche in the round, but this girl just needs her circs.  The end.

March 17, 2015

Knitting is not just for Christmas

It's St. Patrick's Day again, and so I would like to remind you that you can make gifts for any holiday, not just Christmas or Easter, by reminding you of this pattern that I released last year about this same time.  This is my Bit 'O Luck colorwork hat pattern, and I don't know about you, but I'm rather fond of it.


The fabulous thing about this pattern is that it can be knit for sizes infant to adult, and the pattern tells you all about that.  You can find the pattern on Ravelry, Craftsy, and my brand new, very own yarn shop.  If you are a subscriber, well it's YOUR lucky day because my newsletter went out this morning with a code for a FREE copy of this pattern from my Ravelry shop.  And, if you become a new subscriber to my newsletter during the month of March, you will get a code for a free pattern from my Ravelry shop (for this one, or any other one there).  The subscription form is at left.

So, happy St. Patrick's Day to you, whether you are Irish or not, and may your day be filled with luck and crafting!

March 14, 2015

Pi Day: Cast One On

It's not only Pi Day today, but it's a super cool Pi Day at that.  Today, we not only have a date that mimics 3.14, but we have a date that mimics Pi plus extra digits: 3.1415.  That's pretty nerdy special so, in honor of the uniqueness of the date, I have cast on for my first Pi Shawl of the year, which makes it only my 2nd Pi Shawl ever.

I have to admit that I am super anal concerned about the initial cast on stitches being too large and floppy, so I used a 2.75 mm hook when doing the initial Ocker cast on. Then, I worked the initial 6 rounds on US 6 (4mm) 16" circs.  The last time I knit this pattern, I was so frustrated (being the anti-DPN knitter that I am) with the US 8 (5mm) needles and trying to knit 18 stitches in a tiny circle with yarn overs on needles that feel monstrously large in the hands of a sock knitter that I threw it down and walked away at least twice.  It was much easier this time with smaller needles for the first few rounds.


I also worked the stitches like I would work the toe of a toe-up sock, which is much easier than trying to make it work on the cable in a complete circle--bonus points to you if you have the where with all to make that work!



The yarn is Malabrigo Sock in Lotus.

Unfortunate Discovery: I received both hanks for Christmas and I thought at the time I received the 2nd "Yes! Enough for a Pi Shawl!" but when I pulled the 2 hanks out yesterday, I discovered that one is Lotus and one is Lotus A. Crap.  The difference is in the amount of turquoise in the hank.  Lotus is almost completely the same color at closer examination and Lotus A has a nice turquoise section to it.  I am going to start with Lotus A and then the splash of color will be in the main body of the shawl; Lotus will do for the outer circle and edging I guess.  I don't think it will be bad.  I am sending good vibes and thinking good thoughts because this project was planned for this day and it's all going to come out well in the wash.

Made it to the 3rd increase.



Now I must be off to knit some Pi. I hope it rains all day and I can't think of anything else that I need to do, other than to feed the animals, except knit on this shawl. Take a minute and cast on for your own Pi Shawl on this very unique day!

Have a happy Pi Day!

March 12, 2015

New Diggs: Cedar Hill Farm Company's New Online Shop

I have been struggling, like anyone who doesn't have a web design degree, throughout my journey as an online entrepreneur with web design and creating an e-commerce site that is reasonable to generate and reasonably priced.  I think I've finally done it.

The thing is, selling my hand painted and hand dyed yarns and fibers on internet craft market sites has become, well, a dismal experience.  I enjoyed selling on Etsy and being part of that international community until they sold out to the Chinese for a larger profit margin and the chance for their stock holders to get rich quick.  I tried Artfire, but that was a bust.  I tried Zibbet.  That appears to be a bust. And all the while, I've been maintaining our farm website (Cedar Hill Farm Company) in addition to having to maintain a shop through someone else's e-commerce site.  I finally sucked it up and created my own e-commerce site through Shopify, so we'll just have to see how that goes.  Fingers are crossed.

So here is the information for the farm website (which is pretty great, by the way).  You can get to my yarns via the farm website at http://www.cedarhillfarmcompany.com or via this address:  http://www.cedarhillyarns.com . (That's my new shop's front page!)



The new shop is still in the start-up phase, so it may take me a week or so to input all of the listings. (You can shop immediately, though, if you like. The superwash yarns are ready to go!) Unfortunately, neither Etsy nor Zibbet were among the sites that you could upload a CSV from so I have to put each listing in one at a time.  Kind of a pain, but hopefully it's going to be worth it.

And here are all of the other particulars in case you want to bookmark this page or jot them down:

Instagram: @cedarhillfarmcompany
Twitter: @cedarhillfarmco
RAV ID: zibelineknits
Ravelry Shop: Cedar Hill Farm Company or Keya Kuhn
FB: Cedar Hill Farm Company
Tumblr: knittingstash
Craftsy Shop: Keya Kuhn

The down side ... now I have to order new business cards.  I think it must be much cheaper easier to run an online business if you've been to marketing school--probably fewer hindsight issues, if you know what I mean.

March 03, 2015

Sew Craftier Than Usual: New Project Bags

I'm not a frequent visitor to Youtube.  In fact, I rarely use it except to remind myself of some knitting technique that I haven't practiced in a while.  However, as a consequence of the mystery of key words in the search box, I stumbled across a fantastic site and learned to make a new type of knitting bag.  Of course, I say "knitting", but the lovely lady who shared her method for making this bag said "project" and "crochet".  Regardless, I'd like you to meet my new project bags.




These are one piece, (13" x 11" x 4") which is pretty cool because I am not a fan of the buttonhole attachment on my sewing machine and sewing snaps are tedious.  They have a cute little front pocket that happens to be just the right size for a notions bag/box (I like coin purses and Altoid-type boxes, myself), and emergency repair crochet hook, and a pair of magnifying glasses.  The interior, which is fully lined, is large enough to hold my center-pull ball plus and entire 6ft crescent shawl (green one) ---yes, I'm still working on that vintage lace edging--or two small project bags which contain socks (red one), of course.  And since they have box pleats on the bottom, the square bottom allows it to sit up by itself if I need to put it down.





The point of these bags is that I wanted a bag that I could use to carry my take-along projects and notions in the car or to knitting club without them ever having to sit on a dirty floor.  I'm sure you have one or two take-along projects that you like to take with you on a commute or to the dentist for a distraction while you wait for the kids to get their check-up or to keep in your desk at work for lunch knitting/crochet.

I whipped these up yesterday, and each took less than an hour to make from cutting to ironing to sewing to ironing again.  I used a solid canvas on the outside--didn't want to shell out for the expensive printed canvas for the first attempt in case I made a mess of things--and a quilting-quality cotton on the inside.  They are totally washable, though I don't think I would toss them in the dryer.  I have the suspicion that the heat of the dryer will fade the color of the canvas. I think they will be sturdy enough to last for quite some time to come.

Then, because the wave of sewing creativity was still washing over me, this afternoon I threw together this little notions-y zippered bag.  It measures 8.5" long (top) and 6" long (bottom).  The square ends measure 3.5" deep and it sits 4" high.  It's about the size of a make-up bag, I guess.  You may expect that no make-up will be going in this one.




One thing that I did notice about Youtube videos about making square-bottomed bags is that the tutorials are sloppy.  When you finish the bag, the inside is full of unfinished edges that really should be hidden by the lining.


I need to do a little tweaking to the sewing plan for the inside--it's only after you do it one way that you realize it would have been so much easier to do it another way--so the next bag will be a bit neater at the seams.  Like the other two bags, this one is made with canvas on the exterior and cotton quilting fabric on the interior.

I have an inkling to make them and sell them in my Zibbet shop, but I'm on the fence about it.  If you like them, let me know.  (You can see from this blog that I can be reached in myriad ways, not just blog comments, though those are welcomed, too).


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