Thursday, November 18, 2010

Online Sales During The Season ...

For the most part, online sales for 2010 were great for my types of merchandise. Especially the ePatterns for machine knit, hand knit and cross stitch. The hand-crafted items I sell always do much better at Craft Fairs & Special Orders and last year is no different - so far.  I'll have final tallies in another couple of weeks.

This year, however, I do intend to advertise my hand-crafted items more since I've now got them on BONANZA in my Knits'NMore booth.  Here's a few of my advertising plans ...

Tweeting items ( @mkdesigner )
Posting on various YAHOO Groups where they allow ads of items for sale
Facebooking more than I have been lately - once I figure out how to utilize it better!
I'll be advertising and participating more on all the various Yahoo Groups I belong to as well.
Being more active in posting comments on all my favorite blogs
Advertising on Craig's List (this always gets me sales on hand-crafted items & ePatterns)
Promoting my two booths more on Bonanza's Promote Your Booth Forum
I'm also on ETSY so will be promoting there as well.
And last but not least, my KABOODLE

These are my main promotion ideas.  I'd like your comments on how your online sales are going thus far and do you have any special promotions in mind to help boost sales?

Thanks for your input!
Marge in Sparks, NV

Friday, July 2, 2010

Christmas In July

I've written to you before about BONANZLE.  Well, I'm having a dandy time over there and am making sales.  The friendships I've gained through that site are precious to me.

Right now, we're having a Christmas In July Special Sales Event.  There are almost 300 booths participating in this great themed sale.    This is my cat, Taggy (short for Tag-Along). :)  My special pal.  She's my avatar in my booth at Bonanzle.

You really should stop by Bonanzle and check out all the booths that are participating.  I have a link on my page to that HUGE list!  Each booth has their own special offers/discounts since we're all independent business owners.   Each booth has a LIVE CHAT window so you can ask questions or ... just chat!  :)   It's so nice to see that a Seller is ONLINE and we can get instant answers ... that's a HUGE plus over a lot of other selling sites.  Best of all, we're a friendly bunch.

For my booth, I have 15% off your total purchase!  Now that's a real bargain!  Anything in my booth is eligible for that discount.  Even my OWN original Machine Knit ePatterns and any of the Machine Knitting Supplies & Tools I currently have in my Bonanzle Booth.  Including the Double Bed Colour Changer and the Brother 890 Lace Carriage ... even the Kathleen Kinder Techniques In Machine Knitting hardback!!  Now this sale makes some really good bargains!  Shipping remains the same as in the listings.  


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Woo Hoo ... FINALLY!!

I do believe SPRING has finally sprung in the Sparks/Reno, NV area!  This was just before I took our Gr-daughter to school.  So nice to see it will be in the 60's today and the rest of the week.
Happy REAL Spring, everyone!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Oh, Great!

We had such lovely, sunny & warm weather just yesterday.  When I took my grand daughter to school about an hour ago, it was raining off and on.  Then, on the trip home, it started to mix some snow into the rain.  THAT was not due to hit Sparks until this evening, according to the weatherman.  So much for having the yard sale I'd planned for this weekend!  Even if it goes back to rain only as they've predicted for the weekend.  Can't quite trust that, though.

The last time we had snow in April (2005 - pic at left), it was quite a good sized storm.  I have high hopes history will NOT repeat itself!


Gonna go console myself by delving into one of the yarn tubs and knit something warm.  Like maybe a pair of socks.  And if this dratted snow doesn't stop, a hooded parka!

Hmmmm  ... maybe I'll put a bunch of my yard sale stuff up in my booth on Bonanzle.  That might work.

Hope everyone else is have much nicer weather than we are at the moment.

Marge in NV

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Designing Patterns

Sorry for the lapse in getting a posting up online.  I've been busy working on some of those new designs I mentioned in my last post.  Got so caught up in all of it that I've neglected you, and I apologize for that.  The latest one I've been so engrossed with is one called Bird of Paradise (the flower) in Design-A-Knit (DAK) format.  I'm working it in 6 colors, measuring 198 stitches wide by 300 rows in Double Bed Jacquard.

It's been a bit of a challenge to say the least.  There's still more work to be done on it, but I'm getting there.  I chose the more 'jungle' colors for it with just the bright yellow/rusty orange for a focal point against an almost camouflage background.  Not sure WHY I chose that color combination, but it sorta just 'happened'.

One of the things I love about designing in DAK is I can replace the colors throughout the pictures with a couple of clicks.  And if I don't like that, I can put 'em back. 

Oookay.  Break time's over, time to get back at that pattern!

Marge in NV

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Okay. I'm Impressed.

I had my very first BONANZA sale at my online booth on Bonanzle.  It began at 8:00 a.m. and ended at 10:00 a.m. (Pacific Time).  For someone not being on there very long (less than 3 weeks), I think it went very well!  Sold 5 items, all of them my ePatterns.  Here's a pic of them ...

Made $20, even after the 25% discount that was running during the Bonanza time.  Not bad for 2 hrs for a first-timer!  I'm happy.

I've got 27 brand new patterns in the works and the next time I do a Bonanza, I'm hoping to have all those ready to go.

One of the nicest things about those Bonanzas is you cannot run them all the time.  I think there's a limit to no more than 2 or 3 in any one month.  The Bonanzas do get listed on their front page so that's especially nice.  Good exposure!

They update the booth and item stats each evening.  It will be interesting to see those figures later tonight or tomorrow.

~Marge in Sparks~

Friday, March 19, 2010

Online Marketing So Many Venues!!

I've decided to try various methods to get my patterns out there for sale and earlier this month, I ran across several folks on Etsy saying how much they liked Bonanzle.  Who??  What's a Bonanzle?  I signed up for a booth and ran across some of the NICEST folks on there.  Very friendly.  Very helpful.  Just the sort of thing I was looking for and I couldn't be happier.  There's about 200,000+ members on Bonanzle, many of them with booths, and a HUGE variety of items available for sale.

Not just hand-crafted, but all sorts of things.  Sort of like the early days of eBay (I have some fond memories of those days before they corporate-ized and morphed into gargantuan proportions).   I won't buy nor sell on there again.  My choice.

On Bonanzle, I was able to buy some great little miniature pitchers (collection passion of mine) and was surprised at the low pricing and lack of garrish ads one used to see so often on eBay.  Yes, they can customize their ads with HTML which is nice.  I'll be working on some custom listing templates myself, very soon.  The under-stated kind with pleasant colors & moderate fonts. 

That's one thing I detested on eBay in recent years, the IN YOUR FACE listings.    If you're on eBay and you prefer those, that's fine.  It's just not my cup of tea.

The 'ZIBBET' site is nice, but does not seem to be a site for my types of products: ePatterns for machine knitting, hand knitting & cross stitch.  Those are my mainstay and my income.  I did pay for one month of their upgrade, but rarely saw any activity so I'm back to having the freebie account.

I'm about to get rid of my Artfire account, I go there, nothing happens, I look around a wee bit and I go to another site or two instead.  Where I'm getting some activity.  I've had one sale on Artfire since starting there over a year ago.  Not worth my time checking my account all the time.  More than likely, I'll keep my MKDesigner store on Etsy, but will fade out the Knits-n-More store there. 

I do have many other sites I belong to and I'll be keeping several of them, I think.  Not sure yet.  :)  Family, age, medical issues, expansion of interests and time factors seem to be directing me in more defined directions. 

I've been so enamoured with Bonanzle that I may pare my online marketing down to 2 or 3 selling sites as well as my website, making Bonanzle a primary selling site for me.   I cannot recall when I have met (online only) such a diversified bunch of folks who don't pre-judge you, have many of the same interests that you do, are polite and helpful without any ascerbic slams like I see so prevalent on a couple of other sites in their message forums and bulletin boards.  I'm having a great time on Bonanzle and will probably be there awhile. 

Okay.  Time for some blatant self promotion here, folks. 

Speaking of Bonanzle, I am having what they term as a BONANZA online tomorrow morning, Saturday, March 20th from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time.  The idea is to put several of your items into a 'Bonanza' and offer a discount for your specified period of time.  Cool idea!!  Customized online Craft Fair / Yard Sale!    Would love to see you there.

Marge in Sparks, NV

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Mayonnaise Jar and 2 Cups of Coffee

I finally got around to cleaning up my computer files, which I've managed to put off for several months.  And I ran across this ...

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. 

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous "yes."

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things--- your family, your health, your friends and your favorite passions---and if everything else was lost and only they remained , your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.

The sand is everything else---the small stuff. "If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

"Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first---the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. "I'm glad! you asked.  It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend."

Think about it.  What are YOUR priorities in life??  I wish I knew the origin of this fabulous 'reality check' piece.  I'd love to give credit to the author.
Marge in NV

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Weave Cast On With 3 Variations

Wow, here it is the 10th and I've not posted anything since the first of the month.  Sorry 'bout that.  I've been re-vamping a lot of my little tutorials on my website.  So I thought I'd share one of them with you.  Samples on KnitKing CompuKnit III Electronic (same as Brother 930).

Sample #1 - All needles are in work after the intial weave cast on. Weave on in "D" position, remainder needles in "B" position. This does have quite a bit of bulk and tension on the gathering thread.

Sample #2 - Leave EON in "A" (non working position). See layout below for EON of EON. Purl bar is used to fill empty needles when it's time to pull them forward to working position. Less bulk at gather, with fairly solid fabric.

Sample #3 - This has a nice eyelet effect around the top of your knit item. This also leaves EON in "A" as in Sample #2, but the empty needles are simply pulled out to "D" position (make sure latches are OPEN) and then the main fabric is knit.

This is the basic weave cast on needle layout. I used this one to create the Sample #1.
It does have a lot of bulk in it when you pull the gathering thread, so you may want to consider Sample #2 or Sample #3 needle layout. See next picture.
This is an example of the EON of EON (Every Other Needle of Every Other Needle) layout for doing Sample #2 and Sample #3.
Unless I'm doing a very thick fabric where it doesn't matter if I have a lot of bulk at the gather, this is the method I use.

Lay the yarn across the needles in "D" position (tail of yarn on the LEFT). Hold the yarn at the junction. The yarn can become caught in the brushes or over a gate peg if you don't hold onto that yarn 'triangle'.
You can also put the "D" needles out to "E" if you wish, I just leave them in "D" position.  Be SURE all the latches are open in both the "D" position needles and the "B" position needles.

Knit across. See that yarn 'loop' that was formed when we held the yarn at the junction? You will need to put a clip weight on that. Even a clothes pin or two would work.

It has a nasty habit (at least with me) to get caught on gate pegs, in the carriage brushes, etc. Better safe than sorry!  I'm holding the weaving 'pull' thread at the left.

Knit a few rows so you get the 'feel' of what this will be like (Sample #2).   Take the purl bar from the stitch to the left and place it over the hook of the empty needle to the right.

If you wish to have the 'eyelet' effect we have in Sample #3, then don't fill the empty needles with the purl bar. Just bring them out to "B" position and when you knit across, you'll have eyelets.

This picture shows the 'empty' needles have been filled with the purl bars from the adjoining stitches and I have knit several rows. This is Sample #2.

One of the things I like about using the method in Sample #2 is I can have as many or as few of the knit rows on EON (acts almost like a 'mock rib') as I wish before starting the full fabric.   Experiment for each project. I use 12-14 rows for tops of ski hats. I like having the breathability at the crown of the hat.

That's it for this visit, see you again soon!

~ Marge in NV ~

Monday, March 1, 2010

Time To Craft Again

I've been so enamored with the Olympics that I've neglected my usual crafting schedule quite a bit.  Usually, my evenings are taken up with sewing knits.  And I've done that.  A lot.  Just not as much as I should have, but what da heck, the Winter Olympics only come around once every 4 years. 

I did a lot of work on the Brother 390 Knitting Machine today (in 4.5mm mode) and have a huge amount of swatches done up and will get those onto the blocking table tomorrow once they rest overnight.  Then it'll be time to make decisions on what I will knit with those yarns and the various stitch techniques I used on the swatches.  That's the hard part for me ... too many ideas pop into my head!

This diagonal stitch (basically, half of a herringbone) is nice and adds some nifty dimension into the middle of a plain knit sweater and makes a beanie style cap look like it's swirling around.  I did summer beach caps with this about 3 or 4 summers ago.  Simple lacy top 'cap' with a band of the diagonal going around just above a narrow, mildly ruffled brim.  I'll have to make one up and show you what it looks like soon.  Once I find the pattern, that is!  It's in a box.  Probably in the basement.  Where there are tons of boxes & several large, 48gallon sealed yarn tubs still lurking after our move in November.  Ugh.  I've GOT to get working on my knitting room!!

Then I played around with some knitweave on an 8/2 backing yarn of Stonewash Denim with a Ticaro Flake (about 8/2) as the weaving thread.  It has a nice slub to it and I do like the textured look.  Since they're both very thin cotton yarns, they're lightweight and airy enough to let any body heat escape but still solid enough not to cause any ... ummm ... shall we say ... embarrassing moments!  LOL

Happy Knitting!

~ Marge in NV ~

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Crochet Dishcloths & The Olympics

I really got 'into' the Olympics late last night and again this afternoon.  Boy, that Biathalon was really something, wasn't it??  I was cheering both Norway and Austria on and crocheting like crazy!  They were neck & neck and it was great!!  1 1/2 dishcloths later, it was time to go to bed.  Norway won and the finish was superb.  Then this afternoon, after the little in-home 'show', I flipped over to the Olympics yet again and went right back to crocheting more; completed the half-done one and another, too!

I'd completely forgotten about this pattern until I saw the pics of what one of my favorite bloggers had made.  Her blog is called BusyHSMom.  She homeschools seven!  Wow, that's what I call busy!  And I just love the motto in her banner --- "Would someone else be the responsible adult now???"  

So I was tired of making scrubbies (yes, they were all completed well in advance of the in-home show today) and have decided to delve into making a couple dozen dishcloths.  The 'in-home' was sort of a brunch thing.  I took scones.  All my scrubbies are now gone so will have to make more soon. 

Here's a closeup of one of my dishcloths.

BusyHSMom's stitches are sooo nice and neat, perfect tension and alignment --- not mine!  But I've got an excuse ... my enthusiasm for the Olympians overtook my usual attention to stitch size and such.  Well, I didn't want to miss something important, now did I?  So ignore the rather uneven stitches in there.  They're for home use, anyway.  I had several oldies that really needed to head to the garage for oil rags and such.  I like the way the Lily Sugar & Cream variegated cotton yarn seems to make a diamond type of pattern.

That's it for this visit ~ time to go watch more about those fabulous Olympians!!

Marge in NV

Thursday, February 25, 2010

More Scrubbies

I did get more of my Facial Scrubbies done up for the local special orders.  Ended up being able to make a dozen out of the remainder of that cotton yarn.  They turned out quite well, I thought.  This one at the left is the same yarn I used for the set of 4 I have in my Knits 'n More Etsy shop.  

I was going to do more colors since I seem to have a LOT of the Lily Sugar & Cream balls of 100% cotton yarn!  LOL ... but, my arthritis began to bother me last night so I quit until today.  Thank goodness for AsperCreme!!  Works wonders for me and I had my finger dexterity back in the a.m.

I've got some lovely Sugar & Cream in white and shades of pinks and I'll be using that one next.  Here's a picture of one of them.  Now to do about 14 more so I can have 5 of sets of 3 for my local customers.  I'm going to a small in-home show this weekend and I know two or three who have requested the Facial Scrubbies will be there. 

Best to go armed with bunches. :)

This Pinks Sugar & Cream is 189823 and the Dye lot is 19144 in case you want to take a look for it.  I usually wait to order online until I get a coupon from Joann's in my email and there's free shipping and good sized discounts they're offering.

Bye for now, have to get that crochet hook working!

Marge in NV

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Latest Crochet & Knit Projects

Thought I'd just chat away about what little (and a couple of BIG) projects I've got in the works.  I've finished up seaming a couple of knits and have them on the blocking board.  Will get some pics up online once they're blocked & dried in a couple of days.  I like to let my machine knit items 'rest' for a few days.  Some folks just take them off the blocking wires the moment they're dry to the touch.  I think that's the wrong thing to do ... knits need to 'rest' quite a bit.  Even after the blocking wires are removed, I'll still leave some of the T-Pins in and let it rest even more.  Nothing worse (to me) to have knits not properly blocked.

Now to get some crochet done up - that's on my list of projects for today.  I've got orders for crochet pot holders (from locals who have purchased from me before) and more of my little Facial Scrubbies.  Strange, but sellers on Etsy seem to list them in quantities of 4 or 6 or more.  Locally, they seem to want them in a set of 3.    Not sure why.  I have finger-loops on mine, much easier for me to hold onto when they're wet and soapy.    See picture at left.

I've also got a new item I'll be putting up online in a few days once I fine-tune the pattern; probably on Etsy, or perhaps one of my other selling sites.    No, I'm not going to tell you what it is ... something I made to make my own life easier and hopefully buyers will feel the same.

Speaking of selling sites, where all do you market your crafts?  Believe it or not, I've got 7 besides my main website, MKDesigner, and my Etsy Shop.  I know, sounds a bit 'much', doesn't it?  Not really, though.  How do I keep up with all those sites?  It's not that difficult for me since the majority of my items are ePatterns (digital downloads) and the quantities available are infinite.  For my hand-knits / hand crochet, I generally use Etsy in my 'other shop', Knits 'n More

Some of the selling sites I utilize are more like re-directs rather than actual sales on that site.  For instance, my Kaboodle listings, have a link to the item in my Etsy Shops so folks can purchase.  Kaboodle is more like a networking site rather than a selling site.  I love many of the groups in there. 

On Ravelry, I can 'share' patterns and I can also sell patterns or crafted items.  Lovely site, I read through a lot of their forums & groups regularly.  Never know what words of wisdom I'll pick up!  I only have a few of my freebie patterns up there right now, but plan to put many of the items for sale later this week.

Enough meandering for now, will post again soon.

Happy Knitting, Crochet & Cross Stitch

Marge in NV (where the snow is starting to melt away -- somewhat!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Taking Forever!

Well, it seems that way!  The Power Co. (NV Energy) didn't make it out Sunday as they'd 'promised', but did come Monday afternoon.  They got the branches off the wires and then informed us that we had to get an electrician out to put the junction board thingy back in place and reconnect wires.   They said there were exposed wires and if we didn't get it done right away, he'd have to declare it a hazzard and cut off our power!  EEEK!

Lemme tell you, I didn't know Jerry (hubby) could dial that fast!  LOL  Took a contractor to put the board back up (electrician doesn't DO that part of it ).  So the contractor and his crew came promptly at 8:00 a.m.  $300 and 4 hours later, the board thingy is up, called the electrician but haven't had a call back yet.  Hopefully he can get here this afternoon.  Sigh.  His quote was $200. 

So. Here we sit, with about 75% - 80% of the house with electric.  By the end of the day, we'll be $500 poorer.  Ugh.  Such is life, I guess.  And there's even more snow due tonight ... oh, joy.

Hopefully the winds will be light and the snow won't be so heavy and wet.  Don't wanna have to go through this again.

I think I'll just sit here and dream of spring, 

~Marge in NV~

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Weatherman Was WRONG!

Oooookay, we were SUPPOSED to get anywhere from 2-3 inches overnight, with *possible* snow flurries this morning of maybe another inch or two. Uh huh. Sure.  I was actually counting on that little bit of snow to justify NOT going grocery shopping today ~ I wanted to KNIT!. 

The ground was dry and almost bare at 7:00 last night.  Some itsy-bitsy snow flakes coming down, but hardly enough to do more than 'dust' the ground with maybe half an inch.  This greeted me at 6:30 this morning as I looked out the den window on my side of the room.

And this is out our front door ...
Those branches on the other side of the mailbox came down in the night.   Had several branches on several sides of the house come down.  One is resting on one of the powerlines that comes into the back of the house.  Yes, we've already called the power company and we're on their fix-it list.  Should be here in about 3-4 more hours.

And we're supposed to have 45-degree temperatures today.

So.  What's your weather like today?

Marge in snowy Sparks, NV

Saturday, February 20, 2010


It's snowing. Shoot. So much for the planned grocery (ugh) shopping day tomorrow. Guess I'll just have to stay inside and knit ... gosh, golly, darn.  Woe is me ... just have to suffer and force myself to play with my newest acquisition of mohair.

Marge in NV

To Zibbet or Not To Zibbet

I decided to ZIBBET my crafts.  Started with a freebie account earlier this month, then once I heard from several others who display on ZIBBET, I decided to go with a Premium Account.  Only $7 per month.  I'll try it for the next few months, see what transpires and will post about my experiences every now and then.

I've only put up a few of my ePatterns and now will start to put up some of my custom knit items as well.

If you're on ZIBBET or have been thinking about putting your items up for sale on that site, I'd appreciate your comments.

Marge in NV

Friday, February 19, 2010

Machine Knit Easy Casing

I received an email from a lady who had attended one of my little workshops about 12-15 years ago. One of the small how-to's I showed was putting a Pulling Thread into a casing as you knit. I no longer have the handouts available (2 computer crashes in the ensuing 12+ years) so while I was knitting up some snoods in Chenille the other day, I took a few pics as I was doing the casing. If you need additional details, please feel free to email me.

When I need to pull elastic or ribbon through a narrow casing, I do it while I'm closing the casing on the machine.

This example at the left has waste yarn, then ravel cord and then 6 rows - it needed to be very narrow for the elastic.

The thread in there is what I call the Pulling Thread.  I laid the Pulling Thread in the 'trough' between the stitches on the machine and the stitches I was hanging onto the same needles when closing the casing.

Keep the Pulling Thread in the trough as you go along, making sure you do NOT let it catch on the needles or with the yarn. Every once in awhile, I'll pause my work and make sure the Pulling Thread is still free of any catches by taking both ends and sliding it back and forth.  It's a LOT easier to correct any issues with the Pulling Thread as you go along rather to find out once you take the work off the machine that OOPS!, it's caught!!

Once you're done, just attach your elastic, Icord, drawstring, ribbon or whatever to one end of the Pull Thread and you'll be able to easily pull it through your casing.

I've got several other little How-To's on my main website, MKDesigner. 

Marge in NV who is whistfully dreaming of ...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Have You Hugged Someone Today?

Did you know that hugs comfort not only the recipient, but also do wonders for the giver as well.  Why do you hug (assuming you do, that is)?

*  I feel sorry for that person - they need my sympathy
*  I like to give something more personalized than a pat on the back
*  It's expected in our - team / group / organization / work
*  I guess I'd better since everyone else is giving him/her a hug
*  I suffer through the indignity of superficial hugging - I need to keep my job
*  I do hug, but wish I could put on noseplugs to mask that perfume/aftershave

Have other thoughts you'd like to add to the list??

Moonangelnay said...
i love to hug to show how much i love my family and friends :)

Awww ... that's neat. :)  Thanks for the comment.

Marge in NV

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Heart Day!

Yes, I know I'm late in putting this up online for Valentine's Day crafting, but hearts are so popular year 'round that I wanted to include it anyway.  Mother's Day isn't that far away, y'know!  This is a graph for knitting a heart.  You can see that I have very few rows where there are more than about 6 stitches of a color.  This makes it easier to carry your other color of yarn in the back of the work.  This one works very well when charted on a knitting machine or input into an electronic.

Please remember that this is my own original design and you may ONLY use it for personal crafting or for selling crafted items at craft fairs, consignment shops or through the various online venues.  So please honor my copyright and do not sell this pattern.  I wrote / designed it, I own it.  Simple.

St. Patrick's Day is getting closer and closer ... how about some free graphs for 3 Shamrocks & A Lucky 4-Leaf Clover??  Same request as above for © on these Shamrock & 4-Leaf Clover knitting patterns.  I designed / wrote them.  I own them.  Simple.

I've got them available (for FREE!) at my MKDesigner website.  They are also in my Etsy Store under the Seasonal Section.  Lotsa nice little freebie patterns in there.  True PIFs. 

These are all knitting patterns, mostly machine knit, although several have graphs for hand knitting.

Marge in NV

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Hearts For Haiti

Did you notice the link on the right at the top of this page??  Helping Haiti ~ Etsy Charity Shop Benefiting Doctors Without Borders

And all those fabulous items for sale?  They're doing wonderful work in this Etsy Shop!!  ALL of the merchandise in that shop has been donated by Etsy sellers to benefit the relief efforts of Doctors Without Borders as they deal with the horrid effects of that devastating earthquake. 

ALL of the money raised from that shop (less Etsy fees and PayPal fees) goes directly to Doctors Without Borders.  There is an 'army' of sellers who donate their time to 'man' the shop, 24/7.  They answer emails, post new items, process the orders, post in the forums and so very much more ... all without ANY compensation except the feeling of love in their hearts for helping those in need.

Please click on the link in the title of this posting ... read the shop announcement and you'll see as of today, we're rapidly closing in on donation totals of $30,000.00 !!  This is all since about the 14th of January.  Now how cool is that???  Browse through their vast array of items and know that your purchase will be donated to Doctors Without Borders.

I'm so very proud to be even a tiny, tiny part of this effort.

Marge in NV

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Machine Knitting - Part 1

For those of you who are machine knitters like I am, here's one of the little mini-videos I have on my main website, MKDesigner and click on Videos. 

This one is titled:  Basic Latch Tool Cast-on Hobby Machines

I'll be working with this knitting machine which is a plastic bed / hobby machine, shown in the video later on today. It's a Brother 390 'Convertible' machine which means it can be converted to either 4.5mm standard gauge or 9mm bulky.


Marge in NV

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Spring's Not Far Away

I know, I know. Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow 5 days ago, letting us know we're in for 6 more weeks of winter. And the Mid-Atlantic is really getting hit ... hard. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone facing nasty, cold weather, power outages and storm related illnesses. I'm in Northern Nevada where we're having fair temperatures when you compare to the rest of the country!

Whenever Phil does his 'more winter' routine, that's when I like to get prepared for Spring with my crafts. Somehow, Phil's prediction gives me some peace of mind that I've still got plenty of time to get my Spring Crafts act together. But I need to start now.

While the guys watch the Super Bowl, I'm going to be making sure I've got everything I need for my usual Spring line -- and also for the new items I've come up with over the past few months. I went through 3 of the craft supplies tubs yesterday afternoon and boy, am I ever low on some of my basics!! Hey, can you say ... CRAFT STORE SHOPPING TRIP??!! One of my favorite 'outings'.

Only one medium bottle of Aleene's Fabric Stiffener & Draping Liquid. Well, that will never do! I'll need to get at least 3-4 of the large bottles for all of my planned baskets.

This is one of the little decorative soap or jewelry dishes (I have one on my dresser where I put my favorite locket & my rings).
These are knit on my standard gauge (4.5mm) knitting machine. The lacy stitch pattern is hand-manipulated. Then they're starched and embellished with chiffon roses and ribbons. The little 'feet' you see on the base are simply beads that have been firmly glued to the bottom.

This picture at right shows the various Medium Sized starched baskets that I make. They measure approximately 4 1/2" across and are about 4-5" in height. They are made with crochet cotton and again, knit on my knitting machine. All the lacy stitch patterning is hand-manipulated. Takes some extra time, but I prefer to have my own unique lace designs on my baskets. Besides, I enjoy graphing them out.

From experience over the years of making these dainty little baskets, I know how much of the various supplies I will need. Just a matter of ordering the items I can get wholesale and hitting the craft stores for the rest. I have the machine knitting ePattern book (WORD or PDF) available in my Etsy Store ~ A Tisket A Tasket Machine Knit A Basket SIX Different Sizes ePatterns


Marge in NV

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Busy Day !!

Every time I turned around today, something else cropped up that I had to attend to ... right then. LOL -- got a cellphone call from a longtime customer wanting to order a set of 8 knit & starched napkin rings ... for next weekend. In blue, like the picture, but variegated with greens ...she has blue & green dishes. So a quick trip (yeah, right) into JoAnns and I had my yarn. Then we ran into friends about lunch time and ended up yakking with them over salads for much longer than we could afford, timewise. Was just ONE of those days!!

Nothing drastic, just stuff that kept intruding on our well-planned day of upgrading insurance policies, Dr's checkups, bill paying and grocery shopping. We were supposed to be home by 2:30 or so. Walked in the door at 5:15. Threw a frozen casserole in the oven and plopped down in my recliner. Whew! But everything got done!
So. How was YOUR day??
Marge in NV

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Good Grief!! TEN Months??

Yep, 10 long months since I last posted. How embarassing!! I've been quite lax in all this, but now that my life has somewhat settled down, I can get back at this on a regular basis.

I have my Computer Cat here with me at the moment ... Taggy. Short for Tagalong. She rarely leads when the other cats are going anywhere in or out of the house ... she follows. Hence, the name, Tagalong. Usually, she's in my lap when I'm on the computer. This morning was no different. Silly me, I went to get another cup of coffee and when I came back, there she was ... sound asleep on my keyboard!

We have 4 cats - Buttons, Tagalong, Socks & Princess. Love 'em all. Well, most of the time.

I'm finally out of the dratted 'walking boot' and wheelchair. It's been a long haul getting this spiral fracture of my left fibula to heal -- 3 months and 3 weeks! Thankfully I didn't need any surgery. That terrified me, since I'm diabetic and we diabetics don't do well with surgeries and healing. My oldest son knows that all too well. He's also diabetic and has had multiple amputations but is now in his new prosthesis' and there's no more sores. Praise the Lord for that!

I was finally able to go down the stairs to the basement the other day sans boot!! -- we recently moved here last November -- and ALL of my crafting supplies were down there! Had a great time going through boxes and plastic bins, getting much of the stuff organized. Craft-withdrawl is NOT fun.

I'll be 'creating' a regular craft room down there, hopefully by spring or early summer. In the meantime, I'll be working with some of the craft supplies up in the den/computer room. Crafting, here I come!! WOO HOO!

Time to grab more coffee -- uh oh -- Taggy's eyeing the desk again.

Marge in Sparks, NV