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 ~