Archives for the month of: February, 2012

Picture of yarn and a clockLet’s face it. My fundraising is limited by how fast I can knit. While I look for patterns that work up quickly, I can sell only what I am able to knit. So, I recently decided to learn how to knit faster.

Generally speaking, there are two ways to knit: English and Continental. English knitters hold the yarn in their right hand and wrap the yarn around the needle to create each stitch. By contrast, continental knitters hold the yarn in their left hand and pick at the yarn to create stitches. Continental knitting is more efficient as it takes less motions per stitch, and therefore is faster (once mastered) than English knitting.

My mother taught me to knit in the English style, and, after many years (well, decades!) of practice, I am pretty fast. However, I am not nearly as fast as many continental knitters. I am especially impressed by Miriam Tegels, the world’s fastest knitter according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Using the continental style, she can knit over 100 stitches in a minute. While I don’t ever expect to knit at her speed, I know I could be faster with continental knitting.

So, at this past weekend’s Stitches West convention, I took a class called “Converting to Continental” with Lorilee Beltman. (Many thanks to my friend Mary Ann who took the class with me.) It was fantastic. Lorilee taught us the basics very quickly and then walked around the room to give us individualized feedback as we practiced what we had just learned. After just three hours, I was confidently knitting in the continental style.

Lorilee Beltman

Lorilee Beltman, Stitches West 2012

It’s now up to me to continue practicing on my test piece so that my stitches are even and my speed improves. I’m hoping that after two weeks of practicing every day, I can use continental knitting for a real project. Look out, Miriam Tegels, here I come!

Because my knitted bracelets have been popular sellers at my fundraisers, I wanted to try my hand at making a knitted necklace. To get started, I purchased jewelry closures, turquoise colored beads, freshwater pearls, and flexible wire. I love the contrast of the colors, textures, and shapes of these beads.

Materials for the necklace

Next, I sketched out a full-scale diagram of the necklace I had in mind. Yes, it is a mess, but it helped me visualize the design and create the prototype.

My original diagram

I then threaded the beads onto the wire, following the order in my diagram, and knitted the necklace. Here is the finished piece:

Desert Meets Sea Necklace

It was both fun and quick to make, and I am enjoying wearing it. I may make another one to donate it to a silent auction, but I need to first get feedback from some friends. I need to know if they would be tempted to bid on it. Quite frankly, it would be embarrassing to donate something that didn’t garner any bids.

Interested in making one for yourself? Don’t worry…you don’t need to decipher the messy diagram. I turned my scribbles into a real pattern, which I have dubbed the “Desert Meets Sea Necklace.” You can download it here. Enjoy!

Lemons in a Yarn BowlSometimes I knit something for myself that I don’t like once I finish it. Perhaps it doesn’t fit me well. Or, the colors aren’t as complimentary to my skin tone as I initially thought. When this happens, I could scream to myself, “What a lemon!” But I don’t. Instead, I consider donating it to a silent auction.

Just such a thing happened this week. I finished making a capelet from some beautiful yarn I received as a gift. However, when I tried it on, I realized the green and oranges washed me out. Simply put, I looked awful. There was no way I was ever going to wear it.

Green Alpaca Capelet

While I’m disappointed that I won’t be enjoying this capelet myself, I am comforted knowing that my knitting will not go to waste. I will donate it to the upcoming silent auction at my church. Someone with a different skin tone than me will be sure to love it!

On top of all that, I thoroughly enjoyed working with the yarn and creating the capelet. The yarn was such a thoughtful gift, and one that I so happy to receive, to knit, and to turn into a fundraising opportunity.

What are your “knitting lemons” stories? I would love to hear about them. Please comment away!

I admit it. I am hooked on Pinterest, a site that allows you to create and share online pinboards. I have created pinboards for many of my interests, including knitting, cooking, reading, and inspirational women leaders. As I step back after using it for a few months, I realize that I am using Pinterest in a variety of ways:

For inspiration:  I pin images of knitting projects that I find inspiring, whether they are commercially produced or hand crafted. One example is my knitted jewelry pinboard:

Knitted jewelry Pinboard

For motivation: Sadly, I am not an avid reader, and I would like to read more books for pleasure as well as personal growth. To help motivate myself, I created a pinboard of books I have read this year.  My goal is to read at least twelve books this year, and I know that I will be encouraged to stay on track by watching my pinboard grow in size.

Books I've Read in 2012 Pinboard

For sharing:  I love my slow cooker, and I created a pinboard of my favorite slow cooker recipes to share with family and friends.

Slow Cooker Pinboard

For marketing: As is the case with most bloggers, I want to market my blog and grow my readership. In addition to utilizing Twitter and Facebook, I also use Pinterest. Each time I post to my blog, I pin an image from the post to one of my Pinterest boards. This image links back to my blog, and hopefully I will get some viewers interested to come back for more!

How do you use pinterest for your hobbies? How about for work-related needs? Please comment! I’d love to hear from you.

Three headbandsI ended my previous blog post with my fingers crossed, hoping that the designer of the Parisian Twist headband would grant me permission to sell headbands made with her pattern for my fundraising. After all, she included the following note on her pattern: When you purchase this pattern you are agreeing to use it for personal use only. You do not have permission to sell the item the pattern creates. 

After reading some Ravelry forums about copyrights for patterns, and what the copyright protects, it appears that US copyright law protects only the pattern itself. The designer can’t prevent sales of the items made with the pattern. While a designer can request that knitters not sell items made from their patterns, this is only a request and not something protected by US copyright law.

Regardless of copyright law, I exchanged emails with Elisa McLaughlin, who, it turns out, is fully supportive of my request. She wrote, “I think what you are doing is fantastic and I am constantly looking for ways to use my work to benefit those in need. Thank you for asking. Please let me know how it goes. Keep it up!”

Thanks so much, Elisa! I am now happily knitting away, making headbands to sell at the holidays. Three are already done, as shown in the photo. Many more to come!