Thursday, June 25, 2009

A sneak preview

Since moving from England to California 12 years ago, one thing I have discovered is that I do not like wearing shoes. Apart from anything my feet are a seriously peculiar shape. We're not talking a parallelogram or anything, but they're short, wide and have a high instep. To put it simply, shoe shopping is a nightmare for me and sometimes I think that wearing the shoe BOX might be easier than wearing the shoe that's in it.

Of course, in the last couple of years since knitting regularly, I have discovered the beauty of knitting socks. They're small, fun and perfect as a portable project. The thing is that I really don't feel like I'm getting enough benefit from many of the beautiful sock patterns out there because I just don't wear socks that much and when I do, they're generally ankle socks anyway. This meant I just had to design a sock pattern to fit my Golden State style!

This is only a preliminary photo as these are currently having some yarn dyed up for them by an indie yarnie, and also being test knit to make sure that my pattern makes sense. I'm really excited about this pattern though and based on the response I received on Ravelry, they're already generating some interest! So, meet Harpa...The pattern will be available for free on this blog in 2-3 weeks will hopefully grace the footsies of many ankle-sock-loving knitters among us!

My design mojo is strong right now and although I'm not 100% done with this one, I'm already itching to get started on something new. Any suggestions on what pattern you'd like to see from me next?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Fiber Friday

A little yarny goodness to take you into the weekend!

This one was dyed up last weekend and is now listed in my Etsy shop. With all the June gloom that I've been seeing, when I was creating this yarn, I wanted something fun, fruity and ready for summer...the result was Mai Tai! It's a hand dyed yarn, recycled from a beige Gap sweater. The plies were respun on my spindle to bring out the best in this yarn. It's 130 yards of worsted weight delight!I also dyed up something a little more representative of June gloom, recycled from the same sweater, although I'm keeping this one for myself. ;)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

At the suggestion of Etsy!

I was contacted today by Etsy admin, Vanessa, who is doing a feature on weddings in the Storque tomorrow. Given that wedding season is about to hit us full force, why not?! Well, she was looking for photographers on Etsy that also shoot weddings to feature in this article and is planning on using one of my photos. She also asked me if I'd be willing to set up a wedding photography package in my Etsy store. A completely unique and different idea, but who am I to argue when given permission by admin! So, here it Etsy listing for a wedding photography package by yours truly. =)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

That went quickly...

...the last week, I mean. It's amazing how everything seems to go by so fast these days!

It's been a crazy week in general. Last Thursday, my husband became another victim of the economy and was laid off from his job. We were fortunate that we hadn't really felt the effects of the dwindling economy as much up until now and while he's not worried, it's a little unsettling for sure. On the upside, seeing as he's currently acting "house husband", he's promised to clean both the kitchen floor and the bathroom in the next couple of days. If I'm really lucky he'll be cooking dinner more too (which is always good because he's really a very good cook!)

Over the weekend, I was able to participate in the community yard sale that our building was having. I made a strangely satisfying $30, which was enough to buy us lunch on Sunday, and had the double advantage of clearing out some of the clutter that I am so good at collecting!
I also did my first maternity photo shoot with my friend, who is due in August. I'm working hard to build my portfolio right now and get it web-ready, and I've found that I really enjoy this type of shoot. I do wish the sun had come out for a little while, but overall was really happy with how the photos turns out. While we certainly did the semi-nude wistful shots, I've known Paige for a long time and we definitely needed to get out and take shots in a fun and playful space...after all, that's what she is about! So, we took a trip over to a local playground and captured some really goofy moments with the mom-to-be.

As for my website, I've spent a long time thinking about what direction to take it in. I've gone back and forth repeatedly, and also ended up sidetracked by needing to work on my husband's music site ( Anyway, I've concluded that it's portfolio first, shop second. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can handle the first part in getting my portfolio up online within the next month. The shop will eventually be active there, but will have to wait for now. In the meantime, I've dyed up some new recycled yarns that I will be putting in both Etsy and Artfire shops.

So, feeling like I'm already half way into this week already, onward I go...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

An il"loom"inating past time

As part of a swap I'm involved with on craftster - sort of an ongoing thing - I claimed a potholder loom to play with. You may remember these from when you were a kid - square with a bunch of pegs to weave between? I know I don't remember having them in England when I was a child, but I've been intrigued by weaving for a while so I figured this was a great way to play around and see how much I'd want to really get into it!

The loom came with a ton of nylon loops, which to me seem completely pointless because it's not like you can put hot things on top of nylon anyway (assuming of course you're going with the original intent of the loom for making potholders). I found a couple of videos on youtube, to get me started and spent the next 20 minutes of my lunch break weaving squares with some vintage wool tapestry yarn in my possession. The resulting woven piece is actually very pleasing and I'm happy with my first attempts at weaving! I don't think I'll be using these first couple of squares for potholders though - more likely to keep weaving a few more squares and then sew them together into something like a bag or pillow. I think that weaving in general has a slightly higher start-up cost than most of the other crafts that I do and I know eventually I would love to make beautiful scarves, pillows, afghans etc. but I may have to work my way up.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Friday Night Knitting Club

I was very excited to pick up a copy of "The Friday Night Knitting Club" by Kate Jacobs at a thrift store a while back. I'd heard about this book but knew very little about it and decided it was totally worth the dollar to read (but then I don't know what books aren't?!) I finally finished reading it last night - after all, there's no better cold remedy than a hot bath and a good book.

The story is based around Georgia Walker, a single mother who runs a successful yarn shop while raising her pre-teen daughter. A knitting club forms at her shop and the group of women become a support group for each other as they deal with what life has to throw at them.

As an avid yarn fanatic, I loved the concept of a solid story built around a yarn shop in the first place. I enjoyed the characters that are presented in this book - they all have their flaws and even the characters that weren't my favorite in the beginning had thoroughly grown on me by the end. The way the author integrates knitting techniques with representations of life is done very cleverly and the last few chapters of the book really did leave me crying in the bathtub! It may not be the best novel ever written but it was certainly an enjoyable read.

One of the things that this book really had me thinking about is the bond that can form between people who may hardly know each other but have a commonality due to something such as knitting. I think about the websites, or, where relative strangers from different sides of the world with a common interest learn so much about each other that a bond forms between them. I've seen many occasions when someone will come into the forums on one of those sites to ask for advice, or seek support, from these "strangers" and reading this book really reflected that for me.

I hear here's a movie in the works but no information released just yet. It'll be interesting to find out more! Has anybody else read this and what did you think?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A sickie's lament

I'm convinced that every year there is a 2 month period where life carries you away to a place where free time is a distant memory and every moment is filled with something that has to be done, as quickly and efficiently as possible. I've already gone through a round of birthdays (beginning with my own) and heading rapidly into the realm of weddings and baby showers. Somewhere in the midst of it all, I'm attempting to knit up a sample sock for a publication while finalizing the oattern designs of my own and have 2 potential photo shoots to schedule. Of course, what's the worst thing, but also the most likely thing, to happen at a time like this? I got sick.

The good news is that it's not swine flu. Instead, I have a rather irritating cold that is probably a result of being "run down" with things that I've been doing over the last week. I don't even have anybody to blame seeing as the only person I know that's sick is my sister-in-law who several hundred miles away in Vegas and I haven't seen her since our visit almost 3 weeks ago. That would just be a really long gestation period.

So, while I sit here typing, only being able to hear out of my left ear, from behind the confines of my mostly closed office door (for the purposes of letting people know that I am here, but not going to cough on them), I am wondering if I have the strength to make it through a full day at work. I am contemplating how long I can make these 4 cough drops last and whether it's possible to patent some kind of portable steam shower for the purposes of days like today. I'm thinking that the couch at home is sounding good, swaddled in a large blanket with a vat of chicken noodle soup, alternating between knitting and snoozing.

I'm looking forward to a few days from now when my head is no longer in a fog, breathing doesn't involve the accompanying raspy rattle from my chest, and I don't need 4 pillows to keep me at an appropriate angle in bed (so I don't wake up everybody in a 2 mile radius with my rather uncharacteristic snoring).