Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Eye candy fibres

Just wanted to share this picture of Artyarns Beaded Silk Mohair. It looks wonderful, like a rainbow with sparkling drops of water.

Monday, February 27, 2012

February interview: Sharon of Thoughtful Rose Supply

I'm very excited to present to you a person that caught my attention many months ago. I don't remember if it was her Etsy shop (one of her THREE Etsy shops) with recycled yarn that impressed me first or if it was a picture of her colourful yarn wall that I saw on Ravelry. Anyhow, I really liked the thought of a crafter that only uses recycled material, something that I would like to do myself but I don't have enough will power to stop spending on my LYS. But Sharon not only crafts with recycled materials, she also sells some of the luxurios yarn that she salvages.

- Please tell us a bit about Thoughtful Rose Supply and yourself!
Hi!  My name is Sharon.  I'm a single, stay-at-home, homeschooling
mom, and a fiber artist and Etsy seller on the side.  Yes, I stay

Back in January of 2008 I resolved to work exclusively with recycled
materials for one year.  I found such an abundance of beautiful
recycled materials to work with, that I have extended that resolution
indefinitely!  I work mostly with recycled yarn, but also use recycled
fabrics and plastic bags.

Thoughtful Rose Supply is where I sell luxury yarns reclaimed from
discarded sweaters.  I scour local thrift stores for gently used
sweaters made from quality yarns, unravel them, skein the yarn, wash
the skeins, measure and tag them, photograph them, and list them in my
Etsy shop.  It's a lot of work, but it feels good to be salvaging
these beautiful fibers that might otherwise end up in landfills, or be
sent to the local textile recycling plant to be turned into rags!

-  What inspires you?
Three things inspire and motivate me to recycle yarn.  First is my
faith.  I believe that the earth belongs to God and that it is my
responsibility to be a good steward of the resources He has given me.
Second is my children.  I want my children to grow up with abundance,
not hampered by restricted or polluted resources as a result of my
generation's excesses.  The third inspiration is the yarn itself.  I
love natural fibers and enjoy rescuing them to use in my own projects,
or to sell to other knitters/crocheters who appreciate them as I do!

- Can you outline your creative process?

I'm a multi-tasker!  I like to be working on at least a half-a-dozen
projects at once.  As new ideas pop into my head, I jot them down in
my notebook, and return to them later.  But it can take as long as a
couple of years for an idea to come to fruition.  Too many ideas, too
little time!

- How did you come up with your business? Was it a sudden idea that
struck you or did it evolve over time?

I started out unraveling sweaters for personal use.  It didn't take me
long to realize that there was a market for recycled yarn!  I already
had a successful Etsy shop selling vintage postcards and books, so I
knew that Etsy would be a great place to sell my yarn.

- What is the best and worst about running your own business in this industry?

The best part by far is the freedom!  I am free to work when and how I
please, and free to schedule my work around my other priorities (i.e.
my children).  The worst part is the unpredictable income.  However,
thanks to the support of my wonderful family, the fluctuations in
income are not as much of a challenge as they will be as I become more
financially independent over the next few years, all being well.

 - How do you balance your life between business and creating?

As a busy mom, I have to do a lot of multitasking!  I find that it
helps a lot to have a schedule, and to stick to it.  I've scheduled an
hour in the morning before the kids wake to edit photos and list
items, segments of time here and there to crochet as I oversee my
son's lessons, an hour unraveling sweaters during the boys' afternoon
rest time, etc.

- Do you have any advice for people who want to pursue a career in crafts?

I might be stating the obvious here, but it's not enough to be good at
your craft; you also need to develop and maintain a few other skills,
such as photography, communication, record-keeping, and so on.  Also,
it's important to be flexible, and patient.  Success doesn't usually
come overnight!

Sharon, thank you so much for participating, you are truly an inspiration!  I wish you and Thoughtful Rose Supply a fabulous year!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Iphone friendly gloves

Picture from Nelkin Designs.
I remember the first time I used my iphone outside on a cold day. It rang and I tried to answer it, having my gloves on. Why the heck didn't it work?!? But then I learned about the low voltage stuff and how touch screens work. So of course there is a market for special touch screen gloves. Some of them are really ugly, like the ones with metallic tips on them or just plain awkward with detachable tips. Good for us knitters is that we now can knit our own! Just use conductive thread together with the yarn when you knit the fingertips. Just google conductive thread or buy it at this Etsyshop, Nelkin Designs

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Honest labels!

Skip those ordinary "Handmade" labels on your hard knitted garments and sew on these instead! I love them. Buy them on Knitpicks.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Fabulous yoke II

This sweater has actually more than just a fabulous yoke. The whole design is awesome. It's unconventional and unexpected. Look at that circle with the number one on the chest. What does it mean? I'd love to both knit and wear a sweater like this. By Betsy Farquhar, available on Etsy.

Visit her shop here.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cute, cute, cute

Anna Hrachovec is a toy designer and fiber artist in New York. She makes insanely cute installations. AND she has free patterns on the knitted toy website, I think you should check them out. They're actually great gift for kids. And fast knits too. You should know by now that I favor fast knits, eh?

Tiny Perching Pigeons, free pattern here.

Baby Gators, free pattern here.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Knit the sky!

I think the concept of this scarf is truly beautiful. Everyday you look out of the window and knit a stripe that matches the colour of the sky. What a great idea to document all the sky's colourchanges in something that you can wear! The idea is from where you can also buy a kit containing skeins of beautiful blues and greys. I would really like to do this as a gift for someone but I'm afraid that the scarf will turn out to be in only different shades of grey. Maybe with a thin blue section in the middle... Wouldn't that be depressing? And if you don't know about the concept behind the scarf it isn't much of an eye candy, is it? Maybe it would be nicer to knit in some kind of pattern instead of plain garter stitch.

And maybe it would be cool to transfer this "observe-and-knit" approach to other things as well, like knitting the colours of your garden for example, as a way to eternalize the four seasons. Anyhow, I really like the idea. If you have made a scarf like this, I would love to see it!

Sky scarf from

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The other needle II: Crocodile stitch

I would like knit an airy top for kids with some crocodile stitch added too it. Why? Not sure... I don't remember how I came up with this idea. But I decided to give the crocodile stitch a go, it's been a while since I crocheted. I prefer the looks of knitted items but crochet works great for details and brims. And it's fun! Almost as fun as knitting...

I looked around and decided to use this tutorial by Teresa to learn the crocodile (or petal) stitch.  Even though it's not ideal to use a multicoloured yarn when you want to give a clear demonstration of a somewhat complicated stitch, I still think that she does the job and you quickly get the hang of it.

It was great fun to crochet this stitch and I got a little carried away, the swatch turned into a scarf.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Little leafy lace cowl - free pattern!

My first fling with Malabrigo Lace resulted in this little cowl. I cannot talk enough about its softness! It's just so ridiculously soft... This is how I turned it into a cuddly cowl/wrap for Isola:

You'll need a little more than half a skein of Malabrigo lace and size 4 mm needles, OR size neede to get a gauge of 27 sts in stockinette sts.

Cast on 170 sts.
Work two rows of k1p1 rib.
Row 3: (right side) *p2, yo, k1, yo, p2, k2, k2tog, k3, repeat from* until 2 sts remain, p2.
Row 4: *k2, p6, k2, p3, repeat from * until 2 sts remain, k2.
Row 5: *p2, k1, (yo, k1) twice, p2, k2, k2tog, k2, repeat from * until 2 sts remain, p2.
Row 6: *k2, p5, repeat from * until 2 sts remain, k2.
Row 7: *p2, k2, yo, k1, yo, k2, p2, k2, k2tog, k1, repeat from * until 2 sts remain, p2.
Row 8: *k2, p4, k2, p7, repeat from * until 2 sts remain, k2.

Make your own yarn

Recycle t-shirts you don't use! Would love to try this. Only I don't have any t-shirts...


Friday, February 3, 2012

Knit and the City

Wonderful yoke in perfect color combo by Raveler Crypto. Pattern by Laura Chau here.
 I love yokes. A well-designed yoke will make your outfit! And good news for knitters is that there are so many different styles and patterns to choose from. Maybe I should start a yoke-of-month-post? Anyway, I came across this pattern, Cityscape, by Laura Chau on Ravelry and just had to share. LOVE. IT. Have to put this on my knit-list. The most urgent one. Which is also the longest list, strange huh?
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