Sunday, August 7, 2016

My Day Job

Once I say goodbye to July and hello to August it means I have to get incredibly serious about my knitting. Although I work throughout the year to get ready for the Pumpkin Festival that comes to town in mid September I am never exactly as prepared as I would like to be. The fact I am also trying to stock an online shop adds to the need to keep on top of it. Plus being sick most of June and all through July this year didn't help me in my endeavor to be as productive as I usually am. So by this point if I'm not sleeping I'm knitting, believe me. It is truly a full time job all day, every day.... 24/7. My work comes to the breakfast table with me and so starts my day.
That's one thing I love best of all about knitting and crocheting. They are so completely portable. I have been taking my mother in law to doctor's appointments lately and my knitting bag just goes along. At one visit to the cardiologist there was another lady in the waiting room knitting a gorgeous multicolored blanket. So at least I'm in good company when I look like a bag lady everywhere I go these days.
Oftentimes when I am preparing for an upcoming event I mass produce a particular item, such as these fingerless mitts, because I know what my top sellers are and what my customers will be looking for. I can never make enough of these particular mitts.
Even Parker loves them. He was absolutely delighted when he was here early this week and discovered an entire basket of "mittens"! He climbed right up on my kitchen table before I knew what was happening and started ransacking my basket then lining his arms with them as fast as he could move, giggling all the time. I turned around from the kitchen sink to see this already in progress. Man they are fast at this age!  He was somewhat less delighted when he realized Grammy was not going to let him get down and run all over the house to play with his toys while wearing his new mittens however. But that's the way the cookie crumbles Little Dude.
Like most yarn enthusiasts, I have many different bags to work with. Most of us can't seem to help ourselves. The knitting bag addiction is secondary only to that of the irresistible, constant obsessive need we have for yarn and needles. I used to feel slightly guilty when I bought yet another knitting bag {notice I said slightly}. As the years have gone by though, I have to say I see the upside to having options in this very important area of my life.
First of all, fiber art, whether it be knitting or crochet is my day job. There are certain times when I need a break from it and make the decision to leave it at home but I have to admit that almost never happens. It most definitely does not happen once August rolls around. I will come home from the Pumpkin Festival with a book full of custom orders. Then I will be working towards my Christmas Tea and Sale that takes place the first Saturday in December in my home and there's always my online shop to keep stocked. Once Fall hits I am off and running. The knitting bag is very essential and it has to go with me. I should say here too, I really, really love my day job. It's my passion; my dream and it truly is art to me. When my hands are not busy creating it, my mind is pondering and planning and at night I am dreaming of it. Sometimes that can be exhausting but most of the time I love every single thing about it.
So, getting back to variety. I recently pulled this particular bag out again for various reasons. It's a really good choice for my current project size, it has a flat bottom so it will sit on a floor next to me easily, the round bamboo handles make it easy to carry, it's lightweight, it's roomy enough for a water bottle, there's a zipper pocket and a cell phone pocket inside, a clipboard with my pattern fits inside it and it is pretty. The right bag for the right job really does make a big difference as far as I am concerned. I have had this bag for several summer's. It's made by Longaberger, the basket company.
Another perk is when I notice that my current knitting project just happens to match my chosen bag. For those of us who love to build an outfit around our accessories, this is just the frosting on our cake. Over the last couple of years these cabled fingerless mitts have become my top selling item of all time. Like I have already mentioned, I can't make enough of them. They are the most popular requested item for custom orders for Christmas in my local sales.
This year I decided I would add child sized mitts to my line also. Just by using the same pattern, going down two needle sizes and knitting with a DK weight versus the Worsted weight this is very easily achieved. Little girls love fingerless mitts too. I've had a few requests for them in this size so I hope they sell as well as the adult sized mitts.
You may have noticed there are three rosewood needles pictured along with this mitt. I actually knit these up on size US 5 (3.75mm) needles. The pattern tells you to "bind off tightly". As I've said before, I have rheumatoid disease, therefore I do everything I can to put as little as possible stress on all of my joints, especially my hands. I work with them all day every day and it stresses them already. They swell and throb sometimes as it is and are always stiff and locked in place every morning. Well, as we all know, necessity is the mother of invention. I discovered ages ago that instead of trying to crank the stitches on tighter, which causes further stress to my fingers, wrists, elbows and shoulders, all I have to do is grab one smaller knitting needle to bind off with. For example if I am knitting on size 5 needles I pick up a size 4 (3.5mm) needle in my right hand to start binding off. So the live stitches are still on the size 5 needle and I am using a size 4 needle in my other hand. It seems simple. It seems like it wouldn't make any difference. Believe me when I tell you it works every single time. There's no need to try to tighten things up. It just happens naturally. Maybe many of you already know and do this. If not, give it a try and let me know what you think. Also, for a "loose bind off", grab a needle one size larger and the same concept will work.
I have to share the lovely surprise I received at the end of the week. On Friday a Knit Picks shipment arrived on my doorstep that I was not expecting because I didn't order it. My dad recently heard me talking about being out of my stash of  Knit Picks Simply Cotton Worsted Organic Yarn. I stated that I wanted to restock in order to continue to make items to donate to the Peoria Cancer Center. Without me knowing it, he placed an order for a dozen skeins and had them shipped directly to me.
My dad does this sort of thing from time to time. He loves to make Knit Picks purchases for me. He has been a fabulous supporter of my home based business. He enjoys seeing what I am working on when he's around. He also makes an appearance at my booth every year at the Pumpkin Festival. This time he wanted to help support my efforts to donate to a very worthy cause. How wonderful it is to have someone who understands our dreams.

"I dream my painting and I paint my dream."
Vincent Van Gogh


  1. Oh that little boy is adorable!

    Fingerless mitts are defintely an in-demand item! Yours look pretty amazing, and I love the different colors and textures.

    What a lovely gift - and a package in the mail makes it even better. :-)

    Good luck with all of your knitting - you're a brave woman ...

    1. Oh thank you Bridget! I have two grandsons this age :-)))
      This one, Parker was 2 in May and Archer will be 2 in September. One from each of my daughters. They are something else when we get them together!
      People love fingerless mitts. Can't go wrong with them, that's for sure!
      Thank you and YOU are a Sweet Woman :-)))

  2. Beautiful mitts and yarn. I guess it's time to switch into high gear if you want to be ready for the holidays. Good luck with your projects, I can't think of a better day job than knitting or crocheting!!

    1. Thanks Lynne! High gear is definitely happening here my friend! My needles are practically smoking!!! It is a pretty good day job :-)
      Plus I teach private students to do it too... How fun is that?! I have a crochet student coming tomorrow.

  3. So inspiring! I only knit dishcloths and an occasional scarf. I did make fingerless mittens with buttonholes and cables a while back with help from a friend. I wish you lived nearby and could show me how to make socks -- I'd like to learn some more.
    So wonderful to enjoy what you're doing, and love it so much. And very kind of your dad to support you. The Pumpkin Festival sounds fun -- hate to say it, but I am looking forward to cooler weather, and pumpkin time!

    1. I love to knit dishcloths too! The fingerless mitts you knit were quite the undertaking! You should show them in a post if you haven't already. I would love to see them!
      I would love to teach you. I am certified to teach with the Craft Yarn Council of America and give private lessons in my home. I have a crochet student coming tomorrow actually :-) I've been teaching for many years and love it. It IS kind of my Dad to support me and YES the Pumpkin Festival is a lot of fun. Our town is the Pumpkin Capital of the World. I am looking forward to cooler weather more than usual this year myself.

  4. amazing, I love hearing more about your business! It's hard for me to imagine what it's like to knit things and sell them, it sounds both absolutely wonderful and yet so challenging to knit all the items that you must have to knit! Especially coming back from the festival with lots of custom orders. I'm glad that your knits are so successful!

    1. Thank you Julie! I'm touched by your interest. It is wonderful and fun and very challenging all at the same time! I enjoy it all! Once August rolls around I have to stay extremely focused. That can be the biggest challenge for me at times, quite honestly. I was hard wired to be people oriented first. The detail orientation is something I have spent a lifetime developing.


Thank you for taking time to chat with me ~
Your comments make me so Happy!
Have a lovely day.