Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Complete Haul

I thought I'd share the pictures of ALL the water bottle holders I made for the arts sale in July.  Many are still available for purchase!
 Extra large holders
 Medium size holders
 Bottled water sized holders (click on pictures for bigger view)
 Crocheted holders--these are very stretchy and fit a range of bottles.  Some are larger to begin with too.
 Crocheted tote bag
Neck coolers.  The three on the left have very pale patterns.

I really wish I had sold more at the sale.  They're so practical, especially for in the summer, when you're going to outside parties and don't want to lose your drink and you need two hands to carry your food :)
Although I count all finished items as "yarn out", I wonder how much yarn has actually LEFT my house, LOL.  Much seems to just get created into a different shape and stored in a different area!

Yarn In:  10 078gr
Yarn Out:  336gr + 5342gr = 5678gr
Balance:  4400gr more brought IN than out
Costs:  $291.79/268 days = $1.09/day

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Something for Me!

I've had a hard time in the past while, making things for myself.  I had some great mitts, but they've gone missing.  I've had a few hat failures.  I made a nice black hat last winter, and then a green set in late spring (which is starting to look messy--darn angora!).  I was making some pink socks in a Cookie A. pattern, and ran out of yarn. Nice to see though, when looking back, that I have made completed socks since then.  However, I started some other socks last winter, and the second ball of yarn has gone totally missing.  How does that happen?  I have a machine knit top on hold and a machine knit shawl that is also in time out.  I also have a sweater that is on hold, due only to the fact I need to lay it out and measure.

Every time TracyKM Designs is slow and I start thinking about knitting for myself, I suddenly get some orders.  I used to joke that my kids are like the cobbler's children...everyone else has new shoes except the cobbler's kids.  My kids don't get nearly enough handknit items from me (some don't like them!), and I get even less it seems!

Last Christmas, Tin Can Knits had a special offer to get a free pattern.  I chose "Branching Out" because of it's graphic, non-lacey lace.  I got started at New Year's, and it started out, like all top down shawls, super quick.  I had put the pattern on my new tablet, and found  the ability to make notes on the pattern very helpful.  Though I found it difficult to find the pattern on my tablet sometimes, LOL. 

(I don't know why Blogger is rotating my pictures!!)  This shows it half blocked.

I used Patons "Lace", which is mainly acrylic.  I knew it wouldn't block out a whole lot more, so I knit it at a tension that gave a nice look to the stockinette sections at the top.  I added several (or many!) repeats to some of the charts to add more length.

I chose the yarn, knowing it has long stripes, thinking the graphic design will not be hidden with the stripes.  For the first couple colour changes, it seemed to line up perfect with the pattern changes.  But then of course, as the shawl builds, and the rows get longer, the stripes get narrower.  Near the end, I actually used another ball and started the same colour, so I could get a wider section.

In the end, I'm not too fond of the stripes. I've been thinking of overdying, in a light blue shade.  I just want to tone down the white so that it's a pale blue.  What do you think?
Yarn In:  10 078gr
Yarn Out:  140gr + 5202gr = 5342gr
Balance:   4736gr more brought IN than out 
Costs:  $291.79/265 days = $1.10/day

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Chunky Cable Hat

I had an order for the chunky cable hat, from the mom of the baby who's photo shoot I helped on.  She wanted a dark grey, charcoal.  A few of the pictures had her boy posed on this lush charcoal grey fur, and he looked awesome.  I started with some yarn I had, but I wasn't keen on it--it was dark grey, but had quite the teal tint to it.  Like gunmetal blue.  So I went in search of Patons Shetland Chunky in Charcoal, but when I found it at the store, it was nearly black!  I had just made one in that exact colour (but I thought it would be too big for this order).  There was another yarn in the colour I wanted though.

Click on the photo to see it bigger!
It's a nice little cap, and the boy looks adorable in it.  If you want to see that shot, "like" my Facebook page and see it under "Posts by Others"!  I really want to make an adult version...
I'm on the hunt for a grey mohair, and for a cream thick/thin yarn, so I stopped at the Salvation Army today.  Didn't find either, but I got 8 balls of fake mohair in other colours, and a novelty fur in a neat rusty colour.  432gr, for $9.  Newborn prop items take such little yarn, I've really got to get a grip on yarn shopping!  LOL. 
Yarn In:  432gr + 9646gr = 10 078gr
Yarn Out:  25gr + 5177gr = 5202gr
Balance:  4876gr more brought IN than out
Cost:  $9 + $282.79 = $291.79/262 days = $1.11/day
I still have a large blanket I made early in the year to show, but I wanted to get the machine knit edging on it before considering weighing it and declaring it finished.  But with the chaos in the basement, I haven't gotten to it.  It will definitely bring my "out" total up!  Also, stay tuned for an adorable monkey set, and a new shawl for me!

Water Bottle Holder

Boring title, I know. Sorry.  What more can I say about them?

The one photographer that got TracyKM Designs rolling, requested a water bottle holder for her papergirl, who is always hot but never brings water.  The girl likes pink, and Jennifer wanted something that would help keep the water cold.  I do think my wool holders work better for that than the cotton ones, but I also use a double walled bottle, so I can't do a fair comparison.  I didn't have any wool ones made up, but have quite a few sweaters waiting to be made into more mittens.  I also had this funky fleece that I used years ago to make a pair of pants for Meg.  She also has a water bottle holder with this fleece.
Some people like to carry things cross-body, and some like to carry over their shoulder, and people come in all sizes, so I've been wanting to make an adjustable strap, but the extra cost and time to use buckles/slides, etc doesn't make it worth it.  Then, when I bought some strapping early in the summer, I mis-calculated and ended up with short pieces.  I had an idea for making them adjustable, but couldn't put the time in before that arts sale in July.  Basically, I cut a long strap, and on the loose end, put about 5 button holes.  Then I sewed on a short strap, and sewed a button on.  Added a bit of time, but with using a vintage button, not much cost.  However, most of my vintage buttons are BORING! 

I have found that my wool bottle holders are not really reversible.  On ones done with a woven fabric, I figured it was because it was thinner and not stretchy.  So I wanted to use a fleece this time.  It didn't have a lot of stretch, but still, it just doesn't sit right if turned inside out.  The bottom gets all pouffy.  Maybe there's a different way to construct them...stitch in the ditch around the bottom seam to join them?  I'd need a tiny free arm though.  Perhaps "quilt" the bottom two layers together, but then how to sew them to the sides?  Hand quilt together?  Anyone got some ideas?  I had actually planned to cut the fleece layer a bit bigger than the wool layer, but I think I forgot, and it actually seems the fleece layer is too big.  Perhaps the wool got stretched when I cut it...

If it seems all I talk about/show is stuff for TracyKM Designs...well...it is taking up a lot of my time!  I just got some great orders that are  keeping me busy!!  I do however, have a shawl to show you later this week!!

Friday, September 13, 2013


I got a request from Dawn at Hourglass Imaging for a simple but sweet pink bear hat.  No problem!  The picture she showed had a furry band too, but she wasn't fussy about having that if I couldn't do it (time was important).  So I made a removable band.  Dawn didn't think it would stay on the hat as babies are not usually very still.  On it's own, it'll be a nice headband though.

 She sent me a couple pictures too!

I love the pink against the darker skin!  So simple but sweet!  I'd love to make more of this style (but I"m not really into the ones with elaborate faces).

Yarn In:  9646gr
Yarn Out:  32gr + 5145gr = 5177gr
Balance:  4469gr more brought IN than out
Costs:  $282.79/257 days = $1.10 per day

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Berry Picking Bottle Slings

We went to visit my parents for a few days, and one goal was to go blackberry and blueberry picking (wild berries!  Free, organic fruit!  Yum!).  For blackberry picking, he's taken a 2L pop bottle and cut the top off, and made holes to feed a cord through.  I knew I couldn't have that narrow cord around my neck, so I made a holder for it (could also be used for carrying actual 2L bottles of pop, LOL).

Based on this pattern.

This was a little too tall in the body once the bottle got some berries in it, but still usable.

Since my dad had two pop-bottle berry picking bottles, I decided to make a second holder (sling is what we started calling them).  This one, I made the body a smidge shorter, and tried to come up with a way to do an adjustable strap.  I didn't want to have a knot at my neck, and I just couldn't seem to get things the right length. I was also using up some yarn. Not the greatest picture either.
In the long, wide strap, near the end, I made a "buttonhole", then I made a thinner strap which I thread through the hole and tied.
These work awesome for blackberry picking, but not so great for blueberry picking.  Might also be handy for putting clothes pins in for hanging clothes on the line...

Yarn In:  9646gr
Yarn Out:  125gr (aprox) + 5020gr = 5145gr
Balance:  4501gr more brought IN than out
Costs:  $282.79; $1.10/day

Minty Fresh

I borrowed a car seat from one of the photographers I make a lot of stuff for, and as a thank you, I knit a tiny pair of mohair pants, to match the Zen Gnome hat.  I knew the hat would look nice with cream or tan pants (and was hoping to get orders for those!  LOL), so I went with the mint colour...something a little different.

The look so tiny to me, though compared to another pair I just made, these look large...I wonder if I can count the rows in the rise...LOL.  I know newborns are tiny though, and it's just hard to remember just HOW tiny!  They weigh only 23gr!!  Look how adorable they are with the matching Zen Gnome hat!  Thanks Jennifer!

I just bought a 1lb Mill end bag that looks like the old Patons "Pooch", but could also be one of the new yarns I saw at Michaels last night, though they weren't in cream.  I'm hoping it's Pooch, which was part wool, so I can dye it.  But Pooch was discontinued a LONG time ago.  And, the Patons website has changed....on the bag, it says "Value Pack" and "Cambridge Fibres Ltd" and has an address in Cambridge (Spinrite is in Listowel), but usually these bags are of Spinrite yarns, and I can pick out what ones they are LOL.  This also says to machine wash, which I'm not sure the Pooch was.  Oh, and I bought a skein of Homespun for an order...

Yarn In: 9022gr + 454gr +  170gr = 9646gr
Yarn Out:  4997gr + 23gr = 5020gr
Balance:  4626gr more brought IN than out
Costs:  $271.21+ $11.58 = $282.79/256 days = $1.10/day

Friday, September 06, 2013

Bits and Bobs

I wrote, back in early summer, how I was doing a craft sale for the first time in a long time.  It was an outdoor arts festival in a park in downtown Oshawa.  For those of you not in the area, Oshawa is the home to GM.  It's mainly working-class, around 125 000 people, and like many big cities, the downtown is host to most of the city's disadvantaged folk, due to access to services, etc.  However, there is also lots that is great about the downtown, and this park sort of brings it all together.  The festival offered cheap table rentals, we could pick our own spot, and was supposed to go 10am-10pm.  Well, table handout would start at 10.

We got there a bit early (on-street parking only, not much available...) and picked a shady spot.  Got our table, got everything set up.  My table seemed bigger than the advertised 6ft, but that was good as I had a lot of stuff.  I had been afraid of not having enough, though no one can tell you exactly what that means.

Despite it being a large park, I ended up next to two other knitter/crocheters/sewers.  We had a variety of things between us, but still, I think this put us all at a disadvantage (one also had beaded jewelry).  I had asked the organizers when I booked my spot if they control the number of vendors for each type of "art" and they said no, but there wasn't much else in my field.  We three were not the only fiber artists there, either, but the others were more spread out.

We didn't stay till 10pm.  Sales were slow.  Very slow.  Almost to the point of non-existent.  I did cover my table rental though.  However, I think my kids used all my profits (and then some) at the table with the beaded jewelry.  The woman had a daughter my youngest's age, and they sort of buddied up, and I think her mom took advantage of her daughter and she (the daughter) was constantly coming over to us, showing my girls items and "offering" them "special" prices, and even a couple free items later in the afternoon.  I offered her a water bottle holder to give to her mom.  Her mom didn't want it (?!) and gave it to the girl.  She kept swinging it around and eventually the strap pulled out :(  I did give her another one, but I was getting really annoyed.  Didn't want to have bad karma though...

Anyway, here's some pictures of our booth. 

 I did sell that brown hat on the right!  I was really glad too; I had made it a long time ago and it was too large for me.  It had won a 1st place ribbon in the Orangeville Fall Fair!  I wish I had a better picture of it though.  I sewed a leopard print ribbon to it, and had made a multi-looped bow with long tails at the back.
Had a hard time keeping the "posters" on the posts, the breeze kept sending them floating away.  I tried putting them on these little picture easels I had bought, but even with the (light) cardboard behind the poster, they still were too flimsy.  Click on the picture to make it larger...maybe you'll see something you'd like to buy?  :)

Here's some pictures of a few "pre-blog" items.  If you're interested in anything, let me know!

Newborn crocheted beanie with ruffle trim, $10
Simple newborn cap, $7
Fancy bonnet.  I'm not sure this one is for sale; I think I found the sweater that goes with it and my daughter wore it so it'll be kept (I think I made the bonnet later though).  However, I can replicate it quite easily.  I love making "vintage" bonnets!
3 month sun hat, $10
Mini-work socks!  I always loved making these.  I have a home for these ones, but would love to make more, any size, $20+

I'm pretty sure I showed this hat a long time ago when I was learning to use my Singer 327 with the ribber set up.  Keep in mind that it wouldn't be so droopy if you have hair!  I should find a wig (do have a couple) for my head!  $25
 Close up of the top of the hat

Assorted baby balls.  Not intended for pets--too large for most cats and would be shredded by most dogs.  Not practical to ship, but could be done (FoodSaver vacuum sealing to the rescue?).  $7 each.