Blooming

January 25, 2010

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My crafty weekend retreat at the Oregon Coast with a bunch of other ladies was a lovely time.

Often times I knit in solitude, but being with other creative people and feeling their swirling energy while they are creating, just like me, is a refreshing experience.

Not only were there knitters, there were also sewers. I was in awe of their productivity and silently absorbed all they were doing. It made me want to sew too…

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But as much I was in awe of the sewers, I am at heart a knitter.

Knitting belongs to me, and I to it. We are an absolute perfect couple. There is no explanation why I love it so much. I just do it with much ease and dedication, it is almost as if I cannot help it.

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If you ever have contemplated a crafty retreat with friends, I would say, DO IT. It is a lovely experience to be around creative and productive people, and I assure you, your creativity will bloom.

Developing a pattern

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Over the weekend I have developed, yet once again, a fingerless glove pattern.

The initial idea for this pattern, sprung to mind right before I left for Amsterdam and finally has made it through several prototypes. All in all it took me 3 prototypes before I was completely satisfied.

I knitted the first try outs with a wonderful yarn from Classic Elite called “Fresco” (left in picture below) and the final design is knitted with a wonderful mongolian cashmere from the brand Jade Sapphire (on the right in picture below).

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Besides being both red and  sports weight, these two yarns have one other thing in common: they bloom so deliciously after blocking!

QUESTION:

Nancy, what does that mean “yarn blooms after blocking”?

ANSWER:

First of all, there are many ways of “blocking”. My favorite way of blocking is to submerge my piece in cold water with some Eucalan.

I then take my piece out of its bath, gently squeeze all the water out, wrap it in a towel and squeeze even more water out. Then I lay it flat to dry.

Often times I find, that after blocking, some yarns bloom so beautifully. They fluff up and their beauty radiates, giving it a delicious halo and softness. I simply adore yarn when it does that!

Going lighter weight

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In recently published patterns, I have been working with worsted weight yarn or even bigger.

In future patterns, you will notice that I am going lighter!

Yes it takes longer to knit up a piece that is made with smaller yarn and smaller needles, but oh, the results are so beautiful. I simply love how flat the knitted fabric lays on my skin. Bellissima! So pretty!

Give me a bit more time to finalize everything and to find a model to do a photoshoot, okay?

And then you will see the final product!

Thanks for reading and until the next entry!

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On my way to the Oregon coast!

January 22, 2010

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I am heading out to the coast for the weekend!

Together with other crafty ladies I am going to have a weekend of CREATIVE FUN!

I am so excited, I can hardly contain myself… It is so delicious to surround yourself with inspirational, creative, crafty ladies who also happen to have an entrepreneurial mindset.

And our surroundings are breathtakingly beautiful… YAY!

RED!

I don’t know what it is lately but I am incredibly drawn to the color red. Maybe it’s the gloomy grey that is getting to me. See, January in Portland can be really depressing. It has gotten the best of me in the first year I moved here.

But no more!

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When the grey and gloom and doom start nagging at you, focus on colors! Kapow!

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Don’t let your inspiration be encaged by anything. Not even the weather, mkay?

Focus on some color, grab some colorful yarn and happily cast on. That is exactly what I am going to do in the next few days.

My word… my root chakra must be active… really all I want to look at is red and all shades of red!

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I got all my craft supplies lined up:

Yarn, needles, magazines, books, fabric and good spirits! Wheeeee!

Thanks for reading and until the next entry!


E-book review: Social Media for your Crafty Business

January 19, 2010

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It wasn’t until april 2009 that I finally succumbed to this Social Media phenomena called “Twitter”. Not knowing how things would play out for me and my blog, I just jumped in to see if it would be fun.

And let me tell you, fun it has been for me. Ever since I joined Twitter, I enjoy tweets of several bloggers, made some sweet connections, keep up with friends’ lives, and simply enjoy myself.

Also what Twitter has done for me is reconnecting with what I studied for several years before I became a knitter: Marketing.

Craftypod by Diane Gilleland

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One of the people I follow on Twitter is Diane Gilleland, the woman behind the blog and podcast “Craftypod.com” .

Diane Gilleland, also known in Twitterverse as “SisterDiane”, has taught me a lot about new and social media. It is mainly because of her I signed up for Twitter, and it is mainly because of her podcast that I have decided to take my knitting a step further and leverage it to a small business.

I was delighted to see that Diane self published an e-book called “Social Media for your Crafty Business” and when she offered her e-book for free on Twitter for the first 10 people who would Direct Message (DM) her, I grabbed the opportunity! The only thing in return Diane asked for is a review, which I am more than happy to write.

So if you have a crafty business of any kind, and you wish to dip your toe into Social Media, pay close attention.

Book One: Understanding Social Media

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Diane has divided her book into two books.

In the first book titled “Understanding Social Media”, Diane touches three chapters:

  1. The Lay of the Land
  2. Friends and Followers
  3. Providing Value, Setting Goals

In this first book, Diane explains what this social media space actually is, who you will meet, and how to best be. The two spaces Diane mentions are Facebook and Twitter. The emphasis, however, is mainly on social media space Twitter.

View it as being introduced on the first day of a new job, and a friendly mentor is taking you by the hand, showing you the new space/office and introducing you to the people you are going to interact with.

Also, this same friendly mentor, will show you the ropes of the job by helping you set your goals.

This all happens in a friendly and comfortable setting where understandable lingo is used.

Book Two: Using Social Media

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In the second book called “Using Social Media”, the following chapters are discussed:

  1. Nuts and Bolts
  2. Time Management and Results

Now that your friendly mentor has explained to you what social media actually is and now that you have set your goals in this space, Diane shows you on how to actually use this tool called Twitter.

Questions like what to write and with what frequency immediately arises: What should I tweet about? Is this interesting enough? Shall I tweet only about products? Or should I tweet about personal and private topics as well? How often should I tweet? How much time should I spend on Twitter at all? Will this all pay off?

Take a deep breath, exhale, relax and let Diane coach you through all of these questions in her book. In great detail, Diane will show you exactly how best to bring your message across and in what frequency.

She uses lots and lots of examples and I find this very valuable and extremely helpful.

Overall impression

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If you are a listener of Craftypod, you must agree with me that Diane has a very friendly and clear tone of voice. This vibe carries into her e-book, I am happy to see.

Starting a crafty business is very exciting. Keeping your crafty business going, and using all the tools at hand, can be at times, very tedious.

I often hear from crafty friends that the one thing they most dread is Marketing and Social Media.

Having studied Economics and Marketing myself,  I can see how this topic can be overwhelming. Especially marketing lingo can be quite off-putting if you aren’t familiar with it.

I can assure you that Diane Gilleland’s style of writing is not overwhelming at all. In a very friendly tone of voice, in understandable lingo, Diane dishes you manageable bite size pieces which one can easily chew, smoothly swallow and digest.

Instead of being overwhelmed, wide-eyed, and confused what to actually do with this tool called social media, Diane will motivate and inspire you to jump in and just do it!

Great prize for tremendous value

Diane’s e-book “Social Media for your Crafty Business” certainly gets two thumbs up by yours truly.

For only $12.50 you will receive tremendous value, I can assure.

Also, if you have never listened to Diane’s podcast, may I suggest you give it a try? Many of her shows have motivated and inspired me to take my work to the next  level: the start of a small business.

Some links for you:

Social Media for your Crafty Business

CraftyPod, the Blog
CraftyPod, the Podcast
Follow Diane on Twitter!

All images in this post courtesy of Diane Gilleland.

Thank you for reading and until the next entry!


Marlowe!

January 17, 2010

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I remember so vividly the first time I saw Marlowe in the shop.

An adorable wee little one, wearing a knitted bonnet with the cutest outfit ever, running around the yarnshop with her sassy Adidas (!) and mini legwarmers.

Needless to say that this little girl immediately melted my heart..!

Mini Sally Fingerless Gloves

Before you are all blinded by Marlowe’s cuteness, look more closely at her picture. Notice how Marlowe is wearing mini Sally Fingerless Gloves???? SCREAM!!!!

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Marlowe’s Mom, named Melanie, wrote me an e-mail telling me how much she liked the Sally Fingerless Gloves pattern and that she had knitted several pairs.

But what really got me jumping up and down of excitement is when Melanie told me that she had changed the pattern into mini fingerless gloves for Marlowe!

For those who are not familiar with my Sally Fingerless Glove pattern, here’s a picture:

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Little Muse

Little Muse Marlowe has all the ladies in her family knitting for her.

The cute crocheted hat was made by her paternal grandmother, the sweater was knitted by her maternal grandmother and her mom made the mini Sally Gloves. Sweeeeeet!

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Man… I want to knit something for Marlowe too… She’s truly a little muse!

Hmmm… I should design some kid stuff, shouldn’t I ? Fun!

Thank you so much Melanie and Marlowe… you really made my day…

Pictures courtesy of Alexis Achten from Jasmine Photography.

Thanks for reading and until the next entry!


Cascade Venezia

January 14, 2010

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The brand Cascade has a very good selections of yarns. One of their populair ones is Cascade 220, a very affordable and sturdy yarn for a good price. At the yarnstore, it is one of those yarns that we sell a lot of.

One of my favorite yarns from Cascade, however, is the one called “Venezia”.

Content: Merino and Silk
Yardage: 219
Retail Price: $14,00
Yarnweight: Medium
Ply: Multiple

Durability with dressy appearance

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Because of its multiple ply, this yarn is a very durable yarn. Meaning that it holds up well, doesn’t pill that much, and it pretty sturdy. With these traits, Venezia is certainly not a frail and sensitive yarn. She can very much hold her own!

Not only is Venezia very durable and sturdy, she is also very dressy. The merino content provides warmth and softness, the silk content assures a chique and classy appearance.

No wonder I choose this Cascade Venezia for two sweater projects in the past!

Regular readers of this blog must rememeber my very first “Tubey” and also my “Attitude”:

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After many times of wearing these sweaters, I am happy to report that they still look as if I had knitted them just yesterday. And that makes me very very happy.

A pleasure to knit with

Not only am I very taken with its content and durability, I am also taken with the way this yarn feels while working with it: simply heavenly!

I can only say good things about this yarn and highly recommend it for many projects from hats, to sweaters to fingerless gloves.

Pattern suggestions for this yarn

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I have found this yarn to be excellent for my very own Adrienne Gloves. Although I have no picture of this yarn knitted up as Adrienne’s, I can assure you it will not disappoint.

I have had a sample of this yarn knit up in Adriennes in our store and let me tell you, it sold like hot cakes!

Another pattern recommendation would be the Felicity Hat designed by Wanett Clyde.

I am also thinking that this yarn would be excellent for a lace pattern. Try just any lace pattern that calls for a medium weight yarn and I am convinced it will turn out just beautiful.

So, next time you are in your yarnstore and they carry the brand Cascade, be sure to ask for Cascade Venezia. It is my all time favorite yarn, and I recommnend it highly to knitters!

Interested in more information about my Tubey Sweater and Attitude Sweater? Click here and read all about it!

Thanks for reading and until the next entry.


Everytime we say goodbye…

January 10, 2010

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I left Amsterdam last Thursday and was lucky to be able to fly out considering the heavy snowfall which has been roaming over Northern Europe.

Amsterdam is so beautiful by itself, but with some snow, it looks so romantic!

I was sad to leave but at the same time very excited to see my husband in Portland again.

This thing is so bittersweet…everytime I have to say goodbye to my loved ones in Amsterdam I really die a little inside.

However, when I feel the embrace of the love of my life in the States, I am surrounded by a million little particles of blessings. And that makes it all worth it.

Gearing up to focus

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Halloween, Thanksgiving and the Holidays have come to an end and it is time for me to seriously focus on future designs.

I am currently dreaming of all kinds of accessory collections and just to ponder and dream away is such a joy to me. Possibilties and ideas are endless and I just love to chase after them as if they were a thousand colorful butterflies up in the air, swirling and dancing, ready to be caught at any given moment.

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To enhance my dreaming I have acquired beautiful buttons at “De Knopenwinkel” in downtown Amsterdam. Thea de Boer who owns that amazing button store has a wonderful selection! I cannot wait to visit her again.

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I also have to focus on new topics to blog about at Getting Purly With It.

It has been awhile since I last posted a tutorial and it has certainly been awhile since I last posted a free pattern.

Also, in blogposts to come, I would like to talk more about supplies and tools. For instance needles. Which one to use? Addi Turbos, or bamboo needles. Or maybe plastic?

And I also would like to talk about yarn brands that are out there. What brand do I like best and why? What brand is affordable and still delivers high quality material?

I have so much more topics to talk about! If you have a burning question about a certain knitting topic that you would love to see addressed, please leave me a comment, okay? I really would love to hear from you.

I’ve got to get busy with so much more things involving Getting Purly With It! So I better get on it.

Thank you for reading and until the next entry!

Okay… one more button picture… I just love buttons!

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Distance does for Love…

January 6, 2010

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In 2001 I met my future husband during a trip to the magical island of Bali. Him being from New York City and me being from Amsterdam didn’t seem to stop our love.

In our first year of being a long distance couple, he sent me a chinese proverb, beautifully framed, saying:

” Distance does for love what the wind does for a flame.

It extinguishes the weak and feeds the strong.”

Then after 4 years of living in two different countries, we finally got married and I left for the United States of America.

Saying goodbye to friends… and reuniting!

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Sailina and me december 2009

When I left Amsterdam, I said goodbye to three of my dearest friends. I did so with pain in my heart. For the first couple of  years of being away from them, I was not able to think about them without crying a little bit.

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Me, Cartoony and Wally in 2001

What fun and loving memories I have with my girls… Many nights of partying, many days of sharing good good times, and many moments of love we shared.

We helped each other carry on when things got tough, we would hold each other’s hand when things got scary.

And then in 2005, they let me go and respected my wish of being with the love of my life.

Back then my future husband sent me that chinese proverb. And now this same chinese proverb applies to me and my girls…

As for knitting

Happy New Year

I haven’t been knitting at all for the past week! Instead I have been scouting the cute little stores in downtown Amsterdam for inspiring materials.

One of the stores where I spent many hours and dropped many euros as well, is the button store owned by the fabulous Thea de Boer:

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I just went crazy in that store. I couldn’t contain myself. And I loved every minute of it!

You really have to check out her website, and of course visit her when you are in Amsterdam.

Thea’s button collection is simply FABULOUS!

That’s it for today… Thanks for reading and until the next entry.