Monthly Archives: October 2012

Charging for handiwork – How do you set the price?

Do you sell your knits? How do you determine how much to charge for your handywork?  I am a big sissy when it comes to charging people. Family just pays for the yarn, not my time. Friends are on the honor system sort of. I usually just say “whatever” and hope it covers my supplies.

 

I know I should charge accordingly, but it isn’t like there is a set price around for hand knit items. They can vary so much by difficulty, yarn used, how fast you work – there are a million variables. Recently I made a pair of baby blankets for a woman at work. I always work on my needlework projects at lunch and she fell in love a shell afghan I was working on for my daughter-in-law’s friend. Her daughter was expecting twins (and has two healthy baby boys now) and she wanted me to make them for her grandbabies. The yarn she wanted was on sale for approximately $15, and it took me about a week to complete between work and life. She was more than generous, giving me $80 for the pair. This was much more than I would have asked, but I was very appreciative of her acceptance of the amount of work and skill it takes to make a hand knit (or in this case crocheted) item.

C

I looked on the internet to see if there were any guidelines. As you can imagine, there are as many guidelines as to how much to charge as there are people to  create hand made items.

A blog that I subscribe to, Remily Knits, mentioned charging .25 per yard ad the cost of the yarn. Another site recommended charging 3 to 4 times the amount of the cost of the yarn. What if you buy the yarn on sale? What if you had it in your stash and forgot what you paid? Thinking about basic socks, I like to use nice yarn. I’d say the average cost is around $25.00 for a pair. I can’t think about telling someone I need $75.00 to knit them some socks. Of course that would probably be a payment of less than $1 an hour if they were anything more than plain cuffed socks.

It is a tough call. I knit because I like to keep myself busy with something that is productive. It makes me happy to give something I’ve made to family and friends. I will never make a living out of knitting, but knitting brings pleasure to my living. In the end that is all that matters.

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Culture Stock in Aurora, IL & WIP

Culture Stock - Aurora, IL

This has been a great week. Both knitting and crocheting progress made and a found a new group of fiber friends to hang out with. My cousin sent me an invitation on FaceBook to join her and a group of friends at a Culture Stock in Aurora. Today was their first meeting.

Culture Stock is a “Book Store · Performing Arts Education · Lounge” located in Aurora, IL at 43 E. Galena Blvd. For those of you that grew up in and around Aurora, it is in the building that used to house Fannie May candies and is right next door to the fabulously wonderful Riverfront Playhouse.


Comfy and cozy, Culture Stock is a bright open space. The Fox River flows past the same windows that frame the renowned Paramount Theater Marquee. Sitting areas invite conversation and relaxation. While a great mix of books call to all bibliophiles.
I joined my cousin and nine others on the maiden voyage of fiber art enthusiasts. Knitting, crocheting and counted cross stitch were represented. Needles clicked while we chatted about projects, kids, techniques and pets. Projects were shared, tips passed along and websites recommended.

I hope everyone had as great a time as I did. I can’t wait to go again next week. If you live in the area, check it out.
Now for the work in progress updates. Only nine more snowflakes to completion on the afghan project. I couldn’t stand by my resolution to complete that afghan before starting another project. Knitting needles called me and I answered.

The gal I work with showed me a scarf she was working on and I immediately fell in love with the pattern. It is a fairly easy project. All knit with short rows creating a rippled edge scarf that will be perfect for a Christmas gift. I’m using Knit Picks Stroll Glimmer in pomegranate. It has a fun silver fiber woven throughout which will make it just right for Christmas. Check out the pattern on my Ravelry site – I’m writeknit.

I suspect my WIP will show more progress on the scarf than the afghan this week. I’ll keep you posted. (pics from Culture Stock’s FB page & the Paramount’s website. And my cell phone :))

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WIP Update and Looking At 2013 Projects

Here is it Monday and I didn’t post my progress last week on all the long list of to-dos I have and haven’t done.

(pic from Let’sTalkMagazine.com)

No excuses, no whining, I haven’t worked on my fall mystery shawl, which most in the group have finished. I have to concentrate to work on it and can’t with a house guest. So it can wait for another day and time. It isn’t that important for me to finish it in any specific timeline because it is just for me, not a gift.

I delivered the baby blanket to my new little neighbor’s dad. More specifically his two older sisters that were out playing while dad watched them with one eye while he tidied up his yard. The girls are adorable. Lilly is about 2 and her sister (ok, can’t remember her name, was only told it once) is about 4. The four-year-old told me she would open the gift for her new brother.

Dad told her she could hold it but not open it. It was making that poor kid nuts. She shook it, “fixed” the curly ribbon bow until one of the pieces came out and then had to surrender the box to dad. Ah, I miss having little kids around the house and am so happy they moved next door 🙂

Anyway, mission accomplished. My dance card is wide open and I am excited to start a new project. My list of projects for this year still includes that pair of socks. I made a bet with my friend that I would knit at least 3 pr of socks this year before buying more sock yarn. She said I lost because I actually did buy more sock yarn. But it was on sale… OK, I’ll accept the defeat, but it is a matter of principal that I am going to make the third pair anyway. Hope it is before the end of the year. That will remain to be seen.

I also have the alpaca hat. Also for me. I am seeing a pattern. All projects for me seem to be preempted for more important (read make something for someone else) projects.

 

Progress has been made on the snowflake afghan for my cousin for Christmas. I only have 10 – yes you are reading this correctly! – squares left to make. They are all together in strips so I just have to sew the strips together, then the edging and I will be finished. This is going to be what I work on until I finish it. Then it is knitting until the end of the year. Sort of like eating my veggies before dessert. I like veggies, but would rather just eat dessert. Crocheting is OK, but knitting is so much more relaxing to me.

Because I pretty much have my list of projects completed or queued up, I am thinking about 2013 knitting projects. I am seriously going to start the Master Knitter Program again with the nice new yarn I bought. I’ll post about it once a week to keep me rolling.

My girlfriend’s birthday is the first week in March. I am going to make her a shawl, so have been sort of looking for a pattern that will be a nice fit for her. I am totally positive I have enough yarn in my stash to make several shawls, but am reserving the right to get something new if the spirit moves me. I absolutely will NOT use cotton for the one I made my other girlfriend for her birthday. I loved the pattern but was not crazy about the yarn.

My daughter-in-law’s sister-in-law is pregnant so another baby blanket will be in the works as soon as I hear if she is having a boy or a girl.Either way I am covered with my stash. I have some absolutely yummy yarn for a baby girl. It is mostly white, with small bits of yellow, pink and blue dotting the finished fabric when it is completed. For a boy, I have some wonderfully soft Brava worsted from Knit Picks in solid blue, white and yellow. I used these colors on the last afghan that I made for my little neighbor and they complimented each other perfectly.

That leaves the rest of my year totally open for any projects I feel like casting on.

Maybe I’ll even haul out the fabulous knitting machine that was my mom’s and learn how to make something on it. The instructions are daunting, but I think it will be really fun to use once I figure it out.

That is all I know for now. Keep Calm and Knit On.

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Knitting for Charity

Are you a member of The Knitting Guild Association (TKGA) ? I’ve been knitting for over forty years and just joined last year. I can see some of you rolling your eyes right now at the thought of joining a knitter’s group. I don’t actually go to meetings, but could join a guild in my area if I wanted to.

I joined the TKGA for the same reason you join any group or club. To hang out (mostly in cyberspace) with people who do the same things I do. Knit. Why does anyone knit?

If you are reading this, you are probably a knitter. If you aren’t, you may be picturing a little white haired grandma sitting in a rocking chair knitting up something that no one would wear that was born after 1942. Or maybe your info from knitting has come from television and movies where most of the characters are not really knitting. They just poke at the yarn and pretend. (Directors, take a note, you should use a stunt double that knows how to knit if the actor can’t). One of my favorite TV yarn experiences was on The Electric Company when my kids were little. There was a catchy little song about making a scarf with “yards and yards of yellow yarn”! That dumb song runs through me head every time I think about it. You can listen to it here: http://www.last.fm/music/The+Electric+Company/_/Yards+and+Yards+of+Yellow+Yarn

Skein of yellow yarn Stock Photo - 2020523

Knitting is so much more. Patterns have become works of art. Creating a lace scarf or shawl takes patience and skill. Sweaters, socks, scarves – if it is made from fiber, it can be knitted.

The thing I like best is the calming affect knitting has on me. The rhythm of knitting soothes my soul and helps me unwind after a workday. It stitches my life back together after heartaches and losses.

I like to knit for others. Mostly family and some charity knitting. This month’s copy of the TKGA newsletter had several cool ideas if you are between projects to make things for others.

The first was a project called Precious Pals. You buy a teddy bear or other stuffed animal and knit a cute sweater for them. The pattern uses a small amount of yard and can be a pull over or cardigan. Then you donate them to the Precious Pals project which provides “immediate comfort to children in crisis” and are distributed by law enforcement agencies and other first responders in the United States.

You can donate at a TKGA conference, or mail it to:
The Knitting Guild Association
1100-H Brandywine Blvd
Janesville, OH 43701-7303

http://www.tkga.com/

Another bit of charity work is perfect for this month. There are 5k races all over to raise money for charity. But how many times do you hear of a charity that raises money by the amount of time you spend knitting. Knit For The Cure is a fundraiser to support breast cancer research. It doesn’t matter what you knit, but you could knit chemo hats or something pink or whatever you are working on.

If you would like to participate, go to the website http://www.info-komen.org/ and click on “Give to a Team”. Then type in “Knit for The Cure” and decide how much you would like to donate. It can be as little or as much as you want. Then you pay yourself to knit, crochet, quilt or any other craft you enjoy by the hours that you work on your project. Maybe your friends would like to sponsor you to add to your donation.

Almost everyone knows someone that currently has or has had breast cancer.

There are many more charities that need knitted items. If you have the resources and time, knit a bit for charity. You don’t have to be a member of TKGA to find charities to knit for, but it helps 🙂

It only takes an hour or so to knit a chemo hat and maybe a weekend to knit a teddy bear sweater. Those hours could be spent doing just about anything, but making something for someone you don’t know and will never meet is not something everyone does. http://www.headhuggers.org/patterns/patterns.htm here are some patterns for various skill levels.

Whatever you donate may make someone young or old feel better or at least comforted at one of the worst moments of their life.

It is ok if you don’t really understand or care about knitting, be passionate for whatever you do that makes you happy. Do something that makes a difference in someone’s life even if you don’t know them now or will never know them. If knitting makes you happy, it is a win/win situation.

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What Color is Your Aura?

Do you believe in seeing auras? I would like to jump into mystical magical happenings, but a teeny part of me is too cynical to totally get on that bandwagon.


It is easy for me to question psychics’ credibility when so many have been proven wrong. Is it all smoke and mirrors for our entertainment? Possibly, and that is cool with me. The thing that crosses the line for me is when someone’s life is altered in a harmful way be it psychologically or physically or by some scammer taking money from an innocent believer.

Back to auras. My cousin used to say she could see colors around people’s heads. If it was black, they were bad, white they were good and the only other color she said she saw that I know of was bright goldish yellow emiting from a man during a sermon.

It seemed kind of odd at the time, and this woman turned out to be a bit of a truth “stretcher” so who knows what she was making up or really seeing.

I checked out this website for a bit of aura history: http://www.thiaoouba.com/see_aura_color.htm or http://www.worldtrans.org/spir/aura.html which has different ideas than the first site. One of them states when someone is about to die, their aura turns white, the other says it turns blue. My guess is 1o different websites will give you as many different answers or explainations.

For sake of argument and information, I’ll go with the first website.  According to the author, anyone can tap into the auras of others. You just have to put them in front of a white background (other colors will make the aura a different color than it really is) then stare at the center of their forehead – looking for the inner eye of the soul – and bingo, you can begin to see the color around them. It is like knowing what they are thinking before they say it. Hum. I think I sounded less unusual before I knew more about it.

Then it is recommended to close your eyes to create a “snapshot” of the color. Double hum.

Ok, lets’s go on to the meaning of the colors, also gleaned from this website.
Purple is supposed to mean the subject is having spiritual thoughts. It will appear as clouds or flames surrounding the person. This is not a strong aura (at this point, I am not sure what makes an aura strong or weak).
Blue auras indicate relaxed, balanced energy. Survivors are emitting blue. Sounds very nice until the blue becomes electric blue. This can override all other colors and indicates the person is telepathic. Uh oh, the naysayer in me is jumping up and down now.
Turquoise auras surround people that can do many things simultaneously and are good organizers. Think moms and administrative assistants. Maybe turquoise should also indicate tired, because most multitasking people are doing that because they have way too do and it is necessary.
Green is restful and healing. Think green thumb.
Yellow auras are around joyful, contented people. Beware if the aura is more than a few inches around them, because giant yellow auras are reserved for Buddha and Jesus. (Maybe aforementioned truth challenged cousin read this or did she really see something around the guy in church??)
Orange means power or control.
Red – think Madonna. Material girl.
Pink is rare, so as a newby to auras, I can only say it is considered perfect balance, so you probably won’t see it anyway.
Now we get to talk about the “dirty colors” these are muddier instead of a nice glow.
Brown is lack of spirituality. Gray is depressed or the dark side of a personality. Sulfur is anger (I’d be mad too if all the pretty colors were around other people and I got stinky old sulfur.
White, contrary to said cousin’s proclamation of “good person” means something much more sinister. It is said to signify serious disease or someone on drugs.

Now I know way more than I ever wanted to know about auras. All because it was the first thing that came to mind for this week’s fresh pressed challenge of writing about color.

I could have gone to the colors in my home – no boring beige for me. No “neutral tones”. All of my rooms vibrate with life and color. I do admit to color mistakes – the lilac dining room and crayon basic green for our bathroom were not my best choices. But paint is cheap and my hubby doesn’t mind painting over my mistakes so life is good.

If you believe in auras – good for you. If you don’t good for you too. If you are on the fence like me do some research of your own to see what you find out. Or not. Relax, be mostly blue with a bit of yellow around the edges. Add a bit of green if you like to garden. Whatever color you have surrounding you, be at peace.

(once again – tks Google images!)

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Baby Afghan #8 Complete

Last night I finish the last baby afghan of  the year. I am so excited to be done because I can start a new project. I have several in the wings, all of them knitting.

I logical, practical woman would finish the snowflake afghan before starting a new project. I only have 19 squares left to make. Maybe I should work on it tomorrow on break since I am leaving for a meeting and will miss lunch.

But the call of knitting needles instead of a crochet hook may be too much for me. I have the mystery shawl on the needles but cannot work on it when anyone is talking to me because the pattern is way too intricate.

So I think it will be the alpaca hat that I have been thinking about knitting since buying the yarn on Oregon on vacation this past spring.

Or maybe I need to start the pair of socks I’ve had on my to do list since January. So many projects so little time…

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The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Second Helping

Today is the day! I’m happy to tell you that The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Second Helping, which by the way, happens to contain my short story Perfect Pumpkin Pie is now available. Check it out, or better yet, purchase and download it instantly from any of the following locations!

The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Second Helping

The Untreed Reads Store: http://bit.ly/RwyLY8
Amazon (six countries): http://amzn.to/SPPASD
Barnes and Noble
Lightning Source (a distributor, primarily North America)
OmniLit.com
Scribd.com

While you are on Amazon, check out my author page. It isn’t very long, but you’ll find out a bit about me and if I can find a decent one, see a pic. Perhaps it will be of a younger, thinner me. Most certainly I’ll be able to find a great picture of my dog, and more than likely I will find one of the whole family. As a matter of fact, I am sure I’ll be able to find one of our extended family last summer when we all traveled to Maryland for my son’s wedding. The only ones missing are my daughter-in-law (she stayed home for a day of rest before the wedding) and our new baby cousin who was not born yet.

Soon I hope to add a children’s book to my list of credits. I don’t know if it is a good sign or a bad sign that the publisher that requested the manuscript still hasn’t said anything other than it would take approximately a month. Maybe the longer she has it the better it is? Or maybe it is sitting on someone’s desk? Who knows. But whatever the case may be, I am holding to the old antiage of no news is good news.

I have to thank Jay Hartman (no relation) of Untreed Reads for choosing to add my short story to add to this year’s Thanksgiving anthology. Take a few minutes to look at all of the books and short stories Untreed Reads Publishing has available. http://www.untreedreads.com

If you are an author, look at all of the calls for submission. There are a lot of opportunities in various genres. Something for everyone to read and write about.

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Now for Something Completely Different

And now for something completely different. The challenge of the week is fun. It makes me think and stretch my chops as a writer and blogger.  Check it out here and write along. http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/weekly-writing-challenge-and-now-for-something-completely-different/

I am one of the bloggers that has one foot in the technical, informational posts and one foot in the personal posts. I originally had one blog where I wrote about my fiber arts and my quest as a newbie writer. Then I worried that I was boring the handful of readers I’d collected and decided to split the blogs apart so said handful could decide which interested them, either or both and have the choice.
Both of them have posts that are technical, such as knitting techniques and writing/publishing links and references. And both of them have bits of my personal life woven in. I am always hesitant to post blogs that outline my day or those that give too much of me to the world.

I don’t really post opinions about things I feel strongly about because there are plenty of soap boxes out there with people shouting from them without me adding to the din.

Since this week’s challenge asks for something completely different, soap box it is.

 

Politics. Only second to religion in controversy. (One shaky foot lifting slowly, every so slowly up to the rough pine boards of the box)
I HATE POLITICS. Politicians are a rare breed. They bluster and bore, lie and promise. Who are the real people behind the red, white and blue masks? I don’t know and I don’t care.

One party is as bad as the other. Unless you live in Illinois. Then some of them have dropped to new lows by becoming felons. (Seriously, two of our last three governors are in federal prisons right now!)

I am tired of listening to one candidate trash the other and the second candidate trashing back during every commercial break. The papers are slanted. Television news shows are slanted and there are excuses abounding from both sides.

Some people live for politics. Good for you, grab your own soap box and megaphone and go to town. This is my soap box of political apathy, so listen or walk away. We live in a free country.

 

We are promised change, but the only changes I’ve seen are not good. Unemployment is still rampant. Don’t start shouting back at me that the numbers are down. Of course they are, people have been on it so long they have dropped off because they’ve used up all of their benefits. You say I don’t know what I am talking about? HA. We had a big RIF three years ago at work. Less than half of those workers have found jobs and those that have not are no longer eligible for unemployment.

There there is health care. Don’t get me started (pulling the second foot onto soapbox because now I am getting into this) because I personally know someone was critically ill for over two years after being laid off work because his department was closed. No insurance, 72 days in one hospital, also in 2 other hospitals, literally was given less than 30% chance of making it and didn’t qualify for any government health assistance. Now said government wants to require him to purchase health insurance or face a fine if the new laws got through. He can’t afford his RX, make enough money to live on his own yet and would have starved to death with out help from his family. How are people like him supposed to pay for government mandated insurance???? As a politician. I am sure they have a list of pat answers ready to spout.

Then there is voting. Maybe I can make a difference in a local election. But I seriously doubt my vote for president matters at all. Apathy abounds! But then again, look at the voting record of your state reps and congressmen. Most of them don’t show up to vote either.

Do you think I am anti-American? If so, you haven’t seen the flag waving behind my soap box. I love this country. I love the freedoms and opportunities the USA provides. It is the politics and lobbyists and special interest groups that I abhor.

 

If one politician ran without a huge war chest of money collected from groups and individuals that weren’t expecting something in return I just might put a sign in my front yard. But until then, I am sick and tired of being lied to. Don’t promise me anything you can’t deliver. And quite talking about how much you have done to make life better when it is all smoke and mirrors.

But for now I am carefully stepping off of my soap box, folding up my unpopular opinions and picking up the story I am working on and my knitting needles.

Wow. Being different from my usual me is exhausting.

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Work in Progress_Baby Blanket Update

Happy Sunday night. Here’s my week end (not to be confused with weekend) update regarding my works in progress.

I’ve been focusing on the baby blanket for my new little neighbor. Absolutely no progress on any other project, so I won’t bore you with listing them.

I hoped to have this blanket done by this weekend but it just didn’t happen. We are moving the corporate offices at work and are so busy it is crazy. I’ve missed breaks and have been taking shorter lunches and/or have meetings that have preempted my anticipated progress.

It is over half done though. I’ve got to finish the wide band of blue I am working on, add one more set of yellow, white and yellow, then the final band of blue and border to complete the project. Hopefully that will be sometime this week.

I’ve also received two books to review, so I am splitting my time between reading and crocheting while I am at home. If I could figure out how to knit or crochet while reading, I’d be much more productive.

Off I go to finish the laundry and get ready for the work week.

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Family Night :)

I love Friday nights. The weekend hold unlimited promise of sleeping late, writing, knitting, reading…and laundry, vacuuming, dusting, grocery shopping. Ok, MOST of the weekend is fun 🙂

Our family has the best plan to start the weekend. Anyone that is available meets for dinner at a restaurant or someone’s home for dinner and catching up after the work week. Tonight our table and hearts were full. Fourteen and a highchair was the head count tonight. We chair hop to visit and everyone ooohs and ahhhs at the baby of the family. She is just eight months old and holds everyone’s heart in her chubby little hand.

The food really doesn’t matter, what matters is we share our time and our lives with each other face to face in addition to facebook, email and texts. I feel badly for people that don’t get along with their families. My hope for them is to find sharing and caring friends and treat them as family.

However big or small your family is, take time out of life to spend time with them. You will be much richer for having done so. Give family night a try; it is the best way to start a weekend!

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