Curtain Call

Well, the show went on.  I wouldn’t call it a smashing success, but it was a great learning experience and I’ve already got a lot of great ideas for next time.

I wanted the space to feel more like a sitting room than a fair booth, so I used lots of funky furniture from home and tried to display things on a variety of levels.  It may not have been the most polished looking booth, but it definitely felt like me.  Everything I had for sale was a true original so I didn’t want a cookie-cutter looking booth.  Turns out, most people weren’t looking for originals.  Also, I tend to design things that I would want to wear or carry.  And the crowd was decidedly older than me.  There were a lot of oohs and ahs, but not as many purchases. Here’s what actually sold:

One green wallet, 2 pairs of boots, and the little birdie sweater.

What I learned:

1. Narrow your selection.  People want to walk past and see everything you have in one look.  Chose 4 or 5 items and make multiples of them.

2. Do not sell knits when there is a  heat advisory.  Even though we were inside, people just can’t think about buying anything knit when it’s 100 degrees outside.  I’m planning to be part of an indie craft emporium at the end of October that should be a lot better suited to my stuff.

One of the best parts of the day was getting to network with the other vendors.  It was great to hear their advice and get their perspective.  I got a lot of positive feedback and good tips.  My favorite part was the trading that happens at the end of the day.  Other vendors come over and ask if you like any of their stuff so they can trade for your items.  Here’s  a trade show math lesson for you:

One pink silk bandana scarf equals =

Two pairs of painted metal earings.

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A Weekender Bag plus a Holy Cowl equals =

A beautiful ceramic bowl, tray, and set of coasters -all handmade by another local artist.  Pretty good trade if you ask me.  All in all, I’m glad I did it and I’m proud of my work.  Not a bad way to spend your Saturday.

Just showin’ off

So, the big show is tomorrow –  and unlike most of my big projects in college, I’m not even planning an all nighter!   I’m certain I’ve completed more projects in the last month than in my entire knitting career.  Not sure if it will be sad to see these things go, but I took plenty of photos to remember them by just in case. Here’s what you haven’t seen yet. . .

A few more knits for the little ones.  Basic hats and some not so basic sweaters.

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A silvery clutch and a split personality pouch.  Your basic gray and cream with some ribbon yo-yos to dress it up a little.  And speaking of dressing up,  here’s how my foray into felting turned out.

I couldn’t help myself.  After you make that many little yellow balls they all start to look like Pac-Man.   If nothing else, it makes me smile.

I promise a post on these soon, they’re knit right into the chain.  Surprisingly easy and fun to make.  If I end up selling them both I’m going to have to make one for me later.

Well that’s it – see you at the show!

Showcase Showdown

Well, the show is less than a week away.  So, here’s a sneak peek of what I’ve been up to for the last month.  A lot of these are new patterns and I need to get them written out so I can share them, but as you can imagine, I’ve been a little preoccupied lately.

Who’s got the button?  A new felted purse design with more reclaimed thrift store handles.  Just big enough for the necessities, it will keep you from developing what I call the ‘grandma purse’ syndrome.

The mustard seed.  A simple seed stitch cowl with a match ribbon cinch.  So easy and so elegant.  My friends will probably all get one for Christmas.

The micro scarf 2.0.  I wear mine all the time so I made a few with stripes out of wool.  A must have for your next Dr. Seuss book club meeting.

Silk Bandana Scarves.  I knit the second one with size 13 needles for a tighter gauge and smaller size.  I love how the variety of the recycled silk makes each one look different.

The garter snake purse.  Another new design for me.  It’s super simple garter stitch construction and easy to line.  Just add bamboo handles and it’s ready to hit the town.

The beach bum bag.  This is sort of a variation of the weekender in recycled cotton with bamboo handles.  Very eco chic.

Green for your green.  Another adaptation of an earlier pattern.  This is the racing stripe wallet all dressed up with a wood button and metal snaps.

The fall shrug.  It’s got to be my roots at Oklahoma State, but I can’t resist a good orange every once in a while.  And, I think everyone looks good in a shrug.

And finally, one of my favorite designs. A bit painstaking to make, but I’m pretty proud of them.  The cowboy boot-ies.  A pattern inspired by the fact that everyone I know is having a baby.  And, every baby needs something great to wear with a jean skirt.  It’s easy to get carried away making these.  I’ll have about 10 pairs done by the show including a red pair and white ones with fringe.

More pictures to come soon.  5 days and counting!

What’s in a name?

In filling out my application for the Alliday show, the hardest question was line one:

Business Name: ___________________________

I was stumped.  It felt so permanent.   I’m the kind of person that will never have a tattoo because I change my mind as often as my shoes.  Identity is one of the hardest things there is in creating a business.  So, after many days of pondering, second guessing, and doodling, I finally came up with a name.  But first, here are a few of the rejects…..

Okie Modern.  I liked it, but although I grew up hearing ‘okie’ as a term of endearment, I know it’s historical context has been otherwise.  I was also afraid of seeming too western.

Olive Greene.  Mostly because it’s my favorite color.  I liked this name too, but a good friend advised me to pick something that you could also have the domain name for and this one was already taken.

String Chicken.  Cute, but maybe a little too cute.  I needed something I could grow with.

In the end I settled on

The logo still needs some work, but I think it’s a name I can grow into.  And, as my sister and knitting coach reminded me “you’ve always been a purler”.  She taught herself to knit by reading the book I can’t believe I’m knitting.  So, when I’d mastered the knitting stitch and she taught me to purl,  I looked at her incredulously and exclaimed “I can’t believe I’m purling!”

The name has passed the two week test and I still like it.  Who knows, if I get a snazzy logo I may just get it tattooed on my shoulder.  (that was a joke, mom.)

Warning: shameless self promotion

I have exciting news.  I signed up to have a booth at the upcoming AlliDay hand-made arts show in Tulsa.  I’ve been knitting up a storm the past few weeks trying to make enough stuff to fill up an entire booth. I’ll get some pictures posted soon.  I’m making a little bit of everything; baby stuff, scarves, purses, necklaces, and accessories.  It will be a great chance to display my stuff and see if people like it.  Well, the folks at the AlliDay show were nice enough to feature me on their blog…. check my interview here at the  Alliday Show Blog

I’m excited, I’m nervous, I’m pretty sure I’ll have carpal tunnel by the end of the month, but I think it will be worth it.  I’ve always been a procrastinator, so this is making me really get my act together.  My knitting act, that is.  You don’t even want to see the pile of dishes in my sink or the nuclear explosion of yarn in the dining room.  But, that’s ok; I never kept a very good house in the first place.

Happy Birthday Braeden!

My adorable nephew Braeden celebrated his first birthday last month.  And we all know it’s just not a party without a party hat.  This little jester hat is a variation of a pattern from the ‘Baby Beanies’ book. However, Braeden lives in Florida where a wool hat doesn’t make much sense. So, this hat was knit with Lily Sugar and Cream cotton.

One look at those big blue eyes and you can see why I chose this color palette.  I also like that the navy blue and the stripes make it a little preppy.  At less than a skein each this was an inexpensive hat to knit,  but it’s cute enough that Braeden can go ahead and let all of his friends think he paid $30 for it at Baby Gap.

We should all have such handsome men in our lives to knit for.  Here’s to another great year, Braeden.

How to knit a timeless sweater.

“Art produces ugly things which frequently become more beautiful with time. Fashion, on the other hand, produces beautiful things which always become ugly with time.”  – Jean Cocteau

In going through the stack of 60s and 70s Workbasket magazines over the weekend, I found that this is not universally true.  Granted, I’m a sucker for vintage clothing and decor, but  a classic knit sweater can become an heirloom.  Simple good taste never goes out of style.  Considering the time and cost of hand knitting something like a sweater, it’s a good idea to consider whether it’s something you can enjoy for years to come.  Here’s what I learned during my stroll down knitting memory lane.

1.  Stick with basic shapes.  A button up crew neck cardigan is timeless and very versatile.  Just make sure the proportions are right. Cropped styles and long sweaters go in and out of style, but a cardigan that hits at the hip bone is flattering to almost everyone.

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2.  Add a belt.  It gives you two different sweaters – a long open jacket or a fitted cardigan.  Whether it’s around the house or out and about, you’ll reach for a belted sweater jacket over and over again.

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3.  When in doubt, go with neutrals and solid colors.  You can always add colorful accessories, but you can’t wait around for that teal, pink and gold color scheme to come  back in style. 

And lastly,  leave the fur to the animals.  This sweater may be fun to wear with your go-go boots to parties, but if you’re going to spend months making it yourself, be sure the style has some sticking power.

Sustainable style means bucking the fads and going for timeless.  So cast on carefully and you can keep the ugly sweater skeletons out of your closet.

We’ve come a long way baby!

I spent the Memorial Day weekend with my grandmother, a fellow knitter who shared with me her sisters’ collection of vintage ‘Workbook’ magazines.  The Workbook was a home arts magazine published from 1935-1996 that featured a variety of home crafts from knitting to tatting, sewing, cooking and other domestic arts.  I found a treasure trove of timelessly chic patterns and comically dated looks.  I submit for your viewing pleasure….the latter.

Who hasn’t walked into their bathroom and thought “what this toilet really needs is a crocheted seat cozy”.  And, while you’re at it, why not a toilet tank doily?  It’s easy to see why this trend did not stick around.  The bathroom is no place for knits.

They guys didn’t fare much better than the toilets.  We all know fashion is cyclical, but I just don’t think the magenta colorblock turtleneck is coming back any time soon.  Honestly, the brown vest could look downright current with a plaid shirt untucked over jeans;  But it just can’t be taken seriously with those plaid polyester pants and enormous ‘cordless’ mic.

Think of the children!!!  I would like to extend my sympathies to every child whose doting grandmother knit them these outfits and whose mother made them wear it for school pictures.  I know I made some (ok, a lot) of questionable fashion choices as a child, but I am so thankful I was never forced to wear a tabard – hand knit or otherwise.

Lastly, the original snuggie!  And, much classier if you ask me.  Although, I think I could cut some arm holes in a sleeping bag and achieve the same result.  Can’t you just picture her hopping up to grab the telephone?  She’ll have a real advantage come potato sack racing season.

I got a lot of good laughs out of these magazines, but I most enjoyed thumbing through the same pages that my great aunts, grandmother and great grandmother did looking for inspiration.