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I Promised You I Wouldn’t….

I promised you I wouldn’t make any more granny square afghans, but I just couldn’t help myself. I’m like a freakin’ addict when it comes to these. To begin with, I love playing with the colors. And the best part about that is almost like a sense of pointillism. If you put your face right inside one of these blankets, the colors are off and strange. Lay it on the sofa and step back and it all melds perfectly together. There is also still a bounty of yarn left to go through. TONS of yarn still left to work up and I can’t think of any better way than to play with these granny squares. Ok, I HAVE thought about making Phillip and myself a couple of ponchos to wear once the weather gets super chilly. I’m determined to use the heat as little as possible this year to save money. So, we’ll see how our ponchos go. Will do my best to make them look manly as possible, but I promise nothing 🙂

I really had fun with this one, mixing pinks and sharp reds alongside deep grey and green, a splash of lime and a dollop of stark white for impact. When I glare at it sideways I see red hots and pistachios. Big, bold clumps of coffee and milk beside cherries and almonds. Ok, this blanket made me hungry 🙂

I need to sell it today, so I thought, “What could be better than cuddling under a new blanket, than with a good book?” So, if you grab the blanket, I’ll toss in an autographed copy of one of my books. Which book, you ask? It will be a surprise! So, click here to get the blanket and start cuddling!

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I Had No Idea….

I had no idea that my shop wasn’t accepting credit cards. I thought they had in the past, but I do recall maybe a year or two ago Bigcartel sending me an email saying that I should switch to their new “streamline” payment system. I thought, “Pfff. I like the way the shop is set up now. Why mess with something that isn’t broke?”

It wasn’t until about two weeks ago that I learned that my shop wasn’t accepting credit cards. Only paypal. So, if you didn’t have a paypal account, you couldn’t buy anything from me. How horrible is that? Boom! I got right on, went through the application process, went through the steps and was finally able to accept credit cards. That was when Stripe (the cc processor) sent me a cute little email saying that I wouldn’t receive the funds for at least 7 days, and that new customers are under a probationary period for several months. After that, they do an evaluation and if all is well, I would only have to wait two days. RRRRRRGGGGG. Ok, waiting a week to be paid is one helluva long time in my little world. With paypal, my funds are instant, and I can ship right away. You see, Stripe doesn’t even have a shipping option. That is whole DIFFERENT application process, a whole different company to apply to and try and manage. So, I use the USPS website, right? WRONG! My teddy bears are light enough that they can ship first class. That’s about $3 in shipping. The USPS doesn’t offer that on their website. No, you have to ship Priority…at a whopping $7 in shipping.

You know, I like my little one stop shopping and shipping with paypal. I know I might be cutting half my potential customer base by dropping the credit card processor, but with the fee they charge and the inconvenience that comes along with it, I don’t think its worth it. Not right now. Maybe eventually when I’m making a tons of money, but not right now when a week without pay can break you. So, once the orders that have been processed FINALLY come through, I’m going to cancel that account. So, if you see an option to pay with a credit card on my shop, please don’t use it. If you don’t have paypal and you see something you’d like, just email me and I can send you an invoice, you can pay with whatever you want, credit card, debit card, chicken bones, I don’t care, and paypal will process it for me and make it available to me right away. Which kinda sucked about yesterday. Went through this promo blitz to sell 10 copies of my pattern book to bring in some quick money, right? Well, won’t see that for a week.

So, here I am, back again to push 10 copies, except to urge you to pay through paypal in my shop, OR you can buy the pattern book through craftsy for instant download. You can also leave a review there, too.

In other news, I’m working on something for Halloween. I think I’ll only have time to make one or two, but now that I’ve done the head, I’m not sure what to do with the body! I’m thinking black and white candy stripe, very Tim Burton. Or black and purple? You tell me! Let me know what you think. And PLEASE grab a copy of my pattern book. Here’s a little video excerpt from the 35 minute video tutorial that comes with the patterns.

Whew!

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Goal Day

One of the simplest, most admirable of traits is to wake up and make your bed. You’ve heard that famous speech, haven’t you? Why is that important? It sets a small accomplishment that affords your mind a bit of inspiration to accomplish other goals throughout the day.

Today? I’m on a quest to sell 10 copies of my pattern book, my last manly granny afghan, and these two adorable bears made in reminiscence of the season. My pattern book includes a 35 minute video tutorial that shows you how to stuff, sew and embroider the mouth eyes and nose of your own teddy bear, or other stuffed animal. My last manly granny square is 5 feet by 5 feet. HUGE! And oozing with comfort. So, that is my goal today. I have a financial goal I’d like to reach by selling at least the 10 copies of my pattern book, but we always hope to go even further. And that really is why goals are so gracious. They inspire us to go even further.

Ok! I’m off to go make my bed! Go check out the shop for all these goodies! Click here!

UPDATE! 1:30PM Eight more to go! 

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A Bear’s Fall

Now, you have to think that if bears hibernate in winter, then they must have all kinds of energy in the fall. You know, foraging and stuffing themselves all the way up to the last minute, right? I mean, they must be running around all over the place, feeding and frolicking before their long bed time. We have tons of bears here in Central Florida. Many people think of gators when they think of this neck of the woods, which is true, we have plenty of those, too. But, we have an abundance of bears. And right now? They’re swimming around in backyard pools, digging their way through trash cans, taking cat naps in trees, waking only if they roll over the wrong way and PLOP! to the ground, their paws all stained with berry juice.

So, in honor of autumn, I finally got a chance to play with this gold color from Lionbrand’s Wool Ease line. I think it makes up the perfect sort of bear for fall. Now, one skein made nearly two bears, which is why the second fella has a nifty little white muzzle and paws. So, there are only two for now. I might make more. Might work on some in “pumpkin” and “avocado” to keep the colors of autumn close to my fingertips.

I’d like to sell them today. It has been a while since I sold anything, really. And you know how I get. “ITS THE END OF THE WORLD!!!! MY CAREER IS FINISHED!!!” Well, of course, not. That’s just me being a nervous knit wit (hey!) and panicking. But, I would like to sell the little guys. Ya know, just so I don’t flip out and worry. So, if you’d like one of them, click here. Don’t forget, there are only two.

I still have the last manly granny blanket in the shop, too. It was a fun couple of weeks playing around with those, but they weren’t quite the hit. So, I’m back to my teddy bears. They are classic, right? My signature piece of knitting. I’m the teddy bear guy. I’m good with that. 🙂

 

 

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Kung Fu Knitter!

Ok, take a good look at that picture. Can you see the wince in my face? Trying to hold it back, but just couldn’t. Every movement of every muscle has been painful. Why? Well, wanting to get ourselves back in shape, Phillip and I have been learning Kung Fu. I’m putting on more weight (125, bitches! woot!), and wanting my lean muscular form back. But, have you ever tried Kung Fu? Oh, mercy. Don’t dismiss a pose or movement with names as strangely soft and sincere as “Chicken Step” or “Horse Stance.” They are evil.  Evil, I tell you. And why? Because you see the movement and position demonstrated and you arrogantly “pfff” and say, “I can do that.” …..Then you try. AND BAM! Every muscle in your body burns for days. Both of us have been moving around the house with hobbling gate, moaning as we stroll. Now, it doesn’t mean we’re beating each other up, we’re still in basic movements sessions. We’re still in battle with our own worn out, over 45, allegedly washed up bodies.

But, we love it.

We truly do. We picked Kung Fu because when you look at the basic Shaolin movements, they look like dance. I mean, one limp wrist and a puckered lip and Kung Fu becomes voguing. Kung Fu really is a beautiful art.

So, there we were, taking some pictures to promote the blankets in my shop that I need to sell and woah….woah is me. Sitting on the couch, “owww. OWW!” Crossing my arms, “OUCH! Screw that damned Chicken Step.” Meanwhile, Phillip is across the room with the camera telling me, “We’ll just have to take the picture from this angle because I can’t move my legs any lower….damned Horse Stance….”

When about 500 pictures were taken, all with a wince from the subject, and a groan from the photographer, we settled on this one. The one that shows the least amount of pain. 🙂 I find it hilarious and fun. I mean, come on. A year ago I was nearly dead. Here I am in pain because I’m working my little body back to health. Those are good pains. The kind you can laugh at. “Hey, Phillip! Double dog dare you that you can’t lift that coffee cup…..while in Horse Stance.”

“Oh, yeah? Well, I double dog dare YOU not to do Chicken Stance and look like a girl!”

“GAME ON!”

So, we’re looking for a much needed recovery day (slash) movie day tomorrow to rest our muscles. We’ll be watching the latest American Horror Story, Blood Drive, and Z Nation all while doing a comparison of who REALLY has the most authentic movie theater butter popcorn (Orville or Pop Secret?)

Grab a manly granny in the shop. I need to go soak my little chicken legs. 🙂

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“If I Have to Sing ‘Like a Virgin’ ONE MORE TIME…..”

Slipping through my fingers are the best of colors, swirling and hugging the crochet hook before letting go to fall into place.  Each color I pass demanding, begging, wishing to be clung to next, pulled from a from a haunted skein that wishes to one day be pleased, to be adored. “Gimme a chance,” they scream. “I want to be alive, so alive.”

Each of these skeins a toss off, each sent to an acrylic grave, but when given a moment to shine became something tangible and delightful. Never judge a skein by their color. What may be muted and rough grey could be something wildly tame and usable against something stark and bright. What you get isn’t always what you see with a skein. Sometimes they need companionship. Even skeins get lonely….

Red Heart gets a red stop light sometimes when it comes to yarn. And I’ve never understood why. I blame snobs. But, I’ve enjoyed taking those shunned acrylics into my hands. I’ve worked them up as they should be, not alone, but side by side with contradictions.

I have had the best time with these granny square blankets. Another bank canvas for which to splash creativity. I’ve been asked where my teddy bears are, what happened to my stuffed animals? Why aren’t I knitting them? Honestly? I needed a break. I needed to find a new outlet, a new place for my color hungry hands to work with. I’ll go back to the stuffed animals….maybe. I don’t know. I’m going hunting. Hunting for new expressions. And maybe one day I won’t touch yarn at all, but just write about the fulfillment I had with that once and former lover and move on….

I don’t know. But, for now, we enjoy the creation in our hands as it wields and warns of things forgotten, and things to come.

I need to do something new. Creatively, I need to go hunting. So, with these captured acrylics, I feel I’m at least one step towards exploration. A new way of trapping yarn. And a new way of writing about it.

I really do love my weird, deco, not quite manly granny squares. A new canvas to play with. If you’d like one, click here. 

Let’s both see what happens….As for now, I feel trapped by a bear….To quote Madonna, “If I have to sing ‘Like a Virgin’ ONE MORE TIME I think I’ll scream….”

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Yes, Knitting CAN Kill You

We hear numerous studies and reports about the benefits of knitting, but the same comforts we find in this craft can also be silent killers, if you’re not careful.

Despite being a craft that lends itself quickly to meditation and relaxation, contemplative thought and prayer, those very moments can also cause some serious health risks. The drawback behind working as a full time knitter, or using the fiber arts as a more than frequent hobby is the risk, the deep and sometimes not too obvious risk of inadvertently living a sedentary lifestyle. Even monks only sit in meditative chant for so long, before rising to spend equal amounts of their time in physical work. Ora et labora…

If you’re prone to sitting, knitting (or crocheting) and binging your favorite new show, then be aware that doing this over a long period time can cause definitive health problems that are not unlike that of anyone who sits for long periods of time in other fields: truck drivers, data entry specialists, researchers.

Obesity and thrombosis are perhaps the two most common health risks of being a full time fiber artist. Physical inactivity, a lack of frequent cardiovascular movement, and a quick bowl of nibbles at your side can lead to packing on pounds faster than you can knit and purl. Long periods of sitting can cause high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and heart disease. You may think you’re doing just fine cuddled up under your work, listening to the soul as the click-clacks of your needles sound out a pace, but the body is being ignored.

As far as thrombosis is concerned, sometimes all it takes is a long transatlantic flight for the legs to begin swelling and for coagulation of the blood in the legs to begin. Some of these clots can break off, causing an embolism, which can lead to a heart attack, stroke, or even death.

Now, I’m not trying to scare the skein out of someone’s hands, but rather to remind that taking care of the body is important if we crafters are going to sit and knit for hours on end.

If you binge watch while knitting, be sure to get up after every episode and move around for at least 20 minutes. Really get the blood flowing. Walk around, do jumping jacks, call a friend and pace, walk around the block, take the dog out, do the dishes, clean something, or (my personal favorite) DANCE! In other words move, move, move those legs.

If you’re inclined, as I am, to have something to nibble on while you work, make sure it is an obvious nutritional choice. No one needs to tell you what is good for your diet, and what isn’t. Fresh fruit and carrot sticks over potato chips and cookies….obviously.

Yes, knitting is a cornerstone for many for a contemplative and reflective mind, but never forget that those sparks of deep calm that come from the quiet movement of our hooks and needles mean nothing if the body slowly falls into disrepair. A healthy life comes not only from tending to the soul, but to the body, as well.

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