Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I'll Be Teaching Next Week!

Starting next Tuesday, November 2, I will be teaching a Knitting 101 class! Tuesdays, November 2, 9, 16, and 30 from 7 - 8:30 pm at The Knitting Nest in Austin, TX. That is 6 hours of class time, in which students will learn how to cast on, knit, cast off, purl, knit in the round on circulars and double-pointed needles, increase, and decrease. A solid beginning course. The cost is $80 for six hours, plus materials. As I get the course fee, the store policy is that materials must be purchased at The Knitting Nest, so that classes may continue to be held there. Please come learn, if you are nearby; and support The Knitting Nest for giving me such a good venue at which to teach. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The next big thing...

I coulda been a contender!

I just wanted to say thank you to the many people who sent me cheering messages in the last few weeks. It was a huge help - and probably the very thing I needed. I was tempted to throw my hands up and quit the teaching thing, but I would have been quitting one of the things that I love the best. I really love teaching knitting, crochet, and jewelry making. I love seeing the spark of understanding and the frisson of inspiration spread to those I teach. I love to share what I do, and make more of us out there. I love passing the gifts of the incredible teachers I have had to the next person. Thank you for encouraging me. I want to say a special thank you to Stacy, the owner of The Knitting Nest (Austin, TX) for supporting my efforts and encouraging me to teach. I will, in fact, be teaching holiday ornament classes there starting in November - both knitted ones and crocheted ones!

I have been busy the whole time I was preparing for classes. The above mitts are for my brother Martin's birthday (I can say that - only my brother Nick actually reads my blog.)

I just finished some for Badger - leftover Malabrigo from his hat last year. Buttons to match.

Rose has some, also made from leftover Malabrigo, to match her hat from last year - which I will admit is probably still a bit big. I am starting on more presents for the holidays. I also have to make Rose a gnome costume for Halloween this week. I am making her a red, dotted skirt, a blue, flowered shirt, and a little white pinafore. This will all be combined with her gnome hat to make her the sweetest gnome baby. I might even embroider flowers on her pinafore - let's see how the week goes.

I recently got a care package from my dear friend Laura. It was chock full of lovely, but here is one thing that she sent - recycled yarn from Washington State! Yay! I even like the name - Smart Monkey. They are on Etsy if you want some yourself. There is a local group that does the same thing, and I will be checking them out soon.

Here is something else I have been up to - more jewelry making. This is a 1.5 inch wide wool felt rose, with glass beads, a silk and wool leaf with pearl cotton embroidery. I made it as a gift for my Chiropractor. She is a very nice woman, but she has really been an immeasurable help to me. I actually leave my house because of her. My back had gotten so bad, that I mostly did not leave the house. Now look at me - going out and teaching.

I made a wool felt, scrap silk, vintage button, and embroidered bracelet.

Lined in a scrap piece of linen.

And a pair of chandelier earring to wear when I feel special. These were actually class samples I made for the classes that I was to be teaching. I bought the supplies, and made them to my tastes. They are definitely mine. They are Bali silver findings and sterling silver wire, beads, and Swarovski crystal beads.

The crystal beads are my favorite color name ever - padparadscha. These are a sort of an orangish, brownish, reddish pink.

Wikipedia states that "Padparadscha is a pink-orange corundum, with a low to medium saturation and light tone, originally being mined in Sri Lanka, but also found in deposits in Vietnam and Africa; Padparadscha sapphires are very rare and highly valued. The name derives from the Sinhalese word for lotus blossom.[8] Along with rubies, they are the only type of corundum to be given their own name instead of being called a particular colored sapphire. Padparadscha used to be a subvariety of ruby.[9] "

So, I am on to the next big thing, which is good for me, and I hope for the good of all.

Friday, October 15, 2010

I wish I were joking.

No photos today. Just venting a little bit of frustration and disappointment.

I was going to be starting a new job teaching knitting, crochet, and maybe a bit of jewelry at the local Y. Well, apparently not. It might happen in January, or it might not. I was told that it was a bit "aggressive" of me to try to get classes going in the 3 week of time since I met with the organizer. Um - not my timeline. However, I was fully prepared - materials lists, class schedules. lesson plans, handout materials, cost spreadsheets, etc. I went to the Y the day before yesterday to put up a big demo/display for 5 hours, and had lots of interest. I felt like I was on display, but I always do. Now I am getting, in my opinion, weird half-hearted responses, and almost feel blamed for doing so much work to get things ready in time. I spent almost 40 hours so far preparing for class. Now, nothing.

Where do I go from here? I have no idea. I am going to try to get some teaching work at some of the local yarn stores, but I am afraid that they will have filled their schedules already. I cleared out 10 weeks of time for this - changed my schedule and everything. It couldn't come at a worse time for us. My husband was laid off almost 2 years ago, from a field he had been in for almost 16 years. He is still looking, but nothing so far. My family has been helping, immeasurably, but can no longer afford to.

We are going ahead with our printing press - but are concerned that we are going to be able to afford paper to print on. As you see, I've already put some of our handmade things up for sale on Etsy. (See Etsy widget to your right.) I don't need your pity or charity, but I could use some loving thought right now. And if you believe in some higher power, or the beneficence of the universe, please pray for us.

(Update - they asked me to send them a time sheet for all the time I spent preparing for 8 classes, and balked that it was nearly 40. They also questioned my experience and professionalism, and then said that I would not serve their needs. So I will not be working for them, obviously. I had hoped that we could come to some sort of understanding, but apparently they do not understand the time and cost of materials needed for 8 craft classes.)

Monday, October 11, 2010

I have been BUSY!

This little pile of fabric, felt and interfacing became...

I have been busy sewing my little fingers off. This weekend was that of the Best Little Yarn Crawl in Texas. I was busy making project needle cases that hold a few sets of double pointed needles, and up 3 circular needles. Just enough for a project, hence the name. They can hold dpns up to 7.5 inches long, or 8 inches, if you don't cover the tops with the flap. Any length circulars will fit.

Lovely, delicious scissor fabric...

Dress pattern fabric (tee, hee.)

Here is the lovely tree, flower, and fruit fabrics. From the scrap felt, I made...

Sock needles are tiny. They are thin and short. Perfect for losing and snapping in half. I thought that giving them a little padding and protection was a noble idea. Besides, I have lots of buttons and like to make things out of extra material.

Fern green and a deep, strawberry smoothie-colored pink. They will hold needles up to 5.5 inches long.

This is the inside of my project needle case. You can see needles already looking comfy inside. The button on the circular needle pocket keeps the circular needle cable from shifting when it is closed. It provides just enough pressure to keep things tidy.

Aren't they cute!

Here are the insides of the other project needle cases - red, strawberry, and fern green. I have four more of the brown ones to finish. There are also pink and yellow felt pockets.

Sales were a bit slow, but as it was day 3 of the yarn crawl, people were tired. I have been invited back to The Knitting Nest (Austin, TX) in November for their Ravelry party. November 13, some of the ladies from Ravelry will be in town for a visit. I will be there, cases (and beaded stitch markers) in hand.

I am also going to be teaching classes this Fall at the Southwest Family Y, in Oak Hill (Austin, TX.) Two levels each of knitting and crochet, and some quick, fun jewelry classes. If you are local - come sign up. We are going to be learning a lot!

Things are busy, but it looks like the next few months will be full of fun.