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Accessories, Hand dyed fiber, Hand spun yarns, Spinning, Uncategorized

Handspun mitts

I found the perfect mitt pattern to go with this beautiful handspun.  The handspun was created from a beautiful braid of Yarn Hollow fiber in colorway “Squiddles”. It is a 3 ply and about 137 yards.

The mitts are a pattern from Purl Soho’s blog Purl Bee. They are the Super Soft Merino Hand Warmers.

The pattern calls for about 88 yards of Purl Soho’s Super Soft Merino yarn which is a chunky weight yarn. However, I had no problems substituting my own handspun.

This is a great pattern and the mitts turned out very well! This will definitely be my go to pattern for mitts!

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Accessories, Style, Yarn

It’s electric… boogie woogie woogie

I have these really amazingly fun and bright neon yarns in my stash currently and was trying to come up with the most awesome way to use them.

I decided I would showcase this neon yellow yarn as a crocheted blanket infinity scarf. This sucker will end up pretty huge if I do manage to incorporate all 3 skeins into it. Seeing how 1 skein crocheted up though, I think I will be ok. 1 skein gave me about 5 or so inches in width… So using 3, my guess will be that it would end up at around 15 inches. I think that would be nice for what I’m trying to achieve.

This neon yellow yarn is by Deborah Norville and is her Everyday Soft Worsted anti-pilling yarn in the Fluorescent Yellow colorway.

These pics are of this same yarn but in different lighting.

The top pic was in majority artificial lighting (however, it the more accurate depiction of the color between the two), while the bottom was with natural lighting and shading in the car on a dreary day (strange how it made it look more fluorescent green?).

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The next up neon is mostly likely going to be a super bright fuschia!

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Public Opinion, Random-ness

The (over) use of #Hashtags…and your thoughts

Featured Image Credit: YouTube

“What in the world is a hashtag and who cares?” was my first thought when Twitter blew up. Not being on Twitter and not having owned an Instagram account yet, I just didn’t get what all the buzz about hashtags was (or Twitter & Instagram for that matter) and it wasn’t until I joined Instagram that I became interested in using hashtags quite frankly for business purposes. I will have to admit – I used to incorporate hashtags into my Instagram posts all the time … until someone made me watch the SNL skit done by JT and Jimmy Fallon….

Once I began dyeing yarn and fiber as my business, I would hashtag the crap out of some of my earlier posts, but ever since watching that video, I’m lucky I use them at all these days. And when I do, there’s usually a purpose to it. For example, I feel hashtags are great for when I want to keep track of certain photos on Instagram. I love cowls and scarfs so I’ll use #cowlstyle to keep inventory of pics in which I am wearing cowls. And, I will say that I love it when my customers receive their orders and will give me credit by popping in #iknitiatives at the end of their message. :)

But, I still can’t help but feel a little silly because I automatically think of the original SNL skit. Yes, original… because unbeknownst to me, there is a SNL #Hashtags2 skit that was done in early 2014. I feel like it is a bit overkill and as if it’s like “ok, we get the point” but I managed to get a slight smile on my face with this version.

I feel like if you operate mainly as a business on social media like myself on Instagram, that it can also come across as a bit spammy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for self-promotion especially if you joined one of the social media outlets as your business, but I know it can be a turn off for some people.

So I ask all of you- do you feel the same or do you feel differently regarding the use (or overuse depending on your view of them) with hashtags? Also, what do you feel is the advantage of using them? Has it helped or hurt you?

I’ll let you decide… which version do you prefer?

SNL #Hashtags

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Business Life, Goals

New Year, Same me… goals for iKNITiatives in 2015

As each prior year ends and a fresh year begins, I can’t help but feel a little sad. If you are anything like myself, you reflect back on all of the specific memories of that entire year and you hope that as time passes, each day/week/month/year get better. Overall, 2014 was not only a great year for me but also a great year for my family and for the growth of my *small* business.

A little background behind my small business: iKNITiatives. While I consider myself a solopreneur / craftpreneur, I am more specifically a yarnpreneur. Most of my business involves the selling of my hand-dyed yarns and fibers. While I don’t consider myself a knitwear designer, I even have a few knit patterns available for sale. But my passion is creating – knitting, crocheting, making, dyeing, spinning…. From my blog, you can also tell that I dabble in other crafty outlets as well – homemade apothecary, cooking, baking, fabric crafting, etc.

I operate iKNITiatives with the goal of one day owning my own brick & mortar retail space that will become the vessel to offering my hand-dyed yarns & fibers on more of a physical platform in addition to being online. Right now, iKNITiatives only supplements my family’s current income but I hope to change through the means of owning my own storefront.

Currently, I have a well paying job as a manager in the healthcare industry and while I’m ever so grateful for it, I know that it is not something that I am truly meant to keep doing throughout my life. I feel my purpose in life has been to make things and be crafty. Often, I hear from my family,”Why don’t you just pick one thing and focus on that and be really good at that?” And you know what my response is? No. I don’t want to! What’s the fun in that? My crafting is as random as my thoughts and conversations at times but one thing has remained consistent and that one thing involves and revolves around yarn.

So with that in mind, here are my top 5 business goals for 2015:

1. Continue to grow iKNITiatives to be a well known online (for now) curator of hand-dyed yarns & fibers by providing monthly yarn shop updates.

2. Build relevancy within iKNITiatives – i.e. do more shows in 2015, introduce either more yarn & fiber bases or more repeatable colors, get my yarns/fibers sold in my LYS (this one is currently in the works).

3. Be realistic with my time. Don’t bite off more than I can chew.

4. Commit to blogging more – 2-3 times per week.

5. Start either a podcast or vidcast.

Whatever your crafty or non-crafty endeavors be for 2015, I wish you all the best and a great year ahead!

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Random Acts of Craftiness, Recipe

Christmas Craft: Salt Dough Ornaments

I’ve seen plenty of salt dough ornament pins lately on Pinterest but it was my sister who finally pushed me to succumb to making them with her.

I have to say, I’m so glad we did.

She just recently had a baby and had the idea to make hand and foot prints of the baby in the salt dough ornament.

Now I have to admit, some of them didn’t turn out quite right. For example, I had the *bright* idea to outline the imprint in a black sharpie and fill in the imprint with acrylic paint. Man, that one ended up looking like an animal print. LOL… I’m still laughing about that one.

But, I quickly redeemed myself when I very carefully just painted the inside of the imprint.

Here is the basic recipe for Salt Dough Ornaments:

— 1 c. flour
— 1/2 c. salt
— 1/2 c. water

Mix all ingredients together. Roll out dough to a 1/4 ” and use whichever cutout you’d like (cookie cutter, biscuit cutter, etc.). You can also use a decorative stamp to put mini initials on the ornament. To be able to hang the ornament, take a straw and gently cut out a small hole. Stay at least 1/8″ away from the edge of the ornament.

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Bake in the oven for about 200 degrees for roughly 2-3 hours. *I don’t recommend trying to speed up the process by jacking up the heat because it can cause the ornament to become very brown on the bottom. Trust me, I know because I’m pretty impatient :) … You can also let them air dry for a few days but I found that baking them makes them stronger.

Once they are done baking / drying, you can embellish as you like. I used mostly embossing glitter and acrylic paint. If you want to write on the ornament, I recommend using a very fine tip sharpie marker. Once your embellishments have dried, take your choice of hanging material (thread, fishing line, yarn, rafia, ribbon, jute, etc. etc.) and poke through the hole on the ornament leaving a big enough space for the ornament to hang nicely.

And WA-LA!

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Swatching, Yarn

Whatcha’ Swatchin’?

I went to one of my most favorite LYS Natural Stitches a little over a week ago and decided to get measured for one of the Custom Fit patterns by Amy Herzog. So to start the process, I had my measurements taken and picked out my yarn. Picking out yarn… fun! Getting measurements taken… not so fun! LOL. I ended up picking up 2 skeins of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Woobu (because it is a rather large skein at 620 yds.) which is a blend of Merino /Bamboo in a lovely mustard color and 5 balls of Berroco Folio in a cranberry color.

I decided to start swatching with the Folio since I know myself and I know it will take me longer to swatch because this is DK weight yarn.

Not sure which Custom Fit sweater this will eventually become as that will be decided once I finish this swatch and go back to Natural Stitches…

What’s everyone else swatchin’ at the moment?

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