Zibbet.com is awesome!

A new website is gaining popularity among handcrafters that sell their goods. Zibbet.com is an amazing new website with easy to use interfaces and shop designs. I set up my shop and listed six items in as little as an hour. The cost right now for a verified (professional) membership is only $7 a month, and there are only a little over 400 slots left at this price. Once they are gone, the cost goes up to $15 a month if you didn’t take advantage of the discount price. If you do take advantage of the $7 charge, you get it for life! They also have this really awesome referral program. If you refer only 7 people, you get your studio paid for life! They take $1 off for each referral you send them. Seven referrals, $7, free account! Is that cool or what?

If you choose to become a basic member, it’s free. But being the graphic junkie that I am, I wanted it all! They have an easy comparison list, also. I think my favorite part is the ability to find what you need quickly, the intuitive design and functionality, simple straightforward listings, and easily navigable site. I’m really liking Zibbet so far. You should check it out and sign up as soon as possible!

Happy Crafting!

Published in: on February 3, 2010 at 11:14 am  Leave a Comment  

Eating my words!

Okay, sometimes this happens and I have to suck it up and get on with life. I finally licked those &$#% nupps! Using Feegle’s tips on working the nupps extra loosely, and also pinching the bunch as I knit and yo each time, I was actually able to complete three full rows of nupps. Not only am I ecstatic, but I am also humbled. I did try out  my new technique, which I think would work if I gave it some more time. The technique basically involved using some type of a holder in the nupp stitches to make them easier to purl on the back side. I did this using twist ties, as it was all I had handy and can’t find my stitch markers. The twist ties were too rough on the edges. I thought that a toothpick might work in it too, but alas, I am also out of those at the time. I like the fat, puffy look of the VERY loose nupps, and I can actually see a lily of the valley beginning to grow among the stitches.

Published in: on January 18, 2010 at 10:58 am  Leave a Comment  

Those %@#$! Nupps!

A few days ago I told you all about the beauty of Estonian Lace. While I still believe in the beauty and old-world design of this fascinating style, I have one issue – NUPPS! Nupps are those fantastic little bobbles that highlight the openwork lace areas of lily of the valley, leaves, flowers, and much more. They are created by doing a 3, 5, or 7 stitch K1, YO, K1, YO, K1 (5 stitch nupp) in a single stitch. On the flip or purl side of the piece, you purl these little bad boys together. That’s easier said than done. For the most part, I have wasted a few yards of $18 a skein yarn and spent a few days stewing over the problem. I can complete the nupps on the front side, but purling them together is another issue altogether. When you get to the flip side to purl the nupps, there is a problem. If you don’t knit super loose it is hard to gather the five stitches together on the needle. Secondly, if you don’t gather all five but think you did, then get to the end and find a loop hanging out, all is lost and you must frog and start over! Hence, the frustration and yarn waste.

 So in my search for how to best complete these nupps, I found a few sites where the problem is more of an issue than I previously imagined. The Knitting Doctor has a lovely series on these little problem makers. The love/hate relationship is carried over in Fleegle’s Blog where she has a more positive attitude about the little beasts. I do notice that the yarn she is using is not a lace or sock weight though, probably making it a bit easier to knit on the reverse side. However, in earlier posts she has knit a beautiful shawl in lace or sock weight yarn so I can’t condemn her! Her technique is good, but I have tried it with the finer weights and it just doesn’t work as easily as she makes it look.

 However, there is some good news! I think I may have a solution and will be working on it throughout the day tomorrow to test it out. If all goes well, I will post a video and let you all in on my plan. Then maybe I can develop Fleegle’s positive spin on the nupps and irritate those that have not yet figured it out. I can only hope!

Published in: on January 18, 2010 at 12:06 am  Leave a Comment  

There is a really new up and coming website on the internet. They pop up all over the place, but this one stands up above the rest. With 799 members and counting, and only in business for 6 months, there is tons of potential for this site. The site is called “My Craft Corner” and is loaded with features for crafters. Artisans that craft to sell or just for fun are all invited. It is also not craft-specific. Wood-workers, painters, knitters, crocheters, jewelry-makers, and polymer clay artists are all invited. Photography and digital artists abound.

There is a little something here for everyone. The best part about it is that it is free. No strings attached, no fees for special features, nada to post pictures, videos, widgets, html, graphics, or anything else. You can join groups, promote your website, advertise your products or studio, enter contests, and much more. Yep, it sounds like an advertisement, but in this case, it’s all true! I have my own studio on there and have decorated my studio the way I want it to look. (A little problem with the header, but trying to figure that one out!) So if you are looking to brag or sell, here’s a place for you. Make friends and connect with fellow artisans.

This website also promotes through Facebook, Twitter, and many other social networking sites. Even Ravelry, which owns a small piece of my heart, would have a hard time competing with some of the free features My Craft Corner has to offer. Ravelry, for all its glorious knitting, crocheting, weaving, and spinning glory, still doesn’t offer the potential to reach customers that My Craft Corner does. I’ve been to a lot of craft places on the web, and this site has so much more to offer. Reggie, the owner, is awesome and friendly, even with her plateful of things to do. So if you join, don’t forget to tell them, “FantasyDreamKnits sent me!”

Published in: on January 16, 2010 at 7:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

Estonian Knitting

 I am completely in love with lace knitting, but I knew there had to be more than yarn overs (yo), knit two together (k2tog), pass slipped stitch over (psso), and slip, slip, knits (ssk). I had seen such wonderful designs created in lace, using little bumps and intricate designs of leaves and flowers. So far, though, I have been very disappointed by the availability of more intricate designs. So I set out on a mission and browsed through the shelves of endless books at Amazon.com.  

Yesterday I received my Amazon.com order containing, “Knitted Lace of Estonia” by Nancy Bush. I was not disappointed. Nancy Bush has outdone herself in more ways than one with this book. The shawls and scarves that are patterened are a dream for any person that truly adores lace knitting. However, my favorite aspect of the book was that not only are there patterns included, but she also gives more charts for pattern repeats not even featured in the previous patterns. With this bit of arsenal in my line up, there are many more possibilities for lace beyond scarves and shawls. For example, curtains completed in lace work will add a romantic air to a dining room, kitchen, bath or bedroom. The lace could also be incorporated into purses, dresses, tops and much more with just a little addition of fabric. Nancy Bush gives the creative knitter an avenue of expression beyond what most other knit books allow.

Buy here from Amazon.com

So what makes the Estonian knitting so special? In my opinion, it is the continuation of the history of a people determined to stay connected through an age-old tradition. Nancy Bush traveled to Estonia to visit and learn from the people who have practiced this craft generation through generation. She bought Estonian shawls and scarves to study their patterns and chart them out, making them available to us in the West. The Estonian methods are so beautiful and intricate that it sends imagination running.

The hardest part will be deciding what project to complete first. I believe that I will attempt one or two of the scarves in the fingering weight yarn just to get my feet wet. Maybe it’s my European background or love of the beauty in Prague, Russia, and other European nations, but I am so excited about beginning one of these projects. The romance is just lingering there, waiting to seduce my hands and fingers with delicious fingering and lace weight silk, wool, alpaca, and cashmere yarns. So I will be posting pictures and introducing you all to the beauty of lace knitting Estonian style in future posts.

Published in: on January 9, 2010 at 9:14 am  Leave a Comment  
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Shooting from the hip? Expect to be shot.

Lately I’ve heard the expression, “I just shoot from the hip.” Usually, this expression is conjoined with speaking or posting in a way that would be considered rude and hurtful to most people. Do most people even know what this means? I believe that when people use this particular idiom, they are just trying to cover their callous and demeaning practices and make themselves sound better than what their words imply.

Take, for example, the wonderful definition for this idiom found on wisegeek.com, “To shoot from the hip means to make a snap decision in a matter of seconds. There is no time for the conscious mind to weigh options or look deeply into the situation” (Tatum, Michael, 2003-2010). I agree with this statement in more ways than one.

Let’s take a look at the first part of the statement above. The conscious mind is our guide, the logical part of the brain that separates reality from fiction. If the reality of these “hip shooters” is that they may say whatever comes into their brain immediately, it is time to make a reality check.  If the conscious mind does not have time to react because the mouth overtakes it first, then there is a control problem. The tongue is a two-edged sword. Words can injure people in more ways than most realize. The ones that don’t realize it are the ones shooting from the hip. They don’t realize it because their mouth runs away with their brain and when it does finally catch up, the brain has to cover for it with false apologies and excuses.

Secondly, people who have this tendency also don’t realize that they are usually only seeing the surface of  a situation or statement. They have tunnel vision in that they can’t see or imagine another’s perspective. I’ve been on forum boards where these hip shooters can run others off that began with very good intentions. I believe the worst part about it is that they refuse to listen to the explanation that is given and continue on with their first assessment.

Another good definition is from the Urban Dictionary.

     an expression which suggests the described person
     a. speaks or behaves in a brusque, honest fashion
     b. does not censor their actions or words
     c. speaks tersely; communicates with the fewest number of words

Now I realize that there are people who are proud of their inability to discriminate between harshness and honesty and just be able to “tell it like it is.” But I’m going to try this out and tell everyone what I truly think of this phrase. You don’t make yourself look cool or sound better when you say this. All you’re really saying is that you don’t have the time, the energy, or the intelligence to figure out how to say something truthfully, but in a way that is not injurious to another person.

No, I don’t have a vendetta I’m trying to play out. Honestly, I hurt for the others that I have seen hurt by these people. Too humanitarian? Maybe. But I also think that in this age of electronic communication people should realize that you are not just typing words on a keyboard and talking to a computer. There is someone on the other end reading what you type. Real, breathing, feeling people who may have meant no harm or foul in what they wrote.

So the next time you’re tempted to use the “I just shoot from the hip” idiom, think about what you’re saying. Are you really saying, “I’m sorry, I was not conscious and can’t take the time to think deeply enough about this.”

Published in: on January 8, 2010 at 12:26 am  Leave a Comment  
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And the winner is…

It’s time to announce the winning piece for the October/November Creativity contest!

After much work and anticipation, our winner is….(DRUM ROLL)


FallforMeNecklace.gif picture by cutsiepoochieCongratulations to Melek and all of the other participants in this month’s contest. The participants that turned in pieces were: 

http://samsstuff.artfire.com/ Medusa & Alien Boy

http://spottedtummy.artfire.com/ Carmel Necklace

http://rmbdesigns.artfire.com/  Charming Fall Bracelet

All of the pieces were exceptional works of art, showcasing our guild’s talent and creativity! The upcoming theme for the December/January contest is Winter Wonderland. Happy crafting to all of you!

Published in: on December 7, 2009 at 9:53 am  Leave a Comment  

Time to Vote!

My guild on Artfire has been working hard on creating original pieces of artwork for your voting pleasure. The guidelines for this contest were to creat original pieces of artwork based on the theme “Fall”. These folks have been working hard to win the prestige of being award winning artists and proudly displaying a blinkie on their artfire studios! So take a look, choose your favorite, and vote. You can only vote one time, and you have to click on the radio button for the correct picture. The results and winner will be announced on December 7th, so check back! If the poll here doesn’t work, go here to vote.



Published in: on November 30, 2009 at 9:50 am  Leave a Comment  

Frogged WIP

Well, my sweater became a prince…errr…a frog prince this morning. Gauge was off by many many rows and stitches. I am still not sure how it got so out of whack between my swatch and the actual piece. But I have perseverance and I will not give up! I will kiss this frog and find my prince again – oh, wait, that may not work out as I had planned. Oh, well, off to knit again.

Published in: on November 24, 2009 at 8:01 am  Leave a Comment  

A sweater WIP

I have been going through the drawers of Creative Knitting Magazines that I have stored up, looking for something unique just for myself. I have only ever knit myself a pair of fingerless gloves for typing and knitting when it’s cold in the house. I finally found a sweater that I am currently working on. It is from the Jan 2006 issue of CK and it’s called “Hearts on a String”. I haven’t gotten very far yet, currently working on the back and wondering if my gauge is as correct as I thought it was. I am not a very tight knitter, so I have to use smaller needles to knit to gauge most of the time. It’s looking a bit long, and I still have a few more rows to go. I will probably have to frog it, but this is only the first time since checking gauge early on in the project. You can see and read more about the project by visiting me on ravelry.com. I’m listed there under cutsiepoochie.

I also “discovered” knitty.com this week. Wow, the patterns in there are a must on my ever-growing list! Well, that’s my passion for today. Night all.

Published in: on November 23, 2009 at 11:45 pm  Leave a Comment