BlogHer Con... and a Book?!?!?

I went to the second day of the BlogHer conference this weekend, at Navy Pier; and had a really great time. I met some new friends, went to some awesome talks, and got a whole bunch of free swag (score!) It was a lot of fun, but it left me super exhausted. I'd hoped to write up this post after I got home Saturday, and it's Monday now! LOL

I started with the breakfast talk on artificial intelligence, which was a bit less sci-fi than I was expecting. The speakers did touch on our universal fear of both technology and the unknown, but didn't really expand more on that. One commenter wondered what was to be done about how Google indexes pages, after her reproductive rights blog was indexed as porn, and blocked in India. Internet censorship is an issue that's very important to me, as I'd be very disappointed and angry if I couldn't voice what I think here.

Next, I went to a talk on turning your blog into a book; which was particularly interesting to me right now, as I'm putting together projects and writing one! I was hesitant to announce it here, for all the world to see, somehow it felt safer when I was just bouncing ideas off my family. Surprisingly, I think it might be easier than I was expecting, not in that it won't be a lot of work; but that I have more options in this the age of self-publishing. For those of you who might be curious, my book is about using materials on hand for home decoration. And before you go and lump me into the "thrift-craft won't look good in my home" category, I'm focusing on getting high-end results with quick & simple projects. Luxurious home items made from recycled and repurposed materials - is the feel I want to impart, although I'll admit trying to come up with titles has me stumped. They all sound so silly when I say them out loud. LOL

After lunch I caught the craft-blogging talk, although I'll confess it was mostly stuff I've read/heard/learned myself already. Don't under-price your work, it harms the market and you. Come up with a story to "hook" your buyer, so they can't not buy it. Experiment with photography to come up with your own style. I knew I should have stood up & asked where the panel thought craft-blogging might evolve into, or go next; but I had a headache starting, and so I left a few minutes early and missed meeting Amy Sedaris and Natalie Zee-Drieu. Oh well, I'm sure I'll go again next year, it was a lot of fun! (Oh, and I was a lazy bum-ass blogger and didn't take any pictures. Something about how many women were whipping out digital SLR's made me want to appreciate the conference in my own way, with my visual memory. Google for pics, there was lots of ladies taking tons of pictures!)

ETA: I just realized my header's been down for more than a week, the domain I had it sitting on expired. Ack!


And The Winner Is...

With so many great suggestions for what to knit next, it was really hard to pick a winner! A few highlights - Marsha recommended a Moebius scarf from a ball of Suri Dream, Obssesed with knittting suggested a Morning Surf scarf with KP Shimmer, and Bunnysquirrel thought my La Luz multi would make a beautiful My So Called Scarf - among bunches of other great suggestions! I'm so grateful to all who entered, you really made it tough to decide what to knit next, in a good way! LOL

I had to go with Michelle's combination of the Montego Bay scarf and my remaining SWTC Bamboo - it was just too perfect not to knit it next. I'm still dying to try Sea Silk, but I can't find it locally, and buying on the internet can be tough to choose colors, or pick the right one. Michelle, please let me know what color beads you'd like most (I have pink, dark lilac, robin's egg blue and white pearls available. The white pearls are slightly larger, though.) I'll also need your address, you can email me or leave another comment with your email address, so I can get in touch with you.

A great big thanks to everyone who entered, I really appreciate the time you took to stop by and leave a comment! I had lots of fun with this contest, so I may have to do another one soon! God knows I've been having a tough time deciding lots of things, lately!!!


Another few days...

Ok, so I decided to keep my contest open a couple more days. I'll close it Monday morning, just before I pick a winner. Actually, I may have to award more than one winner, there's been so many great suggestions! Thanks to everyone who's entered already, I really appreciate the help deciding what to knit next! And if you haven't yet, scroll down and enter! All it takes is a comment, and you could win a pair of my newest product - sterling silver Tree Branch earrings!


My Best Laid Plans... Reprioritized

I had this great plan today, to list a few tree branch earrings in my shop. I even have a post all written up, but alas - it's not going to happen today. I'm having a party for my Mom's birthday tomorrow night, and I'm all consumed with cleaning and errands today. Last year, I left it all til' the day of, and I didn't get to enjoy myself as much because I was too exhausted. Definitely don't want a repeat experience, so I'm trying to pull most of it together today.

Menu -
BBQ Chicken (Sweet Baby Ray's sauce, it's the best.... seriously.)
Baked potato wedges - courtesy of my sister, she saved my butt because I normally make fries, but my deep fryer needs replacing.
Fresh corn on the cob - ok, so I'm making the birthday girl bring it!

Chocolate almost-flourless cake - again my sister stepped up, I'm not really a cake baker (see next!)
White chocolate mousse, with raspberry Chambord sauce - my kind of dessert - no bake! LOL

I've posted the recipe for the mousse before, but I wasn't satisfied with my pictures before. Maybe I'll have to revisit it. I also keep thinking about turning the tree branch earring tutorial into a pretty-printable pdf, anybody interested? I have some experience with vectors, and I thought illustrations might be a bit clearer than my original flash-high-contrast pics. Let me know what you think! I appreciate it!

Thanks also to those who've entered my contest! I've gotten 18 suggestions from 14 people entered. There's still 2 more days to go, though I'm tempted to keep it open over the weekend. So many great suggestions and ideas! Keep them coming, because I may decide to award another winner, as well!

Oh, and another last minute thought - I'm going to BlogHer this year! And I get to see Natalie Zee Drieu! And Amy Sedaris! And there's a talk on artificial intelligence! Can you tell how fricken' excited I am?!?!?! LOL Anyway, I'm only doing the second day, but I'm really looking forward to it. Anybody else going to be at the craftblogging talk?


U Pick My Next Knit Contest!

Tree Branch Earrings - Robin's Egg BlueI still can't quite believe I finished knitting my Wisp in less than a week. I wasn't planning on having it done this fast, and so I hadn't given much thought to what I would knit next. This is where you come in! Help me decide what to knit next, and you could win a pair of Tree Branch earrings! Leave a comment with what you think I should knit next, (links are welcome, too!) and a short reason why (if you've got a minute more!) If I pick your suggestion you'll get to pick a pair of earrings from the stock I have on hand. For the most part, they're the same except for bead color/shape.

More about me - I'm a relatively intermediate knitter, I've tackled a cami, mini skirt, and a couple other projects where gauge was critical. I've done lace and circular knitting, although not on DPN's - I find them hard to hold and weird to work with. My favorite kind of project is both functional and beautiful, although I do enjoy more whimsical items every now and again. I'm not into socks (due to aforementioned dislike of DPNs,) or hats; but I do have a few Blythe dolls, and enjoy the tiny knitting.

I like almost anything ocean or sea related, and my favorite colors are aqua, lilac & other cool jewel tones. My stash isn't huge, but I do have some great stuff I'm looking to use, here's some highlights -
Right now I have pink, purple and robin's egg blue tree branch earrings, but I'll have more colors available later in the week. Feel free to ask any questions, I'll do my best to answer them for you! Contest ends next Friday, July 13th (also my Mom's birthday!) 3 entries per person, only please! I'd like to give everyone a fair shot. Thanks for playing!

ETA: I'm also open to new yarn purchases, so feel free to suggest them as well. Those were just a few I'm looking to use up. I love finding new favorites, too! Also, please check out my Flickr stream for pics of these yarns, and others in my stash. Thanks again!


Nearly FO - Wisp

When I first saw this month's Knitty, I was a little disappointed. None of the patterns really grabbed me. It's not as if I didn't like some of the cute summer tops, like Coachella and Zin Zin; but I didn't know if anything would be worth making for myself. When I went back for a second look though, Wisp really caught my attention. Plus, I just happened to have the perfect yarn for it - Douceur et Soie mohair/silk in soft seafoam - it was meant to be!

Seafoam Wisp - Detail
Detail shot of the backwards loop cast on.

Since it's a wrap I didn't bother swatching, just went up to size 10 needles and followed the pattern. I did write out the 15-row repeat, though - it was too much for my brain to remember the eyelet placing along the lace & garter sections. Eventually I got the hang of it, but I was glad to have it written out the first couple repeats.

Seafoam WispI used to be really intimidated of lace, thinking it was only done on teeny-tiny needles. Now I know better, and I'm really enjoying this project. It was pretty easy to memorize, after I got the hang of where the eyelets went; and it knit up very fast, too. I started last Thursday, and I'm nearly finished already! (I actually finished the knitting Wednesday night.) I even got the suggested shell buttons, in both sizes no less! LOL All I have left to do is sew the cast off edge. I like to match my cast on* & off edges, I find traditional bind-offs to be very noticable, and not very stretchy. I still use a regular bind of every now & again, but for anything lacey or stretchy I tend to use what works best for me.

It's funny when I think about how personal knitting really is. Even though it's a craft lots of others do, I think we all have to find our own personal style and decide what techniques we like or don't, for ourselves. I feel like I've really pushed my knitting to the next level this year, though. I've never finished a project so fast, or been so satisfied with how it finished. My Clapotis came close, but after wearing it out a few times I decided I really should have added a few more straight repeats, to make it just a bit longer. Oh well, I can always make another Clap! LOL I've tackled my first sweater, skirt, circular, and lace projects this year, and I've gained a ton of confidence in knitting from a pattern. Not all of those projects were sucessful, but I'm not nearly as intimidated by the patterns or techniques that seem complex to me anymore.

Seafoam Wisp

*Note - When I knit wraps, stoles or anything stretchy, I use a backwards loop cast on. It's tricky to knit evenly from, and I end up having to even things out a bit after the fact; but it's much stretchier than cable, knitted or long-tail cast on for me, and so I use what works.


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