February KnittingU: increases

KnittingU: February 2014
Why Do I Need This Class?
I can hear you now. I already know how to increase so why do I need this class? Do this little, um, swatch (I know how much we all love to do swatches!) for me:

Cast on 10 stitches (sts).
Knit one row.
K 2 sts, increase (inc), K 6 sts, inc, K 2 sts.

Did you have two stitches left at the end to knit? What type of increase did you use? This will jump start our discussion pertaining to what do you already know?

We will cover these basic increase methods:
KF&B
loop increase
lifted increase
And, we’ll make sure you:
know how to do them
when to do them
how to know if you did them already
learn to use them to count rows
and what to do if that darn YO is followed by a purl.
But then, we have some other things to learn:
how to use increases for decorative and functional (YO backwards and forwards + pair decreases; Crow’s foot increase; beginning of the row methods: cable cast on, knitted on cast on)
new-to-me increase method 1: how to add stitches at the end of the row and NOT leave a gap
new-to-me increase method 2: how to do a lifted “nearly invisible” increase.
These techniques belong in your arsenal of knitting tricks. Don’t miss out!

Join us to learn more:

Saturday, February 1, 10-12
Tuesday, February 4, 2-4
Thursday, February 6, 6-8 (we might have Evan at this class!)

Cost: $20. Call260-351-2260 to register.

Here’s the SNOW SCOOP:
Saturday at 8:00 – call or text my cell phone at 260-499-0406 and I will let you know if class is cancelled or rescheduled.
Tuesday and Thursday – if Prairie Heights is cancelled, we are cancelled. If the afternoon weather is questionable, same as above.

If we have to cancel a class for some reason, I will not reschedule it for the next week as I had been doing. I will simply tack it on to the end of the schedule. You are always welcome to attend a different class if necessary.

NOTE: Due to the amount of accumulated snow and lack of parking, we will NOT be holding Superbowl Sunday knit in.

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Journalism? Letter writing? What is a blog?

Is keeping a blog like journaling? Writing, pictures,
sharing …. Taking time to put thoughts to the page. I’d rather
pick up the needles and help someone or answer a question.
Self-directed posting is not my strength, obviously. So, I need
some help to keep this blog going. Tell me what you would like to
see. It’s so much easier to pop into Facebook and post a short
status. The blog is more extensive than that. I have to think and plan
the posts, not just a thought off the top of my head. I’ve never
been a good journaller or letter writer. My thoughts meander and skip. Here’s an example, an open letter to my knitting friends:

So what’s been happening in my world? Last year was full of huge changes in my family
starting with November of 2012 when Trent’s twins were born.
Followed by Haley graduating from High School in May. Tara
graduating from Glen Oaks. Haley having her little boy in
September, and then Trent leaving for basic training for the
Indiana National Guard. Helping with the grandchildren has taken
priority over a lot of things right now.  Here’s the newest little one, and he hangs out at the store with me an awful lot:

Evan being his cute self
Evan being his cute self

Speaking of the store, I’m the sole
worker now with Tom helping as much as he possibly can. And
thankfully on Fridays some of the lunch bunch knitters step in and
help as well. I love the community of knitters that I’ve met over
the years and continue to meet. I’ve been running Knitting Today
for 21 years this year, since 2002 in the current location, and
it’s time for some refreshing ideas and concepts. I’ve been taking
some classes at glen oaks and I’m so inspired to try new things.
I’ve been working on a new website and the roadblocks have been
immense, mainly time-related though. I have to learn and install
three software programs, as well as design the look, feel and function of
this new site. Time! It all takes time! In order to give me time,
we reset the store hours so knitting today is open by appointment
Monday to Wednesday, 12-6 thursday (which will probably change),
and Friday and Saturday 10-4. I’m calling them “studio hours”.

The question is frequently asked, what classes are you running? Well the winter
favorite two socks toe up starts next week. And the monthly classes
I’ve been running, KnittingU, have been informative and interesting
pushing the techniques learned from just following a pattern to
being a “thinking knitter” and learn the why behind what you are
doing. I love to learn like this. Others just want to be blind
followers and aren’t too interested in this series. That would be an interesting poll: are you a thinking
knitter or blind follower?

I’m working on a other Mystery Yarn Club
too. And, several machine knitting KAL projects are in the works
(that’s why it’s important I get the new website operating). It’s a
toss-up between project classes and technique classes and a
combination of both. As far as stock and products in the store,
I’ve had some database errors and needed to move my inventory
systems for about a half a year. Finally over Christmas we did an
actual inventory count and I’m still, 16 days later, getting things
in the new system and trying to change procedures I’ve used since
2004 to integrate. Ugh! The store is torn apart right now, not
pleasing to see or find things, but we’ll get there. The up side is
we’ll be able to track special orders and be more timely in that
process. And, since I’ve been stocking the same yarns for several
years, I’m on the hunt for new and exciting yarns, most of which
will make their debut In the mystery yarn club. The downside for
the casual shopper is they will have to wait for their order to
arrive instead of purchasing from open stock. The industry has
changed so much in the past five years that I’m refocusing on kits
and projects vs. open stock. And, while I’ve always said yes, I’m
going to have to start suggesting some alternatives to some
products just to keep the books in the black. Tom and I started
with the Dave Ramsey program a while back and that has meant a lot
of changes, but for the better. If you want to stock a store, take
my advice from lessons learned and don’t use credit (cards or
loans)!

Up next? after attending Trent’s graduation from Basic and seeing him off to Advanced, helping Haley on Tues and Thurs evenings so she can attend EMT classes, and helping Tara plan and execute her knitting classes for Joann’s in Fort Wayne, we’re planning the Superbowl Sunday Special Sale! Mark your
calendars for February 2 and make your way to our doors from 2-5.
Bring a snack, your knitting, and be ready for a sale like no other
we have ever had!

Shadow Knitting
Shadow Knitting

So, you see what has happened here? I meander and flow and circle back, like music ebbs and flows. Journalling, letter writing, blogging . . . . let me leave you with a question until next time, respond in the comments:

  • thinking knitter?
  • blind
    follower?

 

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KnittingU Series: class 1 – Edges Examined: selvedges, shaping and applied

The first class in the KnittingU six-month series concludes
tonight, 6-8. It is called “Edges Examined: selvedge, shaped and
applied”. The class consists of technique, discussion and
application. Feedback from the two previous sessions has been
positive and I am glad to be able to provide knitters with an
arsenal of techniques so they are happier with their knitting and
making informed choices. If you want to get in on the last minute
fun, just call 260-351-2260 and bring light-colored, smooth,
worsted weight yarn and appropriate size needles along with $20. The next session
will be the first week of December and the focus is on color.

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Rush, rush, rush

And as the day begins, I pause to look at the to-do list (I’m giving Nozbe a try) and determine what is the most important thing to get done. After an appointment this morning, I have to make sure I have a box ready for when the UPS man arrives, then a few boxes for customers for the USPS man. Then, I expect to be focused on helping the people who walk in the door. In the meantime, there are a myriad of other tasks related to running a small business and a yarn store, in particular. Things like, um, clean the bathroom seem to get pushed to the bottom of the list as does long term planning and, something essential to my well-being, knitting. That’s horrible, isn’t it! The very reason I started this business gets pushed to the end of the list when in reality, it should be the first thing I do every day to center myself and accomplish the jobs that inspire others and me to keep going. Do you do that too? What do you push to the end and then never seem to finish?

I’m going to take the next five days and join in an exercise with Jeff Goins to see if I can refocus on what is truly important and not just urgent. Would you like to join me? Here’s the link to the the slow down challenge.. Oh, and look at the creativity and clutter post while you are there.

Ready?

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Stellanti Siting, hopscotch software, good food and friends

Just slowly wandering the show floor trying not to be overwhelmed and excited and look what I found!

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The beautiful Laura Nelkin modeled Stellanti for me. Only a few more weeks until the fibrofibers yarn arrives and I’m getting everything in place for the KAL. Laura talked with me about construction, beads, and placement. I also bought some bracelet kits, a nice lace and bead combo which will make a great class. It sure was nice seeing these projects in person! Can’t wait to get going on them.

Another stop on day 2 was the Visionary Authors booth where I was able to talk Knit Swirl! and see them all in person once again. We talked about methods for shortening sleeves in particular. I feel so much more confident about helping customers choose yarn, style and fit now. The combinations of colors and fibers used is fantastic!

And, I also spent time learning about the new Hopscotch website CMS from Benjamin Levisay and Brent. I have a couple new ventures in mind and this might be the tool to help.

New yarn ideas? Well, I have those too. I have new choices in superwash, new hand-dyers, and some restocks of existing yarns in new colors. There is so much to do but all so exciting!

At the end of the day, Haley and I had some great Italian food (yesterday was Greek) and visited with Cari Clement and Susan Levine. Their experience and information about yarns, retail, wholesale and publishing is invaluable and I’m so thankful to know them and spend time picking their brains.

Reflecting back over the course of the day I had the opportunity to meet and talk with many people who will be instrumental in my business plans the next several years (ravelry, craftsy, spinrite for the USM, various yarn companies, to name a few). I can’t wait for this next season! Hard to believe it’s been twenty years and I’m still excited!

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color, inspiration, overload

wishes to wings.jpg
day #1 at tnna: arrive in Columbus, secure hotel room for two nights, register at market – check

mystery yarn club #4 yarn: found, ordered, paid for, delivery date confirmed – check

Lorna’s Laces booth: drool, pet, overload – check

Superwash Search: verify washability, good colors, pattern support, reputable company, supply availability, shipping time, arrange for colorcards – check

North Market for lunch – check

feet rest – check

shopping for more inspiration: new sock yarns, yarn with sequins – check

list for tomorrow: visit more New booths, make plans for late fall arrivals, don’t go on overload – pending

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How the Internet changed my knitting life

So, it’s been twenty years since Tom and I started Knitting Today. I know the Internet has been the single most contributing factor in changing my knitting life and back in 1993, was the start of my being able to work from home and raise my family. But let’s break it down, what one thing, page, event, project, tool, yarn, or ??? has had the most impact on your knitting life and how?

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