Putting Twenty Ten to bed

A couple of weekends ago, I met my friend Anna at an old factory in Greenpoint to take some pictures of my next sweater design on the roof and in a photogenically run-down stairwell. I happened to have worn my Twenty Ten cardigan over there and she was kind enough to take a couple of photos when I realized I didn’t have any modeled shots here. I’m really happy with how it turned out, definitely worth frankensteining a bunch of different sizes in a different gauge to make something that fit well.

And here’s a sneak peak at the new one:

I’m sizing the pattern now. It’s giving me fits, but I will triumph. I should be able to get it to my lovely tech editor after the New Year’s weekend, lord willing and the creek don’t rise. (whether she ever talks to me again afterward is another story…)

The top of the world

Last Wednesday, I was in the car with my mom, heading from Webs to Vermont, where she was going to leave me to spend a couple of days with my brother and sister-in-law. We were taking the scenic route through the mountains, avoiding the tedium that is the Mass Pike, when we ascended to an honest-to-God winter wonderland. Every tree outlined in white, blue mountains stretching away into the distance, heavy, blue clouds overhead. Five minutes before and later, everything was brown and dull green with the occasional patch of thin, dirty snow. But right there, right at the top of the mountain, it was alien and magic and extraordinary.

Mystery project

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This is for an experiment I’m not quite sure about yet. It’s going to be either fantastic or hilariously awful, no possible middle ground. Will report back later this week.

edited to add: It’s not an undergarment. Geez.

Reverb10

I’ve had a tab on my browser open to Reverb10 for over a week now without making the time to post about it, but I have been mulling over some of the questions it’s posed. Described as “an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next,” the site posts a prompt and/or question every day in December. I’m not going to do all of them — some lead to answers that are more personal than I’m willing to post in public, some ideas need more time to crystallize, some are redundant (what have I made recently? welcome to my blog about things I make!) — but there are a lot of interesting, relevant ones I’ll be sprinkling throughout the rest of the month.

December 1 – One Word. Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

2010: Stage-setting. It’s been an interesting year. I cut some ties, strengthened others, clarified goals, made headway on some, let others fall to the wayside. But mostly I feel like I spent the year getting my ducks in a row, rather than actually doing whatever it is one wants to do with a row of ducks. Not in a bad way, just in a they’re-going-to-wander-off-again-if-we-don’t-get-the-chorus-line-started kind of way.

2011: Focus. I can balance the different endeavors I want to be working on; I just need to do it.

[photo from here]

Sunday afternoon

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A morning run in the rain.
Black bean soup with roasted kabocha squash in the fridge.
Knitting on the couch.
Cookie ingredients on hand.
A Visit From the Goon Squad ready to be picked up from the library.

Best. Kitchen. Ever.

I don’t often salivate over other people’s kitchens in magazines or online. The long-term renter in me often envies functional elements of them, sure — copious counter space, deep drawers, big sinks, natural light — but I never really look at kitchens and covet.

Until I saw this one on The Kitchn the other day.It’s warm and quirky and functional all at the same time. I love the chest of drawers for storage and what looks like a couch and that while there’s a fair bit of stuff in a rather small space, it doesn’t feel cluttered. If I or someone I loved lived in this house, I would never leave that kitchen. Since we don’t know one way or the other, I’m going to pretend there’s a wood stove in one corner and shelves full of cookbooks and board games behind us. And assume that there is a sink and a fridge somewhere handy.

On participating in a holiday market

As most of my readers know at this point, I have a little jewelry business. I comb through deadstock chains and vintage plastic whatnots and old chandelier pieces and put them together to make necklaces that I would be happy to wear if no one bought them. I opened an etsy shop about two and half years ago(!) and sold a couple of things. And by a couple of things, I mean that I had, like, eight sales in two and a half years, one of which was to a friend I asked to try it out when I started to make sure everything worked smoothly (I gave her the necklace and refunded her money), none of which have happened since last Christmas.

This was, as you can imagine, a little disheartening. Except I wasn’t doing much in the way of marketing (occasionally saying something on Twitter or here on the blog) and my photos and copy certainly weren’t all they could have been. And I had a feeling that because etsy is so huge at this point and there’s no easy way to separate the wheat from the chaff, that no one was seeing my stuff. It was less a matter of THE WORLD HATES WHAT YOU MAKE, YOU CHARLATAN FREAK as NO ONE KNOWS YOU EXIST. So when Adina from Sprout Wellness (fantastic all-natural skincare made in Brooklyn; I highly recommend) mentioned on Twitter that she was looking for vendors for a new holiday market, I signed up. I figured it would be a good way to get some actual feedback and see if this little endeavor has any legs or if I should just go back to making stuff for myself.

I was too distracted and busy all day to take pictures, but luckily, Adina had taken the one below on her phone. It’s a little hard to see, but the glass vases are filled with chestnuts and acorns and leafless branches. I hung some of the necklaces from the branches and laid some out on black felt. I was also selling some holiday cards and postcard packs from Alex Eben Meyer, illustrious illustrator and (one of) my (many) former roommate(s), though I hadn’t put them out yet when the photo was taken. Alex and his wife, Anna, who’s going to be photographing my new sweater design this weekend, brought me coffee and a Tina Fey-approved Peter Pan doughnut, talked me out of being nervous, were excited for me when I made my first sale, and just basically helped set me on my feet before they left to go get a Christmas tree and make chili to feed me later.I went in with really low expectations. Honestly, I just wanted to sell something, and if I sold something, I wanted to make back my table fee, which would have taken about three sales. But, you guys, I did really well. I sold about half of what I brought with me (between 15 and 20 sales; I need to check what’s left against the list I made beforehand) and got a lot of really nice comments. It helped that my materials costs are low enough that I could I price everything to be impulse friendly (most at $20, some at $15 or $25, the chandelier pieces up to $40 because the parts were more expensive). I’d say close to half of my sales were to people who said they were buying a gift for their sister, one was for a friend’s 30th birthday, and the rest either for themselves or they didn’t say. The bar that hosted said they want to have us back for another market in the spring and one around the holidays next year.

So, I have some thinking to do. I’d like to do more markets going forward; that’s a no-brainer. I think I could do well selling in boutiques, so I need to look into putting together a press kit and approaching shops. Even though etsy really doesn’t work for me, I think I should keep at least a few things in there so the business has some kind of online presence. (All of my listings expired the day before the market so there’s nothing in there at the moment.) It’s an interesting position to be in, for sure…

Sneak preview

This morning, I was working on the buttonbands for my next design and lining up a photographer to shoot it this weekend (since Carolyn has the nerve to live somewhere I don’t) and thinking about locations and how I want to style it and talking to my tech editor about when I’ll have the pattern for her to look at and emailing my graphic designer to give her a heads up about the schedule and checking Ravelry to see if the name I’m considering has been used much and tending to all of the other little things that go into releasing a sweater pattern into the wild and it occurred to me that people might want to get a glimpse of what’s coming.

It’s not a particularly illustrative glimpse, to be sure, but what fun would that be?

Full batch

I finished plying all of the wool/silk tweed over the weekend and skeined and washed it. I was a little surprised to have ended up with only 1057 yards. Somehow, it hadn’t occurred to me that a three-ply yarn would yield fewer yards than a two-ply. It’s still enough for a sweater for me though, which is all I care about. I haven’t swatched it, so don’t have a for-sure gauge yet, but I’m thinking Aidez might be a good fit.