Saturday, January 16, 2016

Kitchener stitch and all about that

Today I understood the Kitchener stitch.  It is a way to join two knitted  pieces, also known as grafting.  Why is it important - because it will be smooth with no bulk.  It is a neat thing that good knitters do to give their work a professional touch.

It was mostly used in joining the toes of a sock but now it  is equally coveted in sweaters, cardigan or other knitted garments.

I had a pattern that is almost finished except this Kitchener stitch part and I was really struggling to understand it for the last three days.

 It is supposed to be a gift.  I have rigid deadline.

And...finally I did it.

For that I am grateful to many knitters who have graciously shared their knowledge and expertise in the Youtube.  One that  helped me:

In this  second one I understood the rhythm better.


I understood it more clearly as she showed the process with a better rhythm. Pick up the front stitch as if to knit, let go  off the stitch,  but not the thread, immediately go to the next stitch of the same needle as to purl.  This the part I was messing up and this video helped me sort it out.

Where did the name come from I wondered.  Strangely, folk lore goes that an English guy who was a Field Marshall General around World War I, also served in India from 1902- 1909 for recruiting soldires to go fight for the WWI  showed the English and American knitters how to graft the socks' end so that the bulge would  not hurt the toes. The soldiers' toes I believe.  Lots of socks were knitted for the soldiers I assume.  This is how the name of this military guy came in to our knitting world.

Any way I am happy to show that my two knitted piece are now grafted with Kitchener stich in such a way that no one will know where the grafting was made.  See the first picture with contrasting purple yarn  is where I showed  the grafting

And here is my second one  where I hide it by using the same color yarn

Now I am ready to finish the sweater for my darling little one. 

Friday, January 1, 2016

2016 and the Pantone Color Trend 

Happy New Year 

A new year rolled in and in a blink of eye 2015 passed away.

Today is a day to make resolution.  Yet why this farce ?  Do I really keep them?  Still I like to pause and think what I want to do this year. 

I was looking into the Color Trend of 2016.  Here is Pantone 2016

It embraces the concept of serenity. Calm down, slow down - is the motto

It highlights duality- think about  unisex designs- that is appropriate for both men and women

It takes us to think about charity, about giving more  for the wellness of others.

With these thoughts I go back to my bead boxes to see what I can make.

Here  Earrings Everyday invites us  to be part of a blogroll where we can take part in the   journey in making earrings.

I wonder what are your resolutions for this year.  What are you looking forward to making or changing ? 

With best wishes- Dita. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Mentor- Michael Nourot passed away recently and what he left

Micheall Nourot

Why am I writing about it? 

 Because- recently I came across an interesting quotation - it was about the distinction between a teacher and a mentor.

The author shared that a teacher just teaches or shows you how a certain thing is done, or a certain skill.   In that sense I have many teachers who have generously shared their 
craftmanship in You tube videos and personal blogs, all free.

A mentor is who raises the question - what are you going to do with that skill.  Where are you going with that skill or, s/he inspires you.  Michael Nourot was one such artist mentor, though I do not do glass blowing.

Who is Micheal Nourot:

I have never met Micheal Nourot in person but I have once visited his studio in Benicia, CA and was awed with his beautiful art work  pieces.

When I came to know that this local artist died at 66 it hurt me some where. It made me pause and think of him and then take the time to know more about him and write.

Micheal started to blow glass when he was only 9 years old.  Later in 1972 he went to Italy and learned the trick from an Italian glass blower in Murano.  He earned only 87 cents an hour as an assistant.  But he knew he was learning a skill from a guy whose family is doing  glass blowing for the last 300 years.  Not only from Italian masters he learned from the great artist Dale Chihuli too.

Highly collectible:

His work was comissioned by President Regan and Clinton both.   Many celebrities honored his work in their homes.   

When Pope John Paul II came to visit in 1987, there was a big question - how to serve the Communion wafer to 70,000 dedicated Catholics who gathered in Candle stick Park.  Nourot’s glass studio came to rescue. 

Yet, tough economic times did put pressure on the studio. One of his piece from his Etsy shop:  

Nourot’s quote:

“ I love to dance with the glass” - he said. “ Glass is not solid. It is constantly moving.  The challenge is to catch the movement in the design before it cools.”

Don’t I feel that way too about my artistic journey too?  In jewelry making too, there is also a dynamic energy, I feel and if I do not capture it at the right time the muse is gone.  It had to be caught  at the right time or else…

There is another thing he said that I could relate.  While he was learning from his Italian master in Murano he realized that there is an hierarchy in Italian glass blowing thing. “  There are three jobs.  owner, glass master and he designer.  and I knew I wanted to be all three at the same time.” 

Don’t we, artist- entrepreneurs  feel that too?  We design our products, finish them with our own two hands and then do everything that needs to be done to run a  etsy store.

I am waiting to hear how you manage and also which one piece you liked best from the gallery?

Friday, November 7, 2014

A Free Knitting pattern - Baby Cardigan Raglan from Bottom up.

I just finished this Baby Cardigan with Raglan sleeves.  I found it hard to find bottom up raglan pattern.  The pattern is created by me improvising or mixing two neat knitting patterns.  See if you like it.

                                    Wonderland Heather Baby Cardigan

Date started –        Sept  11 2014
Date Finished -      Oct 22, 2014.

Materials used:

Yarn: 3 balls  ( 3 X 50 gms) 100% Washable Merino wool
                           From Knit Picks DK wt .( The name of this particular yarn I used is Wonderland Heather)
                            Each 50 gms 123 yds.
 Needles:         Recommended needle: US size 5
                        But I used US 7 ( 4.5 st =1” ) .

Place markers.
Buttons 3 (about 1” in diameter)

Finished piece;  Width 21.5" Length 10"  ( Suitable for 9 mo - 1 yr old child)

Patterns used :
Seed St pattern = k 1, p1 with odd number of stitches taken, just repeat the same in the next row. So that there is purl on knit st and knit on purl stitch.

Stockinette St. pattern = knit I row, purl 1 row.

Lacy Pattern from Shoelessval:

 Lacy Pattern takes 16 sts.

Row 1: P1, K3, K2tog, K1, Yo, P2, Yo ,K1 ,Ssk, K3, P1

Row 2: and all even rows: K1, P6  ,K2 , P6 , K1

Row 3: P1, K2, K2 tog, K1, Yo, K1, Yo, K1, Yo, K1, Ssk, K2, P1

Row 5: P1, K1, K2tog,  K1, Yo, K2, P2, K2, Yo, K1, Ssk, K1, P1

Row: 7: P1,       K2tog, K1, Yo, K3, P2, K3, Yo, K1, Ssk,        P1

Row 8:   K1,  P6,  K2,  P6,  K1.

Abbreviations:  K=Knit, P=Purl, Yo= Yarn Over, Ssk= slip as if to knit, slip a second st as if to knit, knit them together in that position, SKP= slip one st as if to knit, slip second st as if to purl, knit them together in that position. K2tog = knit 2 st together. PM= place marker,  

Cast on 97 sts.
Knit 6 rows in seed sts. Then:

 Maintain border with Seed sts. pattern with 5 sts,  the Lacy pattern w/16 sts.
            PM, K 55 sts,PM
            Lacy  pattern for the next 16 sts.
            PM. Follow seed pattern for the next 5 sts for maintaining border. ( 97 sts)

Maintain border and patterns until the piece measures approximately 6 inches ( or whatever you want.  I made 6.5 inches),  or  the when the  8 rows of Lacy pattern is finished ending with a K row.

Last row of Body: (with 97 sts)

Border ( Seed st pattern ) w/5 sts.   Purl 19 sts,   Bind off 6 sts
Purl 37 st    Bind off 6 sts
Purl 19 sts,   Border ( seed sts pattern) w/5 sts.
Cut yarn. Place body in a spare needle. (=97sts)

Cast on 27 sts.
Work on Seed sts for 6 rows.
Increase 8 sts evenly (over the next 5” or approximately 30 rows.  I increased 2 every 5th and 6 row) for ultimately getting 35 sts. 35 sts.
Work evenly in stockinette sts until piece measures 5.5” ending with a K row.
On the last row: Bind off 4 sts. Purl to last 4 sts. Bind off last 4 sts. You have 27 sts now.

Make 2 .

Maintain border (Seed pattern) w/5 sts.
K 19 sts, of the front, PM
K27 sts of the sleeve, PM
K37 sts of the back, PM
K27 sts of the sleeve, PM
K19 sts of the front, PM
Maintain border (Seed pattern) w/5 sts.
Purl 1 row maintaining border.

Next row- begin decreasing and making button hole.

Button hole: K2, Yo, K2tog  in Row 1, Row 9 and Row 17 or as you please.

K2, Yo, K2tog, K1, Kto 3 sts before marker.
K2 tog, K1, slip marker, K1, SKP, Knit to 3 sts before marker
K2tog, K1, Slip marker, K1, SKP, Knit to 3 sts before marker
K2tog, K1, Slip marker, K1, SKP, Knit to 3 sts before marker
K2tog, K1, Slip marker, K1, SKP, Knit to end maintaining border pattern

Row 2 : Maintain border pattern, P to last 5 sts. Border.
Row 3: Repeat Row 1 with out the button hole .
Row 4 : Same as Row 2.

Keep on working maintaining button holes as needed until there is no st left in the sleeves between the raglan pattern.   In other words the two raglan pattern in the sleeve will merge.  At this point make the neck band.

Make the seed pattern for 4 rows.  Bind off on the 5 th row.


Sew up sleeves and underarms.  Sew on three buttons appropriately to fit the holes.  Weave all loose ends.  If you want block the piece to give it a nice touch.

This pattern is made by me using two resources that I am thankful to.
Http:// is where I got the lacy pattern.  I loved the pattern she used there.  But I did not quite make that.

For the main template of the Baby Cardigan I used the pattern from
 Plymouth Yarn C116 – The Yarn Patch, FantasyNaturale.  Again I modified it quite a bit.  I did not use the lacy design in that pattern,  just the template for the cardigan.

Hope you enjoy this pattern.  Please leave me some comments if you happen to try it.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Aftermath of a Jewelry Craft Show - What to do after the show is over

What do you do after a jewelry craft show?

You evaluate.
Why and how?

I had a jewelry craft show last weekend.  I meant to let you know all about it , but just could not get enough time to write the post.

It was free,  a  no- booth- fee show and that is why I had taken it.  But was that a good thing?  You tell me your opinion at the end in the comment.

My story:
I thought before signing up what would I lose?  I'd get some exposure, know more vendors and people, see what people liked, what they picked up and put down.  Was price an issue?  It would give me all these valuable insights.

So I took all my inventory, did a practice show display at home, spent 8 hours on preparation ( not making any jewelry), took my tent and all my things, woke up five o'clock on a Saturday morning and headed for the show.

In the show I spent the whole day, that is ten hours from prep work to breaking down.  At night I was so tired I just took a couple of pain killers and slept.

Half of next day went unloading and recuperating.

What was it like:

I found the tent had to be set  on shredded bark. It is a farm.  I was wearing an open toe shoe!

 There was no traffic other than the vendors.  Many of them were grouchy because they were at the back and no one knew that they existed.  The promoters asked only donations from us but charged $15 tickets as entry fee from public  which we did not know before applying. This  discouraged outside traffic.

My neighbor   vendor was a deaf lady in a wheel chair.  When I saw that her friend/partner  brought some card board slabs to roll the wheel chair for her friend with a big smile on her face, I had a different perspecitive.  They sold bath products.

They were my only customers but bought $60 worth of stuff.  I bought from them too, which gave me a nice soothing bath later at night!

One thing I learned - to take notes objectively.  Here are the points I took notes on that may help you in such situations.  I got it from Rena Klingenburg's e -  book Ultimate Guide to your Profitable Booth  which I bought.  It has many good ideas.

 No I am not an affiliate of this product, just a fan of her website. Here are the points I checked after the show:

Event:A&Z show in Martinez:
 Date:Oct 2014.

My  expenses (show fees, advertising,
transportation, lodging, food): Minimal with in $5

My income (sales total; was it what you
expected?): $60. Quite bad but they say you have a profitable show if you have made 10 times the booth price.  I did.

The show itself (well advertised? crowd
size? problems? would you do this show
again?): No crowd. No I'll not.

My  promotions (What pre-show promoting
did you do? Did it pay off?): I e mailed my earlier clients. No ad cost

My booth (location, size, pros and cons):  Putting up a tent on wet bark chips was not fun.  But it did not have any wind, or other weather problems. So not very bad.

My displays (what got attention, what
didn’t work, what was a pain?): I got compliment for my booth but it was a pain. I need to simplify it.

My  jewelry (what sold, what was ignored,
what did people ask for?): $10 - $20 stuff.  Lots of compliments for hard work but no sales.

My  customers (age groups, personal
styles, spending levels, who browsed, who
bought?) : I had only 3 customers Age 45- 60.  Female.  But younger visitors appreciated the style.

My overall sales (small sales, big sales,
single purchases, multiple purchases? bought
for self or gift?): For self.

My specials (how did sale prices and
volume discounts do?):

My packaging (what worked, what
didn’t?):Worked well.

My pricing (most popular price point?
prices right for this show?):$10

What should I do?

More rings and simple earrings under $20, $15 and $10 range.

These adjustable  rings were a hit and sold most.

The biggest thing I learned from this show is:  The deaf lady in the wheel chair had a big smile and did not complain like us, other vendors! . Her radiance  and  positive attitude was contagious . And with all kinds of inconveniences we chat with sign language and body language, helped each other and had a pretty good time.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

All about Jewelry Craft Shows - Three most crucial things for a profitable craft fair

Three most important things for a profitable jewelry craft show.

I've been doing jewelry craft shows for the last four years and about six to seven each year.  Still there is so much to learn.   There is much info regarding craft shows in general in the web, my focus is only on Jewelry Craft Shows.

I came to know about this 31 days blog, where you commit  for writing 31 days,  one blog each day in the month of October.  But by the time I came to see that,  11 days have passed already.  Oh well, I'll do with the rest of 20 days . Besides, writing every day is a big thing.  May be that is why I took to do the best I can.  What shall I write about?

I found  that I am reading and researching a lot about Jewelry Craft Shows lately and so I'd take my readers to this awesome journey for the month of October with me,  with  all that I find in my research, experiments, failures and successes.    So here we start with the three key, most important aspects:

For Whom:

For whom am I making and trying  to sell my jewelry?  Do I know them?


 Know thy Audience   is the mantra for a profitable jewelry show. Knowing and connecting with my customers are important points.  How can I do that?

The first thing I must do is informing them:  e mail and snail mail  my customers of previous shows  with pretty pictures of my jewelry and a coupon, inviting them  to my current show. I’ll post it in Face book too.

 The connecting part is equally important as well. Listening to what they are looking for, remembering their needs and getting back to them  if possible, or just connecting genuinely,  are the key elements. That is what people remember and those are good karma as well.

I try to know about the traffic and the demography of  each show I participate..  For example, I am doing a show  next week where there was no booth price. I usually do not do these kind, but with zero booth fee,  I wanted  to give it a try this time.

I am definitely taking and displaying my low- end products more this time with a nice intricate wire work pendant as a FREE giveaway to collect names and addresses for interested customers in future.

On the other hand, another  show will be in a boutique environment, in an upscale neighborhood where the demography is very different.  I think my more upscale pieces will be appreciat there, though I'll take under $20 items but not my $5 items.

Why :

Why am I doing this show?  First of all I want to sell.   Also, because I am getting exposure to a lot of new people, local vendors and potential clients for my up coming shows with out any booth fee,   though I decide to give 10% of my sale as a token of appreciation for inviting me.

Network -
What I should do before and during and after the show as opportunity comes,  is to know the other vendors, exchange business cards and build a network.

After the show I must send Thank You notes to all my customers who bought my jewelry with a 10% off gift coupon for future  sales.  Also it is a great time to keep in touch with the new vendors I just would meet.In the past   I got great information about upcoming shows and other business related help from fellow vendors.  I came to know which shows are good and which ones are not,  quite easily.   I also support them buying from them and referring them to potential clients and my friends.

What goes comes around.


What shall I bring?  Depending on the demography, traffic and other things,  like the season, trend etc I decide what to take.  For this no- fee show I think I am going to take more  under $20 things.


One of my artist friend takes her not so good finished products, we call  them our "pillars of success" and put them in a bin telling frankly that those are the  practice pieces, may be defective  and  not perfect and mark them very low, like $1 or $2 while she sells similar perfect products for $25.  It shows people  how much goes to learn a particular technique, how much time and material is spent that we do not get back.  People do buy them at that cheap price because they can break them and  re use the beads and findings. I think I might give that a try for this show.

Earrings:  I agree that earrings sell most in jewelry craft shows.  This time I am taking all kinds- studs, drops, hoops, elaborate chandeliers.  My price points are from $8 - $35.

I made some adjustable rings too.  I learned the basic technique  from Rena Klingenberg’s FREE  tutorial  and then improvised my own twist.  Let’s see how they move.

I’ll display some mid range and  higher end stuff  and bring along most of my inventory in case some one wants any thing special.

Slide show of jewelry- I’ll have a slide show of my high end jewelry pieces in my lap top and run it.
Will let you know next time what went well and where I goofed.  Please share yours too.  I’d be anxiously waiting for them.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wire weaving and how I solved a problem

I wanted to make a wire woven pendant.

 I had a  do nut bead which I wanted to adorn with wire weaving.

I have this wonderful tutorial by Gailavira and some previous experience  with wire weaving.

Look at my first try that I did a couple of years ago.
Alankarshilpa-   SOLD

But after a  couple of years gap of doing this type of wire work I found I have lost a lot.

Now look what it is doing to me:

What's wrong?  Why is the wire not listening to my command?  Because, wires have their individual memory, and their way of acting out.  I was frustrated, because I had done this project.

What can go wrong?  I was using 20 g for the base frame.  The tutorial asked for 18 g.  I don't
 have it handy.  I was using 26 g  for the weaving part.

This  time I used 20 g , because that's all I have , but  I used 28 g.

Oh yes, it made a big difference.  The wire is much obedient now.  It is capable of following direction.

I am enjoying the over and under basket weaving motion now.  And look  I did two of them.

And a third one !

So I learned that:

1. Practice makes it perfect.  It took me 90 minutes to make the first one, 70 minutes to make the second and only 55 minutes to make the third.  I learned to track the time it takes to do wire work projects.  It helps me when I do the pricing.  Therefore I'd do an average to price them for selling purpose.

2. 20 g is fine for the base.  It gives me better flexibility than 18 g  for my hands.  But 26 g as a support wire does not work for me.  The brands of wires are also important.  I found art wire by soft flex works best.  It is a bit more expensive but worth it.

Now, which one do you like best. The 1st, 2nd or last?  I am taking a poll.

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