Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas with Jana's Stuff

If you haven't already discovered the most adorable vintage shop on Etsy, you are in for a treat.

Janastuff is a perfect place to go shopping for a unique gift for your vintage-loving friends. It is a small shop that offers great customer service, quality products, sensational photo styling, and excellent product descriptions.

KK (Kara Kitsch), who is seen above auditioning for Vanna's job, is the model and spokesperson. She is the glamorous one who appears in all the product photos. She is tireless and good-natured, loves bubble baths, gets in a little trouble when she "sleeps" in the Italian bread basket, and takes too many breaks with her new boyfriend.

Jana is the collector and shop owner. She takes the photos and writes brilliant copy for each item. I swear, when you go to the shop you must read the description of every item--including the already sold ones. It is delightfully entertaining.

Janastuff is no cookie cutter vintage store (although they do sell some). Great care has been taken to offer shoppers a unique experience. Once you have visited, you will want to return frequently to see whether there is anything new in the shop and to catch up on KK's exploits.

Valerie, my head model, would love to meet KK and get to know her. She thinks they would be the best of friends. Valerie has lots of stories about her days on the road with the gypsies and her later running with the circus midgets, and she bets that KK has a lot of good stories to share as well.

In this last photo, which is the one taken for KK's Christmas card this year, she is posing with Mac, her latest flame. I can't help but wonder if Mac is Mr. Right and what he will get KK for Xmas. If you have suggestions for him, leave them in the comments.

Janastuff has been offering an 11% discount. Maybe if you hurry over there you can still get in on the deal. Tell her I sent you.

Oh, and be sure to check out KK's Facebook page!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Shopping at Your Computer Today?

A lot of the Etsy shop owners from Portland, Oregon, have gotten together to offer Cyber Monday specials today and during the week. All of us are using the same Etsy coupon code, "PDXETSY2012".

It's a great way to take advantage of some timely discounts from Portland makers, including my shop, which is offering 10% off anything in the store through November 29.

The complete list of participating shops and their discount offers can be found at the Cozy Project Blog. So grab your coffee cup and check it out!

CYBER MONDAY: Mustache coffee cup cozy Gray made by The Cozy Project on Etsy

Monday, November 19, 2012

Yearning to Spin

My fingers have been itching to do some spinning, but there is that big production schedule on my desk of accessories to finish knitting, crocheting, and beading for this fall and winter season on Etsy.

To compensate for having no time to spin, I sometimes just pet the handspun yarn that I already have made this year. Fondling yarn is very relaxing. Just go into any yarn store and observe the shoppers. You'll possibly get hooked on it, too.

On an stop in Moab, Utah, on that great summer vacation, I visited a wonderful yarn shop called Desert Thread. Imagine that there are people in the desert who knit, crochet, and spin! That's just about the coolest thing. Or the hottest, perhaps.

It was apparent just from the color palette of the selection of rovings that we were no longer in the Pacific Northwest. Up here there is a huge range of hand-dyed rovings in greens, browns, blues, and violets. In the heart of the desert there were glorious hues from the surrounding landscape. Deep ochres, brilliant oranges and brick reds. It was hard to choose only a few.

These are the three that came along home:

Here is what they became. Mostly worsted to heavy-worsted weight two ply color-twist yarn:

In a tropical palette earlier in the year, these two super bulky skeins were made:

The skein on the right is 100% Blue-faced Leiceister and the right one is baby llama fiber.

Heaven to touch, all of them! Can't wait to power up the spinning wheel again.

Monday, October 29, 2012

New Slouchy Cloche Design

Knitting on a road trip in temperatures exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit, even in an air-conditioned car, requires small projects. After finishing the Not Noro Scarf, I set to work designing a new hat to sell in my shop this Fall/Winter season.

There were certain things I had in mind: it needed to be a little slouchy, but not too much. (I cannot abide the look of some of the really big slouchy hats. Some of them make you look like you are wearing a sack or a pillowcase on your head.) It needed to be more of a cloche than a beret. (There have been far too many berets knit in this house.) It needed to be in a 1 x 1 twisted rib (because this is such an adorable stitch pattern.) It needed to have color variety provided by a self-striping yarn.

It comes in many colorways, but here is the one inspired by canyons:

Valerie is glad to be working again, and looking so pretty in the new hat design.

Here she's paired the cloche with one of my super-chunky brioche cowls. She's always complained about her neck getting cold and was happy to model the cowl.

I worked and ripped out (knitters call it "frogging") all the stitches in the top of the crown four times while designing the hat before I got exactly the shaping and the pattern that brought happiness.

This finer gauge hat is an acrylic/wool blend and the yarn is a light worsted weight. It takes a lot of stitches (about eight thousand) to make this hat, so I had to put it at a higher price point than I originally wanted.

After some searching, I found a chunky yarn in 100% wool to make a hat in the same design but with fewer stitches in a larger gauge. It's faster to make and I can charge less. Here's the first one:

You can see more photos of it here.

The cool thing about these hats is that they are really comfortable to wear and they are really warm. They don't mess my hair as much as some other styles that I've worn. Valerie doesn't have hair, so for her it doesn't matter.

(No, I have not bought her a wig yet. I kind of like her photos without hair, but she keeps pestering me about a wig, and I did promise her one. Should she be a blonde, brunette or a red-head? She'll have to come along to the store to try all the colors. She'll probably want the most expensive one available.)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Hoodoos, Dangerous Hikes, a Chipmunk, and Water in Zion

1. (noun) A pinnacle or odd shaped rock left standing by the forces of erosion.
2. (verb) To cast a spell or cause bad luck
3. (noun) Voodoo

Byrce Canyon is chalk full of hoodoos (definition #1). 

It makes for splendid beauty, but some dangerous cliffs. It was way too hot for much of a hike, but we managed a little one in the morning. I shot several hundred photos. Here are a few.

After the dryness of Bryce Canyon and the heat of the day, it was a welcome sight to find water in Zion National Park in the evening.