Saturday, December 19, 2009

Smakely Brainsucker

Here is my latest monster hat. Meet Snakely Brainsucker. He has one of those articulated jaws that enables it to stretch around his prey: a child's head. However, no matter how hard he tries, he never quite manages to swallow it.

Ben, age 7, loved trying on this hat, and couldn't help getting a bit melodramatic!

Keep trying, Snakely. Maybe you can swallow your meal, in time.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

New Hat Series: Brainsuckers

I have created a monster! Actually, several.

When I was a kid, my brother would put his hand on my head and squeeze his fingers together. "Know what this is?" he asked me?
"No," I replied.
"It's a brain sucker and it's starving!"

Thus was the inspiration for my new line of earflap hats: The Brainsuckers. Although they have teeth and tentacles, they are friendly monsters and are completely harmless. One of their eyes is bigger than the other, giving it a cute, but crazed look.

First came Harry Brainsucker. After creating the prototype, I asked my 7-year-old to try it on so I could see how it looked on and get some pictures of it. He fell in love with it. "You made this for me, didn't you?" He was so happy and excited that I knit him a cool hat, I didn't have the heart to take it back. So, I had to make a second one.

After Harry, I created Squidly Brainsucker. Squidly has tentacles instead of teeth. He is pictured here in a lilac color, but I've also made him in gray.

Here is Squidly in gray.

Next came Sharkly Brainsucker. This is Sharkly in blue. I am working on an orange Sharkly for a customer. My kids suggested I do orange and black striped, so it could be a tiger shark. I'm not sure I want to do stripes....

I was on a roll! Next came Wally Brainsucker. Wally is a walrus with sparkly, silver whiskers and white fleece tusks.

I have more ideas for other Brainsuckers, but I am moving a little slower due to the Christmas order rush at my Etsy store. Stay tuned, though. More Brainsuckers are in the works! I am considering making a pattern booklet, too.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Taking Pictures of Knitted Hats

I decided that my Etsy store needed some real people wearing my knitted items. So, I arranged to take pictures of a cute little girl I knew, about two years old, in the neighborhood. It was quite an undertaking! Her mother and I tried for weeks to find just the right time between naps and grouchy times for her daughter. It seemed like whenever it was a good time for her, I was busy doing something I couldn't leave! Finally, the magical day arrived and our schedules meshed.

The moment I entered the house, this little girl decided I was there to take her away from her mother. Not only would she not let her mother put her down, she wouldn't even look at "the enemy," me! It took a good 45 minute to get her to warm up to me a little. It helped that her mother kept offering her food, but she accidentally spilled juice on one of my little sweaters.

I snapped dozens of pictures, hoping to catch the little girl's fleeting smiles. One frustrating thing was my camera. It took so long to save one picture and gear up to take the next one, I often missed out on the best smiles!

Fortunately, I did get some really cute pictures. I was encouraged enough to ask another mom, this one with 3 little girls, if I could use her kids as models.

This second photo op went much better. Two of the girls were a little older and the mom had promised them a nice treat (mini marshmallows)if they were well behaved and gave their best smiles. She also raved about the hats and sweaters as she put them on her girls. I spent probably an hour and a half there, taking pictures.

I'm still sorting through and editing the 170 pictures we took that day. Some of them turned out really cute, but others had a background without enough contrast, so I had to manipulate things a bit with a photo editing software.

Of course, there were a few items that didn't get modeled, so I'll probably find another model, or go back to a former one. I've learned that kids aren't easy or quick to photograph, but when they flash a good smile, it's really cute, and worth all the effort!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What to Charge?

I had a dental appointment today, in which I expected a filling and ended up with a root canal. If you have kids with overlapping teeth, do them a favor and give them braces! But, I digress. We have a new dentist, and of course, I brought along a knitting project for the waiting time. He was interested in what I was making, and I told him about my Etsy store. Watching me knit with 4 needles in the round, he said, "I can't imagine doing that. It surely can't pay very well, does it?" I told him that my best-selling item, cupcake hats, take me about 4 hours to make, and I charge $18 for a hat. So, no, the hourly wage stinks. But, I reasoned, it is something I can do in my "spare" time, and pays better than washing the dishes.

So, now I wonder. Several things. Am I devaluing my time? Is my time really worth even minimum wage? Say I charge $7/hour. I would have to charge $28 for one of my cupcake hats. I'd love to get that much, but will they really sell for that much? I know there are some people who really appreciate the work that goes into hand knitted items, but I have to assume most people don't, and if they can get something equally cute at Wal-Mart for $8, why would they pay $28 for my hat? These are questions I've asked myself numerous times. I don't really know the answers. I personally would probably not pay $28 for a hat for my child (of course, I can make one myself, so why would I?). I've always been frugal and love a bargain. And yet, as a craftsperson, isn't my time worth at least minimum wage?

Aside from that constant, personal little debate, I've been knitting lots of fun things for little ones. I've designed a lacy hat and made some cute bows to wear with it. When my girls were little, they had very little hair, so it was hard to get any bows to stay in their hair. I wish I'd had one of these little hats so they could wear the bows on the hat! So far, I haven't sold any, but I hope that's because it has been summer here in the Western hemisphere. I'll attach some pictures of the hats. I've also been knitting some cute leg warmers, but I don't have pictures of those yet.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Baby Sweaters

I've been making baby sweaters lately, as several of my friends and relatives are having baby girls. I've used a couple of different patterns, which I found on the internet, for top-down sweaters. They knit up pretty quickly, and I love that there's no seaming!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Hats and Mittens Garland

This is what I've been knitting lately. Tiny hats and mittens. They will have numbers embroidered on them and then be put together in a garland for a Christmas count-down! My sister-in-law found the pattern at Just adorable! The little hats and mittens have been fun to make. I have a few mittens left to make before I start embroidering the numbers on them.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

New Price for Teapot Hat Pattern

I decided that to improve sales of my teapot hat pattern, I would reduce the price to $5.00.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Friday, March 06, 2009

Teapot Hat Pattern Available

Good news! You can now purchase the teapot hat pattern! The pattern includes an adult sized hat and a 4-8 yr. child-sized hat. I accept only PayPal for payment ($5.00). My PayPal email is Once I get word from PayPal of your payment, I will email you a .pdf file of the pattern. If you want the pattern sent to a different email than the one connected with your PayPal account, make a note of the email you want it sent to in the notes section of the Pay Pal receipt.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Teapot Pattern Coming

Just a heads-up. I am working on a pattern for the teapot hat. I'm trying to include an adult and child size in one pattern. When I finish it, I will post it here for sale, so watch for it!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Teapot Hat

So often my inspiration comes as a challenge from a potential customer. So it was with this teapot hat. A customer had seen someone wearing one and, since she couldn't convince that person to sell it off her head, she asked if I could knit a teapot hat. I was sure I could, and when I had a few spare minutes, I gave it a go. Here is the result. I think it turned out great, particularly as it was my first attempt. I basically just winged it.

The hat prompted my son to sing the "I'm a Little Teapot" song, of course. Can't you just see a room full of pre-schoolers wearing hats like this and singing? They'd be cute in pastel colors....

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Speed Knitting

I was looking at my new Knit Picks catalog that came in the mail today. On the back cover, it shows a picture of this woman from Holland, named Miriam Tegels, who holds the worlds' record for speed knitting. She can knit 118 stitches per minute. A YouTube of her knitting can be seen here This woman is wicked fast! Her technique is interesting. She carries the yarn in her left hand like I do (continental style), but when she's knitting on straight needles she anchors one long needle under her armpit as she knits.

Well, says I, I wonder how fast I knit? Fortunately, my husband was home and could time me. I tested myself 4 times using only the knit stitch. I was knitting in the round on a circular needle.

And, my home-tested knitting speed is....drum roll please....ta-da! 70 stitches per minute. I've got some practicing to do before I can break the worlds' record, but I'm still pretty fast!

Here's a video giving tips for fast knitting.

Friday, January 02, 2009

A Brand New Year

At the urging of a loyal blog follower, I have decided to post an update. During the winter, I spend so much time knitting up orders for cupcake hats, I feel guilty spending much time on the computer.

This year I got myself into trouble over orders. I tried to predict how quickly I could get the hats knitted and mailed, but when people started ordering 3-piece sets of scarves, hats and mittens, it slowed me way down. I had one customer cancel an order because I didn't have it ready before Christmas. I felt terrible! Next year, I will be more careful, and give myself plenty of time. After all, I do have a life outside of knitting--seven kids to raise, to begin with!

So, here is a picture of the hat/mitten/scarf set. I wish I had time to make one for my daughter in the photo. Her birthday is tomorrow.

This was my attempt to create an Elmo look-alike hat. I was told it doesn't look enough like Elmo. Hmm. I think it's pretty cute. Maybe the nose should be smaller....

I was at the oral surgeon's today with my 2nd son. He had his wisdom teeth out. While there, I worked on yet another cupcake hat. The receptionist asked about what I was making and I told her about my Etsy shop. Right then and there she logged onto my store on her computer! She admired my work, suggested a local boutique, and told me I'm not charging nearly enough. I am a bargain hunter, and I hate to charge people too much, but on the other hand, I really need for these hats to be worth my while, and they take 4 hours each to make! The scarves take all day to make.

I feel like I should make some kind of knitting New Year's Resolution. Okay. Here goes. I resolve to knit during spring and summer to stock up on hats so I don't have to spend all my time knitting during the holidays! I further resolve to continue to give my customers my best work, every time.