I’ve decided to start a new thing here on Made by Hand where I’m going to post a summary at the end of every month. This summary will go over all of the projects I’ve started, stopped, finished, frogged, and planned. I’m hoping that this new format will help inspire me to write more often, as well as document my creative projects in a fun and visual way. I hope you enjoy my September Summary and you’ll keep coming back to see what I’ve been up to!
Let’s start this off with a check-up
I get artist’s block a lot – regardless of what medium I’m working with. (I’m going on a 5+ year streak of artist’s block for drawing and painting – woo-hoo!). Anyways, I felt a lack of inspiration for much of this past month regarding my knitting/crocheting. I’ve made some things, I’ve written a pattern, but nothing is getting me really excited. I’ve been making basic, quick projects because I’m stocking up on inventory for a craft show. I love making all of these items, but I always want to go back to my personal projects because I get bored. Those personal projects are shiny, new, and exciting. They’re projects that I’m learning new skills and techniques in – where I actually have to follow a pattern because it’s not something I’ve memorized and can theoretically make in my sleep.
I think that those personal projects are necessary for growth as a maker, but I also know that I need to work on the “business” projects in order to progress.
If you haven’t heard me swoon over my Mellow V Sweater project, then you’re in for a treat. (Just kidding, I sound ridiculous, fangirlling over a sweater pattern…)
The story behind this project is that this sweater basically inspired me to learn to knit. I saw this pattern on Ravelry shortly after I created my account, and it was legit love at first sight. I love texture, oversized sweaters, and minimal style. This pattern checked all 3 of those boxes in all the right ways. I remember using my Christmas money to go to Joann’s and buy the needles for this sweater, along with 4 skeins of Paton’s Lace yarn in a super subtle, pastel pink colorway. I was so ready to make this thing that I started the same day I bought the supplies.
This was all happening 2 months after I learned to knit. 2. Whole. Months. It’s not hard to figure out that I was quickly discouraged by the lace weight yarn and tiny needles. I was used to US 15 needles and LB Thick & Quick. I was not prepared for this project at all.
Fast forward a few years of ignoring my dream sweater and you come to last February. I finally pulled the trigger and bought 8 balls of DROPS Brushed Alpaca Silk yarn from Wool Warehouse. It’s a beautiful smokey grey mohair that’s softer than I ever imagined. I think I paid about $30 to have everything shipped to me. I promised myself that I would have my dream Mellow V by the Fall of 2017…
Well, we’ve reached fall. I don’t have my Mellow V completed – but I have started on it! I had lots of issues with reading the pattern, which is what I would consider advanced. I’ve frogged this sweater, not once, but twice since I started with the DROPS yarn. I’m now on my 3rd attempt with the project and it’s going quite well. I have a checklist lad out for every individual row of the pattern. I never try to work on it without the pattern open on my computer, along with the checklist.
I’m very excited to be making progress and I’ve set a more realistic goal for completion by the 1st of next year.
My Hibiscus Sweater came about because I fell in love with a bright pink/coral colored yarn at a LYS. I bought 2 skeins of it around Easter with the intension of making a lightweight, cropped sweater for summer.
Fun fact: I’ve never made a freehand sweater before, so this was a challenge. I frogged the cropped sweater and embarked on the journey towards a gigantic, open v back jumper.
I have the front panel complete, but I actually hate it. I love the ribbing and the texture stripe, but I hate the shape of the neckline. I’m strongly debating frogging again and giving it another go. I’ve learned a few new techniques for shaping since I made this, so I think giving it another shot will be worth the time.
My Big Secret Project
I’ve been working on a very big, secret project for the past year. I got the idea to work on this from a couple places, but it’s something I have a lot of passion about sharing with the community. This secret project involves some of the projects I’ve been posting about on my Instagram.
Many people have reacted very positively to the Eastern Hemlock Cardigan that I’ve posted some photos of as I’ve worked on it. This, along with my Velvet Mesquite Crop Top, and the Weeping Willow Infinity Scarf are all going to come together for this project. I’ve hit a bit of a roadblock with development, simply because I don’t know what I’ doing. I’m working out the kinks in some of the process, and hoping to have this out to the comity sometime this fall.
Selling My Makes
I’ve been attempting to get into my first craft show this year. A local arts and crafts guild holds 2 shows a year, and one of them is around Thanksgiving. I’m still waiting on the application to see if I can even get in, but I’m hopeful. I’ve made a decent inventory in preparation for the show.
I’ve also had my shop up and running for a month or so now. I’ve not sold any of my knit/crochet items, but the “maker swag” seems to be popular. I’m hoping that vending at a craft show can help to drive more traffic to my shop.
Finally, I have an opportunity to possibly sell my knit items in a local shop up in PA. I think that selling there would be more successful, since PA actually has a fall and winter season! (Unlike NC). I’m going to be discussing that with the shop owner this week and trying to get something moving within the next month or so.
I Guess I’ll End This WIth My Feelings/Thoughts…
I’m hopeful. I’m not super excited about where the business is at right now, but I’m hopeful. I have so many amazing ideas running through my head that I think the community will love, it’s just a matter of executing them. I have a hard time with completion on projects. I often figure things out as I go, so I tend to miss a lot of crucial steps, then have to step back to fix them. This makes my projects drag on for some time, but I think it also makes them more refined when I finally do finish them.
I’ve been working hard this month on motivation and project management. I made a promise to myself that I’d start finishing some of my WIPs before I start up any new ideas. Making steps on my Mellow V was part of that clean up process, and it made me really happy to see that project move a bit. It’s been encouraging and reminded me that I really can do these things, I’m just really bad about procrastinating.
Anyway, I think that’s it for September. I think I’ve made some good progress, but I’m hopeful to make even bigger strides in the coming weeks. October is looking bright and I can’t wait to share more creativity with you guys!