Archive for category knitting

Why the Rainbow Ablet has been out of stock for so long.

Rainbow Ablet as made at The Ablet Factory

Since I have had so many inquiries about my popular rainbow style Ablet, I’ve decided to write a blog post as explanation, rather than typing the explanation over and over in convos on Etsy and emails to my site.

So here’s the dealie:
We ran out of the beads to make the Rainbow Ablet over 2 months ago.
My supplier ran out of the beads too, but assured me they were on order from India. 6,000 cases of beads arrived in NYC on June 6th. I only need one case!
They have, apparently, been held up in NYC customs since then. I call my supplier almost daily (I think they are starting to dread my calls). If anyone happens to know a NYC customs worker and would like to offer them a bribe, I will be most obliged.

Now, for my Etsy customers, here’s the situation:
I have a contract with a distributor (Creative Commodities) who are having the rainbow style manufactured in China for distribution to large retailers here in the USA. (Exciting, yes!)

IF my beads get out of customs where they have been held captive BEFORE my distributor gets their first shipment, then I will be able to sell a few more of that style on Etsy. We will make around 20 of them, but when those are gone, they are gone for good.
IF Creative Commodities get their shipment before I get my beads, then I will only be able to sell that style on my other site knittingabacus.com and that style WILL NOT be handmade by me, but will be handmade in China.
Am I making any sense?

It is a race against the clock.

Chinese Ablet

The Chinese order is expected by the middle of next week. (July 26th-ish). I have no idea when NYC customs will release my beads, and it is possible that the Chinese order gets held in customs too… it’s all so darned complicated. But my contract with the distributor gives them exclusive rights to the Rainbow style and I will be buying it from them wholesale, essentially becoming a reseller of one of my own products. All my other styles will still be handmade by me and available on Etsy.

This picture shows a sample of what the Chinese version will look like and it will be available at knittingabacus.com and (hopefully) some big retailers both online and IRL. Cool the way they are stamping the word Ablet on it, huh?

So that’s the story in a nutshell as they say… Thanks for your patience. If you would like my facebook page, I’ll be updating there as soon as I know anything.

ūüôā
Sharon

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Stitches East Knitter’s Conference

” I have died and gone to knitter’s heaven!”

It was my first thought when I walked in the door. I have never been to a Stitches conference before and I understand that this one was MUCH smaller than in years past, but I was still WOWed!

I was in attendance out of the kindness of one of my wholesale customers, Suzi at knittingranch.com . She invited me to tag along at her booth and bring my ABLETs. How could I turn that down? I had considered going on my own, but couldn’t figure it out what with having to be there all day every day for 4 days and a nursing baby and no help at the booth and the expense… and Suzi solved all my dillemmas in one fantastic phonecall!

So, as many of you know, preparations began in full swing. For about 3 weeks I glued and beaded and chained and packaged whenever I could. I had many dear friends offer their help.  I ended up with about 100 to bring with me.

Well, to make a long story longer…

Friday: Ted stayed home from work to watch the baby. ¬†Rowan and I drove to Hartford early Friday Morning with my basket. ¬†Suzi had said she had a display so I needn’t bring one. Folks rummaged through my basket all day. Rowan worked hard, demonstrating how to use the ABLET and even up-selling for a conversion kit. ¬†I sold a few, not a lot, but enough to break even on my expenses. Comments were all very positive and enthusiastic and everyone seemed to think it was a really neat idea. ¬†Several people liked them enough to slip them¬†discreetly¬†into their bags when we weren’t looking. I was a tad discouraged. I knew a nice display would help, so I plugged through my exhaustion when I got home and slapped a display together.

Saturday:¬†I wrote up a sign “Win an ABLET knitting Abacus drawings at 12:30, 2:30 and 3pm” We had a lot of people sign on to our raffle at that point. 3 times on Saturday an announcement was made over the loud speakers

“So and So you have won an, um… AB… ABLET, um… knitting… abb-ack- oos, please go to the Knitting Ranch, booth 204 to collect your prize.”

It was great for me, because people came over to see what it was all about. I had to demo over and over (no Rowan) and my throat was getting sore, but… By Saturday Afternoon, I heard “OH… so that’s the knitting abacus everyone is talking about.” ¬†WOW.

I managed to give a birthday present to ¬†Rick, one of the editors of ¬†Knitter’sMagazine. It wasn’t his birthday, btw, but my note that I left telling him I had a birthday present for him got his attention enough to get him over to see me ūüėČ

The editor of Moo Dog Knits came over and took my picture. She said she’d call for an interview this week.

Sunday: While the marketplace was much slower,  my sales steadily increased each day. I had to arrive quite late because of dropping the kids at Sunday school. When I got there, Suzi said a bunch of LYS owners had come over asking for my card and that a sales rep had also stopped by interested in talking with me.

By now, many folks new what I an ABLET was and were bringing their friends over and showing them how to use this great new tool.

Since things were a bit slower, I was able to go around and network a bit more. I spoke with several vendors who were all so supportive and enthusiastic. They shared details and ideas for my own booth (maybe next year).

I particularly liked Mocha’s Fiber’s booth, for a small 10X10 space, which is probably all I’d need. ABLETs are quite compact. ¬†Her hand painted yarns are exquisite, btw. If you knit, you must check them out!¬†

I met a couple who travel the world going from yarn conference to yarn conference who have gorgeous silk ribbon. I bought some to use with my ABLETs and I’ve already made one up with it. I think I’ll be switching, as long as it doesn’t fray.

I even met a charming couple who were LYS owners all the way from Australia!

When the show was ending, I grabbed what was left in my basket and ran through the marketplace handing out freebies to any LYS owners who seemed interested. I probably gave away as many as I sold. ¬†It was such a fun and exhausting weekend. And I have Suzi to thank for it. She agrees, that all in all it was a terrific show for me. She told me that when I’m rich and famous I’d have to pay her booth fee.

Well, Suzi… now you have it in writing! What you did for me deserves a good turn. I hope your business is every bit as successful as mine… um, that is if mine’s successful, cause if it’s not that wouldn’t be a particularly good wish for you, now would it ūüėČ

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Knitting Abacus

knitting abacus display

It’s been a while since I posted, mostly because I have been so busy finalizing my packaging and display for my newest obsession:¬†The knitting abacus.¬†The knitting abacus, or ABLET (ABacus braceLET) for those that don’t know is a uniquely designed row counter bracelet. My Patent Pending status came through a few weeks back and I’ve been busily trying to get all the loose ends tied to get marketing like a madman. The patent is due to the unique design in how this bracelet works. Much experimentation has gone into finding the perfect combination of beads and other materials.¬†The beads slide on the string and stay where you put them until you move them. They don’t need to be manipulated through a loop. (Other row counting bracelets use a bead through a loop technique).

Of course, if you do know me, you know what an ABLET is because I’m driving everyone nuts talking about how much I love them and how I know absolutely anyone and everyone who knits or crochets ¬†is going to want one too! Maybe I’m being overly optimistic here, but I’m seriously thinking that this is as important as blingy stitch markers and fancy needle ends. Personally, I believe it’s up there on the list of must have knitting tool importance right next to calculators and tape measures.

So here’s a picture of my POP display. I’m pretty happy with it so far. ¬†I think it needs paint and some lettering or something to jazz it up a bit!

I have also been working on a new website where ABLETS can be ordered by the thousand, Ok by the hundred… or the dozen, ok fine, only get one, and then maybe another to give to your knitting friend for her birthday. ¬†knittingabacus.com.

ABLET knitting abacusWhat a learning curve that has been! And to think I went to school for this stuff. My site is built through wordpress, so that’s kinda neat. I’m using a shopping cart theme that seems to work pretty seamlessly with wordpress. They claim you can get your store up and running in under an hour… Or under a weekend, anyway!

ABLET packaging, front.Yes, that's a real live bar code, pretty cool, huh!¬†My 100% recycled card is on order and I can’t wait for it to come in for the packaging which will be 99% recycled cardboard and 1% tape.

knit row counter¬†Here is another design… “much sparkly” as my little one would say. It looks gorgeous on. I’ve been wearing it all day to test it out, and the beads still tell me that the date is ¬†the 2nd. Yep, I use mine to tell me the date when I’m not knitting (rarely), ’cause I’m¬†just¬†that ditsy sometimes.

knitting abacus with earrings¬†This blingy row counting bracelet comes with earrings… my daughter’s brilliant idea.

I’ll try and post pics of my wood beaded ones tomorrow, but I’m taking the kids to the zoo, so I may not have time. We’ll see.

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Rowan’s Felted Monster Purse


Felted Monster Purse

This pattern was created by my (at the time) 6 year old daughter. She won several ribbons for it in local fairs.

It is a very simple knitting pattern that any beginner can do and comes out fabulous.

The nice thing about it, is that it is felted and so hides any mistakes in the knitting. It is very satisfying for a brand new knitter to be able to make a project that looks great without “frogging” (ripping out: “rip-it! rip-it!”) ¬†every row and knitting them two or three times due to dropped or added stitches. You end up learning right away how to increase and decrease and ‚Äúfudge‚ÄĚ mistakes the way experienced knitters do. Any problems disappear in the felting. How fun to have a project you can use right away that isn‚Äôt ¬†just a boring old scarf!

Rowan is selling this pattern for $2. through my Ravelry shop. 50% goes to Rowan to support her healthy yarn and beading addiction and 50% to tzedeka (charity).

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10 Steps to Make Your Own Perfect Needle Holders

Needle holder

Needle Holder

The perfect sock needle holder has already been invented by the owner of my lys. You can find them here: at  woolworksltd.com and they range in price from $12 to $18.  I own one and love it. It makes a satisfying swishy sword in sheath kind of sound when you put the top on. And what knitter doesn’t love the sword in sheath  sound?

double pointed needles

double pointed needles

The thing is… ¬†I have a lot of knitting needles. And by a lot, I mean that in dpns alone I could knit for the entire US army and still have spare needles‚Ķ ok so I exaggerate (slightly). ¬†(And I think¬†Stephanie Pearl McPhee has me beat by about 1 thousand).

Up until now I have kept all my needles in ziploc baggies. One (2 gallon size) for circular, one (same) for dpns. It works, sort of. ¬†I’ve always wished I could have a needle holder for every set of dpns, and a few extra for WIPs. ¬†But, did I mention I have a lot of needles?

Every time I want to do a project, I dump the bag out, take out my handy needle gauge and search for  a matching set. I have one needle holder that is perfect for storing needles and keeping your work on the needles too.

DIY Needle Holder

DIY Needle Holder

So I decided to make my own needle case, fashioned after the one above. They are a different shape due to the materials used, but they are virtually free. Most of what you need you should (as a knitter and crafter) already have at home.

This way I can have a holder for every work in progress and spares to keep my needles in. It helps me sort them out in my bag too. I made them out of old cereal boxes, so they are recycled and eco friendly too!

Here’s how you can make your own:

supplies

supplies

You will need:

  • an empty cereal box (preferably one that the kids didn’t smoosh into the butter dish).
  • a metal ruler and some old scrap to cut on, or a cutting mat
  • a bone folder (I like the one by Martha Stewart available at most craft stores) If you don’t have a bone folder a size US#10 or bigger bamboo knitting needle will do, you’ll want one with a dull point.
  • a marker (optional)
  • a pencil
  • a glue gun
  • brown tape (optional)
  • you will also find a triangle or a quilter’s guide useful for making sure everything is square (I forgot to put that in the picture).
  • oh, and of course, the needles you are making the case for.

 

measuring needles

1. Measure your needles. Mine measured 7″. The directions here are for that size. I have included measurements for smaller and larger needle sizes below.

Cut cereal box.

2. Cut a rectangle from your cereal box that is 9 1/2″ by 3″. Be sure to cut from the body of the box, where there are no folds.

score and fold

3. Using your ruler and bone folder, score on the printed side of the box 2 ” from one end, and 1/2″ in from each side.

cut this part away4. Cut away the corner created by these two folds.

glued bottom

5. Fold the two sides in and glue the bottom flap down to these two sides being careful not to get glue on the back part, you want your needles to be able to slide all the way down. Hot glue is great, cause it dries almost instantly, but do be careful not to burn your fingers. It sucks to knit with burnt finger tips… ask me how I know! You can wrap some brown tape around it and glue it down for a more finished look but this is totally¬†unnecessary. It just appeals to my perfectionist aesthetic.

triangle cuts

6. On the other end, you will want to make a beveled edge of sorts. Cut away a triangle. You can just eyeball this.

beveled edge

7. Score using your cut as a guide and glue the flap closed onto the little triangle created by the fold.

top

8. Now for the top. Cut another rectangle from your cereal box, this one will be 2 5/8″ by 2 1/8″.


top

9. Score this (again on the printed side) 1/4″ in from each of the long sides and 2 1/8″ in from each of the short sides. Cut away the shaded area. Fold it and glue down, again being careful to glue only the flaps.¬†After I made a few of these, I found it was easier to fold down and glue if I cut at a slight angle.

done

10. Your top should slide on easily but be snug. It should make a satisfying (cardboard) sword in sheath kind of sound.

write your info down

I wrote the needle info down on the tops of my stitch holder. This “pattern” will fit most 6″ and 7″ long dpns. It also has enough room to be used with work on the needles.

Now my messy needles look like this!

needle holders

ok, ok, so really they look more like this:

needles

For 5″ needles: Large rectangle will be 6 1/2″ by 3″ , score 1 1/4″ from bottom, and 1/2″ from each side. Top will be 2 5/8″ by 3 1/8″ score 1/4″ from each long side, and 1 1/2″ from each end.

For 9″ needles: You will make two ends, because a standard cereal box isn’t long enough.¬†Cut a large rectangle will be 9 1/2″ by 3″, ¬†1/2″ from each side. ¬†Make a top and a bottom, each¬†will be 5 1/16″ by 2 5/8″, score 1/4″ from each long side, and 2 1/2″ from each end.¬†¬†Glue the “bottom” on securely, you don’t want this to slide.

Now you too can have one of these for every set of dpns you own!

 

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Heirloom Crossword baby blanket

Crossword Baby Blanket

Crossword Baby Blanket

Anne Geddes' "Pure"

I love Anne Geddes. Particularly her photobook “Pure” which is a powerful testament to the strength and beauty of pregnancy and birth. Anyone familiar with me at all will know that I find everything about the way we bring our babies into this world to be magical, powerful, transcendent.¬†Her book truly captivates this essence.

When I¬†discovered that one of my foster sisters was pregnant with twins, many years ago, I was inspired to design a crossword baby blanket in tribute to “Pure” and birth. ¬†But when I found she had lost her babies late in her pregnancy my passion for this project dissipated. The fact that she was able to move forward from this tragedy speaks to the resiliency¬†and strength of her soul. I don’t know how she did it, I frankly, hope never to find out. But this woman just blows me away. And, happily has two gorgeous daughters who benefit from her strength.

crossword baby blanket

Crossword Baby Blanket

I picked up the design again when I was surprised by the¬†knowledge¬†of our own 4th little soul growing inside me . ¬†Many, many swatches had already gone into the pattern and I pulled them out. I had based my lacework on Debbie Bliss’ “Alphabet blanket” available in her book¬†The Baby Knits Book. ¬†Her lace, however was over 30 stitches wide for each letter. There was just no way to incorporate this into my design. Imagine knitting “INCREDIBLE” at 30 stitches a letter! So I worked and reworked until I was happy with a simpler lace pattern. The result was still an astronomically high number of stitches. There would be no choice but to make the pattern in a very fine lace weight yarn.

I found a beautiful, simple cotton that knits up soft and clean and shows the stitch definition beautifully. The original design was done as a patchwork.  Many little squares would have to be blocked and sewn together at the end. But who wants all that sewing? I scrapped it again and decided to make the blanket in one piece. Of course, that meant almost 250 stitches! Well, knitting and pregnancy seem to go hand in hand, and I decided that this was just the way to go. The blanket gradually grew with my belly. But in my pregnancy drained state, I kept making mistakes.

stitch markers and flip chart

stitch markers and flip chart

After several errors and many rows painstakingly backed up, I developed stitch markers and a little flip chart that helped me to keep track of the letter I was working on at the time. This helped immensely. At 7 months gestation, I was almost done with the project, when I realized I had a rather large mistake in the letter “R” in the word “PURE”. Well…. we can’t have a lopsided “R” in “PURE”… that just won’t do at all… so…Much to the horror of my friends, I frogged almost 2 months worth of work.

On my due date I had the whole blanket finished. But, it really needed some kind of edging to make it shine. So I picked up all the way around the 234 stitches and 385 rows to make a simple border.

I finally finished the whole thing, weaving in the ends about two days before I went into active labor with my baby boy. He was 3 weeks late. He was waiting for his blanket, I suppose.

I am selling this pattern as a kit with everything you see here. It comes with all the alphabet stitch markers you will need as well as the flip chart and full directions. I am also including 8oz of the lace weight cotton that I used. I was fortunate to get a large quantity at an excellent price and am passing this on to you. I wind the yarn in a huge skein, so the only ends to weave in will be your cast on and cast off tails.

You can get the kit at my etsy shop: cozycoleman.etsy.com

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My gnome was on TV!

As seen on Better Connnecticut…

http://mfile.akamai.com/25576/wmv/vod.ibsys.com/2008/0321/15667079.56k.asx

Thanks Audrey!

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