Posts Tagged ‘gifts’

GAL Is Coming!

Only a couple weeks left til GAL 2015! New to the Gift-a-Long? You can find plenty of detailed info here, but basically, GAL is an annual sale on patterns by a huge (and I mean HUGE) group of indie designers, including myself. The sale is followed by 6 weeks of knit- and crochet-alongs and many, many prizes donated by the same designers and usually a number of indie yarnies and other artisans as well. This year’s sale runs Nov. 19-27.


This will be my 3rd year participating. It really is quite fun, even for those of us who aren’t eligible for prizes! It’s also a great way to learn about new designers you might otherwise have missed!

gal 2014 poster

Because of the sheer number of designers now involved, this year we are limiting each designer to 20 patterns to include in the sale. All patterns will still be eligible for knit-along prizes, but for those of us who’ve been designing a while (or prolifically!) it can be tricky to pick just 20 to discount.

So I’m putting the decision in your hands. Which of my indie patterns would you like to get at a steep discount? I have a thread running here to discuss it and make requests or suggestions. Of course, I’d love to hear from you in the comments too!

Spun and Done

I have had this giant box of unknown blue-grey fiber sitting in my stash in two homes now, for a good four years.


This was maybe half the original.

It was a gift from Hubby’s sister back when we were engaged, and I have been spinning it for.ever. Initially I spun it on my very first drop spindle, and the first skein was pretty unusable.


I kept plugging away, and eventually got my beloved wheel which made the spinning much faster. Eventually it became a garter stitch beret and a ladder stitch cowl, and there was still more. Lots more.


I kind of settled into spinning and plying it to be more or less worsted weight, and I’ve been stockpiling it in my stash. Today, I finally, finally spun the very. last. bit.

last skein

63 beautiful grams of the very last skein of this stuff! Done done done done done! Paired with the other skeins, I think I have about 550 yards of roughly worsted weight two-ply. What should I make with it?


A Few GAL Updates

If you didn’t manage to get one of my patterns before the GAL discount ended, don’t forget that Claire from Verily Knits is giving one away here! You can also get any of my indie patterns at a 20% discount with the code “smallbusiness” through Monday.

gal 2014 poster

As for me, I’ve finished up some Sooper Sekrit deadline knitting and started some actual GAL knitting at last! Last night I cast on Colophon, a great pair of fingerless mitts to keep me toasty while I wait for the heat to kick in at work in the mornings.


I’m using the leftovers from my Flutter sweater, and this pattern should just about use them up! How about the rest of you GALers? What are you working on?

Last Chance for the GAL Sale!

We are in the final hours to purchase GAL patterns at a steep discount! Have you bought yours yet? I have! What’d I get? I knew going in that I wanted a pair of fingerless gloves. My hands are constantly cold this time of year, but every time I put on gloves I take them right back off again because I can’t feel or manipulate anything properly with them on. After losing most of a morning to the Pinterest boards, I narrowed it down to either Colophon, by Hunter Hammersen, or Twisted Diamond Mitts by Kaitlyn Yeager. Both sat in my queue for a couple days while I debated how much I will actually have time to knit for pleasure in the next month, and then I finally went with just the Colophon. I may still go back for the Twisted Diamond at a later (post-sale, but more free time) date.

Then, while I was trolling the Pinterest boards, Kris Carlson’s Nubby also snuck into my cart. I didn’t mean to buy a hat, and probably won’t have time to make it soon, but it’s so rare to find a hat I don’t think looks dumb with my hair. The model in the photos has hair a lot like mine, and looks fabulous, so I pretty much couldn’t not buy it. You understand, right?

So, if you haven’t bought those patterns sitting in your cart yet, get on it! The GAL discount expires at midnight EST! And if there aren’t any patterns sitting in your cart…you have way more willpower than me. But by all means, let me try and fix that.

gal infographic

GAL 2014 Infographic created by Kimberly Golynskiy

P.S. – I was interviewed here, and Claire is giving away one of my patterns. Go read it, and enter!

Happy GAL Ya’ll!

It’s officially GAL time! Are you as excited as I am? I plan on going on a serious shopping spree this weekend! I’ve been carefully avoiding looking at the Pinterest boards (well, mostly) because they are so, so dangerous. I may have lost a good half-hour on the sweater board already, and I SO don’t have time for another sweater with all the upcoming designs going on. The rest of the boards are totally getting devoured once I have an hour or two to devote to it (and buying) this weekend though.

puck drop detail

Which types of patterns do you plan to knit for the holidays? Or for that matter, just because but before the end of the year? I don’t tend to lean towards any particular type of pattern myself, but for the sake of my upcoming design deadlines I’m going to try to limit my GAL knitting to accessories like hats and mittens. Don’t forget that patterns you don’t buy during the sale may also be eligible for some of prizes in the GAL! As long as they’re indie patterns by a participating designer and not free patterns, they totally count.

swept crop

As a designer I’m also really psyched for the start of the GAL, and not only because the extra exposure for my independently published patterns is nice. It’s actually really fun putting my favorite other designers out there, and I have a pair of really interesting interviews coming up to share on this blog. Keep an eye on my G+ and Twitter for other exciting info on participating designers.

hyacinth neckline

Just as a reminder, you can find all of my discounted patterns here. The discount lasts until next Friday, November 21. I hope you’ll take advantage!

gal 2014 poster

It’s Almost GAL Time!

Thanks for all your empathy and warm wishes this past week; every little bit is truly appreciated. As promised, I have a real post this week.

Did you participate in last year’s Indie Gift-a-Long on Ravelry? Dozens of designers and hundreds of knitters and crocheters did! Sign-ups have begun for this year’s participating designers, and we’re already up to over 250 designers. I seriously can’t wait to see how many makers we get. Just over a week to go!

GAL join in yellow

So those of you who didn’t participate last year are probably wondering what on earth I’m talking about. The Gift-a-Long (GAL) is a huge event on Ravelry that starts in November and ends New Year’s Eve. It’s designed to both provide exposure for indie designers and provide some seriously sweet discounts and prizes for avid knitters and crocheters. For the first week of the event all eligible patterns are 25% off, and we all (even the designers, frequently) go on a shopping spree to get all the patterns we plan to knit for the holidays. This is the “gift”  part of the Gift-a-Long. You can see which designs your favorite designers are including by checking the GAL bundles on their designer page (mine is linked below) or see all the participating patterns on Pinterest.

2014 bundle

Once you’ve got your patterns it’s time to join a (few) KAL/CAL(s). Each KAL/CAL gets its own thread in the GAL Ravelry group where we all share progress, cheer each other on, and ask questions as relevant. Thus the “-along” part of the Gift-a-Long. The designers tend to be extra busy during this time as we’re not only frequenting the threads to answer questions and cheerlead, but also often working on projects of our own! Another good reason to be an active participant in these threads is that, every now and then and without warning, a mod will post that the next person to post a WIP photo gets a prize! The prizes range from free patterns to yarn and other fibery goodies.

gal 2014 poster

While only select patterns (by which I mean hundreds) are eligible for the discount and only for a one week period, all independently published patterns by participating designers are welcome in the -alongs. Additionally, all paid (not free) patterns by the designers are eligible for prizes. Some designers save new releases for this period for this reason. There are also periodic games and contests where the winners get still more prizes, and a huge giveaway extravaganza at the New Year’s Eve “party”. For those of you who are not new to Feel Good Knitting, yes, I will be giving away prizes in addition to my usual birthday/New Year’s giveaways.

As you can see, this is a big, big deal. This year’s specifics are below (note that some links will lead to empty pages until the start of the event). I hope to see you in the threads!

Sale Dates– November 13-21, 2014

Event Dates – November 13-December 31, 2014

Ravlery GroupIndie Design Gift-a-Long

Pinterest Boards – List of boards with links

Prizes – Listed here!


Is Handmade Truly Superior?

Isn’t that always the million dollar question among crafters? The discussion can get really ugly in some forums – there’s a lot of emotion involved in the thought. Anything you spend enough time on begins to reflect some of your own self-worth, and denying its value can be almost physically painful. But what about to people who were not involved in an artifact’s creation? From a broad, objective standpoint, is handmade truly superior? I won’t be posting much knitting here over the next couple weeks as I work on unpublished designs, to let’s have a nice discussion instead. Here’s what I’ve gleaned over the years of talking about it to countless crafters and non-crafters alike.

1. If there is something unusual about your body, handmade is the way to go.

Are your socks always too loose? The fingers of your gloves too long? Do you frequently have to choose between clothes that fit your waist or clothes that fit your hips (that’d be me)? Then loving, or being, a handcrafter is a beautiful, beautiful thing. No longer do you have to resign yourself to ill-fitting clothes. No more having to get all your professional clothing tailored either – at least some of it can surely be handmade! Since the truth is almost none of us are shaped like the mythical beings that mass-produced clothing is designed to fit, this is probably where the most undeniable value of handmade is.


Ain’t no other way to get a fit like this.

2. If you value having something unique, handmade will give you that.

You won’t find the average crafting pattern on a department store shelf. Even if you use one of the most popular patterns from one of the most popular sources for your craft, you probably won’t choose exactly the same media and exactly the same colors as many other people. Add in individualized shape and size for your extra special body, or some tweaks and technique changes for your own personal preferences, and there’s nothing else like your masterpiece in the whole entire world. If you want unique, you’ve got it.

3. For some people, the hours of sweat, headaches, and aching wrists they know went into a sweater really do make it more valuable. These people are not the majority.

Just like your baby is always the cutest, and the smartest, your handmade piece is always superior to store-bought. To you. Others who do your craft or similar crafts will probably also appreciate just how long it took you to make your piece, and just how difficult it was (or was not). They’re also the most likely to be aware of just how much that cashmere-silk blend actually cost, although ironically that’s the part non-crafters might be more likely to care about. Every now and then you’ll find a non-crafter who does truly appreciate the love that goes into every handmade object. Typically, these people have some other frequently undervalued skill, or love someone who does. However, these people who truly “get” how much of you goes into each handmade item? They are every bit as rare and precious as the item itself. Don’t assume your new friend is one of them.

Brambleton- Whole Sock

You know you can buy those for like, $5 at Walmart, right?

4. Some items will truly not ever be as good when made at gauges and with materials accessible to handcrafters.

No handmade fabric will ever truly replace denim, leather, or any number of other fabrics. Either, like leather, the material literally can not be made by hand, or like denim, the fiber may exist but human hands simply  can not work at the necessary gauge. You will never knit a pair of pants as practical as a good pair of blue jeans, and you will never crochet a bathing suit that stays put and dries as well as a store-bought swimsuit. You just won’t.

5. You can safely expect surprise gifts to end in tears and resentment. For everyone.

It can be surprisingly difficult to identify those rare people mentioned in #3. Even if they ask you, unsolicited, to make them something that’s no guarantee they really understand what they’re asking for. If they never ask, it may be because they don’t want anything handmade, but it could also be because they do understand how big a gift something handmade can be, and they don’t feel right asking for so much. Add in the fact that art is highly personal, and what one person finds beautiful may be garish or boring to another. How many bizarro, random gifts have you gotten from well-meaning friends or relatives (the proverbial reindeer sweater, anyone?) over the years that made you wonder whether the giver actually knew you at all? Were you then resentful about having to trot the gift out every time you saw the person after? Now imagine you’re on the other side of that exchange, and the beautiful gift you put hours and hours of thought and effort into gets an, “Oh…thank you” in response. More tears and resentment. Even worse if you’re making something where sizing is important, like a sweater – more effort AND more chances to make it unusable. Trust me, it’s much happier if everyone involved knows exactly what’s going on, and everyone opted in.

Selfish knitting is more fun anyway!

Selfish knitting is more fun anyway!

So what do you think? Is handmade superior?

Interested in a Gift-along?

November is upon us, making it officially “that time of year”. I’m not generally one to knit all (or even many) of my gifts to others. I keep it strictly for those who ask for something specific. However, it’s not unusual for me to still wind up knitting something for my loved ones for one gift occasion or other. In my family, November through mid-January means Thanksgiving, an aunt’s birthday, Christmas, my birthday, New Year’s, and another aunt’s birthday. Gift knitting for all would make me absolutely go grey.


However, if you are either more ambitious or have a smaller family than me, Ravelry is here to help! Several dozen independently-published designers have banded together to provide a massive array of patterns perfect for holiday crafting, as well as the support of your fellow Ravelers and favorite designers while knitting them. We’re talking to full range of indie designers, from newbie first-timers to quietly productive small-timers like myself to big names like Marnie MacLean and Alex Tinsley. Even better…?

discount ad

All of the included patterns are 25% off, now through November 15. There are also PRIZES for those who tag their projects and participate in the GAL threads. Those prizes also come from the participating indie designers, as well as a few indie dyers and small time craft-tool makers. Are you drooling yet? If not, the pages and pages of photos of participating designs will fix that! I’m having a hard time convincing myself I don’t have time to knit the 200 or so patterns I now want after paging through that thread. I won’t lie that knowing I’d be helping the economy and a small business also helps it feel worth the dollars I really don’t have.

Interested? The Indie Gift-A-Long runs today through the end of December 31, GMT. Even if you don’t buy a participating pattern during the discount period, you’re still welcome to join in the “-along” portion of the even and try for a prize or two! We’d love to have you!


So Not a One-Project Girl

I am torn. I finally decided on a project for my coworker’s baby shower. Sarah suggested kick sacks a while back, which were not something I’d ever heard of. Once I looked it up though, I liked the idea of a blanket the baby can’t kick off. I decided on the Owlie Sleep Sack and have been making good progress. That’s important, because her shower’s next week and if I don’t keep getting a few dozen rows a day done, I won’t finish in time!


Owlie Sleep Sack, pattern by Teresa Cole

HOWEVER. I am reeeeeally close to being done with the last pattern in the grape themed e-book, and I would so much rather be working on that right now. I can’t quite put my finger on why it’s so much more tempting right now, other than the fact that it’s almost done. I’m really struggling to remain strong though!

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