Just a note

To say hello and catch up.  I did have such a  nice Thanksgiving break and was quite lazy on Friday and Sunday.

Got lots of knitting and spinning done, and some photographs of things I have finished recently.  I really had to do that because I wanted to get some of them listed for sale on the Etsy shop.

I took these hats to work and some sold, but some have made it over to the shop.

So slowly I am restocking the shop, and of course, as always my timing could be way off.  Need to get the ornaments on there so that they have time to sell this season!

I did finish spinning my October Challenge yarn, and will share it with you when I can, again, in January.  It turned out to be more of a challenge than I thought, and did not come out as I expected it to, but it came out as yarn and I will use it, so that is good!  All I can show you is how it started.  Which is pretty!

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For knitting, I worked out the pattern on some custom ornaments that a friend ordered, and got started on knitting them.  She ordered two, and I am halfway through the second one.  She also ordered a hat, and I will pick up the yarn for that this weekend, and see if I can’t knock that out.

It is also time to think about making the Christmas cards!  Especially as some are going overseas.  I have a vague idea what they will be, but need to settle into that project. I was hoping to do some of that this past week, but it just didn’t happen.

 

A is really busy with her new venture.  She has a deadline to hit, and it is turning out to be a longer process than she originally thought, so she is working hard each and every day.  She works in the living room on Sundays so that we can spend time together, but it isn’t; the same as being able to do things together.  Still she is getting paid by the piece, so the harder and faster she goes, the more she earns.  And this project will be done in a month or so.  Then I am sure she will find another one to launch into.  At least, I hope so, since she is now self employed.  But I hope that she can figure out a schedule and pricing that let her have a day off each week!

 

That’s about it from here –  hope you are having a good week!

This weekend’s knitting

Hap-2-for-webHap for Harriet is coming along, more slowly now as the rows grow longer.  I am loving it, though, and glad I am keeping this one.

 

black-and-tan-for-web

This necklace is taupe silk with matte black beads, and I think it is for me to keep, I made one a  while ago and gifted it, but think of it often, so I made another.  After blocking, it will relax a lot and just drape beautifully.

 

peach-swatch-for-web

This is a swatch that looks more violently orange than it is – it is a bit more peachy in real life.

I am swatching because I have started three different hats with this yarn this weekend.  None worked how I wanted, so I decided to swatch it and choose a pattern that really will work.  The resulting hat will be for sale, and will likely have matching mittens someday.

I did a bit more than knitting this weekend – cleaned and rearranged the guest room, it is now a lovely sitting room.  There is space to move in it! The cats love to explore, they think everything is new and interesting.

I also did our tax return, and that is a thankless task that I can forget about for another year.  We get a refund because we seriously over-withhold.  The money is for our property taxes and insurance payments, so nothing too exciting in the whole process, but it needs to get done. Now it is.  I’ll print it out tomorrow and review it, then send it off.  Whew!

Other than that, it was just the normal stuff this weekend – laundry, cleaning, etc.

As an off shoot of the taxes, I updated my spreadsheet of knitting items that are for sale, and took photos of lots of hats to put on Etsy.  That’s my next chore.  I guess I should go do that…check SalpalCrafts on Etsy and see if I got the job done!

 

New lampshades!

Maybe you have to be me to be excited about this.

But what the heck, I am me, and I have been wanting new lampshades like forever.

Seriously, isn’t this pathetic?

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The lampshade that came with the lamp eons ago was a dingy yellowed drum shade. It worked ok but never excited me.  Then in the last move the shade got ruined.  This bright white shade was $3 at a thrift shop. Price is all it had going for it.  The smaller lamp to the left came with A. She loves it. I like the lamp but that shade-!  It clings to dust, the trim is peeling off, I hate it.

So, I was wandering around Etsy one day, and I came across a site,  I like that lamp.  Among other things, Kiri  the owner, sells kits to make your own lampshades.  Hmmm.  I “favorited”  the shop and life went on.

Then I had a good season selling knits, and I got paid through Paypal.  Ut-oh, dangerous!  I remembered the lamp shade kit and went back to check it out.  Following her directions, I measured the lamp for the shade it should have, and I went ahead and ordered the kit.

Pretty quickly I got a message that it was shipped, and almost instantly I got an email from Kiri saying that due to a computer mix up, she shipped me the wrong size, but she was dropping the right size into the mail.  I should keep the wrong one when it came.  We went back and forth a bit on that, but she was insistent. I acquiesced, gracefully, I think.  🙂

Soon this came!

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And I opened it up to find this inside:

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So pretty!  I love that she takes the time to package the kit in such cheerful papers.

 

Then came the next step.  Choosing fabric.  The instructions, and my common sense said to choose a light colored, light weight fabric.  The room is soft blue/gray, everything in it is blue, except the floor and ceiling which are wood, and A’s 2 big brown chairs. (Which are going away the next time I have a enough money for new chairs.  Don’t tell.)

I convinced A that we needed to go to the wonderful fabric store in Belfast, Fiddle Head Artisan Supply.  I left her out in the car with her iphone games for entertainment, and in I went to scope it out.

There are so many beautiful fabrics in this store, it makes me want to do nothing but sew.  Until I get home and actually have to deal with pattern and machine, of course. They have two rooms – one is primarily cottons for quilting (or summer skirts 🙂 ), the other with really nice quality fabric for dressmaking.  I stuck to the cotton room. They also have other supplies, including real wool felt, and I managed to NOT get any of that, but it was tough.

I saw this cool thing, made with what appear to be paper drinking straws. I might have to make one…

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Back to the lampshade fabric…

I quickly realized that not just any fabric would do.  Because of the size of the shade, the direction of the pattern really mattered.  I wanted to be careful not to have my pattern come out sideways in the finished product.  This caused me to regretfully rule out some really cute prints.

And, because I love A and want her to stick around, flowers were out.  Prints that are flowered, prints that look like they might be flowered, prints that vaguely resemble flowers.  She is not having any of it.  There is a reason that so far every single thing in our house is a solid color.  Except in my craft room where I have very nice looking (I think) flowered curtains and roman shades.

Before too long, I had a nice stack of fabric.  I did what any 21st century shopper would do.  I took photos of them all, and sent them to her in the car so she could weigh in on the decision.  I figured I would be the winner as I only sent her photos of fabrics I liked.  🙂

Here are the selections:

Wait a minute – where did that red come from?  I thought I decided light colors?  Well, I did, but I loved that print and thought a pop of red in the room would look fabulous.

 

A thought I was mad, and she chose the one with the dotted swirls.

I still might go back and get that red someday, looking at it now, I really like it.

There things sat for a couple of weeks.  I needed the right time, lots of patience, and of course, to clear up the table in the craft room.

 

Today was the right time.  A is at work, I have a holiday.  Its snowing, so the light in the craft room is good, no glare.

 

I set to work.  Ironed the fabric carefully, and headed upstairs.

The directions are short, sweet and clear.  Apparently, there are tutorial videos, I didn’t look at them. I don’t think I needed to.

I laid both shades out on the fabric and got to work.

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The styrene liners are really rolled up tightly, I had to use lots of weights to hold them in place.

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(Oh look what I found for weights – more lamps!!)

I fussed a bit with the fabric, which as you can see is thin enough that I can see my cutting board beneath it.  This is a good thing, as I wanted is all to be as straight as possible.

Finally I had to get brave and peel the backing off the styrene and stick it down.  This was just as easy as the instructions said, not as hard as I expected.  I peeled and stuck slowly, smoothing as I went.

It wasn’t long before I was ready to fit the rings into the cylinder and start gluing.  I am not sure if the tutorials will show this step, the directions here did not, but I did a dry fit at this point, to make sure I had the cylinder at the exact right size.  This was a bit fussy, but I am glad I did it, as I was able to make adjustments now, not when I was covered in glue.  🙂

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Once I was sure it would all work, I set to doing the gluing.  This also went very smoothly, and again I followed the directions and did a bit at a time, pulling it tightly as I went.  I used all the clips she sent in both kits on the first (smaller) shade.  Luckily I have a million of these clips, so I was able to do both shades today. Other wise I would have had to wait for the first one to dry.  Or gotten brave and trusted that Kiri knows her stuff and I don’t need all these clips.  You know I was afraid of it snapping open and me having a sticky mess on my hands. That did not happen.  In no time, the second shade followed the first.  Here they are immediately after the gluing was done (and look – another old lamp in the background!):

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And here they are in the living room, clips and all.  I am going to give them until tomorrow to let the glue dry really well before I remove the clips.

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The small one is really too small for that lamp, but look – the old thrift store drum shade fits it pretty well!

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So I will have to find another lamp for my new little shade.

I am really pleased with how these turned out and how easy it really was to do the shades.  I will be making more of these in the future -a  red one, perhaps?  And of course, since I uncovered no fewer than SIX shade-less lamps in the corner of the craft room when I was looking for weights, I can imagine that I will be making some so that they can be used again. I did not realize I had turned into a lamp collector.  I do know I like lots of light, so I guess it makes sense, in a hoarder sort of way.

If you are thinking of doing this, I can’t recommend I Like That Lamp kits enough.  I’ll be checking out more of her offerings in the future.

I do recommend that you start with a smaller shade if you have that option – the big one was a bit harder to work with due to its size, but I had confidence from doing the smaller one first.  I can see myself getting a bit frustrated if I had started with the larger one first.

 

Just a note – I was not paid in any way for this review. Although I did essentially get two kits for the price of one, that was her providing excellent customer service, not asking for an endorsement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What weekend?

After such a restful and rejuvenating ten days of vacation, going to work this week felt like a shock.  It was hot and humid, and so after work, it seems all I did was go for a swim, then collapse on the couch with my knitting. But I didn’t even do much of that, I just felt exhausted!

Then to add insult to injury, Saturday was one of our big fundraising events – a tennis round robin.  It is lots of fun, and I was in charge of the money box and raffle ticket sales, so I was busy, but had time to talk to people throughout the day.

Still, it was work for this introvert, and that was the 6th day.  Needless today my list for today has nothing definite on it, I am just going to do what I feel like.  Of course, I have a rather long list to select from.  🙂

A is off with her sisters to go to their aunt’s for a family birthday party – I begged off when the plans were made, knowing what this week was like. So, I have a whole day with no expectations.  Rather like my Fridays used to be.

Possible activities could include:

  • Knitting (probably a given!)
  • Sewing – a few projects are out on the table.  All are things I want to wear but don’t seem to want to make.  🙂
  • Changing the bed and washing the sheets
  • Planting a bushel of day lilies my sister-in-law brought me this morning
  • Working on reformatting and editing the rough draft of a memoir my mom is writing about her work life – WOW!  I am so excited that he undertook this project.  Even if it is never officially published, it is an amazing thing for her to have pulled together.
  • Repairing the wooden garden bench
  • Surfing the web (I feel this is a probable activity, given my energy level.  🙂 )
  • Polishing my toenails

I’ll write later this week and let you know what I chose.

Meanwhile, here are some knitting update photos.  Photos are done with the camera, I think they came out pretty well!

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This is the striped blue/green vest. Colors look better than the last photo I shared with you.

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Millais – about half way through the yarn, so, hopefully, the shawl as well. I LOVE that the rows are shorter by ten stitches with each 4 row pattern repeat – rows are going along quite quickly now. The color in this photo is also better than the previous one I posted.

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The gold and teal waves wrap – I am about a quarter of the way through the yarn, but more than 1/4 of the way through the thing – it grows quite a bit in length when blocked, so I think I might be as much as half way through it.  I have 4 balls of the gold yarn, and just started my second one.  I can’t wait to see this blocked – I wonder if the color ratios will change? This feels very gold to me, which was not my intention when I began it.  🙂

Oh gosh, I nearly forgot to tell you the big news!  I sold the little dark reddish-orange Charleston Sweater and hat set!  I have had it on Etsy since I finished it, and apparently this is the season to sell a little sweater.  🙂 I am very happy about this sale as I was getting discouraged  at the lack of sales all over the place.  I have started putting some hats back on Etsy, as it will get cold eventually, right?  I also got in touch with the woman who runs the holiday pop up shop and she is doing it again this year.  I will be in it again, and from day one this time.  I have to start thinking about inventory – but I have been collecting some beautiful buttons this summer, so I have inspiration for more hats and one button wraps. I’ll fill the shop and Etsy and see what happens. You know, when I finish these things in process for myself.  🙂  And the commission Charleston Baby set that has been on order all spring.  I FINALLY got measurements out of the mom, so now just need to get a yarn commitment from her so I can begin.  I know I will never make a living at this rate, but it sure is fun to get paid to knit!

On that note – check out Over the Rainbow’s current newsletter – the sweater I knit is hanging in the window – not a great photo, but mine is the purple one with 3/4 sleeves in the center background.  I hope more of that kind of knitting comes my way.  🙂

Well, time to go do one of the things on my list… maybe I will choose a polish color and then take a nap. I have been up for 5 hours now.  Don’t want to get to ambitious.

A little card making

We have several birthdays in March, and of course, I try to make cards for family birthdays. So I have been up in the craft room lately, mucking about with paper and pen…

I can show you one that I finished for last week, it should have arrived at its destination by now.

Diane's birthday 2015

I made this for my sister-in-law, D.  I hope it brightened her day and gave her hope of spring flowers to come.

There are two more that go in the mail tomorrow, I’ll post photos of them next weekend.  I have one more to make for the end of the month, but I got distracted while I was in the craft room, and made these two, which I put up for sale on Etsy.

iris card

lady slipper card

They have some sparkle which doesn’t show – I tried to get good photos but couldn’t, so finally settled for a scan.  That gets the colors right, and sharp images, but loses sparkle.  I’ll try for more shots of them tomorrow if the sun comes out.  These are relatively simple cards – a rubber stamped image on water color paper, then colored with water color pencils and washed with water.  Trimmed, mounted on pretty paper and highlighted with my favorite accessory – Sakura glitter pen in the clear color, number 0700.

I had to give my hands a break from all the knitting I have been doing lately, they were getting achy!  But I think that making cards is a good substitute when it comes to being creative.  And when all goes well, the finished objects come more quickly than say, a lace shawl.  🙂

Last Friday in February – THANK GOODNESS!

Here in eastern Maine, we have experienced not just the snowiest month on record, but the coldest February ever recorded.  And not just February- the coldest month recorded here. It got above freezing for one half hour this month.  That is just ridiculous. All I can say is “thank heavens this month is over!

Yesterday I went to Portland With Mom to knit with sister C.  We stopped in Bath for a quick bit of yarn shopping.  Actually, C asked us to stop and get a few bags of the knit loops used to make those fabulous potholders.  Niece E was very excited to see them when she got home from school!  I got out of the store with only one planned purchase – a cone of the silk yarn I used to make jewelry – Mom wants me to make a custom pair for a gift, and I didn’t have anything right for that person.  Now I have sunny gold, which she wants to have some green beads. Not sure how I will like that, I might recommend some rust in there as well, we will see.  I have to go to the bead store next week, see what they have that inspires me.

We had a good day, just sitting and talking and knitting – and lunching, of course.  That sister of mine can make the simplest meal so delicious.  All with ordinary ingredients, but they taste better when she puts them out than when I do.  🙂  Plus, she serves it in the cups and bowls she has made. That makes it even more special.

The bad news is that I don’t think E’s knee socks will fit her, but I think she likes them, so I will get some more of that yarn and try again.  Luckily, it is readily available and not horribly expensive.  They were long enough, but the legs were too skinny.  That means more purple and pink knee socks in my future. 🙂

So, what’s on for today?

Nothing too exciting.  I did the laundry earlier this week, so it can wait until later in the weekend.  I already did a bit of work, and will do a bit more, then turn in my time sheet.  I am finally feeling like I am getting the break I craved – I only worked a total of about 15 hours over the last two weeks!  YEAH!  The next two weeks will be much busier, but I feel better able to cope.  Of course, I have not gotten the things done around the house that I had hoped to, but I feel like that will change. The days are getting longer, I am feeling more distance from the stress of work, so I will get moving and productive soon.  Meanwhile, I knit…

Today I hope to finish the double knit cowl.  It is thicker and heavier than I could have imagined, so I am just doing one pattern repeat, or it will be a muff for my head!  However, I feel ready to try my design idea now with this technique.\

I plan to write up my notes on the angora hat and see if there is a pattern there.  Then figure out if I want to sell the thing.  I mean, I do, but there is work to be done ahead of that – that is what I want to figure out if I can do.  🙂  Lots of blog reading to do on the subject.

I already called EBS and asked them to yes please, deliver a ton of pellets today.  That is our 5th ton for this winter.  Unbelievable how we have gone through them.  (See first paragraph!) Hopefully, it will start to warm up, at least during the days so that consumption slows down.  And we are so thankful that we have this stove and that it works and keeps our house cozy and warm.

I emailed my boss and asked for a meeting to talk about grants to write – not sure if he will have time for that today or if that meeting will be next week.  There are a couple of opportunities that are due in April, so I will see if he wants to pay me to work on them.  🙂

I’ll go to the PO and see if any of my recent Etsy purchases have arrived. Do you know there are the most interesting buttons there?   🙂

A slow easy day.

Saturday update

Well, for those of you who are curious, I did get dressed yesterday.  Eventually.  🙂

I also made several valentines, and took photos to load in the Etsy shop.  That’s when I discovered that something is REALLY wrong with our computer.  As in it crashes and reboots constantly.  I got it open in safe mode, but not long enough to figure out what is wrong.  Then I dug out the tax laptops and booted them up.  They can’t find the wireless connection.  But I was able to crop the photos, and put them on the flash drive. The computer is off and sitting in time out until I can convince the IT guy at work that he wants to tackle it for me.

When A got home I used her computer to load them up to the shop (feel free to check them out at SalpalCrafts on Etsy) and she reminded me that with a LAN cable, I can get the work laptops online.  Duh.  How quickly we forget.  So all that frustration (which I lightly glossed over, above) was for naught.  I am back on-line and feeling good.

I also did a lot of knitting, CHECK IT OUT!

jan 23

That is right, I am on the second mitten!!!!  I am saving the thumb for when I can do two of them together, but at last that darned mitten fits and is finished.  I worked the first couple of inches of mitten number 2 before I decided to work on the blue sweater.  I am feeling the urge to finish something (anything?) and so pushed on that.  I am almost done with the body, then I can start the sleeves.

I answered lots of telephone calls.  Is it just me, or are there lots of scammers calling these days?  I had an opportunity (with credit card info, of course) to: go on a free vacation; get my computer fixed (now, that was tempting); solve my credit issues (which I was unaware I had).  I hung up on them all, but each call interrupted my peaceful day and was quite annoying.

I did check my traps, and found I had caught a fat mouse.  I hope it was one that lives in the walls here.  They are so cute, I wish they lived elsewhere so I didn’t have to kill them.

It was a quiet ordinary day, just what I needed, although I could have done without the computer issues.

Today we are expecting big snow, if the weather people can be trusted.  Our Saturday night/Sunday storm has shifted back, and is a Saturday storm only.  Naturally, A and I decided that meant we should get up and get chores done fast!  We went to the dump and the grocery store and out for breakfast.  Now she is downstairs making obstacle courses for the cats (or possibly putting up some siding on the wall so she can put up some shelves) and I am doing the “chore” of checking Etsy and my blogs and essentially playing.  I’ll go do laundry in a bit, I promise.

So.  About Etsy – I need help publicizing the shop, and getting my listings so they pop up.  Anyone have good tips on this?  When I post to Facebook that I have put things up, my hits do go up, but as yet, no one has purchased, which does not surprise me. The people who are my family and friends are used to getting all of this for free.  I’ll work on educating them if you will all help me figure out how to reach others.  How do I do it?  Is it worth paying Etsy for those ads I see?  What tricks are out there?

The snow has started, and Zumba wants me to let her out on the deck, so I need to go where I can see her while she is out there.  The limitations of the cord, alas.

Another knit-heavy post/Today on my needles/What I am up to this bright Monday

On my needles – the photo was taken this morning, but it is what was on the needles all day yesterday.mitten and sweater jan 18

Yesterday I conceded that the cold was winning and did the only thing I know of to beat it – I stayed put on the couch with knitting and Gray’s Anatomy reruns.  All those doctors did the trick, I feel much better today!

The mitten is coming long, although I did rip it back to the cuff when I realized I was carrying the yarn too tightly between needles.  That problem is solved, I have made up all that ground and then some.  I think they will be too long on me, but I will wait and see.  Meanwhile, I am learning about thumbs.  Elizabeth Zimmerman uses something she calls a thumb trick so I am trying it, as she is, after all, a certified knitting genius. I am loving these beauties, I knew I was ready for some red and white mittens!  Because of all the nice carried yarn, they are thick and warm, too.  Can’t wait to get then done and on my hands.

The sweater – sigh.  I love blue, you know I do.  And I do need a blue cardigan, I truly do.  But this “very easy” lace is killing me, I can’t get in the flow of it,so it simply isn’t becoming instinctive and mindless.  However, I made a real push this weekend, and finally got up to the armholes!  Now, the directions have me supposedly knitting first the left front, then the right front (with opposite shaping to the left, of course) and then the back.  And it all says “working in pattern.”  I was in a dilemma, as I can’t read the knitting! How do I know where the heck I am or left off in the pattern? So, I joined two more balls of yarn, and am knitting both fronts and back at the same time.  That way I at least know which row I am on.  I THINK I have figured out where each section begins in the pattern, but time will soon tell.  The good news is that there are now 72 fewer stitches in a row, so it should go faster.  As long as I keep those three balls untangled.  And I will definitely be knitting the two sleeves at the same time so that they stand a chance of matching.

But what else have I been up to?

Well, reading blogs, of course, and uploading hats to Etsy – thanks to all of you who have looked at my shop, and don’t forget to let me know what you think if you haven’t already. I think there will be some cards and things posted soon, in the next few days, at least.

Since it was the weekend, A was home with me the past few days, and she was such a sweetie, doing lots of laundry and table clearing, and being generally a good sport about being married to a slug.  🙂  She even drove me to Ellsworth on Saturday so I could pick up a book the library had gotten for me.  Since it is the book club book, and the meeting is tonight, it was sort of important.  🙂 (My Brilliant Friend – more on that when I finish it) we did a few other errands, then had breakfast at Martha’s Cafe, which we love.  I like to go out for breakfast, because the food is so yummy, and it doesn’t cost the earth. I like Martha’s because she makes delicious everything. I had a veggie and ham stuffed omelet, and stole some of A’s raspberry muffin.  mmmmmm

Today, besides finishing the book and not getting sucked into red and white knitting, I plan to do the housework I did not do Friday (start deep cleaning the bedroom) and get into the craft room to make some cards for the Etsy shop – I am thinking Valentine’s and birthday cards, but I am open to ideas, so please, offer them up!

And I have to go check the mouse traps I have outside, they are no longer buried under a pile of snow – with all that rain yesterday and balmy (is it really 40 degrees F out there today???) air, we have almost no snow left – so I  can find the traps.

Other than that, I will putter, putter, putter.  🙂

NOT Blue!

mittens jan 16

I was able to stop at the Yarn Barn in Bangor today, and wasn’t I lucky?  She had these three luscious cascade washable wool skeins – perfect for my mittens!  I’ll go cast them on in just a minute….

First a word about the Yarn Barn.  She is tucked away behind a credit union outside a mall – you kind of have to know she is there.  And she hasn’t got a HUGE inventory, but she has some real workhorse yarns, and she offers:  A frequent buyer discount (I have full cards just waiting for me to need yarn) and a discount if you pay in cash!  So today’s purchase came to a whopping 12 dollars and change.

How often does that happen?

On another note – I finally opened an Etsy store today.  I  only have two things uploaded, but I am working on it.  At first, it will be the hats that I took back when Creatively Maine closed, but I hope to knit and paper craft other offerings to sell. SO please, visit but be kind, it is a new venture for me and I am clumsy and awkward.  Kind suggestions most welcome! Take a look at https://www.etsy.com/shop/SalpalCrafts  I can’t sell the necklaces online, per agreement with the designer, but I have some ideas for my own or non-proprietary designs so someday I will get fabulous silk/beaded things up there as well.

Now, I am off to cast on the mittens.  Trying to decide – I-cord edging or garter stitch? I know which will look better in the end…

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