Inked

I’ve always toyed with the idea of getting a tattoo since the hardest part is deciding what to get inked on my body.  It’s difficult to find an image or symbol that can represent my passions, regardless of whether those dreams are long term.  Tattoos are reminders of the energy and focus I had or currently have towards goals/dreams/moments and that in turn, embraces the value of life and how I choose to live mine.

The interesting thing is, about six months ago I suddenly felt such a strong determination to get a tattoo of some sort by the end of the year.  That feeling lasted a grand total of 48 hours.  But in that time span, I was able to really narrow it down to which motifs I would have chosen, if I were to get inked at all.  It came down to the two dreams that tugged the most at my heart.  I decided that I wanted a minimal line-based Manhattan skyline and a pair of knitting needles (ball of yarn optional).

While I still fluctuate about placing permanent art on my body, here are a few tattoos of inspiration and sources of major tat envy!

Love the tiny heart at the end!


Unexpected and awesome placement


Great detail and shading


Nice graphic quality – bold, yet simple


Playing with typography

I always love hearing tattoo stories, so please share yours (if you have any) below!  Or if you fluctuate on whether to get inked or not, and why?

And…just for laughs, here’s an interesting article where tattoo artists are asked about which are the “worst popular tattoos” they’re sick of doing.

I would love to hear about any readers’ tattoo stories!

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Current Goals: November

Things in life rarely go according to plan but I do believe it’s important to make goals for yourself.  However little or grand, short term or long term, they bring a certain sense of perspective and motivation.

Here are a few on my mind:

Read through my promotions emails/newsletters  

Ever since Gmail started to automatically separate emails by category, I feel like there’s a serious chunk of emails (10,147 to be exact) I’m missing out on.  There are so many great websites out there that offer valuable advice and guidelines on various projects I’m trying to start.  Whether it’s tricks to maximize SEO tags, cute packaging ideas, or blogger burnout woes, there is a wealth of information I have been ignoring.

Seriously stop buying yarn

Danger Zone

 

I need to keep walking when I see that cute holiday display and plush merino on sale.  In fact, it is best to RUN!

 One new post every week

This might seem like ages in the blogging world, but I juggle a full-time 10hr-ish job, grocery shopping, a social life, and now this blog!  Setting small goals that are more reachable and realistic create clearer focus and a calmer mind.

 

What are some small and not-so-small goals that you are focused on right now?

What’s in My Knitting Bag

I have no fancy designer bag, but I do have a tote bag full of knitting and crocheting goodies!

Here is my spin on those popular “What’s in My Bag” posts, as a knitter.

Fun fact:  I have never bought a bag without zippers in my life.  Most of the time, I carry my knitting around in a freebie tote like this one from Urban Outfitters, or ones I pick up from work trade shows.  However, OtterburnPQ, offers some great bags designed specifically for knitters and their projects.  Storeowner and designer Jésabelle was featured in an interview here last year!

Inside my bag…

Current Project – pretty self explanatory, it is what it is.

Small Notebook – I love the office supplies at Muji, especially their pens and notebooks.  This one is so minimal and lightweight, plus blank pages provide more flexibility for when I feel like scribbling calculations or sketching.  I’m on the lookout for a small notebook with graphing paper, so please comment if you know of one!

Miscellaneous Tools (from left to right) –scissors, crochet hook and/or knitting needles, stitch holder, cable needle, tapestry needles, stitch markers

Those little tools are stored in the loveliest little embroidered bag gifted from a co-worker.

 Readers, what do you always have to carry in your knitting bag?

The Carnegie Mittens

New item in the shop!

These mittens, named for the Carnegie Hill neighborhood in New York City, are knit from 100% merino wool.  Merino wool refers to a specific breed of sheep that produces the finest yarn quality.  The finer the yarn, the less susceptible it is to breakage, which you usually see as pilling in sweaters.  Because they are hand-crafted from Italian merino wool, these mittens feel like the softest, most plush cotton material, without the scratchiness of other wools.

The textured stitch of the mitten add a subtle design element and extra grip.  Soft charcoal colors and minimal styling allude to classic menswear influences.

Available now in the store.

New in Town

Vogue.com ran an article this week covering up and coming knitwear brands as sweater weather approaches.  These designers have such a refreshing approach to knits and I’m already eyeing a few of those dreamy cozy hoodies and sparkly sequined cardigans!

Lauren Maloogian – Perfect autumn chill outfit

Spencer Vladimir – Cozy Rockstar Vibes

Which designs caught your eye?

NYFW Spring 2016

Lovely knit looks from this week’s shows.

Wispy Knit Layers at Ohne Titel

Cocoon Sheaths at Sally Lapointe

Sexy Stripes at Sally Lapointe

Funky printed ponchos at Alice + Olivia

Playful crochet at Alice + Olivia

Translucent at Vera Wang

Which were your favorite shows from New York Fashion Week?  I’d love to hear in the comments below!

Metallic

My comfort zone color palette may be soft pastels and cozy neutrals, but I actually love metallics.  Especially when worked into knits, I think the contrast of the yarn’s softness and the hard edges of metals make for an eye-catching combination.

Antonio Berardi Pre-Fall

Weaving with a pop of gold from All Roads

Whether it’s a metallic dye treatment, or a piles of metal hardware connected to sweater knits, it is a feature I would love to explore more in the future.

Esther Paleologos creates knit art from various metal wires all from a domestic knitting machine.

This week, I found a bold metallic blue yarn deep in the archives of the Ita Vero yarn stash.  I thought the brightness and futuristic element of the color would pair surprisingly well with the worn-in denim look yarn I had been saving for a special project.   The “Mercury Cowl” is an ombre metallic textured knit cowl made from those two yarns.  The soft drape and simple silhouette will be a stylish addition to any fall/winter wardrobe.

Mercury Cowl – available for sale in the store

Ita Vero Knits on Etsy

Woodlands

After seeing an abundance of lush forests on a mini road trip through Vermont last month, I came up with three new designs inspired by the scenery.  I am starting to get the hang of a true winter vacation, dreaming of redwood forests, snow, cozy log cabins, hot chocolate by the fireplace…and Sean Parker’s unforgettable wedding.

Here’s a look at the latest additions to the Ita Vero shop, and the images and places that have inspired them.

Ita Vero Cable Color Block Beanie

Ita Vero Ombre Cable Hat

Ita Vero Olive Knit Headband

Conversations with Jésabelle

It is so easy to make a chaotic mess when working on a big knitting project.  Supplies, notes, and yarns are strewn all over the place, tangling up together.  I just find it so difficult to be organized when I am working on something creative.

I stumbled upon Jésabelle’s shop Otterburn PQ the other day.  She sells these clever little knitting bags to hold your yarn so that you can knit anywhere you go.  The bags come in various fabrics and are designed to slip over your wrist.

What inspired you to begin a business?

I’ve always sewed, with my mom usually and I would make clothing and all sorts of stuff. I made so much at one point that I figured I had to start selling some so I could get the space and then the money to make some more !

What do you think is the key to a successful Etsy store?

I think that the key to a successful Etsy shop is caring for it. You have to be committed and always try to make it better. It shows when the owner takes care of there shop. New articles, great profile story, good pictures, etc.

How did it feel to make your first sale?

The first sale feels amazing ! It really is crazy. You think then that everything is possible. You also think : I hope they don’t realize I don’t know what I’m doing…
At first, the shop was just for fun, to see if it would work. Then it started to be a real job. I’m so thankful for every sale I make. I’m so lucky to be doing what I like.

Are there any other Etsy stores that you love to follow or often browse?

I love Thimble and Accorn.
She has a great style, simple but great pictures and obviously super nice women’s clothing.

In the description, many of the designs are based off your great-grandmother’s version. How else has she been an inspiration to this business and in your life? Do you come from a family of crafters?

My whole family sews. But my mom is the one that inspires me and helps me the most. I couldn’t do it without her. She showed me how to use a sewing machine and made me redo a lot of stuff back in the days… Today, we work well together and she is the best « employee » ever ! She rocks !

I love the muted shades of grey and denim blues of the bags. How did you come up with this selection of colors and natural materials?

The fabrics I use for my Knitting Bags are for me classics. You really can’t go wrong with Denim, Linen or blue and white Stripes…
Plus, I like that the yarn you are using is the star. That said, I’m planning to make some limited edition bags with busy print fabrics just for fun.

What kind of future do you see for your store? Do you think you will be adding other types accessories or expanding sales outsides of Etsy?

I already have knitting bags in a couple of stores locally and one in New York soon…
In the future, I will be adding other versions of the bags, other accessories. My mind is full, I just need more time… More time !

Conversations with Vaiva and Liudmila

Oftentimes, families pass down knowledge and stories of crafting from one generation to the next.  The handmade works become a symbol of family history.  Mother and daughter duo Vaiva and Liudmila run the Etsy store Woolspace.  Here’s what they had to say about doing business together and how their culture shapes and influences their approach to work.

How did you learn to knit and crochet?

L. Strange, but I learned knitting naturally. My mother didn’t knit so I learned it myself, of course it was very simple, only knit and purl. Later more skills were gained reading books. And I don’t like crocheting:)
V. I remember I had to knit something at school but my mother did it. I learned knitting not a long time ago about a 4 years ago when I saw my mother’s beautiful intarsia knitting. I asked her to teach me how to hand knit and since when I’m still in love with knitting.

What inspired you to begin a business?

L. At first I hand knitted socks only for family members but my neighbours noticed it and asked to make something special for them too. I made more socks then needed so idea of selling socks for others came naturally. Probably our story is similar to many others who make extra money from their hobby.
V. At first my mother sold socks in local markets. Later I suggested to start selling on the Etsy as seemed the best place to fit in:)

What are the benefits and disadvantages of working with family?

L. For me it’s only advantages. We think very similar so there no arguments.
V. Well, yes, I don’t see disadvantages too. Everything is simple as we don’t keep it bussiness. It’s still more hobby for us.

Where do you look for inspiration for your designs?

L. Inspiration is a process of creation. I like folk designs and try to make something unique mixing or changing them.
V. I’m only a beginner so I play more with colours as reading design charts and adopting them to certain sized socks is not so easy. Nature is my biggest inspiration.

What has been the most technically challenging piece or design that you have knit?

L. My first pair of socks with intarsia design. It took almost a few weeks!
V. Every piece is challenge. Sometimes the simple design can become nervous wracking.

What do you think is the key to a successful Etsy store?

V. Hard to tell where lies the treasury of success. Of course nice Etsian style photos have influence if the items looks attractive to customers. Still it’s not the main key. After trying various strategies with photos, descriptions, prices I can say that main key to success is to follow you sixth sense. Sometimes no matter what and how other shops sell the only important thing is follow the way you feel it’s your way.

How did it feel to make your first sale?

Oh, our first sale gave so much joy. Every sale gives a piece of happiness too.

Any advice for those looking to start their own crafts-based business?

V. Best advice – do what you want to do and forget about others as it might distract from your way.

Are there any other Etsy stores that you love to follow or often browse?

V. I try not to browse other shops which sell similar items to ours. I don’t want to start comparing other made pieces with ours and there’s no need to bother my head by seeing copies of our made designs or stolen ideas of description, photos etc. Nobody can stop stealing ideas so only thing we can do is to change our feeling about it:)
But there are so many amazing creators in Etsy. I like browsing shops who sell unique pieces, sometimes I can’t believe how creative people are. It gives a lot positive emotions.

How did you come up with the name Woolspace?

V. This name suddenly popped into my head and without much thinking we named our shop WoolSpace.

It’s interesting to note that while their store does well as a business, the pair value their mother-daughter relationship first and foremost, rather than as business partners.  The innate familial bond boosts great teamwork and supports creative intuition.

All images via Woolspace