Thursday, July 31, 2008

Happy Grand Opening To Me!

We're nowhere near done, but the website is ready for shopping. I've made a sale already and things seemed to move smoothly.

Am I ready for this? Not really. But if I wait until I'm ready, it won't happen.

What's listed now:
  • 30 or so sets of stitch markers in various shapes and sizes
  • 2 yarn colorways

What should be listed by the end of the weekend:
  • More yarn (plus more on Etsy as well)
  • Patterns
  • MAYBE magnets depicting sheep and sock monkeys - they're coming soon...just not sure exactly when
What should be listed on Etsy in the next couple weeks:
  • Something other than sock yarn! Yep, you read that right. I have alpaca. I have silk. I have laceweight. I have bulky. I have some cool stuff coming! I have several different types, but not enough of any one to justify putting them on the website just yet. I'll test them out on Etsy first. I will post here when they are listed. You won't be disappointed!

Feel free to let me know what you'd like to see in the coming weeks.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Coupon Codes and Giraffes

Happy Monday!

This is a busy week at Chez Yarnworks.

The grand opening website launch of is still due August 1. There are products on the site now and I believe it's ready for purchasing items (at least using PayPal...working on more options), though right now only 20 or so styles of stitch markers are available. Tonight I hope to add some more stitch markers and my currently available patterns.

A question I've been getting a lot is: Will you have yarn available for the website launch? The answer is...I hope so. Here's the dilemma. I have a lot of yarn sitting around, awaiting a photo shoot, but most of them are one-off skeins. Meaning, I only have 1 skein in that colorway and I likely won't (or can't easily) recreate the colorway close enough to make the colorway over and over again without needing to update the picture. My inclination for the website is to only offer yarns that I will offer over and over again for several months. I'd like to leave my one-offs for my Etsy store. I could dye up a bunch of yarn between now and Friday, but I'm without daycare and I prefer to bring out the respirator, boiling water, and dye that could stain the walls (of our rental home) for days when I don't have the kids underfoot. My next day without kids won't be until Thursday, not leaving it much time to dry for the launch. BUT... if there is not yarn on August 1, there WILL be yarn within a week or so.

There will definitely be more Cherry Cordial yarn available for those who want to use the same yarn I did for the Rosalie gloves. I have a few skeins that need to go out to those who have already contacted me, but then the rest will be available on probably both Etsy AND my website.

Remember, if you purchase items off by July 31 and use the coupon code SNEAKPEEK you'll receive 20% off. From August 1 until August 31, look for a coupon code on If you're not a part of that site yet, I highly recommend it. :)

Okay, enough of that.

Yesterday we ventured up to my husband's hometown to visit the in-laws and attend my neice's third birthday. Let me just say that she is FREAKIN' adorable. She can be so sweet and cute and cuddly one moment, and the next...when a chair is between her and her new get a glimpse of a future Bridezilla.

We visited with my mother-in-law for an hour or so in the afternoon, then headed over to my sister-in-law's early for some chit chat and to help with any necessary party set-up...though she pretty much had it under control. Sadly, I have no pictures to share. I left my camera at home. Though, I may be able to add some later if I get copies from my SIL.

Oh, and we kinda sorta might have stopped in at the local yarn store on our way into town, which was surprisingly open on a Sunday. Me? Spend money? On yarn? Never.

Today, I promised the kids a trip to the zoo. Before I get the mother of the year award, let me admit that I was just hoping that the endless walking in the 90-something heat and 60-something percent humidity would have them completely zonked by noon, allowing me to fill orders and work on the website. I'll give you two guesses as to how well THAT worked. *sigh* Yes, they were exhausted, but that only made them even more hyper. Ah well. They did still do a decent job of entertaining themselves, so I really can't complain.

Besides, I got to meet Autumn, our zoo's 10 month old giraffe.

Sorry for the lousy cell phone pic, but I decided the dSLR needed to stay home today, so I could just enjoy the visit with the kids. Anyway, Autumn was behind glass, but otherwise, we were only inches from her. The kids were thrilled. We missed all the giraffes during our trip with Daddy, so that's all Big Sister could talk about today. I think she got her fill of giraffes today.
The kids are suddenly quiet again. I should probably go take advantage of that while I can!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Introducing Rosalie

The Rosalie gloves pattern is now available in my Etsy Shop.

A ball of hand-dyed burgundy yarn sat in a ball on my bedroom shelf, waiting for inspiration to turn it into a pair of socks. The yarn was special, and I knew it had to be just the right pattern. An original pattern. I tried to sketch out some ideas, but none were good enough.

At the time, I was reading the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. The gothic nature of this yarn seemed more apparent to me after reading these books. I started thinking about the yarn turning into something with a little lace and a pinch of sex appeal.Then I realized, this yarn wasn’t meant for socks at all, but for gloves. Lacy, feminine, sexy gloves. Rosalie was born, inspired by a character in the series.

As the pattern unveiled itself, I realized that a less gothic version would be beautiful as well. This pattern in cream or white would be ideal for a winter wedding. The same pattern in black with bright colored ribbon would be great for a teen or young adult. Change out the ribbon to suit your mood. Give the gloves only partial fingers or no fingers at all. You can even just knit the ruffle and cuff, turn them upside down, and use them as ruffled wrist-warmers. This pattern offers many possibilities.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hermione's Cable & Eyelet Hat

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The original Hermione hat, from a publicity still released recently:

Here is my interpretation of Hermione's hat in the upcoming Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince:

I think I've come very close, but would like to make a couple of mentions before I introduce the pattern. First, I apparently can't count past 3, so my sample has a couple of errors. The pattern is, I hope, correct. Next, the hat, as pictured, does fit me, but not very well. I will make notations in the pattern of how I plan to make my next hat that will hopefully fit me better. Mostly I think I will just add another cable twist and set of eyelets so that there are 4 instead of 3. The fit issue seemed to be more of a length thing than a width thing.

I should add that despite the hat not quite fitting me right, I do have a large noggin. lol. According to CYC sizing standards, a woman's hat should fit a woman with a 20" head. I have a 22" head. My oldest has a 19.5" head (she's in the last 2 pics on my blog), and my youngest (shown above) has an 18.5" head.

If you want to make the hat larger around, you'll need to do one of two things. You can add 22 stitches to the cast on, giving you 12 cables around the hat instead of 10. can only add 12 stitches, then decrease by 1 stitch once the 1x1 ribbing is done. (Adding 11 will give you an odd cast-on number and screw up the ribbing.)


1 Skein Patons Classic Merino in the colorway Grey Mix (I used probably a little over half a skein, but people on Ravelry are reporting that they've used closer to a full skein)
Size US5 (3.75mm) 16" circular needles
Size US5 (3.75mm) double-pointed needles


7 stitches and 9 rows per inch


Cast-on 110 using the Alternate Cable Cast-On. Join for working in the round, being careful not to twist.

Rows 1-16: [K1, P1] rib around

Rows 17-20: [K6, P5] around

Row 21: [K6, P1, YO, P2tog, P2] around
Row 22: [K6, P5] around
Row 23: [K6, P2, YO, P2tog, P1] around
Row 24: [K6, P5] around
Row 25: [K6, P3, YO, P2tog] around
Row 26: [K6, P5] around
Row 27: [Slip 3 stitches onto cable needle and hold in front of work, K3, knit stitches on cable needle, P5] around

Row 28-33: [K6, P5] around
Row 34: [K6, P1, YO, P2tog, P2] around
Row 35: [K6, P5] around
Row 36: [K6, P2, YO, P2tog, P1] around
Row 37: [K6, P5] around
Row 38: [K6, P3, YO, P2tog] around
Row 39: [K6, P5] around
Row 40: [Slip 3 stitches onto cable needle and hold in front of work, K3, knit stitches on cable needle, P5] around

Repeat rows 28-40 once more for a child's hat and twice more for a woman's hat.

Begin decreasing:
Row 1: [K6, P5] around
Row 2: [K6, P2tog, P3] around
Row 3: [K6, P2tog, P2] around
Row 4: [K6, P2tog, P1] around

Row 4.5: Errata: add a row of [K6, K2tog] around
Row 5: K6, K2tog [K5, K2tog] around (note: you will include the first knit stitch of the next row in your final K2tog. From here on out, the final K2tog will end with the first stitch of the next row. (If this doesn't make sense, please leave me a note in the comments and I will elaborate.)
Row 6: K5, K2tog [K4, K2tog] around
Row 7: K4, K2tog [K3, K2tog] around
Row 8: K3, K2tog [K2, K2tog] around
Row 9: K2, K2tog [K1, K2tog] around
Row 10: K2tog around
Row 11: K2tog around

Cut yarn and pull through remaining 5 stitches.

Tuck in ends.


Edited 7/17/09: After seeing the movie, it appears that the crown in the movie version was sewn. Instead of decreasing, continue the pattern in a tube until it is too long for the head. Then turn it inside out and sew in a curve to fit the head. Be sure to sew a few seams or serge the seam to be sure your work doesn't unravel. Then trim and turn right side out.

For a free chart for Hermione's scarf, click HERE!

Edited 8/11/09: After a second viewing of the movie, I'm in agreement that the hat is more squared, though I don't think it's an actual straight seam. It appears to be shaped more like the cosymakes hat HERE. The difference being Hermione's hat has an actual seam, whereas the cosymakes version is seamless along the sides, using decreases instead. To do this, I have a couple thoughts, but haven't tried either. First, you could stop working in the round halfway up and go back and forth using decreases on the sides to create the hexagon type top, then seam the two parts together. The other, you could create a simple tube in pattern, seam the top, then pull the corners in and seam those. I currently do NOT plan to alter my pattern using either of these methods. Please feel free to leave a link in the comments if you attempt a different crown.

©2008-2009 Please do not copy this pattern or make and sell items made from any of my patterns without permission.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Busy Busy

True to my word, I've been a busy girl. In 3 days, I've made over 500 stitch markers, dyed several skeins of yarn (not many...I'm missing my mojo), and dabbled with 3 new product ideas to see how they'll work.

So here are some of the sock-sized stitch markers I made.

Many of which went into my free sample basket. There are over 100 here...

Some lucky customers might get one of these teeny mini skeins as well. They're about 10 yards each. I only have about 8 of these at the moment. Note to self: get yarn dyeing mojo back.

More new samples to come right along with the new products too. It's all top secret, but I will say that there are sock monkeys involved...kinda. ;)

I've also been playing with PhotoShop (totally new territory here), trying to make some banners and such to advertise the launch of my new site, messing around with the new site, visiting a local bead store, shopping for fabric and other supplies, and potty training the little one in my spare time. *whew* Why am I still awake again?
By the way, potty training Baby Sister is going VERY VERY well. Everyone cheer her on!
Bed? Work? Bed? Work? Yeah, okay...I'm gonna work a bit more before bed. hehe. G'night all!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Where Do I Start?

I have to say first that despite loving you all, I really wish I were still gone...still enjoying my time with Mr. Yarnworks. He was home for 15 full days and it was fabulous!

So I guess I should start at the beginning. I knew he was headed home, but had no idea when. I finally got a call around 1pm on Monday that he was in Atlanta and would be flying into Sioux Falls at 7pm. Woohoo!

BUT....ugh...BUT....then I got a call at 5:30 that he'd missed his flight in Chicago and wouldn't be home until 11pm. *sigh* So then I had to scramble to figure out what to do with the kids. Initially I thought I'd just bring them with me, but Baby Sister didn't nap and was already cranky by 6pm. Thankfully, when talking to my friend G*, she volunteered to come sit with the kids after I put them to bed. Thanks G*!

Of course, Big Sister didn't really go to bed. But Daddy didn't mind one bit...

He gave her a hat.

Does anyone else see the Dora has the mumps? Gotta love Iraqi knockoffs. lol

Baby Sister was sound asleep when he got home, but the next morning he went into her room when she cried. I was a bit worried about her reaction to him since she was still pretty young when he left (18 months) and has always been mostly a Mama's Girl, but she didn't skip a beat. She was THRILLED to have her daddy home. The ENTIRE time he was home, all I heard was, "NO! I want Daddy!" The second I'd park the car, she'd scream that, wanting HIM to help her out of her carseat instead of me. Every bedtime. Every diaper change....okay, she didn't really. That's just what I told him...but everything else is true. ;)
So then I was a neglectful wife and mother and put the camera away and we just enjoyed our time together as a family. Mr. Yarnworks and I did a lot of shopping for our new house. We picked out some family room furniture (still not delivered), got the girls a play kitchen, just all kinds of stuff. Between shopping and eating out almost daily, we had a very expensive visit. lol But it was tons of fun.
I did manage to bring the camera on a trip we took to the Great Plains Zoo here in Sioux Falls.

The duck pond is the first thing you see when you go into the zoo. And, of course, the girls wanted to feed the ducks....
The monkey house....

Outside the monkey house, we saw a mama and her baby. At first, she was on the other side of the pen, almost trying to hide her baby. But I think she saw Mr. Yarnworks holding Baby Sister and I swear it was like she was trying to relate, because all of a sudden she makes her way to our side of the pen and holds out her baby for us to see.

Baby Sister just loves penguins after seeing Happy Feet. This picture reminds me a bit of a sad moment in the movie:
(quote from WikiQuote)
Mumble: Excuse me. What is this place?
Penguin: (in a HAL 9000-like voice) You're in Heaven, Dave - Penguin Heaven.
Mumble: Is it anywhere near Emperor Land?
Penguin: It's wherever you want it to be. Try the water, Dave. It's really real.

The petting zoo is always a winner.

They even have pony rides now. That was new. Pricey, but this was definitely a day to spoil the girls...only 2 days before Mr. Yarnworks had to return to Iraq.

Baby Yarnworks seems very proud of herself, trying to milk the fake cow. (The udders were full of water, but it was nearly impossible to milk. Then again, I feel the same way about milking real cows!)

I found a friend in the petting zoo. Who couldn't love that face???

And more spoiling...

Overall, the thing that stuck me the most from his visit home was his unwavering support of JL Yarnworks. It was unreal how many ideas he had, how many ways he felt he could support me, and how much time, money, and energy he was encouraging me to put into it.
In talking, I kept talking about these potential exciting things coming up in September. I kept talking in terms of "if this" or "if that" and then one day shortly before he left, it dawned on me. Why is my business hinging on these ifs? Why would I let my success hinge on something totally out of my control? That's completely unacceptable. So my whole thought process changed in an instant. September is going to be my month regardless of outside influence. Those things might help, but I'm going to spend the next 6 weeks doing some mad production, adding product lines, slowly building the JL Yarnworks website (you can look, but it's scary right now), preparing displays for the fiber fair in September, etc. Then, by September 1, I will be doing a full marketing blitz. It's do or die time. My ultimate goal is that when Mr. Yarnworks comes home (October maybe?), that JL Yarnworks is a full-time job for me. I really don't want to do anything else. This is my passion.

I've been slowly adding new products to my Etsy store. This one will be added today or tomorrow.
I will be adding items to my new website as well over the next couple weeks. Just as an FYI, anyone who purchases items off will receive 20% off their entire purchase as incentive to help me test the site. For the record, I will combine shipping between and my Etsy store. Before you pay, send me a little note and I will send you a new invoice.
In other news, is anyone excited about the new knitting in the upcoming Harry Potter movie? I wish we could see all of Hermione's hat! If anyone finds a better picture, please let me know!

Time to get back to work. It's been very busy at Chez Yarnworks since Mr. Yarnworks left! Stay tuned. I promise you won't be disappointed!