Thursday, March 31, 2011

I have been Nerd Approved!

check out this cool site for the best in geek culture, which now includes my golf club covers. Holla!

Sports Craft: Baseball Sidetable

I found this week's sports craft on a sweet blog called Love of Family & Home. This Mother/Daughter team loves to craft and share, and takes the most beautiful pictures of the journey. This time they have shared the transformation of a simple plant stand into a very cool baseball themed sidetable.

wooden baseball bat
wood plant stand
antiquing medium
paint brushes

To see step by step how this was made, check out Love of Family & Home

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

FREE PATTERN! Plus: Learn to knit in the round

I spend most of my time now-a-days knitting golf club covers of various characters. It is hard to believe that a few short years ago (2005 to be exact) I had not knit a stitch. Now I can cast on and knit without even thinking about what I am doing.

You too can knit my golf club covers, but first, grasshopper, you must learn to knit in the round. Below is a great pattern to start with. You will make a complete project and learn the technique in an afternoon.


I have made a video tutorial! These videos will walk you through 3 of the most popular techniques used when knitting in the round. Learn how to use Double Pointed Needles, 2 Circulars, or 1 Circular for Magic Loop.

Worsted Weight Yarn
size 8 US DPN's or circular knitting needles
darning needle

Cast on 40 stitches and connect them in the round
*k1 p1*, repeat across to 4"
Cast off
You can see mine on a cup on the right --->

You now have what can be used as a funky wrist band or a coffee cup cozy! AND you have learned the basic technique of knitting in the round.

You can pick up one of my more advanced patterns (like the one on the left) in my etsy shop, or on ravelry.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Geekly Weekly: For My Sistas

Geraldine Ferraro, may she rest in peace, reminded me that this is indeed women's history month. And what better way to celebrate the history of women then to celebrate our strength! How far we have come, and yet how far we still need to go. Lets celebrate that superwoman in all of us and be sure to thank your mothers for burning their bras.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Baseball Fans! play to win custom golf club covers!

Tracey Knits is proud to announce the formation of our very first MLB Pick'em Tournament

The winner for the season will have a set of 3 custom golf club covers designed and knit to their specifications. All you have to do to enter is sign up for the email newsletter below. If you are already signed up and you would like you join in, please email me and i will be happy to send you a referral.

So sign up and I will see you there...

* indicates required

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sports Craft: Jersey Cozy

This week's craft comes from Amy of Positively Splendid. I found her amazing blog through Craft Gossip, a must read for creative people. This is what Amy has to say about her project:

I created these with 12-ounce beverage cans or bottles in mind (I posed these with a bottle of Izze to show the fit), but they also perfectly accommodate water bottles - or even sippy cups! Wouldn't your little one be thrilled for you to make some of these for his or her teammates before their next big game? Water break was never so much fun!
Foam insulating material (the same that mouse pads are made out of), found in the utility fabric section of some sewing stores
Felt (2 different colors)
Pinking shears
Marine vinyl
Wash Away Wonder Tape
Leather sewing machine needle
Tissue paper
Coordinating thread
Basic sewing supplies: machine, shears, etc.

For instructions on how to do this project, check out Positively Splendid.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Top Shop: Thinking in Advance

Calendar Necklace by PunkyJane
Retail has a holiday schedule. All summer we stock up for the Christmas rush. In January, jewelers stock up for Valentine's Day. Currently I am stocking up for Father's Day.

Thinking about what holidays are around the corner is very important to your shop.

Those are your key holidays!

Now, take that calendar and mark it 6 months ahead of that holiday. This is when you are going to start your planning. It may seem like a long time, but if you get a good head start, you are sure to have just what you need in time for that date.

What holidays do you need to prepare for in your niche?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Geekly Weekly: Sprrrrrrrrrrrring!

The weather is getting warmer, the birds are chirping, the flowers are growing, and you are still sitting inside playing video games. Celebrate the changing season with my new treasury. Spring into Spring with springs!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Writing a New Pattern: conclusion

Cobweb Lace Stole by KrazyKnitter01
I am very disappointed. I really wanted to document my successful journey from idea to pattern, but as most of us creative types know, not every project turns into anything.

There were several problems from the get go:
  • I have never knit a lace shawl before
  • the design was geared to women (not my target audience)
  • It was taking too damn long (most of my projects take less then 2 days to come together)
As you can see, this design was just not meant to be. I am planning instead to record a series of videos on some of the knitting techniques required to knit from my patterns. Useful to my friends and customers!

For those of you looking forward to purchasing said design, here is a great capelet from BernioliesDesigns that has a web-like appearance and a knit doily done in the round by Patternsalacarte

Friday, March 18, 2011

What kind of Geek are you?

Geekster Handbook, a Field Guide to the Nerd Underground

If you are one, you probably already know it. If you love one, you know it too. But for those of you who are oblivious to the different kinds of Geeks (yes, there are sub-divisions), here is a great little guide brought to you by your friends at Wired Magazine.

PS: Left out in the article are Goths. Not normally considered by traditional geeks, I nominate them for official status. They are often obsessed with literature including the work of Bram Stoker, Anne Rice, and Stephanie Meyer. They fantasize about being an immortal creature of the night and sometimes dress in costume. So, my blood craving brethren, you are now a part of the team.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Funky Fights the Funk

Hello Sweetie soap by Funky Chunks
So I am on Twitter (big surprise) and one of my "friends" tweets that she is mixing up a batch of new soaps. The names included: Suntan, Surf Wax, Dirty Boy, Good Earth, Wasabi and Jersey Girl. You can imagine why it caught my attention. What does a jersey girl smell like? And do I really want soap that smells like a dirty boy?

I responded that they sounded pretty cool and guess what... Free Samples!!!

Funky Chunks has some great looking soaps. All are made from organic materials right on the Jersey Shore. She also offers a line of scrubs, candles and lotions. She even has more masculine scents for those manly men and hand-crocheted washcloths to use with her products. I have to say though, my favorite thing about her soap is its appearance. What amazing looking soap! I can imagine it in my guest bathroom, giving off its delicate fragrance and dazzling the eye at the same time.

The samples arrive and I am not disappointed. There are three beautifully wrapped and labeled bars of soap. I pull out Good Earth first. It smells like a day in the park. Next up is Dirty Boy. It has a much stronger, minty scent to it. Last is Jersey Girl. Taking a whiff reminded me of vanilla candles.

Michele, owner of Funky Chunks, also included a card directing me to return to her website for a "customer testing program". I get the free soap, and in return she gets to pick my brain. Seems like a good deal to me!

Be sure to follow them on Twitter and Facebook for updates on all their products.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Top Shop: Go Team

Baseball Golf Club Covers
Etsy has a lot of teams. A LOT of teams. I am not going to discuss any of them today. This article is not about Etsy Teams the way you may have experienced them in the past...

The Team I am going to propose to you today is more like a Think Tank. A small group of creatives get together, it is of no consequence if their shops sell even remotely similar items, in fact it may be helpful if they sell drastically different things. This group then takes on the task of helping each other make their shops the best they can be.

Face it, we all have aspects of our shops we love and hate. Things we are good at and things we probably could use a little help with. What you are good at is probably not the same as your neighbor. So lets get together and share our strengths and get something great in return!

If you are interested in participating in a Think Tank, I am sure their are others like you who would be happy to join in. Please comment below with:

  • your etsy shop link
  • what you think you could bring to the team as your strength. 
Hopefully we will be able to get teams together with a diverse a group as possible.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Geekly Weekly: 22/7

I <3 math. I have <3'ed math for as long as I can remember. Can you believe that this is the first Pi day i will be celebrating? For you not in the know, Pi=22/7 or 3.14.... See you again on July 22nd!

Top Shop: the twitter experiment

There have been many etsy experiments I have read about, most of them involving re-listing at its focus. I have not found any change in sales for myself in the past from re-listing so i have decided to try something else; Twitter.

Twitter has been a great resource for me. I have made many "friends" and connections across the country and the world. Many of them have similar interests to my own. Some who just want to have a zillion followers. Either way, keeping things interesting and re-tweets are the key to success in the twitterverse.

This is my experiment:
I plan on using it as I normally do most of the day. Sporadically making inane comments on life and business, however, I will make sure to tweet a link to my website with a clever tie-in once per day. I will change the time every day to see how tweeting at that specific time on that day effected my traffic/sales. Of course I will chart everything and be sure to share the findings with you.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Brand New from Handmadeology!

If you dont already know about it and you are a seller on Etsy, shame on you! Handmadeology by Timothy Adam is one of the most important sites for handmade sellers to be aware of. Once again, he has brought a new must see site for us called the Handmade Top 10.

Products are featured and voted on by you. Check out all the categories, vote on your favorites, add your items to the appropriate categories so others can vote for you. He has even put in convenient links to share on twitter and facebook to get more votes.

Be sure to go to the Handmade Top 10, and while you are there vote for my Yoda Golf Club Cover in the Geekery Category :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Writing a new pattern; day 5

Watch Winder by SMStudio
If you are just joining us, you can start back at the beginning here. Now on with the show...

I thought I had it down. I was increasing every third row, but I didn't notice until it was WAY too late that I was creating a giant ruffle. Alas, frogging was the only option. Boy am I glad I bought a ball winder this past summer!

I am not sure why I am not working directly from a pattern to learn technique, but this is the path I am most comfortable with. I guess it will also teach me about how to create different movement in the fabric, so this may turn out to be a good thing.

The choice to work with the cheaper yarn may have been the best decision so far. I am less fearful of making a mess with it or "wasting it". It is also has less of an aura then what I had chosen before so I can see what I am doing. I guess I will never be one of those people who gets a kick out of using gorgeous expensive yarn. I am too afraid of ruining it. Probably why all that LYS stuff sits unused in my craft room while I work with the cheap stuff.

Hopefully, by my next post, I will be beginning to work on the final project idea so I can FINALLY share what all the fuss is about.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Top Shop: Fear Rules

Sun of All Fears by Egolikeness
Don't moms have the best advise? I am not saying that with even the slightest hint of sarcasm. Yes, sometimes I feel like my mother should keep her opinions to herself, but this time she was spot on.

I have been struggling with some of the exercises in my Blacksburg Belle Blogging Rockstar program. I was telling my mother about how the questions just took me out of my comfort zone and I was feeling immobilized by it. Her response, "Just make something up." BRILLIANT!

Now she was not telling me to lie or tell stories, she was simply saying that sometimes if you start writing something, anything, it will get your brain working. Plus, very often the first thing that pops into your head is the answer you were looking for. Don't be afraid of the page, make a copy of your form and fill in the final version after you have worked it out on the scrap.

Mommies are the best, and I can say that because I am one :)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Writing a new pattern; day 3

Started the whole project over by downgrading to some cheap sock yarn, some size 6 DPN's and size 6 circulars. I cast on 8 stitches and started with *YO, K1* to end every 3rd row. When there became too many stitches for the DPN's I switched over to the circulars.

So far it is looking pretty good. The shawl is increasing at a good rate. It is not web-like, but I can see how I can change the pattern to make it more open and airy.

I am definitely finishing the shawl, maybe sew it into a bolero for my little girl. When it is complete I am thinking I now have the tools to design the finished version.

Geekly Weekly: Sticky and Sweet

Can you believe it is national bubblegum week? There are soooo many of these crazy celebrations in this country: frozen food month, optimism month, safe toys and gifts month... and as a geek it is your job to have all of these ridiculous pieces of unimportant information at your disposal. You can see them on this site so that you can be sure and mark your calendars for national mole day.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Writing a new pattern; day 2

Party Favor Tags by Bellezaeluce
Missed day 1? check it out here.

This was WAY more ambitious then I anticipated. That may be because i have chosen non-american patterns to use as reference, it may also be because I have no clue what I am doing. I have frogged 4 times since yesterday and downloaded some new patterns (from American authors this time) to see if that will make a difference.

The yarn I have chosen is sticky, which means i dont lose stitches when I drop them, but when I frogged I often had to literally rip it appart! I may have to try knitting someone else's pattern from beginning to end in order to understand technique before I can start another version.

PS: Once this thing is complete, there may be a giveaway because I am pretty sure I will never want to see it again.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Writing a new pattern; the odyssey

I have yet to decide whether I have lost my mind or I am just way too confident. simultaneously, I am attempting to knit my first project in a lace stitch AND write a pattern of it. Let me explain...

You may have seen some of my work depicting super heroes like superman and iron man. I wanted to knit something other then another golf club cover. I decided that a lace shawl based on Spiderman's webs would be a great idea. The only thing standing in my way was that I had only knit a shawl once before and it was TERRIBLE looking. Fortunately, it was not my pattern :). This time I will do it right and it will be fabulous.

So now I have my size 2 DPN's in hand and Schoppel Wolle Zauberball yarn, a few patterns just so I can see how other people have done it, and a stitchtionary. I will keep you updated as I progress

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Fashion IS Art

Oh how I love outrageous fashion. Lady Gaga is my hero. Halloween has always been my favorite holiday.

Now look at the picture of this woman on the right. Would you look at her and say, "that is a woman who loves crazy fashion"? Probably not. My personal style leans more towards Donna Karan then Betsy Johnson. I shop more at Target then Barney's. I RARELY wear jewelry or a belt, it just feels like too much. Lip gloss is generally my version of makeup.

Now the big reveal: I ADORE Alexander McQueen. For years I have looked at his fashions with lust. I dreamed of owning one of his works of art. A few years ago McQueen did a line for Target. I tried on every piece hoping to fulfill my fantasy at a price I could afford. No dice. There was no way I would ever wear any of those clothes, even at a reduced price tag. Sigh.

When he died, I felt a loss. A true artist, creating wearable pieces that transended their purpose. Maybe I should have bought one of those dresses at Target and just hung it in a frame.

If you are a lover of fashion or art, you will want to check out the costume institute at The Met for their Savage Beauty exhibit, opening May 2011. McQueen in his glory, all 19 years of his career. His most interesting and original pieces on display for 3 months.

epilogue: Target announced that they will be re-releasing some of their most popular dresses from the GO collection over the last 5 years. Sale starts March 13th, be sure to check it out.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Top Shop: Be Original

Artist by NatashaVonBraun
New ideas are hard to come by, so when you have one protect it like a mother grizzly. That doesn't mean you have to "go rogue", but it does help to know your rights. Trademark and Copyright laws are complex and hard for the average person to understand so has broken it down into easy to understand tidbits. Whether you are the artist creating original work or the handmade shop getting inspiration from pop-culture icons, learn what is protected and what is infringement.

Beware The Brand Bully

Patents, Copyrights and Trademarks

Legally Protecting Your Original Designs

What the Heck is "Trade Dress"

Parody and Derivative Works