Isn’t this supposed to be a knitting blog?


Posted by admin | Posted in HH, knitting | Posted on 30-04-2010

Well, it was, before I began Highland Handmades.  Lately I have no time to knit!  Between teaching, working at Rite Aid, and operating the business, my hours are spent working.  As a result, knitting has been one of the things I’ve had to set aside.  I’ve been working on the Evenstar Shawl, but I’m now two clues behind. I have about 6 rows still to do on clue #4 and clue #7 comes out in a week.  I don’t think it’ll be done before the end of the school year.  That sucks.  I can’t stop feeling guilty whenever I sit down to knit, though.  I could be dyeing fiber, or reskeining yarn, or any other of a myriad of tasks.  But – didn’t I begin my fibery lifestyle with knitting?  Don’t I love and enjoy it?

I guess it all comes down to making time versus finding time.  I haven’t been making time for knitting; I’ve been trying to find time.  But there is no time – not when everything else needs to have time made for it, too.  My relationships with my husband, animals, friends and family have been put on the back burner as I try to get HH off the ground.  I think maybe I need to make a bit of time to remedy this situation before it gets too bad.   I have this weekend off from my two “real” jobs and plan on making the time to do the following:

  • Snuggling the cats (done, although I think Zedd only snuggled me because he was hoping I’d feed him)
  • Brushing them both until they decide they’re done, not me.
  • Taking Jackson for a walk Saturday and Sunday
  • Picnic lunch date with Bear (done)
  • Bowling with friends Sat night (done.  Awesome.)
  • Mowing the lawn (ick.)

Of course, I am also going to work for HH because I can’t not take advantage of the time I’ve got this weekend.  Here are my goals for the weekend on that front:

  • Dye 10 pounds of fiber (finish the SW Merino, begin the SW BFL)
  • Skein the rest of the first two cones of yarn.
  • Finish reskeining the dyed yarn (done)
  • List Flair and Jonquil in shop
  • Get AO’s pics to her, pack up her fiber, invoice it and ship it (pics done, fiber picked)
  • Have second Epic Phone Conversation.  Set wheels in motion for Epicness (done.  Hoo boy!)

That last one?  Hoo boy.  If it goes well, then perhaps finding time to do the first list won’t be so difficult in the future.

Have a great weekend, guys.  If you have a way to make time for knitting, I’d love to hear it!

Week 2 of 10kH


Posted by admin | Posted in 10kH, HH, TFF | Posted on 29-04-2010

Day 8 (4/23) – Reskeined three skeins sock yarn (2 Jonquil, 1 Marooned).  Estimated time: 0.5 hours.

Day 9 (4/24) – Got business cards in the mail.  Showed them around. Estimated time: 5 minutes.

Day 10 (4/25) – Ordered banner for booth.  Free + shipping. Estimated time: 15 minutes.

Day 11(4/26) – Epic phone conversation.  Groundwork begun on Epicness. Estimated time: 2 hours.

Day 12 (4/27) – Sold “Maritime” to co-worker, sent links to another.  Reskeined 4 skeins.  Estimated time: 1 hour.

Day 13 (4/28) – Recorded episode 3, uploaded, went to L&V Live, dyed 2 lbs (Downeast and Dionysus) Estimated time: 3 hours.

Day 14 (4/29) – Invoiced Dani for sock yarn.  Thought about doing a giveaway for blog (for Grabby Hands in next ep).  Jonquil?  Formulated charity knit along ideas for Alice in Wonderland’s group home.  Estimated time: 10 minutes.

As you can see, I’ve been busy!  I don’t think that I’m where I need to as far as the dyeing goes.  I will have to have a few MAJOR dye sessions to catch up to where I need to be.  It’s five weeks out from the show, and so far I have very little done!  Eep!  If Saturday is nice weather, I can dry the skeins outside which will save me the step of putting them on a hanger and waiting for them to stop dripping before I put them on the drying rack.  I have a new place to dry the yarn (spare bedroom, where I have a big box fan blowing on them gently to speed drying time), but am beginning to worry I’ll run out of room in my storage containers before I run out of fiber!  I want the braids to stay fluffy, but I can’t if they are compressed into containers.

The blog continues to go well – I have so much fun recording and seeing what people have to say about it.  I’m working on a contest (as you saw above).  What do you think?  Has anyone done a blog contest before?  How did it work for you?

Week 1 of 10kH


Posted by admin | Posted in 10kH, HH, TFF | Posted on 22-04-2010

Well, a week has gone by, and I’m a little bit further in to my quest for mastery.  I am forever grateful to Elli Metz for opening my eyes to this idea.  10kH has forced me to take all those daydreams of grandeur that I have and put them into motion.  To make forward progress every day, even if it’s just a little movement. The Fiberista Files is well underway – I recorded Episode 2 this morning.  I got my wholesale order … all 44 pounds of it, and have already dyed up 4 pounds, or 11%.  My husband Bear is making good progress on my display racks and even made me an awesome new swift for reskeining yarn.  That thing is going to save me SO MUCH TIME.  Seriously.  It’s not pretty, but it works so well.  Here are a few pics:

It’s made of PVC pipe, wooden dowels, and the skeins are held apart by pieces of cardboard.  I wound 10 skeins of yarn today, each pair of skeins taking about five minutes to wind and another five to tie off.

Here’s how I spent the remainder of my first week of 10kH:

Day 5 (4/20) – Worked on labels some more.  Decided that business card sized labels would be better; also decided to hang fiber from display without twisting into skeins.  Bought string for business cards.  Will have to make new cards next week.  Estimated time: 0.5 hours

Day 6 (4/21) – Notes for Episode 2 of TFF.  Fiber came!  Played with that. Estimated time: 1.5 hours.

Day 7 (4/22) – Dyed 2 lbs fiber, 8 skeins sock yarn.  Recorded episode 2.  Much easier and faster!  Bear created new swift, began work on displays.  Played with that until it worked, skeined 10 skeins sock yarn.  Calculated new yarn price. Estimated time: 5 hours.

Writing to clarify (even if just for myself)


Posted by admin | Posted in 10kH, HH, TFF | Posted on 19-04-2010

I began 10kH last week and so far am loving it.  I love that I am actively engaged in working towards something, using my whole mind to go forward instead of just revolving around a bunch of useless crap.  But I’ve encountered a snag, and I thought if I wrote about it an answer might present itself.

My 10kH plan is about growing my business.  What I do to become bigger, better, etc.  So – does the act of DOING my business count?  For example: today I unbraided and re-braided eight bundles of fiber.  I had braided them tightly as I do for shipping purposes, but changed my mind and decided that if they were braided more loosely, they’d be more physically appealing to the Fiber Frolic customers.  The fibers are softer and smooshier.  So the five minutes I played around with that idea counts towards 10kH.  But does the subsequent half hour where I re-braided rovings?  I was putting a plan in place, but after the initial braid, I don’t think I learned anything else.  I spent a few seconds deciding how I wanted the label to look and where to put it, but other than that, it was just repetition.  Nothing new.  No forward motion.

Maybe I just answered my own question.  It doesn’t count.

Here, then, is what I did do:

Day 1 (4/16) – Created video podcast called The Fiberista Files.  Made extensive notes on possible future episodes.  Recorded first episode.  Edited and re-recorded first episode in places.  Uploaded video to Youtube, posted on blog, facebook, and plurk.  Estimated time: 5 hours.

Day 2 – Uploaded video feed to iTunes.  Made note of tutorial so I can pass the info on.  Created and ordered business cards.  Had hubs talk to t-shirt lady about creating “Fiberista” t-shirts as thank-yous for donating.  Pasted PayPal donate button tutorial to Evernote to be looked at later, along with potential donating/t-shirt guidelines.  Estimated time: 0.5 hours.

Day 3 – Researched inventory storage options for Frolic. Purchased 5 clear totes, clothespins for display.   Estimated time: 0.5 hours

Day 4 – Revamped braiding process for Frolic.  Standardized labels (direction and size), put on fiber. Called vendor coordinator re: size of canopy.  12×12 is okay size.  Phew! Estimated time: 0.5 hours.

I have tomorrow to spend some time working on creating a chart to organize inventory and finalizing new handmade swift to wind (hopefully) three skeins of yarn at a time.  I wish to spend an hour or so doing a more thorough outline of the next five or so eps of TFF so that when I get busy again, I’ll be ready to just record.  I may even to the outlines in the drafts section of TFF’s blog, so I can have all the links ready to go.  I should work up some advertising for TFF, too …

Ten Thousand Hours


Posted by admin | Posted in 10kH, HH | Posted on 15-04-2010

Ten thousand hours.

It’s the time it takes one to become an expert at something.  The thing doesn’t matter; cooking, writing, rebuilding engines … research has shown that without exception, the brain needs about 10,000 hours to reach mastery. It’s a comforting and terrifying thought.  on the one hand, it shows that if you put in the time natural ability doesn’t matter, but on the other hand its a significant portion of your life to commit to one thing.  It’s 3.4 years of eight hour days, to put it into perspective.


When Elli Metz first blogged about this concept, I was intrigued.  I enjoy her creativity and knew immediately that I wanted to follow her progress.  But when she invited her readers to begin their own 10kH project, I was flummoxed.  What on Earth could I devote that kind of time and mental energy to?  I first considered knitting, but there’s lots of knitting that I have no intentions of trying, let alone becoming a master at (steeking, intarsia and fair isle).  Between high school, college, and my professional career I’ve got more than 10k hours invested in the study of English (and I do consider myself to be an expert at my native language, at least when compared to others).  So what could I do?  For that matter, what did I want to devote myself to?  I began to think that I’d be merely a spectator of this project, rather than a participant.  Still, my mind kept nibbling away at it while I was doing other things like driving or trying to sleep.

It was in the diaphanous cloud of jumbled-up thoughts that assail me as I begin to fall asleep that it hit me.  My body and brain both jolted fully awake.

Growing my business.  That’s what I can spend 10kH doing.

The more I thought, the faster the ideas started coming.  I could spend so many hours learning about marketing, trade shows, new dye techniques, greener methods of dyeing, building a website to sell my goods off of Etsy, joining professional communities, and more.  I could put into reality a dream I’ve had of beginning my own fiber-related podcast.  I could learn to make my own spindles, needle gauges,  and other accessories.  I could take a class, interview my icons, be an intern for a day… the more I thought the more I wanted to do this.  The more I could see myself devoting my energy, in a deliberate way, to growing my business.  I already know that this life, this crazy busy fiber-filled life, is what grows from the core of my soul.  Why not put back into it some of the energy it gives to me?

So, I’m turning in my permission slip, setting up some guidelines, and inviting you along for the ride.  It’s gonna be awesome.  The permission slip is here, in case you’d like to play/work along:

10kH Project Guidelines:

  • That I will work on it every day, even if only for a few minutes, even if it’s only *thinking* about what I’d like to do.  From thoughts come ideas, and from ideas come creativity and real-world results.  Thinking counts.
  • I will keep track, as best I can, of how much time I spend each day working on 10kH.  I will use Evernote to add to this as I go or another (better) program if I can find one.  Estimates are okay; I don’t need to worry about the seconds I spend here and there.
  • I will keep a running record of what I do/want to do/have done, AND I WILL FEEL FREE TO CHANGE THINGS AS NECESSARY.  This will not become another 101 in 1001 that I am afraid to edit, even when I don’t want to do those things any more.  This will be flexible.  It must be.
  • I will focus not only on things I can do by myself, but those things that require help from other people.  I am not allowed to be a hermit!  I cannot learn it all by myself.  I need help.
  • I grant myself permission to fail.  Not at the whole project but at individual assignments.  As Elli says, you learn more from failures than from successes.

If you can think of anything I should do or add here, feel free to leave me a comment or find me on Plurk.  I’m excited to begin this project and I’m thrilled to have you here with me.  Thanks.