From Hobby to Business and Back Again

KN LogoThe News

I started Knitting Naturals as a small business–a way to make and sell my hand knit creations–with the intent to fully work from home and live the dream life. Well my friends, when it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Which is why I’ve been transitioning from a business back to a hobby, which is how this all got started in the first place.

You may have noticed that items haven’t been listed in the Etsy shop, and the blog has undergone some subtle changes to reflect a more casual style. I’ve been selling off my stock of items to local customers and plan to be fully back in hobby-mode by the end of the year.

Travel Tissue Holder in Trellis Stitch

Why?

Because after giving it my all for almost 3 years, I realized something very important–this isn’t what I want to do with my life. I love knitting and I love sharing my creations with people, but the business was just barely staying afloat, my health and relationships were suffering, and I was forcing myself to knit. And I don’t want to force it. Knitting was my stress reliever that turned into a stress inducer, and that just seemed wrong to me.

Gray Fingerless Gloves

Future Plans

I’ll still be knitting (and crocheting and doing other crafty projects) and I’ll share the results here on the blog, because I like to share 🙂 The Etsy shop will stay in vacation mode for an indefinite period of time, but any past customers are more than welcome to message me if they’d like a special order.

I imagine I’ll still make stuff for family and friends, but mostly I’ll be enjoying the freedom of being able to make whatever I want whenever I want. Whether that’s a pile of blankets or some complicated sweater that’ll take me months to finish, I get to enjoy making them at my own pace.

I’m looking forward to sharing many holiday projects with you as the seasons change, and I’m already working on another blanket for the pile!

Until next time, happy crafting!

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Blanket Beginnings

Ok I did it. I started a blanket. It’s gonna take a while so I imagine there will be other projects in the meantime, but for now this is my only work in progress.

It’s in Avocado green with a simple seed stitch. I wanted a pattern I could work on pretty mindlessly while watching Netflix or just sitting on the couch relaxing.

Though I don’t have much done yet, I can already imagine cool fall nights and cold winter days curled up under this thing.

The Urge to Knit…A Blanket?

That’s right, it’s summer and a beautiful 80°F and I have a strange urge to knit a blanket. I usually take a break from knitting in the summer and switch to other hobbies, but I think I might go with this one. Maybe it’ll even be done by winter.

I’ve only every made one full-sized blanket–a simple crocheted piece in solid dark blue.

But I recently was gifted A LOT of yarn from my grandmother. Turns out it was my great-grandmother’s stash and had been stored in containers in her basement.

Yarn Stash

I still need to sort through it all, which could take a while. (They’re pretty deep containers!) But with so many colors, there are so many possibilities!

Now I just need to find a pattern….

Summer Shawl Complete! Ta Da!

For a couple weeks I’ve been working on making a nice summer shawl for myself–nothing too heavy but something airy and versatile and perfect for a cool summer night or breezy spring day.

It started with an experiment in arm knitting, but I didn’t like the color combination I choose and the bulkiness of all the yarn.

DSCN5065

I ripped out the finished piece (which I didn’t even take a picture of), and diligently re-wound 5 different colors. This took forever. Well…more like 3 Harry Potter movies worth of time.

Pile of Yarn

I used this time to brainstorm how to restart the project. I choose just 3 colors instead of 5, and decided I was going to crochet. For some reason crochet=summer to me, whereas knitting=winter. I used the same meshwork pattern that I made tote bags with.

Crochet Mesh Bag

I also did blocks of solid color, instead of mixing the colors. The resulting shawl ended up HUGE. Way bigger than I intended. When draped around my shoulders, it went far past my butt. When tied around my waist, it reached half-way down my calves. So big. Here’s a picture for reference, in the only place I could find to spread it out completely (except the floor, but the cats would pounce quickly).

Large shawl pre-felting

I had used the only kind of yarn I had on hand – wool – so decided to felt the piece so it would shrink up a bit.  The result? PERFECTION.  It’s now the perfect size and holds it’s shape well while still being flexible.

I’m excited to wear it this summer and can’t wait to try it out! It may have taken quite a bit longer than arm knitting, but it was well worth the effort.

How about you? Any projects you had to restart and decided to go in whole new direction? Were you happy with how it turned out? I find sometimes trying a whole new idea can lead you places you wouldn’t have otherwise ended up. Enjoy the new discovery!

Arm Knitting – A Work in Progress

So while browsing the interwebs the other day and ran across this adorable project:

It uses arm knitting, which is a technique I’ve never tried before. I had a bunch of bright summer colors I thought would be fun to use and decided to give it a go.

Fun summer color yarn with my sun hat and bathing suit, just so I could make sure it all goes together.

Fun summer color yarn with my sun hat and bathing suit, just so I could make sure it all goes together.

Then I realized the instructions said to use 5 strands of yarns, so I added a light slivery gray. After I watched the tutorial on arm knitting, I got started. I had to re-cast on several times because I made the stitches too tight. On needles this would just be annoying, but on your arms you start cutting off circulation. NOT GOOD.

Ok, a few tries later, I had made it a few rows:

DSCN5065

I did finish the project, but I’m not thrilled with it. So much so that I’m not even going to subject you to the amorphous blob I produced. To be fair, I don’t think anything is wrong with the pattern (in case you wanted to try it yourself). My problems were:

  1. I used bulky yarn instead of worsted weight. This resulted in a very bulky finished piece that didn’t look as light as airy as the original.
  2. It’s waaayyy too big. Perhaps this is due to the yarn. It just swallowed me up with a I put it on and I couldn’t get comfortable wearing it.
  3. I don’t like the color combination.  Yes, it’s bright and colorful, but just doesn’t thrill me. Can’t really pinpoint why, but I’m not going to try to convince myself I like it.

Since I only have bulky weight yarn, I think I’ll rip it all out and start over using just 2 or 3 yarns. It’s a work in progress, but I’m determined to make a cute summer accessory! I hardly ever come across summer knitting that I like or want to attempt, so I’m not going to let this setup defeat me!

Talk to you soon!

Free Knitting Patterns!

Well, it’s official, the Etsy shop is closed. Actually more on permanent vacation mode, but the point is that for now I won’t be selling any items or patterns through Etsy. This decision was made for a few reasons:

  1. Knitting is becoming more of an obligation than a well-enjoyed past-time. I’m always thinking, “I should be knitting” and it takes the joy out of it.
  2. I don’t knit for myself or for fun anymore.
  3. With my day job demanding more hours out of my day, I don’t have the time to keep up the shop right now.
  4. The shop wasn’t profitable at all last year, making me consider whether to continue with my current business model.

This doesn’t mean the shop is gone forever, just for the foreseeable future.  I’ll still be keeping up the blog, though probably with less knitting and more stuff about other crafty DIYs and simple living.

Rose Pin

I still want to encourage readers out there to keep knitting, and so have posted my knitting patterns (and some crochet patterns) for FREE on a dedicated page here on the blog. Some of these were never available for sale in the shop, while others were for sale for a nominal fee. If you ever purchased one in the past, I want to sincerely thank you for your support and I hope you can enjoy the rest of the patterns too. Please note that not all of them have been tested, so if you ever find any errors or have questions, don’t be afraid to ask!

 

First Felting Project

Way back at Christmas, my aunt asked me to make her some fingerless gloves. I’m finally getting around to it. I’d been putting it off mostly because the yarn she wanted was a bulky weight, and for all the gloves I’ve made in the past 3 years, never once have I used bulky yarn to make them. I didn’t exactly have a pattern to follow, so I had to wing it. I started several different times, each time testing a different number of stitches and rows, and each time ripping it all out at the end because the glove was 5 times too big. I finally settled on 18 stitches and was pleased with the result. At least, more pleased than I had been with previous attempts. This is what it looked like:

purple fingerless gloves

But the gloves were still a little too loose, and I’m pretty sure my aunt has smaller hands than me. Even if I used less stitches, I realized that the whole thing was just too airy. The bulky weight (and needles that were probably a size too big) created a lot of gaps in the stitches that cold air could breeze right through. These things weren’t going to be very useful at keeping your hands warm.

So I had an idea. What about felting?! I’ve never done felting, and to start on a project that’s intended for someone else seemed like a risk. But I did it anyway. I research methods and decided on doing it by hand with a bowl of really hot water and a bowl of ice water. You can find instructions on that method over at KnitPicks.

The finished gloves:

semi-felted gloves

 

They look a little darker in the second photo because of the poor late-day lighting in my room (the first photo was taken in early afternoon). But overall, a success! The fiber didn’t felt completely since it’s only 50% wool (the other half is organic cotton). It took about 20 minutes per glove to reach the size I wanted, and I must say, it was quite a workout! My arms were getting really tired by the end. Yes, I’m a little wimpy. Oh well.

Now the gloves look and fit great! I’m so happy with how they turned out, I think I might have to felt some other wool projects I have lying around. Another great lesson learned in trying something new 🙂