Ask Yourself: How can this be Unconventional?

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One of the reasons I started my own business was because I couldn’t picture myself chasing someone else’s dream.

I had jobs working for everyone from small business owners to a major corporate bookseller, and I had seen it all. It felt good to learn from people hustling their creative ideas and putting out into the world. And it was valuable learning how the corporate retail world was structured.

But at the end of the day, I had to get out there and do my own thing.

And in the beginning it was thrilling!  I was also terrified every single day.  It takes guts to put yourself on the line, and I felt so uncertain and vulnerable in those early days.

I had a lot of experience working for other people, but putting your own ideas out into the world is an entirely different beast. It was exciting!  I was in control and could do whatever the hell I wanted to create the business of my dreams. But at the same time I was often nauseous and anxious, paralyzed by all I didn’t know.

I quickly found support in the form of an online mentor and a local group of women running their own businesses. The idea that other people had walked this path before me and were walking it alongside me was hugely reassuring.

Aside from the practical advice (WordPress Plugins, POS software, and Inventory Management), I gained a huge amount of confidence and support from just being around other dreamers and doers.  This support emboldened me to try new things, blaze new trails, and stay playful with my ideas.

These people weren’t just talking about all their great ideas. No, they were creating them and sharing them with the world.

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One person I have found immense inspiration and support from is Jason Zook.  He’s done some zany things to build businesses, earn money, and connect to his creativity. I admire anyone who has the guts to take the path less travelled, and that path is where Jason lives.

Last year when Jason launched his biggest project ever, Buy My Future, I didn’t have to think twice. Jason has proven himself to be not only a person with big, unconventional ideas, but a person who takes action. He is a collaborator and a maker.  He is someone I want to work with, and I didn’t hesitate to plunk down the cash to buy his future.

Ask yourself: How can this be unconventional? How can this be unique ~JZ

This has become a guiding question for me as I contemplate any new project or idea. Sometimes it feels as if the rest of the world is operating on the assumption that the way it’s always been done is the only way.  I don’t believe that’s true, and I want to align myself with others who are striving to be unconvetional.  Like JZ here!

So what are some of the things Jason has created?  What is he working on next?  I’m so glad you asked, because it’s a lot!

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What a deal!

I’ve personally taken advantage of several of his past projects and have plans to dive into a couple more this fall.  I find Jason entertaining, inspiring, and motivating, and cannot wait to see what he comes up with next!  It’s a thrill to be along for the ride.

I’d like to invite you to take a leap of faith, invest in yourself, and purchase Jason Zook’s future.

It’s okay if you don’t know exactly how you’ll use the many benefits of buying Jason’s future… myself and the BuyMyFuture community are here to help and support you.

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can also buy Jason’s future, check out all the details here. *  Act fast, though: there are only 200 new spaces available this time around and sales end October 4th 2016.

*Here’s some fine print where I’m supposed to tell you that this ibecerra_photography-2s an affiliate link.  That’s how much I believe in investing in yourself and in people who are doing great things in the world. So when you click this link, you are doing just that!  Oh, and I’ll benefit from the sale. This is cool because it will help pay for my own spot in Buy My Future!

 

Yarn Lust

I’ve been wanting to get to this space all week, to tell you about my magical, yarn-filled weekend.  It was like Candy Land, but with yarn.

I went to Vogue Knitting LIVE to represent Stash, and expected to have a great time.  What actually happened was so personally satisfying and thrilling, it blew my wool socks off.

The people were kind and open and enthusiastic.  I met old friends, new friends, blog friends, podcast friends, and knitterari friends.  The wool fumes and collective buzz of knitterly enthusiasm was contagious, and I instantly felt my lust for knitting surge.  This was just the medicine I needed to cure a pretty bad case of Knitting Burnout.  I hadn’t knit in weeks, and was even starting to skip my daily Ravelry check-ins.  It was bad.  Rest assured, this was a brief malady, and I am now on a steady prescription of New Yarn.

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The haul.

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My color palette for the Turnagain Cowl

I had a lot of fun playing with different color combinations of Loft in the Churchmouse booth for a Turnagain Cowl.  I already had the Sap and Plume colorways in my stash, so I started with those and then played with different color stories.  I’m pretty excited about what I came up with, and even though it isn’t exactly wool-cowl weather, I’m itching to cast on asap.

I’m also pretty excited about that mini skein bundle of lavender gradient yarn from Black Trillium, the gradient cakes from Freia, the 2 ply hand-dyed from Spincycle Yarns, and the Madelinetosh.  So much new yarn!

Should you think owning a yarn shop satisfies the urge to impulse buy yarn, let me tell you it does not! When faced with the temptations of new yarn, I am just as powerless as the rest of us yarnaholics.

What yarn or projects are you itching to cast on right away?

You can read more about the trip and see photos full of yarn-drunk knitters over on the Stash blog.

Yarn Along :: Phoebe Mouse

 

 

Inspired by Ginny: ~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading?

I have a modest collection on knitting books for children, and keep them on a special shelf near my yarn.  Every special once in a while, PB asks if we can “read a knitting book,” and we choose one to read together.  Recently she requested we read Phoebe’s Sweater, a beautifully illustrated book by Joanna and Eric Johnson.

After the story, there are some beautiful knitting patterns for a girls sweater and a large stuffed mouse doll with a matching sweater and dress.  I’ve always wanted to make PB the sweater, but on this day it was the darling mouse that caught her eye.

Mama, will you knit me this mouse please?

Sure, sweetie.  What color should it be?

Let’s look in your yarn cabinet, mama. 

Be still my heart!  We proceeded to look through the stash and discuss color options, and she ended up insisting upon a relatively new-to-me skein of Madelinetosh Vintage in Moccasin.  I tried to convince her of other options, but she would not be swayed.  And she’s right; this chocolate-brown yarn was the best choice for a little mouse, perfectly matching the weight and yardage requirements.

Phoebe Mouse is a quick, seamless (except for the ears) toy, something I haven’t made before.  I’ve finished the body since taking this picture on Monday, and am on to the extremities.  The best part is, every couple of days she asks me to sit down and work on her Phoebe Mouse.  Gladly my dear, gladly.

What’s on your nightstand and in your project basket this week?

ps. The Johnson’s have since published two more, equally charming children’s books: Freddie’s Blanket and Phoebe’s Birthday. View them here.

Yarn Along:: Beginnings + Endings

I’ve been reading a new book, the sweeping sequel to The Passage.  It’s complex and moving, even a little sad and scary at times.  It’s epic and will probably take me a bit to get through.  And that’s okay, especially with the help of a before-work-mocha and reading moment from time to time.

My fall sweater is nearly finished!  I am actually ready to start the ribbing on the second cuff and will hopefully be done tonight!  Just in time to jet off to Hawaii for a long weekend with Sweetie to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary.

Which brings me to the subject of travel knitting.  As you know, a lot of careful thought and planning goes into strategizing vacation knitting projects.  The amount of sedentary travel time directly affects the number and complexity of projects I take.

This time I am excited to unearth some single skeins from deep stash and will be attempting a small project on each flight to and fro.  I’m thinking this and this.  And I might also throw in a sock-in-progress for good measure.  I only took one project with me to New York and I finished it on the flight over!  Better to overpack, I say.

What’s on your nightstand and in your project basket this week?

Thanks to Ginny for the Yarn Along inspiration!

Yarn Along:: Out of Hibernation

From Ginny: Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.  I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. 
We went to the beach over the weekend with Sweetie’s parents. Knowing there would be a 4 to 1 ratio of capable adults to curious toddler, I figured my chances of getting some knitting done were pretty good. So I pulled out my Hooray Cardigan from last winter. This sweater was off to such a good start, and then something happened with the cables and it went into long-term hibernation. It did require about on hour of cable surgery (again), but now I am back on track and have divided for the sleeves. I seem to have a case of the sweater knitting lately, as I plan on casting on the Rocky Coast cardigan this week as part of our fall knit-along over at Stash.

I just started reading wild and am really enjoying it so far. I am not a backpacker by any stretch (there was that one time in Glacier that ended in me staying awake most of the night with fear and indigestion). Three chapters in, I am a loving Strayed’s writing and look forward to seeing where her adventure hiking the Pacific Crest Trail takes her next.

What’s on your nightstand and in your project basket this week?

One Long Weekend

Today is a quiet day of rest, recuperation, and reflection after a very long (but fun) weekend. I’m sitting here in what my mother-in-law refers to as “traveling togs”, and others call a leisure suit; whichever way you slice it, I’m comfy and loving it!

I spent the weekend participating in my first fiber festival as a vendor. Black Sheep Gathering is held each August in Eugene, OR and is a concentration of all things fibery: sheep, goats, fleece auctions, spinning circles, and a vendor marketplace. This is where the Stash booth was set up.

I feel like I ran a marathon after going through the work of list-making, packing, setup,being in the booth for 3 days, and packing up. I now understand on a much deeper level all the thought that goes into creating a successful booth, and give full-time show vendors a lot of credit. It’s not an easy gig, but once the doors open and you can literally feel people’s excitement, it is so worth it!

Before

That said, Liz* and I had a lot of fun running the booth, meeting new friends and blog readers, and basically basking in the love of Our People. You know, when you’re in a room full of like-minded people who just understand It. What ever it is. It’s blissful and exciting and inspiring, and now I want to knit all the things I saw every knitter wearing. All of them!

But first, it’s time to  put my sore feet up, tune into a knitting podcast, and get to work on my Tidal cardigan.  Nothing pushes me into “finish” mode faster than wanting a clean slate for starting new projects!

*Liz is an amazing sewer and knitter!  Check out the buntings she made for the Stash booth:

Thanks Liz!  And thanks to everyone who stopped by the booth to say hi.  You made it worth all the hard work!

I Fixed It:: Hooray!


This yarn has been in my stast almost a year, and I have been wondering what to knit with it for nearly that entire time. Madelinetosh is known for its rich, tonal colorways, and Tart really lives up to expectations. Deep reds with a black shadow, this yarn is smooth and sproingy, begging to be knit into something deliciously textured.

I had a false start earlier this month when I cast on for Goodale, a project I’d been wanting to make for ages. And it looked good, but I knew this yarn could look great.

In the end, I decided to go with the Hooray Cardigan by Veera Valimaki. The cables, reverse stockinette body, and wide ribbed collar all make me so very happy, and I’m already fantasize about wearing it.  Which should go a long way toward motivating me to finish it up before the warm weather hits.

I’m a little short on yarn, so to help myself along I knit the inside of the turned collar in some leftover yarn of the same weight.  It felt like the ribbing took forever (8 inches!), but now I am finally into the meat of the sweater: the cables and raglan increases. Hooray!


But wait: I forgot to cross a cable…4 rows ago… What do I do?! In a miraclulous moment of mental clarity rarely reached these days, I remembered the Yarn Harlot writing about how to drop down and fix a miscrossed cable.  I decided that I could do it too, and if it didn’t work out, I could always tink the entire 4 rows and be no worse off.  And guess what? It worked. Hooray!


I isolated the 12 stitches to be cabled and dropped them one row at a time until I was at the correct cable-crossing row. Then I worked the cable as I should have the first time around, using the yarn in back (be careful to use the appropriate strand of yarn or you’ll have a mess!).

After finishing the cabling I slipped those stitches back onto my cable needle and knit them with the next strand up of dropped yarn (x2) and finally knit across the rest of the row. A Couple of the stitches are a little distorted, but it worked and I saved so much time. It has me feeling all confident about my knitting.   Maybe on the next cable row I’ll try to cross them without the help of a cable needle…

 

 

This Little Ziggy

After a recent trunk show at Stash, I was smitten with the Ziggy hat from PDXKnitterati. Lorajean of Knitted Wit had some small skeins of her polwarth silk blend wound up, and we got to pick and choose colors, which is always fun. I went with my standard color combo of purple and green, with a little blue thrown in.


This was a fast, fun, and addictive knit. I knit the pattern as written until the top when I opted for a short icord.  All the while I could be heard muttering “one more repeat…must get to the next color…”
This was intended for PB, but given her last reaction to something I knit, I decided to keep it at the shop for a bit. Which means that when little friends drop in for a visit, I make them try it on and pose for me. Can you say “future knitter”?

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Guster

Now that I’ve got this toddler knitting out of my system, I’m moving forward with some selfish knitting for a bit.  On the needles right now? A sweater and a hat, and it feels great!

 

Knitting Catch Up

I have been in somewhat of a knitting funk since opening Stash last month.  Overwhelmed with all the lovely yarn and patterns crossing the threshold of the shop, I have found that committing to one project is nearly impossible.  I have been casting on and swatching for a lot of things, but oftentimes rip them out and head back to the search.  When there’s so much of a good thing around, it can be difficult to narrow one’s focus.  So I’m trying to go with my knitter’s intuition and just cast on when the mood strikes, knit with abandon, and enjoy every stitch.  This also means that I haven’t really been finishing much…

Max is curled up on my open laptop while I listen, sip, and knit.

I have been on a cast on spree for both shop and personal knitting. These past two days off from work have been really productive knit-wise.  I’ve been spending a lot of time with PB’s Cowgirl Butterfly Astronaut Vest, and at this moment I just need to complete the second sleeve ruffle and the button band.  I also cast on for the Cambrian Cowl from Coastal Knits in Imperial Yarn Native Twist.  That bulky yarn is just flying off the needles, and is now waiting for me to pick up stitches and knit the flared yoke portion at the bottom.

While working on these two projects, I have also been catching up on podcasts (Stash and Burn, Knitmore Girls) and television (The Walking Dead season 2).  It feels really good to spend some time catching up on these simple activities in between the tasks and concerns of everyday life.  What are you watching or listening to as you knit this week?