Tag Archives: knitting

Caught in the Wild: Exchanging Fire Stitch Markers

I’ve been shown several photos recently of Exchanging Fire stitch markers “in the wild.” I thought I’d share some of the images that have been “caught” recently so you can see them in action!

This cute Polaroid of the Red Riding Hood stitch markers was taken by Alena, aka buters on Ravelry, who made a pair of Straightforward Mitts:

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Mizpah, also known as on Ravelry, has acquired a brightly hued collection that she took for a jaunt into the woods. Pictured below are La Vie En Rose and A Moment of Honey:

Mizpah went knitting with fairy tales that day as well, and the The Frog Prince and Princess and the Pea stitch markers featured here are hanging from her aptly named Mizpah shawl:

Vicki, also known as nonaofsav on Ravelry, shows off a lovely little one-off stitch marker from the Wild Child sampler collection on her Lilla koftan baby sweater:

And these “wild” needle buddies have been tamed on bugnursebrenda‘s sets of DPNs!

I love seeing how people are enjoying their goodies, so thank you for sharing! If you’ve got more “in the wild” shots you’d like to share with me, I’d love to see them. You can share with me on Instagram and Twitter, or send me a photo on Ravelry or Etsy. Maybe I’ll share a bunch of images in a future blog post. Thanks again!

Interweave Crochet Features Exchanging Fire Stitch Markers for Summer 2014 Issue!

I’ve been twice-blessed recently, because this week Interweave Crochet’s Summer 2014 issue hit stands, and featured inside it were a set of my stitch markers! The markers highlighted were Exchanging Fire’s Orange Blossom Special, a limited edition set of faceted brilliant orange cat’s eye paired with vintage leaf beads and adorable antiqued gold orange charms. These markers were customized with closed claw-style clasps, though I also have closed kidney-style and open-style hooks. Here is a sneak peek of the page they are featured on, in the magazine:

orangeblossomspecialDid you know that most of the stitch markers at Exchanging Fire can be converted into crochet-friendly markers? All you have to do is ask! A simple message in the “Notes to Seller” area as you check out is all it takes.

The summer issue of Interweave Crochet is a beautiful garden tea party theme, with lots of faerie lace and even handcrafted crochet teacups. And the New and Notable accessories section features adorable felted gnomes alongside the Orange Blossom stitch markers that you should check out.

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things – Christmas 2013

Creating a new stitch marker design is a little bit like jumping off a cliff. Yes, I know that these beads and that charm and the little filigree accents are adorable, but will anyone else like it? Will it photograph well? Did I just spend a gazillion dollars on beads no one will want?! Eventually, you have to stop thinking about it and just shut your eyes and let go. The new design will either sink or swim, and there’s no way of knowing if it will succeed until you take that chance.

Suffice to say, when a design that I love takes off I feel immensely pleased with it, like a proud mama duck who’s duckling is clearly the best swimmer in the pond. And at the end of the year it’s always fun to look back and see which stitch marker designs were the most popular, most loved, and most talked about. So, without further ado, these are a few of my favorite things!

Flying Colors of the Storm

This summer I stumbled across these awesome little acrylic beads that have a handpainted effect created by being hand-dipped in a variety of painted colors. The double (or triple) dipping creates this amazing swirling effect, much like one of my favorite childhood desserts, the marble cake. I always wanted to make one because it looked so cool, so these beads were like having my cake and eating it too, only without all of the carbs. They eventually became my Flying Colors of the Storm stitch markers, and I was thrilled to see how much everyone else liked them as well – I’ve had to reorder the beads three times since August because I was overwhelmed by the demand!

Confetti

I have this awesome tissue paper that I love using when I ship out packages – it’s white (so it matches anything) but it’s got sparkles embedded in it that turns it from a Plain Jane into a Glittery Glinda type of paper. So when I saw these adorable enameled coin-shaped drops in what seemed like a million different colors I knew I needed to make stitch markers out of them. I usually avoid open jump rings because I’m paranoid about things catching on my yarn, but I made an exception for these little guys. They make the most perfect dangle-free stitch markers and they really do look like Confetti – I feel like it’s a party every time I use them.

Secret of the ChromastoneI first saw these color-changing beads over two years ago, and they took me back to the days of childhood when I had found my mother’s old mood ring – a large, oval thing set in brass with an adjustable band – and wore it around the house as part of my queen costume. That outfit consisted of a long rust-colored ’70s rayon dress with an attached cape, a real fox fur collar from the generation before that had been my grandmother’s, and of course, my scepter – a glittery silver star wand.

I actually think the Secret of the Chromastone design was one of the first times I took a chance that an investment in a design would work out – I saved up for months and months before taking a deep breath and placing the large order for them. Beads that change color can be expensive, so I knew I’d need to price these markers a bit higher than normal and I hoped that everyone else thought they were as great as I knew they were. And you know what? They did! Currently over 200 sets of these awesome little stitch markers are all over the globe, hanging on people’s needles and marking their stitches as they knit or crochet. They are probably the most favorite stitch markers of all.

I Love Coffee

I sang in an a cappella group in college, and one of my favorite songs we sang was an old classic from the ’40s called the “Java Jive.” The chorus goes, “I love coffee, I love tea, I love the java jive and it loves me! Coffee and tea and the jivin’ and me…a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup.” The way the words “a cup” roll off your tongue when you sing them repetitively is a great memory. Here’s a great version from a German a cappella group if you’d like to hear how the song sounds.

But I have a confession to make – I don’t drink coffee. I come from a family of tea drinkers, and while occasionally I have a toffee nut latte at Starbucks, it only happens once or twice a year. But you know what I do love? Chocolate-covered coffee beans. They are delicious! So nothing makes me happier than seeing cute little coffee beans hanging from knitting needles – especially when you are knitting in your favorite coffee shop.

Arabian Nights

There are some songs that just get stuck in your head like an earworm that will never leave. I Can See Clearly Now is one (I tend to sing that line when anyone exclaims, “Oh, I see!”) and for some reason, the Spice Girl’s non-hit If You Can’t Dance is another. Then of course there is the opening song to the Disney movie Aladdin. While I was first designing these stitch markers that song – ok, the chorus – rattled through my head incessantly. I love Moroccan lanterns and beads that seem to light up from the inside. The ornate brass accents and rich colors make these stitch markers seem like they could light up Arabian Nights very well indeed.

These are some of the favorites from my shop, but there are loads more. I have special memories attached to each, be it the song they were inspired by or even sometimes what tv show was running in the background while I was working on them. What stitch markers are your favorites?

Two by two, hands of blue, cables make me want to scream

So, I am working on a Bigger on the inside shawl, to coincide with my watching of Doctor Who. It’s actually been going swimmingly, considering my propensity to get bored with what I’m knitting and walk away from a project for years on end.  A lace shawl finished in less than two months?! Inconceivable!

However, I’ve hit the first cables that make up the roofline of the Tardis and the instructions are so freaking unclear. Mainly this is because the designer doesn’t want you to knit these like regular cables, where you slide one stitch off, either to the back or front, and then come back to that stitch later. I can do that no problem. But her instructions call for keeping the stitches all on the same needle, and when I attempt that it comes out totally verkakte. This would all be made clear with a simple video somewhere, but does anyone on the internet have one? No. The best I can find use four stitches instead of two, or call it C2F instead of C2L, but a stitch dictionary I found online made it clear that these aren’t really interchangeable stitch terms, they are slightly different. Also, shouldn’t it be C4F if you are working four stitches, not 2? There is absolutely no standard for this term and so many “teachers” and “designers” online are using the terminology incorrectly I want to scream. Shoot me now. Also, I have a miserable cold so my patience is really low right now.

Ok, upon rereading the stitch dictionary I found online I discovered that the different between C2F and C2L appears to be that one version slips stitches and the other works them on the same needle, as this pattern calls for. Strangely enough, though, the term that calls for the stitches to be worked on one needle is C2F, while this pattern uses that definition for C2L. Do you see what I mean about no freaking standards? Makes me want to tear my hair out.

Thankfully, I did find an online tutorial that was a.) using two stitches for C2F, and was b.) knitting them the way that the designer for this pattern asks that they be knit, even if she’s using the wrong term according to others out there on the web. I’m sharing this video with all of you so that others don’t go through my personal torture. Now I’m going to go take another antihistamine.

UPDATE: Ok, so I tried to start the purl side of C2R and C2L and totally got confused. It was clearly way too late at night and I was too sick because I missed the directions entirely. Though the words didn’t really help at all. However, I found an obscure video about knitting 2-stitch Bavarian twists on the wrong side. At the end of the video, the teacher explains that these “twists can be turned into crosses” (aka C2L or C2R) by turning one knit stitch into a purl stitch. Perfect! Exactly what I was looking for. Though I did stop for a minute and think, “Wait, so does ‘C’ stands for ‘cross’ or ‘cable’? I’m so confused!” I personally followed Method A from the video and after doing it about three times along with the video I could remember it enough to do the two mock cables by myself. Just ignore her when she says to knit the first stitch – it’s always a purl stitch.

So the moral of this story? Sometimes in patterns, less is not more, more is more. After seeing those videos I could do the cables or twists all on one needle, no problem, but not being able to understand what I was doing was very difficult at first. Since these are pretty obscure techniques, in my opinion, more explanations upfront would have made this less of a hair-tearing experience.

Farm fresh stitch markers for your needles

It finally feels like spring again. Last night a spring storm rolled through, knocking off a branch from the fully-blossoming magnolia tree. This morning I found magnolia petals trapped between the screen and the window where the wind had blown them in the midst of all that thunder and lightning. So in honor of spring, I’m adding to the Farm Fresh Series I started last year around this time.

These newest limited edition stitch markers are made using vintage mid-century beads from the Baltics. They look particularly like sky blue berries (the kind that have little drupelets on them). When I was looking at the types of berries that are related to the raspberry, I was tickled to discover the unassuming cloudberry, a mainly European species of berry that is rare but well-known in the Scandinavian and Baltic regions. Yes, the real cloudberries are actually a light to reddish orange color, but I like to think this is a “tip of the hat” to them. Enjoy my take on cloudberries.

 

Cloudberries

These stitch markers join my Farm Fresh collection, which includes a few of my favorite fruit-related sets.

Strawberry Fields Forever

When possible, I’ve tried to use some of my favorite classic song lyrics that relate to the farm fresh fruit in question.

On Blueberry Hill

Check out the rest of the Farm Fresh Series on Etsy!

It’s beginning to “stitch” a lot like Christmas

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…”

Take a look at these awesome Christmas-themed stitch markers and other goodies I’ve got up in the Exchanging Fire shop:

A few of these designs are old favorites,like the one of a kind Jingle Bell Rock markers (only two left in stock!), but I’m especially proud of my newest creations. They are the Wonderful Christmas tree lights ones:

“The party’s on / The feelin’s here / That only comes / This time of year / Simply having a wonderful Christmas time…” – Paul McCartney. “Wonderful Christmas Time”

…and these gorgeous Silver and Gold ornament stitch markers:

“Silver and gold, silver and gold / Mean so much more when I see / Silver and gold decorations / On ev’ry Christmas tree…” – Vanessa Williams, “Silver & Gold”

Anatomy of a (Modern) Knitter

I love this image (it’s a perennial favorite on social media sites) and since scarf weather is starting, I thought that I would share it with all of you. I’d add to the list below, of course, and say that a knitter like me always needs something linen stitched on her body, is calculating how cheap she can get a pair of new boots to show off her new handknit boot toppers (yarn is always worth splurging on, but everything else must be bought on sale!), and is knitting a pair of socks because those are easy grab-and-go knitting projects.