Tag Archives: sampler

September Phat Fiber Box – Grimm’s Fairy Tales

I’m really excited to be in the September Phat Fiber Box. I haven’t been able to get samples into the boxes since May (I even missed one of my favorite themes last month) so I was extra determined to make it this time around.
This month’s theme is Grimm’s Fairy Tales – think dark and mysterious forests, old and sacred but creepy at the same time. Think of German fairytales, like Cinderella with the stepsisters getting their eyes picked out, or Sleeping Beauty asleep for 100 years behind dark thorny thickets, the dust settling over her thickly in waves of time. I even watched the Grimm Brothers movie with Heath Ledger, which is set during the French occupation of parts of Germany in the late 18th century. While it is ridiculously fictional, is a great opportunity to immerse yourself in an historical time period that isn’t French or English (Do you notice that? It seems like the only Hollywood blockbuster historical movies that are pre-20th century that are produced are English, French and occasionally Scottish, even though German ancestry is the largest in the US.
Anyways, as you all may know, I have an ongoing Fairy Tales collection of stitch markers in the shop, and naturally I was thrilled to be able to use this theme to inspire me into making more designs. I submitted three of my favorite German-based sets – Snow White, Cinderella and The Frog Prince – and then I created two new sets of stitch markers to add to those three. Meet Sleeping Beauty and Red Riding Hood!

Sleeping Beauty

Red Riding Hood

As usual, the Phat Fiber people put together selection of videos showing off the contents of this month’s boxes, and mine were featured! I’m happy to say that I’ve even figured out how to queue the video to the right moment, so all you’ll need to do is press play to watch Jessie talk about my samples. To see all of the videos, check them out here. Enjoy!

The box goes on sale this weekend at two different times, and it flies off of the shelves like hotcakes. The box comes in a couple of different formats – Stitches (yarn) for the knitters, Fluff (fiber) for the spinners, and Mixed for those who like the effect of both. If you want all of the secret deets, send me a message via email or on Ravelry and I’ll forward you the email notification I received.

Don’t forget, if you purchase anything in my store from September 1 – October 18 you are eligible for the Phat Fiber Superbox Giveaway! The Phat Fiber team will be giving away the contents of the Grimm’s Fairy Tales  Superbox, as seen in the preview video, AND s $150 Amazon Gift Certificate to a randomly drawn poster!. To enter, please list any purchases you’ve made from Exchanging Fire in this thread on Ravelry.

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Celebrate 1,000 Sales at Exchanging Fire!

I am so excited! I just hit 1,000 sales in my Etsy store and I’m tickled pink and want to share the love with all of my friends and fans! Technically it’s 1,000 products sold, but Etsy marks milestones by products so that’s how I’ll do it too.

It’s sorta surreal. I don’t consider myself a big Etsy seller at all (all of my finished stitch markers fit in this little drawer beside my desk) and to have that many sales blows my mind! I crunched the numbers a bit and most of my sales came through in just this past year. I think a big tip of the hat goes toward the Phat Fiber Sampler program for being so wonderful. They are a motivating force in my business life and I love them!

A big thanks goes out to my supporters, friends, fans, and even complete strangers! Enjoy this special, limited time sale as a thanks for all the great support you give me!

I’m becoming a phatty

A Phat Fiber participant, that is. I’ve joined up for the August 2010 Phat Fiber Sampler box, which means that my stitch markers will soon be winging their way to dozens of households all over the country. I know, cool, right? Inside each sampler box are TONS of samples of indie yarns and fiber, stitch markers, patterns, special insider coupons, bookmarks, and God knows what other sort of goodies. Basically, receiving a box is akin to going into yarny coma.

A Yarny Coma, courtesy Phat Fiber

The idea came into being after one woman grew tired of spending oodles of money on indie goods only to receive something she wasn’t quite pleased with, or that looked like a totally different color than the picture, etc. She wanted more of a “try-before-you-buy” approach and dreamed up the Phat Fiber Box. Etsy and ArtFire sellers send her their goodies once a month and get a chance to get promoted. Potential buyers, likewise, get a chance to try out a ton of stuff. The Phat Fiber box is sold through Etsy, and it is rather a big hairy deal in some corners of the Interwebz. Every month there are hundreds of people all fighting to purchase a sampler box, or two, without being “cartjacked” by another. There are fandoms helping with checkout tutorials and emails sending out the secret time the boxes go live and I’m sure someone has a special handshake in there as well.

Just kidding. Kind of. Anyways, I’ve heard about it for the past year or so, but only recently decided to explore it a little further. After reading up about it on Ravelry, I checked out a few videos on YouTube, where the husband-and-wife team who run the Phat Fiber program give monthly “sneak peeks” of what will be in the next box. I have to say, I think it was the videos that sold me – they were engaging and humorous and made me want to be a part of the whole crazy mess too.

I’m very excited to have my name “up in lights” as it were on their website, and I’ve got great ideas brewing for their August theme, which is “Africa.” Seriously, for days after I found out what the theme was I went around the house humming or singing “I bless the rains down in Ah-af-ri-ca…” For the record, when the only lines of a song that you know is one, it gets a little tedious. Though I was more amused that, when I finally did look up the song on YouTube, I discovered that the only really memorable lines are those. Anyways, in August, after I’ve sent my goodies in, I’ll give everyone a little look-see at what I’m contributing to the box.

An epic cat’s paw lace sampler (and review thereof)

Well, tonight I watched the Count of Monte Cristo (2002 version) and knit myself a handy-dandy lace sampler, featuring the ubiquitous cat’s paw lace stitch, which apparently can be made out of anything and everything (stitch-wise). Or just about. I only chose to look up and knit eight variations of the pattern, so this sampler can be considered expansive but certainly not all-encompassing. For the fibery freaks out there, this sampler was knit using KnitPicks Telemark in the Drift colorway on a nice pair of vintage size 4 US 10″ aluminum needles.

Cat's Paw Lace Sampler

The top two stitches (which were the last two I knit, naturally) both feature a k2togtbl stitch. The left one is from Jennifer Jones’ blog,  The Knit Monster, and has a stitch called a double decrease, which I’d never done before. The double dec was interesting in general, as it creates a very straight bar running through the center between the yarnover. However, for the purposes of the cat’s paw motif itself, I thought it made the yarnovers below it look uneven.

The right one is Elizabeth Lovick’s version, from her website Northern Lace, which has, in addition to the k2togtbl, a k3tog in place of the double dec. I think this stitch, while it created an even-looking design, was not my favorite. The k2togtbl made one side look a bit “wonky” (there’s your techy term for the night) and the k3tog was quite simply, just a pain to do.

The bottom six cat’s paws were all knit directly from the chart compiled by Wendy Knits, as I have cited previously:

Courtesy Wendy Knits

The top two motifs on the chart, as well as the bottom-most right one, all feature a sl1, k2tog, psso stitch between the final two yarnovers, and I rather like the way this stitch creates a nice roundness to the center knitted portion of the design. The top right one seemed to be most effective at this, in part because of the alternating k2tog and ssk stitches around the yarnovers. Every motif that used the mirror design of the ssk stitch (symbolized in this chart by the “\ ” mark leaning to the left) created a more round, even appearance in the final lace.

The second stitch down on the left side in the chart had a unique center yarnover, which I thought was interesting. However, it did not create the appearance of either a cat’s paw or a flower, but rather a simply honeycomb design. The two stitches that I found looked the most like cat’s paws were the bottom left design and the right motif in the second row up. The placement of the k2tog and ssk stitches caused the yarnovers to stretch toward the highest point, making the midle yarnovers so small they are almost nonexistant and creating very large holes at the base. They look like the arching, flexing claws of a cat.

Even as I begin to finish cataloguing and describing the different traditional cat’s paw lace motifs I’ve knit, I am seeing where I could have tried other variations of the stitch. For example, you could substitute the k3tog with any of the other patterns, or moved the k2tog to the other side of the “honeycomb”-looking one for a more even appearance. Really, the combinations and possibilities therein are nearly endless. I shall leave that for others to take on, however, as I am quite satisfied with my own results. Enjoy!