Tag Archives: stitch marker

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?

June Phat Fiber Sampler – Tron

I’m pleased this month to unveil my new villain-themed stitchmarkers – Tron, part of my superhero series, now available at Exchanging Fire!

Tron

Tron is an abstract take on the eponymous 1982 movie, using awesome geometric-shaped acrylic beads that represent the computer generated realm of Tron. Four cool blue stitch markers represent the virtual game Kevin has been trapped in, while the large bright red bead represents the evil Master Control Program, out to take over the real world. Just like last month’s superhero stitch markers, these too look very “grown-up” but can still feed your inner geekery!

Here I am in featured halfway through the Phat Fiber video for this month (at minute 6:15)!

Don’t forget, if you purchase anything in my store from June 15 – July 15 you are eligible for the Phat Fiber Superbox Giveaway! To win this month’s Phat Incentive, which includes the contents of the June Video (aka The Superbox) AND A $150 Gift Certificate to one of the participating shops, you need to join the Phat Fiber group and the post what you’ve purchased in the Incentive thread.

Sign up now to be entered into the giveaway!

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!

Love notes to Doctor Who

Sometimes a love note isn’t written in words. Sometimes there are no words needed. When I design a set of stitch markers inspired by a favorite poem or song or even a TV show, I feel like these small, practical bits of jewelry for your needles are my love letters to the things I enjoy.

When I saw these rectangular blue beads with their very geometric mod style I immediately thought of the Tardis – “brand new and ancient and the bluest blue ever.” I knew they had to be turned into Doctor Who stitch markers. In some ways, Doctor Who is one long love story of the art of science fiction. These stitch markers are my love notes back.

Mad Man with a Box

“A daft old man who stole a magic box and ran away.  Did I ever tell you that I stole it? Well, I borrowed it.  I always meant to take it back.  Oh, that box, Amy, you’ll dream about that box.  It’ll never leave you.  Big and little at the same time. Brand-new and ancient and the bluest blue ever.”

These markers join the rest of my Doctor Who series, which currently contain:

Oswin Oswald

“Rescue me chinboy and show me the stars.”

Time and Relative Dimensions in Space

“Yes, that’s it. Names are funny. I’m the Tardis.”

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”

Making the Yarn Harlot’s holiday gift list makes my Christmas wishes come true

Wow! Author and knitter Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, otherwise known as The Yarn Harlot, just featured my stitch markers on her blog! The stitch markers talked about were my Secret of the Chromastone markers, which have color changing capabilities when you hold them – just like mood rings from the ’70s. They were listed as part of the Yarn Harlot’s Gifts for Knittters 2012 list, and I’m tickled pink by the shout out.

The Secret of the Chromastone

Orphans of the Empire – April Phat Fiber Sampler

My Tea Party themed stitch markers arrived in the Phat Fiber headquarters yesterday, so I feel pretty confident about unveiling these now. Meet Orphans of the Empire, my ode to the bygone era of the British Empire when the sun never set and teatime was de rigueur.

When I was a small child I found, buried in a flower bed in my front yard, a small shard of porcelain from an English teacup. I was enchanted, convinced there was some unknown story behind this lost and forgotten piece of the past. When I saw these beads it took me right back to that time, and I knew that it was the perfect way to celebrate my own love of tea with all of you.

Remember! Any purchases you make this month in my shop, ExchangingFire.com makes you eligible to win the contents of the April Video (aka The Superbox) AND AN EXTENSIVE NATURAL DYES KIT AND 1LB OF ORGANIC MERINO! to a randomly drawn poster in the Phat Fiber group thread on Ravelry. Don’t delay because you could win big!

Mad Men Starts Tonight (and I’m having a sale)!

In honor of the AMC television show Mad Men, whose Season 5 premiere is tonight (eee!) I’m offering a special one day sale on my Women of  Mad Men stitchmarker series! That’s right, take 15% off any of the stitchmarkers shown below with the coupon code MADMEN15 – today only! In case you missed this series of markers, they are in tribute to the fiery trio of women who make up the show’s core group of ladies: Joan Holloway, Peggy Olson, and the former Mrs. Don Draper, Betty. See if you can match up the stitch markers below with their counterparts!

Win Free Stitch Markers from Exchanging Fire!

So during TNNA this January I met Lisa Bogart, who is the author of Knit with Love. She saw me wearing my Mini Mania Scarf and sort of pointed at me and said, “The Scarf! I get to meet The Scarf!” Yes, she had recognized The Scarf from Ravelry, and was thrilled to see it in person. I was just thrilled she knew what the heck it was! I felt a little famous, I must confess. She very kindly signed one of her books for me and then we concocted a plan…a grand plan! And that plan was for me to participate in one of her monthly giveaways on her website.

So I’m very pleased to announce that this month, March, you can enter to win a BRAND NEW set of stitch markers that I have released especially for the occasion! They are called Orange Blossom Special, and are an ode to the fabulous bluegrass folk song of the same name. Funnily enough, they also happen to be the Pantone color of the year, which is Tangerine Tango. Ha! Anyways, I just love oranges, which in ancient times were called  “golden apples” by Europeans because they were so joyfully bright and lush and delicious. There’s some magical about them, and I hope you enjoy their juicy delight as much as I do.

And, not only could you win a these fabulous stitchmarkers, but if you head over to Lisa’s giveaway page you’ll also find a SUPER SPECIAL discount code for 10% off anything in my shop! This only lasts until the end of March, so you’ll want to hop to it!

Want to hear the song that inspired these gorgeous stitch markers? Check it out below:

Decorative Storage Solutions for Stitch Markers

That’s right, I said it: storage solutions for stitch markers. Man, I like alliteration far too much. Ok, so by now you’ve fallen prey to the siren call of handmade, prettified, dangly, sparkly, adorable stitch markers. You have them in all shapes and sizes, colors and styles, bejeweled and bedazzled, and plain janes that are perfect in a pinch. But there’s a downside to having enough stitch markers to decorate all of your digits – where can you store them all?! Feeling a little overwhelmed yet? That’s what I thought. But don’t worry! I’ve got several solutions that will have you knitting happily away very soon!

I was inspired to write this post after I saw how happy Abigail from KnitLounge was with her Snap ‘n Go Notions Case™ in red. It’s a great little case – everything is very compact and fits neatly inside and there are plenty of fun little compartments for stitch markers. But I don’t know, there’s something sad about having all of your pretty things buried and hidden away all of the time, like when you put all of your pretty baubles in a jewelry box. I certainly need notions cases and jewelry boxes to store my favorite sparklies, but I also like being able to show them off, too.

Snap 'n Go Notions Case

My best friend, knittingale, has long been a member of the decorate-with-your-jewelry club. She has a wall in her closet hung with a lovely silken shawl, and has all of her jewelry pinned to it. When you open the door the first thing you see is this gorgeous bohemian wall that just shines in the light. Recently, she decided to give her stitch markers the same treatment.

Down in her den/craft room she hung all of her stitch markers on a bulletin board to keep track of them – she said she laughed when she’d organized them because she hadn’t realized how many of them had been made by me for her! She loves the way they are both decorative and on display all the same time. Best of all, because this is the family room area of the house, whenever guests visit they admire her board and often can’t help themselves but need to come over and fondle the pretty styles and gleaming bright colors. When she needs a particular set, she grabs them off the wall, pops the set in her notions case and goes.

Hester's Bulletin Board of Stitch Markers

I really like her corkboard. If you want to make this same style but kick yours up a notch, simply take a nice piece of fabric and some ribbon and staple or glue it around the edges for a finished look. Here are a couple of quick tutorials – one for a plush, quilted look and two others with  framed out and vintage styles. You can use a variety of objects to hang your stitch markers – everything from safety pins to stitch holders.

Image courtesy pbteen.com

Corkboards aren’t the end-all, be-all, however. My grandmother, whose Depression-era background makes her the epitome of creative budget craftiness, always hung her brooches on the wall in her bedroom in a vintage wooden picture frame she’d found at some flea market. The wall feature was very stylish and made her jewelry look like a professional art piece. She used a sturdy piece of black velvet and padded the back with polyfill and that worked very well to hold up her pins. But I found something even better to do with a nice vintage picture frame. I was enchanted by blogger Smart and Sassy with Sprinkles‘ mesh picture frame for hanging her earrings on, which is such a simply construction but has this elegant look when it’s all decorated. How clever is that? The link above takes you to her how-to, by the way.

Smart and Sassy with Sprinkles' "Pretties" on Display

If you are trying to do for a style that is less “screen door chic” then I recommend switching out the metal insert on the frame with something softer – perhaps lace? Tanya from the Trey and Lucy blog made this awesome guest post at Ucreate, and I’m in love with her delicate, lacy mesh fabric backing for her teensy sweet earrings. The Vintage Lemon has a lovely DIY tutorial for a similar project. If you are suspicious about just how well something like lace will hold up with all of your stitch markers, you can always go for a funkier variation, like burlap.

Lace Earring Frame by The Vintage Lemon

Maybe your crafty gene doesn’t tend toward using implements sharper than knitting needles. Whatever the case, sometimes simpler is better. Head over to the store and buy yourself a key rack holder. Just make sure that the hooks aren’t huge. Pop that up on your craft room wall with some nails (but please, if you aren’t handy, don’t touch the hammer – let a professional hurt their thumbs) and you are good to go! They’ve even got some pretty cool designs out there in key holder world.

7-Hook Key Rack in Walnut and Satin Nickel by Spectrum

While I’ve listed a few of the big and bold ways to display your stitch markers and other knitting and crocheting notions, there are many many more. Try one of these ideas below for easy ways to show off your favorite stitch markers, no matter what your decorative style is like.

  • For the romantics, take a long piece of ribbon and tack the ends onto the back of a dresser or across your mirror. Pin your stitch markers to it for an instant bejeweled banner.
  • If you are more of a hippie, one of those Tibetan flags would work fabulously strung across your wall with stitch markers tacked to it.
  • For the hipsters in the crowd, recycle a damaged roll of film and stick stitch holders through the tiny holes at the bottom and top that usually keep the film moving in the camera. Slant it across your door and voila.
  • If you have a streamlined, mod style, buy those  clear, round stacking containers that screw together, where the bottom of one container is also the top of the one below it. You’ll be able to see exactly what you want and the tower can sit nicely on a shelf. Try color-coding your stitch markers by container to create a stunning rainbow effect.

But however you choose to store your stitch markers, don’t forget to enjoy using them as well. Happy knitting!