Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Blog In - Amend CPSIA!

**Today is the LAST day you can enter the Polished Two Giveaway! Click HERE for details!**
Have you heard of this law? Chances are, if you are a crafter, you have. Written as a way of protecting our children from lead poisoning, this law requires extensive testing of toys or items that children come into contact with. Before you applaud, you should know that this will shut down most mommy-crafters and artisans.

Unfortunately, this law doesn't take into account handmade items by small-time crafters. If you've ever bought a sock monkey at a craft show or a hand-knit teddy on Etsy - then you know that these are small-producers of handmade toys and are not making a killing on these items. However, these items do help these moms (in many cases) continue to be SAHMs or WAHMs.

This law SHOULD be in effect, but with modifications. These handmade, small producers of craft toys should be held to a different standard than these mega manufacturers of children's toys. Your neighbor who sells 5 sock monkeys a month cannot afford the extremely expensive testing as say Hasbro could afford. This would drive the cost of handmade goods up exponentially and likely cause these Etsy shop owners, basement crafters, and makers of handmade gifts to go out of business altogether.

Join me today as we bloggers, crafters, friends of crafters, and/or admirers of handmade goods engage in a BLOG IN. Get the word out there and help save these crafters' businesses. In this economy, we all need to look out for each other!

Here's a post that is being cut and copied to blogs everywhere today (Many thanks to The Copper Cauldron):

As parents and concerned citizens I’m sure most of us at one time or another have been confronted with the question of lead poisoning. But have you asked yourself what your government is doing to protect your children from lead contained in toys? The answer? They're banning toys, taking books from schools and libraries, hurting low income families, killing entrepreneurial spirit and risking putting the economy in an even greater depression than we've seen in decades. I'd like to introduce you to their solution: the CPSIA.

Do you know about the CPSIA? No? Then I ask you to take a few minutes to find out about it.

The CPSIA stands for Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, a new set of laws that will come into effect on 10 February, 2009 and will impact many, many people in a negative way. Make no mistake, this is very real. View it for yourself. If Forbes, the American Library Association and numerous other media are paying attention, perhaps you should too.

How will these new laws affect you? Well, here are a few examples:

To the Parents of Young Students:
Due to the new law, expect to see the cost of school supplies sky rocket. While those paper clips weren't originally intended for your student to use, they will need to be tested now that your 11-year-old needs them for his school project. This law applies to any and all school supplies (textbooks, pencils, crayons, paper, etc.) being used by children under 12.

To the Avid Reader:
Due to the new law, all children's books will be pulled from library and school shelves, as there is no exemption for them. That’s okay though, there's always television. Our children don’t need to learn the love of reading after all.
Article from the American Library Association

To the Lover of All Things Handmade:
Due to the new law, you will now be given a cotton ball and an instruction manual so you can make it yourself since that blanket you originally had your eye on for $50 will now cost you around $1,000 after it's passed testing. It won't even be the one-of-a-kind blanket you were hoping for. Items are destroyed in the testing process making one-of-a-kind items virtually impossible. So that gorgeous hand-knit hat you bought your child this past winter won’t be available next winter.

To the Environmentalist:
Due to the new law, all items in non-compliance will now be dumped into our already overflowing landfills. Imagine not just products from the small business owners, but the Big Box Stores as well. You can't sell it so you must toss it. Or be potentially sued for selling it. You can't even give them away. If you are caught, it is still a violation.

To the Second-Hand Shopper:
Due to the new law, you will now need to spend $20 for that brand new pair of jeans for your 2-year old, rather than shop at the Goodwill for second hand. Many resale shops are eliminating children's items all together to avoid future lawsuits.

To the Entrepreneur:
Due to this new law, you will be forced to adhere to strict testing of your unique products or discontinue to make and/or sell them. Small businesses will be likely to be unable to afford the cost of testing and be forced to close up shop. Due to the current economic state, you'll have to hope for the best when it comes to finding a new job in Corporate America.

To the Antique Toy Collector:
Due to the new law, you'd better start buying now because it's all going to private collection and will no longer be available to purchase. “Because the new rules apply retroactively, toys and clothes already on the shelf will have to be thrown out if they aren't certified as safe.”

To the American Economy:
Already struggling under an economy that hasn’t been this weak in decades, the American economy will be hit harder with the inevitable loss of jobs and revenues from suppliers, small businesses and consumers. The required testing is far too costly and restrictive for small businesses or individuals to undertake.

To the Worldwide Economy:
Due to this new law, many foreign manufacturers have already pulled out of the US market. You can imagine the impact of this on their businesses.

If you think this is exaggerating, here is a recent article from Forbes

And for those of you prepared to be stupefied and boggled, The New Law

Did you know? If this upsets or alarms you, please react.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Love is in the Air!

***Don't forget to enter this month's giveaway: Yarnball Earrings from Polished Two. Check it out here!

I am smitten with knitting hearts right now! This was the first heart I knitted yesterday. It is the 'Seamless Heart' by Sarloz. I knit this one up (without filling it) in Peaches & Creme - peppermint colorway. Then I got to thinking: I could knit these in a variety of colors - like conversation hearts; fill them will poly-fill; and place them in a large glass jar to adorn my table. So, I started knitting a few.

Here's the same pattern in yellow. (Lily Sugar ' Cream - yellow colorway) I filled it with poly-fill. I've got a lavendar and a solid red heart on the needles right now.

I also tried other patterns. This is a flat, garter stitch heart. I think I'll use it to embellish a hand-made Valentine.

I'm also working on Vickie Howell's 'Love Rocks' mitered heart garland. Here I have 3 of 4 hearts in color A (Lion Brand Cotton Ease - Poppy Red colorway) completed. I just need to weave in the ends.

So today, I'm going to work on completing the garland and some more seamless hearts. They are quick knits and alot of fun! My daughter wants me to knit up a few for her own little collection. :)

I'm double posting this today - so if you also follow my mommy blog, you'll see it there as well. :)


Saturday, January 24, 2009

I Learned Granny Squares Today!!

I journeyed to Knit One today for my weekly therapy session and learned how to make granny squares (thanks to Connie)! At Connie's suggestion, I'm going to keep going and make it into one large granny square lapghan.

As you can see, I'm still working on it - so it hasn't been blocked yet. It may look a little mishapen. I love the colors. They are similar to my entrelac market squares bag. I'm crocheting it up in Cascade 220 Heathers: Mimosa, Provence, & Mahogany and
in Cascade 220 tan. I never realized how addictive crochet is. It works up so quickly. I can't wait to finish and block it! :D


Friday, January 23, 2009

Look Ma - No DPNs!

Making progress on my Easter Upstairs Sox.. So far, I've finished the cuff, leg, heel flap, and turned the heel. I've picked up the stitches to begin the gusset. This sock is using ALOT of yarn. The pattern suggests that you can shorten the leg of the sock by only using 2 pattern repeats of the pattern (or decreases in 1/2 pattern increments). If I ever make these socks again, I may only use 2 pattern repeats instead of 3. It's working up nicely though. The real fun is that I'm doing it on MAGIC LOOP!! I envy those who can handle 5 DPNs and gracefully whip up a sock -but I'm NOT one of them. I would just end up stabbing myself with all of the DPNs. Sorry, Ms. Pearl-McPhee. I just don't have the DPN-fu you have!! ;P Maybe I'll finish this sock today and begin on sock #2! Now THAT would be amazing!


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Couldn't Resist

My sock habit is getting WAY outta control! I could not resist casting on the Upstairs Sox.. OMG- so pretty! They are alot prettier in person (my camera is not great). This is the cuff and the 1st of 3 repeats of the pattern. They are traditional top down socks, written for DPNs. I'm working the sock in Magic Loop (I've placed stitch markers where needles 2 & 4 would be to make it easy to convert the pattern.). I've chosen to knit these up in Regia Design Line - Kaffe Fassett Sock Yarn in Exotic Easter Colorway. So far, so good.

Socks OTN (On the Needles):
Camo Alpaca Sox - 1st sock complete (ends woven in, needs to be blocked), 2nd sock no yet CO
Inner Child Socks - 1st sock -beginning toe decreases
Easter Upstairs Sox - 1st sock - CO, cuff completed, leg in the works

I need to finish these sock before I CO anymore!!! Knitting socks is like crack, I tell you! I so need to knit socks 2-at-a-time so that I can end my suffering from second sock syndrome!


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I Actually Finished a Project!!

Woo-Hoo! Well, I actually finished one of my projects: Cheery Crocheted Skinny Scarf. It is single crocheted in 284 yds of Novita Isoveli Colori. It felt good to get it done! I promised myself I would get it done by inauguration and I did, by golly. Now I only have 6 more projects to finish (ya, right).

I've already set my sights on the Upstairs Sox by WollSchnegge. I've got some great Kaffe Fasset sock yarn in Exotic Easter colorway that should look terrific with these socks. I am making myself finish my 'Inner Child' socks so that I can focus on these little beauties. This is the first time I am converting a traditional sock pattern on DPNs to magic loop. We'll see how it goes.

Here's to new beginnings: FOs and a new prez! This could be a great year!


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Polished Two Giveaway!!

The talented Tracy, owner and designer of Polished Two, has graciously agreed to sponsor a giveaway on Mommatudes (one of my other blogs)! She is going to give away these gorgeous yarnball earrings!! (I own a pair and love-love-love them!)

Here are the details of the giveaway:
  • You must visit the Polished Two Etsy Shop and browse all of her yummy jewelry. Pick your fave piece and go back to Mommatudes to post which piece is your fave.
  • The contest begins today and ends on Wednesday, January 28th. The winner will be picked by random number generator.
  • The winner will be announced on Mommatudes on Saturday, January 31st.
  • Polished Two will mail the winner the yarnball earrings shortly after the winner is announced!
  • One entry per person please.
Good luck and spread the word!!

Do you own a business or know someone who does? Why not sponsor a giveaway on Mommatudes and drive traffic to your site? Email me for details!


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Trying my hardest to be knitting-organized.

So I have spend quite a bit of time trying to organize my knitting and crafting supplies. I group all of my yarn together by yarn and dye lot in plastic baggies of all different sizes. I made sure to push all air out of each bag so that the skeins/hanks/cakes aren't exposed to moths or humidity. I places all of the baggies in various storage bins and placed them on the only available shelving I have in the apartment - my bedroom closet. I was sure to take pictures of and catalog each yarn in my stash for Ravelry so that I can easily look at my entire catalog of stash online before digging through all of the baggies. As you can see, the built-in closet shelving holds my containers for yarn, my craft books, and totes.I have organized all of my circular needles, crochet hooks, and notions in plastic binder zipper bags and placed them in binders according to size or item. These binders have gone on a shelf inside my sewing desk. I did the same with all of my knitting patterns, loose knitting pattern cards, and products information brochures that have come with my various tools and machines.

I placed all of my straight needles and needle cases in a long basket along with my looms and wool winder.

I have placed all of my fabric and quilting supplies in a very large under-the bed, rolling tote since I have put sewing and quilting on hold right now. The supplies are still easily accessible in case I decided to rev up the sewing machine.
I keep the projects I'm currently working on (UnFinished Objects) on a special shelf inside my sewing desk. Each project is in it's own plastic zipper bag with the needles or hooks and pattern so that I can grab the project and pop into my knitting bag to run to knitting group.

For my general crafts and scrapbooking needs, I have a large bookshelf that I moved into my closet. It holds most of my general craft supplies. I also have 3 plastic, 3 drawer storage unit for all of my scrap papers, cardstock, and embelliments.

With all I've done to organize, I still feel as though I need a better storage solution. When we finally sell our house and can build another house, I want a room with standing storage units (nothing built in should we ever sell the house.) that can accommodate all of my general crafts, knitting, crocheting, sewing, quilting, and scrapbooking/papercrafting. It needs to be a unit with oodles of shelves, cubbies, a large table/counter, a place to plug in my laptop and my photo printer. It also needs to be alot more attractive then my current mishmosh of baggies, boxes, and plastic containers. I envision something like the following items:

This is the Plastic and Sycamore elfa Hobby Room set from The Container Store. Very functional. A little too modern for my tastes. Needs more counter space. IMHO. Expensive.

Here's some gorgeous storage solutions from Pottery Barn. However, unless I want to sell a kidney these functional picasos are not going to make their way to my craft room. To order everything seen here is near $10,000! OMG! I could buy a car for that!

I'm hoping to find something similar but MUCH less expensive via Target or Walmart.

Any suggestions? How do you organize your craft room? I've seen some awesomely organized crafters on the internet with not only functional, but beautiful organizing systems. I'd love any tips or organizing solutions you may have!


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Long Time, No Blog..

So it has been a LONG time since I blogged last.. but to my defense, I have been extremely busy! So I thought I'd blog a little about my progress, projects, and yarn.

First off, I have been working on my Entrelac Market Squares Bag, but not too terribly much. Another knitster at Knit One and I vow to work on our Entrelac bags on Fridays in the shop. We WILL complete them!! I'd like to finish knitting mine and get it felted by Valentine's Day, but given my history of KADD, that may be stretching it.

I have CO a Herringbone Neck Warmer. - Not because I need one or even want one, but because I saw someone on a kniting show knitting in Herringbone pattern and I wanted to try it. I had some acrylic yarn (Red Heart Ltd. Soft Yarn Multi in 'Embers' colorway)that I got for the bargain basement price of $1. (I often buy clearance acrylic yarns so that I have 'practice' yarn. I use these cheaper yarns to practice various stitches and techiques.) It just so happens that this yarn is quite attractive. I have some cute buttons to sew on when I'm all done. It's a rather simple pattern that I could probably finish quickly -if I actually work on it.

While home in Ohio over the holidays, roughing it in my house (it's for sale and we've relocated) without furniture, TV, or internet, I stopped in one of my fave LYS, Studio Knit, in Medina. I picked up some ShiBuiKnits Sock Yarn in Zinnia colorway and embarked on another basic magic loop sock. 'Wish I had taken my Alpaca Sox Camo Sock home with me so I could've finished sock #2 of the pair.. but oh well. The sock was a welcome relief when there wasn't much to do. I think roughing it is good for my knitting. I should make trips to my unfurnished house more often! So I'm almost done with sock#1 of this pair. I wasn't sure I liked the pooling of the colorway at first, but it's growing on me. I'm almost ready to do the toe decreases. Don't mind my ugly feet.. I had to try my sock on to see if I was getting close to beginning the toe.

Also while home, I visited the lovelies at Calla Lily in Wooster and bought me some Regia 4-fadig (color 4-ply) in 'Classic Brasil' colorway.

Today I went to the Knit One Customer Appreciation Day! It was so much fun!! Dawne gave a free crochet lesson to the customers. We learned to single crochet a simple washcloth. I had a bit of trouble at first, but picked it up pretty quickly. (With some help from the crochet gurus at the shop.) I made my washcloth out of Mission Falls 1824 Cotton in 'Wheat' colorway. It's a bit smaller than Dawne's sample washcloth, but I crochet (just like I knit) very tightly. I need to practice more. You can also see that I haven't blocked it, so it's curling considerably in the photo. Ms. Connie is going to teach me to crochet granny squares. Hopefully between the two, I'll have a decent grasp on crochet so that I may make something interesting or be able to embellish my knitting with beautiful crocheted edgings. My Oma used to crochet stunning doiles and lace tablecloths. Someday I hope to be able to do the same.

While at Knit One today, I picked up a sock book, a couple of crochet books (more like pamphlets) and some Malabrigo Sock Yarn in 'Eggplant' colorway.. so pretty!

So that's what I've been up to in a nutshell. I am up to my eyeballs in UFOs! I need to knit, knit, knit until I finish something. I'd really like to finish the second sock for both pair I've started so that I can wear them while we still have cold weather! I'd also like to catch up in the Entrelac Market Squares Bag KAL. So many projects, so little time..

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