Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sarah's Spotlight - WooldeBeast

I am admittedly a very clumsy person. I can trip over nothing, and it's sometimes embarrassing to wear shorts in the summer because my legs have random bruises on them! So I live vicariously through professional athletes. I am happy to watch just about any sport and therefore love the Olympics! It's tough turning my tv off so that I can get up in the morning for 6am gym class. For my spotlight this week, I searched "Olympics" on Etsy's main page and came across some great stores that feature some interesting Olympics-related items. But then I stumbled across WooldeBeast and knew this was the store to spotlight. Come visit it at:

WooldeBeast opened this past September and had its first sale approximately one week after opening! Congrats to that! WooldeBeasts are created from recycled wool sweaters. This shop owners designs each WooldeBeast invidiaully, although she admits her two children serve as her "Design Advisors." It's always good a get a second opinion! Although her children have a hand in the designing process, WooldeBeasts are not meant to be a child's toy. Most items have small buttons or fringe which could be a choking hazard for a young child.

After designing, this store owner then machine sews each lovable beast. She also makes mittens and pouches. Many items feature hand embroidered detailing, which adds individual personality. Wooldebeasts are stuffed with Ecofill, which this store owner reports is made from recycled/spun soda bottles. I love when I come across these Green stores!

Each beast has his/her own name and even a little story to go along with it! This store owner does write young adult fiction in her spare time, so I imagine it must be fun to add these little tidbits to each beast's story.

This store owner lives in Toronto, and I'm sure is proud to call Canada home to the 2010 winter Olympics! Here is her Olympic AlpineBeast, a ski jumper who enjoys jumping off pillows for practice! This store owner is a member of the PlushTeam; Recyclers' Guild Team; Oh, Canada Team; Etsy Canada; and EtsyEarthTeam.

Monday, February 22, 2010

No Spotlight Today! :(

Unfortunately, my fiance has a paper due for class tomorrow and will be whisking the computer away from under me after we finish dinner. I promise a Spotlight later this week! This does give me extra time to work on my lace shawl. It's 992 stitches across, so I can knit about 1/2 to 1 row per evening depending on what else is going on! It's tough to feel productive at that rate, but I have already knit 10 rows! Only many more to go! :)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Reversible Cables!

My sister very nicely gave me a subscription to Intervweave Knits for Christmas. Well, she actually gave me a subscription last year but never actually ordered it for me. So this year, I got a subscription for two years to make up for it! I'm working on my first pattern from the magazine. I have so much fun looking through patterns of such beautiful items - most are more sophisticated than anything I will ever make, but I always dream!

The 2009 winter edition of Interweave Knits has a great article in it about reversible cables, written by Lily M. Chin. Most cabled items I have knit have been hats, so you don't have to worry about the reverse side. I did make one scarf and hated the way it looked until I blocked it. But that experience did make me hesitant to try other cabled patterns on scarves. So I was very excited to come across this article. I must confess that I have not actually tried to make reversible cables yet. I have added it to my knitting to-do list, but it does scare me sometimes how long that list is! But sadly, I share this information with you and have no pictures to attach.

Ms. Chin likens cables to crossing your fingers. When you cross your fingers, it looks the same from the front and the back. She wanted to see if she could work her cables in the same way.  To make baby cables, Ms. Chin cables on both the right and wrong side of her work. It sounds pretty simple when you put it that way! To make larger cables, she recommends knitting in a ribbed pattern. Ribs look the same on the right and wrong side of your work and creates a reversible cable.

On her swatches, you can see a twist in the non-cabled section of the right side. I imagine some knitters may not like that. However, it does lay much flatter than a typical cabled swatch would. Ms. Chin does recommend going up in needle size when using these methods. Here are her instructions for trying this out:

Exercise 1 for Baby Cables:
Cast on 24 stitches.
Rows 1 and 2: *K2, p2; repeat from * across to establish rib.
On all subsequent rows, whenever there is a chance to create a cable, do so. That is, whenever you see 2 knits in a row, cable them:
Row 3: *Work a 1/1 right-cross cable over next 2 stitches, p2: repeat from * across.
Row 4: *Work a 1/1 left-cross cable over next 2 stitches, p2: repeat from * across.
Repeat Rows 3 and 4. Do not repeat Rows 1 and 2.

Exercise 2 for Single Rib Cables:
Cast on 12 stitches.
Row 1: K2, [k1, p1] four times, end k2.
Repeat this row for 1 inch.
Next Row (Cabling Row): K2, sl 2 stitches to cable needle and hold in front, [k1, p1] two times, then [k1, p1] 2 times from cable needle, k2.
*Repeat Row 1 for another 7 rows, then repeat the Cabling row*. Repeat from * to * for pattern.

What confuses me here is that cabling row. I think you need to slip 4 stitches instead of 2 to create an even cable (and use all the stitches on your needle). But again, I haven't tried this, so I could be overlooking something really obvious!

Exercise 3 for Double Rib Cables:
Cast on 12 stitches.
Row 1: Sl 1 pwise with yarn in front (wyf), k1, [k2, p2] 2 times, k2.
Repeat this row for 1 inch.
Next row (Cabling Row): Sl 1 pwise wyf, k1, sl 4 stitches to cable needle and hold in front, k2, p2, then k2, p2 from cable needle, k2.
*Repeat Row 1 for another 7 rows, then repeat Cabling row*. Repeat from * to * for pattern.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sarah's Spotlight - Happy Hands Store

Margaret has been a successful Etsy Store Owner since September 2007. Her first store, Local Gringos, features her Knotes for Knitters cards, magnets, postcards, and tote bags. Until just recently, Margaret's Happy Hands Lotions could be found here. On January 27, 2010, she opened her second store: Happy Hands Store, where she will exclusively feature her amazing lotions. You can see her full selection at:

Margaret is a former archaologist (I love that!) and is now a knitter and graphic designer. She creates her own designs from vintage knitting images for her Knotes for Knitters store. She uses goat milk and honey to create fabulous hand cremes. I can tell you from first-hand experience that her scents are dead on. Just after Christmas, I purchased a winter sampler set, which consisted of: Cinnamon Cider, Gingerbread, Holiday Wreath, Holly Berry, Hot Buttered Rum, Peppermint, Spicy Pumpkin, and Winter Pines. I have to say that while Winter Pines was not a preferred scent for me, it did indeed make my hands smell like a Christmas tree farm! I still have a few scents left to try, but the ones I've used so far are so yummy!

What impresses me the most is how long you can use each lotion. Each sampler pack is 1/4 ounce in size. I have been able to get 3 or 4 uses out of each scent. I was certainly surprised by this! The lotion is nice and creamy, so you don't need much to cover your hands. This is exactly what Margaret had in mind when she created these lotions.

Margaret offers several seasonal sampler sets (how's that for alliteration?), 2-, 4-, and 8-ounce bottles of lotion. She has just introduced her newest item, a 1-ounce Tottle. Only a few scents are available at this time, but she hopes to expand this to other scents in the near future. These tottles allow you to keep your favorite scent within hands reach at all times. These refillable bottles look great, since you can purchase this once and refill from your favorite scent over and over again.

If you're wondering what makes these lotions so great, here is an overview of the key ingredients Margaret uses. I pulled this information directly from her store:

~ Goat’s milk is naturally high in protein, triglycerides, and loaded with absorbable Vitamins A, B6, B12 and E ... making it an excellent natural moisturizer that helps hydrate and nourish your skin.

~ Bee's honey has been used in skin products since ancient times, because it is a natural antioxidant, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory.

~ Shea butter comes from the nut of the African karite tree, and is an extremely therapeutic emollient, helping to heal cracked and damaged skin.

Margaret uses pure cosmetic-grade fragrance oils (all phthalate-free) to create her scents. The Happy Hands lotions absorb quickly into your skin, but the scent stays strong.

Margaret is a fellow Etsy Knitter.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Moving on to St. Patrick's Day

Happy Valentine's Day! I've spent my Valentine's Day weekend looking at possible locations for my wedding - a nice way to spend a weekend if I may say so myself. But it's time to put away the pinks and reds and pull out the greens for St. Patrick's Day! I felt inspired to see how other Etsy Knitters are getting ready for the next holiday and came across some great products! I don't have any solid green items myself, but check out these greens from the rest of the Etsy Knitters:


Monday, February 8, 2010

Sarah's Spotlight - Pea in a Pod

Before I start my spotlight, I want to apologize for the lack of postings recently. Some weeks, I find I don't have much to say. Recently, I've had some good knitting topics to write about, but my internet connection has been really inconsistent. It seems to be on the upswing, so hopefully I will be able to be more active soon. But on to the fun part...

Pea in a Pod is one the first Etsy shops I marked as a favorite store. When I first joined Etsy, I browsed both scarves and baby products to get ideas for my own store - photography, item descriptions, pricing. I instantly fell in love with the professional look and great items offered by this store owner. You can visit the full shop at:

This store owner is a mother of two young daughters, and she appears to be quite crafty! In her profile, she lists her interests as knitting, crocheting, sewing, embroidery, and photography among others. The photos posted on her flickr photostream are certainly impressive - there are a few photos of lightning that are stunning! And the cheesecake looks delicious, one of my favorites!

It's impossible not to love the pea pods that this shop owner has designed. In fact, I just purchased the PDF pattern to have this available for baby gifts! It makes a great alternative to hats and booties for shower gifts. Working in a pediatric rehabilitation facility, I'm around babies quite a bit. It really is amazing how much swaddling can help calm a baby. These pea pods are fashionable and functional at the same time! This store owner also offers adorable hats to keep the baby's head warm while in its pea pod.

Just recently, this store owner decided to focus on selling patterns. There are a few hand knit items remaining in her shop, and she will continue to knit items until she runs out of her supply of yarn. So if you want a pre-made pod or matching hat, this is your chance to buy one! Otherwise, you will have to learn to knit and make one yourself! I know I can't wait to make mine. I've heard a little bit about this magic loop method she refers to in her pattern. I've never tried this before but anything that gets me out of using double pointed needles is worth a try!

Now, I just need to work on finding a baby as adorable as in her pictures. The two baby dolls I use just don't quite compare! 

Be sure to also visit this shop at:

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sarah's Spotlight - Veganosaurus

How can you not love these adorable critters? Welcome to Veganusaurus, a shop I stumbled upon recently. The shop owner has had a creative streak since childhood. She opened her first etsy shop, artbysusmitha, in 2007. Here, she features jewelry, clay beads, and other art. About a year and a half later, Veganosaurus opened in November 2008. You can visit the store at:

This shop owner states in her profile that she has been a fan of clay her entire life. A serious hobby turned into a passion and career more recently. She uses iclay to create her little critters. I googled iclay to learn more about it but was disappointed to find limited results on the internet. It appears to be similar to polymer clay, which I know is used frequently for beads and jewelry.

This shop owner is Vegan and says it is the spirit of her Veganism and love for animals that has lead her to create her critters. I can't say it better than she does in her profile: "Every little sculpture is designed to remind that each and every being has thoughts, feelings and a personality of its own."

It is nice to see a shop owner who is very active in the Etsy community. She belongs to several Etsy teams, including: Vegan Etsy Team, Cruelty Free Etsy, EtsyVeg, Etsy For Animals, and Pagans of Etsy Street Team. Her profile includes links to each team's website or blog. She is also very active with charity and donates proceeds to several different charities. Now through February 13, 2010, a full 50% of her profits from this etsy shop will go to helping to save 3 bulls who live on a friend's property and were due to be slaughtered today. The current owner is willing to sell the bulls to the friend but needs a large amount of money in a short amount of time. It's very impressive to see someone who clearly loves what she does and shares her profits with others in need. 

Also be sure to check out these other sites:
Personal Blog:
Art Blog:

And because I'm newly engaged, I only thought it was fitting to include this pair: