Marketing Morning with Chemo

Wow!!  I have been busy working lately, and I love it.  My store is beginning-after two years-to feel real, like it could be a successful enterprise, instead of a hobby.  I’ve gotten sales and orders from a variety of sources all over the country and in Canada, mostly in a trickle until recently.  This is the busiest holiday season I’ve had so far, reflecting the increased awareness of Etsy as THE place to shop for handmade, artisan wares and also reflecting my greater (but still not adequate) attempts at marketing.  Marketing will definitely be my focus for the new year.  I’m going to stop being shy about putting my products in front of people and asking them to give us a try. 


So right now on the needles I have a bamboo scarf, because people are discovering that nothing is softer and silkier than the longspun versions of that fiber.  The look and feel of it attract, and the renewable nature of the plant validates the choice.  This one is Plymouth’s Royal Bamboo, knit simply in squares with some garter stitch rows interspersed, and with special fringing at the ends.  I’ve just sold one, and it was special enough to make a similar design. 


On other needles, little tiny ones, I have two strands of black Karabella Supercashmere Fine, making mittens for my cousin.  I’m writing down this one as I go, so that I won’t have to struggle reading my work from the black.  That is the hardest color to knit with-demands good light and sometimes a little squinting.  These mittens are going to be the bomb.  It will be a shame if she doesn’t buy the cabled black cashmere hat to match. 


Anyway, just a quick update as I’m on my way to get my lovely IV treatment and lounge in the chemosuite all day.  Taking some products and some knitting with me, of course. 



…and Then the Bed Fell

Some days I feel heavier than others.  I’m not talking about the number I see on the scales, but the impression my heft makes on the world around me.  Today I made a big impression.  My bed fell.  It went like this:  my daughter asked for some help shaping her eyebrows.  I sat down on my bed and she put her head on a pillow where I could easily reach her.  I scooted a little higher on the bed, and more to the edge, putting too much weight over the joint where the side rail hooks into the headboard.  BAM!!  We went down.  My girl and I looked at each other, stayed still for a moment, not knowing if we could make it worse by jumping up, and then we busted out laughing.  Fortunately, my son was also home.  He ran in to see what was the matter, finding us unhurt but unable to stop laughing.  After a while we composed ourselves and carried the poor bed parts to the garage.  My mattress and box spring are temporarily on the carpet.  Actually, not a bad height to operate from.  I don’t have to lift my laptop as far.


Sometimes I get angry about the prednisone and the weight, but mostly I bide my time, waiting for the low prednisone months with no flare to increase my exercise and do my best to shed some pounds.  Regardless, I look in the mirror every morning and smile at myself and think “Hey, you gorgeous woman!”


I promised photos.  I chose this wonderful Malabrigo that’s been on my shelf for ages to go with the dusky pink hat, knitting the mitts with a bit of a ruffle at the wrist.  I’ll find buttons that go with the large handmade buttons on the hat. 

endnovknits-020  The next hat and scarf had to match the rust brown cashmere mitts:  endnovknits-019  The mitts have eyelets across the middle, so I put eyelets around the top of the hat.  The band is seed stitch with an overlap that will have one large button.  I will publish this as a free pattern, probably tomorrow, as I’ve had a request from a knitting accomplice. 

This is the third set.  I had a mandate for the color, but nothing else.  I chose a basketweave pattern all over the hat and scarf, but in tiny boxes on just the edges of the mitts.  endnovknits-016endnovknits-018


I’m waiting for yarn to come in for two projects.  In the meanwhile, black Karabella Supercashmere fine (two strands at once) for my cousin’s mittens.  Yum.  Every minute with this yarn is good.  I’m twisting a cable up the side of the mittens.  Can’t resist.  Cables are so satisfying. 



Flu Shots and Scarves from Favorite Yarns

Flu shots.  Everyone groans when I say those two words.  Lately vaccines of all kinds are getting a bad name and people are coming forth with all manner of terrible side-effects and morbidities related to getting those preventive immunizations.  Unfortunately, the flip side is not getting near the same attention.  We are seeing resurgences of potentially deadly diseases like measles, which can kill and cause birth defects.  There is no science on the side of the vaccines-cause-autism claims.  There is ample and adequate science to support the suggested CDC immunization schedule. 


Every fall, I order influenza vaccine for my household.  I take a flu shot, and I immunize my children and anyone else who is going to be spending considerable time in my house (like my cleaning person).  I’m one of those immunocompromised people who, because of my current medications, cannot mount a good defense to diseases like the flu.  Call me a pessimist, but I don’t want to die of something preventable.  Looking at the statistics on children and the elderly, I don’t know why anyone would want to subject them to the risks of influenza, either.  If you’ve ever had a case of influenza (high fever, muscle aches, fatigue, weeks of coughing), you probably don’t want to repeat it.  It’s not a simple “cold”; it has a distinctive presentation and no great treatment.


Today, I gave my daughter her flu shot, and she gave me mine.  She’s been good with needles since she was about six years old.  She’s helped me take IV medications at home, give myself joint injections, and she can draw blood and give subcutaneous and intramuscular shots.  She understands sterile technique and never contaminates a sterile field.  For someone who has never had any intentions of studying medicine, she has extensive knowledge and skills.  Somehow her friends seem to know this.  She’s been the trusted first aid provider and transporter and babysitter for numerous sick and injured friends.  I’ve become accustomed to her calls:  “Mom, __ had at least seven beers and two shots of tequila and now he’s vomiting and shaking.  Does he need to go to the emergency room?” 


I’m working with beautiful fibers today.  I’m using a ball of Karabella Supercashmere Fine in deep red to make my second lace pattern scarf.  So far it is lovely, light and soft on Clover Takumi size 3 needles.  I’ve resurrected a project that was buried in my coffee table (a storage bench that is a treasure trove of knitting projects), a scarf already in progress.  It is being knit in squares of knit and purl in Be Sweet 100% Bamboo, one ball of sage green and one ball of lilac being pulled together.  It has a gorgeous sheen and is silky and smooth.  I’m using square Kollage needles, size 7, and they hold the slippery yarn well.  Be Sweet is a very special company.  Their yarns-according to the history on the ball band-are “hand spun and dyed by women in South Africa under a job creation program that has offered opportunity in an economically depressed rural region with a 75% unemployment rate and little opportunity aside from hard labor in pineapple fields.”  Part of the proceeds from sales supports local schools.  These two scarves will keep me busy tonight, but in my head I’m planning other things for the trunk show. 


I think my surprise element for the show will be a number of gift bags, all shapes and sizes, with which I can take some license with the designs.  They will be suitable for giving gifts, but also useful as totes, so that they become part of the gift and not just a package.  These are developing in my mind. 


It’s going to be sunny and mild this week so I can get outside and take some product photos.  I have a pile that needs to be photographed and posted.  Friends made some purchases yesterday (the lilac llama hat and the chocolate beret-style hat, and the Kimono Angora scarf) and brought the pile down a little bit.  Nothing feels better than people who are close to you shopping with you instead of at the boutique down the street.  I love to make my friends happy.


I want to talk more about lace, but I’ll save it until I am showing you the red scarf.


I almost forgot to brag about the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies my daughter and I made today.  They are full of great stuff – cinnamon, wheat germ, flax seed meal, pecan meal, dark chocolate bittersweet chips, and they’re vegan.  We mostly followed the Joy of Vegan Baking recipe for oatmeal raisin cookies.  Of course they are delicious!  I’ll try to save some for election day.