Monday, January 24, 2011

Coffee and a License

I was grinding my beans for my mid-morning coffee and I decided it was so. The beans are so dark, shiny, and rich in color. My odd-shaped smokey green coffee mug I bought on clearance at the grocery store five years ago would be a fun piece to include. I dumped some beans on the living room window sill where the sun made the lighting perfect, set my steaming cup of coffee in the background, and snapped a couple shots. My 4-year-old asked why I was putting coffee on the window. I love preschool logic.
Today I finally made myself sit down and work out the specifics for licensing my Schlüttli pattern. It wasn't hard, really, I just had to sit down, do a little research, and focus. And it's done. The license is up for sale.
My next step- taking my years of pattern notes for my longies pattern I've been using for two years now, and getting it into testing. I am struggling a bit, though, because a kind WAHM friend linked me to a forum post in internet land where one particular person repeatedly bashed me and my pattern-writing. My friend did it privately and totally in love, wanting me to see it and do what I could as a WAHM to resolve the issues. I appreciate it and did the same I did the last time some one was writing such things about me: I did my best to respond in kindness and with professionalism to clarify the issue the person had and make sure she (and everyone) realized that I am very accessible(just an email away and that address is included in the pattern), in hopes that she might not feel that way toward me and my pattern. So far no response. Note to self: work on clarity. An acquaintance who writes patterns for a living once told me, "The goal is to make it so anyone can understand your pattern." That is my goal- to simplify every detail so anyone at any skill level can understand my patterns, and hope that the intensity of detail isn't overwhelming and muddling. Regardless, every single pattern-writer whom I have spoken to about the topic has said the same thing: You can't please everyone. I need to take that to heart deeply, so the barbs from the less than 1% of purchasers don't cut so deep.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Eternal WAHM Conundrum

It's a question I encounter almost daily. The kids are all asleep and the house is clean. What do I do? Crawl into bed a couple hours early and hope the next day is more productive since I will theoretically be more rested? Or do I take advantage of the next 3-4 hours of peace and quiet get stuff done immediately? After all, there's no guarantee tomorrow isn't going to be one of THOSE days, when we take five steps backward. In all honesty, I usually end up sitting on the couch knitting for half an hour while I try to decide, and if I doze off while I'm knitting (it happens more than I care to admit), I take that as a clear sign that my body needs the extra sleep. As if the three to four cups of coffee I drink throughout the day just to keep up weren't indication enough.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Commence Stash-Busting

Our backyard early this morning- And it's still coming down!
As I type I'm watching gusts of wind blow walls of snow past the living room windows. We're in the midst of a massive snow-dumping, compliments of Lake Ontario. I do love the snow, but today we actually had plans. Since the State Troopers have warned against all unnecessary travel, we're staying home and having a movie day. The kids are having a movie day, I should say. I am beginning my stash-busting project. I've decided to clean out my fabric stash to make room for new things in the upcoming change of seasons- though looking out my window I dare say it'll be close to a year before all this snow is gone.
To encourage my commitment to using up my stash, I did a little rearranging of the sewing area. Actually a more accurate description would be that I moved it altogether. Since we moved in the end of April, my sewing area has been in the sealed basement. It's worked quite perfectly, because there's plenty of room (and then some!), and the kids have a large play area down there as well with their ride-on toys, painting easel, train table, play kitchen, etc. They always keep entertained for a solid hour or two when we go down there, so I'm able to get things done. The problem: Unless the dryer or the furnace are running, it stays about 48 degrees down there this time of year. SHIVER! Too cold to spend much time down there since we run neither our furnace nor the dryer constantly. Instead, I pushed over the kids' school computer and moved my machine and more frequently-used notions upstairs to the kitchen table. You'll notice in the photo where my infant supervisor works from while the other two kiddos have been great about just playing, doing schoolwork, etc, right there in the large kitchen/dining area (no, this is not the dining room table, in case you were wondering).
Size 4 low-waisted corduroy jumper
The move has been inspiring. In the last 24 hours alone I have accomplished a ton, including a size 6 dress for my 4-year-old and a size 4 jumper for her friend (whose birthday party we're missing today due to the snow- Shucks). I'm convinced my stash-busting project will be a success. Hooray! Next on today's agenda:
  •  Two pairs of pants already cut out
  • A jumper for my niece
  • A skirt for my niece
  • Pants for two of my nephews
  • Two pairs of pants for my son
Yep. I'm going to be a busy lady, but it's going to be GREAT! Onward with productivity on this snow-bound day.



PS- Still looking for a third knitter on my last post ;-)

Friday, January 14, 2011

So Blessed- Spread the WAHM Love

Suffice it to say my pattern release was a HUGE success. I'm so excited that people are thrilled with the Kumfy™ Schlüttli. It has been such an overwhelming blessing. I've been doing everything I can to pay forward the blessings by sending it to friends and family who'd like one for free. That said, if you read this and would like a copy of my pattern, leave a comment about a way you've been blessed since the New Year. The first three get a copy of the pattern for free. Be sure to include your email address!
I'm also working on thickening my skin. While literally 99.9% of people who have the pattern have had nothing but great things to say about it, there have been a couple of really vocal critics. Not constructive criticism, either- some pretty hurtful stuff, insulting me, my knitting ability, etc. I know this is part of being a business woman, so I'm trying to respond with kindness, professionalism, and take it with a grain of salt. Some people just 'go there' readily, rather than sending a private message with something along the lines of, "Hey, I noticed this, this, and this. Do you as the writer have the solution?" Several of the judgments were made by of misreading, and while this is a problem with the reader, I am also taking it as an opportunity to figure out how to write a clearer pattern, one that is next to impossible to misread. While I've been writing my own rough patterns for my own personal use (and sharing with friends when they ask) for several years, this is my first published. There is, of course, room for improvement and I welcome constructive criticism.Truly, I do.
Another blessing in my life is the abundance of incredible WAHMs I know. In a matter of days, Danielle of Full Hands, Full Heart did a last-minute customer order for OBV (organic bamboo velour) nursing pads for me to include in a gift box for a friend. Dena of Lulu Bird Designs does incredible embroidery work, has reasonable prices, and is a dream to work with. Heather of Bugga Bugga Boutique is an incredibly sweet woman who makes my all-time favorite diaper- a one-size Snappiable fitted (See Miss R sporting her favorite in the photo to the left). I also have the pleasure of working on a congo with Terra of TerraMade Products. She's a total sweetheart, great to work with, and a fantastic friend. I know SO many more incredible WAHMs, these are just a couple for today. Tell me about YOUR favorite WAHMs and why.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Ducks, Owls, and the New Year

Just finished a little knitting for a cousin's last-minute baby shower gift order. It was fun to press myself so hard. The project was tiny, but doable, and the supplies were scrumptious: delicious cashmerino and hand-carved and in-laid wooden buttons, with owl cables to boot. It blocked overnight and is going out in the morning's mail. I am excited to hear how the expentant mama of a surprise baby likes it. Baby shower gifts tend to be more exciting to me, because so many times it's the same gifts, different colors. When baby shower gifts are handmade, odds are they are truly one-of-a-kind. Commence the chorus of  Aaaaaaaaw's and add a little extra incredible. I have two pregnant friends who are due in the next month or two, and this tiny fluff got my fingers itching to set to work on their surprises. I have a few things queued-up that need finishing first, but I am looking for supplies for now.
The New Year is bringing plenty of new babies, though none in our home. We're happy with our three (for now), and the struggles, fun and excitement that accompany the life of a WAHM to three keeps me firm in that decision, but there are times my heart waivers.
With the New Year also comes tax time. With tax time comes a few splurges for each of us. Mine this year, I have already decided, will be a serger. For now I've been making due with the overlocking capabilities of my trusty sewing machine, but I look forward to expanding my line with the knits and interlocks that my sewing machine isn't quite delicate enough to handle. I'm excited.