Lessons from 10 Years of Writing a Knitting Blog

Wow. 10 years, I feel super old. I thought I would commemorate by writing a little bit about the history of my knitting blog.

The Beginning

My first blog was Amigurumi Knits/Knit Me, and I based it off a blog I loved called Lazylaces. Lazylaces linked to free point and click adventure games, and I wanted to do something similar for knit toy patterns. Knit toys were not that big of a deal then, there weren’t a lot of patterns out there at all and many of them were not professionally written. Folks like Anna of Mochimochi Land, Rebecca Danger, and Susan Anderson were writing knitting blogs, but relatively unknown. Ravelry didn’t exist yet, which meant that there was no easy way to find patterns.

So, every day I would go online and try and find a new knitting pattern. Through google. That’s right, I would literally google “Knit Toy Camel” and “Knit Octopus.” Every so often I would find a stumbleupon bookpage or a link library of lots of patterns, but much of it was my own google-fu. I would usually find home-brew patterns from blogs, and then email or comment on the post asking if I could feature that item on my blog.

I only featured things with people’s consent. Sometimes there was a little drama over this, which is funny now, because people are now super interested in “going viral” and having links to their patterns or blog post shared. Back then, it was incredibly bad form. Now, buzzfeed does it all day long and makes a bunch of cash over it 😉 I would usually post with the title of the pattern, a link to the blog, and link to the pattern, and a photo from the blog’s owner with them credited. Very rarely did I have problems, but once someone totally removed her pattern because I mentioned that it looked like Hobbes from Calvin and Hobbes, and she was afraid of a lawsuit!

Anyway, things were good. I filled my time making posts to different patterns all over, and knitting. But then…

Ravelry Happened.

Ravelry changed how you find knitting patterns. Now, there isn’t really a need for Knit Me, because you can go an find whatever you want on there. So, I slowed down on the link posting and started posting more of my own things. I moved all the posts about my own knitting trials and tribulations out to a separate blog, Alyoops!, which I hosted on Blogger. My own patterns are really where all the “traffic” in my knitting blog goes – my posts about knitting are ok at best, but they’ll never be so strong that people will just want to read them. I’m no Yarn Harlot, even though for a while in high school I really wanted to be.

Alyoops! was to be my bouncing off point into knit design stardom. (HA) It’s kind of funny now, but I was so sure that I would be a successful independent designer. I followed other designers, read blogs, and even ended up buying a book about it. A few of my designs totally flopped – especially the much-hated Dino the Dinosaur. Someone actually emailed me and told me she would never knit again because of my terrible pattern. One day I’m going to overhaul the pattern and post much better pictures. For now my designs are on hold, so that I can make sure that the Dino Debaucle is never repeated!

And Now…

Now, here I am, on my own domain! I actually never dreamed that I’d be able to afford my own domain on the ‘net, but now that I have a day job, it’s easy to spend $10 a year on Bluehost. Now my blogging is mostly just my knitting trials and tribulations. I don’t care much if I “go viral” or become a famous knitwear designer, I just want to have my knitting blog where I post what I’m doing, what I’m up to, and where I can keep up with my friends on the internet.

I still have patterns for sale, but they will probably never be a huge source of income. Right now, I make $5 every 6 months from pattern sales – definitely won’t be able to retire on that! I’ve never gotten a check from Google Adsense or Amazon Associates, but I don’t “work hard” at including these into my posts. At the moment I have a balance of $23 in my Adsense account and $0 for AA.

So here’s to 10 more years, with all the changes and trials and tribulations that come with that.

I'm sure there will be awesome photos of these from my photographer later.

How to: Vintage-ish Doily Escort Cards

So, I’m having fun practicing my hand lettering as I get ready for my wedding by making these escort cards. They’re inspired by these doily escort cards that I saw on Pinterest: (which should be banned for any brides who are within 90 days of their wedding).

Here's the image from Pinterest. I have no idea who it belongs to, so, sorry.
So pretty. Much vintage. Wow

I an DIY this! Yeah! We only have 80 guests. Or so. Some Still haven’t RSVP’d. It’ll all be ok. Gotta focus on the important things. Like writing down this tutorial for all the Internet to use and avoiding anymore hand lettering.

You will need:

  1. An interest or experience in hand lettering or calligraphy. I like to hand letter in my notes at work during meetings. I’ve gotten a little more practice at it now. Definitely don’t go into this without looking at a few tutorials. Or do, whatever.
  2. Cards! I used 80lb 4×6 Brown Craft Paper from ThunderBolt Paper. It’s already cut.
  3. Doilies. I just went on Amazon and bought a pack of these 4″ round paper doilies from Royal Paper The important thing is that your doily diameter is the same at the short edge of your paper.
  4. A nice pen. Don’t use some sort of Bic thing that you’d write your grocery list with. I used the 02 and the 05 pens from my Pigma Micron Set.
  5. Glue! A regular glue stick will be fine. Elmer’s Glue might also work. Modge Podge, too, I guess, but why waste your wonderful golden MP on something when a glue stick will work? You’re getting married. You should be counting your pennies.

Ready? Click through for the instructions.

Continue reading “How to: Vintage-ish Doily Escort Cards”

Mistakes Were Made

Mostly by me. I forgot my login info for my blog, and also have experienced an overwhelming amount of wedding crafts. And not a lot of knitting. In fact, zero progress on any knitting 😐
Here are some photos to make up for it:

Erm… yeah. I went to Ireland for work. So, there are all my pretty photos from that.

Any now, pretty photos of my house! (Not really. This is a terrible mess that is my wedding craft-o-mania.)

69 DAYS TO GO DON’T FREAK OUT

Just so you know – you’re not missing much, just me saying DON’T FREAK OUT a lot. Pretty much over everything that happens. 🙂

No NaNos for Me This Month!

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This year, I’m not doing NaNoWrimo, NaNoKniMo, or any other monthly challenge… and I feel kind of guilty. I just have a lot of stuff on my plate. I want to finish my 16 in 2016 challenge, I’m working on a new secret design that I thought was SO AWESOME but now think it’s a little lame… I just don’t have a lot of knitting confidence right now, which translates to not a lot of self confidence.

I’m happy to watch from the sidelines while everyone else works hard, though! 😉

I DID print a copy of the novel that I finished last year. It’s languishing away, unedited and un-looked at by anyone. (Maybe it should stay that way?)

I’ve Moved!

I’m hopping onto the WordPress bandwagon, and while I was at it, I decided to get myself my own domain. This means that I’m going to be trying to be serious about this side hustle knitting thing. Which, if you’ve been tuning in frequently, you might notice as a theme.

Anyway, I’m hoping to be able to make enough money to pay for my hosting from sales and blog income. That’s about $275 in three years. If I can’t, I promised myself that I’d be moving back to my free hosting. So, we’ll see!

Hope the mess isn’t too bad. I’ve lost all of my photos for the past year, but they’re stored in Flickr, so worst case I’ll re-upload all of them… gross but managable since I haven’t posted much!

Jean Tannen the cat.
Here’s a picture of JT in a box, so that you don’t get too mad at my mess.

I had an engagement party and no one died!

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Adorably(?) bad kerning

I was very nervous about our engagement party. It helped to set a goal – when asked about my expectations, I just said “As long as no one dies, I’m happy.” So when things when inevitably wrong (the CD that was playing party music skipped, high winds tore down handmade bunting, I forgot one of Dan’s relative’s names) I just told myself “no one is going to die” and was able to float through the party with something that was close to zen.

Of course, that probably didn’t seem zen to some people. I was really hoping everyone had a good time, and so I tried to get the two families to mingle. Eventually I realized that I should have at least taken some photos, so the only photos I have are kind of grainy 8PM post party stuff.

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Yes, these are the LEFTOVERS.

We had a great dessert table, with all sorts of sweets! Sadly only one cake was gluten free, and that ran out fast. At least I got some before it was gone, but at 9PM when the last few stragglers were eating cookies and milk I felt a little awkward munching on veggie tray leftovers.
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I test drove my homemade bunting that I put together, and I learned two things. First, I need at least 10 times more bunting for the wedding. Second, wind and bunting don’t mix. Wind and decorations don’t really mix in general. Most stuff had to be brought inside, where my hard work went pretty much unnoticed – oh well. No one died.
My favorite detail of the party? This thing.
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Yeah, the gift table is not really pinterest worthy, sue me.
It’s a cloud peeing rainbows. We saw it at the party store and I bought it on a whim. I love it. We brought it home with us, and I spend the entire drive like this:
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Overall, I had an awesome time and would do it again. Oh wait… I am, and it’s going to be even bigger and I’m going to get married at it. 
Yikes.
Better just knit some more and not think about that.

I’m Engaged!

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Ok, I’ve been engaged for about two weeks now, but I’ve been so overwhelmed talking with family and friends offline, that making the post here slipped my mind.
So, obviously, my 16 in 2016 goals might be… not met? I’m not sure what I’m going to craft for this. Dan and I got the book A Practical Wedding and the workbook as an engagement gift from Alysia, so we’ve been using that to plan things. It’s really been great!
Our date is set – June 3rd, 2016 – and we have our photographer/videographer already booked! We’re also planning an engagement party, engagement photos, and all the trappings. I’m really excited!
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Oh – of course, I should tell you how he proposed! It wasn’t a surprise. (Can it really be, when you’ve been living together for almost four years?) I knew that he had the ring, but I didn’t know what it looked like. I knew he was going to propose to me on a weekend. He really wanted to go to Maine, so I kind of figured he was going to do it there. We had a great day at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, then pizza for lunch before going out to the island.
Before dinner, he suggested we take a walk along the beach and watch the sunset. We did, looking for sea glass and just having a good time. Once, he bent down on one knee to pick up a piece and there was an incredibly awkward moment where I thought he was going to propose and I felt myself crying with happiness. He just looked up at me confused and we had a good laugh. I said “You know when we reached the point in our relationship when you couldn’t get me any jewelry in ring-sized boxes? Well, now I guess we’re at the point where you can’t bend down on one knee for things.” So he pointed out the seaglass and I picked it all up.
When we had walked up and down the beach, we sat down on a big fallen tree that was turning into driftwood and went to compare treasures. When they were all on my lap and we had come to the traditional decision that it was “a pretty good haul,” he stopped and gave a cheesy gasp.
“Oh, wait, I have something here in my pocket.”
It was a suede jewelry box, that was slightly sandy. I opened it and the ring was inside.
I said yes, of course 🙂
Oh, and here’s a closeup of the ring. It’s a little big, so I have to get it resized this weekend.
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Magpie in Lexington, KY

So I travelled to a plant in Lexington to go to an awesome workshop on ergonomics.  It was really cool to see how each task is broken down and the motions are analyzed – and the Lexington area has got a lot to do and see (well, not for someone who has to sit in the hotel room and prop her leg up! 🙁 )
The one place I made sure to check out was Magpie Yarn downtown.  It had a great selection of yarns (by color and size) and the woman there was so helpful.  Here’s some pictures of the inside to get a feel of the ambience:
It makes me want to sit and knit all day. But, doesn’t take much.
Anyway, I decided to buy some local Kentucky yarn – which, strangely enough, there isn’t a lot of.  I got two skeins of Colors to Dye For, which are very squishy and beautiful.
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This blue is for me, it’s a Merino/Cashmere/Nylon blend sock yarn.  Cashmere socks.  I feel so rich!  I actually think I might make wristwarmers for these, or maybe another shawl… I broke my cardinal rule with this, which is not to buy yarn unless you have a plan for it… but it was in the spirit of tourism/supporting local business/Iwantitandit’snotlikewe’regoingtostarveifIbuythis.
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I don’t want to oogle over this light blue/blue/purple mix too much because I bought it for Alysia.  When I find pretty vegan yarn I like to get it for her because she can’t work with animal fibers.  The colorway is “Panda” which is her fiance’s pet name for her… right? Destiny!
Then this last yarn isn’t Kentucky-made, but I was inspired by it.
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A few weekends ago Dan and I went to a convention and he bought me a corset that was cream and this exact color yellow.  So, I can make a shawl with this that will match! At least, that’s the dream.  My current pace of knitting probably makes that dream laughable, but whatever.  It’s a silky smooth sock yarn from Knitted Wit, and the colorway is “Sunshine.” I actually think I might design with this yarn, a first for me in like 6 months.  
Ugh, it’s been six months since I finished Moby and I still don’t have the pattern up :'(

Christmas Vacation!

Well, things got a little crazy this weekend.  We were driving through Vermont when this happened:
 At 6 o’clock on a Saturday night, no one was open to even look at the car, but the person that towed the car said he would come in and look at the alternator the next day. 
So we stayed at a hotel, the Paradise Inn, and ate some bad pizza, bought some souvenirs, and were on the road by noon on Sunday.  It was fun and I took some nice photos, but I’d rather PLAN a weekend getaway and suddenly find myself having one!