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 wasΒ Amigurumi Knits/Knit Me,Β and I based it off a blog I loved called Lazylaces.Β Lazylaces linked to free point and click adventure games, and I wanted to do something similar for knit toy patterns.Β 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 πŸ˜‰ 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.

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. πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚
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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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!

More Photos from MinneSOHta

I got back on two weeks ago, but catching up with things has been so crazy that I didn’t have time to share these.
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The hotel that I stayed at (Holiday Inn East in St Paul) actually has an authentic Korean chef, so one night I got Stone Pot – I never had Koren food, and I was scared that it was spicy, but it wasn’t! It was kind of like fried rice that you cook yourself.
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I had never been to Culver’s, so after work I went with two coworkers.  One of them was like “Why do you want to go there? It’s not that good.”  They said that when I said I wanted to go to Sonic, too!  But we didn’t feel like driving too far for food, so it was a good idea. There’s nowhere that has similar service near where I grew up – you take a number and then the server brings it out to you. It’s pretty cool! Their custard wasn’t bad, either.  It was a mix between Abbot’s (from Rochester) and Rita’s (from PA)
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And, of course, I went to the Mall of America! I was told that there was a ferris wheel in it, it was so big… no one prepared me for the amusement park that’s in it! I went after 5 on a Wednesday, so the crowds weren’t bad at all πŸ™‚ I’m not much of a shopper, but I love looking in stores for things.
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I haven’t done much knitting since I came back, though.  I’ve been trying to get my head above water and catch up with everything I missed!

Liebster Blog Award

I got nominated for this award by Jordan from In It to Knit It.  You give eleven random facts, then answer 11 random questions.

So, here are my facts:
1. When I was little I slammed my hand in a car door and can’t bend the first joint of my left ring finger.
2. I love listening to people talk.  Everyone has a story and once they start talking it’s amazing what everyone has in common.
3.  My Myers-Briggs type is ESFJ, which is the “nurturer” subtype.  My type has changed 4 times since I first took it five years ago.
4.  I try really, really hard to eat healthy, but I have a craving for cheeseburgers that is bigger than most lolcats.
5.  I am addicted to reddit.  I check it on my phone every chance I get!
6.  I keep a journal.  I think it’s the best idea to write in one, especially when making a big decision.  I have looked back on my journals and thought “Right, that’s why I did that… I forgot.”
7.  I have lots of good friends, but they don’t know eachother well, and I’m nervous when I get married and they are all my bridesmaids they won’t like eachother.
8.  Sometimes I stop and think and am amazed at normal things like GPS (four satellites?!) and the fact that we walk on two legs.
9.  Sometimes I get this burst of energy and want to run.  It doesn’t last long. It reminds me a little bit of rabbits, they do something similar.
10. I do a little yoga every day.  My dream is to be able to do firefly pose.  I never look as graceful as photos of yoga on the internet.
11.  I am devestated by the fact that Google Reader is going away in July.  That website is like my connection to all my “online friends.”

Jordan’s questions were:

1. What is your favourite holiday destination?
 Until recently, I didn’t have an answer to this… but then I went to Maine with my boyfriend last summer.  So yeah, that! How can you say no to a view like this:
2. What is your favourite type of food e.g. Mexican, Italian, etc…?
I really like Pho.  It’s the best comfort food for me, but I can’t eat a whole bowl!
3. If you had an elephant what would you name it?
Mr. Sniffles.  Even if it was a girl πŸ™‚
4. If you could do any job for a day what would it be?
I wouldn’t want to change my job.  Ask me again in ten years maybe?
5. If you had to change your name what would you change it too?
I would pick something easy to spell.  Maybe Alice Jones?  It’s hard being the only Alyssa Lynough on the internet, so Alice Jones would probably blend in well.
6. Do you play nay sports?
No.  I used to play tennis but haven’t since highschool.
7. What is your favourite item of clothing you own?
Any of my hand knit socks.
8. Do you play any instruments?
I can play flute and guitar, though I haven’t played either in a while.
9. Can you speak any other languages?
I can speak French and ASL enough to be understood.
10. What is your favourite dessert?
It depends on the time of year. Spring – Strawberry Shortcake; Summer – Key Lime Pie; Winter – Chocolate Bread Pudding.
11. Fruit or vegetables?
That’s hard.  I would probably pick vegetables because they’re healthier.

So, now that that’s done… I’m going to nominate eleven people! You don’t have to pass it on, it’s just fun. 

My eleven people are…
1. Sara from KnottyGome Crafts
2. Dee from Tangled Up in Sticks and String
3. Kathy from Irish Eyes Knitters
4. Rilana from PDX Princess
5. Mummybear from Slugs and Snails
6. Kate from Knits In Class
7. Louise from Wildflower Wool
8. Kate from Under the Red Umbrella
9. Alysia from Anxiety and Coffee
10. Carla from Tiny Angry Crafter
11. Emily from Yarn Miracle

And my questions are…
1. What little thing are you amazed at right now?
2. What can someone do that will cheer you up almost no matter what?
3. The ocean or the beach?
4. What’s your favorite word?
5. If you had all the time and all the money and no carpal tunnel, what would you knit/crochet?
6. What’s one thing that you loved as a kid that you’re not sure why you liked now?
7. What’s your spirit animal? (Be as silly as possible.)
8. If you were stranded on a desert island, what snack would you miss the most?
9. If you had the ability to go anywhere just by thinking about it BUT you were invisible and couldn’t be heard or interact with anything, where would you go?
10. You get home to find a mysterious package.  You open it up, and inside is that thing that you need right now.  What is it?
11. What is your worst knitting or crochet mistake that you’re comfortable talking about?

Wow, I really like asking random questions.  I think that was the fastest part of this blog post.  Anyway, I’m excited to see what the answers are! (Or if people read my blog… >_>) 

ABCs of Me

I stole this post from Dee at Tangled Up in Sticks and String, because I’m a dirty rotten thief and I can write little bits of this during the week during in-between times.  πŸ˜›

 
A – Age: 22

B – Bed Size: Full, but I want to upgrade to king so that I can sleep like royalty
C – Chore You Hate: I cannot stand anything that has to do with old food.  When people leave things in the sink with food still in them, ugh! I want to puke!
D – Dogs Name: No dog, thanks.  I’m kind of scared of them.
E – Essential Start of the Day Item:  Music.  If I don’t have music during my morning I sleep on my feet.
F – Favorite Colour: Green?  I don’t really have a favorite.
G – Gold or Silver: Silver.
H – Height: 5′ 2″
I – Instruments you play: Flute, Guitar (passably), Piano if the song only requires one hand, Kazoo.
J – Job: EHS professional! πŸ™‚  I love my job.

K – Kids: Someday.

L – Living Arrangements: I rent a nice apartment in the attic of a house with my boyfriend.
 
M – Music You Love: Anything, really, but my guilty pleasure is Taylor Swift and CRJ.

N – Nicknames: N/A

O – Overnight Hospital Stay: None yet, phew!

P – Pet Peeve: I have so many I don’t want to pick one because the others will get jealous.

Q – Quote from a Movie: Anything from Mean Girls.

R – Right handed or Left: Right.

S – Siblings: 1 younger big brother

T – Time you wake up: When I don’t have to go to work? About 8.

U – Underwear: Y-yeah? I have no strong pro-underwear or con-underwear opinions.

V – Vegetables you dislike: Swiss Chard, because it tastes like fish.

W – Workout Style: Walking on a treadmill reading a book like a boss.

X – X-Rays You’ve Had: Not counting my dental x rays…? 2.

Y – Yummy Food You Make: I have a lot of good slow cooker recipies.  I also have a killer peanut butter pie recipe.

Z – The Best Place to Visit – Anywhere with a view!

Irresistibly Sweet!

Last week, Jordan from In It To Knit It gave me this really cute award! Thanks, Jordan!

As part of the award, you have to give seven random facts about yourself, so I’m going to try and give some facts that aren’t in my 100 things… I’m not going to check though πŸ˜›  If someone feels cheated, I guess I’ll add something.
  1. I have low latent inhibition.  Every time I tell someone about this lately, they’ve said something like “Like that guy in Prison Break!?” – I’ve never seen prison break, so I have no clue!
  2. My favorite thing to do when not knitting is watch Hulu – I’m considering getting Hulu plus just for the reality TV shows!
  3. My favorite genre of books is Distopian – Lord of the Flies, Oryx and Crake, 1984, We, Brave New World.  I don’t know why, I just really love them!
  4. My grandfather tells a story about how, the first time I spent the night at their house, he came to the breakfast table and I was eating toast with marmalade and reading the obits to my grandmother from the New York Times.  I have no memory of this.  I was three or four at the time.
  5. I have a folder on my computer of funny photos that I’ve pulled from the internet of have had sent to me.  I highly recommend this practice for cheering oneself up! I have a bunch of EHS related ones, too, for presentations.
    This was emailed to me by W – no idea if it’s real.
  6. Everytime I hear the word “applesauce” I smile.  I don’t know why – it used to be a lot worse.  I would laugh everytime someone said it!
  7. I sleep walk and talk,  Severely.  I’m comfortable with the fact that I won’t harm myself or divulge any horrible secrets, mostly I babble incoherently and keep people awake.  I have a lot of good sleepwalking stories.
The second part of the award is that you have to pass it on to 7 other blogs/bloggers, so here it goes!
  1. Yarn Miracle – This blog is REALLY sweet, from the adorable toys to the adorable toddler, Emily has the market πŸ™‚
  2. Tiny Angry Crafter – I love reading about Carla’s WIPs, her posts are quite sweet – I mean, really, you can’t think up a better word to describe these headbands (besides fantabulous, but I’ve been told that’s not technically a “word.”)
  3. Kit’s Knits – I love seeing her knit and crochet stuff! Since I don’t crochet, I get my fill of amigurumi eye candy here πŸ™‚ And, she’s just a sweet person
  4. Skirted Fleece Farm – Oh, not really a knitting blog, but I can’t help it! I love living vicariously through their posts, and seeing pictures of their farm as it starts up.
  5. One Word Down, Millions More To Go – What can I say? I’m a sucker for reading! Rachel hasn’t posted in a while, though.
  6. Knitting with Olof – Also hasn’t posted in a while, but she has some great F.O. pics, and some really adorable kiddos.  Oh, and her reviews are great – honest, well-meaning, and sometimes accompanied by giveaways πŸ˜‰
  7. Sessilifolia – I like seeing her FO’s, and she’s just a sweet person! So, award for you πŸ™‚
Wow, finding seven blogs I like was a lot easier than thinking facts about myself!  Thanks again, Jordan, for the award!

Setbacks, Sidetracks!

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Well, it’s been a tough week in the room (which is my new nickname for my apartment here in NH :])

1. I lost my debit card, meaning I didn’t get to buy my shiny nice things that I talked about in my last post.
2.  W left!
3.  I just found out that I made a simple mistake on my Pink Lemonade Socks and had to frog back the whole gusset!

But, on the bright side:
1. I got a new debit card, and the person who lifted it never got a chance to spend any of my money
2. I get to go on a me spree! I hope the bank isn’t suspicious of me.
3.  W was here at all – I really had a great weekend, it’s just watching him go that put me in a funk
4. While W was here, he inspired me and helped me overcome  problem I’ve been having on my DAL design!
5.  I got a Wii Fit, which has helped raise my serotonin levels and, let’s face it, it’s impossible not to smile when you’re pretending to hula hoop and a fluffy rabbit is running around you in circles.
6.  I got a super nice blog award from Jordan of In It To Knit It πŸ™‚

So, there, two nice things for every sad thing that’s gotten me down!