Work work work work work

Where do I start? The last 6 months have been a whirlwind, spent gorging on new information, studying,  learning, trying and implementing. I have so much on my brain that I usually drop like a fly come bed time. I haven’t been this satiated socially and physically in ages, just from getting work done. Granted vendor events totally wreak havoc on my body, the day after I’m incapacitated, but fulfilled. It’s a strange feeling I haven’t had in years. Meeting new people, networking, creating events and managing them. Being a girlboss is tough work.

I grew up in the mentality towards direct sales with two specific ideas; 1. It’s always a pyramid scheme in disguise, 2. It’s a hobby. While it is easy to believe the first is true, I am not being forced, coerced or any other means to make teams or bump my numbers up. I have a great team with wonderful women who seek to share their success and help others who are having a bit of a rough time.  The amount of time and money I’ve invested may scream hobby, but I’m on the track to earn my investment back, slowly but surely. I haven’t done anything this physically laborious in years. I will cry if I forget to pack flats. One mistake, lesson learned. Everything will hurt for ages if you work in heels. So will your arms from slinging heavy frakta bags into the back of an SUV. It isn’t easy and there isn’t always help. Add a broken wobbly rack threatening to spill hundreds of pounds of clothing everywhere on top of painful shoes and you’ll want to kick your own rear for getting into it.

 

Sure it’s easy to say all we do is take pictures and the clothing sells itself, but it doesn’t work that way, not even 6 months after signing my contract. Planning, prepping, and making outfits, interaction posts, and collage graphics is time consuming. Changing mannequins is not for the impatient. Neither is working with cheap lighting and having to color correct every single picture. It is rewarding though, just being able to put a smile on people’s faces through gifting and conversation. All the other details fade away.

 

At the end of the day I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I enjoy doing this and getting to meet new people. My anxiety has dropped considerably in the months that I have been doing this. I feel happier, and that’s what I have been striving for, and the added bonus of being able to be a day maker makes it that much better.

Major changes this way come

I guess you can say I’ve become a casual knitter and less of a serious one. My hands start to swell more and my DE is out of control so I can’t really touch too many things. I found out through recent testing that I’m allergic to nickel, which is in stainless steel and pretty much most metal things like silver, white gold, 14k gold, steel. The preservative allergy I saw coming, this was a bit more blindsiding. It’s rather forced my anxiety and depression into an undue state of not sleeping, not accomplishing things, not knowing what to do, with an ever cycling thought pattern of ‘what next, what now?’
To answer that question short and simply: LuLaRoe.

I’m queuing to become a consultant and I am ready to have a job where I pick my hours, push myself outside of my comfort zone and meet new people, get to go new places and have fun and amazing opportunities I wouldn’t otherwise have stuck in my home.

So, for those that are curious I will link my fb page and my group info is on there to join. 

I am focusing on making 2017 a positive, successful, and more interactive outside of my comfort zone year. I have set goals and made lists- neither of the like I typically do normally.  So to find my positivity and happiness again, I’m starting anew. I’m excited and terrified at the same time. I just hope that those who have stuck around here can appreciate that I may not be around as much but you will know where to find me if you’re curious. If you want to know why it started, the leggings.

These leggings:

The knit ones came up in many knitting groups and I went on a hunt. I found them, fell in love and bought many more items. Now I want to share my love of the exciting and limited amounts of prints and people who make this so fun to do. I’ve met and talked with more people in the last month than I can remember socializing with in ages. I love it. It reminds of the best job I ever had and enjoyed working at a music store. If you love what you do and do what you love everything just falls into place.

I picked out the funnest mailers and cards just FYI. If you order from me you get pineapples and unicorns.

I’m learning to love myself again throughout this whole process as well. Taking pictures of myself is something I avoid like the plague. Now that it is work, it forces me to face my fears and embarassments. At least I feel pretty is my new motto. I’m hoping to change it, but right now this works.

So for all of you that need inspiration, I leave you with this:

Anxiety is overwhelming

The last 3 months have been a blur of social gatherings, dear friends moving, one roundtrip flight, and another kitten. I don’t think I’ve ever been this disinterested in anything fiber related in ages. Honestly I’m pretty sure it’s the constant changing of my anxiety meds along with not wanting to do anything. Sheer motivation right now can’t even get me to do anything past getting out of bed and getting dressed. The idea of social obligations right now is indeed quite petrifying.

I did accomplish many mini social gathering and get togethers for my kids. I managed to hop on a plane and fly all the way to Maryland from Alabama for my best friends wedding. It seems like such a blur now. It was the most relaxing, fun, go with the flow time I’ve had in ages. I got to see people I haven’t seen in over a decade and meet new people within a circle I’ve heard about but never had the opportunity to until then. I miss my east coast life at times.

Now I’ve acquired animal #4, Jon, Jon Snow to be more precise, or bat cat as I call him. Sam and him are two peas in a pod and instigators. We’ve had him for almost two weeks and it’s really quite interesting to see how different their personalities are. I’ve only broken out the yarn for them, to make new cat toys to chase around the house and lose under the furniture. Now to get back on track and start getting some accountability lists going so I can force my motivation back into me. Ha.

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A week into September…

I feel as though I’ve done nothing since this month has begin, but really it has been spent socializing and out in the real world to an extent. I’ve managed to start and knit a couple of rows on my Hitofude. Other misc projects have started, but nothing I’m dead set on committing to as my main project. Honestly, I didn’t mean for this post to turn into a book, but it needed to come out of my head as it’s interfering with my knitting.

I’ve also been following the fallout of a particular MKAL with popcorn in hand. It’s not so much that it was a disaster from a shortage of yards recommended, but the designer was incompetent on many levels from the beginning, and it wasn’t the first time that they had screwed up with orders and delayed and MKAL based around that, but they also didn’t knit it, or test knit. So dredging through the forums on Ravelry has brought to light a certain behavior or cycle per say. Screw up, flagellate self in public, give an indirect apology, spend months “fixing” problems, repeat.

So needless to say I’ve had a lot of interesting reading, years worth to be truthful. I’m not saying this in an aggressive tone, or to be mean, or to drag down the designer, in fact I will not even name them for the sake of embarrassment. Facts are facts. The designers initial response to people asking for refunds was to call them names and start a thread insulting and belittling them, looking for answers as to why they haven’t received their yarn or beads that they paid for over a year prior.(because said designer said they don’t check their email or Ravelry mail, so they had no choice but to oust their issues in public-which I’m sure is nothing short of embarrassing for both parties)

The designer also had pattern collections that were supposed to include multiple patterns, reduced without prior indication and no refunds offered until people pointed it out in public forums. (many are using the way back time machine to compare the prior releases to what is currently up, and there is literally no apology or mention of reduction) More push backs. Faulty dye jobs, wet/smelly yarn being sent to people, everything late after having a sufficient amount of time to get it done. (nearly 18 months from announcement)

So to say that my mind is anything short of boggled with how one is still on Ravelry putting out patterns with such things going on is beyond comprehension at this point. If you were to check out the forums that have been screen capping the whole scenario, you’d be inclined to agree that they are someone who has taken on more responsibility than they are quite capable of handling. It’s quite sad to see someone who hasn’t figured that out by this point in their business and offered nothing more than mere “I’m disappointed in myself too” in response to the debacle.

What initially dragged me into this, was that I had been looking forward to this particular MKAL for a while, but hadn’t had a chance to start anything with a couple of sweaters on the needles. By the time I did get the chance to start anything, there were major issues arising, and you can see that on many of the project pages of people that participated in this MKAL. After reading one thoroughly written notes section I was sent to a forum that had been advising people how to deal with getting their money back and other issues associated with the pattern collections from the same designer, as certain promises were made, not met, and therefore constituted as fraud and they were due a refund. This group was helpful in showing people how to navigate the waters of Ravelry and issuing the proper complaints necessary to warrant their money back, or if they got the patterns as a promotion, to report the designer for altered and delaying of collections on behalf of those unaware that had paid. The fact that there is probably a group of people out there, be it small, that is unaware of what is going on and are paying customers is why this group has taken a foothold on this problem.

The collections were pretty well unnoticed until this group started pointing out the issues when the MKAL blew up. There are 7 pattern collections that have been altered and/or delayed somehow. This MKAL still isn’t complete. The original pattern still hasn’t been tested and knit by the designer, but they have put out one smaller version that they had someone else knit as a 3rd version. A second version is being knit in the yarn meant for the MKAL. But there seems to be no conclusion to this, and a lot of people have wasted their time and money on this and are not getting what they originally expected. It’s sad to see that there was little consolation to this other than a free pattern or refund of goods purchased, but at your expense of return until received.

My brain hurts to see so much going on with little resolution offered but promises. It seems as though things are slowly coming to an end, it’s not an end for those that have more invested with that designer, as more MKALs roll out and more patterns are due to be released and the excuses for delays have already popped up again. The clarity that should have been there from the beginning has just started showing up, but will probably fade as people forget the disaster that the MKAL was.

I’m just disappointed with the flakey behavior and overall attitude from the designer who has had no problem with jumping into the next group of projects and leaving behind a bunch of people still waiting for answers. Thankfully there are ways of helping people, and people have been able to get help from all of this. It’s a great takeaway lesson into paying more attention to the designers you choose to purchase and invest in, especially when it comes to MKALs and unreleased pattern collections.

TL;DR: designer royally screwed up (also has a history of this), major fallout occurred, fraud has happened and refunds are being issued on behalf of that-yes Ravelry is aware and managing it.

Silverleaf

I’ve been working on and off on Silverleaf all month. Friday I finally got at it and finished up the last 40 or so rows and made the bind off. I haphazardly blocked it before picking up the kids from school. I waited to sew in the ends until last night and I’m glad to have a shawl in a summery yarn, Cascade Sunseeker- a cotton yarn with a single shimmery tinsel ply. 

I’ve gotten to the point where I’m preferential with my weaving in ends after blocking as opposed to before. I don’t know why but it seems to be easier/cleaner looking and all around less stressful. 

This shawl was a bit of a challenge keeping track of the rows and stitch count overall. There was lots of frogging and reknitting. 

(Eta: the whole paragraph that apparently got deleted in the picture upload process)

I took a short break from knitting and decided to do a bit of dyeing. It’s been a while since I’ve hit the dye pots and I managed to land me some silk/rayon blend for a sweater but the catch is I needed to use fiber reactive dyes on it per the ratio of fibers. The silk is unknown but the rayon is from bamboo. Slowly I worked out a steely blue color, but once rinsed it changed colors.

It went to a very light greenish gray. I ended up overdyeing it multiple times until I got something I considered reasonably pretty.

The merino was only too easy. I managed to get a brand new dedicated dyeing crock pot for $20 at target and had to test it out.

(I have no idea how to turn that picture around lol )

Anyways, I think I have my winter knitting all set up and I’ll be busy when the colder weather hits. If only fall would get here quicker. At least September is right around the corner.

A sweater down!

I love being able to say a big project is finished. There’s something about weaving in that last end and snipping the last tail that give you such great relief. Friday night I managed to finish my daughter’s version of Flax Light. I left it folded neatly on the couch assuming she’d find it and be wearing it before I found my first cup of coffee.

 By mid morning, laundry being folded, I spotted it and asked my husband if she knew it was done. Apparently she had a hard time getting up like the rest of us folks and without the convenience of caffeine had missed it entirely. I called to her and asked her if she she’d seen it. And as I asked, I unfolded it revealing it’s finished partnered sleeve. She immediately snagged it from me and forced it over her head and was the happiest kid I’d ever seen.

(Forgive the lighting, we had a dreary morning) 

She wore it in our heavily air conditioned home to read books and play with our new kitten Sam all day. He seems to like it too.

Now off to start my sweaters and work on all these wips laying around! It’s been ages since I’ve been able to work on something I’m actually looking forward to knitting.

Intermission projects

There are projects that seem as though a snails pace would move faster. There are also projects (perhaps the same ones) that give your hands and wrists grief because of the small needle size used and all you want to do is work on something else in the meantime. I’ve gotten to that point in a version of the sweater Flax Light, which I have modified to be plain without the garter panels and done in a light sport weight rather than a sock weight. The sweater is for my daughter and she picked out the yarn and colors so it was quite difficult finding a pattern that would work well with 3 colors, color blocked. I can get through a good half hour to 45 minutes of working if it’s not too chilled from the air conditioning in the house, but the second my hands get cold my knuckles start locking up and I start fighting with my muscles and start popping/cracking my knuckles and rubbing my hands every half row or so.

Now I managed to get a break with an intermission/gratification project. My niece’s first birthday is around the corner and I’ve been wanting to make a summer dress for her to wear. I found a pattern for a simple yet cute cotton dress that was simple enough yet quick moving, and better yet-not on small needles! The pattern is Shades of Summer Dress, and again I like to modify things to be a bit more simplistic and faster going so I omitted the seed stitch panel.

The colors were hard to photograph and they’re a bit softer than this. I’m posting this today as the recipient is supposed to be recieving it today. I’m so excited. I can’t wait to see her in it.