5 Shawls, 5 Days

I participated in Aroha Knits #5shawls5days project on Instagram this week.  The assignment was to explore the techniques of 5 types of shawls.  Here are my final 5!

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I found this to be a fun and educational project!  I loved looking at all the pics on Instagram.  If you aren’t familiar with the project, use the hashtag on Instagram to see all the tiny shawls.

Knitting these tiny shawls reminded me that getting started on a project is my least favorite part.  I love planning new projects, but I like knitting much better when the project has grown to the point that I can feel the weight of the knitting on my needles and have it resting in my lap.  The time when the knitting reaches this stage is my favorite point in the project!  Of course, closer to the end I do get impatient — ready to finish and cast on a new project. What is your favorite stage of a knitting or crochet project?

 

 

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Three Yarns, one project, no problem!

I’m knitting the Ad Hoc shawl by Josh Ryks   This is a fun-to-knit 3 color shawl. I’m using the new Matilda  case to keep me organized!

Each yarn feeds through an opening (one on each side and one in the center front.)

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The project fits in the case when not in use.

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Take your knitting out in style!

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Don’t forget a Stitch Hoodie to keep your needles covered. image

The Matilda case and Stitch Hoodies are available in my Etsy shop. 

The yarns used are sparkly yarns from Lazy Cat and Zen Garden.

 

Stitches West

I have returned from Stitches West, have the Etsy Shop full of goodies once again, and am  buying new fabrics as I prepare for DFW FiberFest

My friend Sharon volunteered to go on the road trip (3700 miles round trip!) to California from Texas. Reactions from friends were mixed, with “you’re driving!?!?!” being the most frequent comment. There were a few hearty “I love road trips!” and for those few, I say thank you!  I love road trips too!

What we saw:

El Paso!

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Cacti!

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The Winchester Mansion!

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Mountains!

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Snow!

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What we did

When I wasn’t driving I knit a sweater for my great nephew, Martin  who was born February 23rd, the day we made it home!  I am finishing the sweater this weekend.

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Met some current customers! This is Trisha who has been a long-time customer and Facebook fan. She looks great! I look tired (this was market preview after set up day.) We also met a lot of new customers, quite a few of those were thanks to Trisha!

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The best part of the show is meeting customers, new and old.  The Stitch Hoodies were a huge hit! One knitter told me she had been using binder clips to hold her needles together. I tried this out and prefer the Stitch Hoodies!  🙂

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Knowing that my products can make our craft more enjoyable is so satisfying!

What I loved

I got to see Miss Babs! She isn’t coming to DFW FiberFest this year. This is some Sojourn cashmere/silk that traveled back to Texas with me!

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The book, Betsy Beads, by Betsy Hershberg. I love small projects, interesting yarns and beads. Searching for the perfect combination of beads and yarn is part of the fun!

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A Verb for Keeping Warm.  Kristine Vejar had written a book on natural dyeing. Her yarns were so beautiful! My biggest regret is not buying the skein I fell in love with, as I cannot find it on line  😦

Maggiknits.com has some beautiful and unique designs.  The company doesn’t allow photography in their booth, so you will have to check out their website or on Ravelry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Year’s Giveaway!

Winners, posts 21 (Melanie) and 44 (Debbie) have been notified.  I loved reading about your current projects!  So inspiring!!!  Thanks also for your kind words and love of my designs.  It was heartwarming to read your comments.   🙂

Christmas and the holiday season is over.  You were good hostesses or hosts.  You found the perfect gifts for others.  You decorated your homes, gave parties and attended parties.  Now its time to settle down into the long winter’s nights with some yarn and a good project.  It seems a perfect time for a giveaway!

I will be giving away two prizes in this post.  The first is a Serena Bag and a skein of fingering weight yarn from Hen House Yarns in the Wild Birds colorway.

 

I met Stephanie from Hen House Yarns at Stitches Texas.  Her booth was like a warm hug of cozy colors, and I couldn’t resist!   I hope you love this yarn as much as I do!  Speaking of love, Valentine’s Day is coming soon; and in honor of the big day and as a token of my affection to my wonderful customers and fans, the Serena bag in this prize features a heart print.  The inside also has hearts on a white background.  I will be adding these to Diana Couture’s Etsy shop today as well.

The second prize in the giveaway is to introduce a new design and a new line of products to Diana Couture.  This summer I moved to a lovely Dallas neighborhood and have spent many mornings walking around on streets right out of a fairy-tale.  The M-Street neighborhood is famous in Dallas for its Craftsman bungalows and Tudor Revival architecture.  The delightful details in the architecture, and streets canopied by magnificent trees, make an ordinary walk a delightful experience.  These old homes have been brought to modern standards by loving homeowners, and the neighborhood is a perfect mix of old character with modern function and quality craftsmanship.  In Diana Couture’s new M-Street Collection, I have been inspired by the vintage charm of this neighborhood while keeping the function needed for knitters and crocheters in mind.  Quality fabrics and designer details add to the charm of this collection.

The first design is the Matilda Knitting Case (works for crochet too!)  FullSizeRender (2)

The Matilda features a fully detachable scalloped lid.  The front of the lid opens by magnetic snaps, and the bag detaches with metal snaps.  The magnetic snaps on the front make the bag easy to get into, and the metal snaps on the back ensure a strong grip while carrying around.  The outer fabric on the Matilda in this giveaway is a hand-dyed cotton and linen blend.  The inner fabric on this bag is a polyester charmeuse.   The Matilda Case is 9″ side to side and 6-1/2″ front to back.  Three skeins of yarn will fit in the case, and there are three openings for yarn to feed through, one in the center front and on each side (perfect timing, as I am working on a 3-color shawl!) The winner of this case can choose the gray case with the blue lid or the blue case with the gray lid!

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These are not in the shop yet, as I am still working on pricing.  However, the price will be between $65-$75, and they will be available in a variety of fine fabrics, including brocades!  I love using and carrying this case!  It is my hope that it will be a treasured piece for the winner of this prize and for customers who purchase it in the future.

This give-away will be open for 2 weeks and will end on January 20, 2016.  To enter, please comment stating your current project and the name of the pattern, if you would like to share that.  For example “Ad Hoc Shawl” or just “shawl.”  If you share on Facebook or Instagram using hashtag #dianacoutureonetsy,  comment again stating “Shared on Facebook.”  “Shared on Instagram.”  Please no chatter posts.  The complete rules are listed below.

Thanks so much to my beloved customers.  I am so blessed.

RULES

You must be over 18 years old to enter.

International (outside the U.S.) entries understand that, in the event of an international winner, Diana Couture will pay $8 of the shipping cost.  The winner agrees to pay the shipping cost above that amount before the prize is shipped.

There is no purchase whatsoever required to enter, and you can enter the drawing by posting one comment on this post.   You must provide your e-mail to comment.  The e-mail isn’t publicized on the blog, but I need it to contact you should you win the prize!   For additional chances to win, share this on Facebook or Instagram using hashtag #dianacoutureonetsy, and comment again saying “shared on Facebook” or “shared on Instagram.”   You have my permission to use my images for the purpose of this giveaway.

Comments are automatically numbered from 1-???, beginning with the oldest counting up to most recent comments. The winners will be selected using this random sequence generator.  The first number on the randomized list is the winner of the Serena Bag and Hen House Yarn.  The second number on the randomized list is the winner of the Matilda Knitting Case.    The winners will be contacted via e-mail and will have 48 hours to contact me with their address for shipping the prize.  After that time, the next person on the random sequence list will be contacted and down the list until a winner accepts the prize.  No chatter is allowed in the comments (please message me if you have questions) Any comments that do not comply with the rules set out here will not be eligible to win the prize.

I am not using a third-party service but am conducting the sweepstakes myself.  I am committed to a random and fair give away.  By entering this sweepstakes, you acknowledge that you understand the process and agree with the terms and conditions outlined here.

 

Stitches Texas

I had the opportunity to work at Stitches Texas in the Handknitting.com booth and be paid in yarn!  Handknitting.com sells Lang yarns and some other wonderful brands as well.  Their sister site, dyedandgone.com, sells discontinued yarns at a great price.  I really enjoyed talking to the customers and feeling all the wonderful yarns!  Here are the yarns I brought home and my planned projects.

From Dyed and Gone, I selected this beautiful Lang Greina. It is a 40% acrylic, 30% wool, 18% rayon, and 12% linen.  This yarn is super soft, washable, and holds the shape of cables and texture beautifully.  I think the blend is perfect for a sweater to wear in a Texas winter.   image

At this moment, I am planning the Celtica Cardigan; however, it will be a few months before I start the sweater and I could change my mind.

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I also picked out some Mille Colori for a ZickZack scarf by Christy Kamm. I have another yarn for this scarf already, but I couldn’t resist the Mille Colori.

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I also selected some cotton for washcloths, which I hope will make nice and quick little gifts. The pattern is the Vintage Hankie Washcloth by Julie Tarsha and is a free download on Ravelry.

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I also spent money at other booths and actually went a little crazy at this show. Oops!  I normally don’t buy yarn until I am ready to start a project.  However, the Vice yarn and the Hen House yarns were too tempting for me to pass up.

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I met pattern designer Alexandra Davidoff, who was wearing a beautiful cowl knitted in the Vice yarn and not yet published. I  am waiting for the pattern to come out   Alexandra has beautiful designs, and these boot cuffs are already in my Ravelry queue. The cowl is similar. Alexandra also has an Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/listing/209270243/knitting-pattern-for-eleanor-boot?ref=shop_home_active_10

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I also bought some fun stitch markers from The Vintage Rose. I bought the Knitting Nerd set and a wine set  –  so cute!

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Of course, yarns this beautiful need beautiful bags! You can find these fabulously functions project bags in the DianaCouture shop on Etsy.

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This is  at least a year’s supply of yarn for me, but it makes me want to knit more and knit faster, so we will see how long it takes to get through these wonderful yarns.

Christmas in July! Win a Serena Bag!!!

COMMENTS ARE CLOSED.  THE WINNER OF THE BAG IS  POST 14! July is the time when many knitters and crocheters cast on their projects for holiday gifts.  Last year, I knitted my presents using a Christmas print Serena and enjoyed it so much!  This year, in order to help the winner get a start on their gift knitting (or crocheting), I  am giving away a regular size Serena bag in the beautiful reindeer print pictured below.

Here are the bags – you get to chose green or red!

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I love this print and hope you do too!  To enter, please comment on this post stating if you would prefer the red or the green bag, should you win.  This contest is open to residents in the US and international entries will be accepted with the provision that an international winner would pay for shipping costs in excess of the domestic shipping charge.

Entries must be made by July 27th at 10:00 P.M. Central time.  At that time, the comments will be closed and  a winner selected and notification made on July 28th.

RULES

You must be over 18 years old to enter.

International (outside the U.S.) entries understand that, in the event of an international winner, the winner must pay postage in excess of domestic rates to ship the bag out of the country.  For example, if the shipping cost to the winner’s country is $10.00, minus the domestic shipping fee of $3.00, the winner will pay $7.00 to have the bag shipped.

There is no purchase whatsoever required to enter, and you can enter the drawing by posting one comment on this post stating if you would like the red or green bag (one comment per person, please.)   You must provide your e-mail to comment.  The e-mail isn’t publicized on the blog, but I need it to contact you should you win the prize!

Comments will be numbered from 1-???, beginning with the oldest counting up to most recent comments. The winners will be selected using this random sequence generator.  The first number on the randomized list is the winner.  The winner will have 48 hours to contact me with their address for shipping the prize.  After that time, the next person on the random sequence list will be contacted and down the list until a winner accepts the prize.  Any comments that do not comply with the rules set out here will not be eligible to win the prize.

I am not using a third-party service but am conducting the sweepstakes myself.  I am committed to a random and fair give away.  By entering this sweepstakes, you acknowledge that you understand the process and agree with the terms and conditions outlined here.

Sewing Saturdays – Basic tips to improve your sewing

I taught fashion design courses at the University of North Texas for the past 7 years and resigned this year to devote 100% of my time to Diana Couture, my Etsy shop selling Fabulously Functional Bags for Knitters and Crocheters.  As my blog name indicates, I love to sew and knit and have found a perfect blend of both worlds in my business.  However, teaching is also something I enjoy as well, and I want to pass on some of my favorite tips and tricks to make a project successful.   I will also be sharing my sewing projects as I go along.

For the first few weeks of Sewing Saturdays, I will be sharing basic tips that can make any project more successful.  These will include things such as how to press better, how to gather fabric, how to sew successful intersecting seams and other tips to improve your sewing and create a professional looking garment,  whether you are a beginner or advanced sewist.

This week, I am starting with a short list of things to consider when beginning a project.

1.  Set aside time and plan on spending more time than you estimate.  It is difficult to sew when stressed, and mistakes happen when you sew.  Having unrealistic expectations will ruin the enjoyment of the project.

2.  Use the right equipment.  For example, you can’t put in a buttonhole with a regular presser foot and expect great results.

3.  Think about your fabric choice.  The type of fabric can make or break a project.  Would a dressy dress be made out of quilting cotton?  How many pairs of pants do you own made out of stiff canvas…or quilting cotton?  If you are inexperienced at selecting fabrics, ask for opinions from others.  Even if they don’t have sewing experience, they can tell you if it is something they would wear.

4.  Test out a technique before tackling it on your final garment.  When putting in buttonholes, layer two pieces of your fabric with a layer of interfacing between to test how the buttonhole will sew into your fabric.  Does the stitch length need adjusted?  Will the button fit in the buttonhole or does it need to be lengthened?

5.  Be familiar with your sewing machine.  If it is new to you, try out the various stitches, try sewing different fabrics, and just take some time to feel comfortable with your sewing machine.  It will be your partner in sewing, and you want to have a good relationship with it!