Monday, April 30, 2007


Recently I've been inspired by the spring-like weather (yes, that includes the rain!) to crochet flowers. I'm having fun experimenting with colors and textures -- and using up some of my "scrap yarn" (yarn left over from other projects) as well.

They make wonderfully portable projects, as by nature they're so tiny. Even the largest ones I've made are a mere 4.5" in diameter. And what am I doing with all these flowers, you may wonder. I'm sewing silver pin backs on them; they make adorable brooches/pins.

As I said, the largest ones are 4.5" in diameter; some have turned out quite the opposite -- super-tiny (maybe 1" in diameter is all!). Much of the size difference is determined by the weight of the yarn itself. I've done the same rose pattern several times, each time with a different yarn, and each time, it's a different size. The first two flowers in photos below are a perfect example: both are the same rose pattern, but the multi-color one is about .75" larger.

Some of these flower pins have already made their way to my website. Click here to see them (these are the medium-size flowers -- each between 2" - 3.5").

Here are some pics:

I think the one in the center of the bottom row, with three tiny flowers and leaves, is my favorite so far. What do you think?

Friday, April 27, 2007

World Wide Knit In Public Day comes to Newark, DE!!

World Wide Knit In Public Day (aka w.w.k.i.p. day) is coming to Newark, and I am soooooo excited!! w.w.k.i.p. day, for those of you who aren't familiar, is a day set aside every year for knitters all over the world to sit outside (or indoor public places) and do what they love best -- knit! Read more w.w.k.i.p. day from the founder here.

This year, for the first time ever, Newark will be on the list of locations for knitters to gather. As a matter of fact, I'm emailing Danielle, the founder of w.w.k.i.p. day, right now! Here are all the details, as I know them so far. Please check back (under the keyword w.w.k.i.p. day) for any updates.

Date: June 9th (Saturday)
Time: meet at Stitches with Style (yarn store - yum!), 16-E Polly Drummond Shopping Center, Newark, DE whenever you arrive (if it's before 11:30am)
At 11:30am, we'll move on over to McGlynn's Pub for the official "knit out." McGlynn's is directly across the parking lot, at 8 Polly Drummond Shopping Center.

A HUGE thank you to Sheryl and Linda at Stitches with Style, and to McGlynn's for making this possible!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Yarn Tasting

Yum! Yarn!

That's what Stitches with Style, a great yarn shop by my house in Newark, DE, called their event this past Sunday -- "Yarn Tasting." And it was a perfectly delicious event!

We "yarn tasted" early, before the store was officially open, so it was just a private group of 10 or so knitters and lots of YARN! Sheryl (the owner) and her staff had selected several new summer-weight yarns for us to try. Each skein was in its own plastic baggie, along with a pair of knitting needles in the recommended gauge, and a slip of paper instructing us how many stitches to cast on and what pattern to knit.

For my first test, I picked Needful Yarns Geranium. Very interesting yarn: a bit rough to the touch (it's about half linen), gorgeous coloring, an inconsistent texture (it was at points very fine, and then suddenly very fat). Although I liked the swatch when I was finished, I ultimately decided that Geranium is too difficult to knit with and not really worth the trouble.

I moved on to Jo Sharp DK Cotton. 100% cotton, this yarn felt nice, and knit up evenly and consistently. Toward the end of the swatch I worked, I began having trouble with the yarn splitting, but I blame that on myself -- I was itching to get my hands on still another different yarn! However, before I move to report on that one, I must say that this 100% cotton was a joy to work with; I have, prior to Jo Sharp, only experienced 100% cottons that felt kinda rough and stiff. I would have no objections to making a garment out of this cotton yarn.

Now, my third yarn was 100% bamboo. Very, very interesting! I am embarrassed to say that I can't recall the name of the yarn, so if anyone reading happens to have been there, please help! But I was so impressed with this yarn! I doubt I would have ever considered buying bamboo yarn if I hadn't had this chance to "taste" it. It had a silky sheen, slid on and off the needles easily (but not TOO easily!), didn't split, and looked great knitted up! The skein Sheryl had chosen for us to "taste" was a gorgeous rainbow variegated yarn. YUM!! My favorite of the day, for sure!

Not to be ignored in all the yarn "tasting" were the desserts that Sheryl and her staff baked for us. Yes, baked! Chocolate cream filled cupcakes, coffee cake, puff pastries, berry tart, fresh fruit salad (no, that wasn't baked).... the back room was full of goodies that we all enjoyed after enjoying all the new yarns of summer.

It was a GREAT event; I can't wait for the next one!!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Smileville Bear

Hi! It's been awhile that the Smileville Bears have spoken here on my blog, and I apologize for that. I have been trying (with no luck) to figure out how to make the Smileville Bears have their own subsection of my blog -- a place to tell their stories, and for me to post all their pictures together. Please don't give up; we WILL find a way to give them a spot all their own.

The bears have wonderful adventures, you see. These bears are terrific listeners, great at pretend, are quiet, and don't eat much. :)

I am fortunate enough to know the family with whom the first Bradford Bear now lives. He happily sleeps every night with the little boy, Johnny, and eats breakfast with him every morning. He sports, in addition to his bowtie, a miniature Flyers sweater, knitted by a close relative. I have heard he LOVES to watch hockey with Johnny.

Bradford is obviously living the good life! He loves it! Don't you want to let another Smileville Bear live happily ever after in YOUR home? Click here to see all our bears on my website. Adopt one today!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Lately, I've been working furiously to complete some fun knit and crochet purses. I realized that while I have some purses in stock, I don't have any which are knit or crochet.

In the process, I have had my first (and successful, I'm happy to report!) experience with blocking. Blocking, according to a great DIY article on, "makes your life so much easier. You shape the pieces into the way you want them to live, using steam or water. It makes your knitting more even and sets the stitches." For example, I crochet several granny squares, which I want to join together to make a purse. But when I finished crocheting the squares, they weren't exactly square. So I dampened them, stretched them about this way and that, and pinned them in a perfect square shape to a towel-covered piece of cardboard to dry. Voila! Two days later, I have actual squares!

Course, there is always more to learn. If you read the entire article on blocking that I've linked to the paragraph above, you'll realize, as I did, that putting your damp knitting on a towel to block means it will take double the time to dry. Now I know for the NEXT blocking project!

Monday, April 9, 2007

Next show.... Kids Day America

Kid's Day America is a national day set aside to celebrate our children.

This year, on May 19th, Delaware Chiropractic will, for the third year in a row, sponsor a large fair to commemorate the day. In their own words: "Kids Day America is dedicated to help educate children on health, safety, and environmental awareness in a family and community fun setting!"

The event, which will take place from noon to 3pm at The Shoppes at Louviers in Newark, DE will have free health screenings for the kids, games, food, prizes, and sellers of great kid-friendly items (toys, books, and more!).

Why am I sharing this? Well, I do think it's a great cause (oh, I nearly forgot, all proceeds will be donated this year to the Make a Wish Foundation). Which is why Smile Creations Crafts will be there! I will be selling paperback book covers, purses, jewelry, stuffed knit balls and fabric blocks, and of course, my line of Smileville Bears.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Trade Publications

I'm still researching which craft shows will be best for me to participate in during the rest of the year. There are soooo many shows out there to choose from, and I really want to match my products to the attendees' taste as much as possible. I promise that I'll have a completed schedule soon.

To help with selection, I've subscribed to two industry magazines, Sunshine Artist, which reviews shows as well as featuring articles with helpful tips and tricks of the trade, and The Crafts Report, which is more focused on reviewing trends and helpful advice for us small craft business people. I also am expecting in the mail a huge Art & Craft Show Yellow Pages, which is a listing of craft shows around the country, with ratings and info about each.

Quite a bit of it will boil down to trial-and-error, I'm sure. After all, it is the attendees who make or break a show. You sent up your displays and your products, and hope that those who attend will be looking for that shawl that you just finished, or the adorable kitty cat towel and trivet set, or a gift for a new baby (enter cross-stitched bibs or a floor blankie).

The good thing about craft shows is that even the trial-and-error is fun. Short breaks from your booth are acceptable, especially when you have someone there with you to watch it while you take a short walk. The show I was at this past weekend at the Aetna Hook and Ladder Co in Newark, DE was not very well attended. But.... what I lacked in customers, I made up for in great contacts. I met some wonderful craft vendors: some veterans of the circuit, and some newbies like me. And that's what I love about this business: crafters are by nature friendly people (and, since no one there makes what I make, also very willing to share tips and other show experiences!).

And now, back to crafting I go! Tonight.... I want to finish two little crochet purses I have started.