knits by emma gets a photoshoot

Two of my very good friends were kind enough to help me out with a quick photoshoot for knits by emma last weekend. We had heaps of fun frolicking around in the back garden. Summer in Perth is exceptionally bright, even at 6pm, but we still were able to get a few good shots.

So here’s a quick glance at what you all can expect to see from me in 2014. The girls and I had such a great time with this, and I really believe the photos capture the essence of my products. I like fun and functional and of course beautiful cables!

Two of the colors I have available have not been photographed in the current shoot, but I plan to remedy that shortly. My accessories are designed by me and have been hand-knit from 100% Australian merino machine-washable yarn. Many of the products photographed have been machine-washed already and tested for durability and color retention.

Next on my list is to obtain sewn-on labels with brand name and care instructions. I’m in discussions right now with a supplier on Etsy.

Another Harold on the needles

I have been itching to do some non-Christmas-related knitting so I can share what I’ve been up to on the blog. My Christmas present projects are heaps of fun, but I don’t want to give anything away. I finished my dad’s and my sister Rachel’s gifts. Mom’s is probably 35% done and Nora’s is past the halfway mark. I’m just waiting on more yarn to come in from my LYS.

I also finished a takeaway coffee cozy the other day for knits by emma. I whipped up a quick little design and finished it off while watching Gilmore Girls (my all-time favorite show).

Demonstrated on my wrist until I can get a cup

Demonstrated on my wrist

Two nights ago I cast on another Harold. It’s kind of a funny story.

So I purchased The Big Book of Knitted Monsters for my kindle probably a little over a month ago now. I haven’t had the “right needle sizes” to get anything started, but Rebecca Danger believes in working with what you’ve got, so I decided to just go for it and make it work for myself. Plus a monster is very season-appropriate.

I browsed carefully through every pattern in the book and hunted for photos of finished monsters on ravelry. Finally I decided to just start with the first monster in the book, since I eventually want to knit them all anyway. I was about halfway into the body, which I’m doing in stripes to use up some leftovers, when I realized I was making Harold the Houseplant Monster. I turned to Matt and exclaimed, Omigod! It’s another Harold! We had a giggle at the coincidence. The only other toy I’ve ever made was named by me: Harold Bartemius Hippo.

Harold 2 now has a body and is currently gaping and stuffed. I need to run to Spotlight and see if they have any eyes I can use for him before I close up the top. He will also get felt teeth.

I guess I should have realized he’d be HUGE since I’m using bulky yarn. I’ll keep tabs on my progress. I expect things to slow down a bit in the knitting department since NaNoWriMo starts TOMORROW. Happy Halloween everyone!

knits by emma hits the streets!

Picture 8

I’m proud to announce that knits by emma will make its first public appearance at the Smart Street Parties series happening down in Mandurah’s Smart Street Mall.

The series includes four events spread out over the next four months, and I will be showcasing at the January and February Suitcase Markets next year. I will fill a suitcase of beautiful knits to sell and display. 1 suitcase=1 stall. It will literally be a trunk show!

Check out their blog for more information. The Twilight Markets will take place on Fridays from 5-9pm on November 8th, December 6th, January 17th and Valentine’s Day.

I’ll post more info as it gets closer to the date. If you’re a Perth-based crafter looking to participate, I encourage you to apply quick as places are limited!

Knitbusters: knitting myths unraveled

The life of a 20-something knitter is a funny thing. Admitting your yarn habit to the world can be a tentative process, as it’s often followed up with, Oh, that’s…nice? or Huh..my grandma used to knit.

I can hear how boring I must sound to others when I’m chatting excitedly about a new project or a pattern I have my eye on. But I can’t stop myself, it’s my passion!

Even in 2013 when knitting seems to be trendier and more widespread than ever, common misconceptions are still flowing around. I thought I would bust a few of my favorite knitting myths for your enjoyment. *Please note that this is not a rant, I find these myths rather cute and funny.*

1) Knitting is for Nanas

This one is fair enough, let’s be honest. Knitting traditionally seems like a dated pastime, and the worlds of knitters and non-knitters hardly seem to collide, so the myth lives on. It’s true that many of the knitter groups in the local communities are decidedly 60+ (retirees have room in their schedules to meet on a Wednesday morning at 10am), but with cool classes, conventions, knitwear designers, and the magical land that is ravelry, there are people of all ages getting into knitting and crochet these days. There’s a great little yarn store/cafรฉ near us in Wembley, and just the other day I made the acquaintance of two girls in their 20s (like me) who had met up to chat, knit and compare their projects. I was working on the arms for my knitted toy quietly in the corner, and they approached me to ask what I was working on. Seek out a local yarn store if you’re curious. You’ll see it’s a whole new world out there. And don’t be shy to ask knitters what they’re working on. Most of us are dying to talk about it with anyone who will actually listen!

2) People save money by knitting handmade gifts

Mate, you’re dreamin’! Most people who take the time to make a gift for someone have carefully picked out (and paid around $4-10 for) a pattern, selected beautiful soft yarn made from quality (read: expensive) fibers, and spent hours of their free time knitting it up. Even if it’s “just” a hat or a pair of socks. These are labors of love, and they take time. Luckily we knitters get genuine pleasure, or flow from knitting, so we’re happy to make these gifts. I myself am leery of making gifts for others as I never want someone to feel like they HAVE to like it for my benefit. (This hasn’t stopped me from planning myriad Christmas gifts this year. Family: You’re getting knits. You’ve been warned.)

3) Knitting is all scarves, socks and sweaters

I think busting this myth would get a lot more people interested in knitting. It’s so much more than just scarves and stockinette. There are unlimited techniques to learn and projects to take on. There are shawls, hats, headbands, toys, boot cuffs, handbags, kindle and phone cases, not to mention twists on the old standbys. I’m still working on my giant beekeeper’s quilt a little at a time. And have you seen all the cool crazy tea cozies out there? This craft is not just Nan’s moldy old afghan anymore.

4) Knitting is hereditary

These days, with knitting reaching “cool” status, everyone and their sister can get into it. I learned in one afternoon how to cast on, knit, purl and bind off from a friend when I was 16. I followed up on it myself, getting a couple of books, some needles and plenty of scratchy acrylic yarn that would eventually become hoards of ugly scarves to bestow upon my innocent friends and family. I didn’t know about quality fibers back then. But if you have the drive, in today’s online age you can learn anything. I cannot believe how my skills and yarn knowledge have grown in just a few short months since I picked up the needles again. I did not learn from my mother or grandmother. There was no one at home to help me. I don’t even have any friends who knit. If I desperately need help, I consult the internet. I am jealous of knitters who learned at age 6 and never looked back, but that just wasn’t the case for me, nor was it for many others out there. Even designers these days are often self-taught. If you have a keen interest, you can do it. And lastly…

5) All yarn is the same

I touched on this a little already, but I want to reiterate this point as I believe it’s important. I make my knits by emma headbands from beautiful machine-washable 100% Australian merino. Considering the quality and size, I think the price per skein is actually really reasonable, but I’m sure a regular person’s jaw would drop. When deciding how to price my items, I’ve asked advice of non-knitters, and I’ve learned that I probably shouldn’t do that. I think most people think more about the look of the product and how long it took you to make. But a lot of it is just making back the cost of materials. I knit for fun and, for now, I don’t plan on making it a huge source of income. But a 100g skein of acrylic sock yarn is not the same as a Worsted weight gorgeous merino cashmere hand-dyed blend. I’m sure most people would be shocked at the worth of any given knitter’s yarn stash. But we knitters like our yarn to be beautifully dyed, made from quality fiber and to feel like butter against the skin.

So I hope you’ve enjoyed this little segment on knitbusting. I’ve added this last little one as an added bonus:

5.5) Knitting is for chicks

See brilliant Brooklyn Tweed designer Jared Flood.

Welcome to Knitober!

October is out and Knitober is in folks! I hope that all you crafters have been smarter than me about preparing for your Christmas crafting. I realized the other day that it is crunch time. I’ve decided to launch Knits by Emma on January 1st 2014 (to give it a sense of occasion), so between that and all the prezzies I need to make, we have entered Knitober.

It’s been about three months now since I picked up the needles again and I am loving every minute. I’m knitting in front of the TV, on my lunch break at work, and even tucked into bed long after I should have gone to sleep.

I’ve ordered some lovely Malabrigo sock for my mom and sisters’ presents, and later today I’m hitting a few stores to stock up on some new needles and yarn for a secret new project I alluded to in the last post.

Despite having so much to do, I couldn’t help but start a new project this week. My first toy!

It's not a teepee!

It’s not a teepee!

I’ve heard several people claim that toys are their favorite thing to knit. The sound of it, honestly, has never appealed to me. I don’t have kids (yet) and none of my super close friends do either, and knitting toys has seemed to be more about the finished product that enjoyment of the actual process. Boy, was I wrong!

Fiber fill time

Fiber fill time

While trolling on ravelry this week, I became fascinated with Rebecca Danger’s The Big Book of Knitted Monsters. I thought they were so cute and I could just imagine making tons of these funny little guys to add character to our home. Unable to wait for it to be posted out to me, I opted to purchase the ebook. While I was at it, I bought Susan B. Anderson’s Itty Bitty Toys as well, just…for good measure? I’ve heard about Susan as a knitted toy genius, so I definitely wanted to learn from the best.

Two colors for a nice thick body

Two colors for a nice thick body

I read carefully through both ebooks, quickly noticing that I did not have the right needle sizes in my stash to start any of the monsters. In fact, I only have one set of 3.25mm double-pointed needles (dpns), and a too-short circular needle. Today I plan to round out that collection with a few more, but the other night when I was itchy to start something, I went with a project from Itty Bitty instead.

Head and a kindle

Head and a kindle

Don’t get me wrong, I love my kindle. I love that when I’m desperate to read a book, I can download it in seconds. My parents got me this kindle when Matt and I were home in Minnesota for Christmas last year. I promptly went out to the Mall of America to get my new toy a lovely case from Vera Bradley. I also have an old duffel bag from them that I love to keep my knitting in when I bring it with me out and about. It’s great to have tons of books in my handbag at all times all conveniently stored on my little e-reader. However, I will say that if I could have, I would have purchased the actual books in this instance. For knitting, and especially for toys, it would be nice to be able to flip back and forth quickly between pattern pages, and the tips in the beginning chapters. And seeing everything in color would be preferable as well.

Kitchener stitch for the nose

Kitchener stitch for the nose

One thing in the kindle’s favor, though, is that I don’t have to hold it open. Some books don’t sit open nicely for you to just glance at every now and then. My kindle fits lovely on the arm of the couch.

I’ve still been listening to podcasts while knitting, and funnily enough, I happened upon the Never Not Knitting episode where Alana interviews Susan about Itty Bitty! It was so crazy to be in the middle ofย  knitting up one of her patterns and listening to her talk about the book at the same time!

Have you guessed what it is yet?

Have you guessed what it is yet?

Late last night after a lovely dinner and a movie date with Matt, I finished up the head. This morning I whipstitched the head onto the body and got started on an arm while Skyping my dad. I have a busy day of errands and yarn shops ahead, but I’ve been dying to blog for days so I wanted to post quick before I go.

I probably shouldn’t have started a toy project when I have so much deadline knitting to do, but I just couldn’t help myself. And I have to say, I’m a convert! I simply LOVE knitting toys. It might even be my favorite thing…go figure!