New pattern shop

Now that I don’t sell recycled crafts and vintage anymore, my old Etsy shop has just been sitting empty for months. So I decided to turn it into my pattern shop. Thankfully Etsy finally decided to start letting people change their shop names, so it’s now caracorey.etsy.com.

I also finally got together a pattern for rope rugs. I put it on Ravelry too. And while I was at it, I finally put some of my projects into official patterns there. Organizational success!

I realized that if I am going to do this crafty thing for a living I better own my job as a knitting/crochet designer. It feels weird to be mostly putting journalism behind me. But that’s what I’m doing. And guess what? Almost 20 patterns sold since yesterday. Not too shabby.

A Fair to Remember and new knits

Tomorrow is my second A Fair to Remember show in Jack Kerouac Alley, and I’m super excited.

I will have a lot of the same things I had last time:

A big pile of poufs,

fingerless gloves,

seed stitch dish cloths…

But then I will also have a lot of new items. After the last show I realized I needed more small, feminine accessories, so I made some headbands,

flower pins,

berets,

and lightweight scarves.

And just for fun I’ve started making these little owlies.

Let’s hope for good weather and lots of tourists!

(Anything I don’t sell will get stockpiled for Renegade.)

Seed stitch dish cloths

I discovered a few years ago that the world’s best dish scrubbers are handmade with inexpensive cotton yarn. But I’d always thought it was the bobbled crochet stitch that made them so great. Not so! I actually think that a seed stitch works even better for creating a grime-fighting texture. And I love the way my new dish cloths look, with a neat crochet trim in a coordinating color. They’re like tiny versions of the baby blankets I used to sell.

So here’s how you make them:

Seed stitch dish cloths

approx. 8-inch squares

Materials:
Worsted weight cotton yarn in two colors
Size 7 knitting needles
Size G/6 crochet hook
Yarn needle

With the knitting needles, CO 33 stitches with the main color. Work in seed stitch pattern (K1, P1) across the first row, and all subsequent rows until piece measures as tall as it is wide (should be about 7.5 inches). Bind off in pattern.

Starting on the right side of the BO row, insert the crochet hook into the top of any stitch and pull the second color through. Begin to SC a border around the entire edge of the piece, putting 3 SC into each corner. When you reach the stitch where you started, slip stitch through it, and then snip off the yarn. Weave in ends.

You’ll definitely want to block these to make sure they come out nice and square.

Introducing: giant knits

At long last, I am finally ready to show you the knits I’ve been making with giant rolls of cotton rope. The testing process has been absolutely exhausting and expensive, far more than I ever thought it would be. But the end result is super fun, and I can’t wait to show it off.

I have two new items in my Etsy shop. The giant pouf, available in white or gray.

And giant loopy rugs in two sizes, 36 or 48 inches.

In addition to looking cool, these feel amazing underneath your toes.

This was definitely an exercise in persistence. I started off with dye experiments and found that one type of rope took it much better than the other. I tried every kind of dye I could find, some waaay more toxic smelling than others.

So I bought a bunch of that rope, dyed it to perfection, and then realized that it would never work for the knitting. It was also really expensive, hard to find in bulk, and twice as heavy as the other. Fail.


Just the right sized spool.

So I ordered the other rope and started testing the knitting. I can’t tell you how many times I did and undid a rug trying to get the perfect gauge. I made my own needles. Those didn’t work so I spent more money on better ones.

I had an idea in my head what sizes I wanted to offer and at what prices, but that went out the window when I realized just how many thousands of feet of “yarn” it would take to achieve those.


Loop-de-loop.

Then when I moved on to big-batch dyeing I realized too late that my dyeing bin was way too small, so I got a pretty uneven result.

It was one fail after another, but I’m glad I stuck with it. Now I just hope people think these are as cool as I do.

Alapaca fingerless gloves

Mother Nature finally caught up with us the last couple days. It is nasty out there! Chilly, windy, rainy, and every once in a while it starts hailing.

When it’s like that outside it’s always a little chillier inside, too, so I decided I needed some fingerless gloves to wear around the house. The alpaca yarn I got for Christmas turned out to be perfect for this project. I put two of the thin strands together and just did a stockinette stitch with a little ribbing on both ends for stretchiness.

They’re fuzzy and warm and perfect for days like this.

Knit sign, all finished

I almost forgot to share this with you!

After a fresh coat of purple paint, my knit sign is complete. I think it turned out really well. After I did the lettering I felt like it needed a little something extra so I made some crochet flowers with extra yarn I had.

Now I just have to find some shows where I can show it off.

Around the house

I realized the other day that it’s taken me so long to feel ‘moved in’ because it’s not just that I moved really far away to a completely new life, but that I haven’t had time to do much of anything around the house for the last few months. I basically went from my wedding in September to Spain to Erin’s wedding to Halloween-California-Thanksgiving-move-boom! All the sudden it was Christmas and I finally had time to process everything that happened in 2010. It was a pretty amazing year, and I especially loved getting to see three of my best friends get married, too.

So after our trip to see the redwoods I got to work on some long unfinished projects. One thing I had really wanted to do was change my button sign to a knit sign. People at craft shows loved the button sign and commented on it a lot, but it had gotten ripped and damaged in transit, and I just had this vision of a sign made of yarn that would complement my knitted goods. So I’ve been working on that, and it looks really good.

It’s actually more finished than this, I just want to repaint the frame before I put it all together and do the big reveal.

Next I want to make some more of those crocheted hangers (I got new colors), and I might make some fingerless gloves out of the alpaca yarn I got in the mail the other day from Mike’s aunt.

I’ve also been dying to read a book. I’ve had this stack of half-read books in my bedroom for ages, and I’m determined to get them read and move onto something else. Maybe the Stieg Larsson books? There was a great article about him in Rolling Stone, and it piqued my interest.

I’ve been reading this book by the same author as one of our book club reads. I was pretty disappointed in “A Secret History”, but I actually like this one a lot better.

Mike’s been reading his Christmas gift from me, the first part of Mark Twain’s autobiography.

It’s huge! But Mike totally has the patience to get through ultra thick books.

Also, this has nothing to do with anything, but I just thought it was kind of funny that I can turn my new curling iron up to 11. Actually I can turn it up even higher than that!

But anyway, back to the house. I finally got almost all of the framed photos that have been in boxes up on the walls. While I was doing that I discovered these prints from Spain that I need to frame.

And when our honeymoon prints come in the mail I can finally call wall decorating finished.

Finally, I also started experimenting with dyeing rope for rope rugs. It turned out that the rope I was planning to use doesn’t take dye well, so I have to go to Plan B. But now I can order the right materials and get started experimenting with patterns.

So, that’s item #18,000 checked off my to-do list, and I’m starting to welcome myself back to the real world!

Last night we met up with a friend from college, who took us to the San Francisco Tape Music Festival.

I had no idea what to expect. I just heard it was like ambient music that you listened to in the dark. And that’s pretty much what it was. But I felt like it was one of those things that I would never do if I lived anywhere else, so I’m glad I went.

We also discovered this really great gem of a sushi restaurant in the Mission called Minako. It was tiny-tiny, but had great reviews on Yelp. They specialize in vegetarian and allergy-friendly sushi, and every roll came with brown rice instead of white. Usually I don’t like imitation meats, but I loved the spicy vegan eel roll, which was a total surprise. It seems like there are a lot more so-so restaurants here because there are just a lot more restaurants here. But when you find a good one it’s really good.

New items for 2011

I’ve been working on some new designs for the new year (hope you had a great celebration, by the way!). In hopes of improved time management and sanity, I’m paring down my offerings to a few styles that I will have in a variety of colors. I found a new roving yarn that I absolutely love to work with, too. It’s a super soft wool blend that comes in the loveliest neutral colors.

So anyway, here’s what’s new at Mary Marie Knits.

Twisted cowls that can be worn like a scarf or a neckwarmer.

Matching hats are in the works…

Wool sweater cups (cozy vessels for your pens and things).

Crocheted vintage wood hangers in 3 colorways.

And some changes to the poufs. First, all of the different sizes are now knit on the same size needles with a double strand of super bulky yarn. This is for consistency throughout the line and for a sturdier product.

Second, the stuff-it-yourself version is available in both large and extra large. As always, this is a great option if you want to save on shipping.

And third, I am working to improve the quality of the larger poufs that are stuffed with foam so they can be used as footstools. Unfortunately I’m realizing it means I have to spend more on materials. So, you’ll see two options for the medium, large, and extra large sizes based on the type of fill.

I’m currently working on testing out rope rugs. I think these are going to be absolutely amazing, but the materials are super expensive, and it’s going to take me some time to test out my patterns and color options. I’ll keep you posted!

After unpacking my craft room, I found a few items left over from 2010 craft shows, so I decided to put the up on Etsy. Some cute button thumb tacks and magnets.

And because I think you’re awesome, I’m giving blog readers a 20% discount on anything in the Mary Marie shop and 10% off anything in the Mary Marie Knits shop for the month of January. Just enter coupon code JANUARY at the checkout!

Cozy knits

Is it time for fall yet?

I say that because even though the leaves are turning and we have three pumpkins on our front porch, it has been so unseasonably warm this October that it hardly seems authentically fall. You might remember that last year in early October it snowed!

But two weekends ago when I did my craft show, it was so warm I got overheated and sun scorched, and most people weren’t in the mood to buy chunky knit scarves.

So, I’m hoping for cooler temps this weekend, because I’m doing the East Village Bazaar again.

I’ll have all kinds of cozy knits, even more than last time.

Organic and stripey knits.

Chunky wool knits.

Knits for your head.

Knits for your hands (with vintage buttons, too).

Knits for your coffee cup.

And knits for your house.

I’m also signed up for Craft Saturday on November 6, and the Green Gifts Fair Nov. 7. So, ready or not fall weather, the knits are comin’!

What is this?

It’s a vintage pouf!

I have a special place in my heart for this object, which my mom brought me, because I make knitted poufs for one of my Etsy shops.

Mine look like this:

I thought these were kind of a modern Scandinavian creation, but it turns out they have totally been en vogue before. This one is clearly from the era of scratchy acrylic yarns, which thankfully has passed. It must have taken a great deal of work because it’s crocheted with several strands of thin yarn held together (mine are made with extra bulky strands that knit up quickly). And the colors – wow.

But overall it’s totally the same concept as what I sell now. A squishy, round pillow that’s a little silly looking but so much fun.