Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Craftastrophe

It's weird when your job is the least stressful part of your day.  This morning I woke up fully conscious of all the things I wanted to get done before coaching at 3:30, but my bed was so warm and cozy it made leaving it really undesirable.  I finally managed to motivate myself out from under the covers at 9:30, and then the busy part of the day began.

I started by finishing the last part of the pair of Lily's Gloves that was ordered through the Etsy shop last week (yay, strangers!).  Luckily I'd completed the second glove the night before (at 2am...) and only had the thumb to do; I quickly took care of that and packaged up the pair (the first to go out featuring not only a Brisk business card, but two Brisk buttons as well!).

Finished Glove















After dropping the gloves by the post office, I finally started on an errand I've been planning for the past month: craft space revision.

My mother asked what I wanted for my birthday this year (it was yesterday--hello, 29!) and I told her I wanted to learn to screen print, so last night I got all my screen printing materials and some books on how to use them.  Unfortunately, my craft area (thus far limited to knitting and sewing, yet still straining to contain all of those materials) has been getting increasingly cluttered and I knew there was no way I'd be able to add another activity in its current state.

See for yourself:















Originally I'd planned on getting a table and a set of drawers to go under it, but over the course of my day (browsing the many Alameda thrift stores) I concluded a simple dresser was a better bet and eventually settled on a reasonably priced three-drawer piece from the Salvation Army.  I traded my comfy Nissan for Mom's cargo-loadable Honda Fit and hauled it over.

And then the fun started.  And by fun I mean long process of completely rearranging everything in my crafting area.  It was kind of a craftastrophe (badump bum).

Here's some photos of the rearranging process.  My strategy was basically to throw everything into the middle of the living room while I moved furniture around.










































It was a little daunting, but the nice thing about growing older is being better able to predict the outcomes of your endeavors--this is not the first time I've thrown everything in the house onto the living room floor, and I'm sure it won't be the last, so in spite of the length of time it took I had every confidence that I would eventually get things back into a nice, neat order.

And I did!  It came together really well and I'm really pleased with the results, though I don't think the new space will suffice for very long.  I will probably have to get rid of some things to expand my craft space further, but until that happens I think this will do.

New cuter craft space.  



































Once I had all that sorted I headed to the gym.  I taught a super cute beginner girls class that had two whole students and we mostly worked on a really fun bar skill, a sole circle dismount, that was my favorite thing to do on bars as a kid.  Then I spent a leisurely hour trying (but ultimately failing, thanks to our decaying office technology) to make a thank you card, and then I left early to come home.

Tonight I'm hoping to finish up the last part of my Christmas gift knitting and maybe wrap some things for some special people in my life.  Tomorrow is my last day of work at the gym until January and I look forward to a nice break that will allow me to test the limits of my new craft space.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Brisk Catalog

This is a catalog of all the Brisk patterns available on a knit-to-order basis.  While listings in my Etsy shop will expire or sell out, you will always be able to view and order from the entire catalog here.  For more information about ordering, contact me at BriskKnits@gmail.com.


Timeless Gloves














Paparazzi Gloves














Mary's Gloves




Marin's Gloves














Aimee's Gloves














Chessboard Gloves














Colombe Gloves














Stephanie's Gloves














Amanda's Gloves















Heather's Gloves














Nnekay's Gloves














Lily's Gloves














Katey's Gloves















Nosegay Gloves














Fenambosy Gloves














Hinoki Gloves














Rombo Gloves














Leia's Gloves













Melody Gloves















Rococo Gloves














Tsuga Gloves














Phoenix Gloves














Ceylon Gloves















Check back often--gloves will be added to the catalog as they're listed in the Etsy shop!

Thanks, Facebook Fans!

This will be a quick post, again.

Tonight I spent a long time gift-knitting, but amazingly finished relatively early (11:30pm) and decided to spend a little quality time with the computer before bed.  Of course this meant checking the Etsy account, and lo and behold what did I discover but another sale!  Yay!  This time it was Lily's Gloves





















--a pair that Heather bought at the last craft night, which means I have an additional knitting project to lump in with all the other holiday things I've been working on.  But I can't complain, because it's really exciting when I open my Etsy account and see that something's been sold.

Also exciting (though totally dorky) is that I managed to convince everyone on Facebook to suggest the Brisk fan page to enough of their friends that I'm up to 102 fans, which means I get to change the url to something easy to remember.  Instead of www.facebook.com/randomstringofnumbersandletters&:32978jdjioadna.d209482 (or whatever) I can now direct folks to www.facebook.com/BriskKnits.  *Kind of* awesome.

Alright, time to go and post on one of my other blogs...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Craftastic!

I feel like this post should be an ode-to-busy-ness.  I've been really busy lately, specifically with trying to knit all the special orders people have requested for Christmas, and with my own Christmas gift projects.  I finished up the pair of gloves for Elizabeth, though I forgot to take a photo of them before dropping them by my mom's place (where Liz takes piano lessons).  Hopefully they fit her (fingers crossed)--I brought them to the gym and tried them on another kid to make sure they were approximately child-sized.  Assuming they do fit, I'll try to snag a photo and post it later.

Apart from Christmas knitting, I'm also in the midst of Christmas and birthday other-crafting.  Today is my step-dad Jim's birthday and he's incredibly difficult to shop for.  My mom and Jim have pretty much everything they need at this point, and our family makes a concerted effort not to buy pointless gifts for one another, but that being the case finding something that is neither stupid nor a duplicate of something else is really, really tough.

Luckily, I am a genius.

My parents leave lots of notes for each other, but they're usually post its on the bathroom mirror, so it occurred to me to make Jim a custom note board.  I bought a frame and some cork from Office Max and tailored the one to fit the other.  I also got some giant push pins that I personalized with photos of the family.

This is what I've spent the past few hours working on, but it was worth it.  He'll like and use it, and it's unique, and not (for once) chocolate-related.


















In progress...






















Land of the push pin faces...


















Voila!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Sold!

Yesterday I brought my glove inventory over to my mother's house and she bought about half of it (spoiler alert: if you know my mom, you're probably getting some gloves this Christmas).  On the one hand I'm really happy to have sold so many pairs, and that they'll be going off around the country to spread the glovey word, but on the other hand does it count as success when you're primarily selling to your mother?

Kidding aside, I'm sure most businesses depend heavily on moms (and dads, and friends) for their first year at least, and without all of the awesome people supporting this endeavor I'd be having a lot less fun doing it.

At last night's craft-night I took some photos of Mary wearing the three new pairs of gloves I'd finished, then forgot my (dwindling) glove stock at Adam and Stephanie's, so now I can't list the gloves on etsy because I can't finish taking the pictures of them.  D'oh.

Instead, I'm going to finish up my first pair of child-size gloves, Marin's Gloves in light purple for Elizabeth, a newly-turned 10 year old gymnast of mine, and one of the most awesome people I know.

















Elizabeth and Nicole (also awesome)

This weekend is our last gymnastics meet--Level 4 State Championships--and it's both fantastic and weird.  Every time a competitive season starts (in August) I'm reminded (more and more heavily with each passing year) that it'll be over in a flash, and every time we get to December I remark on how true that feeling was.  But as weird as it is to be finishing the season, it also means that now I get my weekends back, and we get to do more inventive things with the kids during workout (instead of just practicing routines all the time).

With that, I'm going to head back to the couch and finish Elizabeth's first glove.  I took measurements of her hand but I never trust numbers on paper, I have to see the glove on her to decide whether the pattern is right or not.  Maybe when they're done I can get her to join the Brisk models on the etsy page.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Yummy Sensibilities

I can't decide if it's a good thing or a bad thing that the past few days I've been very distracted, thinking about the projects I want to start working on.  Yesterday I stopped by the Alameda Yarn Co., where I usually go for my yarn needs, and picked up two skeins of lovely Peruvian wool--one in black for two pairs of gloves that will go to my aunt Karen in Virginia, and the other in a light green to make a present for a friend of mine.

Here's the green yarn:


















Tonight I knit the first glove for one of my aunt's pairs.  The pattern worked pretty well and when I finish this post I'm going to type it up and add it to my personal book of finished (and verified as functioning) patterns.

Here's the glove:



















When I first started writing patterns I went on this extended binge where I just wrote and wrote and wrote.  Now I have these two mini-notebooks full of patterns--I'd guess about 200 in all--and I'm slowly plugging away at them.  Sometimes they work perfectly on the first try, and other times I have to edit them and re-edit them and even re-re-edit them.  A few prove to be completely non-functioning and need to be totally rethought (those are the least fun to get halfway through and then have to unravel).

A few weeks ago one of the notebooks completely broke in half, and I decided that I should probably invest in a sturdier format for pattern storage (beyond my computer files, which I maintain pretty diligently) so I wound up with a lovely 5 x 8 binder full of relatively professional looking instructions, and I'm excited to fill it with even more.  I have about three patterns I can transcribe from the messy handwritten versions, and that's what I'll be doing once I finish this post.

Completely unrelatedly, since last week was Thanksgiving my parents packaged up a good deal of left over turkey and cranberry sauce for me, on which I've been living pretty steadily since. Yesterday I made the most beautiful looking (and tasting) sandwich ever, and my inner foodie came out and snapped this photo:






















Chalk it up to my "yummy sensibilities."

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Buttons!

I spent the last few hours finishing some button designs and then ordered a batch from www.punkit.com.  It seemed like a pretty decent deal--$23 flat for 100 buttons, and you can use up to five designs in a single order.

So here's the final photos:


































































































I also finished up the black pair of gloves I posted a hint about yesterday, but I'm still not sure what I want to do with them so I'm going to keep them to myself for now.

Craft night is Thursday so I think I'll spend some time knitting this afternoon in the hopes that I'll finish at least another pair by then (because craft night is where the models are...).

Monday, November 30, 2009

New Projects

I have a lot to get to this morning, but after such a long weekend of lazy indulgence I wanted to write at least a small update.

I got a reply from my custom orderer, Spolivka, who bought a pair of Marin's Gloves in yellow. He was very complimentary and said, "They fit her perfectly!" Yay! So happy to hear.

Stephanie and I had a good time playing with gender roles last night discussing some new knitting ideas I had while our respective male counterparts played Left 4 Dead 2 on my Xbox (then had fun reversing those roles while she and I shot up zombies and Adam tried to teach himself to knit. We were ultimately more successful, as Adam gave up after the cast-on).

We were discussing the two library books I picked up this weekend and plan on delving into over the next few days. Mostly I'm toying with some designs that depend less on the stitch pattern and more on shaping. I don't want to post the whole image yet (because it will probably turn into a gift for someone special...) but I here's a hint:


























and another:





















And last but not least, I took a bunch of button photos and will be working on producing them within the coming days. Adam's button guy is on tour with Megadeth for the next 2 weeks so I might have to go with another company for a first batch so I can get them out right away. All this and more to come, so check back soon.




Thursday, November 26, 2009

Spreading the Love

Self promotion is hard. Anyone who's done what I'm in the process of doing--opening an online shop and trying to get it off the ground--can probably testify to that. I'm not even really sure how people manage it, apart from lucking into the favor of the cool kids--the weloveindies and cuteables of the world--but I'm determined to persevere.

This morning my projects will include the terminally unfun (thus far) self-promotion attempts (though at least they don't involve standing on the corner spinning a giant cardboard arrow with my business name on it...yet) and the more fun flier and button designing.

My buddy Adam paints and writes zines and was in bands, and he makes buttons for all of those things. He and his wife, the awesome Stephanie (hi, Stephanie!) even made buttons for their wedding last year. I like buttons, so I want to make some buttons for Brisk. I'm toying with a few design ideas--some will feature photos, others will hopefully feature drawings by Adam--and I'm actually looking forward to working on that today.

My mom is a pianist and I almost think that even if it wasn't my endeavor, she'd be all about the fingerless gloves. She plays gigs outside sometimes and always says that the gloves I made her are perfect for played in colder weather because she can still use her fingers, and she's intent on spreading the word to the Bay Area piano player community. She asked me to make a flier to hang in her piano studio, and I'm less excited to attack that project, but help is help and I'm not going to refuse it. I've been trying to figure out how useful flier promotion is these days. Does anyone really check out the wall next to the Starbucks pick up counter? I'm not sure whether it's worth my while to try and make a few extra fliers and put them out...but again, help is help, and it can't hurt.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Blog Now Open!

This is the third blog I've created.

For someone so theoretically anti-blogging, this is entirely too amusing. However, only a fool would open an online business and fail to take advantage of the blog-o-sphere--and Momma didn't raise no fool.

Hopefully this blog can contribute something interesting and not just serve as yet another place-filler in the blogger world. We'll have to wait and see, I suppose. Look forward to posts about upcoming plans and projects for my etsy shop, Brisk, and other unplanned non sequiturs.