2014 Sampler MKAL April Giveaway Sponsor: Bending Flow Designs Guest Post

blog MKAL logo supplies with sample block edit

You can find more information on the 2014 Sampler MKAL here, and can order the pattern here.  Join in any time for a fun project with great prizes!

This month’s giveaway sponsor is Bending Flow Designs (formerly known as Alchemic Viscera). Jesse sells blown glass and wire wrapped creations on Etsy.  In addition to the Etsy shop, Jesse can be found on the Alchemic Viscera Facebook page.

I asked Jesse to share a guest post today, so we could all learn a bit more about the creative process behind Bending Flow Designs and the origins of those glass knitting needles! All pictures are copyright Bending Flow Designs and are used with permission.

Riding the Glass Ship

Guest Post by Jesse W. from Bending Flow Designs

Glass Daisy by Bending Flow Designs

Glass Daisy by Bending Flow Designs.

How to begin to explain my journey into the world of glass is a feat in itself. One thing, though, that I can say is that journey has been an inspiring, enlightening, humbling, and an extremely engrossing experience. Art, sculpture, and creating has always been a part of my life. I have been creating and conjuring since I can remember. Whether it was weird paper sculptures constructed of used loose leaf paper and Elmer’s glue, skate ramps built of salvaged wood, or clothing and bags made of scrapped remnants from an upholstery factory my neighbors owned, I was always creating something. Most of the time it was out of some salvaged material, but the satisfaction of finishing a piece that was built from “garbage” and being able to wear it to school the next day kept my drive alive. I also loved that I was able to create something with my own hands and energy, and I could enjoy it or even use it throughout the day. I just kept creating; flitting from project to project, medium to medium. Eventually, after trying many different mediums (metals, textiles, ceramics, etc.), I came across the wondrous medium of glass and got on board the “glass ship.” From there on it’s a continuous story that keeps unraveling itself as my life goes on.

Glass Fish and Fishing Net by Bending Flow Designs

Glass fish in glass fishing net by Bending Flow Designs.

Throughout my journey on the “glass ship,” I have created many different things. Many of them custom orders, and all of them drawing inspiration and building confidence. Working with both hollow and solid glass forms, I started to build knowledge and explore the parameters. Doors just kept opening, and I kept discovering more and more of what was possible. Making the glass daisy and the fish in the fishing net pictured above have really helped show me how much I was able to push the limits of glass.

Custom Boulder & Fire Opal Sterling Silver Wire Wrap Pendant by Bending Flow Designs

Boulder and fire opal sterling silver wire wrap pendant by Bending Flow Designs.

My work does not trend towards an specific style. I just really like to create things that can be worn or are useful. I like to use mixed media for some of my pieces. Intricately wrapping them with wire to see how I can accentuate features. And sometimes not using glass at all, and just using metal and minerals. High energy and the relentlessly turning gears in my mind are constantly driving me to create. Everything that’s built is derived from that ruthless energy, and I have learned over time, not to fight it. If there’s a project that I don’t want to give my time to, but I have already conjured it up and started it; I found that it’s best to just go with the flow and stick it out. Some of my best work has resulted in this. This was how the glass knitting needles were born.

Custom Beach Glass and Sterling Silver Wire Wrap Pendant

Beach glass and sterling silver wire wrap pendant by Bending Flow Designs.

With all the different types of arts and crafts that I like to explore, I decided one day that I wanted to make myself a scarf. To challenge myself, I decided to try to knit this scarf. I do not have the most extensive background in knitting as I somewhat do with crocheting, so naturally all I had laying around the house were several different size crochet hooks. Though they are nice hooks, and have helped me along many times before, they were not going to aide me in my knitted scarf journey.

Tourmaline Aquamarine Ring

Tourmaline aquamarine ring by Bending Flow Designs.

That’s when it began. I started to search the house for long slender items that could substitute for knitting needles. Well, I tried chopsticks, pens, pencils, smooth pieces of drift wood; nothing worked.The diameters weren’t right with some, and the others weren’t long enough. I started to get frustrated, and wanted to quit even before I started. Then it dawned on me, I had piles of clear glass stock in my studio in whatever diameter I wanted. I ran down to my studio and made the first pair, let them cool, and started knitting with them. AMAZING! They were the smooth and exactly the length that I wanted them. They helped me so much with my project that I decided to make more of them, and share them with whomever was interested.

Black & White Glass Knitting Needles by Bending Flow Designs

Black and white glass knitting needles by Bending Flow Designs.

Since that point in time, I have been making more and more of them and selling them in stores around my town and in my Etsy shop, Bending Flow Designs. I have been getting great feedback on there design and function. I am going to continue to come up with more styles. I have several different styles of toppers now, but I enjoy getting custom orders from people because they open up my mind to new things.

Colorful Glass Knitting Needles by Bending Flow Designs

Colorful glass knitting needles by Bending Flow Designs.

Art, glass, and the process of creation has always been something that has intrigued me. I love the way that you become fully entranced by the beauty as you first see a piece that draws wonder, and audible ooohs and aaahs. The connecting energy between myself and the piece seems to be stronger when I am using it. I appreciate fine arts and the beauty that can send your mind swirling, but the appreciation that I get out of a piece of art that I am able to use everyday, and at the same time its upholding its own beauty is enchanting.

 

Giveaway

Glass Knitting Needles by Bending Flow Designs

Jesse will be providing the winner’s choice of a set of swirl top knitting needles in US Size 10 (6 mm) or US Size 11 (8 mm). The winner can also choose from a blue, green, red, purple, orange, yellow, or pink color blend in the swirl top.

To enter the giveaway, post a picture of any 2014 Sampler Mystery Knit-A-Long sampler square you knit during April in the relevant spoiler thread on Ravelry by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, April 30, 2014.  (KAL participants who are not Ravelry members can instead share pictures with the Underground Crafter Facebook page or Tweet pictures to @ucrafter.)  Each square you share a picture of will count as one entry.  One winner will be chosen at random on or about May 3.

2014 Sampler MKAL March Giveaway Sponsor: Michelle’s Assortment

Underground Crafter MKAL button2

You can find more information on the 2014 Sampler MKAL here, and can order the pattern here.  Join in any time for a fun project with great prizes!

This month’s giveaway sponsor is Michelle’s Assortment.  Michelle sells her wireworked shawl pins, stitch markers, bookmarks, and charms on Etsy and at fiber events around the country.  You may remember that I had the opportunity to meet her at Vogue Knitting Live in January.

blog VKL NYC 2014 Michelle's Assortment Michelle

I snapped that picture of her in her booth, where I helped out for a few hours.  Michelle has some lovely work.  In fact, I’m the proud owner of three of her stunning shawl pins.

Michelles Assortment shawl pins for Marie

In addition to her Etsy shop, Michelle can be found online as CraftyFlutterby on Ravelry and on the Michelle’s Assortment Facebook page.  Michelle will be a vendor at several upcoming fiber events, including the Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival from March 14 through March 16.  (I had a fabulous time at the festival last year, which you can read about here.) She’ll also be at several Ohio events in the next few months: A Knitter’s Fantasy in April, OddMall in May, the Mid-Ohio Fiber Fair in August, and the Autumn Fiber Festival in October.

Michelle will also be the MKAL giveaway sponsor in November.  Thanks, Michelle, for your generosity and support!

 

Giveaway

blog Michelles Assortment Shawl Pin Collage

Michelle will be providing the winner’s choice of any straight pin with a single bead in her shop inventory.  You can find her current inventory of straight pins in her Etsy shop here.  Be aware that her stock is likely to change by the end of March after the Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival.  (The shawl pins shown above are, from left to right: the Heart Shaped Stone Bead, the Winter is Coming Shawl Pin, and the Glass Bead with Hot Pink Wrap.)

To enter the giveaway, post a picture of any 2014 Sampler Mystery Knit-A-Long sampler square you knit during Marcj in the relevant spoiler thread onRavelry by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Monday, March 31, 2014.  (KAL participants who are not Ravelry members can instead share pictures with theUnderground Crafter Facebook page or Tweet pictures to @ucrafter.)  Each square you share a picture of will count as one entry.  One winner will be chosen at random on or about April 3.

2014 Sampler MKAL February Giveaway Sponsor: An interview with Sarah Kincheloe

Underground Crafter MKAL button1

You can find more information on the 2014 Sampler MKAL here, and can order the pattern here.  Join in any time for a fun project with great prizes!

This month’s giveaway sponsor is sarahkincheloe on Etsy.  Sarah’s shop carries an array of beautiful and functional organizers for crochet hooks and knitting needles.  In addition to donating a prize for the giveaway, I asked Sarah to share some background with KAL participants and my readers in this interview. All images are used with her permission.

Sarah Kincheloe

Sarah Kincheloe with her vintage sewing machine in the background.

Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first get started knitting and sewing?

Sarah: My mother and aunt are truly remarkable crafters. My aunt sewed all of her husband’s suits and button down shirts back in the day and my mom made most of my and my brother’s clothes (with matching dresses for my dolls, of course). I wholly resisted learning to sew, but did pick up crochet and needle point among other things.

As for knitting, it’s one thing no one in my family did, and maybe that’s the reason it intrigued me. I bought a book for $4 at a craft store and a pair of needles and taught myself when I was 24. My first project was a scarf that rolled horribly but by the time I got to my third or fourth it was a double knit scarf with intarsia that had even the old Polish ladies at my knitting shop in Brooklyn scratching their heads. I’ve never been much for huge projects but I’ve knitted a lot of little toys and stuffed animals as well as blankets, socks, mittens and the like.

Circular Needle Organizer

Chocolate Brown and Blue Dots Circular Knitting Needle Organizer.

UC: What was the original inspiration for opening your Etsy shop?

Sarah: I wanted a nice knitting needle organizer and couldn’t find one I liked. I asked my mom to sew me one for Christmas and she did. I think this is what convinced me that sewing is actually useful. I flew back to grad school in Chicago with an old school metal Singer sewing machine in the carry on.

I already had an Etsy shop selling hand painted and black and white photography, another passion of mine, but my darkroom was in Texas and I was in Chicago so I decided to try my hand at sewing useful things that were also nice to look at.

DPN rolls

Purple and Green DPN organizer.

UC: Your organizers and cases are geared towards knitters and crocheters. Why did you focus on these products and what do you enjoy about making them?

Sarah: I focus on knitting and crochet because I understand those things. I can anticipate how a dpn roll should work because I have an unwieldy amount of dpns myself. People have requested organizers for everything from paintbrushes to bookbinding tools to midwife equipment but I always feel more confident creating something I can really envision using myself.

Interchangeable Knit Picks Organizer

Inside of an interchangeable needles organizer.

UC: Your photographs have a really clean look. Do you have any photography tips to share with crafters?

Sarah: Seek out good natural light and edit your photos to reflect the real item. I use Photoshop to get a white background as well. It adds extra time and effort to each listing, but I think it’s worth it for the cohesive look in my shop.

Straight Needle Organizer

Whales straight needles organizer.

UC: How do you balance your business with your professional job? What tips do you have for other small business owners who are also working at another job?

Sarah: This is a constant question in my mind as I do have a full time career that I love as well as a toddler, a husband, and a huge urban garden where I grow as much of our food as possible. I set aside chunks of time to sew and make sure to keep up with orders on a daily basis. Luckily winter is my busiest time of year, and that is when the garden is quieter. I have used slower times to build up a lot of inventory (about 300 items) so I never have to enter panic mode.

Since my day job is pretty intense and requires me to be “on” (I’m a social worker doing therapy with adults with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder), it’s nice to have time to just sew and listen to podcasts and unwind a little.

Thanks for stopping by for an interview, Sarah, and for sponsoring this month’s MKAL giveaway!

Giveaway

Sarah will be providing the winner’s choice of any needle organizer in her shop inventory with a price of $42 or less.  You can check out her organizers in the straight needle cases, circular needle cases, dpn rolls, for interchangeable sets, and hanging needle organizers sections of her Etsy shop.

To enter the giveaway, post a picture of any 2014 Sampler Mystery Knit-A-Long sampler square you knit during February in the relevant spoiler thread on Ravelry by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Friday, February 28, 2014.  (KAL participants who are not Ravelry members can instead share pictures with the Underground Crafter Facebook page or Tweet pictures to @ucrafter.)  Each square you share a picture of will count as one entry.  One winner will be chosen at random on or about March 3.

Vogue Knitting Live 2014: Day 2

VKL NYNY

This post contains affiliate links.

My second day at Vogue Knitting Live started off with no hot water at home (and who doesn’t love showering in cold water when it’s sleeting outside?).  In the rush to get out the door, I forgot to take the ceremonial pre-show picture of me in my handmade goodies.  (I was wearing my 2013 Temperature Scarf, which is perfect for cold weather.)

My first stop was an interview with the delightful Kate Atherley from Wise Hilda.  I should be posting it in a few weeks.  I asked her to pose with her two books, Beyond Knit & Purl and Knit Accessories.

blog VKL NYC 2014 Kate Atherley

Then I walked through the fashion and art exhibits.  I’m planning a separate post about these, so I’m sharing just one picture today.  This is a crocheted piece by fashion designer, Gabriela Serigatto.

blog VKL NYC 2014 Gabriela Sarigatto2

My next stop was the Marketplace.  I learned a lot from Rosemary Drysdale‘s Entrelac: The Essential Guide to Interlace Knitting, and she was signing books at the Vogue Knitting booth.

VKL NYC 2014 Rosemary Drysdale Autograph

From there, I snuck over to the Leilani Arts table.  You see, they sell this Soft Donegal yarn, which has become the favorite amongst the men in family: soft but charcoal (with a little tweed to keep my interest).

VKL NYC 2014 Studio Donegal

I promised my dad I’d make him a version of this cabled hat, so I needed another skein.  Melissa Leapman rung up my sale.

Then, I went to the Knitty City booth (it’s always a treat to see your favorite local yarn shop at an event) to get my copy of Knitwear Design Workshop: A Comprehensive Guide to Handknits signed by Shirley Paden.

VKL NYC 2014 Shirley Paden autograph

Shirley was really quite friendly and we had a nice chat about her class on Craftsy, which is a companion to the book, as well as the We Love Shirley Paden group on Ravelry.  (Shirley assures me she didn’t name the group!)  The group sounds like a lot of fun and they have even hosted three Design-a-Longs.

I had a few minutes after the book signing to watch the beginning of the Fiber Factor Fashion show.  I learned there will be KALs throughout 2014 and the next “season” will begin in 2015, but I missed the announcement of the winner.

blog VKL NYC 2014 Fiber Factor Rachel Henry Gates of Dawn

This stunning felted dress, Gates of Dawn by Rachel Henry, was one of my favorite Fiber Factor projects on display.

Believe it or not, I had time for two more quick stops before reaching my final VK Live destination.  I took a picture of Virginia from Yellowfarm (interviewed here), who I met at last year’s event.

blog VKL NYC 2014 YellowFarm Virginia

And, then I visited the Full Moon Farm booth, to snap a picture of Laura.  My interview with her will be coming up soon.  We met last year, too.

blog VKL NYC 2014 Full Moon Farm Laura

And then I headed off to the Michelle’s Assortment booth.

blog VKL NYC 2014 Michelle's Assortment Michelle

I helped out in Michelle’s booth for a few hours in the afternoon, so she could stretch her legs and walk around the Marketplace for a bit.  It was a great opportunity to learn more about her creative process.  She’s sponsoring two months of prizes for my 2014 Sampler Mystery Knit-a-Long, so it was great to meet her in real life and see all of her awesome shawl pins, bookmarks, and stitch markers.

blog VKL NYC 2014 Michelle's Assortment circles

I particularly like Michelle’s round shawl pins.  It was also great to see her collaboration with other indie business owners.  Michelle had several samples from Ash Kearns on display to show off her shawl pins including Havelock (left) and Everton Lace Wrap (right), along with the print versions of the patterns.

blog VKL NYC 2014 Michelle's Assortment Ash Kearns samples

Of course, I couldn’t spend all that time in Michelle’s booth without falling in love with some shawl pins.  I was initially drawn in by the circles, I ended up choosing two straight pins for myself.

blog VKL NYC 2014 Michelle's Assortment goodies

These will definitely need to be re-shot in natural lighting because you can’t see the beauty in this picture.  I’m off to get some rest before Day 3!

Vogue Knitting Live 2014: Day 1

VKL NYNY

I was thrilled to receive a press pass again this year to attend Vogue Knitting Live.  My big plans for Friday included possibly taking a class (depending on what was still open), and meeting a fellow blogger for dinner.

Desert Sunset Infinity Cowl outside3

I left home very excited this morning.  (Ok, my smile looks a little forced, but that’s because I was waiting for MC to snap the picture.  You’ll have to take it on faith that I was stoked!)  Unfortunately, things went a little haywire at work and I didn’t get to leave early.

I made it down to VK Live just in time to meet Tien.  I’ve been reading her blog, AutumnGeisha, for the past few years and when I found out that her husband got her tickets to come to New York for VK Live, I knew it was our chance to meet up.  The Marketplace was just opening and we had the chance to make our first run through.  (It turns out that we both like to scope out the shops first, then go back to make purchases.  I think it’s how we can convince ourselves that we aren’t buying too much yarn.)

MichellesAssortmentlogo

I also wanted to introduce myself to Michelle from Michelle’s Assortment.  I’m going to be helping out at her booth on the Fifth Floor in the Marketplace Saturday from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m.  She is one of the sponsors of my 2014 Sampler Mystery Knit-a-Long.  Michelle will be providing a shawl pin as the March prize, and a set of 4 stitch markers as a fall prize.  They are even more beautiful in person than they are on her Etsy page, so the winners are in for some treats.

Tien bought a lovely Matryoshka doll shawl pin from Michelle, and then we were off to dinner at John’s Pizzeria. It was great to chat with Tien about blogging, designing, yarn, and other fun things.

You may be wondering where all the pictures are.  Confession: Tien let me leave my bag in her hotel room, and I forgot to take my camera out with me.  I promise tomorrow’s post will have some more pictures!