September 30, 2011

Cows & Mittens

But not cows wearing mittens, mind you. I've been using my cow salt shaker more and more recently and giggle every time I take it out of the cabinet. I thought I would share my cows, so you can giggle as well. :)

I had been wanting a big fat cow cookie jar for a long time and one year my mom found a set at the beach that included the cookie jar and the spice shakers together.

The cookie jar looks like just this, only bigger. And you lift up the top of it's back to get the cookies. It's hilarious. For some reason big fat cows just make me happy.

I am trying, trying, trying to get the pattern for these mittens up for y'all. The pattern itself is written, but I am waiting to get photos since it's practically impossible to photograph my own hands. My hand model doesn't get home from work until it's too dark, so I am hoping to rope some unsuspecting family member into modeling during our trip to get apples tomorrow.

So! For now I shall say "It'll come when it comes". Since things like this seem to happen around here.

Happy Friday/Tomorrow's October!

September 28, 2011

How To Start Yourself a Wee Business

My sister is in the process of getting set up to sell her photography and has been asking me questions on how to get started.

I figured I would share the steps with my blog friends, just in case you were looking to start selling things of your own and want to know how to get started... Legitimately. ;)

1. Pick a Name! This is the hardest part. And for myself in particular, I wish I had picked one that wasn't so "one thing". "Little Bit of Knittery" doesn't let me expand much since I am thinking now about sewing and paper things as well. Take some time and think of something that could allow you expand without people going "Well, that doesn't fit." Or you could just use your birth name!

2. Set a Budget for Opening Expenses. I'm putting this as number 2, because this might determine if you can even start a business right now. You will need to consider the price of
  • -your FBN (see #3) and the process of that
  • -if you have to pay fees for a seller's permit (#4)
  • -any inventory or equipment you might need
  • -the price of rent if you'll need a building
  • -website hosting and maintenance if applicable 
  • - the price of at least business cards (Extra Notes)
  • -merchant account fees (for things like accepting credit cards)
  • -accountant fees if you need one
Write down all the things you think you'll need to start up and add them up. This is what you'll need to get started and if you don't have that money, you'll probably have to wait some time until you do have it. For me, I just needed the money for the FBN since I have rooms full of yarn already. I would highly discourage taking out a loan to start a business. Going into debt before you've developed an income puts you behind the 8 ball before you've even started, and there's no guarantee you'll be able to meet the required payment.

3. File a FBN statement. FBN stands for "Fictitious Business Name" and in other places might be known as "Doing Business As (DBA)". Whatever it's called, you will most likely need to file a statement. Around here that means sending in the statement to our County Clerk's office with the fee ($35 now, way up from when I start my first business 6 years ago). If all goes well, you'll get the paperwork back with the fancy seal and then here we must run the declaration in an approved newspaper once a week for 4 consecutive weeks (for an additional fee) so that people can contest it if they want to. I've started two business since I turned 18, and I've not had a problem either time. You can call your local offices for information on what you need to do in your state/county. If you choose to use just your real name, then you won't need a FBN.

4. Apply for a Seller's Permit. This little piece of paper means you legally get to sell stuff! Work on this after you get your FBN, since the business name you chose will be part of this. It might be different in other states, so check with your local offices on what they require and who actually needs one. For example, when I was designing websites I didn't need one because I was selling a service, not a product. But now that I have "tangible goods" I am required to have a seller's permit and collect and pay sales tax. For us, applying for the permit is free, and they were super friendly in helping me get set up and answering my questions. Once you're approved you'll get all the lovely papers and brochures of what you need to do, and your filing schedule for when your sales tax is due (at least that's how it works in California). There's a little more than might go into it, but that's the basics.

5. Keep Track of Your Spending & Income. Because the IRS ISN'T super friendly, and you don't want to have them on your back. The bookkeeping is not as scary as most people think, but it is necessary for filing taxes each year. You can either do it through software (I have Quickbooks just to make it easier) or in a check register. In a very basic sense you just need to keep track of your income (what people pay you) and your expenses (what you pay for things like office supplies, inventory, postage, etc.). It's a little more involved than that, but it would take to long to really get into right now, and you can easily look up the requirements from the IRS and by talking to a friendly accountant. Oh, and make sure you keep your receipts to back it up!

6. Get Started! Put your stuff out there! Start selling! Go for it! :)

Extra Notes:
  • You don't need a ton of advertising to get started. Business cards are nearly a must (and you can print those yourself!), but I consider word of mouth to be the best advertising. If you present a professional product or service and treat your customers with respect, they will tell their friends. It's worked for my dad for 19 years - he's never advertised. You can also gets lots of free "advertising" by using Twitter, Facebook, and other social media.
  • One trap I've noticed people fall into is the "I need expenses so I don't have to pay as much in taxes!! That's the point of being in business!". No, the point is to make money, isn't it? Let's get into this for a second, just because I want to. ;)
    Let's say you made $500 for the year and the tax rate is 10% (yeah it'll probably be higher than that, but go with me here). On that $500 you will pay $50 in taxes.
    Now let's say you bought a new sewing machine at the end of the year for $150 to "lower your taxes". With this expense, you would now be paying taxes on $350 ($500 - $150*), which comes out to $35 (10% of $350).
    So... In order to save $15 on your taxes, you had to SPEND $150... I would rather keep the $150 and pay the extra $15 in taxes. (Again, a little more complicated than that, but you see my argument.)
    *The amount gets deducted from your taxable income, NOT from the taxes due.

    My point is, carefully consider the expenses you pay for. If you really need it for the business, go for it! (It's much more effective to use a sewing machine than sew everything by hand.) But if your sole purpose of making a large purchase is to "save money on taxes" really think about if you're saving money or not. The taxes might be worth paying if you still have more money in your pocket at the end.
  • Please, price your things fairly. For handmade, that is very difficult when people are used to $.50 pairs of socks from China. But consider the price of your materials, the packaging, and how much time it took you to make it. Think of your work and your market and come up with a price you think is reasonable, but don't undersell your work! You're worth it, trust me. :)
Happy Businessing,

September 27, 2011


When there's barely any flowers left - Potato bush, basil and flax leaf center piece! Pretty and tasty smelling!

What a glorious few days we have had! Sunday was deliciously cool and crisp all day long. It was such a wonderful day.

We started the smoker at 10:00am and smoked a tri-tip all day long, watched a movie while the kids took a nap and had a generally lazy day. It was so nice, and the weather made it just perfect. And the tri tip? Oh my goodness. It was so tender and delicious, teeth were an optional utensil! :)

Yesterday was almost as cool and breezy. I had all the windows opened all day. And today I am sitting outside as I write this. It's wonderful!

Aside from a few sniffles, we are all over our colds. I am so thankful it was really just a one day per person illness. Jack was the only one who ran a fever and Ben thinks he got it on Saturday, but we're not even sure because it was over so fast. Yay for healthy immune systems! Thank you all for the prayers and well wishes. :)

This morning I finally finished the next pair of ribbed mittens. As you can see, they are getting a  bath, soon to be followed by a blocking and then pictures. Look for the pattern sometime this week!

I think I'm going to cast on another simple shawl/wrap using the yarn I dyed a few years ago in the "Day Lily" colorway... I just have to work myself up to it. Do any of you who spin or dye your own yarn have a hard time using it? I do. I just want to sit and stare at it forever, but I know that's silly and things should be used.

Since Halloween is coming up, I think it's time for a few more zombies. I've also had more than one person tell me I need to make some for the craft so, which cracks me up. I can't believe everyone likes those silly little things so much.

The usual state of boys around here - bright eyed and dirty!
I am so ready for fall. I know, I've said that before. Hehe! Our neighbor was putting up Halloween decorations yesterday (she's very ambitious with the decorating) and I told her I was thinking about putting up our fall decorations too. I will try to hold out for October - Which is Saturday! Muahahaha!

Looky! Our grapevine is starting to grow and climb and send out vines. I hope this means we'll get at least a few grapes next year! We have been talking a lot about having a mostly edible landscape. It is so nice walking into the back yard to get ingredients like veggies or herbs. One of these years I would like to have enough grapes for both snacking and drying - then I wouldn't need to buy raisins!

Well, just thought I would check in. I've felt so boring lately with not much to talk about! Not a whole lot of interesting cooking, and I'm sure y'all are tired of the gloves by now. ;) Just cleaning and chasing small people.

Happy chilly Tuesday,

September 23, 2011


I can always tell where Duder has been.

It's the first day of fall and it's hot and muggy! There should be a law against this sort of thing, don't you think?

Progress of the Brain Goblin. No, I won't be calling this pattern Brain Goblin. It's just the "working title" ;)

The sick is creeping through our house and now it's my turn. We're all tired and grumpy. :( Lots of knitting and reading and movie watching being done.

16 weeks
After reading through the "Your baby this week" stuff on (because I forget the milestones) week 16 says that I might feel the baby start to move this week, but likely won't feel anything til 18 weeks or later.

Umm, I felt this kid moving at 12 weeks. I'm not sure if that's good (yay healthy!) or bad (Oh noes, already running). Either way I love feeling babies moving.

Ugh, I think tonight is going to be a take out night.

Happy First Day of Fall,

September 19, 2011

Brain Goblins

Serious business.

I looked in the mirror this morning and had to show you this because it made me laugh. My hair usually looks like this - not always in a bun, but with knitting needles sticking out of it.

Have you ever had a thought or idea in your head that won't leave you alone until you set it free? It runs around, mucking things up and being a general LOUD presence until you are able to let it out and be what it needs to be?

I've come to think of these thoughts and ideas - the ones that must be heard - as Brain Goblins. Since goblins tend to do the same (running a muck and making a mess of things), it seems fitting.

I've had such a goblin in my head for the last few weeks and Thursday afternoon I cast on to let it out.

I'm terribly excited about this idea if it works out. I wanted something with twisting and winding cables, and when I finished the Emilies in white the goblin really came into view. (It was the beauty of the cables in white yarn that did it.) Lots of charting and calculating and figuring and I think I'm finally getting there.

What is it? Well I guess you'll just have to come back to find out! :)

Jack came down with a cold yesterday, and I think I might feel it coming on as well. Not sure if it's that or allergies. But it would explain the crazy burst of energy yesterday evening that led to my scrubbing every appliance and counter in my kitchen. I just hope if it is a cold it holds out until I get chores done today. And maybe some kind of baked goodie made...

How was your weekend?

September 14, 2011

Finished Knit: Emilies in White

Finished post three of three! I'm really digging these in white.

They seem very feminine to me in this color. I just might make another pair in white! But I do have a few design ideas floating around in my head that need out first.

Pattern: Emilie Mitts by Meg

Yarn: Knit Picks Palette in White - 32 grams/ 148 yards

Needles: US 2/2.75mm Harmony wood DPNs

Knitline: September 9th - September 10th. Yar, that's two days.

YTD Mileage: 3.87 miles.

Happy Knitting,

Finished Knit: Ribbed Mittens

Finished post number two of the day!

Just a little pair of ribbed mittens that I had in my head. I took the ribbing to a point at the top just to give it some detail. These were made up with men in mind, so I thought of making them plain but it didn't sound like fun at the moment. I figured ribbing was man-friendly. Then again maybe a woman will want them!

Pattern: Ribbed Mittens from my head

Yarn: Knit Picks Essential in "Buckskin" - 45 grams/ 208 yards

Needles: US 2/2.75mm Harmony wood DPNs

Knitline: September 2nd - September 8th

YTD Mileage: 3.78 miles. Oooh, almost 4!

Happy Knitting,

Finished Knit: Berry Camo Shawlette

The first of three finished posts today!

I'm so happy I finished this hole-free! After all the ripping back and redoing I was afraid it would happen again. But it was safe and is now finished.

I'm not sure if I love this little shawl so much because the colors are so pretty, or because I dyed it myself. I really like how the splotches of color turned out. I'm calling this a shawlette since it turned out on the smallish side.

Pattern: Plain stockinette shawl

Yarn: Knit Picks Bare Merino hand dyed by me! - 59 grams/ 519 yards

Needles: US 3/3.25 mm Susan Bates circs

Knitline: I have no idea - September 8th

YTD Mileage: 3.66 miles!

Happy Knitting,

September 13, 2011

Finished Knit: Slouchy Hat

The last episode of Bleak House and I sat down to finish the slouchy hat yesterday afternoon. I am totally loving this whole faster than the speed of light finished knitting stuff. And lest you think I'm neglecting my chores to do this - I got the laundry washed and folded, the floors vacuumed and the rooms dusted all by 11:30. So ha!

This is what happens when you finish a hat and try it on in front of your 3 silly little boys. They all want to try it on themselves. Little did they know I would subject them to modeling it for me! Muahaha.

Not that they minded.

Ignore me (I was glaring at Duder as soon as the camera went off) and look at the camera hound behind my shoulder. That kid is obsessed.

Pattern: Slouchy Hat made up as I went along

Yarn: Knit Picks Chroma (70% wool, 30% nylon) in "Midwinter" - 100 grams/198 yards (I luffs this yarn)

Needles: US 8/5mm Susan Bates DPNS and circular

Knitline: September 11th - September 12th

YTD Mileage: 3.37 Miles!

Happy Knitting,

September 12, 2011

Things Finished And Started

How was your weekend? Ours was very productive and successful!

Our poor, tired, drooping (and some headless) sunflowers are gone and the flower beds are clean. They look so much better now. I miss the sunflowers, but they were turning yellow and ugly so it was time to go.

We (and by "we" I mean "Ben" since I was out of steam by that point) ripped out the rest of the garden and got it cleaned up. Now we feel like there should be plants in there. So we figured if we can get compost in there in time we will try for at least a little winter garden.

We had clouds and thunderstorms Friday night and Saturday, complete with a little rain! It was so exciting. Although I'm pretty sure something around here caught on fire because I could smell it all Saturday night long. There's nothing more terrifying than waking up every few hours to the smell of burning. I never did figure out what it was. Perhaps one of the many dead fields of grass around here. The storm was very nice though. We haven't had a thunderstorm here in so long.

I have finished all these three things since Thursday. The (yay hole-less!) Berry Camo shawl. The brown ribbed mittens. And I started and finished the white Emilies in two days. Two days. I amazed myself! (Just tooting my own horn here.) Once I get good enough pictures I'll flood you with finished posts. Can't wait, can you?! Hehe.

I also started a little slouchy beret thing. I just started with some ribbing, increased the stitches by half (does that make sense?), and am working stockinette for the rest. I'll go until I think I have enough yarn left for the top and see what happens. I just wanted something to use this yarn on. Which I love. Love love love. It's Knit Picks Chroma in the colorway "Midwinter". It's 70% wool, 30% nylon and the structure is basically just a thin roving. It's so soft and delicious feeling. I got this ball as a bonus when I won a calendar from Knit Picks, and I would love more but it's $9 a ball, so it will have to be a splurge item sometime later.  I totally recommend it though!

I made a batch of cinnamon rolls Saturday, and we finished off the weekend with a batch of homemade Philly cheese steaks and fries. Let's just say I'm VERY MUCH looking forward to leftovers for lunch today. :)

How was your weekend?


September 8, 2011

A Jack Story

This happened at dinner last night and I laughed so hard I thought y'all would get a kick out of it too.

Last night we had BBQ baked chicken drumsticks, mashed potatoes and rolls for dinner. We were just about done and Jack wanted more milk. We told him he needed to finish his food before he got more milk.

Tyler gets down, puts his dishes away and leaves since he is done. Duder finishes up and does the same, Daddy is done and puts his plate away. And I am done and even start to wash the dishes.

All this time Jack is still munching away on his food very slowly. We tell him a few times to hurry it up and put his dishes away.

I am finally down to one dish to wash and I turn to him and tell him he needs to finish that food and put his dishes away because I am just about done washing.

He turns to me very earnestly and, pointing to his plate, says "I don't want to eat the bones."

Oh I laughed so hard. I laughed and laughed and laughed and had to catch my breath before I could tell him "No, baby you don't have to eat the bones. The bones go in the trash!" He smiled at my laughing and then asked for more milk since he had finished all the edible food. I gave him more milk and then laughed some more.

It was so hilariously adorable. He really thought he had to eat his bones before he could get more milk!

Happy Thursday,

September 7, 2011

A Whole 'Lotta Nothin'

I figured I'd check in just so y'all know I'm not dead.

There hasn't been a whole lot going on around here. This is one in a pair of mittens I'm working on. I cast on the second this morning.

The Berry Camo Shawl has been ripped back to the hole and is now being re-knit. When I got to the hole I was met with two little pieces of yarn, a long piece of yarn, and then the end of the yarn for the rest of the shawl (does that make sense?). All in all I had to re-attach one longer piece in between the first half and the second half of the shawl. I looked at the hole very closely and it looked like it got snagged on something and tore. The ends were frayed and torn looking. I'm just happy it didn't seem to be moths. So all is well now and I just get to do more knitting.

The craft show prep is under way. I registered last Tuesday after I went to the library. My sister is coming over this Saturday so we can go over set up and pricing and what we need, etc. I got some supplies (like price tags and receipt books) from Office Depot yesterday. I have no plan for a number of knits, I will just work until the show and see what I have. I have a feeling that if I shoot for a certain number I will stress out too much and I want this to be as fun as possible.

The biggest thing - and this is just for selling period, not just the craft show - is I've been wading through the FTC and CPSIA labeling laws. As of 2009 even hand/home crafters are required to have labels on their stuff. Since I am not only making garments & wearables, but I am working with wool as well so there's no way for me to get around it.

The FTC labels require fiber content, origin of manufacture and care instructions. The CPSIA labels are technically only required for things marketed to those 13 years and younger, but I will be adding the info to all my labels just in case. That one requires tracking information like item/batch numbers, place of business, etc.

It's kind of a pain in the butt since every piece I make is different, but I am going to make generic tags on printable fabric and then fill in the changing information with a laundry safe sharpie. Better safe than sorry - and in this case "sorry" is a $11,000 fine.

I've developed some kind of injury in my neck between my shoulder blades. I'm pretty sure it's a combination of knitting in my office chair (not great support) and trying to pop my neck too much (over did it). A bottle of Bengay, a borrowed  message pillow from Mimi and just trying to leave it alone will hopefully get it to stop soon. It's better today. That's mainly why I've been so quiet around here, just trying to stay out of this chair.

So, that's what I've been up to. Ben got Sunday and Monday off and it was really nice to have him for two days.

Hope your week is going well,

Finished Knit: Pointed Garter Scarf

Just posting the "official" finished post, so I can add it to my finished list. I started this back in February and it had been sitting in the stash closet until the end of last month. I needed something plain to work on while at my mom-in-law's. I started a new ball while I was there, and that night I finished the scarf.

Pattern: Pointed Garter Scarf by Meg

Yarn: Gedifra New Age in Teal - 98 grams/225 yards

Needles: US 9/5.5mm Brittany wood straights

Knitline: February 8th - August 31st

YTD Mileage: This scarf puts me up to 3.14 miles

Happy Knitting,

September 3, 2011


I was going to tell you how wonderfully productive I've been with my knitting.

Well, Pride goeth before a fall and all that.

Once upon a time I hand dyed some yarn with Kool-Aid, and started a shawl with it. I called the colorway Berries n' Cream. And the shawl I've named the Berry Camo Shawl, since that's what it was knitting up to look like.

I've been working on this plain shawl off and on for about two years now. It's usually stashed in my knitting bag and I use it as "conversation knitting" since it doesn't require any brain work.

Well yesterday I very proudly cast it off, and about an hour ago I put it in the soak bucket.

I pulled it out, squished out the water, and laid it on the blocking board to start the process of pinning it out. And then I gasped.

Can you see the problem? Here, let me help.


I wanted to cry. I still feel like crying. Literally years of work, shot to heck. (Ok, it would have taken me way less than two years, had I actually stuck to it.)

I have no idea how it happened. I don't know if the yarn broke from stretching, or if it got snagged on something, or what.

I don't think I'm going to try to fix it. I think it would distort the fabric to much. So now it's hanging up to dry and I'll *sigh* rip the whole thing out. I love the yarn, so I think I will splice it at the break and reknit the shawl.

Man. Here I was all proud that I had another thing done.

I did finish a Pointed Garter Scarf, though.

Hope your knitting is better than mine,
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