Knitting Mentors

This past Christmas I was struggling with a new knitting technique, so I turned to You Tube for some answers to find some video demonstrations to help me. What I discovered on the little panel beside the video your watching ( you know the one that says suggested videos) was so much more than just the answer to my questions. I found my knitting mentor.

I have always been a fan of knitters such as Elizabeth Zimmerman, Meg Swansen, Vicki Howell but, who I stumbled upon  may  just be a kindred spirit.  Her name is Staci, and her website is www.verypink.com

I first clicked on her video because of the name, I am obsessed with the colour pink and so anything with “pink” and “knit” in the title is a “must see” for me.

Watching Very Pink Knits while knitting

Watching Very Pink Knits while knitting

I don’t remember the first video I watched, but, I was hooked instantly.

Her are few reasons why I cannot get enough of her.

  • She has no stash ( hello, bucket list item #3)
  • She loves circulars needles and The shorter the better for straight and dpns needles ( see my blog post on this)
  • She has completed the knitting masters course from the American’s knitters guild   ( I have always wanted to do this…and honestly I don’t know why this isn’t on my bucket list…)
  • She has turned her love of knitting into a full fledged business. This is what I am trying to do and now that I know about Staci, I know that it is possible.
  •   The way she knits. I know this sounds weird but, I spend a lot of time when I am knitting watching her videos. I love the way she holds the yarn, the needles , everything. I could watch her knit all day and honestly, if  I am in a bad mood I don’t even listen to what she’s saying I just watch and my mood instantly gets better.
  •  She makes me feel not crazy!! A lot of my more advanced knitting skills were self – taught and I have often wondered if I was doing them correctly. As I go through her videos, I see more and more similarities on how we knit! We think the same and that is a welcomed reassurance.
  • Her patterns are gorgeous. I want to knit them all, with all my yarn, on my short needles and have no stash left over!!! Ahhh knitting bliss!!
  •  In her videos she does a lot of close-ups and explains everything in a lot of detail.
  •  She’s consistent. She posts new videos ever Wedneday. I so look forward to this, and usually watch them as soon as she posts them. The rest of the week I just watch her old ones ( she’s been doing this for 4 years now, so there is a lot to go through) and count down the days to new content.
  •   She’s approachable. You can access her anywhere, youtube, website, facebook, google +, raverly , pinterest, twitter.

So in closing, I just want to say Staci, you rock :)

And in case your wondering. my favorite videos thus far is her Fancy Stitch Combo Series

The Knitting Bucket List Revised

I like goals, I think they are a great way to keep track of our what we want to achieve in every aspect of life. That is why I started the “knitting bucket list”,a comprehensive list of my goals for my knitting business, Smashlee Stitches. I decided to share this on my  blog  because it keeps me accountable and is a great driving force in getting these goals checked off my list.   I hope in the end it inspires some one to do the same with their goals, whatever they are.

With that said, I have been thinking of the bucket list a lot of the last few months and have decided it is need of some tweaking. I listen to a lot of audiobooks while I knit and a good majority of them are about goal setting. With all that I have learned about this topic in the past year, I now see where some my goals needed to be more specific and action oriented. So, In the rest of this blog post you will find the  updated and revised version of my knitting bucket list. Enjoy ;)

Smashlee

Smashlee

The Knitting Bucket List

 1. Finish my Daughter’s baby blanket.  - Finished   Read the blog post

  2.Knit myself a sweater I really love.

 3.Use up all the yarn in my knitting stash.

 4.Write or contribute an article to a knitting magazine or newsletter

5. Make enough money from knitting and knitting related activities to support my family financially, which would allow my husband to quit his job and peruse his dreams.

6. Contribute and donate knitting to various charities and people in need.

 7. Finish knitting all the stitches in the book “400 Knitting Stitches

8. Get someone who is famous or a celebrity to own or buy something that I have knitted.

  9. Write a book about knitting

 10. Knit a set of booties or slippers in all the NHL team colours.

11. Read, write reviews and make a master list of best knitting books out there.

12. Publish a collection of original Smashlee Stitches patterns.

13. Knit a garden.

14. Have Smashlee Stitches grow big enough that I need at least one employee.

 15. Make my own knitting themed greeting cards

16. Learn to teach knitting and one day have online classes.

17 .Felt something! Finished   Read the blog post

 18. Own a complete…and I mean COMPLETE set of circular knitting needles in every size and length.

 19. Be a test knitter Finished   Read the blog post

 20. Be part of a mystery knit along.

21. learn to Crochet.

 22. Finished all my current UFO ( unfinished objects)

23. Only have 5 projects on the go at once.

24. Learn to spin.

25 .Own a yarn shop

26. Teach a child to knit

27.Read the all the knitting books on this site. http://www.esequels.com/blog/?p=162

 28. Have one only of patterns be on the “hot right now” list on Raverly.

 29. Take a tour of a major yarn company’s factory.

 30. Have a Smashlee Stitches hand knit purse/bag line.

 31. Knit a tutu Finished  

Read the blog post

32. Knit my Dad a Star Trek sweater.

 33. Knit some of the really cute patterns from Mochimochi land.

 34. Attend an Interweave Knitting Lab.

 35. Learn and study the history of knitting.

 36. Knit a wedding dress.

 37.  Knit curtains.

 38. Knit a sweater  that has a zipper.

 39. Visit a sheep farm.

 40. Use Raverly on a regular basis. Finished  Read the blog post

41. Go to a knitting conference.

42. Write a stitchonary.

 43. Knit my husband something he will actually wear on a regular basis.

 44.  Learn magic loop.

 45.  do a knitting photo shoot

        46. 1000 Etsy sales

 47. Knit on TV.

 48. Hire a maid

 49. Have my own youtube knitting videos

 50 . Make knit shoes. (not slippers, actual shoes)

 51. Listen to all the knit picks podcasts.

 52. Meet Kelley Pekten.

 53. Learn to spin my own yarn.

 54. Learn to dye my own yarn.

 55. Have my own yarn line.

 56. Master intarsia knitting

 57. Meet the yarn harlot.

58. Make my little brother a star wars themed blanket.

 59. Learn to double knit.

 60.  Knit my way through all the Elizabeth Zimmerman books.

 61  Have my own podcast or contribute to one regularly.

62. Learn to duplicate stitch.

 63. Learn embroidery.

64.Knit a sock monkey.

65. Design and knit the characters from my Dad’s book. When I was 9 my dad and I wrote a book called “The Night Before The Night Before Christmas Morning.” We self published it but, my goal is to re-publish the book and maybe add some knitted toys to go along with it.

 66. Knit a Dr Who Themed Blanket.

 67. Yarn bomb something.

 68. Read through and knit everything in Stitch London

 69. Knit my own royal family.

70. Knit a version of the “Ernie” sweater for a child.

71. Knit an Aran sweater.

 72. Knit some pants.

73. Knit a house coat

 74.  Knit mini-he a blanket

75. Find a way to organize my DPNs and circular knitting needles.

 76. Knit a hot water bottle cover.

 77. Crochet socks.

 78. Only have knit socks in my drawer…no more store bought.

 79. Create my own sock pattern.

 80.  Knit my mom a sweater.

 81. Design a Fair Isle Pattern for a scarf.

82. Have my dream home office.

83. Have a pattern published in Knitty.

84.  Have a pattern published in Knit Simple Magazine.

85. Have my products featured on the main page of Etsy.

86. Have my knitted garments in a fashion show.

87. Learn to Knook.

88. Learn Tunisian Crochet. Sort of like Knooking…but, different.

89. Use a turkish drop spindle.

90. Knit an authentic Dr. Who Scarf. Finished   Read the blog post

91. Learn to Loom knit.

92. Knit Christmas stockings for my family.

93. Make an emergency knitting kit for my car.

94. Knit a set of placemats.

95. Make my own line of knitting related greeting cards.

96. Design an award winning afghan. http://www.herrschners.ca/NationalAfghanContest.aspx

97. Knit an infinity scarf.  Finished  Read the blog post

98.Knit a  throw pillows  for my bedroom.

99. Make a new bucket list.

100. Never give up!

Current Uncompleted Goals: 93

Completed Goals: 7

 

New Year…New Family

Welcome to the world lil man

Welcome to the world lil man

New Year, New Family

The Smashlee Family has expanded…Meet the new Mini-He

Wow it’s been a long time since my last post but..it was all for good reason! Meet my new Mini-He who was born October 1st 2013. The last part of 2013 has been crazy with the arrival of our new addition and then the holiday season (the busiest time for a knitter) . Now that things are kind of settling down, ( do they ever really settle down with kids??) and we are adjusting to our new life as a family of 4,  I find myself ready to get back at it  and tackle my long list of knitting projects.

What a cutie...

What a cutie…

I am super excited to see what 2014 has in store for Smashlee Stitches. I will be updating the bucket list and writing reviews on yarn, needles , knitting books and maybe let you in on a few of my knitting secrets. Happy 2014!!!

mini-me & mini-he

mini-me & mini-he

Thank you for reading and don’t forget to check out  my Facebook page and etsy shop, you can also follow me on twitter and on Pinterest.

Smashlee

I’m Still Around!!

Looks like the summer is behind us and I am sure I am in good company when I say it has gone by way too fast! It seems like I blinked and all the sudden the leaves have changed colour and their is snow on the mountains!!

Another thing happened…I swallowed a beach ball…but the Doctors claim its a baby and he is suppose to be here any day now!!

So I as anxiously await the arrival of my beach ball I thought I’d drop by to say hi, and to say me and knitting bucket list will be back shortly!!! So stay Tuned….and if your needing your Smashlee Stitches fix you can always head over to my facebook page , or twitter

Until next time,

Smashlee

 

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The Violette Project

” In your own quiet way, you can bestow strength on others in your community by using your hands and some yarn.” -Betsy Greer

This quote is exactly how I felt when receiving a message from one of “test knitters” a couple months ago that broke my heart and sent me into a sobbing crying for the better part of the day. The message was heartfelt, but very sad and tragic.

” Hi Ashlee,
I am one of your test knitters (slouchy hat and baby tutu) and I just recently lost my baby girl. I named her Violette and I just saw the snowball hat that you knit with the purple Violette on top and I am taking this as a sign that my baby girl is saying hello to me from heaven through your knitting. I just wanted to share that with you and that your creation made my broken heart smile.
thank you
M-”

The Hat that started it all

The Hat that started it all

This touched me so much for many reasons. First of, I am Mom and the thought of losing child is my worst fear, in fact my mind can’t even go there. Second, although I never met “M” in person, through the test knitting she has done for me , I did feel she was a knitting friend. I knew she was expecting a baby and when she test knitted the “knitted tutu” pattern , she was the first one with her project done and I was so excited to see that tutu on her new baby girl that was due  to  arrive at anytime. In fact, I had been so nervous about releasing the pattern that when her e-mail came,showing off her project and “M” expressing not only her excitement for her daughter but also for my pattern, I was overjoyed. I remember reading it out loud to Mr.Smashlee, because I was so happy someone liked my pattern. She also included a picture of elmo wearing the tutu and the mini loved this picture so much, I had to put a tutu on our own elmo. Her test knitting stood out in my mind, and as the weeks passed I did find my mind wondering how they were doing.

In my own family, around this time we found out  a little boy would be joining our Smashlee family, and Mr. Smashlee’s sister became a mom for the first time to a baby girl. This made what had happened to “M” hit home a little harder. As it really makes you realize how precious life is.

When I received “M” message about her loss, I couldn’t even breathe. I felt aboustley devesated for her and her family. I cannot not even imagine how she and her hubby must be feeling and coping.  I have never lost a baby , so I can’t comprehend what the pain must be like but, by knowing how I feel about my mini and  her soon be born brother, to lose them at any stage of their life would be more than heartbreaking.

That leads me back to the quote I opened this post with.

” In your own quiet way, you can bestow strength on others in your community by using your hands and some yarn.” -Betsy Greer

I cannot make “M’s” pain go away or bring her daughter back. In fact, to “M” and her family, I am just a woman who knits a lot,  but, regardless, I wanted to help in any way I could. So once I composed my self enough to write “M” back I offered to donate  the hats I was currently making for my charity project, to the hostpial of her choice, in memory of her daughter.

This is how “The Violette Project” ” came to be. As I coutined to corresponde with “M” ,it became more clear to me that this was the right thing to do. Knitting has a way of touching , connecting and healing people. I want her daughter’s memory to live on, because any life, no matter how small, matters. I will never meet Violette and I may never meet her sweet parents but, ever since I knew of her short life, she has been on my mind every day as I knit and crochet baby hats. I hug my own daughter more, and paiently wait the arrival of my baby boy, knowing that at any moment, it could all disspear. Nothing is for sure. I want to help those who have suffered a loss of any kind to houour those who have passed.

“The Violette Project” initially will be 70 hats donated to a Canadian hostpial in honour of “M’s” daughter. However, my intention is to spread the love and my knitting to anyone who is in need. What this means is through http://www.smashleestitches.com/Smashlee_Stitches/The_Violette_Project.html you will be able to contact me to request knitted items be donated to a charity, organization, or hostpial of your choice in honour of yourself or someone who you have lost or who is sick. You can request anything, from baby hats to a blanket for the homeless. You will infomation on how  to contact me and in which you can e-mail me with your request. It is my hope that through this project, a community can be created where we can spread some love, and help those who need to heal. If you are a crafter, you can take part too, by either helping someone in your own community or if you would like to part of ” The Violette Project” you can contact me for futher info, either through http://www.smashleestitches.com or through my e-mail smashleesstiches@gmail.com . All items that will sent out to charities & organizations will be at no cost to those request them. I am donating my time and resources to make this happen, because I really feel as a knitter  we can change the world with yarn.

Adventures In Felting.

In going through my “UFO” projects, I discovered a long forgotten project of some hot pink  uggs slippers I was making. They were to  be made of 100% wool and then felted.

It surpised me these slippers were tossed to the side for a later date because of two reasons… 1. I love uggs, (  I wore hot pink uggs at my wedding) and 2.  I love pink..actually, no..I’m obsessed with the colour pink. I have been raking my brain trying to remember why I gave up  knitting these but, I got nothing. My best guess is that I got distracted. Which any knitter knows..can and does happen ALOT!

After pulling out a pattern that had clearly been attacked by a teething baby, as it  had teeth marks all over it, as well as a chunk missing from the top corner, I grabbed a ball of hot pink yarn and knit away.

Now, this will sound kind of weird coming from a knitter, but I am not a huge fan of wool. The scratchiness bothers me (  maybe that’s why I stopped knitting these uggs?) but, I “struggled” through my uncomfortableness and finished knitting the pair of slippers in a day or so.

When I finished the knitting portion and showed Mr. Smashlee, he simply started at my giant slipper and said ” I think you screwed up.”

” Nope” I replied ” they are meant to be bigger; I’ll stick them in the wash and they will shrink down to my size. I think…”

“umm..alright”  Mr. Smashlee replied and basically avoided all eye contact with me as I ran down to the laundry room to throw my slippers in the wash.

slipper before the wash

14 inch long foot… trying to get to a 9-10 inch foot…wish me luck!

I’m not gonna lie, I was terrified something would happen to them. I had never done this before and they were really large. I also have a high efficiency washer, and I had heard from “google” that it might not work the way I wanted.

I turned the dials and knobs to put my washer on hot/cold, ran a short cycle and I did let it spin ( although, I’m pretty sure I read  that you aren’t suppose to let the washer spin. ) Regardless, I threw a load of hot pink towels in the load as well and I did use detergent. ( A mild, unscented, good on everything and has little chemicals in it. )

Then I had to wait forever to see how they turned out… in reality it was only 40 minutes but, like I said, I was terrified so ,It felt so much much longer .

Here are the slippers after two washes.

One wash down!! And still in tact!

After two washes

I can’t believe it! It actually works!!

So, feeling a little braver I wash them again. Exactly the same as last time.

After wash number 3

After wash number 3

I washed them one more time and basically got them to the size I wanted. However, I could have gone one more wash as they do fit a bit big.

IMG_0511 IMG_0512

After I showed Mr. Smashlee my new slippers. He looked at me all bright eyed and said ” That’s amazing! It’s like magic! People would really catch on to this! It’s knitted but, It doesn’t look knitted! You could sell  tons of these, I’m sure! How did you come up with such an idea? “

Basically, he went on like this for a while..I wasn’t gonna stop him and tell him I didn’t come up with the idea. So I just smiled and tried on my “magical” shrinking slippers

IMG_0513Yup. I love them! In fact, I think I got over my dislike of wool. They aren’t  scratchy  at all and I pretty much wear them every day  even when it is hot out.

So, with the story of how Smashlee learned to felt now told, I can say that another bucket list item is done… #17 ” Felt Something” is  now officially crossed off the list as completed.

Now, I guess it’s not the another unfinished project… maybe I’ll knit my mom’s sweater next….

FO Friday: Knit Tutu

smashleestitches:

A wonderful post on my “Knitted tutu pattern”, from one of my test knitters!

Originally posted on My Tangled Yarn Knitting Adventures:

I was so excited to be a part of Smashlee Stitches test knit of her newest pattern, Knit Tutu!! And now I can finally share the adorableness of this pattern. Seriously, I can’t stop making these!

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The pattern is easy and very straightforward. It also has great instructions for those who aren’t used to working with ruffle yarn. The pattern is sized from newborn to 1-2 years. All you need is a little bit of worsted weight yarn, 1-2 balls of ruffle yarn (depending on your size), and a length of ribbon or I-cord for a belt. I can make one of these from start to finish during a single movie or a couple of episodes of my favorite TV show.

I got Baby B to model one more my first tutus!

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She especially like the ribbon belt feature. It was yummy!

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If you are interested…

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Smashlee Stitches Sunday June 2, 2013

Wow..it’s been a long time since I did a Smashlee Stitches Sunday post, I think almost two months. I won’t recap everything I’ve done over the last 60 days because, that would be quite a long post however I will tell you how my week has been.

I’m feeling much better than I was last week!  This couldn’t have come at better time because my brand new baby niece arrived and I got to meet her as well as spoil her with knitted and crochet goodies.

She's wearing her brimmed hat like her grandpa, on the top of her head.

She’s wearing her brimmed hat like her grandpa, on the top of her head.

Here’s a close up of her blanket and hat. Her mom is a big fan of black and red, and the blanket and hat set I made reminds me of ladybug!! The blanket is crocheted and the hat is knit. Mom and baby are doing great and are enjoying their first night at home. She’s a pretty tiny girl just, weighing 6 lbs 13 oz and  is absolutely adorable! When I held her I could not believe how tiny she was! And to think..my mini was 10 oz smaller… I don’t know how I did it!!

The Ladybug inspired baby blanket and hat.

The Ladybug inspired baby blanket and hat.

Besides having babies on the brain. I have  also been busy working on some original Smashlee Stitches hats.

The Smashlee Stiches Snowball hat

The Smashlee Stiches Snowball hat

The Smashlee Stitches Slouchy hat in beige

The Smashlee Stitches ribbed slouch hat in beige

Coming up, I’ll be stocking up some more “ready to ship” knit and crochet items  to sell for the fall, when I will busy with Mr.Smashlee jr. and working on publishing some more of patterns. Currently, the Knitted tutu and the original Smashlee Stitches Slouchy hat are available for download on Raverly and Etsy.

And  coming up this week is a post about another bucket list item that is completed! Obviously, I won’t tell you which one, you will just have to wait and see!

I’m  now off to eat my  late night ice cream snack and then will be settling in to bed to dream of yarn!!

Smashlee

Quick Update on Knitting Bucket List

It seems that with this pregnancy I am always sick! This time I am sick with some what persistent cough that is keeping me up all night. That has put a delay on my blogging as most nights its just  takes too much energy to look at computer screen  for very long. However, tonight I am going to give everyone a tiny update on two bucket list items. my charity knitting and my “400 stitches” quilt.

My “4oo stitches” quilt is a project I am doing where I knit each stitch from the book “400 stitches “ and sew them all together in a massive quilt. Mostly, it’s a learning project and I have to say its very cool seeing a stitchionary in blanket form.

The book is divided into eight sections , which include categories like twisted stitches, knit and purl stitches, lacy stitches etc. , I have just  finished the first section “Knit-Purl” stitches. It consisted of 86 different patterns that just have the knit and purl stitch. The texture some of these swatches make are just amazing!

Next up,  I will doing the “Crossed stitches and cables” section which is the biggest section of the book. Probably, double the amount I have already done.

Here is a picture of what the blanket looks so far. Keep in mind its folded over in half, as it is a massive blanket! It will be a great cuddle blanket for  myself, the mr and our minis!400 stitches blanket

My charity knitting project aare some baby hats I have been knitting for the Period of Purple crying and a local hospital. I am knitting one hat for every order from Smashlee Stitches in 2012. 140 hats total. Right now, I am at 18 hats. Clearly, I need to start knitting/crocheting more hats!!! This is a great stash buster!!

Charity hatsFor more information on these or any of  my knitting bucket list items check out my blog archives.

Sorry for the short post and hopefully, I will be back soon and feeling much much better!

Smashlee

Just a Little Crochet…

For those who have been following my bucket list and my blog you are probably well aware that my crochet skills aren’t very good.

Just like I had trouble initially grasping the wonderful art of knitting, learning to crochet has also been troublesome. I have attempted a few times to learn to “hook” but, it never caught on and I always happily went back to knitting. Then, I made the knitting bucket list and  made learning to crochet one of my goals. Previously, you may have seen my posts on charity knitting where I was crocheting some baby hats. I am still doing this ( should be a post coming up this week about my progress) but, I have branched out  a little bit more into the wonderful world of crochet.

There has been a few adult hats, a blanket, a drink cozy and some booties all made within the last month. What changed? To be honest I don’t know exactly. I did get a request from a customer for a crocheted hat . It would have been much easier to say ” sure, I can knit you a hat that would be similar to that style” or point them in the direction of some crocheters I know but, something told me now is the time to learn this once and for all!

Its like I finally got a bit of courage and all the sudden ( with a little help from youtube, google and a cheat sheet I made myself) I found myself understanding the patterns and the basic skills its takes to create a crocheted item.

Even the mini can't believe her momma crocheted!!

Even the mini can’t believe her momma crocheted!!

However, It has not been easy! Like I said, google and youtube have helped my immensely! I have had to write down a Smashlee Stitches cheat sheet for all the different stitches because, unlike knitting, there’s more than two stitches and I have been known to get easily confused.

My first hat took three attempts and Mr. Smashlee laughed for a long time at my first two tries! I don’t blame him..they were pretty funny!  However, here is the finished product .This hat is currently for sale on my Etsy page.

The bobble stitch brimmed hat that almost made me throw down my crochet hook forever

The bobble stitch brimmed hat that almost made me throw down my crochet hook forever

The next thing I made was the blue skull beanie you see above and while I was crocheting these hats the mini wanted to join in and crochet with mommy.

Mini Smashlee showing me how its done..

Mini Smashlee showing me how its done..

After  I conqured the hats successfully, I moved on to a Star Trek drink cozy, a slouchy hat, and a baby blanket, hat and bootie set.

Star Trek Drink Cozy

Star Trek Drink Cozy

Granny square afghan, wellie booties and a basic crocheted hat

Granny square afghan, wellie booties and a basic crocheted hat

Rainbow slouchy hat my favourite crochet project so far

Rainbow slouchy hat ,my favourite crochet project so far

So what’s left to crochet before I declare myself a crocheter and cross another item off the bucket list? Well, I need to learn to crochet in straight line  so I will need to complete the following

1.  an afghan

2. a bag or purse

3. placemats or dishcloths

4. a scarf

Wish me luck as I try these next items! But so far, I can this…Knitting will always be my first love but, crocheting won’t be too far behind. Who would have ever guessed??

Thanks for reading!!

Smashlee

All products can be found on my Facebook page and etsy shop. And don’t forget you follow me on twitter and on Pinterest.

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