Knit Slippers Inspiration From Pinterest 

Today as I was going through Pinterest for inspiration I can across some awesome slipper patterns.

If you have ever been on my etsy shop or Facebook page you will see I knit a ton of slippers. It’s my top requested item from customers. I’ve adapted patterns over the years to add double soles and grippy bottoms. This make slippers last a long time and become non-slip. 

grippy bottom mukluks from Smashlee Stitches

Eventually I want to move on to creating outdoor shoes or fall boots. I’m still designing and dreaming and researching this. And hoping one day to create my very own shoe line.

But, back to slippers. The next 5 Pinterest links are what I’ve been thinking my next slipper projects. 

1.  Converse sneakers

 

I’ve been looking for a pattern forever for these and its appears I have now found one.

2. Mary Janes

  

I used to make baby pairs of these but. I’m totally digging huge adult pair!

3. Crochet Boots

  

I’ve actually tried to make these a few times and working on getting the pattern right. Totally want to have a pink pair!

4. Mens zippered slippers

  

I’m always needing new slipper ideas for guys. I love that these have zippers!

5. Cozy slippers for mommy and me 

  

I can totally see the mini and I with a pair of these each

Do you have a favorite knit or crochet pattern? Comment and below and let me know! 

Knitting For Good Book Review – Chapter One Reclaming the Craft

Part one of Knitting for Good by Betsy Greer is all about knitting for yourself.

Her first chapter is called Reclaiming the Craft.

She writes about how there is a generational gap in knitting.

Typically, our grandmothers knit and in most cases they learned from generations before them. However, their daughters (our mothers) either never learned to knit or learned and never continued to knit. This was partly due to the feminism movement. Women working outside the home was becoming okay and that meant traditional skills were left behind. However, those women had daughters. Daughters, that like me, who grew up thinking the world was ours and that we really could do anything. My generation is now taking an approach that can only be summed up as hybrid between my moms independence and my grandmothers crafting know how.

Betsy sums It up best when she says “We can feel free to openly embrace the domestic for the first time in decades. Now that it’s okay to like spending time in the kitchen or learning how to knit. We can be increasingly proud of ourselves for knowing how to wield a drill and a pair of knitting needles.” –  pg. 18-19

It’s interesting because this is sort of exactly how this played out for me.

Various members of my family knit, including my maternal grandmother, her mother, a few great aunts etc. but my mother did not. She’s not a crafty domestic person. And by her going against the grain, I have learned that I can also go against the grain.

My mom decided when I was a teenager to go back to school and become a criminologist and university professor. She went it with the goal of getting one degree and came out a few years later with a full PHD.

the criminologist, the knitter and the mini

I am far too sensitive in nature to follow a career path in criminology. I cry at CSI episodes because it’s just so sad that someone died. My mom however, can spot a criminal a mile away. Give her a set of knitting needles and she can’t knit a stitch to save her life. Trust me, I’ve tried to teach her numerous times.

That’s not to say I didn’t learn a lot of lesson from my mom that have carried on in my knitting. For starters, she taught me independence and to be a strong women. She showed me how to go after my goals with determination and will power. Both my parents have always stressed since I was “knee high to a grasshopper” that I can be whatever I wanted to be. Turns out, I want to be a knitter. 

The first chapter of Knitting For Good gives you so much to think about in terms of where knitting comes from and what paths it’s paving for future generations of young women (and men).

My favourite quotes from this chapter have to do with learning and being anything you want.

“Instead of pitting myself against others, I began to comprehend that if I wanted to make a magazine, I could write it and publish it myself; if I wanted to start a record company, I could start one in my bedroom.” – Pg. 10

And from page 17, crafter, Cinnamon Cooper writes “I hear so many aspiring crafters say I could never (fill in the blank) like you can. But, they haven’t tried. It is possible to teach yourself to sew, knit, fuse glass, throw pottery, quilt, make jewelry and much more.”

Isn’t that the truth? It is my life philosophy that we can learn and achieve anything we set our minds to.

As Betsy closes out the chapter she “challenges” her readers to think about where and when they started to knit.

Next week, I will be telling my story of how I stumbled upon the knitting and how my journey with crafting has been so far. Also, fingers crossed that my yarn will have arrived so I can show off the accompanying scarf pattern from this chapter.

If you want to keep up with my posts feel free to follow my blog. To find my other posts about Knitting For Good please click here.

To find out more about Betsy please visit her website 

Thanks so much for reading!

Smashlee 

Knitting Bucket List – item #78 Socks

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

I’ve knit a few pairs of socks over the last 5 years. Socks patterns are complicated enough to keep me interested but, not so hard that I get frustrated by them. Socks are one of my favourite items to make. This probably doesn’t surprise anyone but, none of the handful or so pairs I’ve made have been for me.

I’ve heard amazing things about how luxurious is to wear hand knit socks. Apparently, once you get a good fitting pair of sock made from some great sock yarn, you can never go back to cheap Walmart socks. 

In a perfect world, all I own are knitted socks. They would be nicely organized in my sock drawer. When I open this  drawer a rainbow of colours greet me and I smile as I start my day. My feet would be so happy being wrapped in luxurious fibre. Ah, I love the thought!

There is an older episode of the knit picks podcast that had to do with sock knitting.

Episode #177 if anyone is interested) the host Kelley talks about how socks make a perfect travelling knitting project. I often ponder this idea of this,It’s a small, portable,fun project.

I live in a small town and my family does a fair amount of driving. Grocery shopping is half an hour away. Wal-mart sock shopping is two hours away.  Yarn shopping 3 hours away. You get the idea. I’m usually not the one driving so I get a lot of knitting time in the car. 

When we are preparing to go on one of these trips It always annoys Mr. Smashlee that it takes me 15-30 minutes to get all my knitting projects ready to go. I have to plan what I’m going to knit and I usually carry a back up project just in case I finish the first one. 

Mr. Smashlee will get the minis ready and load them in the car. He will sigh occasionally while I scramble to find my yarn, needles and knitting notions, promising I’ll help with kids and be outside in just a moment.

Once in the car the mess I leave behind with my numerous bags embarrassing. Not to mention the numerous times  I’ve gotten out of the car with yarn wrapped around my leg or closed my car only to find my actual knitting is hanging out of car.

Nobody likes a grumpy husband and I can kind of see his point so I’ve decided to give the sock knitting in the car a try.

The rule is that it doesn’t matter what I am working on , the only project I will bring travelling is socks. I simply just pop the yarn and my circulars needles  in my purse and I’m ready to go. No sighing, no grumpiness, no mess.

My patterns are all on my iPhone in iBooks so the only extra thing I pack is a pair is scissors, a tapestry needle and some stitch markers. This is all kept in a pencil case in my purse.

Initially, All these socks I was going to knit we’re going to put on my etsy store.  However, as I started to knit I decided it’s time to stop dreaming and finally make a pair for myself.  Yesterday, I finished my first pair. Today, I wore them. The rumours are true. Knit socks are amazing!

  

I’ve now decided to be a little selfish and knit myself a few more pairs. I’ll be alternating between making a pair for sale and making a pair for myself. 

That way i can work towards my dream of a rainbow sock drawer but, I won’t have so many pairs that I become a sock hoarder. 

You know what though? I’m pretty sure Mr. Smashlee hasn’t noticed I turned over a new leaf with my car knitting. That’s okay though, he has been less grumpy as we leave the house, so that’s good enough for me.

Thanks for reading!

Smashlee 

3 books that show you how to use social media to further your business 

Can you read a book and knit? I can’t. I really hate that books have pages, because I have turn  those pages and In order to turn those pages I have to stop knitting. Don’t get me wrong I love reading but, my love of knitting is more, so when given the choice, I knit.

For a long time I felt I really did have to choose. The year I started knitting I barely read at all. I did watch a lot of tv though, because well, TV doesn’t have pages to turn. It’s also easy to watch tv and knit. I learned really fast how to knit without looking but, eventually I realized that I wasn’t really even watching tv, I was listening to tv. And the stuff I was listening to was just annoying.

The thing about TV shows and  movies is that I’ve never really liked them anyway. I always felt like I could or should be doing something better with my time. Ultimately, what I really wanted was  wanted to learn stuff while I knit and not just be entertained.

That’s when I got into self development audiobooks. I stream my audiobooks through two different services. I use both the audiobooks.com and audible.com . They both have apps for most smartphone so it’s really convenient to listen to them.

I get 4 credits a month, 2 from each service, and that means I can get 4 audiobooks every 30 days.

It sounds like a lot but currently I listen to about 9 hours a day of audio.

 That doesn’t mean I always knit 9 hours a day ( I wish!!)  Its only about 4 to 5 hours a day. The other half is spent “attempting” to clean my house. 

So what exactly am I listening to all day long? I said above it’s self development but, a lot of what I’m listening too talks about taking chances, following your passion and learning how to do social media properly.

I know this may sound incredibly boring but, just stay with me on this.

I am firm believer that self development does wonders for a persons life. Obviously the more you read (or listen to) the more it makes an impact on your life. I’m not suggesting that you go crazy like me and listen 9 hours a day but, if your a even 15 mins a day can start to change your life.

Since I’m such an audiobook and self development fan I thought I’d list my top 3 books on that taught me how to use using social media for my knitting business. Between Facebook, Twitter, blogging, and websites it can become confusing.  So, In no particular order here are my top three social media books.

  

1.CRUSH IT! By Gary Vaynerchuk.

  

This book is about a very energetic guy who took his love of wine and made a business out of it.

He’s talks about how to use videos to get his name out there, and connect with his audience. He also teaches you all about following your passion and making money off of it. At first I wasn’t sure how to take this book but after an hour of listening I was hooked and by  the end I was transformed.

Check out his website at https://www.garyvaynerchuk.com

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2. Platform by Michael Hyatt

  

This guy is amazing! He talks about how to use blogging, websites, newsletters, Facebook and Twitter. He shows you how to sort through all the noise of our crazy world  and focus on what you need to do to make your business stand out from all the rest.

His website: http://michaelhyatt.com/platform

3. The zen of social media marketing. By Shama Kabani

  

This book  convinced me to take the plunge and but my knitting out there on the Internet.

It explains daily, weekly and monthly tasks you can do for Facebook, Twitter, Google + and linked in. I was so lost when I had the idea of Smashlee stitches but, This book helped me step by step along the way.

Her website is: http://shamahyder.com

If you want to make an impression online these books will point you in the right direction. Ultimately, whatever you do has to be consistent. The more you put yourself out there the more you will achieve.

What are your favorite social media books? Comment below and let me know!

Thanks for reading!

Smashlee 

My Mommy made that, Don’t Touch It!

My mini-me has never been that interested in my knitting. I’ve been a knitter since before she was born and being surrounded by yarn is really all she has ever known.

Not that I expect her to pick up some needles and beg me to teach her, she is only 4 after all . What I really wanted was for her not to cry when I gave her my latest creation. 

She doesn’t like change and it takes some coaxing and chocolate to get her to at least try it on.

Usually, after a few months she will warm up to the item and wear it everywhere until it’s worn out or doesn’t fit. Then I knit her something else and the process starts all over again.

I was thinking about this as I was knitting her a new blue hat. The hat was a really quick knit and I had it done in a matter of an few hours. Aimed with a chocolate bar I presented it to her. She didn’t cry, just put it on  and said “no pictures mom, okay?”. 

I was a little shocked as she wore the next day to school without an issue.

Fast forward a month, and we were visiting family.Mini-me’s hat was lying around and her 2 year old cousin grabbed it and put it on.

All hell broke lose. Before I could intervene a toddler fight broke out and mini-me snatched  it off her cousin’s head and screamed “my mommy made that! Don’t touch it!”

I wanted to parent properly then, I really did. There should have been a time out but, I was too proud. 

She likes it. She really likes it!!! I just hugged her and promised her cousin her very own hat.

Is it just toddler possessiveness? Probably, but, I’ll take it! I’m very aware that she is growing up all too fast and my knitted gifts will soon be too embarrassing to wear. In the end, I hope my knitting makes a Positive impact in her life. She doesn’t ever have to pick up needles if she doesn’t want to. Mostly, I just want to show her if you try hard enough and put enough hours in you can make something beautiful and achieve anything.

For now though, she wears her hat proudly and asked me to knit her a pair of slippers to match. And look at that, she even wanted me to take a picture.

 

Want more Smashlee Stitches? Feel free to like my Facebook page and check out all my latest projects! 

Thanks for reading!

Smashlee  

The Best of Knitting on Pinterest this week

If you are like me you use Pinterest for inspiration. This blog post is about all the cool stuff I found this week that has kept me inspired.

First up, the knitted clock! I need this in my home!

This next one is actually crochet but, man it’s beautiful. The rainbow crochet curtain.

This sweater is amazing!! I will purchasing this pattern ASAP.

And what about this sweater. I think I would knit it grey and pink! Oh no, I’m going to have a lot of sweaters.

And the last one is an iPhone charger cover.  Maybe it would stop Mr. Smashlee from stealing my charger!!

Don’t forget you can comment below with your favorite pin. If you would like to follow me Pinterest you can find me here.

Thank you for reading.

Smashlee

Knitting For Good 



When I first open the Knitting for Good cover I instantly saw a quote from one of my favourite knitters, the one and only Elizabeth Zimmerman.

The quote is from Elizabeth’s book Knitting Without Tears and I know instantly without turning another page Betsy Greer and I are of the same mindset. Knitting is her passion , her obbession and her job. This book already fills me with joy. 

Knitting for Good was published in 2008. It’s official title is Knititing for Good : a guide to creating personal, social and political change, stitch by stitch.

 The author Betsy Greer is discussing something I don’t think many knitters have thought about before; what impact is our knitting making? how we can use our craft to enhance our own lives, benefit others and just generally make the world a better place?  

When I first saw this book I thought I made be in for a lesson on using fair trade wool vs. mass produced yarn  but, by reading the introduction it’s safe to say I missed the mark. This book appears to be so much more then just about the environmental impact of knitting. She hints at the calming effect knitting can bring to our minds, and how we can help various charities and people in need by knitting a hat or two.

I will be going through the book thoroughly and completing the 9 patterns with the recommended yarn choices. There is a variety of projects ranging from scarves to dog beds but, each pattern has a purpose. The proceeds from these projects I complete or the item itself will  donated to the charities listed in the book. Each pattern features a different designer, so I’m excited to see what possibilities this book will bring.

Another great feature of this book are the bonus action items that I will be partaking in as well. They involve a little bit of self reflection and some suggestions on how we can use knitting to brighten the lives of of people all around the world.

If you would like to knit along with me I urge you to purchase your own copy of knitting for good. I can already tell this book is going to change the way I see my craft am I so excited to share my thoughts and experiences with my readers.

Please check back often to see my progress by subscribing to my blog.

Thank you for so much for reading.

Smashlee

The Business of Knitting: 5 tips on how you can make money knitting.

Over the past 4 years I have been trying to make a career out of knitting. I’m far from an expert in the knitting field or in owning my own business but, I have discovered a few things along my  journey I would like to share. In this blog post I’m going to list the top 5 things I’ve learned so far about the business of knitting.

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My etsy shop

 

  1. The Internet & social media  is your friend -  Familiarize yourself with and use sites like Craftsy, Etsy, Ravelry, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube If you don’t know what some of these sites are or how to use them correctly, simply Google it. Try searching for phrases like ” selling on Etsy” “tips for Twitter” etc.
  2. Be open to doing “odd” jobs - If you want to sell your knitting, consider making both custom made to order and pre-made (ready to ship) items. Custom orders can be time consuming but, it allows you to work one-on-one with customers. Pre-made items attract those customers looking to ‘buy now” but, you usually don’t interact with customers beyond the actual transaction.  When considering items for sale, a higher percentage of your products you offer should be pre-made. You want to make a profit and build income but, also have customers you can build relationships with.
  3. Don’t forget about other knitters. – Learn to write and sell patterns, teach knitting either online or in person, offer to test knit for other designers or become a tech editor for patterns. Some knitters work for a yarn or knitting company and some do it all through their own business. Don’t be afraid to explore opportunities. This is where you can really end up making a steady income.
  4. Learn, learn , learn. – Be open to new ideas and new techniques . Read books about knitting, take a knitting class, watch knitting YouTube videos and check out magazines and on-line newsletters like knitty and handmadeology.
  5. Don’t rely on craft fairs for an income but, don’t count them out either. – Because of the nature of knitting , items can take a while to produce. Local craft fairs are always a shot in the dark in terms of customers. Some weekends you might not sell enough to cover the costs of your spot, other weekends you can make the big bucks and go home with $1000 in your pocket. Either way it’s very unpredictable. You can spend all year preparing for a Christmas craft show and only sell a few hundred dollars. From a profit stand point that’s a really poor way to do business. If you going  sell your items consider sites like Etsy, which is online marketplace that is open 24/7. You add items as you choose and customer can purchase anytime. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t participate in your local craft fair but rather, use them more as a networking opportunity to attract customers to your website or online store. Be sure to have a great display, plenty of samples, items to purchase and stack load of professional business cards complete with your website link.

 

This is just a really brief list to inspire you to consider turning your hobby into something you can make an income off of.

To become a professional at anything takes a ton of hard work and a lot of trial and error. My goal one day is to be making a full time income from knitting . I’m not there yet but, I am well on my way. I hope you find these tips inspiring and useful as you consider knitting for profit.

I will be blogging more about the business of knitting in the future so please subscribe and check back often.

Thank you for reading.

Smashlee

The Best of Knitting On YouTube

We live in a world where you can pretty much learn anything you want. With the internet we have all the information we could ever need with a simple Google search.

Knitting is no exception. Most of what I have learned has been self taught and came from either a book or the internet. That’s not to say a traditional knitting class at your local yarn store is obsolete. There is something about learning one on one with a knitting instructor that can’t be replaced by a computer. However, you certainly can use the internet to enhance your skills.

Over the last year my flavour of choice has been YouTube. There are some amazing knitting teachers out there who are ready to teach you anything you need to know.  I often find myself running into a knitting related problem or question and with a quick search I can find the answer.

This blog post is going to focus on my 3 favourite YouTube knitting channels and I’ll highlight my favourite playlist from each.

  • Knit Picks – The first time I laid my eyes on a knit picks catalog I was instantly inspired. Knit picks is a family run company that prides themselves on luxury affordable yarn. They have amazing products, amazing customer service and an equally amazing YouTube channel.

My favourite knitting videos on their channel are the “behind the scenes” videos. These videos are only a few minutes in length . They show you how they do photo shoots for their yarn lines and patterns. They don’t have these videos together in a playlist but, if you want to check them out here are the names of a few of them Heartwood by Knitpicks , Burnished  by Knit picks and behind the scenes of Creature Comforts .

My favourite playlist from her meet your bond series. I was always against knitting machines. I thought it was “cheating”  but, after watching the videos I changed my mind. There’s a certain skill-set and flair when using a knitting machine .  Cheryl walks you through an “elf sweater” to help you learn your machine. If your all about the hand knitting she’s got plenty of videos to help as well. Her sweater playlist  is one of my favourites.

  • VeryPink Knits – Staci is so fun to watch. The first video I ever saw had to do with seaming blanket squares. She is very professional and knowledgeable. She spends a ton of time preparing for her videos and often shows 3 or 4 sample swatches in a variety of yarns and needle sizes.

My favourite playlist of very pink knits is her toe up socks.  It compliments a pattern you can purchase from her site. In the video series she walks you through a pair of worsted weight socks. I’m working on my own pair right now. I’ll be sure to show them off when I’m done. As a bonus, check out her fancy stitch series.  These beautiful swatches will make you wanting to cast on and keep you up all night planning new projects.

There is so many great videos out there for knitters to explore. If you have a favourite YouTube knitting channel please feel free to comment on this post and let me know who you  recommend.

As always you can get more Smashlee stitches at Facebook, Twitter and Ravelry.

Thank you for reading.

Smashlee

A Sweater For Me – A Knitting Bucket List Post

I rarely knit for myself. Why is that?  Every single project I have made for me has ended up in a box, in my closet, where the bad knitting projects go.

It’s like I’m my worst customer. Nothing is good enough, it either doesn’t fit right, look right, or is the wrong colour. I actually wonder sometimes if I do this on purpose, subconsciously of course. Probably has something to do with not feeling worthy enough or being a perfectionist.

Regardless, I’ve decided enough is enough and its time to make something for me that I will LOVE and that I will wear.

I was reading my knitting bucket list again the other day and saw that item #2 ( knitting myself a sweater)  is next on the list, begging to be crossed off.

I often dream of sitting down with a few skeins of hot pink yarn and knit myself that sweater I have always wanted.

I have searched Ravelry like crazy over the last few months trying to find just the right yarn and pattern but, I haven’t had much success. Until last week.

I love to watch YouTube videos on knitting and  I came across someone absolutely wonderful. Her name is Cheryl Brunette and she is the author of Sweater 101.

I  have absolutely fallen in love with her process of knitting a custom sweater that fits.

She has videos all the way back from the 80s which, I find absolutely fascinating. Her style of teaching is engaging and straight forward. I love learning through projects, this is exactly how she teaches. The videos go hand in hand with her book so, you will have no trouble getting  a full understanding of how to make a sweater .

Sweaters are my favourite thing to knit and previously, with the exception of two sweaters, I have only knit them seamlessly. I love this method but, I have a very simple philosophy with knitting,  I must master my craft and in order to do that I must master methods I am not partial to. I hate seaming, which is why my sweaters are seamless , but the way Sweater 101 presents itself, I can’t help but learn to make a sweater, the Cheryl Brunette way.

So I found my pattern , a basic drop shoulder pull over. But what about the yarn?

Cue the new knit picks catalog. Swish worsted brights in hot pink with the fun yarn name of pucker!

knitpicks

I almost  jumped for joy when I saw the neon colours on the first few pages.

And what’s that I see?  its also offered in fingering weight? Do I need to make a pair of hot pink socks to match my sweater? YES!

The plan is now in place, the yarn ordered and now I patiently await a big box of pink yarn to arrive on my doorstep.

I will be blogging the progress of my sweater so, please subscribe to see how it turns out.

Do you knit for yourself? Feel free to comment on the blog, tweet or e-mail me at smashleestitches@gmail.com and let me know if your projects end up in the closet like mine or do you wear them proudly?

Thanks for reading!

Smashlee

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