Wednesday, October 31, 2012

KUAS' Fall through the years

Happy Halloween! I'm a little bummed that I am literally rows away from finishing the Halloween BSJ (before adding buttons and extending the sleeves afterwards), but I'm hoping that because I only made one, it will still be large enough for next year, when I'll make another toddler BSJ for Halloween. I used larger needles and worsted weight yarn, and it seems to be in the 2T size. I've been soo busy cleaning for 5 days straight for the boys' 2nd birthday party last Sunday, that I didn't really have time to touch the darn thing. I've been knitting here and there still, but haven't really gotten my hands
deep into it to finish it, considering that they probably won't end up wearing it at all this season. We'll just pretend that this little unfortunate circumstance never happened...

To celebrate Halloween, let's have a look at all  of the Fall/Halloween themed photos from this blog throughout the years!

Coiled Cables & Ribs Socks, Fall 2007
"Hawkeye" Socks, 2008

Pumpkin Colorway, 2008

A Grey Tunic (never finished)-bathing in the Fall golden sunset, 2008
Harvest Bowls, 2008

Harvest Bowls, 2008
Autumn Rush Hat & Gloves, 2008

Doubled Looped Scarves, 2009

Creature from the Black Lagoon Socks, 2009

Current- The BSJ that I will unfortunately will not finish in time before the end of today. I am at the very end, the button holes...but I still have to extend the sleeves.

Smoky Mountains this Fall.

Smoky Mountains, 2012
Krolls' Farm, 2012

Krolls' Farm, 2012

Have fun and stay safe, to those of you who are trick-or-treating today!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

a String of Notes

This is totally not knitting related, but it still has to do with art. Well, performing art.
I've been really getting into practicing more piano lately to improve my own skills. I've just discovered New Age Artist David Lanz (his most famous work is "Cristofori's Dream" on Pure Moods III), and his "Dark Horse" piano solo is addicting!
But anyway, I am a piano teacher three days a week, and I've been researching creative ways to teach because things have been getting stale, and students just aren't inspired to practice (which creates a problem). I was floored by how many blogs are dedicated to sharing with piano teachers lesson and game ideas, as well as an array of worksheets that you can print off. I can't even believe how much information is out there. I've been reading up about quarterly group piano parties that do games, learn a little music history, fill out composer worksheets, etc. It's making the wheels in my head turn at the possibilities of how to engage and inspire the students more in music besides the normal cookie-cutter-lesson.

It all started when I was came across Joy's Color In My Piano blog and saw the DIY Silent Keyboards made of wooden slats and black foam. Ingenious. I didn't even think to use my crafty skills on musical learning tools! These are great for note reading, intervals, 5-finger scales, etc.

That was when I decided to create my own blog to link all of those amazing sites to share with other teachers. Hey, maybe one day I will fill up a sidebar of links of knifty nifty ideas. If you're curious, it's called "A String of Notes."

Don't worry, this blog isn't going anywhere. I was amazed and blessed at all of the support of fellow readers and designers from my previous post. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for listening to me, understanding where I am coming from, and letting me know that you support me. Just like the piano blogs, we are a community of knitters who exchange ideas, patterns and knowledge. We love doing it, and can't help doing it, but especially love to be appreciated from time to time with comments and thanks. It lets us know that others are out there reading us, using our patterns, (hopefully) liking them, and have been helped, touched or inspired in some way.

I want to liven the mood up again after a sour taste from the last post, so here are some cute photos of the boys from today before I had to head off to my student's Fall Recital. The boys turn two in a week.

Jake. I just love the "septia" option for photos during bad lighting times.

This is why he's a monkey for Halloween. This should come as no surprise to those who know him.
Sam. He likes to roar, so he's a dragon this year. You should have seen the look on his face when he saw he had claws instead of fingers. Confused!

P.S, the Halloween BSJ is almost done.  That's the good news. The bad news is that after searching for months there are no Halloween themed colorways that I could find in my area (just Christmas), so there will only be one BSJ this year. *sigh* 
 I know, I know, I could have stripe black & orange.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sour note.

I wasn't sure if I should just wait until people found out, or if I just voice it in this post before the onslaught of emails. Today I made a bold decision: I deleted 16 of the 24 free patterns offered at my blog & Ravelry shop. Although it seems rash, it's been a long dwelled upon choice that was initiated upon reading the last few emails. It was the straw that broke the camel's back.

The most clear-headed reason was that some of them were less popular than others; they are older, probably have a few errors in them, and being from 2007, I have a harder time remembering exactly what I did if an occasional question does pop up. Hey, I can barely remember what I ate yesterday (God, what does having kids do to you!). The writing is not as clear as I write today because they were the first patterns I published as a college-knitting-novice myself.

The stronger of the reasons are emotional. The heart can withstand so much. Let's face it... Knitting takes time. Much longer if you plan on turning it into a public pattern, thus having to write down every step along the way. Writing patterns, especially clear, concise and as error-free as possible takes hours. Many hours. Unless you've tried it, you might be surprised as to how much longer the whole process takes than just knitting it for one's own pleasure. I offer "customer service" on all of my patterns for all questions running through the blog comment page, Ravelry page and my own personal email address, and I really do my best at answering them as fast as I can as stay-at-home mom of twins & piano teacher. For the past 2-3 years now (probably more so this year because my free patterns are on Ravelry and other websites), I have gotten dozens and dozens of hurtful emails that have completely thrown me through a loop. Sometimes, I can't even believe my eyes when I read them. My pulse rushes and my blood almost boils at the boldly rude comments. I have written blog posts with the intention of venting in hopes that it would happen less in the future, but deleted them before publishing because I didn't want to seems as "petty." but I guess now's the time, because people are going to wonder why they no longer have access to 2/3 of the patterns.

I get dozens of downloads A DAY through just Ravelry alone, an I've only recalled several emails just to say "thanks" (And I let it known how much it means to me that they like it, and are thankful, and it made my day because I hardly ever hear it).

I've long forgotten most of the emails beyond 2011-2012, but in a nutshell here's a jist of the emails comments/questions (from only the freebies) that I receive ALL of the time, and why I can no longer offer them freely for my own sanity's sake:

-"Why didn't you answer my question fast enough, I would have thought that you would want to maintain some sort of professionalism in your blog!?!?" [My thoughts: I've been extremely busy lately and hey, this is not a business, this is a blog done on my spare time.]
-"It's your DUTY to us to answer in a timely fashion on any of your patterns."
-"Why aren't ALL of your free patterns PDF'e'd???? I feel like I am wasting all of my computer ink trying to print off your patterns." [My Answer: Copy & paste?]
-"I like your Beach Bum Skirt, but make the belt longer."
-"I don't crochet. Make the Dummy Clap crochet-free."
-[and when I do...] "I liked the crochet. Add it back to the pattern for us crocheters."
-"Your blog font is too designer-y.  Consider changing it so I can read your pattern."
-You don't list the size that I am. Please modify them to suite larger persons out there!!
-[In a size not listed in the pattern] "Give me the yarn & needle details on a size such as this"
-"I'm using this (not recommended sized) yarn and this (not recommended sized) needle and want this item half the size. Tell me how to do this."
-"What is this abbreviation???????????????????????????????????????????????"
-"I don't get this portion of the pattern. Please rewrite the entire pattern so I can understand it."

Gosh, there were more.. but my memory is so bad. A lot of them are about the "Dummy Clap Shawl" because it is linked to so many sites now, and I really wished I never posted that stupid thing because at one point I was getting a relentless onslaught of questions about the same exact thing when it got to the crochet edge. Multiple a day. When I retyped the entire thing, fixed it to be crochet free and made a tutorial video, I was getting the reverse comments that they didn't like the change...and I realized after the fact that in the newer version, I clipped off part of the instructions,...and we all know about my hard-drive crashing (it's still a sour subject), I'm unable to fix it easily and so I get comments looking for the errata that's posted on my blog and on Ravelry. [Just forget that was a run-on.]

Oh the venting. I know. There's just been too much time of this sitting in my veins and not doing anything about it. It's just that I can't even fathom why someone offering 2 dozen freebies should get soo much beef and treated so poorly as if the people using the patterns were charged. Where is the gratitude? I have to blink twice when I read some of them. I really took the time to write them up hoping someone would be like, "hey, that's useful...or hey, I really like to make that...and it's FREE. Neat!" Is it just me that feels this way??

Call me sensitive (and I do admit that I am, I can't help it), but it almost drove me to the point were I almost deleted this entire blog to be free of this several months ago.  I may tweak the deleted ones & their look later on in the year and just offer them up as stinking cheap deals ($1.99). My husband calls this sort of thing "bullshit tax." Horrible to say, but it was funny enough to make me laugh. God, I'm gonna pay for that one.

I am very grateful for the very nice people out there in blog-land who come to my knitting blog, read some of the posts, comment occasionally, use my patterns, and send me a quick text saying that they enjoyed it/them. It really does make my day. After a long day of telling my relentless 2 year old toddlers to not climb on the stove-top, or play with the oven buttons, open the dish-washer despite the safety lock and run around with steak knives or stand on the counter and fish through the glass cabinets, or just having them throw tantrums about puts a smile on my face to read such kind words.

Thanks for letting me vent. You're the best. I should go get myself a glass of wine because I know I'm gonna regret this.

Your (should be) Knitting Up a Storm lady.