May the Fourth Be With You…May Update

“To experience what isn’t, love what is.”

― Eric Micha’el Leventhal

It’s been a cold, rainy start to May here in Nova Scotia, so it’s a good time to take a break and write a blog update. I thought I’d have new products to post about this month, but alas, the garden and spring cleaning & organizing calls. One of those “housekeeping” items is updating current products and photos, and including video on each listing. It is a huge under taking that I can only devout a small portion of the day to do.

Even when I don’t have any new products to share, I still like to do these monthly blog updates just so visitors know that I’m still active and keeping things current. I don’t currently use social media, so this is the only way for me to post updates on what I’m working on. Plus, it’s a great little diary for me to refer back to.

What’s New (or at least new-ish)

I’ve started taking new photos and adding videos (or updating them) for my current products. Starting with the stitch marker and earring categories. I’ve gone back to tried and true “old school” photography setup for shooting jewelry & small items. I’m updating the lead photo here on the website, but I have been choosing to keep the old creative style on some of the listings on Etsy. Mostly to keep the variety, but also because I think that casual style is more on brand there.

Revamped Stitch Markers – Underway…

I’m also revamping stitch marker sets (for knitting or crochet). I’ve done a few before now, but I’m going through all to update each set with fresh new beads, pearls and accents. I’m going with 6 markers per set and lowering the price, though, this will vary from set to set.

As you can see in the above photo, I still have a backlog of revamped sets to photograph. Even with artificial light, I prefer to take photos on sunny days to have natural light as a back light (and I rely solely on natural light for video). It’s been cloudy all week! I’ll get back at it when the sun decides to come out again. 🙂

Great Thrift Find

two clear bags of thirft store yarn
Each of these bags of mostly Indie dyed yarn cost $2.25 at a thrift shop! From USA and Canadian Dyers

On one of our semi-annual thrift store trips travelling across the province (with rapidly growing kids it’s a MUST) – I snagged this fantastic find of mostly indie dyed sock yarn for a couple of bucks a bag! I can’t take credit for this find though:

“There’s some bags of yarn over there, and I think it’s the good stuff” – says Hubby

Me, after big sigh: “Bring it here and let me see. Like I need more yarn!”

But he was right: I could see hand dyed merino according to the tags I could see through the bags, so I knew I had to “rescue” it. What a huge find this is! This is not cheap yarn, and as an indie dyer myself, I have a deep appreciation for the artistry involved.

I couldn’t help but feel a little sad: why did someone have to let go of their stash? Or maybe they are simply sick of this gauge of yarn. I know it would be a very hard thing for me to let go of.

So I guess there will be lots of sock making in my future. I’m pretty sure by the feel/texture of the unlabeled yarn it is also wool.

What else Am I working On?

It seems it is the season for revamping and reorganizing, and I think it’s time to tackle the knitting project bin:

Are you like me, with several projects on the go at once? There was a time that this wouldn’t bother me at all, having several unfinished projects. They could sit there for years! These days after a few months I get pretty antsy to do something with them, even if that something means deconstructing.

I have a hat design I was working on (from scratch, not from a pattern), the two sweaters I made using Expression Fiber Arts Knit Your First Sweater Course (they’re too short for my liking, I need to make them longer), a pair of mittens that never fit right (they are just being unraveled, the yarn will be reused in another project) and 2 pairs of socks (knitted toe-up) that I didn’t like the cuffs.

The Revamped Socks #1: Before & After

When I first knit these worsted weight socks I made them ankle socks. Mostly out of practicality: these are leftover yarn socks, and I was pretty much out of this commercial yarn that I had dyed (and a bit left in natural color). Th eleftovers were bits from 3 different dye jobs.

Only thing is, once I started wearing them, I found the ankle design on a sock for the coldest of winter months really annoying. Cold air around the ankles? No thanks. So here we have the finished project, which was a challenge because I didn’t have any of this particular yarn left.

I got stuck in my thinking that commercial yarn must be paired with commercial yarn. I considered buying some more of this exact yarn so that I could dye more and then stopped myself. The point of these socks was to use up leftovers.

The orange section is handspun, and I think it adds a creative element that i quite like. The cuff is also handspun, and the top half of the neck is commercial that I dyed, but not a leftover. I was stuck and decided to borrow some from my stash of full skeins.

I’m much happier with the longer socks and I think they are really interesting! I love a good challenge to use up odd and ends yarn.

The Current Sock Project

With the second pair of socks, I found the dark brown yarn I used for the top of the cuff way to heavy (top pic), and I’d like them to be a bit longer. I’m currently adding on some leftover yak down I spun a few years back. I enjoyed spinning yak, it’s very short stapled. The yarn is very soft and warm. If I could source some locally I would definitely spin it again. I picked this up at one of the numerous Wool Shows I used to attend in New England, from a small producer.

My Creatively Wrapped Birthday Gift

a gift wrapped as a burrito

I have to share the way the girls wrapped my birthday present last month! They know I am a big fan of bean burritos. They are a creative bunch! 🙂

Cats will Go Everywhere

While out working in the garden I came inside to find Moki made a bed in a stack of grow bags…! 😀

It’s getting late and I think I shall work on those socks I’m lengthening, before bed.

Until next time…

Leilani signature

40% off Stitch Markers AKA Knitting Bling Oct 2-8

Most sets of stitch markers are $13 for a set of 8: this week they are on sale for 40% off

Weekly Sale October 2 – 8th, 2017
This week I am offering my knitting bling as I call it, for 40% off. Most sets of 8 stitch markers are only $13 regular price so it’s a great time to stock up for personal use or to gift a knitter or crocheter in your life.

Prices as marked on Etsy. Discount available on my website with promo code STITCH40 at checkout. Sale on until Sunday, Oct. 8th, 2017. I’ll announce a new sale every Monday via Facebook.

Artist Spotlight (and Giveaway!): Jessy Austin of Knotted Strings…and Beady Things

You know that feeling, when you know exactly what would be perfect to make your life easier but you have neither the time or the know how to make it yourself, & you wonder if you can even find it for sale if you go searching? When I started scouring Etsy for the perfect little pouches to store my knitting/crochet needles while traveling, Jessy Austin from Knotted Strings…and Beady Things seemed to be reading my mind.

Knitting Needle Fabric Storage/Travel Cases - Set of 6 - Polka Party by Knotted Strings
Knitting Needle Fabric Storage/Travel Cases – Set of 6 – Polka Party by Knotted Strings…and Beady Things

Aren’t these just darling? Not to mention practical! I was so stoked when I contacted Jessy & she was able to ship these to me in Canada. When received they did not disappoint; exactly what I wanted & they accompany me on our frequent trips. No more misplaced needles/hooks, nor the need to bring the entire needle/crochet case.

I thought this was such a brilliant idea, I asked Jessy if she would do an artist spotlight for the blog. Not only did she agree, she generously offered to do a giveaway, as well. 🙂 Intrigued? Read on…

Knitting Needle Fabric Storage/Travel Cases - Set of 3 - Pink Polka by Knotted Strings...and Beady Things
Knitting Needle Fabric Storage/Travel Cases – Set of 3 – Pink Polka by Knotted Strings…and Beady Things

How long have you been creating?

Honestly, as long as I can remember! My mom always claims she isn’t “artsy-craftsy,” but I have clear memories of her encouraging my sister and I in our creations and being a great teacher for basic crafting skills. My dad has always written poetry, my grandad was a musician, and both of my grandmothers dabbled in crafty pursuits….I guess it’s in my blood! =}

Knitting Needle/Crochet Hook Fabric Storage/Travel Cases - Set of 6 - Cheetah by Knotted Strings...and Beady Things
Knitting Needle/Crochet Hook Fabric Storage/Travel Cases – Set of 6 – Cheetah by Knotted Strings…and Beady Things

What made you start creating?

My first crafting memory is of making salt dough ornaments for Christmas gifts for our family….mainly because we had no money to buy anything! =} Most of my creative passions have started as necessity. I wanted new, trendy clothes in high school, but couldn’t afford them, so I worked on my sewing skills. I needed gift bags and cards for gifts after I moved out on my own, but didn’t have any money (this was before there was a Dollar Tree on every corner) so I started making them. I wanted special gifts for the new babies in our family, so I learned to crochet and, much later, to knit. I also love to give gifts and am very thrifty, so making the things I give is both fun and, usually, affordable.

Girl's Striped Crochet Scarf by Knotted Strings...and Beady Things
Girl’s Striped Crochet Scarf by Knotted Strings…and Beady Things

What inspires your designs?

Everything! It can be something as simple as a flower or color. Other times, it’s the feeling inspired by a song or person. I’ve learned the most important part of retaining that idea is to write it down!! There have been too many lines of poetry or knitting chart designs that have just fallen out of my brain when I didn’t jot them down.

Natural Sea Glass Charm by Knotted Strings...and beady Things
Natural Sea Glass Charm by Knotted Strings…and beady Things

What are your favorite pieces to make/creations you have made?

Most of my craft projects are gifts, so there have been only a few that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy making and giving. For myself, I love making shawls, scarves, socks…in fact, I have a pair of socks on my needles right now! For sale, I enjoy pairing fabrics for my needles/hook travel cases and creating beaded stitch markers and earrings…there are must so many possibilities!

Go Natural Stitch Markers - Set of 8 - Blue/Natural by Knotted Strings...and Beady Things
Go Natural Stitch Markers – Set of 8 – Blue/Natural by Knotted Strings…and Beady Things

Where do you sell your work?

Most of my sales are from my etsy shop, Knotted Strings and Beady Things. I also have a few knit & crochet patterns available on Ravelry – with many more just waiting to be made presentable to the crafting community! =}

Striped Cup Sleeve by Knotted Strings...and Beady Things
Striped Cup Sleeve by Knotted Strings…and Beady Things

Do you accept custom work?

I certainly do! I’m always happy to talk to someone about their idea and help bring it to life!

Gray Glass Bead Earrings by Knotted Strings...and Beady Things
Gray Glass Bead Earrings by Knotted Strings…and Beady Things


Leave a comment on this post, and we’ll randomly draw for a winner to choose a product of their choice from Jessy’s shop (up to $10 value BUT – if we can get 50 comments, as in 50 unique visitors I’ll be happy to make up the difference for any item you want in her shop if over $10). Note that like most blogs I get my share of spam, so moderation may be on when you comment, but rest assured I will approve them tout de suite. 🙂

We’ll take entries until March 12th, 2014…so feel free to share far & wide to get those comment up there to qualify for the bigger prize. 🙂

A sincere thanks to Jessy, and be sure to check her work out on:


Ravelry – Rav ID: brighteyesjessy



You can watch the video of the drawing here:

Thanks again all! I had a lot of fun doing this and enjoyed all your comments. I hope to host more giveaways on the blog in the future. 🙂

Are you an artist inspired? I’m looking to share your story here and in my monthly newsletter. Inspire me; inspire others! E-mail me or leave a comment below to be considered. All you need is an online presence (blog, website, Etsy shop, etc.) so that the international audience the internet attracts can get to know you & your product better. This is my contribution to the handmade/artist community, & I am honored to do so! Look forward to hearing from you…

Would you like to host a giveaway on creativity inspired? I’d love to hear from you for your very own post, or feel free to leave your giveaway in the comments here if you are hosting your very own, & I’d be happy to repost it for you. Every little bit helps to get your art/handmade goods in front of admirers, and it is my pleasure to lend a hand.