Engraving the Manual Way with a Pantograph

Adventures of a (jewelry) maker who uses a classic Pantograph engraver

What is Pantograph Engraving?

brass fonts spelling out K 2 T O G on a metal tray of a pantograph engraver
My view from one of my pantograph engravers, ready to engrave the knitting abbreviation for “knit two (stitches) together (K2TOG) – for stitch markers

When I purchased my first pantograph engraver about 13 years ago, I would never expect them to be defunct this quickly. But here we are.

Pantograph engraving has quickly become obsolete thanks to computerized laser and rotary engravers. Who knew when I purchased a new and a used engraver with brass font sets in 2010 that I could call it “vintage” today! I should have seen it coming since the rising popularity of computerized engraving was certainly obvious back then. But for them to (practically) disappear off the market so quickly shocks me.

Something Truly Special

I recently paid more attention to the changing landscape of engraving when I decided to get re-acquainted with my font sets and engraving blanks. I have many brass font sets I don’t use, mainly because I need to put the time in to feel comfortable using them. Some are very “old school” in design, so I hadn’t thought about what products these would be best suited for. And I still haven’t decided where many best fit as of right now.

Not Much is Available Anymore

I decided to do an internet search on what was new and available for this type of tool, only to come up with….nothing. Companies I once purchased from: not found. There were a few places still selling models of pantograph engravers, but font sets – forget it! Get my logos and images cut into templates like in the past…nope. I found a few very old and questionable font sets on eBay now relegated to collector’s items…and at collectors’ prices.

I realized that possessing these skills and tools is now something very special. I like to think that my customers are taking a part of history away with every engraved piece I make, and that is a very literal fact now.

Like my other manual tools, it is a pleasure to keep these old forms of maker tools alive. To think the Pantograph has been around for hundreds of years makes it very special!

Just What is a Pantograph Engraver?

Let’s see if I can explain this in (my) layperson’s terms. Basically, it’s a nifty machine with two arms: one for tracing and one for engraving. It uses ratios with how close or far away the engraving arm is to the tracing arm to give different sizes to the font or image you are tracing. This is how I take a reasonably large word and shrink it down to fit on an 11mm, 12mm, or 15mm blank. It’s relatively simple in design if you think about it. And that is probably why I like it so much. Genius!

Not Just Used in Engraving

The Pantograph is not just an engraving tool. I once saw an educational show with a segment about making traditional domino sets in China. They were using a pantograph to cut the shapes into the dominoes.
(Side note: I acquired a pantograph cutter engraver that is not manual but motorized. It would be great for engraving items like plastic badges, but it’s missing a piece that was impossible to get back then, let alone now. So right now, it’s a collector’s piece.)

According to the internet, the first pantograph machine was developed in 1603 as an illustration machine.

Diamond Drag Tip

My pantograph engravers have a diamond drag tip making them perfect for the metals used in jewelry making. When I first acquired the engravers, I purchased a special diamond drag tip that is flatter. They leave a wider impression on the metal vs. the pointier tip that the engravers came with. The difference is subtle but enough to make a difference (to my eye, anyway!).

What I currently offer for Engraving

From name jewelry to advocacy items to knitting stitch markers: I offer several different options for customizing via engraving. Browsing the Personalized Items section will give you the most. The Advocacy & Awareness section showcases a few other items, including logos I engrave, such as the breastfeeding awareness symbol. Most of these products were developed from customer requests, which I am very proud of. Unfortunately, I no longer have a contact to cut my custom symbols and logos templates.

Custom Engraved Stitch Markers were another special request. The customer wanted stitch markers with her children’s names to keep them close in thought while she knitted. These are sometimes purchased “off-label” for other uses, such as boot charms, as they are silver-plated and affordable. I no longer offer plated engraving disks for jewelry, as they can wear out quickly.

Once in a while, I get asked if I will engrave an item someone owns, such as a watch or ring. It’s not something I’m willing to do. If I were to make a mistake, I would feel awful! I haven’t had the privilege of engraving curved items yet, anyway. I believe I have accessories for engraving rings, but it’s not something I’ve tried.

I only engrave flat items and my stock in case of a mistake. And it sometimes happens. I may misjudge the placement, making the word or letter badly off-center. The older brass fonts can be pitted, so if I am not careful, the engraving tip will slip and scratch the blank.

My First Ever Successful Engraving Project

The first successful engraved piece of jewelry I made was for myself. It’s entitled “Wings” and is a tribute to my mother, who passed suddenly in 2008. The first version was done in silver plate, but I quickly upgraded to sterling silver so I could wear it daily.

It’s very dear to me to keep my mom’s initials close to my heart with this engraved monogram charm flanked by two angel wings.

Over the years, I’ve been honored to engrave pieces commemorating the loss of babies and children, wives, mothers and fathers, pets…anyone precious to us. It means a lot to be part of the healing journey for my customers.

Limitations and Other Negatives

The arm on my pantograph engraver only reaches so far, so there is only so big or so small I can make each font. Big is not a problem for jewelry making. I run into more of an issue that my fonts were for signs and trophies. Thus the fonts don’t go as small enough as I need.

My fave vintage brass font set. It is relatively large, so it would only work as an initial or two on my engraving disks. I have yet to decide what to do with this one.

The fonts can’t be stretched or manipulated like you could with software. It’s a fixed height based on where the arm of the engraver is placed. So you don’t have the options you would with a computerized engraver.

The Longer the Word, The Smaller the Text

One thing that can be a negative is that the longer the word, the smaller the text. It can make the word or name hard to read, except close up. It leaves a lot of space above and below the word. I prefer the word or names filling the disk from top to bottom as much as possible.

If you look at the examples above, the name Samantha is smaller than the name Desiree. It doesn’t look bad, but you see what I mean about more space above & below the text.

It can be Hard on the Body

Sitting for many hours at the engraver is hard on me physically. Like most things I do (knitting, spinning, drum carding fiber, polishing metal components, making components for jewelry, etc.), the repetitive motion can cause the neck, back, and shoulders to be quite sore and worse. After years as a maker, I feel it in my Body.


Even though pantograph engraving is a tracing function, which sounds easy, you still require a keen eye and a steady hand. Therefore, my back is sore after an hour at the engraver. My shoulder, which has damage due to being hit by a car at 16 and from the repetitive motion of all my crafts, has permanent damage. I’m also prone to migraines, so I have to be careful not to push myself too much.


I remedy this by taking many breaks, stretching, and knowing when to quit (yeah, right!). Regardless of how I feel, getting your order out promptly is always of the utmost importance. I turn around orders in 1 business day whenever possible.

What it’s Not

Laser Engraving

Engraving with a Pantograph manual engraver is not the same as laser engraving. I’m unfamiliar with laser engraving, and I’m sure there is more than one type. Still, it’s popular to offer laser engraving that lightly etches/burns into the metal or removes an anodized surface. I’m not sure what the longevity of these items would be, and it’s a personal preference of mine the esthetic of the “old school” diamond drag engravers.

Computerized Rotary Engraving

A rotary computerized engraver is very similar to what I do manually. I once thought I’d also like an automated engraver, but when I looked at them, they were rather clunky and required special ventilation. I’m sure there are tabletop versions that would work just as well for jewelry making. I love my “person power”: I can still work even during an electricity outage. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Manual but Skills Required

I love the skill involved with using this tool. When I first bought mine, I naively thought I would sit down and get engraving immediately. BUT it’s more complicated than that. I’m thankful that I responded to an ad from a gentleman in Toronto selling an engraver and brass fonts because he sat me down and showed me how to use them. We lived in Montreal then, so we made it a weekend trip. As a young family, money was tight, so I expected to buy a font set or two, and that was it. Afterall, I already owned an engraver.

He encouraged me to take the entire lot and gave me an excellent price, so off to the bank I went. I am trying to remember exactly what I paid, but it was around $2000. I went home with an engraver (a New Hermes, which is my fave!), several font sets, logos, and accessories. I also got the motorized cutter I never got working, but I might someday rig something up. I’m very thankful to this man who saw my potential and got me on my way to engraving (he was married to a Filipina! I think that helped ;)).

It’s Not Handstamping

Finally, diamond drag engraving is not hand-stamping. I love the look of hand stamping; it’s not comparable to engraving, so I can’t compare the pros and cons of each.

Free Hand Engraving

I wish I had the talent of those that engrave with a tool freehand – they are the ones to give total props to as far as engraving is concerned!

What Can I make for you?

Now that you know what pantograph engraving is and isn’t and the limitations of what I can offer, I hope that I can make you a special keepsake that you will enjoy and cherish! ๐Ÿ™‚

Leilani signature

Rain Rain Go Away – July Update

“Go with the flow. Force nothing. Let it happen, or not happen…trusting that whichever way it goes, it’s for the best”

– Mandy Hale
A girl picks up a crab at the edge of the water
Now that the rainy weather has finally stopped (for now?!)…we’ve been busy making friends at the beach ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here in Nova Scotia, we went from worrisome dry weather to worrisome wet weather. Although the wet means no more forest fires, us gardeners know how devastating the constant rain has been on our gardens. It was really nice (and exciting!) to haul a large harvest of garlic scapes. I was beginning to wonder if I’d get anything out of the garden this season.

Now that we’ve had a stretch of sunny days there is hope the garden will recover! It also means it’s time to get back to work out there.

A large basket full of freshly harvested garlic scapes

Since I’ve been stuck indoors after weeks of rain you’d think I’d get tons done in the studio, but nope. I’m trying to update all my current designs or at least take fresh new photos, but I’m totally stuck especially when it comes to my engraving designs. I wanted to have several necklaces revamped or at least freshly photographed but I can’t seem to get any traction creatively there.

So I’ve just been going with the flow, allowing myself to feel out my projects even though the responsible side of me is screaming: YOU SHOULD BE RE-DOING THOSE PIECES! I should know by now that creativity cannot be forced.

What’s New (or rather returning)

Nevertheless I have the final revamped stitch markers listed, and with a little luck I can get into the necklace revamp this month.

Several stitch markers have gotten a fresh new look and as mentioned last month, I’m trying to vary up the amount in each set so to cover a wide range of prices/budgets.

More Info on the Different Sets

The Must Love cats series is now available under one listing, with 3 sets to choose from. The charms are paired with fun dyed fossil and Mother-of- Pearl beads, with a small discount if you buy two or three. There is a discount on Etsy if you buy all three.

My original Knitting Bling – AKA the first set of stitch markers I ever made – is now available in 2 types. The original extra large slip on ring are paired with dyed mother of pearl rondelles. Something about the combination reminded me of dyed roving, so I thought it would be a good upgrade. The clip-on option however, is paired with dyed fossil beads. Also available in my Etsy shop.

I’ve revamped the Snowflake sets to a smaller set of 4 instead of 8. Available in silver or gold, also on Etsy. These charms make great little embellishments on handmade cards and gifts, too.

A Thing for Shoes is now known as A Shoe for Every Occasion, now a mini-set of 3 and paired with freshwater pearls. Check it out also on Etsy.

Also now a mini-set of 3 is O Christmas Tree. These would also be cute on gifts and cards (in fact, I originally bought these charms for this reason). See them here on Etsy as well.

What I’m Working On

I finished a few knitting projects last month, including the thrummed mittens and slip stitch hat started last month.

Thrummed Mittens: Super warm and Cozy

The thrummed mittens were really fun to make – only I was reminded that I really hate making cuff down mittens (!!) – probably for the same reason I dislike making cuff down socks. I really dislike Kitchener Stitching…I always seem to have to fuss with the tensioning to get it to look just right.

Besides that, I simply prefer to start out my socks and mittens from the fingers/toes up. There is something so satisfying of having that section finished and watching the project evolve in this manner. It feels…more “finished” to me this way and thus I am motivated to keep going. I know that probably doesn’t make sense but that’s my brain for you!

In the case of socks, I like that you can stop when you run out of yarn at the leg instead of being stuck with an unfinished toe. I also know several stretchy bind offs so starting in the opposite direction is more appealing to me. I know that doesn’t work for every pattern, but this is just my preference.

I’m curious to see if I can reverse engineer the thrummed mittens pattern to start from the finger tips down, so that is on my to-do list to try… ๐Ÿ™‚

Slip Stitch Hat – still a work in progress

The slip stitch hat I started from scratch (sans pattern) is technically done….but I don’t like the crown decrease. I tried 3 different styles of decreases and disliked every single one. So I didn’t weave in the ends yet in case a want to frog it back for a 4th time. Trust me: it may sit around for months but it’s most likely I will be deconstructing this in the future.

I’m picky with my hat decreases. I’m not a fan of the heavily gathered look, but trying to avoid that made this hat rather flat at top which I don’t like either. Yes. I’m fussy! It’s from years of jewelry design where I expect the pieces to hang. just. right. So when I knit I tend to have the same…fussiness. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Take the other hat in the photo, for instance. That hat started out as a slouchy hat pattern free from the internet. I liked how it worked up until I realized the top pretty much had that draw string look. So, I combed through my collection of hat patterns until I found a crown decrease I liked. I need to do the same for the slip stitch hat, I think.

Weaving Dishcloths

My first time weaving cotton dishcloths. There is 6 in total here fresh off the loom before they were finished/separated

I love to knit and crochet dishcloths instead of buying them, and using cotton or bamboo yarn instead of synthetic fibers. Since I got my little SampleIt loom I’ve been really curious about making dishcloths. After finishing yet another wool panel in handspun yarn I decided to put that project on pause to start making dishcloths.

I’m using No. 10 crochet thread for the warp and commercial cotton yarn (smooth and scrubby) for the weft. I finally got to try out my laceweight reed! I thought the first bunch was…okay. I’ve decided for the next bunch to keep the cotton thread weft doubled and…oh my: now we’re talking!

weaving on a table top loom
Second round of cotton dishcloths on the loom. This is really pretty, but the low light doesn’t show it off well. Do you like my crooked spacer, that the cat bumped?? LOL

For this new set I decided to go with 2 different colors for the warp. The weft is a commercial cotton yarn I hand dyed. The contrast really works, and I love the asymmetrical contrast colors of the warp. I’m going to use the basic hemstitch at the start and finish of each dishcloth. I had my oldest zig-zag sew the edges with the sewing machine on the scrubbies since they were much thinner than these, but I think we’d need to upgrade to a surger to have the ends finished correctly.

Swing Chair Macrame, Part 2

Last month I mentioned that I was working to restore 2 old swing chairs by spray painting with Rust-Oleum and then re-stringing with crochet hooks and macrame cord. The first one I finished, but the second one sat outside half done due to all the torrential rain of the past month. I finally got fed up and asked the Hubs if he could help me bring it into the studio. In a comfy environment, I finished it in an afternoon!

First I decided to remove the original first pass with the white macrame cord. I found the way I did the first chair caused too much sag in the seat, which I disliked. So I decided to to the weave on the seat part only, and only the verticle portion of the weave on the back, separately. I also switched to navy and tan cord which I love! It matched the chair cushion I luckily found online beautifully.

Peanut enjoyed the work in progress, while Osuna was caught enjoying the the final product! ๐Ÿ™‚

The second chair turned out so much nicer than the first, I think I will bring chair number 1 inside and re-do it. I know I won’t be able to help myself… ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m off to enjoy more summer. Until next time…

Leilani signature

April Showers….in June (an update)

โ€œEmpathy is really the opposite of spiritual meanness. Itโ€™s the capacity to understand that every war is both won and lost. And that someone elseโ€™s pain is as meaningful as your own.โ€

โ€“ Barbara Kingsolver

It’s been raining pretty steadily here for the past few days. I figured now is a good time for a monthly update. Here in Nova Scotia we’ve had some devastating wildfires in parts of the province. Although this is nowhere near me, I live in the woods and thus, it is a concern for us every summer in the dry weather.

My heart goes out to those who have lost their homes and pets. I hope that others in this province will tone down the rhetoric and stop lashing out and pointing fingers at people who are no different than you. As an empath, mass blame and hysteria saddens me. I know there is a better way to process our feelings and fears. These attitudes are exactly why I finally left social media in 2020.

With that said, let me catch you up on what I have been working on this past month:

What’s New

Although outdoor chores and gardening have been taking up much of my time, I’m still working on updating my product photos and adding short videos to all the listings. With that comes revamping and I’m now done the stitch marker section. I’m editing the final photos and will be listing the final revamped products throughout this month. Here’s the newest since my last blog update:

I have a few sets on hold while I wait for some new supplies to arrive. One thing I have done is varied the amount you get from set to set to hopefully cover all price brackets (smaller sets coming soon!). Check out stitch markers in the knitting bling and crochet bling sections, or the yarn/fiber/stitch bling section on Etsy.

What I’m working On

Frankly, I’m bored with the same old thing. Simple hats, simple socks, working on a blanket…I’m ready to expand my knitting (and crochet!) skills. As I’ve said before, I’m a spinner, not a knitter. I enjoy to knit and crochet, but the only time I have to do it is late at night when I’m winding down, or when I’m out waiting for my kids from one of their activities.

For that reason, I tend to stick with really simple patterns that I don’t need much brain cells for. I consider myself a intermediate knitter in knowledge, but really only and advanced beginner in practice. It’s time to put all this knowledge in my head to good use! I’ve been reviewing Interweave videos that I purchased over the years and also bought a few more during a sale recently. I love to have a visual aid that I can refer to over and over.

A Free-hand Slip Stitch Hat…from 1.5 years ago (!!)

I had the idea to make a hat from this easy slip stitch patterning using two colors. I’m just going for it and tweaking as I go, sans pattern. I used to make all my hats this way. The positive is the freedom of not having to follow the pattern, and I love the challenge of feeling how the hat should ultimately look. The negative is I can’t replicate the hat again if I like it.

So this time, I am trying to take more detailed notes so that I can make another hat just like it again. If I like it, I just might include the pattern here on the blog. Like I said, this is a very easy succession of stitches.

Project Delayed

Here’s the thing: I started this hat during December break…2021! And this is the state it has stayed in 1.5 years. I picked it up again the other night and, seeing that it was almost midnight and my eyelids were getting heavy, I screwed it up pretty much right away! It pained me to put it down until the next night. I hate knowing there is a mistake in my knitting and not taking care of it right away. Hats off (pun intended) to all you knitwear designers: I can’t even seem to handle a simple hat…! :/

Shaping the crown will be the most challenging with the colorwork patterning. I may do the top of the hat in the solid dark grey color (which is a handspun superwash merino I hand dyed intentionally with light and dark patches). Hopefully, I will have a update (and finished hat!) for next month’s update.

Thrummed Mittens

Thrummed mittens: a great way to use up bits of my hand dyed roving

I’ve been aware of thrummed mittens since getting a pair as a gift many moons ago (long before I ever had any interest in knitting). Only when I started knitting did I learn that they were called “thrummed”, and as a Maritimer, I should have known this style hails from Newfoundland & Labrador.

I never had any interest in making thrummed mittens, because I revere my hand dyed roving for spinning. However, I’m amassing a lot of leftover bits and pieces of top from spinning projects. So recently I thought, time to make some thrummed mittens and use up some of these bits!

This style of mitten is so super warm and I’m having fun making this pair. I’ve actually caught up the second mitt to this one, because like socks I hate having to start making its pair from scratch. Knitting two at a time makes it less daunting. I prefer to use super short DPNs (aka shorties) for my socks and mittens.

Another Great Use for my hand dyed top

It occured to me while making the thrummed mittens that this would be another great reason to by my hand dyed tops. At approx. 4oz per braid, that’s a lot of thrummed mittens for your friends and family. I developed these braids with felters and spinners in mind, but now I could also add knitters to that list.

Lengthening the first sweater I ever made

This is the first sweater I ever made, and I realize that a crop is not for me so I’m in the process of lengthening it

I made this sweater with some of the first handspun I ever made. The dark brown sections are alpaca that I processed from raw, then spun to merino top I hand dyed. I wanted a way to preserve this yarn, but honestly I was more into finishing this sweater than making it wearable. So, I’ve removed the ribbing and am currently making it longer, as I have some of this yarn left. I’ll report back once it’s completed. I have a feeling this one may sit around for awhile. One round on a sweater, even a bulky one, takes so much longer than a hat! ๐Ÿ™‚

Outdoor Projects

Staining 7 Colorful Wooden Chairs

Before all this rain we had a run of sunny days that I took advantage of to get to some neglected outdoor projects completed. The biggest project was re-staining these colorful Adirondack style chairs which are handmade here in Nova Scotia. After 7 years they were really looking worse for wear. Amazing what a fresh coat (or two or three) of stain can do!

I wish I had before and afters but I made the painting area a no-technology zone. It was nice to unplug and just listen to the birds, the bees and soak up a bit of sun. I thrive with a little alone time, just nature and my thoughts, barefoot to do some grounding. With seven chairs in total I aimed for 1 chair a day and it took me about 2 weeks between rest time for my sore back and rain delays.

Macrame Upcycle old Swing Chairs

We’ve owned these swing chairs since we owned our very first house 16 years ago. Recently, the fabric finally let go. The metal is still in good shape and they glide fine, so I spray painted them grey with Rustoleum. The metal was a dark brown color originally. I bought two huge cones of macrame thread online. There are many videos on how to do this on Youtube, and having crochet experience was definitely a plus.

I found cushions online exactly the size of the chair (what luck!) and I think these will be comfy and cozy. One is already completed, I’ll get a pic next month when it’s not so dark and grey out. We haven’t even gotten the chance to try it out yet with all this rain.

Surprise parsnips

Last season I planted parsnip seeds in a bed that gets little sun. The trees have certainly encroached the space over the years. They never came up so I planned on ripping that bed out this spring. Wasn’t I surprised when I noticed a row of green popping out of the bed! I look forward to roasting these with carrots and honey.

Here I am sitting in my car waiting for one of my children to finish their activity. After a walk around the neighborhood, it’s knitting time! ๐Ÿ™‚

Until next time, I wish you much compassion & creativity,

Leilani signature

May the Fourth Be With You…May Update

โ€œTo experience what isn’t, love what is.โ€

โ€• 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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…! ๐Ÿ˜€

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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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

***GIVEAWAY***

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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

Etsy

Ravelry – Rav ID:ย brighteyesjessy

***UPDATE MARCH 13TH, 2014***AND THE WINNER IS…

P1010923
CONGRATULATIONS SHIRLEY!

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

Are you an artist inspired? Iโ€™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 youโ€ฆ

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 hereย 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.