The Goddess Door

Divine Hand Knits From Door County, Wisconsin

knitting

The Busyness and the Business

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June 25th at Top of the Hill Shops, these are some of the things that will be for sale!

June 25th at Top of the Hill Shops, these are some of the things that will be for sale!

So, The Goddess Door is officially an LLC now! That doesn't mean I will leave my main job as a physical therapist (which I love, and will have to write more about sometime). It also doesn't mean I have figured out how to make a profit selling knitwear, even the really gorgeous stuff.

It means that I am going to sell my things at an event, and I want to pay taxes (as I should) on stuff I sell. I have been partnering up with others who collect and pay the taxes for us both, but I figured it was about time I make the leap. And, maybe, someday, I will learn how to make some money with this thing that I love to do. I suspect that might involve writing and selling patterns, which I find pretty exciting! So, I am all set up to move ahead, if that is how things proceed.

The kids and I are doing pretty good. This is the first week of their summer break, and they are deep into Vacation Bible School, Camp Cool, soccer, and piano lessons. We have canoeing, camping, kayaking, sailing, and zip-lining planned over the summer. I can knit during only some of those things!

I haven't blogged in quite a while. The Vincent and the Doctor post was very meaningful for me, and I almost felt like... well, what do you say after that?  I still think of Don often, I still miss him terribly, and I work to keep his memory alive for his sons.  And I am also continuing to live, love, and create. So, I will try to write a bit more often. There are really fun yarn and knitting ideas percolating in my brain!

Oh, the event! Do you know about the Pirates in the Harbour?  Well, on June 25th, they are having an event at Top of the Hill Shops!  Here is the description from their website:

June 25th - Our 1st ever "Partying With The Pirates" bash at the Top Of The Hill Shops in Fish Creek - Their will be various crafters and a lot of great shops to find just the Door County souvenir or gift you've dreamed of. We'll be serving our famous Cheeseburgers in Paradise AND some great craft beers from Door County Brewing Company for consumption in our beer garden for those of legal age. Profits from this event will be for the 4 food pantries in Door County.

I hope to see you there!

 


 

Something to Look Forward to...

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One day at a time. I've been busy with the kids, celebrating a 9th birthday, getting back into after-school activities, and getting myself back to work.  I've also gotten back into knitting, to relax, to occupy my hands, to make things that I love.

Orange Hat and Cowl Set

Orange Hat and Cowl Set

Grief comes in waves, and I know there are times when I just pretend it didn't happen. Coping. There is a lot of good left in the world, so much of it in these wonderful kids. It's very hard to see how much they miss their Papa, but they are so busy with friends, tormenting each other, playing video games, learning baseball, learning to read, dance class, Sunday school, getting sick, getting better, learning to handle emotions... if I had been at all worried I would stay in a fetal position under the covers, I now know that isn't an option! At least not all the time. cough.

So, my knitting thing to look forward to is the Holiday Fair the Friday and Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend. It's at the Village Hall in Sister Bay, and my mom and I will have a table! I will have all my things there, and I am pretty excited. I've made a few more hats to sell at the Fair (it benefits Friends of Gibraltar, and is sometimes called the FoG Fair).  She has gorgeous hand made boxes using beautiful fine papers and paper that she's marbled.

It is fun to create. See that Meditation in Motion idea. I do love knitting.

Here are a couple of my new hats:

Gnarly hat in stripes

Gnarly hat in stripes

Bulky Stained Glass Hat

Bulky Stained Glass Hat

When you buy something from me, you're helping support my family. Thank you.

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This is a paraphrase from a recent Just One More Row podcast. I listened to it while walking with the dog on a hot and humid day, and this phrase really resonated with me. Even though my Etsy sales have been nothing to write home about (although thank you for the hats you bought, Sara!!), I've been doing a fair amount of custom request knitting, and it has been so fun. It's been fun to make things in colors that someone picks, out of the perfect fabric, and to practice creativity and challenge my skills. It also has been very touching because I know that several people are asking me to knit in order to help us out.

I haven't blogged in a while. It's been hard to separate my private life from my knitting life, and it's near impossible to know what to say about how things are right now.  I want this blog to be something fun, about knitting and part of my distraction / coping mechanism. But the real life issues are just too much to ignore. My husband has cancer. It's spread from his leg to his groin, to his abdomen, and most recently to his lungs and his spine. Things are very scary right now.

My darling Don

But I want to write about how knitting and this community is helping us get through this. My previous post on meditation in motion is very true for me. Knitting calms me down when I am going nuts, waiting in doctor offices, worrying. I even walk and knit! I get a lot made, and keep my fingers and my mind busy.

Even more than that, I've learned how caring and wonderful so many people around me are. We are blessings to each other. Parents of my kids' friends have offered to entertain and help with kid transport, we've been gifted with food and funds and prayers, and our church family is supporting us with a concert and silent auction (I have some knitting there, too!) .  So, even though it seems so strange, I feel absolutely lucky.  Our tragedy unfolds, but there is still love, there is still good, there will be a tomorrow, and we are not alone.

Well, damn it, now I made myself cry. Good thing I have a strong suspicion that my mom is the only one that reads my blog! haha!

Okay, here's something fun I've been working on: LEG WARMERS! Yes, seriously!

Dancing on the Door is a new dance studio opening in Egg Harbor, WI. The owner, Andria, asked if I would be interested in selling some of my knitting there. Yahoo! Leg warmers for little and big dancers! I am so stoked. The first pair I've made is SPARKLY. Oh Yes. Next, I'm working on some fuchsia lacy leg warmers and/or boot toppers. It will take a good few weeks, but I think I should have about 5 pairs for sale pretty soon. Here's a fun article on how to wear leg warmers. You know you want to.

And as my items expire on Etsy, I think I will look for a local vendor to connect with... Spot in Sister Bay (link opens to their Facebook site) has already stocked hats (so don't need my cool hats, even though THEY ARE SO COOL), but might be interested in some wool house socks, which I could work on.  Or maybe another shop would be interested in soft and wonderful winter hats. I will keep looking.

I am also thinking of a sweater for Don, my wonderful husband. But, I am feeling weirdly superstitious about it. It will take a couple months, and I just don't know where we will be by then. Plus, I want him to really like it!!  So, am looking for just the right pattern, just the right thing, just something perfect.  No pressure. :-p

And if you have read my blog, thank you. Day by day, with knitting needles in hand!

Knit Along

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A Knit Along is also known as a KAL, and a Crochet Along is a CAL (both pronounced the same way!). There are even things called KAL CALs where a person can knit or crochet. I know, I know, those bicrafters are a wild bunch! I've only dabbled in crochet, myself.

Anyway, I am joining a KAL for the Sister Bay shawl.  It started yesterday, so I'm a bit late. Today, I'm home with a powerful virus, sleeping and burning off a fever, so... I am starting anyway and hoping for the best!   These are the yarn colors that I've chosen:

KnitPicks Wool of the Andes Sport in Thirst Heather and Sagebrush

KnitPicks Wool of the Andes Sport in Thirst Heather and Sagebrush

The shawl pattern is so pretty, and I'm excited to start. Also am working on the selfish knitting project, the Alecia Beth, that I blogged a bit about last time. I'm already on the sleeves, but I made some modifications that I'm unsure about (mainly a shorter twisted rib edging). I might rip out the bottom and redo it, but I'll wait until the sleeves are done and I try it on to decide.

Then I have a few gifts to knit. And, oh yes, I should probably make something to sell! Hat and mitten sets seemed to win out in my informal Facebook poll (versus hat and scarf sets). I am behind in my knitting!  Oh, glad to have such problems :-D

Shamelessly stolen off the interwebs...

Shamelessly stolen off the interwebs...

For the kal, you knit the same project as other people, at around the same pace (although everyone varies, and kal organizers are varied in how strict they are about kal start and finish times). There's a forum page to discuss yarn choices, get advice on challenging techniques, and show off pictures.  The forum is almost always on Ravelry, which is the best Knitting and Crochet website ever. Seriously.  And then there are usually prizes randomly chosen for those who participate.  A great way to meet lots of talented knitters, too.  I'll show a picture here, too, later on as I progress with the Sister Bay Shawl.

Selfish Knitting

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There's a secret language to knitting. The lovely and descriptive words and phrases: knit, purl, knit two together, pass slipped stitch over.  There are also the phrases and slang that you have to google the first time you see them: WIP (work in progress), FO (finished object), UFO (unfinished object), knitworthy (woe to you if you prove to be not!).

Selfish knitting reflects the fact that knitters often make something lovingly unique and customized and perfect for someone they know. And, occasionally that someone is the knitter herself or himself! This week, my plans have been on baby knits (I will wait until these things are gifted to post links or pictures, but there sure are a lot of fun baby things to make!). And I've been working on the above cardigan for me, the Alecia Beth by Justyna Lorkowska.  It is gorgeous, in a handdyed yard by Madeline Tosh (Pashmina in the colorway baltic). It will have 3/4 length sleeves, and a neckline and button band with lots of buttons (either 12 or 15) down the front. Enjoyable to knit, but slow because the yarn is thin.  Looking forward to wearing it when it's all done!

And I ordered some yarn for matching hat and mitten, and hat and scarf sets. That will be fun! After my selfish knitting is done ...

Wisconsin's Knitting Heritage

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When I started knitting, I didn't know that Wisconsin had such a rich and valuable knitting history. A lot of that comes from one Elizabeth Zimmermann. She has often been called a knitting genius, with good reason. Her designs are still startling and unique, and she "unvented" many new techniques, such as the i-cord (idiot cord). She was also funny, wry, and encouraging, especially encouraging knitters to be thinking knitters and not blind followers with patterns.

Baby Surprise Jacket, a very fun pattern. Knitting this is an exercise in trust that's been amazing knitters for years!

Baby Surprise Jacket, a very fun pattern. Knitting this is an exercise in trust that's been amazing knitters for years!

Her daughter and grandson now continue the business she started: Schoolhouse Press.  They publish valuable knitting books to keep unique techniques accessible, sell gorgeous yarns, and continue to design and publish patterns.  My knitting dream some day is to go to one of their summer knitting workshops.  ahhh, maybe when the kids are grown!

There are also knitting connections here in Door County! I've used homegrown yarn from Nora Ahlen's Homestead Sheep and Fiber Products. Not only does she spin and dye her yarn, she also raises the sheep and trains (and competes with) the dogs who herd the sheep, along with her husband Jim. The entire extent of my knowledge on that subject comes from the movie Babe, but I still greatly appreciate her talent and skill!  She does not have a website, but enjoys when people call and come to visit her for yarn. I got to meet the sheep that donated the wool that I bought.  That was pretty darn cool.

Nora's sport weight hand dyed wool (Romney Wensleydale blend)

Nora's sport weight hand dyed wool (Romney Wensleydale blend)

There's a Door County Shepherds Market in May that I've attended the last two years, and has been a wonderful source of yarn and lovely finished objects.

There are even patterns for sale that celebrate Door County! Sister Bay, Ellison Bay, and Gill's Rock are all names of gorgeous shawls designed by Paula Emons-Fuessle from Washington, Illinois, who enjoys visiting Door County. I listen to Paula on Knitting Pipeline, her audio podcast, which celebrates knitting, nature, and music. I really need to make a Sister Bay one of these days!

So, I feel like I am in the right place and the right time to knit, create, and connect with the wonderful knitters of Wisconsin!  Did I miss any more connections that you know about? Feel free to share in the comments.

Designers Rock!

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Fire Hat I designed using a stitch pattern from Barbara Walker's Treasury of Knitting Patterns, with Merino hand-dyed from Manos del Uruguay

Fire Hat I designed using a stitch pattern from Barbara Walker's Treasury of Knitting Patterns, with Merino hand-dyed from Manos del Uruguay

So when I first started making knitted items, I followed the pattern to the letter. Then, I started to improvise, changing a few things here and there, learning how to improve the fit of a sweater. And I made a few mistakes, which were very good learning moments.  ahem. yes.  Along the way, I've become better at ripping back and doing things over, although that is still not as much fun as some other things. But it's satisfying to be able to fix errors, and make the image in my head come out in the yarn.

As I've gone along, I've really come to appreciate good design. Knitting patterns that one buys often come with variations, stitch counts all prefigured for you depending on your gauge and size. And the method of construction sometimes is very unique, and makes for an interesting knitting experience.

One of my favorite designers is Lee Meredith, from Leethal Knits. I've knit several of her hats, mitts, and small knitting projects. She has a great eye for color and amazing photos of her projects. She often uses recycled yarn or leftover bits to create gorgeous combinations that use every last bit of yarn stash wisely.  In my Etsy store, I have three hats designed by Lee (Wild is the Wind, Barry, and Misanga). She's said that knitters can sell items created from her patterns within reason (and after giving credit), which is another thing that I love about her.

And that brings me to my next point: the ambiguous world of selling knitwear from other's patterns. I want to do the right thing here, so I have dutifully respected designers comments requesting that one not sell items one makes from their patterns.  Mostly, lately, that means I don't knit that pattern, as I am knitting up things to stock up my Etsy store.  That has limited me from making some cool looking things, but also.... has made me come up with my own designs.

So, minor complaint: I am not a knitting machine, I am a mom, Physical Therapist, and just as crazy busy as the next person.  If I pay $6 for a pattern, that I spend many hours making with expensive and unique yarns that I choose, why does the designer not want me to sell that item? I am not mass producing things, or devaluing their hard work. My promoting of their patterns might lead other knitters to buy the pattern.

Okay, but this situation has had a very cool result: my own designing skills are getting pretty groovy! I am taking my own ideas, and having lots of fun making up items, stitch counts, decreases, all that. It is awesome, and I think that's the direction I will be going more and more. Making my own designs to create and sell. Maybe someday I will sell the patterns, too, but that will be a ways off, if I ever go that direction.

So, really, designers do rock. I have so much respect and appreciation for the creativity and hard work that goes into design. And, in a round about way, designers are making me better at what I do.

Getting Started

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Hi, I'm Jenn, a Physical Therapist, a wife, and a mom of two wonderful boys. I also love to knit, and have lots of fun doing it. I like to get creative, play with ideas, and create lovely and unique things out of beautiful yarn. Color and texture make me oooh and ahhhh. I can get lost in a decrease plan. Slipped stitches and complicated colorwork are my idea of crazy weekend fun.

I can be a knitting nerd, but would like to spare my family and friends too much pain.  So, that's one of the reasons I've started this blog! To talk knitting, yarns, ideas, and of course to share my Etsy store.

Another reason is that we are dealing with cancer. My husband has squamous cell skin cancer in his lymph nodes, and has just started chemo and radiation after having four surgeries. It has been a rough 7 months or so. I need something joyful and undemanding.  Kids and work are wonderful and fulfilling, but not undemanding, you understand. So when I can focus on something else to distract myself from the incredible stress and fear that wears you down on the cancer journey, I will do it!

 In addition to knitting, I love to run, too. I am slow but dedicated and running is very helpful for me in many ways. I can run in the mornings and it keeps me calm for the day. I can also run to raise funds and support great causes.  Wonderful, amazing people are involved in knitting and in running. In both communities, there is dedication, discussion of fine detail, and lots of laughter.

So, I hope if you are reading this,  you are enjoying getting to know me through the blog, browsing my items for sale, and learning a little while laughing a lot. I am open to talking Physical Therapy, knitting, or running, even cancer, marriage, and parenthood.