Small stitching on Sunday: a mug rug

I’ve been wanting to try a technique that I’ve admired for awhile: a combination of machine applique and embroidery.

009So today I pulled out my bins of fabric scraps and got busy. Luckily, I had a few scraps of Wrenly left over from a quilt I made last year. The Wrenly birds were perfect for fussy cutting the windows.007It’s called a mug rug, which is an unlovely name for such a lovely thing. Basically, a mug rug is an over-sized coaster. Something pretty to put your coffee cup on, great for personalizing your desk at work (or at home).

012This one is 6.5″ square…a good size for holding a cup.

006The pattern is from Jenny at Elefantz.She makes lovely things.

I’m very happy with this little project. I experimented with a couple of other mug rugs, here, but this one definitely shows improvement in my technique. Yay!

008Next time I’ll quilt the back ground before adding the applique. Stay tuned! Do you have a special mug rug or coaster that you love above all others?

The Yukon Scarf in Amethyst (…to ETSY or not to ETSY, that is the question)

Introducing: The Yukon Scarf in Amethyst!

scarf3This particular scarf is 44″ in diameter and 5″ wide and loops twice around the neck (as shown in the photo.)

I think that if I’m going to knit things to sell, I’d like to help them stand out in a very crowded market by giving each pattern an individual name. I’ve decided to call all of the moss stitch infinity scarves the Yukon Scarf. I’ll then differentiate them by colour. Thus, this infinity scarf is The Yukon in Amethyst.

scarf1Right now I’m experimenting with different weights of yarn and different needle sizes to see what combination I like the best.

knit 1This one was knit on 6.5mm needles and the weave is quite dense. A larger needle will give it a looser, more open weave. I have one more skein of this, so will try that next and then compare the two.

I see some very expensive scarves for sale on ETSY that look to me like they are made from inexpensive yarns that I recognize as the kind you can buy at WalMart. Now, I’m not dissing WalMart. But here’s a question for you: Do shoppers care where the materials came from? (I’m asking legitimately, not sarcastically.)

scarf2Would it make a difference to shoppers if I advertised that I support local small business and purchase all my yarn at small independent yarn shops (like Intwined Fibre Arts in Salmon Arm, or  the Itsy-Bitsy Yarn Shop in Whitehorse)?

Of course, the more specialized you get, the more you pay for your materials. And the more you pay for your materials, the less profit you make.  For instance, I paid $20 for this particular skein of very high quality Peruvian fair-trade yarn. So already, the price to the purchaser has gone up to whatever my time is worth on top of that.

Where is the line between making a good quality product you can be proud of  and also earning enough $$ per hour to make it worth the work? (the eternal question of all artists in all genres.)

scarf4I haven’t even gone onto ETSY to see what’s involved in opening a store, let alone figuring out what to charge for my scarves. One thing at a time.

Thoughts? And if no thoughts, what’s on your needles today, eh?

35 years ago today

weddding-1A picture speaks 1000 words. Happy 35th Anniversary, my beloved husband!

wedding-party

1st-anniversary

on-the-island

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34-Collins

35-Collins croppedKelly & Nita Collins December 2014kiss…we still do.