Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR, KNITTING...I THINK NOT!

~ Borrowing from a facebook post I made today, spurred on by a ridiculous and erroneously reported story this past week (TV news and in print) of an Etsy "KNITTER" who makes just under a million dollars a year ($80,000 a month - KNITTING, if you are to believe the headline).  Most of us who create, knew this was going to turn out to be more fiction than fact, but the reports did serve as a huge discouragement to others.  What they neglected to point out, right up front, was that this woman has a small army of people working for her and (MOST IMPORTANTLY), she is importing items, and NOT knitting them herself.  I am not going to give any further exposure to her OR the reports by posting links - they are plentiful on the net ~ 
I knit.  I sew.  I make jewelry.  Among other things.  I will NEVER make a million dollars a year doing what I do - that which makes my heart and hands happy - that which I love.  (I also do a lot of it to keep myself awake at night, enjoying family instead of sleeping on the couch!)

I give away almost ALL of my pieces these days, to family and dear friends.  I also give away my "trade secrets", freely and happily, to anyone who has taken the time and/or worked up the courage to ask me for them!  I will NEVER make a million dollars at that rate.
I create with my OWN hands.  Just me.  By myself.  I will NEVER make a million dollars at that rate.  I don't buy from overseas sweatshops.  I don't embellish with pieces of lace, and then lay claim to something as my own.  I QUIT selling because I can't compete with those who DO operate this way.  Quitting selling does NOT mean I have quit creating - I will always do it, because it's in my heart - it's a piece of who I am, and anyone who knows me knows this to be true. 

No sour grapes, truly.  But, if you're going to import and lay claim to things as your own designs and handwork then, by golly, OWN THAT SHIT!  Be proud enough of yourself and exactly how you are achieving the success to put it in the headline, right next to where you tell people you're a "KNITTER".
No, I will NEVER make a million dollars with my crafting, nor do I ever expect to.  But, I'm happy doing what I do, and wouldn't have it any other way.  I can sleep at night knowing that I haven't lied about what I do, serving to discourage others who may be trying to make a few bucks, by twisting or omitting the truth and making someone else feel they are failing miserably at the game.
CARRY ON, MY ARTISAN FRIENDS - follow your heart!  STRIVE TO BE ORIGINAL (and by that I don't mean not using patterns if you want, etc., but make it your "own" - put yourself into it!), AND ABOVE ALL, BE HONEST!  We may be quintessential starving artists, but we come by that title honestly, and by our OWN hands.  BE PROUD OF THAT!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

THE EVER-CHANGING LANDSCAPE THAT IS VEGAS...A Return to "Travel Tuesday"

What better way to return to Travel Tuesday 2015, than in my own backyard.  A recent meet-up (camera ever in tow) with old friends passing through town, proved that Vegas is the town that never sleeps...especially when it comes to reconfiguring the old.  I know they were pleasantly surprised.
What used to be just a large alley-way between the old Imperial Palace (which is now The Quad) and The Flamingo Casinos, has been transformed into The Linq - shopping, eating, bowling and concerts; local artworks on the walls; and the 550 ft. High Roller Ferris Wheel that provides breathtaking views of the town.  This was an unusually gray, clouded-over day - we don't get too many.
The Flamingo Hilton, next door - the casinos and hotels are on a never-ending quest to update.  A few still have the old Vegas charm to them, with a few new twists.  The flamingos and pelicans can be found in a center, outdoor sanctuary of the casino - a place to go and reflect on the money you may have "spent" while in town.
A trip through the gorgeous FABERGE Revealed Collection, inside of the Bellagio Hotel - now through May 25 (it's an ever-changing exhibit, as well)...238 rare and jaw-dropping Faberge artifacts - the largest public collection outside Russia.  The glass sculpture atop the eggs (they don't allow cameras in, but believe me it is well worth a look!) is Chihuly - you'll find a Gallery for that there, as well.
The seasonally changing display at the Bellagio Atrium presently showcases Chinese New Year - 2015 Year of the Goat.  
I did hear grumblings among some there that 2015 is the Year of The Sheep.  Sheep/Goats - I think it's probably all relevant - gorgeous no matter what you call it!
And the ending of the day brought this - from atop the 32nd story hotel roof where they were staying, a view of the ever-changing skyline of The Las Vegas Strip.  This, the newest addition to the landscape - the fabulous and glittery City Center.  Housing The Aria Hotel and Casino; The Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino sitting within the same block; high end shopping; dining; condominiums - truly a city within the city, with loads of glittering glass!  I think the days of the "theme" casinos (such as the old Excalibur and the MGM Grand) are on the way out.
A straight-on shot of the Aria, with the high-end shopping mall of Crystals in the foreground.
Either direction (north or south) on The Strip, remain the older, more easily recognizable buildings - they will all eventually end up with a Las Vegas face lift, making way for the new models.  There are a few here in town that NEED to be demolished and redone, but I guess I kind of like that they are holding on, just the way they are...at least for the time being.  
A view of the back of Planet Hollywood (which used to be The Aladdin, for those that remember), Paris, Bally's (which is older now, and used to be the old MGM Grand that caught fire all those years ago), with the new High Roller Ferris Wheel behind it all.

More great places to see - I've been saving up photos just for Tuesdays, in hopes of showing you something you might have never seen, or may want to put on a list to visit.  Hope your week is spent out of snow and cold!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

HOW TINK YARN IS BORN...

An invitation for a TINK YARN "behind the scenes" look last Sunday (which is known as Dye Day in the Tink Circle), was just too good to turn down.  I went.  I did NOTHING, but stand around with a camera, and marvel at the hard work behind it all.  I came home exhausted FOR them.  There's a whole lotta' brain and brawn behind all this fiber fabulousness - all at the hands of three "color-fast" friends.
The ladies behind the brand are Ashley ("The Chemist" - bottom left); Terri ("The Yarn Whisperer" - middle and upper left, tying bundles for dying and hanging skeins to dry); and Laci ("The Marketing Magician", or the one with the jugs containers).  Throw in their helper for the day, Paige, on the winding machine; Laci's daughter, Savannah, helping hang skeins; and adorable Penny Lane, not really knowing which way to turn for the next pat on the back, and you've got the makings of a great little upstart yarn company, all in the confines of Laci's Las Vegas kitchen.
The creativity is as rampant as the steam is hot in this group.  Girls on FIRE!  All three women work full-time jobs, in addition to throwing their hearts/souls into yarn dying during the week.  GIRLS ON FIRE!!!!!
I asked "who does what" that day and was met with three, simultaneous "Everything!"s.  They've got their hands in it all, each and every one of them.  Ashley was busy experimenting with new color combos (the preceding photo, a gorgeous success that was achieved that day)...
and tried and true shades - all from the top of a stove and some very large, hot pots!  Working with various methods and dyes until they have achieved exactly what they started out hoping for - non-running colors (even after blocking of a finished knit), and OH SO SOFT skeins - this is a learning curve that, I have no doubt, will be in place as long as there is yarn for them to dye!  I saw it in their excited faces, as skein after beautiful skein was produced that day.
Back-breaking work, lugging around full vats of hot water and wet yarn; gymnastics in the likes of the "tip-toe, long-arm yarn stretch" above, to check for color; bicep/muscle-building rinsing and conditioning of wet yarn - if nothing else, their complexions should reap the benefits of massive amounts of steam, here in the dry desert!
Thinking ahead to July, these were two different "types" of dyeing creativity that day (same basic colors, but skeins with a little bit different "twist" from one another).  It seems they bounce a lot off each other (color names among other things), and keep it fun during one of these whirlwind work sessions.  Three vastly different personalities that just seem to click SO incredibly well!
Proof positive...they love what they do.
This was the only outside help that day - Paige, the eager-to-help daughter of a Tink friend, showed up to man the electric winding machine, in an adjacent room.  The yarns are conditioned to perfection and then hung to air-dry, before being turned into skeins of yarn by Paige - and you thought it just happened magically...nope.  Paige does it!  Labeled, tagged and buttoned up - ready for your house, from theirs!
TINK YARN is available directly from these three, through their new website -
(click on any highlighted link in this post to be transported).

If you're in Vegas and want to take some with you, SIN CITY KNIT SHOP is carrying them, also.

And, for those patiently awaiting the results of the first Tink Yarn Giveaway, the winner of the scrumptious pink skein of "Jubilee" is Nicole, at MY GARDEN DIARIES

Thank you to all who entered - I promise we will do this again!  In the meantime, drop by and say hello to the Tink Girls...you'll be glad you did, and they will be delighted as all "get-out"!  Happy Valentines Day - I hope it was sweet and spent with loved ones.  XOXO

Monday, February 9, 2015

LEST MY FRIENDS IN COLDER CLIMATES THINK...

...I spend all my time languishing in warmer temperatures - well, you're right!  But occasionally I do venture out of the uncomfort zone of the Vegas desert.  Feeling for my east coast friends, who are undoubtedly sick of it right about now and, either using these photos now or in the middle of my sweltering 120 degree summer (it's our payoff for no snow), I choose now!
A New Year's trip back home to CO allowed me to play in the snow a little (bracing for a harder winter, it's been relatively mild there, too). Believe it or not, I miss snow - and shoveling!  Colorado has the perfect weather - as the old saying goes, "if you don't like the weather, wait 15 minutes".  The top two photos were taken during the start of a small storm one evening up in the old mining town of Black Hawk, followed by the bottom photo of what we woke to the next morning.
The air was a crisp 28 degrees, give or take - the snow melts pretty fast on sun-soaked asphalt roads...
while leaving its beautiful mark on anything not paved.
The darling, stationary carousel/gazebo in town was playing calliope music while I ran around it, trying to stay out of the cold shade.
The Sasquatch Casino - because they didn't come up with the idea in Vegas, first!!!
The trip back down the canyon was spectacular - clear roads, and just enough snow to enhance the always gorgeous scenery.
Yes, I miss the snow.  I miss SEASONS!  I hate the summers in Vegas, more with each passing year.  124 degrees is no fun, no matter WHERE you live - and we have more than our share of those days. Alas, we will miss spring (or it will actually come for about a week), and plunge straight into the depths of freakish temperatures from hell!  
To my friends on the east coast, I feel your pain, but you can laugh at me in months to come - I will deserve it.  I DO miss the snow - honest, I do! P.S.  The first scorpion of the year reared it's ugly head last night - another sign we are heading for a hot one!  It's only the beginning of FEBRUARY and they should still be sleeping - ARGH!  Yes, you suffering in the cold shall have the last laugh on me!
Stay warm, my snowbound friends -
hope it's a GRRRRRRRRRRRREAT week!

Friday, February 6, 2015

TINK YARN GIVEAWAY...BE OUR VALENTINE!

Announcing a special giveaway from TINK YARN ~ right here at Bead and Needle, and just in time for Valentine's Day.
The Vegas girls behind TINK YARN have generously offered up a beautiful skein of their hand-dyed "Jubilee" Glitz Sock/Fingering Weight yarn; 75/20/5 Superwash Merino/Nylon/Stellina (for that "just right" bit of glitzy silver sparkle); 438 yards/100gr. skein.  "Jubilee" also happens to be the name of the biggest showgirl extravaganza in Las Vegas.
Yep - a little bit of gorgeous Showgirl (or Valentine) PINK heaven in your hands!  The rules are super simple:  LEAVE ME A COMMENT UNDER THIS POST BY FEBRUARY 14TH, 7:00 pm Viva Las Vegas time (PST).  That's it!

LARGE, FINE PRINT:  If you are a blogger leaving a comment, please check your settings section to make sure your own email contact information is in place.  There is nothing worse than trying to get ahold of a dreaded "No Reply" commenter.  If I can't contact the winner, another name will have to be drawn - and you don't want that to happen to you!

LARGE, FINE PRINT #2:  Anonymous comments ARE accepted.  If you are leaving an anonymous comment, PLEASE be sure to include your NAME and EMAIL ADDRESS, as I will have no way to contact you should your name be drawn.
Join me in welcoming this trio of highly creative go-getters to the fiber marketplace.  Please drop by to visit Ashley, Laci, and Teri at TINK YARN, for their fabulously special "Las Vegas twist on hand-dyed yarn" (clicking on any TINK YARN within this post will take you directly to them).

Winner of this "showgirlicious" sweet skein will be drawn and announced here at 7:30 pm on Valentine's Day ~ the winner will be personally contacted via email.

Monday, February 2, 2015

KNIT with TINK ~ A Yarn About Yarn...

Sometimes everything just seems to fall into place in the "grand, cosmic, creative scheme of all things fiber" - this was one of those projects, start to finish!
Inspired by a lone skein of yarn at my local yarn shop, from a wonderfully creative hand-dyeing trio of Vegas friends – Ashley, Laci, and Terri –  TINK YARN (everything highlighted in this post can be clicked on for a direct link)...the new kids on the block.  Spell it backwards, you've got KNIT (it's also a knitting term for taking stitches back out - none of that going on here, however)!
These delightful girls, with six creative eyes for color, are finally at the point of taking their creations public – those of us who have lived close by during the evolution of this venture have been lucky enough to be able to indulge, pre-Grand Opening, via SIN CITY KNIT SHOP.  And, if first-hand experience counts for anything, I do believe they're going to have a pretty successful business on their hands.
Named “Sweater Season”, I saw SW desert canyon colors in my hand that day, as well...
Soft sandstone canyon walls peach/rust; sagebrush/river-lining cottonwood trees green; pale, weathered-wood brown; with just a hint of the golden sparkle of the hot desert sun – all in one beautiful skein of sock yarn.
Using the aptly titled CANYONLANDS pattern, this one skein has turned into a fabulous accessory – coupled with a few of my great-grandmother’s vintage Mexican Silver pieces, it’s pretty much perfect, by any standards, with a little symbolic resonance (I also took it along on a recent trip to Santa Fe and Albuquerque, while working on it)!
Off the needles, soaked, and blocked – I can’t begin to tell you how soft this yarn is in this finished product.  Color stayed just where it was supposed to (both in working it AND after) – no fading or bleeding, which is exactly what you hope for from a hand-dyed yarn.  Everything I've seen produced by the TINK YARN girls is rich and creative in their color combinations – I’m sure they probably dream in Technicolor!
Clever names for dreamy yarns.  The skeins have flown off the shelves as fast as they bring it in – a testament that others are loving it as much as I did my first skein.  It's my testimonial, and I'm sticking to it.

Visit online at TINKYARN.COMor walk into SIN CITY KNIT SHOP in Las Vegas, and get your knit on!

Monday, January 19, 2015

A BRIGHT AND SHINY NEW YEAR

Welcome to 2015!  My January, for the past few years, has started with a trip back home to spend some holiday time with loved ones not so near.  The lights of Vegas at Christmas somehow pale without the reflective snows of CO - yes, I miss the seasons!  A few bright and shiny pictures seemed an appropriate start to a fresh new year.
All in ONE yard, this eye-popping display had everything but the kitchen sink (which may have been under the snow) ~ a nativity; Santa; Disney, Peanuts and Sesame Street characters; a working carousel; hot air balloon; Broncos emblem; a peacock; etc., etc., ETC.!  Not an exceptionally big yard, but optimal light use WAS made!
The downtown suburb hubs shone brightly!  Denver has a fun little "tradition", in that the Civic Center is lit for Christmas and the lights don't come down until the end of the National Western Rodeo and Stock Show, towards the last week of January.  Many of the residents around town follow suit, happily...  
And another festive soul had his own boastful "forest" of twinkling trees.  I was overjoyed the traditions are being followed, allowing me to wallow in the AFTER-Christmas merriment!
To all who happen by, I hope this New Year brings you health, love, happiness, and "BRIGHT AND SHINY" by the yard-full!