Monday, April 23, 2018

Monday Moment: Mandala Yarn by Lion Brand

Happy Monday everyone!

What a day!  I was expecting my students to be hard to wake up after prom this weekend, but they had other plans in store.  They were up and moving and they kept me on my toes all day!

Can I collapse now?

Anyway, I've been wanting to start a new feature on this blog for a while and I've come up with the idea for Monday Moment.  This feature is meant to be a simple, short explosion of either excitement or an accident.  Monday Moments may include joy over new found yarn, or tears and sadness and doom and gloom after I royally screw up a project.

Today I want to  take a moment and mention a yarn that a lot of people are talking about and that I have fallen absolutely in love with: Mandala by Lion Brand.  And no, they did not ask for a review.  These are just my thoughts because I love this yarn and want to blab it to the world from my big mouth to your listening ears.

This is a wonderful fingering weight yarn that is self-striping and available in 20 different colorways!  OMG!  So many!  And, after buying ALL of them (a big thanks to my boyfriend for not abandoning me in Walmart as I scoured the shelves for each one) I can honestly say that there isn't one that I don't like.  Normally, I dislike pinks, yellows, and neutral colors but they all look so nice!

Not only are the colors super cute, but the yarn is completely machine washer and dryer safe.  LION BRAND WINS ME OVER AGAIN!

I'm sitting here trying to think of an actual con to this yarn, but at $5 for 590 yards, I really can't!

In fact, I love it so much that I built the entire Ethereal Collection around this yarn!  You can see the effects of the yarn in my pictured items.

Well, I believe I've taken up my Moment for this Monday.  I'll see you next time!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Needle Notions: What Kind of Knitting Needle is Best for You?

Ahhh knitting needles.  We need them.  We love them.  We buy them.  Sometimes, we're lucky enough to be given knitting needles for free (my favorite price!).  Unfortunately, to many new knitters and non-knitters, a knitting needle is a knitting needle is a knitting needle.

I disagree wholeheartedly.

Rather than discuss the convenient uses of the different angle of points on needles or double pointed needles vs. circular needles, I want to take a moment to discuss the three main materials that needles are made of.  I can't tell you specifically what is best for you, but I can give you my thoughts on some of the pros and cons of each to help you consider what you would most like to work with.

Plastic Needles


  • Usually the least expensive of the three options
  • Flexible
  • Stitches slide easily on the needle as long as you don't knit too tightly
  • Because they are thin plastic, they are the easiest to break.
  • If you knit too tightly, the stitches won't slide well on the needle.
  • If you knit too loosely, the stitches may slide too easily (which will make it easier to drop stitches).

Metal Needles


  • Very sturdy and difficult to snap
  • Your hands warm them up as you work (an added winter knitting bonus!)
  • Usually priced in the middle of the range
  • Click audibly as you work
  • Can be quite cold to the touch when you first start working with them
  • Relatively inflexible

Wooden/Bamboo Needles

  • Flexible
  • Stitches slide easily on the needle as long as you don't knit too tightly.
  • Come in an assortment of beautiful woods and colors
  • Usually the most expensive of the three types.
  • Stitches don't slide easily if you knit too tightly.
  • Tend to have more rounded points which may interfere with certain yarns or stitches

My Preference

I am all about the metal needles.  I love that they are long lasting!  I have a horrible habit of sitting on or stepping on my needles which results in broken plastic needles every time.  And, if I don't step on them, my 74 lb. dog does.  As a person with constantly frozen hands, it is a huge benefit that they warm up the more they are worked with.  Many knitters dislike the clicking sound they make, but I love it.  It reminds me of the sound of my mother knitting when I was growing up which gives me a more meaningful knitting experience.  I have also found that the pointier tips help me to work my lace projects, ladder yarns, and eyelash yarns more easily.  

Let's Chat!

What do you think?  Have you found the same pros and cons of the types in your knitting? Which kind of needle do you prefer to work with? Why do you prefer this type to the others?

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Etsy 2017: The Love, the Mess, and the Chaos

Before I start talking about Etsy in 2017, I want to ask one simple question about 2017 in general.  Where did it go?  I'm not saying that just because it's the typical thing to say at the beginning of the new year.  I'm saying it because I really don't know.  I was so buried under way too many priorities that the year just slipped through my fingers.  Therefore, my New Year's Resolution is just for me to find time to relax and do things for me.  Hopefully, I stick with that past January 15.  I've been doing well so far, but the crazy parts of the year haven't yet set in.

Anyway...on to Etsy.

2017 was a HUGE year for Gillywing Creates.  Not only did I have a set of custom images designed for a logo, banner, custom orders, etc., I made my first two sales and had more people stopping by than ever before. 2017 was the year Gillywing Creates became more than just a hobby-it became a beloved priority.  

This would not have been possible without two wonderful ladies, Jenny (from Fuzzy and Birch) and Renae Christine (from Rich Mom Business).  Their advice was so helpful!  Both ladies are always very quick to reply to emails and are willing to go above and beyond the assistance that they advertise.  They are the best mentors I could have hoped for.  

2017 also saw an increase of social media as Gillywing Creates now has profiles on Instagram and Twitter.  I have loved the experience of using both of these!  The FaceBook page has been wonderful, but I would rather have the communication experience of Twitter and Instagram so that I am sure to give the best customer service possible.

Unfortunately, there were some rough bits.  I wanted this blog to truly grow in 2017.  That did not happen.  I got lazy and just left it alone.  I'm really looking forward to growing the blog this year.  

I also found out that I have been going about Etsy in a very nonchalant way and that is not helping me to grow Gillywing Creates as the shop I have in my vision.  I am looking forward to creating product lines and doing a much better job of customer service and engagement.

Lastly, the chaos.  I have so many things that I want to try making that I'm all over the place.  I would love to hear what you are interested in!  Please stop by Gillywing Creates and tell me what you think I'm missing.    

Let's make 2018 a wonderful year together.