Tuesday, September 18

New classes sprouting

You may have heard – since I’ve practically been shouting it from the rooftops – that I’m teaching classes online for the fab crew at Creative Bug.  I feel so honored to have a place among teachers & makers I really respect like Cal Patch, Rebecca Ringquist, Diana Fayt ... I could go on forever!
Here's a sweet video they made to introduce yours truly to the world.  It feels extra special because the music for it it is done by Richard Buckner (how lucky am I?!)

It has been super fun working with Creative Bug and I’m excited for even more classes to launch.  As of now, you can Learn to Knit  – English & Continental style, or for those who have the basics down; take an Intro to Lace class with me and learn to make a Little Something...

Today a new class launches and it‘s one of my favorite techniques to both knit and teach, double knitting.

Double Knit Sprout Cowl with Jill Draper on Creativebug from Creativebug on Vimeo.

Double knitting is way to make a reversible fabric with stockinette on both sides and because of the way it’s made, colorwork is a breeze with no ends to weave in and no floats on the “wrong side”.  I’ve been teaching this class in person and LOVE seeing the finished cowls, I can’t wait to see what color combinations my online students pick! You can check out some lovely finished cowls on Ravelry.

To celebrate the newest class launch, Creative Bug has agreed to generously give away a 3 month subscription and I'm sweetening the pot a little by including some Jill Draper Makes Stuff yarn for whichever class of mine you decide to take first!

Just leave a comment below with which class you would love to take and why and then go here and enter your email address. Easy, right?!

Monday, September 10

Awesome Abounds

I am surrounded by the most amazing people in the world.

That is just a fact. I've known this for a long time but it has been proven in a huge way over the past couple days.  On Friday, I was shocked and thrilled to tears to find out Jill Draper Makes Stuff has made the finals for the Martha Stewart American Made Audience Choice Award.

You can vote every day until 9/24 and the winner is decided by simple numbers, whoever gets the most votes wins $10,000 and a feature in Martha Stewart Living. This is a huge honor and winning it could really help me take the company to the next level.

I've had so many friends, colleagues, customers and shop owners share the voting link (it's right here by the way) that I am simply overwhelmed by kindness.  The yarn community is truly one of the most supportive groups anyone could hope to be a part of!! Where else would other companies that in traditional "business" would be your "competitors" be rooting for you?! Nowhere. We yarnies are in it together.

I started dyeing yarn as a way to combine my love of color & painting with my new obsession (at the time) of hand knitting.  The serendipity of the middle mixtures between colors and the resulting unexpectedness in the hand knitted garment only made me fall more head over heels for hand dyeing.  It has changed from a pastime into my full time job and I couldn't be more happy.  In case you didn't know, I dye all my yarns from 5 primary colors (cool red, warm red, yellow, cool blue and warm blue) mixing each to get the exact color I want.

Running my own small business has meant lots of sacrifices.  It has meant missed BBQs and dinners out with friends.  It means skipping lots of little luxuries to invest more in growing my business. It means working the equivalent of a couple full time jobs without paid holidays, weekends off or "benefits". 
I love every day though. 
I am so proud of where JDMS has come from and what lies ahead.  I work tirelessly to source new wool and find mills to work with in the US.  This takes a lot of time and a pretty large investment that takes months before I'm able to recoup any of. There have been high points and super lows over the past 5 years.

All of this is WORTH IT though. 

Every time I get an email from a knitter or crocheter with a picture of their newly finished garment or someone asks if they can hug me at a fiber fest (you can, but at your own risk, I might be sweaty by the end of the day or weekend ;) I know I've picked the right path.

Thank you so much for walking this path with me.  I appreciate your support more than you could ever know.  Winning this award could make even more of my dreams come true.  It could mean being able to hire some help and set up a studio outside my house so I have even more room to work and won't have to share a wet studio with my laundry. 

Even if I don't win, knowing I have all of you standing beside me is kind of like winning anyway.

Friday, September 7

What I did on my Summer Vacation

So, yeah, my last blog post was in late May.  I wish I could say I was touring the world and living a life of leisure. Not quite the case.

I did have a lovely Summer, but a working Summer.  I thought I'd give you the quick sum up:

I went to Squam Art Workshops

Which as always was a lovely week of teaching & learning, connecting with far flung friends and meeting new ones. Recharging my batteries this time in a cabin filled with other people who make their living the same way I do, little by little, carving out their space in the world. It was utterly inspiring and just what I needed.

I had a visit from my mini BFF

Yes, this is me "tattooing" her with markers. They are washable and it's Summer. Don't judge me.

I've been dyeing up a storm for a hand dyed collection for Tahki Stacy Charles you can find Cora this Fall at your LYS (if you're lucky, it's a limited run!)

I went to San Francisco and filmed a bunch of new classes for the fantastic crew at Creative Bug
What will you make today?

Currently you can learn to knit (Continental or English!) or get an introduction to knitted lace with me.  Look for more classes coming this Fall.  Not to mention all the other amazing instructors you can take classes with, like pals Rebecca Ringquist, Cal Patch, Courtney Cerruti and oh, so many more! It's such a joy to work with Creative Bug and I'm so proud to be among such a talented group of instructors!

I collected and dropped off at mills more wool than any one human should every have in their possession at once.

By the time you see this again it will be spun into yarn and dyed in a rainbow of shades by your truly.

I had a dye party with Cal & Alisa.  There was lots of laughing, some dyeing, a teensy bit of gossip and a truly lovely day. 

My 'Pièce de résistance' is the brick red in the middle.  I tied about 9,000*  split peas and pinto beans into some linen I picked up last time I was teaching at Purl.  Now I just need to figure out what this yardage wants to become...* this may be a slight exaggeration

Well... that brings us to September.  I'm here, as always, in galoshes & army shorts dyeing like crazy to get ready for the first of Fall fiber fests,  Finger Lakes Fiber Fest in Hemlock NY 9/15 & 16. 

I hope your Summer was as productive as mine and that you too are ready for cooler temps and lots & lots of knitting!