AndeeKF Fiber Arts and Photography {giveaway}

Today’s giveaway is from Andee, whom you might know from her blog, Match the Pictures.  She’s been a regular part of our Yarn Along here at Small Things for as long as I can remember.  I am very pleased to be sharing this space with her today!

“My name is Andee and I am a wife and a mother of two sons. I have a huge passion for the Fiber Arts. I have been knitting and making my own patterns for the past 15 years. I grew up on a farm with horses and I loved the lifestyle of living on a farm. About five years ago my parents no longer had any horses or ponies and they decided to fill their pastures up with alpacas. I was so excited when the first alpacas came to the farm. I couldn’t wait for the day when I would be able to start using their fiber to knit with.

Each Spring we shear the alpacas and send their fiber to a small fiber mill to have it processed. Some of the fiber is spun into yarn, some is processed into roving (which we spin ourselves) and the rest is turned into rug yarn. We have the fiber processed per alpaca or alpacas. Sometimes we blend similar alpacas’ fibers together so we can get more yarn in a certain color. All of the yarn is tagged with the alpaca’s names and sold in our farm store.

I have learned over the years that each time we get the fiber back from the fiber mill it varies in thickness. I wanted to design some patterns that would work well with the yarn from the small fiber mills as well as for handspun yarn. People who come to the farm are so excited to purchase yarn from our alpacas and always ask what they can make with it. This inspired me to create some knitting patterns that would work with varying weights of yarn.

I was also inspired to make knitting patterns after falling in love with some hand-painted yarns. I have found different Indie yarn dyers that make amazing skeins of yarn. I have found myself falling in love with the color of the yarn and couldn’t resist purchasing it. I enjoy designing patterns for these types of yarn.

I started publishing my patterns about a year ago and I have been overwhelmed with the support I have gotten from knitters, yarn companies and yarn store owners. I plan to keep designing patterns that work well for Indie yarn dyers, hand-spun yarns and fiber mill produced yarns. I do also enjoy working with commercial yarns, but my passion is for the specialty yarns.

Because I love yarn and knitting so much and I want to immerse myself in the fiber arts as much as possible I also work part time at Chelsea Yarns in Colts Neck, New Jersey. I help customers select yarn, I help them with their knitting projects and I offer lots of encouragement. It is the type of LYS where people come together to knit, appreciate yarn and a place where many customers make lifelong friendships. It is a wonderful environment and I’m very happy to be on the Chelsea Yarns team. I must admit one of my favorite parts of working there is getting to wear my hand knits!

3-AndeeAll of my patterns can be purchased online in my Ravelry Store. They can also be purchased in person at Arrow Acres Farm or Chelsea Yarns.


3-Andee1If you are in the Monmouth County, New Jersey area and want to meet me and the alpacas I will be at Arrow Acres Farm this weekend (Directions HERE). We are having an Open House for National Alpaca Farm Days September 27th & 28th. It is an educational weekend for the public to come and meet our alpacas and learn all about alpacas and the fiber arts. I will have samples of all my patterns on display as well as the patterns available for sale.”

For the giveaway I am offering a copy of my Outlander & Standing Stones E-Book which contains both my Standing Stones pattern and Outlander pattern.  To the same winner I am offering three skeins of Shibui Baby Alpaca yarn in the colorway Mineral, which will knit up wonderfully as an Outlander Cowl or a Standing Stones Cowl.  In addition, I am giving 10% off my knitting patterns on Ravelry until October 5th at midnight EST using the code “SMALLTHINGS”.

For your chance to win, leave a comment on this post. 

***Comments are closed and the winner is Amber who commented, “Ahhh!! I love alpaca fiber! Pick me! Pick me! ;)”

Thanks, Andee!


knitting patterns

Mama’s Notebooks {giveaway}

DSC_0638Today’s giveaway is from Heather, the creator of Mama’s Notebooks.  Heather created these handy notebooks in the hopes of helping other moms get organized.  All of the notebooks feature simple and effective charts, lists, and ideas to help your family life run more smoothly.  Rather than have Heather share more about her notebooks here today, I want to tell you how I am using some of them myself!  I currently use the Mama’s Notebook, The Weekly Homeschool Notebook, and The Knit & Crochet Notebook.

As I began planning for the start of our new school year, taking into account the activities my children are involved in now, I realized that I would truly have to step up my game in the organizational arena this year, or lose my mind.  Much of the planning that I do revolves around food and feeding my family.  I can no longer just plan a week’s worth of dinners and be done with it.  Planning only dinner results in us eating junky fast food and going way over budget.  I have to plan all three meals of the day, in addition to special meals for baseball tournament weekends and our once per week co-op day.  My Mama’s Notebook has become an absolutely crucial part of that.  It gives me a place to record all my plans for meals in addition to each day’s events and to-dos.  I love that it doesn’t have to be started on any particular date, instead allowing me to fill in the dates for the week I am planning as I go.  That way, I can skip a week if needed, without wasting pages.

I don’t enjoy planning meals, I think mainly because it takes so much thought.  I struggle to find uninterrupted time to work on my plans, so I have been trying something new lately.  One evening per week, I choose a handful of favorite cookbooks, grab my Mama’s Notebook, and head to my local Wegman’s, which has a really nice area with tables and chairs above the grocery portion of the store.  I find that I can come up with a plan far more quickly by doing it away from home without any “helpers.”  In addition, I can quickly check out what is available before I start my planning.  On a recent night though, after one such planning session, I found myself suddenly struck by a terrible thought as I lay in bed trying to go to sleep.  I realized that I didn’t know where my notebook was, and I feared that I had left it in my shopping cart at the store.  I have all my favorite meals recorded on the pages, not to mention many weeks worth of menu plans that I regularly look back at.  I hardly slept that night.  The following morning I breathed a huge sigh of relief after calling the store and being told that they had my notebook behind the counter.  Thank goodness.

DSC_0613I am also really relying on the weekly Homeschool Notebook this year.  In the past I have created my own spreadsheets to fill in with my kids’ lessons.  Last year I found myself really dreading working on those each week, and determined that I would try to eliminate some of the work this year.  I am using the weekly Homeschool Notebook for Larkspur and Beatrix, and it has really eliminated some of my planning stress.  I am able to quickly and easily jot down what I hope to accomplish with each of them each week and then cross through each thing as we get it done.  Heather offers a monthly/unit Homeschool Notebook as well.

The last notebook that I use regularly is the Knit & Crochet Notebook.  When I am knitting a complex pattern with lace and repeats and other things that force me to pay attention, I keep notes in this notebook.  I love the graph paper pages!  I also use it when I am working on my own knitting patterns.  I guess I should say, when I was working on my own knitting patterns.  Since we started our new school year, I haven’t had any time for designing!

Be sure to check out Heather’s blog, and read about all of her wonderful, help-you-get-organized notebooks!

mamasnotebooks2Heather would like to give one notebook of choice to two Small Things readers!

**She has also discounted all notebooks 15% off through October 4th.   In addition, you can receive another 25% off the already discounted price through September 22nd by using the coupon code MATEY25!  So, by placing your order by September 22nd, you can get a total of 40% off!!

For your chance to win, leave a comment on this post. 

The winners are Harleygirl who commented, “These are very nice!  Thanks for the chance!” and Maria who commented, “Oh it would be so nice to have something help me out of my disorganized rut! These notebooks sound wonderful.”

Thanks, Heather!