Can you believe it's already nearly the middle of January? January 2012! Christmas has come and gone with all of it's special activities, gatherings, and joys. Now we are settling back into normal life again. We're also settling into winter here in Missouri. We got our first snow a couple days ago and the temperature has been in the teens!
With the cold winter weather come sweaters, scarves, gloves, hats, and mittens. You don't have to settle for just any old hat or sweater though! A handmade knitted item is so much more special (and lots prettier too). I want to introduce you to a very special shop where you can find beautiful, soft and expertly crafted hand knitted items to choose from!
Ashley, the master knitter behind A. Victoria, is a personal friend of mine, and I can personally vouch for the superb quality of her work! And now let me open the door into this gorgeous shop full of soft yarn, knitting needles, and lots of talent and love.
I have been knitting for 13 years this fall. My Parents home schooled me and my siblings. My Mama wanted me to learn the basics in the craft area and natural way of things (sewing, knitting, quilting, embroidery, canning, herbs, gardening, farming, homeopathic options and so on). She found a lady in our area that taught me knitting (the one thing that my Mama did not know how to do.) As it ended up I loved knitting and picked it up really fast. The first year I knitted every one in my family and close extended family hats.
We moved not too long after I learned the basics, so I taught myself some more of the stitches and how to read a pattern. A few years later my parents were finally able to find me another teacher and I went through a book with my teacher that taught a new pattern stitch each week. I loved learning the new patterns and getting to see how you can put things together to create something totally new.
My husband loves colors and helps me pick out color combinations and come up with more ideas. My daughters, sisters, cousins, nieces and nephews are great models to try out patterns and allow me to work on pattern ideas. My Mama helps me with the lining of the purses. Little by little I have been adding more items to Etsy and coming up with more ideas. I love sitting down with natural yarns (merino, alpaca, silk, bamboo, cotton, and wool) they feel amazing. When I sit down with a skien of yarn and an idea, I love to see if the end product looks the way I visualized. I love seeing what others have designed and come up with, it sparks creativity and gives me more ideas. Knitting is classy and full of life and history. My girls (2 and 4), husband and I love to have movie night and the girls are used to the fact that I always have something on the couch with me, that I am working on. They love to sit on my lap and watch me knit, it makes it a slower process, but I love allowing them to do that with me. Whenever I am in a car I bring knitting with me and in the past (before children), I would read a book and knit. My sister thought I was crazy to read and knit. My favorite thing to do is get a good book on audio and listen to it, while working on a project. My daughters love to spend time with me, so we do a lot of fun projects with yarn, whether we knit, glue yarn to paper or they help me pick out yarns for a certain project. They are a great help.
My daughter 4 year old and my niece 6 years old are learning to knit this year and it has been fun seeing the craft passing on to the next generation. I am teaching in a public library right now. I also have some of my items in a local coffee shop.
The items that I knit are from others patterns or from things I have seen in the world around us. When I use a pattern already written I change something to make it slightly different (a thumb hole, a different cable, a different combination of stitches and so on). I want my items to have character and a personality of its own. I want it to make me feel cozy and warm. When someone wears that item, I want them to be able to feel cozy, warm, and comfy. As if they are sitting by a fire with a cup of coffee, not outside in the cold. My items will last and hold up, as long as they are cared for. I want my items to be a part of the new owners life, something that is connected to memories for them. I know that when I knit the items I have a feeling of love, warmth, and I hope that it passes on to the new owner. I want each item to have detail and uniqueness. The natural fibers last a lot longer then synthetics, so the items that I make out of natural fibers will last for a long time and continue to feel great.
5 things that I could never do with out in my craft:
Nice textiles, vibrant colors, cozy environment, my daughters for inspiration and encouragement, coffee. ;-)
Advice for someone that just started knitting:
Find a good teacher and make sure you have the basics down before you start playing with pattern, otherwise it is easy to get frustrated when you do not understand something.
I do take custom order, just contact me with what item and the color you want it. I will let you know what it will cost and we can go from there.
What else do I do?
I am a Mother of two little girls and I am beginning to homeschool them. We stay busy working on projects and activities with them, I also teach knitting 2 times a month, I help in our community with different groups and I am very involved in our church.
Aren't those items gorgeous?! I can do okay on basic knitting, but these things are WAY out of my depth! :) If you're looking for a new cozy sweater, hat, gloves or scarf for your self or a loved one, A. Victoria is the place to look!
You can also find Ashley in her Etsy shop, on Twitter & Facebook, or blogging about all of her wonderful new items on her blog. Go take a look around and then come back here for the giveaway!
I have a very wonderful giveaway to offer you today! Ashley is generously offering one of my readers a $20 gift code to her Artfire shop! Just follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter form below to enter the giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway