Apps, Can’t live without them.

We all have them, we can’t make it thru the day without them…Our Apps.
I am thankful to these creative people who help me run my business, organize my life and saved my sanity with a little fun.

He is just a few of my favorites
Etsy & EBay –
I buy almost all my supplies from these 2 apps. Supporting other small business is very important to me. While getting great deals, I get to communicate directly with other business owners & artist.

Photogenie2 -irreplaceable!!!
All my photos for my website, business cards & promo items I edit and create with this app. Most of us take our photos with our smartphone, It’s wonderful to take the picture and edit it with such a professional tool

Business Card Designer(By Katsushi)
My new fav, it’s so easy to create custom photo business cards & even discount cards for clients. With no shipping cost or waiting. I can design the professional product the way I want. And I can save, email or send to print right from my phone

Square- changed my life!!!
Swipe credit cards & cash payments right from my phone. It’s so easy, with one swipe we both have the security of their signature and the receipt is immediately sent by email or text. One of my favorites is you can even take a picture to put with on their receipt (so we both can remember).

Here is some others I can’t do without
Netflix
(love to work while catching up on my movies & tv shows)

Sound hound –
Ever wonder what is the name of that song?
It will pull up the song with the info, song sample, lyrics, you tube choices, last tweets and concert dates. Bonus, it can play my music from my ipod library (with lyrics for me to sing along)

And for fun, Any Dash Game I can’t do without. Hotel Dash, Cooking Dash, Diner Dash & Wedding Dash 🙂

Well this is just a few of my favs, what’s yours?

THE CASE FOR HAND KNIT HANDBAGS PART III – UHANE KNITS, THE CHOICES & FUTURE

Uhane Knits

The Uhane Knits Label of Quality

As a person who loves and carries handbags wherever I go, wool is great because it’s perfect year round.  We all know wool is a great insulator, that it’s wonderful in retaining heat; but did you know that insulation also works both ways?  Wool is great for keeping the cool in too.  Different cultures use wool clothes because it is a breathable material allowing the skin to cool itself during warm weather, and retain heat during cooler weather. Bedouins and Tuaregs mainly use wool clothes to keep the heat out, while the Inuit and Scandinavians mainly use it to keep the heat in through cold winters.

I hear from people that they cannot believe that

someone actually sat there and actually made a knitted bag!

All I can do is smile and say to them, “yes, I did make that

Unlike synthetics and petroleum-based products, wool is the best sustainable choice. It is an organic product, eco-friendly and is better for the environment without the chemical processes.  Done right, hand shearing does not harm the animals & free range herding is preferred. Organic wool just happens to be my favorite, but there are many other types of yarn to choose. Distinctive yarns comes from countries near & far.

For example, I use wool-soy blends made in China that are heavier and are great for colder climates. Nylon blended yarn are very sturdy and springy, so I use them for many of our belts and bag straps. There are lightweight wools (Morocco) and heavier wools (Italy). There is super-chunky, chunky, lightweight, sock yarns, and many width and thread sizes.

Making Bedouin Wool Yarn / Eyal Dor Ofer – Yaldor Photography

Making Bedouin Wool Yarn

Again, with various colors and sizes, the possibilities are endless. Countries such as Peru make very distinctive quality wool yarn that dyes well.

 I just hope that I can come up with the perfect bag for the season and satisfy the needs of the individual customer.

'Aina Hemp Handbag on Billboard

'Aina Hemp Handbag on Store Billboard

I have starting experimenting with other materials to create more seasonal looks. Soon, we will be incorporating yarn made of cotton, hemp and other natural fibers.  Stay tuned!  Each new fiber has its own inherent and unique qualities, but that is a topic for another discussion.  Still, to me, wool is my most vibrant, year-round and staple choice. It is an awesome fabric and makes perfect sense year round.  Uhane Knits handbags come in lots of  shapes, colors and styles.

When I began Uhane Knits, I wanted to not only change people’s perceptions about hand knit designs but also open their minds to the possibilities of what organic and eco-friendly material  can be. I wanted to bring out the spirit of the material and hopefully mold it with my own passion to create lovely and functional women’s accessories.  I knew even as a girl that knitting could be used for more than just socks, sweaters & scarves. I believed that it could even be used to make designer handbags. I knew that wool could be worn with style any season & for any occasion.

Wool is still underappreciated in the design of handbags. I think it is because of a simple lack of knowledge of the material and its wonderfulness.  People may not consider the material because they may think of it only in winter, just for warmth, for hats and scarves, not for handbags. This offers us at Uhane Knits a great opportunity.

It is our mission & our slogan to get the word out to people that wool is for every season

I hope this treatise and the information within will enlighten you as it has for me.  Can you now see yourself wearing quality wool even between the months of May and October? Now you know a little more about my favorite fabric, my love for wool and more than most people about what goes into an Uhane Knits handbag.

After reading the “Case for Handknit Handbags”, now you can explain with authority to anyone who looks puzzled about you wearing wool in the spring.

Cynthia Diane

Cynthia Diane Shoulder Bag in Wool / Soy Blend

Even in July, armed with this knowledge, you will be able to explain to them why “Wool is not just for winter” and can tell them the facts of why it be can enjoyed year round!  So go wear your wool, anytime, with pride.  Thank you for reading.

We’d love to hear from you too! Let us know what you think about the subject.  Subscribe or just leave a comment with us on our wordpress blog: HandKnit. Also, you can visit on facebook, the UK website, or just peruse our photostream on flickr. Crafters are welcome to join our circle and please visit our shop on Etsy.

THE CASE FOR HAND KNIT HANDBAGS PART II – NATURALLY UNIQUE

Sheep

This little lamb gets sheared to produce woollen yarn

Did you know wool comes in two different types?  Our wool yarn is worsted.  We buy it already spun, plied and ready to use.  Worsted wool is characteristically smooth, firm, and strong.  Worsted yarn has a great sheen, especially when spun from a long and lustrous fleece. This is opposed to woolen yarns, which are spun from rolag.  Rolag is a roll of fiber generally used to spin other less lustrous woolen yarn and many people buy it in a more raw state for homemade dyeing & for creating their own custom yarn.

I choose worsted wool because it is naturally stronger and the longer length helps it felt so much better.

What makes wool such a unique texture and so special to my designs is its character. It has elasticity, scaling and crimps. Elasticity is important because it allows the fabric to stretch, breathe, and return to its original shape. The fiber has scales that overlap like shingles on a roof. This adds strength and allows the knitter to connect additional balls of yarn easier.  Crimp is best described as the number of bends in the fiber.  The more bends, the finer the crimp and the greater the ability to spin the wool into fine yarns.

Fine yarns are the preferred choice for a hand knitter who believes in top quality and tight construction.  Crimping allows the fibers to attach to each other and most importantly, to give it strength & durability. For example, hair has little bend, no crimp and an inability to effectively be spun into yarn. A fine wool like Merino may have up to 100 crimps per inch, while coarser wools like karakul may have as few as 1 to 2 crimps.  [1] [2]

Wool is resistant to static electricity; this is why wool garments are much less likely to cause a spark or cling to the body. The use of wool car seat covers and wool carpets actually reduces the risk of a shock when a person touches an ungrounded object. So you won’t get sparks after walking on a Persian rug for instance.

Another wonderful fact about wool Fibers is that it is hygroscopic, meaning that it readily absorbs moisture. Wool can absorb moisture almost one-third of its own weight before even feeling wet.  Lambs are protected by a layer of lanolin in their fleece which keeps their skin nice and dry.  In addition, wool is naturally fire retardant. Did you know that wool is specifically chosen for garments for fire fighters, soldiers, and others in occupations where they are exposed to the likelihood of fire, and large temperature swings within their job?

What is it about all the different yarns, the textures, the patterns, the colors?

Oh, and the color combinations are incredible. It is a designer’s dream. Wool holds colored dyes so well and lasts so long. I am amazed to see that my bags have the same vibrant colors and keep them for years and years.  I love it because I can choose and play with any color combination under the sun.

Wool Yarn

The wool yarn is used to make Uhane Knits Handbags

Fisherman’s Wool can be found in several of Uhane Knits bags models. It’s in the Signature

& Nani collections like the Lisa Marie, Kara, Niko and Lani. It’s in Oatmeal and other colors. Light as a feather, Fisherman’s wool is coated in lanolin oil so it is extra damp resistant and perfect for all seasons. No fear taking the bag into the elements, rain or snow.

Lisa Marie Shoulder Tote

The Lisa Marie Shoulder Tote felted in Fisherman's wool

Furthermore, this is why fine wool is so important to felting. Felting is the process of agitating the wool with hot water and a little soap to help the fibers attach to one another better, making a stronger fabric.  The process of felting changes the structures of the fiber to make it one solid unified fabric.

After hand knitting, felting is what makes our handbags awesome. It’s because the loose fitting knit and weaving begun with needles then becomes unified, solidified and stronger.  Sometimes, after felting, the weave pattern visibly melts away. Wool is the only fiber that actually felts properly.

Now, don’t get me wrong, synthetic materials do have their place and are very useful. Moreover, we do use them in Uhane Knits handbags.  We utilize Nylon to create strong belts and topstitching.  Microsuede makes for a fantastic interior lining and durable pockets.  Other materials that adorn our bags include wooden beads & tags, steel, nickel and brass rings and other metal fasteners, snaps and nylon zippers.


THE CASE FOR HAND KNIT HANDBAGS PART I – MY LOVE FOR WOOL

Ono Handbag

Diana Gordon modelling Ono

I always had a love for Knitting and I like to make things with my hands.  I wanted to put these two loves together so I started a company to try to fulfill both passions. I am here today to explain what makes my favorite fabric so special in making my handbags and I hope you will love it too.

I am a proud knitter and, we proud knitters all have our own preferences for the types of yarn we choose. I can literally spend hours online or in craft stores staring at yarn. The choices are enormous.  All of the colors, textures and variety of sources are breathtaking to me.

However, what is most amazing is that with all the options for materials, my preferred choice is always wool. To many in the mainstream fashion world, wool may not be the obvious choice. But it is for me, which is creating handbags.

Wool yarn is the building blocks for a knitter. There are myriad benefits hidden in the nature the fiber. I feel limited only by my own imagination. I find the process of choosing the yarn I love equally fascinating to the actual things I ultimately come up. I invite you to discover why I love wool so much.

Wool is made from shearing the fleece of animals (much like hair in that it contains keratin proteins). Then it is twisted, weaved, spun and dyed to make yarn.  Wool can come from a host of different animals. From the fleece of common domesticated animals like sheep, goats or rabbits, I can make sturdy fabrics for clothing and other accessories. You might know these fabrics as lambswool, mohair, cashmere or angora.  Considered luxurious because of their great insulating properties, their scarcity, and natural beauty, the wool from these animals have been used for centuries. Artisan skill is required to actually fabricate them into wearable items.

One type of wool, lambswool comes in grades from the fine merino to the coarse karakul.  A knitter has to choose what grade works best for them.  However, we are not limited to just these furry critters. More types of yarns are becoming available everyday. Now for a knitter like myself living and making bags in the United States, I am noticing the qualities of these newer offerings on the scene & from around the world. Yarn spun from exotic animals like muskox, camel, llama, and vicuña intrigue me. I have already begun to incorporate exotic yarn like alpaca in my fashion line this year. I would even like to try buffalo yarn (American bison) in the future.

Sweet Potato Pie / Ono

Ono Alpaca Handbag

Knitting is not a new thing.  In spite of the perception, it’s not just relegated to a Grandma weaving at her wooden loom and knitting booties in a rocking chair. Young people are doing it too and the craft is growing. [1] To the contrary, weaving and creating garments in wool, although an ancient craft, is making an astounding resurgence.  Knit and other handmade items have become more popular today by the growth of online stores like Etsy.com. You can find a Uhane Knits shop there as well. Etsy’s a handknit community with lots of great designers of handmade & household items, trinkets, clothing and wearable art.There has been evidence of wool fibers found in the Republic of Georgia in Eurasia dating back to 34,000 ago. The Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks all knitted in wool. All over the world, communities of weavers still make wool into yarn. This is great news for us industrious knitters determined to turn these building blocks into everything. From upholstery to rugs, from scarves & hats to sweaters, from socks to even diaper covers and to my favorite, handbags. It is amazing the amount of ways wool is utilized today to express creativity. God bless indigenous cultures & the crafters who keep this art alive.

Even in this modern age of machines, plastics, and synthetic fabrics, it is still the natural feel, unique breathing & binding qualities of wool that many of our customers prefer.[2] There is nothing like a handmade item that captures the interest, to give as gifts or to keep as an heirloom.

Today, with all the craftwork involved, wool is still an economically viable option.  The fiber is still used to make both functional and aesthetically fashionable items.  Mass Manufacturers to this day have not been able to reproduce wool effectively from artificial fibers. Discerning shoppers will always associate wool with things like sweaters, scarves, hats, and mittens. With hand knit handbags, however, it is not generally known that wool is a viable option. It can hold its own in the pantheon of more famous bag materials like leather and suede.  Can we get the word out about this wonderful fiber?

 

Alpaca

Ono is made from highland Alpaca Wool

The Benefits Of Wool[3]


Resists wrinkles  wool springs back quickly 
Resists soiling  because the fiber is complex 
Is durable  multi-part fiber resists wear 
Repels moisture  fiber sheds water 
Retains shape  resilient fibers return to size 
Resists flames  fibers will not support combustion 
Is comfortable in all seasons  keeps layer of air next to skin

Uhane Knits Upgraded With Eco-Friendly Energy

Uhane Knits Bag CollageUhane Knits website has been updated for a more enjoyable browsing experience. UK site is now powered by the wind. Great new pictures, more info about the Designer. Check out the Buy Now link to see the new color options. Simplified the Labels. More Sale items. New Links. Download Diana’s new article “The Case for Handknit-My love for Wool”. Tell us what you think on HandKnit Blog.  Now go run and tell that, Homeboy!

Time wasted & lesson learned

Have you ever notice how long 7-10 business days is when you are anticipating some you really want or need. I am waiting for my shipment so I can continue to work on our new Summer 2011 line. I am dying to get it done. Like a kid at christmas I’m starting at the calendar, checking the window and logging in (way to often) to track a package that I could of walked to New Jersey and got it by now.
The sites GPS tracking is like a cruel joke showing me exactly how slowly my package is moving across state lines. The only thing that keeps me from running to intercept that truck is (jail time LOL &) the thought that time will always keep moving (and so should I).
There was many things I could of been doing than tracking trucks and staring at calendars. It reminded me that time is too precious to waste.

Like I said, its because you deserve it

What is it about spending a few dollars on ourselves gives us pause? We work hard all day, we come home and toil with our kids. We make dinner, pay bills, watch TV, play silly games. We go to sleep and do it all again. Don’t we deserve nice things every once and a while too? If we can satiate our guilt too, all the better! Ya dig?

When do we have time to have our needs taken care of? Maybe a spa visit, a weekend getaway, or the money to buy a new toy? Not for the kids, but for ourselves? Hmm, been a long time, ehh.

We make sacrifices every day for our loved ones and we are truly blessed to be able to provide. However, we have to remember that we need treats too.

I love the treats that come from the heart. Like smiles, back rubs, kisses. They are all helluva good. I love cool material stuff too like fast cars, gadgets, fine clothes, and great eats. Face it, even love costs some dough.

In these economic times, those material things come few and far between. It’s ok, but I still need to treat myself (and my wife) from time to time with something cool. I just have to pick my spots. And by that I mean parting with my hard earned dollars for purchases that are not just cool but sentimental and functional as well. I need the biggest impact for the least amount of coin. Give me the best bang for the buck to get that ooooh factor, some thing that’ll last. Can’t be frivolous with short pockets.

Stuff is stuff. We buy it. We own it. We constantly buy more stuff. Usually, soon after we spend money on stuff, we either forget about the initial thrill of it, or we buy more stuff to fill the void of the moment we opened the package.

Some stuff is different. It’s the heartfelt stuff. It’s the stuff that has heart and is touched by love. It comes from our kids on Valentines Day, Mothers or Fathers Day. It might not be all that useful but my kid made it so I love it.

It stays with us because of the feeling we have for our loved ones. It can be a thing of beauty. It can be a truly useful gadget. It can be a future heirloom. Usually, the stuff that matters hits our senses on multiple levels and the feeling lasts long. That’s the stuff!

Remember when we were kids, we couldn’t wait for a holiday to open our presents. We would be extra good for months so our parents would buy us that thing that would complete us. We got it. We played with it for awhile and forgot about it.

But when, Dad gave you his flight jacket, or his pool stick, or mom gave you her favorite piece of jewelry, it was different. Grandma knitted a quilt or Grandpa gave you the rods you and he went fishing with. That pottery sis made in college or that funny card your kid did on the computer. It meant something more than the thing. It had history, soul, love, struggle, pain, happiness, and a sense of belonging to something bigger, a symbol that contained value, a keepsake.

Those symbols were the stuff of family, love, tradition and care. All wrapped up in a pneumonic device called a treasured object, a real gift.

We took the time to marvel at it. We hold those things dear to this day. Think about some of your most treasured things. What makes them special? Were they handmade, pretty, nostalgic, came from someone we love?

So all that to say, stop mistaking rigor of life for vigor of life. Stop and smell the roses and not just the coffee. Take time to spend time and money on a gift for yourself, or if you must, on a loved one.

You are going to spend money, cause thats the reality we live in. Give something that has heart, soul, history, artistry, meaning, a treasure. Something that makes a mark.

Fancy that, we can spend money on ourselves and not feel guilty about it. It’s eco-friendly, its made with love its pretty, functional, unique and helps others. We deserve it. We earned it. We love to anticipated looking at it, wearing it, playing with it.

Again, like we were kids, but with the wisdom of age comes the love of value and history. It’s a piece of love symbolized in a thing. Get that thing!

My father always told me give the gift of yourself. If you can’t do that give the gift that you love yourself.