24: Other Indie Products I Love


Shepherd’s Blessings

Shepherd’s Blessings

Wild Rose Soap Company

Wild Rose Soap Company


Pawley Studios

Pawley Studiosh

Glorious Geekdom Pottery

Glorious Geekdom Pottery


Shepherd’s Blessings

Shepherd’s Blessings

Sibling Coffee Roasters

Sibling Coffee Roasters

Shawl Pins

Crafty Flutterby Creations

Crafty Flutterby Creations

Project Bags

Star Knits

Star Knits

From left to right these are a Pocket Bag (my new favorite), WIP bag (still love the drawstring), Spinning Bucket (perfect for your spinning project)

Wet Felted Items

Fat Yellow Dog Farm

Where you can find Denise:

Feb.18th Ithaca Loves Teachers La Tourelle Spa, Ithaca, NY
June 8th and 9th Central NY Fiber Festival Bouckville, NY
Sept.7th and 8th Endless Mountains Fiber Festival Harford, Pa.
Sept. 21st and 22nd Finger Lakes Fiber Festival Hemlock, NY
Oct,12th and 13th Little York Fall Fiber Festival Little York, NY
Nov. 17th Holiday Marketplace Temple Concord Binghamton, NY

Denise is also a member of The Black Cat Gallery in Owego, NY

You can also email her. sdtarbox at frontier dot com

Wooden Fiber and Home Goods

Ideas in Wood

What’s in the bag?

I’m a ‘bag lady’. I have a work bag, a knitting bag, a crochet bag, an embroidery bag, a whole bunch of reusable grocery totes that occasionally become secondary project bags, a bag in my car with emergency supplies, a tool bag, and as I look around my crafting space I currently have a bag of clean and empty Oui yogurt jars and a bag of pecans waiting to be shelled. Yup, bags are my primary organizational system.

In my knitting bag, I have a needle roll with 60% of my needles in it. The huge clunky ones are in a jar in my craft space, along with same-size-different-length needles on the longer side. My crochet bag has a hook roll. Neither of these organizers really hold any tools. Those tool bags are the bags I’m going to talk about today.

The little tool bags inside the big bags are all small zipper totes, all roughly 9” x 9 ” x 1 1/2” and similar to cosmetic bags. Inside my knitting bag and both* crochet bags, I have quite a few common items.

  • a 3”x3” Post-It notepad, lined for writing
  • a pencil
  • an eraser (the pink rectangular type)
  • a small snap-close plastic container of stitch markers
  • a small plastic needle or hook measuring gauge
  • a seamstress type measuring tape
  • a couple of safety pins
  • a couple bobby pins
  • travel scissors or nail clippers
  • a couple yards scrap yarn. This is rolled into a little ball no bigger than a jawbreaker candy.

My knitting bag has a few things my crochet bags don’t: cable needles in several sizes, some point protectors, a crochet hook, and some vintage safety-pin-looking stitch holders.

So, what’s the reasoning behind these? Some are pretty obvious, but I’ll elaborate on the less obvious.

Three by three Post-It note pad

I don’t write small, this size allows me to put a full sentence reminder to myself. It’s big enough to do math on. It’s small enough to not dominate the zipper bag and go in and out easily. I use singles as place markers in my patterns, underlining the row I’m on, the size really blocks out following rows well for easy focus (sometimes I block the above rows too). I can put one off to the side to make tally marks on to keep counts in various patterns. And when I’m in public, I stick one to my business card with additional information because I’m always telling people where they can take a class from me. I’ve tried ordinary note pads, bigger and smaller, but Post-It’s are just plain awesome and this size works exceptionally well for me. If you write small you may be happier with smaller ones, but a sticky type beats plain paper every day.

A pencil and eraser

A Ticonderoga pencil specifically, because it’s real wood and they are well made for about 3 cents more than those awful plastic ones. I stock up on supplies at back-to-school time. I have also found the fun kid and holiday motif pencils sold at Target and Michael’s are often really good wood too and have had several in my bags over the years. My work crochet bag has a red pencil with white polka dots and blue flowers. I do not use mechanical pencils, because those require a hard surface to write on. The fine lead will just poke a hole in your paper if it’s on your knee because you are working in the doctors office waiting room. I feel no concern writing on my pattern, making a tiny note in a book, or scribbling out the math for a project if I’m using pencil. That’s what erasers are for, and I carry a big one. The other reason I carry a separate eraser is that the ones that come on pencils are never big enough. I like the Pink Pearl type in my bag. I like the ones that fit over the pencil’s eraser, but I’ve found they don’t hold up well in a bag. Too much movement cracks them, then you have little bits of eraser all through your bag.

Safety Pins

These don’t really get used for knitting or crochet. I have them there for giving away. In an emergency, me and my yarn bag look like a good source of rescue to those having wardrobe malfunctions. It’s sort of passive advertising, and non-crafty people don’t know that knitters do not have a needle and thread on their person at all times. I keep my bags stocked because that guy on the bus who just realized his fly wasn’t down but broken is going to look for the craftiest looking person he can to get him out of a pinch. The young mother whose purse strap just bit the dust, the toddler whose lovey just lost it’s arm, all have sought me out in public because of my yarn bag. “Um, well, this is crochet, but I have a safety pin” has flooded needy strangers with relief on many occasions. It’s an opportunity to be a Good Citizen.

Bobby pins

The Clover company has an amazing array of tools and products for all kinds of fiber arts, I own many of them. I’m really happy with their quality too. But they have yet to improve on the humble bobby pin. I suppose this is a bit of a ‘hack’, but it is really just practical and frugal. Nothing Clover sells can be got in the quantity of 50 for a dollar. I feel no guilt losing or giving them away at that cost.

So how do I use them? They are my ‘locks’ when I put my project back in the bag. For crochet, I slip it through the loop on the hook, then down over the completed rows. For knitting, I slide one on each end of my needle(s) through the front of the stitches. They won’t snag the yarn. If it comes off the needle/ hook, it holds the loops from un-looping and to each other. They can be got in several sizes and occasionally fun colors (look in the kid section of the hair accessory section the next time you are at a dollar store). And, you can put them in your hair to keep it out of your face while working.

Scrap yarn

This is useful in a bunch of ways. I have a large skein of Red Heart in a hideous orange I got in a freecycle box. It’s my primary source of scrap yarn balls as it’s not a yarn I’d ever make a gift from or wear myself. It’s really the most dreadful shade of orange ever produced. Scrap yarn is often called for in knitting for the trying on or holding stitches instructions. In crochet, I’ll sometimes swatch a stitch or section before going to it in my good yarn on my project. I use it to demonstrate the basics when that curious kid comes and starts asking lots of questions in random public places. I’ve even given it away to children after teaching them how to make a chain using just their fingers. It’s another Good Citizen thing, and the yarn was free.

So, that’s more than you ever needed to know about what’s in my bag. What’s in your bag?

*because I teach crochet, I have one that lives at work permanently along with a few hooks, my class handouts, beginner patterns, and the student yarn.

Inner Zimmerman: 3 Bits of Knitting Wisdom

I was fortunate to learn some important things early on when I picked knitting back up.  I learned to knit from my grandmother (Maw) when I was 9.  She helped me knit my baby brother a blanket (though I’m thinking she knit a lot of it) and started knitting something else that I never finished.  I only learned the knit stitch.  After she died I often wished I had learned more from her.  I loved the idea of creating something for someone else.


Then about 15 years ago I saw a learn to knit DVD that came with yarn and straight needles.  I watched it over and over and got casting on, knitting and purling, and casting off down.  I LOVED it!  But finding patterns then was still difficult.  I joined an online knitting group called KnittingHelp.com.  This is where I learned about Elizabeth Zimmerman (aka EZ).  Many of the other knitters highly recommended her Knitting Workshop DVD.  So for Christmas, I asked for the DVD set.  I was so excited when I got it.

I watched it over and over.  I’d watch it while I was cooking even.  It really made what she was teaching stick and her voice just has such a calming effect.  I learned a lot watching her.  I’m going to share 3 of those things with you today


Confidence and Perseverance

First was I learned that I can learn to do any knitting technique if I put my mind to it.  I’ve often heard people say they don’t have the patience to learn to knit and I always tell them, it doesn’t really take patience, it takes perseverance.  You have to be determined to learn and willing to practice just like any other new thing you want to learn.  Part of what helped me learn this was she starts off teaching how to knit a stranded colorwork hat.  She teaches it like it’s not hard, just how to do it.  She also teaches how to make your own colorwork pattern.  This was so much fun and when I showed everyone what I had made everyone was so surprised I made it that I realized knitting really isn’t hard, just takes time to learn.

Sweater Construction

She teaches how a sweater is made.  How to use measurements and a gauge swatch (which is actually a hat) to make a sweater.  She teaches the proportions to use and gives a base for a basic sweater, in fact for a bunch of different sweaters with different construction.  This lead me to learn how to make a top-down sweater too.

To Ignore Naysayers

Lastly, she taught me if you are creating stitches and enjoying it, there is no wrong way to knit.  It doesn’t matter if you knit English or Continental, it doesn’t matter if you hate one cast on and never use it, what matters is that you are making something.  Many knitters mostly make items for other people because they value that person and want to express that with their knitting.  We should value that in ourselves and in each other.

I was lucky to find her DVD early on in learning to knit.  The positive influence it’s had on me allowed me to grow as a knitter in ways I wouldn’t have without it.


Mojo’s Gone? Here’s What I Do!

It’s rough when you love something but don’t have the desire to do it, but this happens to everyone from time to time.  I’ve found a few things that help.


When it goes I’ve found it better to just let it.  Don’t try to force yourself to work on projects. Knitting should be enjoyable and not something you are forced to do.  I’ve found trying to force it just make my mojo run farther away.  Often times a break is just what I need.


Browse knitting patterns and projects.  Go clean up your queue and favorites.  Add new ones that you’d like to do.  Flip through your pattern books and magazines.  Sometimes this is what I need, that inspiration hits when I see what others have made.  Don’t forget to look on places like Instagram and check out the projects tab on the pattern page on Ravelry.


Find some pretty yarn.  This could be you pet it in your stash or look online or go visit your Local Yarn Shop. You can buy new yarn or not.  All the colors and textures of the yarn can help that mojo come right back!


Find other knitters.  That could be in a local group or on a podcast or blog.  When you see more personally what others are making can get your mojo fired right back up!


Most of all just give yourself a break.  Your mojo will come back, I promise.

Hello! And Welcome!

Welcome! I am Dawn, the owner and creator behind Fairy Tale Knits and I’m looking forward to hearing from you and sharing anything and everything fiber related. Here’s some about me.


I am a homeschooling mom to 4 kids, 2 girls 13 and 10 and 2 boys 8 and 5. I love homeschooling and it’s a big part of my life and I’ll share some of that here. We also are part of an awesome homeschool co-op where we can all spend time with friends and learn a lot. One of the things I like the most about homeschooling is seeing my kids unique drives and personality unfold day by day.

Geek at heart

I am also a geek at heart. I love math and science. Algebra and Calculus are my favorite maths and Zoology, Microbology, and Chemistry are my favorite sciences.

A little about me as a knitter. My grandmother (Maw) taught me to knit when I was 9. I knitted some then but really picked it back up in 2001 and it became a (mostly) daily thing for me in 2003.


I am somewhat of a zen knitter. If I make a mistake that I can easily hide I will do that instead of ripping back. I usually only rip back if it is noticeable or it will bother me. Pooling usually doesn’t bother me so I just keep knitting instead of trying to make it stop pooling. I am also a process knitter, I enjoy making the item more than finishing it. This means I have lots of projects all the time (like 20 or more sometimes), though this has gotten better in the past year or so.

I take knitting with me all the time so I keep a mindless project handy for when I’m waiting in line or such. I love knitting lace and stranded color work. I prefer to knit both of these from charts and I will make a chart from written directions if needed.


As a crocheter I don’t have a lot to say because it’s still somewhat new to me. I tried for years to get even tension and couldn’t until I started holding the yarn in my right hand and throwing it like I do when knitting about a year ago. Since then I have crocheted some but not much. I very much prefer crocheting stuffed animals over knitting them.

I am starting this blog because I love the world of fiber and want to help other fiber lovers! Some of my post will be able how I get done all I do, things that have helped me outside of the fiber world and some behind the scenes and some bits of my life. But most will be fiber related and most of those will be about knitting and about different types of fiber.

I’m really looking forward to getting to know all of you. You can always comment below or message me on any of the social medias linked above. So to start off the sharing, what is your favorite thing to knit or crochet? It can be a specific pattern or type of item or general like lace or enterlac.

Don’t forget to sign up for my email list here and receive a coupon for your next purchase.

You can follow me on IG, Facebook, and Twitter.

And here’s some pretties for you to enjoy!

Fairy Tale Knits Yarnies

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