Welcome Back, Spring!

Welcome back, Spring!

It’s hard to believe it’s the first day of spring already but today is the vernal equinox. We’re still in minus temperatures as often as positive although hitting positives is a good sign! Mira is shedding like crazy! So it must be Spring!

Today, I have some design peeks and some stash additions. I finished crocheting and knitting both March designs. I still need to finish the patterns but the basics are already there. I need to lay them out and measure them pre-blocking. I hope to block them both tomorrow.

A Peek at Arielle & Cathlyn
A Peek at Arielle & Cathlyn

I took the week off design samples and started replenishing my stock of available dishcloths. I offerred them to my old coworkers. I heard back quickly from two ladies wanting six each. I plan to bring extras with me when I go in on Monday in case some of the other ladies in the office see them and decide to buy some too. I have a few Anya and lots of Alys. Alys is quicker for me; I’ve made her so many times over the years.

Crocheting Alys While Gypsy Sleeps
Crocheting Alys While Gypsy Sleeps

I’m contemplating vending at the local Farmers’ Market this year. I’m fairly sure I can make the table cost and get a good return on investment. It’s going to depend if I start working again or am off still. If I’m working, I would need to take the day of the Market off. This isn’t a problem as I have lots of holidays but I would have a new boss who may not like my wanting a bunch of Fridays off over the next few months.

If I’m off there’s no reason not to at least try a few. It’s a four hour event with good attendance. I would be selling printed copies of my designs, postcards with coupon codes for my ebooks and dishcloths and other small designed items to start and probably add the Damia set as it gets closer to autumn. I know there is a much larger crochet and knitting population here than shows up in Ravelry so I hope to bring new customers to my designs.

My only fear is that creating stock would take away from designing and writing. For that reason, I may only do a few of the Markets as a trial. If it works well I may plan to do them all next year and work on stock as time allows year round.

When I checked the mail today I had two packages of yarn waiting patiently for me to arrive. One is from Audrey of Smitten Yarns, the February club yarn is Cavan Worsted by Three Irish Girls dyed in the Bahamas Mama colourway, a citrusy blend of grapefruit, lemons, limes and oranges. I’ve never worked with this base but I’m looking forward to designing with this yarn! The other package was from Katie of Yarn Love Yarn, my February shipment of her Little Lovelies club. I ordered my usual Elinor Dashwood base, I LOVE this base! The colourway is Moonlight Indigo, a mix of blues, greens, indigo and purple. The mini is Moonlight Purple on the Juliet base.

New Yarn!
New Yarn!

I have plans for all my Juliet minis but that’s for C’est Ma Vie! 2016! I won’t have time for that design to make it into the 2015 book. But, it will be worth the wait!


I’ve been a preoccupied, neglectful blogger these last few months. It’s about time to explain more of what’s going on.

I’m still off sick; only now it’s unpaid sick leave. I’ve applied for EI sick leave benefits but they haven’t started coming in yet. I hope they come soon, because I’ve run through my last pay cheque, and my savings besides. Not that I had much of that left. I probably shouldn’t have invested quite so much in the business those first few months but I didn’t expect this to happen. Thankfully, I’m still able to remain on the employee dental and extended health benefit plan, provided I keep up my portion of the payment which is $25.06- much less than the cost of all my medications or a semi-private hospital bed! Or the dental cleaning I have booked for March 14th!

My physician has returned from her winter vacation and is getting together what I need from her and her clinic to apply for Long Term Disability (LTD). Both my staff health nurse and physician are confident my claim will be approved due to the amount and types of chronic illnesses I have.

I know my EI benefits will work out to about 55% of my prior income. EI sick leave is thirteen weeks long. At that point, if approved my employer’s insurance company will start my LTD benefits. Up until now I haven’t looked at what I’ll make on LTD partly out of overwhelm and partly out of fear.

Ironically, I just checked and neither of the information booklets I’ve been given specify. They say it depends on my employer’s plan with the insurance company. The example used in the FAQ booklet is at 70%, but I don’t know what our plan coverage is. I’m going to have to check on that. I’ve got an email started for Human Resources!

I was also given booklets from our pension plan. We have one of the best pension plans in Canada. It was one of a very few that was fully-funded and gaining interest during the recent recession. The pension plan offers free pension accrual for partial and total disability and a choice of either free accrual or a disability pension if I’m determined to be totally and permanently disabled. Based of course on an approval process! Since I only have twelve years in the pension plan, my disability pension would not be much!

I had my six-month follow up oncology ultrasound last week to check on the abnormal lymph nodes found on my September ultrasound. Everything seemed to be going well until the ultrasonographer said she was going to check my images with the radiologist and have him fill out my Travel Grant. He came back with her to rescan an area of my neck. I have very little to no skin sensation in my neck since my surgery in 2012. I couldn’t really tell where he was scanning except that it was in my front neck area not where the previous abnormalities were found. He said “there was an area of concern” and he would send my oncologist his report. I know my oncologist will also have access to the images. I have an appointment with my oncologist on March 25.

Until then I’m trying not to dwell on things that are unknowns. But there are so many unknowns in my life right now!!!

If you’d like a day by day account of my (currently dramatic!) life, check out my e-book, C’est Ma Vie! 2015. I’m journalling almost daily in Chapter Three: March. Chapter Two: February is being proofread and will be available in a few weeks. But don’t worry, there’s a special book purchasers only newsletter to let you know when the next chapter and its patterns are available! If you’re not sure the book’s for you, that’s ok. You can get the prologue for free by joining our newsletter, Bridgwater Crafts Pages.

C’est Ma Vie! 2015 is for Sale!!!

It’s been three months from the idea to fruition.

The fall last weekend backed me up a week. It is exactly seven days after the planned release, and it’s taken most of the day but it’s happened. The files and the covers have been uploaded. Descriptions and thank you emails typed. All that remains is waiting for purchasers; and the next chapter, of course.

Chapter Two: February is almost complete. The designs are almost ready for editing. Can you believe it’s almost March?!

For those of you on Ravelry, a just the patterns version will be available there tomorrow. If you buy the C’est Ma Vie! With Patterns version, contact me via the same email as your PayPal account with your Ravelry username. I’ll send you a coupon code for the Ravelry version so you can have the patterns in your library.

The books are available here or via Payhip. The regular version is $15.00 CAD. The version with patterns is $25.00 CAD. It looks like a huge difference in price but there are thirteen knit and eleven crochet patterns included in the pattern version. That’s a pretty good deal-less than a dollar a pattern whether you do both crafts or not.

Sunday is for Planning!

Bad news: If anyone told you designing was a quick way to make money, they lied!
Good news: I sold my first pattern of the year on Friday! And I tonight I won a book in a Twitter contest!

But let’s get to the planning…here’s what I’ve done:

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And here’s what I plan to do next week:





It’s heavily concentrated on the book because, in case you forgot, it goes on sale Next Sunday!


And did anyone notice the site got a makeover the other day? I’m still working on tweaking a few things. You may notice more changes over the next few days!

If you would like to know as soon as the book is available for sale, sign up for the newsletter. The subscribers will get the announcement first.

Design Friday

I have finally managed to get a few things accomplished! Going to bed early most nights cuts into productivity. But if I overdo it, I pay for it in pain.

The book cover has been revised. There were valid concerns of legibility in thumbnail size on websites. The same photo and colours are used but the title font and placement of a few things have been changed for the better, I think.

Chapter One: January of C’est Ma Vie! 2015 is currently being proofread.This chapter is accompanied by two knit patterns; the Damia Cowl and the Damia Hat. The Damia Cowl pattern is off with the tech editor. The Hat, I am still working on. I’ve never designed a sized pattern without knitting or crocheting each size. I’m not sure how to size the hat. I’m going to finish it tomorrow so I can email it to my tech editor. If I wait any longer it may not be ready for next Sunday’s release! I can’t believe how quickly the release is arriving! It seemed so far away when I chose the date.

I’ve been wearing the Damia Cowl when I go out. It is so warm and snuggly when it’s frigid outside.

Chapter Two: February is being written on almost daily. I think I missed one day. This chapter is accompanied by a crochet and a knit pattern. Samples one are completed for both patterns. Sample two of the crochet pattern is almost done. I should have it finished tomorrow. I will then begin the search for a crochet tech editor. Here’s a peek at sample two of the crochet design from this morning:

Elodie, sample two
Elodie, sample two

Another task for tomorrow is to figure out which yarns will be in the next few months’ designs and write some emails. I would like to include a dyer bio and yarn base info for each yarn I use. Some may decline, but I’m hoping most will see it as an opportunity for free advertising.

A New Month & A New Weekly Plan

Happy February!

I’ve started using a new weekly planner I’ve created in Evernote based roughly on one seen in a webinar and the style of task sorting in Gneo. I’m having issues with judging how long tasks will take. I’m going to have to time myself for a few weeks to get accurate times. But here’s last week’s:

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This is more difficult to show you than I thought it would be. I’ll work on that for next week! Here’s this week’s:

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I hopefully can can get a bunch of these done! It’s all a matter of pacing myself.

January 18 Weekly Review and Planning Session


Here is my “completed” planner for last week. One day I’m going to surprise you and actually complete everything!

Jan. 11-17 Weekly Plan
Jan. 11-17 Weekly Plan

i think this may be the most Urgent/Important items I’ve completed in a week! One thing you may notice is something’s are shown as complete in last week’s plan but return in this week’s. I have decided to do things differently with long-term projects. If I have completed as much as possible that week, I will mark them complete but also carry them over to the next week. I’m utilizing the Notes function to track what I’ve completed so steps are not missed or duplicated.

Here is this week’s plan. I am positive I have forgotten to add something. Despite thinking about it all day, I cannot remember.

Jan. 18-24 Weekly Plan
Jan. 18-24 Weekly Plan

It seems long but I’m hopeful I can complete a good amount this week.

C’est Ma Vie! 2015 Ebook

It’s time to start marketing the book. That’s one of those forgotten to do list items I mentioned in yesterday’s post.

C’est Ma Vie! 2015 (It’s My Life! 2015) is a chronicle of my journey through 2015, as I work a full-time job, work part-time at my creative business Bridgwater Crafts, live with chronic health conditions, have close relationships with family and a life besides. It’s about me and how I live as a Cancer survivor-maybe, they think it might be back-with carpal tunnel syndrome, diabetes-type 2, fibromyalgia, lactose intolerance, and spinal degeneration. It’s main purpose is to journal how I grow my business, adapt to my health issues and live my life.

The book will be self-published electronically, each month equalling a chapter. Each month’s chapter will be released the fifteenth of following month. There will be two versions: one with patterns I design (crochet and knit) and one without. I hope to have one crochet and one knit pattern per chapter. The patterns are exclusive to book purchasers until after the final chapter is released in January 2016. Occasionally I work on someone else’s design; credit will be given and links provided to the pattern source.

I see the book as having multiple audiences:
1. Crocheters, knitters and other designers will read it for the business information and the patterns included in the patterned version.
2. Chronic illness survivors will read it for information and inspiration.
3. Caregivers and loved ones of chronic illness survivors will read it for insight into how living with chronic illnesses affects our lives and for the information and inspiration.

But it is primarily for me. This is something I have to do now. I don’t know why yet but that’s just how I feel. I’m already thinking of doing 2016 and 2017 versions. In 2016, the segments will be compiled and available for sale on my website and other ebook sellers. Purchasers of the monthly book will gifted a coupon at that time to receive the compiled ebook free from my website. If there is enough demand I will consider print-to-order as well.

If you think this sounds interesting or you might enjoy reading the book, join my newsletter. All subscribers will receive the dedication and prologue free on January 15th. The ebook will be available for purchase on February 15th.

January 11-17 2015 Weekly Plan

First things first!

Happy 36th Birthday, Little Brother!

I hope 2015 is a great year for you!

Let’s start with the review:

This was a majorly bad week. Little was accomplished in or out of the business. Here is my planned week:

Jan. 4-10 Plan
Jan. 4-10 Plan

See how little was checked off? I did move forward on a few multi-week tasks but still it was bad.

It appears I will be off work for even longer. I hope to know more tomorrow. Because of the uncertainty, I did not add many tasks to this week’s list. And I have just now thought of a few things I forgot to add.

Jan. 11-17 Plan
Jan. 11-17 Plan

I need to finish or just plain do a few of the tasks that have been around for a while. I’m going try something different in how I divide my time this week. I’ll explain more next Sunday if it works!


The prologue to my book, C’est Ma Vie 2015, will be delivered to all newsletter subscribers January 15. If you want a sneak peek, sign up! It’s easy, just go to www.eepurl.com-6h49 and fill out the little form! That’s all.

This Week’s Design Process

Last weekend I uploaded new versions of my four patterns. Three were just formatting changes. ¬†With each design I fine tune the formatting. I’m pretty happy with the formatting style I used for Drusilla. My template pattern is now that format, so I brought my older patterns in sync. The fourth update was to Drusilla. I didn’t catch before publishing but my find/replace to switch from knit to k changed all text boxes not just the one I was currently in as I used it. So my tagline became “Crochet & k Designs by Kimberley Bridgwater” and my tester’s username became “Janetkwitch”. These are now fixed.

Then I tried signing up for LoveKnitting, so Ravelry can shoot my EU customers over there for pattern purchase. Ravelry and LoveKnitting have partnered up so those of us that don’t live in the EU can sell our patterns and fully comply with the VAT (Value Added Tax) legislation on e-sales of electronic files. But the site must have been bogged down by all of trying to get our patterns over. I couldn’t create a username. I knew I had time. According to my Ravelry stats I have yet to sell a pattern to an EU resident since opening my design store in June 2014. I didn’t expect that to suddenly change.

I finally got my great-nephew’s birthday hat to him. I tried getting photos but he was not understanding taking off boots, coat and hat on the way into the house then putting on another hat so Auntie could take photos. They may be all blurred shots! If I can find a decent enough photo I’ll post it. Otherwise I’ll try for when he was leaving. But here’s what it looks like:

Jayven's 2nd Birthday Hat
Jayven’s 2nd Birthday Hat
Jayven In His Hat
Jayven In His Hat
Another of Jayven in His Hat
Another of Jayven in His Hat

He’s okay! He didn’t understand his dad’s mom was moving the car seat from one vehicle to another to take him for a sleepover. He thought he was left behind! See he was happy earlier:

A Mischievous Jayven
A Mischievous Jayven

Then there was some drama involved with returning to my day job on Monday. I’m not going to get into it here as this is a public blog. I don’t want anything I say to come back and bite me on the a$$! Suffice it to say, I am still off sick and may be for quite some time.

That distraction kept me from making much progress on anything this week. I barely touched my designs. Sample 2 of Damia Cowl has maybe grown a few cm. I just this afternoon managed to get my patterns uploaded to LoveKnitting. They’re all in pending awaiting approval from the LK staff. I haven’t even written on the book-which I was doing daily! My inbox is hovering around 175 constantly. It’s usually in the low double digits except first thing in the morning!

It’s my brother’s birthday this Sunday so I’ve started knitting him a hat from Joeli’s Kitchen Double Time e-book. I don’t think I’ll be done in time. I started too late. I’m still in the ribbing! We will see how much I can knit on it before we all get together for dinner Sunday.