Saturday, September 19, 2009

#5 - I'd Like to Introduce...

the Bascom Scarflette!

This is the first finished project for my upcoming etsy store. It is named after Bascom Hill in Madison--a steep hill that students (myself included) often climb at least once a day. This hill was one of the scariest areas to walk during the winter, though. Being so steep, I was always nervous that the path would still be frozen over at 7:30am as I walked to class. One false move and I'd be sliding down the hill, hopefully foot first on my back. Now, this scarflette definitely wouldn't protect me during a fall, but at least I'd still look good.

The Bascom Scarflette was knit with a soft acrylic yarn (that I had previously planned on using for the Camp Randall braided scarf) in a rich deep purple. Because this yarn is so thick, I knit it in a pattern that creates small windows throughout the scarflette. Sometimes I find that my scarves can get too warm, to the point where I want to take it off, but as soon as I do, I get cold again. It's quite the conundrum. With these little openings, a little bit of air is still able to get in to keep from getting too warm...

In addition, the openings make it easy to quickly fasten the scarflette closed. This is so warm and cuddly, I can't wait to make more. And I'll be keeping one for myself.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

#4 - Fun Times with Google Analytics

I've recently started using Google Analytics, but have always been a little afraid of the custom reports--until now.

I kept looking at my views for my store (pretty small so far, but then again, I don't have anything in there) and wanted to know a little more about my viewers. When did they visit? What time are people awake and browsing etsy? (maybe an occasional 2am, like me?)

Imagine my surprise when I found out that it isn't scary at all to make these reports--far from it. All you need to do is a little clicking, a little dragging, and you've got a report.

So, to help others who are also wondering these same questions, I've written up a little tutorial on how to create a custom report. This report focuses on creating a custom report to tell you the day & time someone visits your store, but once you've made one report, they can only get easier from there.

To start, go to your Google Analytics and click "View Report" for the profile you want to create a custom report. Next, click on "Create a Custom Report" and we're on our way...

You’ll now see blue and green boxes for your metrics and dimensions.
  • Metrics are what you want to analyze, such as page views, time on your site, or any goals you have created (I haven’t set up any goals yet—once I figure it out I’ll post it here too!).
  • Dimensions are how you “dig down” into your data. Since I made this report for looking at the day and time people come to my store from different areas of the world, I’ll focus on those dimensions. However, explore the other options—you could end up discovering some great metrics! 
First, choose your metrics. To add them, click on the category name (site usage, content, etc.). This will open a drop-down list of the metrics available. Click and drag the metrics you want to use to an empty metric box. I chose to view Visits, Time per Visit, and New Visitors.

Next, add the dimensions. In my report, I used the dimensions available under “Visitors”. I made Country/Territory my primary dimension and then drilled down from there:
  • Region
  • Day
  • Hour of the Day
You can drill down further if you want, but I decided to save that for a different report. Gotta keep it simple.

Last step! Give your report a name…you can call it anything as long as you’ll know what the report is when you come back later.

If you want to see what your report will look like before you complete it, click the “Preview Report” button at the bottom of the page.

Once you’re ready, click “Create Report”. Your report will now be saved in your account to view whenever you’d like. If you ever need to make any tweaks to it, just open it up and click on the “Edit Report” link near the report name.

I haven’t been able to figure out how to create the custom report once and then run it for multiple profiles—like if you wanted to use this report for your store and blog. If you know of a way, please let me know! It doesn’t take long to create, but it would definitely be helpful. Maybe another idea to research and share later…

Let me know if you have any questions and I hope this helps!


Thursday, September 10, 2009

#3 - It is sooo over

That's it...I've decided that the Camp Randall Scarf just isn't going to happen. I place most of the blame on myself. After the braided portion was done, I had decided to do stockinette stitch for the rest of the scarf until I got close to the end and would then do the braid again, but in reverse. So boring. Plus, it has been a long time since I have knit, so I'm impatient to finish my projects--I'd forgotten that scarves can take some time.

However, the yarn is not going to get off that easily. It should've spoken up long telling me that the whole stockinette stitch thing just wouldn't happen. Because it can't be all my fault, right?

Don't worry, though. I still like the yarn and it will come back somehow. It's too thick for most things (it's about a chunky), but I foresee a good future for it in small projects.

And if you liked the look of the scarf let me know! A little encouragement (and the right yarn) could bring this pattern back in a flash.

Monday, September 7, 2009

#2 - Camp Randall Braided Scarf

I was trying to figure out how to name my scarves...obviously I could have just named them by describing what they looked like. But I wanted them to have names, make them more identifiable.

Driving home from the gym on Friday night, I thought--Madison! Of course. Naming my scarves (or hats, or other goodies) after places that I love in Madison would be a fun way for me to bring Madison into everything I make.

So, here's my Camp Randall Braided Scarf. Camp Randall is where the UW-Madison Badgers play football. You never know what the weather might be like--even during early September it's entirely possible for it to be in the 60s. And as fall continues, it only becomes more likely that we will be standing outside in the cold cheering on the Badgers. Depending on how the game is going, that can be a long three hours and this scarf would definitely help.
This scarf has a thick cabled braid at the end and then continues in a comfortable stockinette stitch. The yarn is called Sumptuous--which is exactly how it feels. The thick cushy yarn feels so wonderful against my neck, it's hard not to wear it constantly...but that will have to wait until the weather cools, just a little.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

#1 - Procrastination At Its Best

A couple months ago, I stumbled across this website, At first, it just looked like a fun website to explore with unique gifts that the LB might enjoy—my first purchase was some whiskey scented aftershave for him from this wonderful etsian--Portland General Store (and yes, you get just a hint of whiskey, but it’s not so over-powering that his boss thinks he’s come straight from the bar).

Well, my exploring soon turned into an obsession. I was constantly looking at the new products made by all of these talented people. I mean, really, someone made this? With their own hands?

And then, I started thinking of my own crafting love. I have a grandma who my sister and I always called the “Crafty Grandma” (we couldn’t keep our grandmothers straight just using their names, so they had nicknames…my other grandma is “Clothes Grandma” which I couldn’t fully appreciate until later). Every time we visited her, there was a new craft project for us to try—decoupage, embossing, puff painting, quilting, cross stitch…this lady is addicted to crafting. And she got me at a young age.

But right now, the craft that I spend the most time on is knitting. And this is what I plan to fill my store with (yes, I’m going to become an Etsy seller too!) for now. Maybe someday I’ll venture into another activity, but for now, you’ll find my works in progress (WIP, for any fellow accountants out there) here, as well as my journey in starting up my very own business. It’s going to be a crazy ride I’m sure…