branding, craft, crochet, knitting, sewing, summer, Uncategorized, Winter, yarn

Forging Ahead

Since my last post, I’ve been a very busy person!

I’ve spent lots of time going through the branding process for my revamped business (see the last post for the fantastic book that I have used to do this)…

The process is more complex than you would imagine, but the more time spent on research and design details will hopefully pay off later on.  I have worked through all the hard sections and am now on the more fun areas.

Colour psychology is fascinating – colours have a wonderfully evocative influence on our moods and, even if we don’t realise it, on our purchasing choices.  Think how often gold is used for luxury and red for passion / fire.

If I was designing this business to appeal to myself, I would likely take these vibrant, jewel colours as my preference, but this does not fit with the values and market which I am looking to appeal to.  This was from the Bath Festival last week (unfortunately The Doctor was not there to whisk me away in the Tardis!)

Colours can be grouped by season and can resonate with certain values, your personality and that which you hold as being most important to represent your brand.  One season should be dominant, but you can integrate a small influence from another season.

On going through this part I found that I was predominantly summer (which fits with my target market) and with winter as my second choice (again which covers some of the areas that are important, but that Summer does not encompass.

Summer shades are generally cool, elegant, traditional, soft and muted.  Winter, on the other hand, is opulent, intense, clear and grounded.

Shapes are also encompassed in these seasonal trends – for summer, faded florals, romantic serif fonts, vintage styling and soft textures.  For winter, geometrics, strong and clean images whether opulent or simple.

Interestingly, all of these parts were all that I had previously envisaged, and am thrilled that this fits in with my original thoughts.

The most difficult task I felt was to sum up my business in three words, from the range of descriptive terms that had been established through all of my research.  So here it is…

Aspirational, bespoke, luxe.

I want to be making beautiful, affordable, personalised creations, with a touch of opulence, for those of us who would love a bit more luxury in our lives.  I have added to my lovely collection of pearls, crystals and gems with these pearl pins, for a new idea for a product, which has arisen from all of my research.

More on that later!

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craft, knitting, Uncategorized, yarn

30 Day Knitting Challenge – Day 7

Oops – this should have been posted yesterday – not sure why it did not!

Already a week through my blog challenge…

Day 7: Your least favorite?

I have a fair few least favourites but I think this is probably it…

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Again – one of my first projects.  I attempted a simple hat pattern from Ravelry and although, technically, I completed it correctly – my tension was so far off that it was extremely baggy!

I also made a little boo-boo that I covered up with a hideous concoction of button / swirl and although I liked the yarn and colour combination, there’s little else of any worth that I can find in this…

The best I can say for this is that I learnt a lot from it and the mistakes therein!

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Autumn, charity, craft, crochet, knitting, sewing

Seasonal Plans

We are now coming into my favourite time of year – Autumn.

I love Autumnal colours, smells and the darker evenings where you feel happy snuggled up with a project or a book and some music on the stereo.  I would say also the lovely crisp sunny mornings but, well, the UK is going through a bit of an Indian Summer and the heat is rising rather than abating, even Patrick can’t take it…

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It’s a hard life, isn’t it!

Last year I didn’t do many Craft Fairs and I really missed it.  I’ve been thinking about some ideas and have a few days off now to take them forward (as well as relax…)

Firstly some Wreaths – firstly I was just thinking about Christmas, but once I got started I couldn’t stop!  I’m trying to decide the decoration for these (apart from ribbon to hang them with) – I’m thinking something simple and not too fussy.

Over the last few years I have made some Halloween baskets, and even shared a pattern here last year.  This year I decided to focus on four of the designs and have been asking for votes on which people like the most… Comment below by 5pm Sunday (GMT – UK time) with your four faves and I will enter you in the draw to win a set of four!

Finally, I am still struggling on with my brother’s scarf – reversible half-moon stitch in this gorgeous wool – Katia Basic Merino Flash – going from bright crimson to a dark rich red.  Hopefully it’ll be finished soon-ish…

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With more to do I’ve started looking at a couple of local Christmas Craft Fairs so I will soon have to start making my very popular Christmas Puds and stockings, and maybe a few more ideas to come.

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charity, craft, crochet, knitting, Uncategorized, yarn

Works in Progress

I’ve been rather lax in writing my blog recently, work has been so manic and I’ve had little time or energy to do much crafting, let alone write about it!

Crafting has always been a stress reliever for me and I have really missed it…  Thankfully things are starting to get back on track and I’ve been getting out some projects to enjoy…

One thing I did make time for was some squares for the fabulous craft community project Jenny’s Blanket of Hugs.  Organised by the brilliant Just Pootling this was a wonderfully supportive idea.

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Jenny is the daughter of Amanda from Little Box of Crochet and has been battling multiple tumours with grace, style and strength.  I’m so pleased to have been a small part of the crafty effort to make something beautiful, but also useful, for Jenny.

Hundreds of crafters across the world made enough squares to make seven large blankets, some of which will now be raffled for various good causes!

Apart from my squares, I have actually managed to finish a couple of things – firstly this Flower Shawl which is now for sale on my Etsy shop.

I’ve also started making some eco-friendly cotton shoppers – since we have to pay 5p a bag now in any shop we may as well shop in style!

Next up is a new ripple scarf I am designing in a gorgeous variegated Artesano superfine DK Alpaca – lovely to work with, but a bit hard on the eyes sometimes!

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Apart from these I have several other little bits that I am working on – but they have to remain secret for now…  I will leave you with a gorgeous basket of Noro yarn which I picked up for a bargain during my recent visit to Worthing to visit Mum and Dad.

I haven’t got any plans for these yet…  But that may soon change…

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art, craft, crochet, garden, knitting, nature, photography, sewing, summer, travel, yarn

End of a Lovely Crafty Week

This week I’ve been off work – holidaying at home – with some lovely days down on the South Coast with Mum and Dad and then back home via a day-trip to London.

It’s been super-busy but then again the time has flown by – can’t quite believe I’m back to work on Monday…

The start of my week was with Mum – I wasn’t feeling great so we did a bit less shopping / visiting and a bit more crafting which was fine by me.  I started on a crochet shopping bag and Mum showed me these clever little pouches which hang on a door handle and can be filled with anything you don’t want to lose – i.e. keys, crochet hooks, cat biscuits, or whatever!

I then travelled back to Wiltshire and had a day trip to London (about 2 1/2 to 3 hours on the train) to see my cousin Cathy and visit the Royal Observatory in Greenwich.  As a keen amateur astronomer, I was desperate to see the Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition – having meant to go every year for the last few years.  This view is from the steep climb up Greenwich Park to the Observatory.  In the distance is Canary Wharf and the edge of the City of London.

The rather unimportant-looking line below is the Greenwich Meridian – from which all time zones are measured here on planet Earth!  This is the home of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time), although technically we are now on BST (British Summer Time) which is +1 hour and will revert to GMT in October for the winter months.

Greenwich is a lovely part of South London – very near where I used to live, but as often happens, I only visited it once in the 9 years I lived there!  There are lots of cafes and meeting places and the park was spectacular.  Nearby is also the National Maritime Museum and the Cutty Sark (the only surviving 19th century tea clipper) but we didn’t have the time or energy to visit this (it was a really warm day!)

Finally I was back to Wiltshire with some crafting and catching up with friends.  I went to Frome with my friend Anna and bought this cute bunny pencil sharpener (I won’t reveal where the hole for the pencil is!)  We had breakfast in the Garden Cafe and these gorgeous ferns appeared to be creeping up the wall as if to make their getaway…

I bought these glow-in-the-dark Toadstool lights for the garden in Worthing and can’t wait to try them out (the garden needs a bit of work first!)

I couldn’t get away without doing some yarn shopping – in Frome I happened to ‘pop in’ to Marmalade Yarns and buy these gorgeous fibres…  Firstly some Autumnal shades – Fyberspates Scrumptious 4ply silk/merino mix in a shade called Burnt Orange but that I would describe as more of a conker / nutmeg mix – and secondly Skein Queen 4ply merino in Squash which is a slightly more red / orange – both delicious and perfect for a delicate shawl / wrap or scarf.

Finally, some Debbie Bliss Angel Prints laceweight in a blue/green/red/grey-brown mix – this is for Mum to make another gorgeous knitted scarf – we saw a technique at John Lewis in London last December – using a large and a small needle to produce a really beautiful finish – delicate but effective.

I bought myself some Angel Prints in December, but never got started on it.  Perhaps this weekend will be my time to get another knitting project on the go!

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Andalusia, craft, crochet, knitting, Spain, spring, travel, Uncategorized

Marbella Yarn Bonanza

After my latest visit to Marbella and another round of the haberdashery stores, I came away with some new ideas and some fantastic cottons.

First up is one of my new projects using more of the fabulous Marbella Cotton which I bought last time.  I’ve decided to make a range of vintage-style cotton shoppers – in the UK as in many places, we’ve become more aware of the use of non-recyclable and plastic bags and so I thought these would be a welcome addition to my range.

These bags will be finished off with straps and lovely large buttons with some ribbon or cord threaded through the top.

As a true yarn freak, I couldn’t help myself but buy, erm, a few more cottons in various colourways – oops!

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My next project is to make a few different versions of my favourite shawl – the original grey one is in a cashmere/cotton blend which makes it a bit on the pricey side, so I felt that a range of different yarns would suit all pockets.

These lovely cotton yarns in coral and soft pastel pinks and blues (again from Marbella) will certainly fit the bill.  I shall be delving into my stash to find some other possibles.

Finally the post-holiday blues meant a visit to my favourite local yarn shop – Marmalade Yarns – I must truly be a regular as this time I earned a discount – yay!  I came away with the three gorgeous yarns above – without a definite plan for them other than I can see them all as lovely wraps or shawls.

First is Fyberspates Vivacious 4Ply, a 100% superwash merino in ‘Sunshine’ – a yellow which is just so bright and spring-like, it makes me smile just to look at it (the test of a true yarn-mad person).  The next yarn is Skein Queen Entwist 4ply, another 100% superwash hand-dyed merino in Emerald Lies, a breathtaking mix of gorgeous greens.  And finally, Rowan Fine Art in Pheasant – a beautiful mix of autumnal colours – reds browns and chestnuts.

So, you would think I have enough to be going on with, but I also have some other plans that I have been working on (more of them later in the week!).

 

 

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Uncategorized

It’s the Etsy Countdown… 3

Afternoon all!

So, the time has come for me to unveil my Etsy shop on Monday…

The countdown has begun!

Photos are being snapped, UFOs are beginning to turn into FOs, dummies are being dressed, seams are being sewn, descriptions are being written and policies polished to (hopefully!) perfection…

I will be counting down again tomorrow with more details, but here are a few of my first snaps of my items and WIPs taken with my new camera.  I decided on a Canon Powershot SX400 IS – I am certainly no camera expert, but this bridge camera is lightweight, has enough settings and gizmos to keep me happy without completely confusing me!

 

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This pebble stitch scarf with picot loop edging is made in King Cole Gypsy – although it is an acrylic yarn, it is such a beautiful, soft medium to work with and the colours are absolutely fantastic.

 

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Next is a double chain scarf in James C. Brett Marble Chunky – again I surprise myself in using an acrylic yarn, as I tend to prefer working in natural fibres.  I make an exception for this yarn.  Not only does it have a fabulous texture and is easy to work in – but the colour choices and mixtures are a treat for the eyes.  This project has since been finished and will be going up in the shop!

 

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This one, however, is still in progress…  I’m a bit of a slow knitter!  This child’s scarf is in half moss stitch, which gives a lovely flat almost ribbed appearance on one side, with little crescent moons on the other.  For this scarf I am using Sublime Baby Cashmerino Silk.  It’s extremely soft and seems to knit it up well…

So – back to the plans – or perhaps a cup of tea and a biscuit first!!

Happy crafting!

 

Lou x

 

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