Autumn, branding, craft, crochet, knitting, sewing, Uncategorized, vintage, Winter, yarn

Crafty Plans revisited!

Well, that’s a bit of a longer break than I had expected…  Four months since my last post.  And lots has changed since then, for the better!

I’ve started a new job which is going really well, but it has slowed up my ability to work on my rebranding, so I have put that back to next year.

In the meantime I’ve been working on some new products and also have booked a couple of craft fairs for the Autumn / Winter, so I’ve been busy making some Christmassy pieces as well.

I’ve been collecting some lovely bits and bobs for my new business, at the Vintage Bazaar at the Cheese and Grain and am looking forward to the next one in October!

My new business is having a new name and new focus – which is going to be on affordable luxury accessories.  Can’t wait to get going on it…  But first of all I have to get everything ready for the craft fairs in October and November.  These are some of the pieces that I will be taking with me…

And here are some of the handbags that I have been making for my new business – I have lots of ideas on the designs and just have to focus myself!

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Happy crafting!

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craft, knitting, Uncategorized

30 Day Knitting Challenge – Day 6

And on to Day 6 already!

Day 6: What is your favorite piece that you’ve knit?

This is one of my earliest knits as a gift for someone – this blackberry (also known as bramble stitch) scarf was a present for my brother.

I was so thrilled with the outcome and made very few mistakes in it – being a bit of a perfectionist they were very noticeable to me but not to my brother who loved it.  So much, in fact, that he refused to use it except for on special occasions!

A few months later I finally managed to encourage him to wear it more often and I’m still delighted when I see him sporting it.

I’ve started making him another scarf since then but have yet to finish it…

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craft, knitting, Uncategorized, yarn

30 Day Knitting Challenge -Day 5

Question of the day is…

Day 5: How long did it take from the time you learned how to knit, to finish your first project

From when I first understood the basics from my book and picked up my needles, it only took me  a week or so to finish my first project…

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It was a simple garter stitch scarf, which I diligently worked on every evening, and got into the knack fairly quickly.

However hideous it is to look at now, I do feel a sense  of accomplishment!

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craft, crochet, knitting, Uncategorized, yarn

30 Day Knitting Challenge – Days 2 & 3

I have combined the questions for Day 2 and Day 3 as I answered them both on Day 2…

Day 2: What is currently on your needles?

Day 3: Do you have any other WIPs (works in progress)?

I have loads of crochet projects on the go at the moment, but in terms of knitting projects, I have three on the go – one of which I can’t tell you about (ssh!  it’s a secret!)

As for the other two – firstly I am using this gorgeous Debbie Bliss Angel mohair/silk mix to make a lacy scarf – using one large and one small needle (I’m using a 3 1/4mm and a 5mm needle) – Mum and I saw the idea in John Lewis last Christmas and we have both given it a go, although I’m a much slower knitter!

Secondly – which I recently posted about – I have been making this half-moon stitch scarf for my brother for what feels like forever (and I’m barely halfway through)…  but the Katia Basic Merino Flash is a joy to work with.

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As I have so many crochet designs on the go right now, this is the sum total of my knittyness at the moment!

 

 

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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, knitting, sewing, Uncategorized, vintage, yarn

Selling Vintage and Craft Goods

I like to joke that I have enough patterns and ideas (not to mention stash) to retire now and be able to do at least 5 years worth of full-time crafting!

Over the last few weeks I’ve been working out how best to tinker with all of the crafts that I enjoy, sort out my stash and have come up with a few options…

I’m going to streamline my Etsy shop and focus on accessories – bags, scarves, wraps, gloves and maybe the occasional hat.

Surprisingly, I have missed doing Craft Fairs, I enjoy talking to people, once I get over my initial shyness!  However, I find that the number of people attending, and the current financial situation, for most of us, can mean that there isn’t much profit in it.

I have been looking into some local fairs, where you can sell your goods and clear your stash by selling trimmings, notions, wool and fabric.  Sounds like the perfect fit for me…

This morning I was at my beloved Car Boot Sale (surprise…) and found another stash of vintage magazines.  My friend Anna and I had great fun making up names and stories for each of the slightly cheesy models.  My particular favourite is the ‘hello sailor’ one!

The interesting thing about the 1960s patterns in the below are that the majority of the women’s designs are still very wearable – there are some gorgeous knitted dresses and coats.  Most of the male patterns are not quite so classic and wearable though…

I also found a few 1970s/1980s Vogue and Good Housekeeping materials and a great book on knitting design, which I may have to keep to refer to…

There is also a Vintage Market where I may sell some of my vintage finds and I will just have to shut my eyes and avoid looking at the other stalls (like that is going to happen!)

 

 

 

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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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cats, craft, crochet, knitting, music, Uncategorized, yarn

Top Ten Review of the Year

Well, another prolonged absence due to work – I’m not one for making New Year’s resolutions, but next year I will make more time to post on my blog as I have missed not being able to post so regularly.  Getting organised is half the battle I think…

This year has been an interesting one (in all senses of the word!) – a new addition to my family (OK, so he’s a kitten) and a rebranding of my blog and business as well as opening my Etsy Shop.

Add to that the most manic year of my (full-time) working life and major changes within my working structure – which are all still in a state of flux!

But in many ways a fantastic year, much love and laughter with friends and family, and finding a kindred spirit in crafting in my friend Anna (and her five-year-old Mikey who’s favourite phrase is now “let’s get crafting!”)

So here is my Top Ten Review of the Year on looking back through my blog, I do hope you enjoy it!

One – The arrival of Sir Patrick of Naughtiness

As an Astronomy geek, I managed to persuade Anna and Mikey to name their rescued kitten Professor Brian (Cox) after everyone’s favourite physicist and ex-popstar.  I was amazed they went with it…

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I was even more amazed that I ended up rescuing his brother, whom I named Sir Patrick (Moore) after the famous and much beloved Astronomer and BBC Presenter (RIP).  It particularly helped that he had a squinty eye in which I could imagine the real Sir  Patrick’s monocle.  I met the real Sir Patrick once, he was absolutely delightful, and was very kind to me when another celebrity was very rude to me (you know who you are, Michael Fish!).

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Two – Opening my Etsy Shop

This was a long-term aim over the year and was delayed many times due to factors outside of my control!  In the end it was opened in October and I had my first sale within 24 hours.

I haven’t quite had the time since then to promote it as much as I would like, and I have exciting plans for my Etsy shop for 2016, so my upcoming week off in February will be spent at home getting things sorted…

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Three – Vintage Shopping at the Car Booty

Regular readers will know that I love a bargain.  Most Sundays I can be found at Frome Car Boot Sale, rummaging around in other people’s junk.  For several months this year I had an amazing run on vintage notions and patterns and went a bit overboard buying them.

I have now decided to offload some of them in 2016 when I take part in a Craft Fair which also lets you sell related goods.  Some, though, I cannot bear to part with!

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Four – Yarn, lovely Yarn

I wrote about my yarn addiction on several occasions, it has perhaps got a little out of hand, especially after I visited the Kensington Olympia Knitting and Stitching show in March – but I did get some beautiful yarns, including the cashmere / cotton blend to make this lovely shawl on my Etsy Shop.

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Five – Devon knows how they make it so lovely

Through my lovely friend Anna, I’ve had the chance to visit Chagford, in Devon on the edge of Dartmoor, twice this year for Craft Fairs.  Such a beautiful place and the people are so friendly and welcoming, it’s a real treat to visit there.  Bonus treat – the tiny ponies and other cute critters at the Miniature Pony Centre nearby.

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Six – Holidays-a-go-go!

I’ve been extremely lucky this year with holidays – having a gorgeous week in Marbella in March, with Mum, and then again in Bayeux in June with Mum, Dad and my brother.  The first time we’d all been away together for several years.  Both were fabulous holidays, much needed and much enjoyed, and allowed me to expand my stash even more with some really lovely yarns and notions (as well as some cheeky goats producing the softest mohair)

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Seven – My first giveaway of Crochet Patterns

In October I gave away the pattern for my first designed project, some mini Halloween Treat Baskets – to fill with yummy chocolates.  I had great fun designing the different faces and putting together a beginner’s project which I was happy to share for free.  Although a simple design, it has given me a taste for more!

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Eight – Geek Loveliness

A fabulous year of nerd-dom has been bookended by Star Wars.  In May I posted about my trip to Marbella and the surprise of hearing a youth orchestra starting up with the Star Wars soundtrack – I have never departed a cafe in such a hasty fashion before…  In May I also posted a cheeky geeky guide and then followed up with a visit to the Doctor Who Exhibition in September with my family.  There is an adventure to go through which is rather interactive – I was more scared than the kids!

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Nine – Animals A-Plenty

It never surprises me that my most popular posts tend to be around my two black cats, Ella and Sir Patrick.  After all, they are endless sources of amusement to me!

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Ten – Art and Crafts

And back to my main loves – art and crafts.  In April I visited Standen, a home filled with delights from the Arts and Craft movement which I so admire.  Moving on to June I waxed lyrical about Salvator Rosa, one of my favourite artists, and in July I wrote about the beautiful lace that I encountered on my goaty adventures in Bayeux (and of course the famous Tapestry).

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And finally, throughout the year I have been extolling the virtues of crafting, thank you for joining me on my journey this year, and here’s to 2016!

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My First Week on Etsy

Well, this week has certainly been a learning curve…

I spent quite a lot of time prior to signing up with Etsy, planning and preparing my site…  And it seems like the work has not been in vain…

Within my first 24 hours on Etsy I had my first sale – one of my scarves (see below!).  I so enjoyed packaging it up prettily and sending it off within a day, that I didn’t give a thought to photographing my packaging.

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However, I had a few issues with sending the scarf out via the Post Office (confirming my belief that the Post Office and Royal Mail should never have been privatised) when they delivered my package back to me as the sender.  Normally a very calm person, I was spitting feathers!  I assumed that they would rectify the situation for me, but apparently now the Post Office and Royal Mail are two separate companies, who barely talk to each other, despite working in close proximity.

I had a vague apology from the Royal Mail (whose fault it was) but I must admit I am not impressed and am going to look into the alternatives.  In the UK we have a lot of couriers but the Post Office/Royal Mail are our main delivery route so my options may be limited.

This did not dampen my good spirits for long, as I had a lovely email from my customer saying that she was thrilled with her scarf and the little extra treat which I had put in there.  Thankfully when ‘reposted’ it arrived the next day, so no harm done, but not the best way to start…

I have signed up for an Etsy email class on making the best of my shop and have some work to do on my Halloween and Christmas items, so I had better cracking…

Happy weekend everyone!

 

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Etsy Countdown Revisited… 3!

My Etsy plans are finally back on track…

After a longer than expected hiatus due to illness, I am raring to go and very excited about restarting my Etsy Countdown!

I have begun taking some photos with my fancy new camera and coming up with descriptive and accurate details for my sewn, knitted and crocheted goods – there’s certainly more to it than I expected when I initially came up with the idea to sell my wares online.

So whilst I’m working hard on this I will leave you with a short and sweet post with some of my tester photos, trying to offer different views of the products.  Any feedback would be gratefully received, but be sure there is a bit of cropping and other tricks to be applied before they go live!

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Happy crafting!

Lou x

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