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, crochet, knitting, nature, spring, Uncategorized

Spring Crafting the House

Much as I love Winter, taking down the Christmas decorations is always a sad time – I usually make a big effort with my two mantelpieces, which seem to look bare and a bit sorry for themselves when the festive season is over.

This year, I decided I would do something about this (as opposed to just moaning about it…)

So, I resolved to make a seasonal display of my living room mantelpiece for each season.  I have started with Spring – there’s still a bit of work to do but it’s a start!  My friend’s Mum found the deserted nest in her garden (don’t worry – she waited several years for someone to claim it but they never did)

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It’s a bit of an eclectic mix and I feel it needs some handmade / crochet loveliness to jazz it up a bit, but it’s a start!

I can never do anything by halves, so I then cleared my new shelf (opposite the mantelpiece) and decided to make this British woodland scene (which will be permanent but with perhaps some seasonal visitors…)

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I have some work on the set-up of this to do, but I think the foxes kit which Mum bought me from Kidsonroof works really well in this setting.  Apologies for the picture quality – it is very overcast today so even my ‘proper’ camera struggled to take a clear image!

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My little crochet Toadstool looks sweet but a little lost on the impromptu wood stumps, again a few additions are needed so I think I should get crafting…

What would you like to see added to the scene?

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Uncategorized

Knitting and Stitching Show Madness!

Well, it’s a week since I went to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Olympia in London.

My Mum was kind enough to come up with me and left me with a little present in the form of a nasty cold!

So I’ve been feeling a bit sorry for myself, what better way to cheer myself up other than having a gander at the lovely stash that I brought home with me!

I don’t think I’ve ever been to Olympia before, for the uninitiated, it’s an exhibition centre in Kensington, West London.  I love this old photo – much has changed in the area, but Olympia remains pretty much as it is here.

 

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I was a bit remiss in taking photos on the day – blame my yarn obsession for that!  As we arrived we only just had time to book into a needle-felting class which began immediately…  We were making a bee – mine wasn’t quite finished and a bit, erm, shall we call it ‘rustic’ so I haven’t taken a picture of it to post here!

As well as the expected suppliers and manufacturers, there were a few fun surprises.  The lovely people at Toft had brought their crochet jungle with them (sadly I didn’t get a picture!) full of monkeys crocheted by newcomers and experts alike – with funds and awareness-raising of Birmingham’s Children’s Hospital and Noah’s Ark Hospice.

Another fun thing was the Knitted Farm – some of the work was quite remarkable.

 

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This was a competition organised by the Show and the winners can be found here.

I was thrilled to see a stall there by Cats Protection – I worked for them for several years before I moved down to Wiltshire.  I also met up with an old friend who was manning the stall – she arrived just at the same time as I found the stall – what a happy coincidence!

So, onto the really fun bit – all of the wool / yarn…  I did go a bit mad, I had a budget and only slightly blew it!  But what I did get was such lovely and unique pieces and yarns which I have never seen before as well as some bargains…

Firstly my bargain yarns – I got four balls of Sirdar Escape DK as well as three balls each of King Cole Galaxy Chunky – all for £20 – bargaintastic!

 

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Next up is some beautiful yarn by the Japanese firm Noro – a gorgeous mixture of 45% Silk, 45% Kid Mohair and 10% Lambswool.  The overcast weather here in Wiltshire has dampened the colours of this – it is absolutely glorious.  The colourway is a mixture of blues, green, purple and yellows.  I’ve wanted to try Noro yarns for ages – I have a great respect for the craft skills of the Japanese people.  One day I hope to go to Nippori in Tokyo – my dream craft destination!

 

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This Debbie Bliss Winter Garden is a tweedy mix chunky yarn made from 30% Llama, 30% Merino Wool, 20% Silk and 20% Linen.  The colours are gorgeous – rich purple and a russety conker colour.  Makes me think more of Autumn than Winter!

 

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These next yarns are made from recycled Sari silk and are such beautiful, vibrant shades, unfortunately again my overcast weather doesn’t really show them at their best!  I’m looking forward to working out what I can do with these…

 

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Further rummaging was needed to find the next ones – by this point Mum had given up and gone home.  I couldn’t resist these from the Little Knitting Company – 80% Cotton and 20% Cashmere, they have the most lovely feel to them.

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Finally I went a little mad at the last knockings, buying (left) Debonnaire Silk/Lurex mix in jewel colours (regular readers will notice a pattern here!) from Ehdknits and last, but certainly not least, my most favourite stall was Watercolours & Lace – (right) – such wonderful hand-painted and dyed natural fibres.  I bought two and then went back for another one – I couldn’t resist!  I bought Cashmere Silk lace in the softest purples and blue-greens, a Baby Alpaca/Silk mix in soft rose pinks and at the back a Merino Fine Lace in gorgeous blue-purple, reminding me very much of Delphiniums.

This is such a beautiful shop, I heartily encourage you to seek them out at a Fair or even buy online.  I can’t think of a more gorgeous range of quality yarns.

 

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So that was the sum total of my first Knitting and Stitching show – lots of beautiful wools and yarns to be going on with.

When is the next one!?!

Happy crafting

 

Lou x

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