Apr 22, 2015

Headband Knitting Patterns

I've started typing 3 knitting patterns for 3 different cabled headband designs, in English and French. I like cables, I think it makes the headbands look thick and warm so once again I guess I'm knitting out of season. I thought I would have these headband patterns done within about a week but it's actually taking more time than I thought as I'm clearly not good at making decisions:

1- What wool should I use? I'm working with Drops Nepal for now; it's a lovely wool/alpaca mix Aran weight yarn (worsted in US terms) but I don't want my pattern buyers to be stuck with that one brand, so I've knit them in acrylic and wool/acrylic mix. I would like to know if they would work in cotton too but I might leave that for another summery, lace design.

Yummy Drops Nepal Yarn
More Drops Nepal

2- Sizes: I would like to have at least 3 sizes, ranging from children age 7 to large size women, but where do I stop? I have a small head for an adult so I find it hard to knit for a large head: between my 2 daughters and me, the 3 heads in my household measure between 20.5 and 21 inches and the heads of my dummies are also 21.5 and 21 inches but when I search for hat/headband head sizes I see that the average head size for a woman is 22 inches, meaning that there must be some women out there with a 23 inches or more head size (I find it hard to believe, with the tiny brain in my child-sized head;). I don't think it really matters that much as all the headband designs are knitted flat, meaning I could just write the pattern for a repeat and indicate to knit as many repeats as your need for your head size, but that for me, is a lazy pattern, making me look like I couldn't be bothered stating how many repeats for a certain head size, and I don't want to give my customers that impression.

The Acrylic Test
3- I want to list the finished items in my shop too, and I think I should just have a medium size headband to use for my photos but with 3 designs and the 4 new beautiful colours of Drops Nepal yarn I picked, but I need to make the largest size too, in order to determine whether 1 ball of yarn is enough for all sizes; I wonder if I should list just 1 design per colour or go crazy and knit the headbands in lots of different colours, knowing that I might get an order for a colour/size combination I didn't make and then need to have all the colours in my stash just in case so I don't have to wait close to a week for yarn on a custom order to be delivered?

Decisions, decisions....I might have a clearer idea once I've had some coffee;)

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Apr 4, 2015

Free Easter Knitting and Crochet Patterns

Today I've decided not to bore you with any new items I have available in my Etsy shop (in order to do that I would have to have new items to show you!), but instead to put all the hours I spent online looking for free Easter patterns to good use by writing a blog post about my finds.

First is Moji Moji Design's Little Chirpy Chicks: I was working on filling an egg box with mine but I won't have time to make 6 before Sunday since I only started earlier in the week and all that online browsing is very time consuming (and with Irish Water installing a water meter outside my house with no warning and leaving the water mains switched off, I've had more than my fair share of distractions, like trying to fix the airlock that caused my heating to be out of action for 2 days:(
Moji Moji Design's Little Chirpy Chicks

Next are the very popular and easy to make Easter Chicks from Linda's Crafty Corner: these can be knit or crocheted and can be stuffed or filled with a Cadbury's Creme Egg (these don't stay full for long in my house;)
Easter Chicks from Linda's Crafty Corner

If you prefer knitted bunnies, Red Heart has these Five Little Bunnies free knitting pattern available for download:
Five Little Bunnies from Red Heart

Julie at Little Cotton Rabbits has some handsome knitted Easter egg decorations with 4 different colour charts for those brave enough to try intarsia knitting:
knitted Easter egg decorations from Little Cotton Rabbits

And finally to display your handmade Easter decorations, I found a free crochet pattern for a pretty Easter basket by Jam Made:
Easter basket by Jam Made

As usual my not very good timing meant that I only got to finish one Easter chick so far, hopefully I'll get to finish the 3 I started to crochet by tomorrow, but the main thing is that the Easter Bunny visits my house, because I haven't eaten chocolate for a few days, and I'm in serious withdrawal, craving for a Lindt Bunny now;)
The Easter Chicks I'm making (work in progress)

Happy Easter!

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Mar 29, 2015

Crochet Baby Sets Now In My Etsy Store

I busied myself over the last few week making these crochet baby sets in matching colours with my crochet baby blankets.

Blue and White Crochet Baby Hat and Booties Set
Pink and White Crochet Baby Hat and Booties Set
Green and Grey Crochet Baby Hat and Booties Set
Yellow and Purple Crochet Baby Hat and Booties Set

For those who wish to buy the full set of Hat + Booties with the matching blanket, I am offering a 10% discount when 2 items are bought together: use the coupon code BABY10 at checkout to avail of the discount.

The hats were easy enough to crochet but the booties were a bit trickier: I had an image in my mind and because I'm very stubborn, I made up my own design rather than using something I half liked.

As the booties were fiddly and tricky enough to crochet, I only made them in one size. I will make them in a different size if anyone requests it but I don't think I'll publish a pattern for it (I'm not really confident enough to make proper crochet patterns in different sizes and I need to focus on designing more knitting patterns anyway). The pattern for the hat is too easy to ask for payment (I also only made it in one size), so I don't feel I should ask for crocheters to pay for the pattern; I might try and write it up on here if I have an hour or 2 during the week (or next week, or next month...) so watch this space;)

During the week I also knitted 3 new headbands so I hope to have the 3 corresponding patterns soon; once again I only made them in one size so I'll have to spend a little longer knitting them in at least 2 other sizes and using different yarns before I can publish the patterns: designing is a very slow process for me.

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Mar 20, 2015

Knitting Patterns Back In My Etsy Shop

I forgot to mention that I have finally added my knitting patterns back in my Etsy shop.

Even though Etsy informed us a while ago that they were going to deal with the European VAT issue, it was still unclear how: I didn't get any communications from Etsy to let me know if the VAT was going to be added to the price of items sold at the checkout or deducted from the total price and then paid by Etsy to the corresponding European tax organisations.

Luckily I was in contact with a designer who sells crochet patterns on Etsy and she told me Etsy takes the VAT share (as well as its own commission) out of the price that the designers list at.

I then decided to update the price of all my knitting patterns: you may find these are a teeny bit higher than the Ravelry price, but that's to account for my listing costs and commission of sales on Etsy (there are none on Ravelry, as long as you stay under a certain amount - which doesn't apply to my very small volume of sales).

The moral of this story is, if you wish to purchase any of my knitting patterns, it's cheaper to do so through my Ravelry store;-)

Oh, and I nearly forgot to add, if you make any of my designs, please add it to your Ravelry projects as I love seeing how you get on with my designs (and don't hesitate to send me a message if you need help with your projects).

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Mar 13, 2015

More Cable Headbands On The Way

I sold a few of my cable headbands, mostly around Christmas, and I hadn't realised until last week that I had run out of the smallest size ear warmers so I picked up my knitting needles and whipped out a few more of these hand knit cable headbands:

Because these cable headbands seem to have become popular in my shop (Yay!), I hope to knit some more very soon, in other colours and using various cable stitches to add a bit more variety (maybe cotton for the summer?).

I am planning on writing the corresponding knitting patterns too. I'm not sure whether I should publish knitting patterns for these headbands one by one or by groups of maybe 3 different designs, so I may try both options and see what works best (I know that if I was to choose between 3 single patterns at €3.80 each and 3 patterns together at around €8.00 or €9.00, I'd probably go for the second option, but unfortunately (or fortunately?) I'm not in everyone's head.

For now I am working on knitting and relisting my original ear warmers in the original colours while also testing a new amiguri pattern for Peeko Crafts. I expect I'll have all this done by St Patrick's day and then I will start on my new designs.

Don't expect too much too quick, though, as I've also just taken up an online accountancy course: I can't expect knitting to feed my family but hopefully refreshing my accountancy training will help me get a decent paying job (and maybe less time for blogging and social media, but I'll make sure to keep a few hours for knitting in the evenings;-)

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Mar 7, 2015

Crochet Pattern Testing: Cute Bing Bunny Amiguri

A few weeks ago I was given the opportunity to be one of the testers for an amiguri crochet pattern, this was my first time testing a pattern for someone else and I must say this was an enjoyable experience.

I had never heard of Bing Bunny before, my daughters having passed the age for this type of cartoon, but when my 12 year old saw a picture of it online, guess what she said? "I want it!".

Luckily I had the same yarn in my stash that was recommended for the pattern (with some colours not exactly the same, but it doesn't really matter for an amiguri toy), so here is my result:

I made a mistake sewing one of the ear designs the wrong way and the mouth is a little crooked but these were my own errors, nothing to do with the amiguri pattern itself. I still think my Bing Bunny is pretty cute, if I say so myself;)

The Bing Bunny amiguri crochet pattern is now available to purchase from Peeko Crafts on Etsy and the designer is planning on publishing some more amiguri crochet patterns which is great news. I can only recommend the as it contains very clear and detailed instructions with links to photo tutorials. If you don't crochet, the finished items are also available to buy from the same shop (there is also a cute elephant amiguri and lots of other beautiful goodies in her Etsy shop).

It's back to work now for me, I'm working on a few sets of baby hats and bootees at the moment and then it will be time to take a little break from crochet and return to some knitting; I've also bought some cute fabric about a month ago to try and make my 10 year-old a tablet case but I'm a bit ashamed to say I haven't even started it yet as I was prioritising my crochet baby blankets and I work better when focusing on one thing at a time.

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Feb 13, 2015

Gangsta Granny Dress Up Crochet Wig

My daughter's school always tries to promote reading and this year, as well as the traditional book fair where the primary school hall transforms into a bookshop, the principal has decided that the children could dress up as their favorite book character for the last day of the book fair, which is today.

My youngest daughter is far from being a bookworm (unlike her older sister), but there is one author that she really loves reading: David Walliams. I've hear that he is a very popular children's book author and I was curious to know what it is about his books that makes children love them so much, even those who don't particularly like to read*. I'm in the process of reading my second one (I know it's not my age bracket, but a book is a book, and I think it would be a shame not to read a book that's available to me as it's already in the house, plus, my daughter practically forced me to read it). I must say I've read worse (and within my own age bracket!) and these books are very funny and very imaginative. Here's what's on my night stand at the moment:

When I heard about the dress up day, I immediately thought of making a grey-haired wig with a bun attached and a bank robber's mask so the little one could dress up as David Walliams' "Gangsta Granny". I'm not great as designing crochet (knitting is more my thing) so I went searching on Pinterest and found exactly what I was looking for with the help of the Ninja Turtles!

I used Holyjeans' Crochet  Ninja Turtle Mask Hat Beanie pattern as a basis (it's free:-) but made a few changes such as the colors (grey hair and a black mask), I added a flat circle that I stuffed to make the bun shape, I decided to make 2 extensions on each side of the black mask to be able to tie is up and make it look more like a cartoon bank robber's, and as it was missing a little something to hide the back of the hair, I crocheted a little trapezoid shaped grey extension at the back. My daughter's hair is long so I had to tie it into a bun and hide it inside the hat, if you're wondering what the big lump is;)

After a rummage through our clothes, we picked a double layer of my tan tights (it's cold out you know!), an old flowery dress of mine I never wear (knee-high for me, perfect for a 10 year-old granny;-), a purple cardigan and here is our version of Gangsta Granny (we decided to skip the smell of cabbages!):

We decided on the runners because she might have PE today and I told her that grannies usually wear comfortable shoes, especially when they need to make a quick getaway on their granny scooters;-)

*While this is not a book review, I think I found David Walliams' tricks to drawing children to his books: one example of which includes a detailed set of instructions on how to pretend to brush your teeth, but don't worry, it also mentions that it's nearly as easy as brushing your teeth;-);-). I think all parents who take their parenting job seriously should read these books:-)

**I wish to apologise for the unusual high amount of smiley emoticons in this blog post, it's just that you can't read Grangsta Granny without having the odd fit of laughter; this book should be prescribed by doctors;-);-);-)

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