Nov 14, 2014

I'm Being Selfish For A While: Join The Knitting Queue Please!

I like being my own boss: that allows me to knit things for myself instead of for "Ze Bisnesss" sometimes. Not that I'm really successful and can afford it (selling an average of 2 knitting patterns per week is not going to put food on the table, but it helps a little going towards my yarn budget).

At the end of September I decided that I was going to knit or crochet a least 2 items per week and list them in my Etsy shop. I sort of kept it up for October but I also started knitting a jumper for myself at the same time, which I was working on at the week-ends and Mondays (Monday is when I go to my favourite knitting group). I also told my daughter I would knit her some legwarmers with some of my birthday wool (me and my big mouth:-) and I would also like to do a pair for my other daughter with the remaining colour.
These would work great as cabled legwarmers for daughter 1

And these for daughter 2

Winter is nearly here (even though it's still unseasonably mild) and I'm not great at multitasking: I can't handle more than 2 projects at the time, so if I want to be finished by Christmas, I need to be selfish and knit my jumper full time - unless I get a custom order which I'll prioritize of course, because I'm nice like that;-)

I guess the fact that my jumper suddenly got more interesting has a lot to do with me wanting to finish it - I started the yoke, which is in a lace pattern, wayyyyy more interesting than stocking stitch in the main body/arms.
Check out the top part: that's where it get interesting - I have removed my well needed lifeline for the purpose of this photo.

So here's what I'm hoping to do before Christmas, in order of priority:
1- Custom orders (if I get requests),
2 - Finish my jumper (about 1 week),
3 - Pair of legwarmers for daughter 1 (2 to 3 days),
4 - Pair of legwarmers for daughter 2 (2 days - I'll have the pattern worked out above),
5 - Have a go at my sewing machine as I still haven't started on my owl cushion kits and I really want to have them done by Christmas (time: 2 to 3 days and a lot of swearing I'm sure!),
6 - A crochet monkey my brother wants me to make him for christmas (1 day),
7 - The World is my oyster: time to think of knitting patterns for headbands, scarves, hats, phone cases...

Now I'm not really good at following my own plans, but at least once I have these written down I can free my mind for some other ludicrous ideas of how I'm going to get my business to feed my family and me some day (dreams...)

Update: since I wrote this 2 days ago (I'm not the quickest at taking blog photos!), daughter 1 decided that she'd prefer a different wool for her legwarmers (this is the wool I had planned to make her a Katniss cowl with last year, which never happened): cables won't show in this variegated bouclé wool, so they'll just be plain legwarmers, and hopefully these WILL happen:

This wool smells like sheep: these legwarmers will be super warm with 87% real wool

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Nov 5, 2014

Trip To The Knitting And Stitching Show 2014.

I had the pleasure to visit the RDS in Dublin again this year for the annual Knitting and Stitching Show.

The Knitting and Stitching Show is a huge venue not just for wool and fabrics stores but also for a lot of other crafting supplies like card making. Associations like the ICA (Irish Countrywomen's Association) have stalls there too.

The entry fee is not cheap but if you are really interested in all sorts of crafts and looking for bargains or if you'd like to purchase items that are normally only available in the UK (it's possible to buy online but sometimes it's nice to be able to ask for advice face to face and see the goods before purchasing).

In short, the RDS Dublin turns into a giant craft shopping centre once a year for 4 days.

The reason why I went to the Knitting and Stitching Show this year was to have another look at the Coolree yarns (I didn't have anything in mind I could think of knitting using it so I couldn't justify the expense) -  Coolree yarn is the Ferrari of yarns, and I drive a Hyundai, but it's already on my list of things to buy when I win the Lotto (the yarn, not the car;) - and also to try and find nice wool bargains.

I didn't go too close to the really cheap yarns, as I prefer using good quality soft wool for knitting and crochet, but I found some good looking chunky Rico Design Fashion Highland (I got 3 full packs - 500g for €19.00 per pack) and some Katia Air Lux in shimmery colours that should look good in light airy lace scarves (this one wasn't really cheap but since it's thin wool, at 300m/328yards per ball and the 10th ball free I don't think I did too badly):

I also got a scrap fabrics pack so I can practice using my sewing machine and for 2 cute Oaklee Owl cushion sewing kits I'm hoping to do for the girls before Christmas:

There are also workshops and textile-related art exhibitions. I didn't take a lot of pictures of the exhibitions, but my sister did, so with her permission I am now leaving you with a few images of the Knitting and Stitching Show art gallery:

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Oct 27, 2014

Knitty And Crochetty Halloween

Have you ever had any knitting cravings (and before you ask, no I'm not pregnant!)?

Yesterday I was taken by an urge to knit one of these cute Halloween Pumpkins (free knitting and crochet pattern available from Hannah Maier on Ravelry):

I'll be visiting my sister for the Halloween week-end so I thought I would make one for her so she can have one piece of Halloween decor for her flat.

I also had to make one for our own house, this one will probably look a bit out of place among our tacky Halloween decorations (I'm too lazy to decorate so I more or less gave my kids a free hand for our Halloween decor, I had to stop them before having the walls covered in fake blood - creative kids can be a curse sometimes!)

I knitted both pumpkins using the same pattern and wool but using a different needle size (3.75 mm for the big one and 3.00 mm for the small one), which explains the difference in sizes.

My eldest wants to dress up as a black cat this year so she asked me to crochet her a cat ears hairband for which she found a free pattern online from Stitch11. Of course doing this in black means my eyesight has been blurry since (should be better by the time I have to drive to Dublin). She started making herself a cat tail without a pattern which I had to finish for her as she has crafty ADHD too.

The plan this year is to leave the Trick or Trick responsibility to their Dad and his girlfriend (I'm no good at doing fun stuff) while my sister and I head to the Knitting and Stitching Show (yes it's that time of year again:)

Hopefully the little one doesn't decide that she needs a full Halloween outfit crocheted for her 5 minutes before going to Dublin!

Happy Halloween!

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Oct 22, 2014


I present you my new toy:

I've been toying with the idea of getting a sewing machine for a long time: it all started when my daughters started school and the hems of their expensive school uniforms systematically came off. I know there are iron-on hem strips available on the market, and believe me I've tried using them but they seem to only last a few washes or maybe I've been doing it wrong; I've never been a fan of ironing anyway!

Then last year my youngest daughter was taught the basics of hand sewing in school, and she seemed very interested in it, she even bought herself some fabrics squares to practice at home!

Last summer when we went to stay with my parents for an annual French holiday, my Dad let her try her hand at his sewing machine - funny how I never even thought of asking him if I could try it as a child. I guess I was happy enough back then with my knitting skills and the outfits my Dad used to make in his spare time for my mum and my sister (I was too much of a tom boy to want pretty dresses) did seem very complicated to me: all that measuring, cutting and ironing before he even got to open the sewing machine... I must say my Dad is a perfectionist in everything he does, and whether it's DIY or sewing, once a job is done, it's solid and lasts longer than if it had been professionally made!

So when I talk about my new toy, it's more OUR new toy, as I (jokingly) told both my daughters that I wouldn't be be buying any more clothes and that from now on, we'll all be making our own.

Joking aside, I'm not ready to make clothes yet, if ever, but there's an oven glove I've been meaning to replace and I remember making one back in school for my "Travaux Manuels" class - I guess the equivalent of Home Economics in Ireland - I don't think I was ready for sewing machines back then as my oven glove looked nothing like one, so hopefully the next will be better.

I would also like to try making some nice phone cosies, small bags, pencil cases... Nothing too complicated or time consuming as there's still a lot of knitting and crochet to be done.

Talking about knitting and crochet, here are a few things I've made (I should have shared these sooner but I kept on forgetting to take pictures):

First is a crochet Christmas elf made using the pattern and yarn from Let's Get Crafting Knitting and Crochet, issue 64. Sadly the pattern hasn't been uploaded to their website but there are nice free patterns available from them here:

Then 2 knitted teddies I made for my 2 daughters that still need a nose (the teddies, not my daughters;), pattern for the Huggable Teddy Bear among other amazing toy patterns so lovely that it's a real struggle to choose from, available to buy from the more than talented Huggable Bears designer:

I hope my daughters and I will have more time to play with our new toy next week, as it's the Halloween break, and I've planned to go to the Knitting and Stitching show next week-end in Dublin; with my new sewing hobby, I hope my purse will behave itself this time!

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Oct 4, 2014

A Bunch Of Crochet Beanie Hats

I've decided to try and knit or crochet at least 2 winter accessories per week between now and the end of November.

Crochet beanie hats are the quickest and apart from the 2 hats I've crocheted for myself and my daughter, here's one that I made earlier (sounds like a cooking show, doesn't it?):
Brown-Orangey beanie hat, plain and sweet for a casual everyday look

I used the Cade Cap crochet pattern from The Velvet Acorn to make a funky hipster hat for my daughter, it's a slightly slouchy beanie with an interesting but easy stitch and it looks much better on my daughter than on my dummy - I'm still waiting for her to get her nose away from her phone thus creating an opportunity for her to model it for me - You know what pre-teens are like!

I hope to make a few of these for my shop when I get around to it. This shape is perfect for a teen or a young woman, I love it on my daughter but unfortunately it looks ridiculous on me, and so do berets as I found out when trying on what was supposed to become a winter beret for me that I had to quickly rip after one look in the mirror - oh the pain of getting older (or becoming a mature woman as I'd like to politely call it!).

Cade Cap modeled by my always available but not so good-looking dummy
 I decided to alter the Cade Cap pattern slightly to give it a more classic shape and this is when my own hat was born: my winter beanie is made using some of my birthday wool given to me by my sister: I also made a crochet cowl using the same colours and I may make myself a headband or a pair of mittens with what's left of these 2 colours. The wool is a limited edition by Drops and a dream to work with: so soft and squishy!

This one's mine: crocheted using my soft and squishy birthday wool
I like this crochet hat so much that I decided I'd make a few more in different colours for my Etsy shop, here is the first one, which I made slightly shorter than mine (I think mine is just a tad bit too long but I can live with it.

The first in my new line of crochet hats
The plan fornow is to work on a few Cade caps listings (I made another grey and an off white one last week), and hopefully manage to knit winter scarves to match these (I think I'll use my brioche stitch pattern in a longer version), and them make a few more beanie caps and matching crochet infinity scarves to match, if I can only try checking my timeline on Facebook a bit less (what was it I was saying about my daughter again?)

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Sep 12, 2014

Knitted Scarves: Ready For Winter.

Over the past week I've been producing various items with my knitting needles and hooks.

My local knitting group has started up again in Galway so I get to talk to other grown ups about knitting (I think that I've managed to bore all my neighbours with my talk about knitting so they tend to leave me alone, oops...)

First off is this crochet bag cover which I spotted on a Facebook Knitting group during summer: this will be used to carry my projects to the knitting group mentioned above:

The Infinity scarf is finished and probably the longest I'll ever knit for a scarf. I used the brioche stitch as it's reversible, thick and lovely to hide in from the cold. I published a free knitting cowl pattern last year on Ravelry, this has more stitches as the wool is less bulky, and is much, much longer! I used a provisional cast on and used the kitchener or grafting method to stitch both sides together this time: it makes a cleaner join. A bit long for my taste but I know some people love their infinity scarves about 6 foot long in circumference. I need to take more photos to show off the size but you can see it here looped twice around the clothes hanger:

It's waiting to be listed in my shop (hopefully next week), and I've used some of the same wool for a crochet hat and some mittens. I'm not too sure about the mittens, as I never crocheted any before: I think one of them is tighter than the other so these won't be going in my shop:

I am also in the process of listing 2 new hand knit cabled tube cowls in my Etsy shop as I am writing this: these are made using 3 balls of Pure Merino so accordingly priced. I hate putting a high price on my knitting but if I matched the selling price with my time and materials, these would be over €100! The fact that they are shaped as a tube results as a double thickness which also means doubled time and amount of wool needed to knit them (and the wool wasn't cheap but oh so soft!):

I'll be back soon and show you some more work, as I've been busy making hats, working on a road trip scarf and a snood for me using some of the wool I got last June for my birthday.

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Sep 2, 2014

Back To School, Time To Do Some Work

Here we are, September started and I must really, really, get to grips with the fact that I must stop blaming my kids for my not knitting enough items for my Etsy shop.

They are now both back in school and even though afternoons are touch and go for knitting: my eldest one started secondary school, so I have my youngest coming home at 2.30 pm, then there's the talking and snack eating, kitchen table cleaning and homework help (yesterday, she couldn't remember how to do long multiplication, and apparently they learn it slightly differently than I did, so my help may have resulted in even more confusion!). Then she's just settled and finally motivated to do her homework when the eldest one walks in and proceeds to making herself a snack: well at least she doesn't need to big a push before going upstairs to do her own homework (I had to insist on looking at her French homework yersterday, with me being French she will have no excuses for falling behind in this subject;), and then the time comes for preparing dinner, so I guess the 2.15pm to 8.00pm will have to be the time when I do things that don't need too much focus (Hello Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter).

The problem is that I still haven't learned out to stay off Facebook for long periods of time, so I need to steady on and work out a schedule (schedule? What's that? Didn't I used to have some kind of schedule which I didn't stick to and anyway I can't remember where it is?).

So, anyway, in the last few weeks since I last wrote a blog post, I finished the blanket for my daughter, knitted and published another knitting pattern for another pair of fingerless gloves, and I'm knitting an infinity scarf which I should finish today (yes, I know, it's not much, but the pattern publishing seems to take a lot out of me). Oh, and I sold a cowl yesterday (Yesssssss!)

I'm also in the process of trying to improve my shop photos and working on the SEO of all my existing shop items (or in plain English carefully choosing the right words to describe and tag my items in the hope they will be easier to find by online shoppers - do you know that if you enter "knitted scarf" today in Google, you get over 12 million results? Makes me tired just thinking about it!).

I guess it's time to get to work, so I will leave you with the pictures of my knitted and crocheted work:
The crochet blanket is a good hiding place;)

Another pair of merino gloves

Infinity scarf in progress

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