Nov 26, 2013

Joining Pinterest And Giving Away My Snowflake Coasters

About 2 weeks ago, I joined Pinterest. I had heard so much about this pinning site that I thought I would give it a try. I started following some knitting boards, created a few of my own, and as a nice surprise, I got an invitation to pin to a Simply Knitting board that I was following.

So far I am finding it fine, my items get pinned by other users so I guess that's a good sign, as the items from my Etsy shop have a link to the listing page and the more they get pinned and repinned, the more traffic I am bound to get. Even though it's another time-consuming activity, I try not to spend too much time on Pinterest. It's a great way of finding new material to post on my Facebook page too, so I'm glad I joined.

I finished knitting my fourth set of reversible coasters this weekend. I wasn't sure whether to sell them as sets of 2 or 4 so I listed both options in my Etsy shop. If I get an order, I can either quickly knit another 2 or update the remaining listings to another set of 2 (if I sell the twin set) or remove the set of 2 (if it's the set of 4 that sells) - I ran out of white yarn but expecting a new delivery tomorrow so knitting extras won't be a problem as I am saving the charts I drew on my knitting graph paper - I am not expecting to get 2 orders of similar coasters on the same day (I would have to get an order in the first place!).

Hopefully I will also get to publish the knitting patterns for all my coasters before Christmas. Did I mention that I sold 1 Slouchy hat pattern from Ravelry and also the same sold on Etsy 2 weeks ago?

I mentioned knitting 4 sets of coasters but I am only listing 3 because my daughter's school is organising a fundraising raffle and they were asking if some parents could donate items. I jumped at the chance and wrapped my favourite set of Snowflake coasters, making sure to include a few business cards, as it could be an opportunity to get a little bit of local business.

So here is what I parted with yesterday (sniff!):

I could knit another set for listing on my Etsy shop but I feel it's time to stop listing Christmas items now, as I need to start knitting the Christmas gifts I've been planning to make for my family, and as soon as I'm done with these, it will be time to start on coasters and mug cozies for Valentine's (sets of 2 only for that occasion).

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Nov 22, 2013

Struggling with my (Dis)Organisation Skills

I haven't blogged for nearly a week, not because I've forgotten - believe me, this blog is always on my mind - but trying to get traffic to my Etsy shop is very time consuming (although I'm sort of enjoying social media  - Sometimes at the expense of my knitting (Yes, I've known it for a while now: I'll go to hell when I die).

I would love to be this very efficient person who gets out of bed as soon as the alarm starts (I'm already failing there, I'm more like: there must be some mistake, I just fell asleep 7 hours ago!).

The kind of person who can function on 4 hour's sleep per night - Nope, not me! I'd fall asleep watching the 9 o' clock news if my hands weren't busy knitting, I don't get time to count to 10 after my head hits my pillow at 11 or 11.30pm and still feel tired waking up at 7am (well, more like 7.15am!)

The kind of person who efficiently multitasks preparing kids' lunches and breakfasts while drinking coffee, reading the newspaper and giving good advice to my daughters - I'm not sure: "stop whining and hurry up eating or we'll be late again" while scrolling through my Facebook/Twitter feeds qualifies as good strong values to teach my kids, especially when it's at the expense of the pre-baked rolls burning in the oven.

I'd love to be able to tornado through my house for 30 minutes each morning to sanitize it before starting work on my laptop - Reality check: sometimes I feel so tired I can't find the energy to bring the hoover back up the stairs after an hour yanking angrily at the cable that keeps getting snagged in the corners (there are way too many corners in my house, and stairs, and under beds, and dust...). And sometimes, I don't even get to mop the kitchen floor for a whole week. (Gasp!)

I'd be a liar if I said I quickly check my emails (I have to delete about 100 every day because I'm too lazy to unsubscribe - You never know, there might be a few that actually need to be read/replied to).

In my head, I know I shouldn't be spending more than 2 hours doing social media, blogging, updating my Ravelry account, listing new products on I can spend the rest of the time when I'm not cooking or picking up the kids from school knitting, but the sad truth is that I work slow, I always lose track of time and trying to do more than one thing at a time is never a good idea when you're not a multitasker - In my dreams I'd be networking with famous bloggers and knitwear designers, making plans to meet up at some craft fair while drinking coffee and laughing airily but really I feel lucky when I get the odd retweet and I'm starving for new blog comments and Facebook likes and it's often after 3pm when I get the chance to sit with my knitting for 2 hours and then it's time for dinner/cleaning and another 2 or 3 hours of knitting before bedtime.

So here we are, 1pm, I'm starving and for the 4th time this week I haven't had time for a mid-morning coffee. Once again I will rush having my lunch and that Tarte tatin I was planning to make for a treat for when the kids are back from school? I'd better get my skates on if I want it to be ready because even though I'll be using ready made pastry, peeling 6 apples may take me a good 20 minutes (don't ever believe those preparation times in the recipes, they are made up by people who have employees peeling their apples for them) and I can never be late picking up my kids from school.

I may not have time to blog some weeks, but I always have to make a little bit of time for my girlies!

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Nov 17, 2013

My Pink Hoodie Cowl

When I was a child (in the eighties, a time when what would be called child abuse nowadays was normal parenting behaviour),  my loving mother used to make me wear one of these in winter:

Photo from

My one looked even worse, it was an ugly combination of dark green and orange (I would have been happy to get the red one above but I wasn't so lucky: living in a small town with only a couple of clothing stores and no Internet, we got to wear what was available at the time).

In theory, the balaclava (or cagoule) of the eighties was great: one accessory that would stay in place and protect us from the wind and the snow in the coldest of the winter, great for children as it was harder to lose than a hat and a scarf.

In practice however, I would describe it in one word: Cringe! not to mention the scratchy sweaty feeling of having an acrylic garment so tightly wrapped around your head on the walk to and from school.

I thought it would be nice to knit an accessory that functions like a balaclava, but that looks much better than the old-fashioned "cagoule".

This is why I started knitting my Hoodie Cowl (I'm not sure I like the name "Balaclava", I hope you can understand why).

Here is the finished item, which I listed on Etsy yesterday:

I added some lace detail as I think it suits this luxurious Rowan Alpaca Cotton yarn. It is loose enough around the head but not so much that it would get blown off with a gust of wind, and can be worn as a hood or a cowl (with the hood down), so no sweaty head, and I hope this accessory looks much more lady-like than the awful balaclava.

The writing of the pattern is another addition to my "To Do" list, along with my other Truck-load of other things that need to be done: I don't think I'll ever get bored in this life:-)

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Nov 12, 2013

Double Knit Reversible Christmas Coasters

This week-end, I started knitting these fun Christmas tree coasters:

Front side

Back side
This is the first reversible coaster I made. It is knit in one piece, using 2 strands of yarn simultaneously. This little coaster measuring 11cm (just over 4 inches) took me an insane 6 hours to make - between counting stitches, getting mixed up, undoing and re-doing a few rows.

Even though double-knitting is very slow, it is extremely fun to do, and that's beside the fact that the only bit of sewing there is to do, is the secure weaving in of the tails on the inside).

Once I had finished this one, I tried to find a way to make a neater edge and after a few trials, I successfully finished this one:


This little coloured edge is not only pretty, it's also functional, and if it wasn't there, both sides would split. I could have done 2 separate sides and sewed (ouch!) them together but the colour changes in double knitting are actually useful in keeping both sides together. It gives the coasters extra stability.

Thankfully I am picking up a bit more speed as I keep knitting these cute Christmas reversible coasters: I just knitted the bottom half of a new one in about 1 hour and a half this morning, so I am hoping to be able to make 4 or 5 sets of 4 double knit coasters and list these on Etsy in about 10 days (this may mean a bit less Facebooking and much, much more knitting than I've been doing lately;-)

I would love to hear your thoughts on these reversible double knit coasters or on double knitting in general. If you are interested in learning, you can head on to my Knitting Tutorials page, where I've just added the Very Pink Knits Double Knitting tutorial video.

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Nov 9, 2013

Come Into My Office.

Today I've been busy reorganising a corner of my bedroom and turning it into a little office space.

It all started with a need to organise my knitting yarns and to declutter a bookcase that had no more business being in my kitchen (I had it there since I Ikea'd my sitting room 2 years ago, and I knew it would come in handy one day).

I decided to take all the books and kid mess (you wouldn't believe the stuff they can shove in there when I'm not looking) out of that bookshelf and bring it upstairs (thank god for cheap DIY units from Woodies - there was more dragging than lifting but as this is cheap material and not heavy wood, only a little bit of sweating was involved and you can ask my kids: I didn't even swear this time!)

Then I emptied out all my wool from the toy bins (previously stolen from my kids - I'm such a bad mother!) and big shopping bags and I was able to fit most of it into the bookshelf, leaving one shelf free for books. I still have a box nearly full in my sitting room, but that's nice and tidy inside an Ikea bookshelf, and the yarns in there are left overs and small balls that the kids can use (even though they also have their own little stashes in their room), I would also use this myself as it's useful for learning new techniques (crochet, crochet!) and trying out new knitting stitches.

I also moved my wardrobe and computer desk, as I thought it would be a better idea to have the desk closer to a plug - I used to sit on my bed to use my computer but this is not a good idea if you care for your back. The computer desk I have is not ideal for a laptop, but it will do until I can afford something better.

If you're wondering why 2 desk lamps, I need them both to use with my light box, which you can see on the floor. It's not very fancy, but it will do for now.

Well, it's 6pm now and I haven't even done a bit of knitting today so I'd better throw the traditional Saturday pizza in the oven so I can get on with knitting some Christmas coasters after dinner.

Nov 6, 2013

Little Happy Dance To Celebrate Ravelry Pattern Sale

I uploaded my Slouchy Hat pattern both on Etsy and Ravelry on Thursday before driving to Dublin on Friday for the Knitting and Stitching Show.

As I spent the whole week-end in Dublin, I didn't do much work but when checking my emails on Friday, I realised that one copy of my pattern sold on Ravelry:)

Then, last night one of my knitted phone cases was featured on a blog and in an Etsy Treasury, which may not convert into sales but it should help getting a few extra page views.

Apart from my online activity, I have started knitting some of the yarn I bought at the Knitting and Stitching show. I got a few bargains including a pack of 10 balls of Rowan Alpaca Cotton for €35.00 - This yarn is listed at €8.49 per ball on Deramore's website so I think I didn't do too bad.

Here's what I'm making with it:

At the moment it looks like a cowl, but the practical side in me wants to make 2 uses out of this one item, so I am adding a hood (it rains a lot in Ireland). I will post a picture of it when it's finished. This Hoodie Cowl (not sure of the name for it yet) should only take 2 balls, so I'll be looking for ideas of what to make with the rest (I'm sure there's a pair of long wrist-warmers waiting to be knit as well;-). If you have any other ideas, you're welcome to share in the comments.