Saturday, 28 December 2013

Sorry that I neglect my Blog

I have been bad at keeping up with my blog. By the time I have added videos onto You Tube, Twittered, Google + and Facebooked I feel that I have nothing left to say anymore.

This is my latest video on You Tube telling about my Christmas gifts to me and mine to other people. I do hope that you will subscribe to me on You Tube and then you won't miss anything that I make.

 My Christmas Video on You Tube

I am also on Facebook

My other page where I post my crochet photos is

I am also on Etsy

On Twitter I am Jan Carruthers2

I hope that you will join me on any of these sites as I cannot promise to keep my blog updated.

I hope that you all had a great Christmas and Happy New Year to you.

Jan xx

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Sorry that I have been missing

Hi folks.

Sorry that I don't keep up my blog posts as often as I should. The main reason is that I am now making videos on You Tube and I feel that by the time I have made those I am all chatted out!

If you would like to keep up with my projects and my chit chat then this is my You Tube link  Urban Gypsy Crochet. If you want to follow me then just click the subscribe button and it will tell you when I have posted a new video

I also have a Facebook page that I update almost daily. It contains not only my work but also snippets of other articles and photos that I find interesting. It is also called Urbangypsycrochet.

I have also opened an Etsy shop selling a few of my finished garments as there are only so many crochet things that I can make for myself. I bet you can guess what that is called - Yes you are right it's Urbangypsycrochet.

On my You Tube there are also videos of my stash room and the changes that I have been making to the garage and my house in general. My family have been here helping me with the clearing to stop me from being on an episode of Hoarders . They have now gone to live in Spain.  It's very quiet here without them and I miss all the cuddles from their two  dogs. Buster isn't as loving as they are. 

 This is one of the jackets that I have been making recently. This one is still for sale on Etsy. It is made from 51% italian wool Austermann Murano which is £9.95 for a 150 gram ball but I managed to buy this in the Sale otherwise I couldn't sell it for the price that I am asking.

This jacket and hat have been sold via Etsy but I am going to make another one in another shade of James C Brett Marble Chunky. If you watch my latest video then you will see the colour that I bought.

I am in the process of crocheting an openwork  top in orange. Once that is finished I will be putting photos on Facebook and Etsy. I have just finished crocheting a very thick warm cardigan and hat in a navy and brown mix which I am going to photograph whilst it is still sunny today.

Happy Crocheting

Thursday, 27 June 2013

When Can Anyone Call Themselves A Designer?

Anyone who has been reading my blog for a while knows what I do to patterns. Occasionally I follow them from A to Z but 90% of the time I do it my way. I have been known to use pattern stitches the wrong way up and put sleeves onto sleeveless things. I can add panels onto plain items or decorate with flowers and other motifs. I still don't call myself a designer even though my designs bear little resemblance to the original pattern that I looked at when I started. I have made up things from scratch but I am usually using an idea that is stored in my memory that I probably saw somewhere else. Does changing small things on patterns make a person a designer? In my mind no it doesn't but I have seen many examples of people claiming to have designed this and that when it is merely an adaptation of another pattern. As my Mum used to say there is no such thing as fashion and new design it is only old times with vinegar on meaning a revamp of an old fashion.

I showed you this photo of a work in progress on my last blog and I thought that you  might like to see the finished item.

This started off using a vintage pattern for a dress but I changed it to add side panels in the cream and edged it in cream and added my signature flower motifs.

Can I say that I designed this?

This is my latest finished top for a customer. I took a pattern for a pineapple top. Crocheted it in thicker cotton aran yarn. Turned the top to the bottom so that the pineapples went downwards instead of upwards. I added shoulder straps and an edging to match part of the pattern. To me this is an adaptation of an original pattern as I didn't design the pineapple stitch that forms the main part of the tunic top. I did however add V shaped panels under each arm to give the bottom edge a bit more width for the hips.

I enjoyed making this top so much that I think that I will make something similar for my Etsy shop. I have sold a few things on there since I reopened my shop after a gap of 12 months. I am very pleased about this as I mostly get my orders via friends. If you are on Etsy please come and give my page a hello.It is  Urban Gypsy Crochet .  I also post daily on my Facebook page named  Urbangypsycrochet, I not only post my crochet on Facebook I also post other people's crochet and share other items that are non crochet just because I like them.

I am gong to post this white top up to Scotland via My Hermes. They have put their prices up but still nowhere as near as expensive as Royal Mail who not only charge by weight they also dictate the size of a parcel and whether it will fit through a cardboard letter box template that they try to thread the parcel through at the Post Office counter. I don't know why they are making life so complicated for small people such as me who maybe sell one of two items per month so not exactly a business as such. I make very little profit on anything I sell I just like to crochet and it's nice to make a bit of money to buy more yarn with. All of this makes it a nightmare to post to anywhere abroad. I put a charge of £10 for postage to anywhere other than the UK on my Etsy page and when I got to the Post Office with my parcel they wanted £16.25 to send to the US by airmail. It was only about 450 grams so they are making it almost impossible for people other than in the UK to buy my crochet. I am practically charging as much for the postage as I am for the yarn. Small businesses are often  people with small children who are trying to work from home to earn a living and trying to avoid the high childcare costs that they would have to pay if they went back into the workforce.

 The government try to get people to be employed to help themselves to get off benefits and then the Post Office does it's best to make it impossible to run a small business without charging high postal charges which puts them at a disadvantage when competing with other countries. I am retired and do have a small set income to rely on but I have many friends who are younger and trying to be self employed with small businesses and I feel so sorry for them.

I am still crocheting away. I have some more orders to make but they are not wanted until next month so I am going to make something else that I like making for my Etsy shop.

Happy crocheting

Friday, 21 June 2013

Yarn Hoarding. When Does A Stash Become A Hoard?

I do have hoarding tendencies. I admit it. I come from a family of hoarders. We don't hoard trash. All of my family have been specific hoarders. My Father couldn't bear to throw away nuts, bolts  screws and pieces of wood in case they came in handy ( as they frequently did) My Mum didn't seem to have the hoarding gene as she frequently threw away my toys when I was young just because I hadn't played with them for a week or so. When she died though we did find lots of things squirrelled away in drawers. My Brother has every book and record that he has ever bought. As he is now 74 and a book worm he now has lots of bookcases in his house and garage.

When I was younger my Gran used to say that I was  just like my Auntie Edna. She had wool shops in Wales but every house that she lived in had a room or two that was stacked high with knitting machines and wool. There was barely room to put your feet. As she didn't give a hoot about how she looked, never wore makeup or styled her hair, I was quite upset when told by my Gran that I was exactly like her. I thought that I would always be well dressed in heels, makeup and nice clothes and would never have a room like that in my house. How times change.

Roll on another 30 yrs and I have a dining room full of knitting machines and cones of yarn and a bedroom (albeit the smallest bedroom in the house) stacked high with wool. I now have overspill in there so am going to have to find another hidey hole. I guess that I am like my Auntie Edna after all. I can't use the larger spare bedroom as my Son and Daughter in Law use  it when they come to stay overnight or for a few days.

I just have to buy any yarn bargains that I see and I swear that I will have to live until I am about 100 to crochet my stash up  even if I stop buying now.. I seem to have got slowly worse the older I get and the fact that I now have the house to myself and no-one to complain apart from my dog. My son does moan when he stays and my friends just shake their heads at me. I survive in clutter. Not dirt as that would drive me crazy. I just create better in a cluttered envirnment. I like everything spread around me when I am crocheting. I just haven't got the gene to be tidy.

This is today's delivery of cotton yarn. The yellow has a silky thread running through it. The white is just plain cotton. This was such a bargain on EBay that it would have been rude to let it go without a bid on it.. I was the only bidder and so got it quite cheaply. The beige and multi colours were from the same seller. Not sure what they are made of but they will get used  up. I already have thoughts in my mind for what to make with them. The Big Wool Rowan booklet was a second hand bargain despite coming from the US. I am thinking about quadrupling wool up to knit on large  needles.

This is a photo of some aran cotton that I bought a couple of weeks ago. I took this photo so that a customer could choose a colour for a top that she has ordered from me. She chose white in the end.

This is my Ice Yarns order that arrived yesterday. I have 2 packs of the blue and 2 packs of the silver grey. It is a silky ribbon yarn and looks really nice. The single pack of grey is a lovely corded effect yarn which is so nice to crochet with and I just love the multi colours of the Baby Yarns of Ice. I also bought 9 balls of the red Emu Perle from EBay. It is a discontinued yarn but washes wonderfully well so I always try to pick up balls when I see them. Usually they only come in a couple of balls so I was really excited to manage to buy 9 balls in one shade. I still have a couple of sweaters that I crocheted in the Perle from when I had the shop. I keep looking at them and wondering whether I will ever fit back into them or whether I should unravel them and make something else with the yam.

When I was new to EBay and unsure of bidding etc I bought a huge box of machine cones. When they arrived they were really fine like a 1ply and too thin even for my machine so they have stuck on the shelf ever since. My friend Sue called on Monday and she had wound a couple of her cones together to make a lovely shade from which she crocheted a  shawl. I looked at my cones. I  had done this myself to make 2 really thick sweaters. one is shades of reds and another in purples for the winter if you remember. They came out so thick that I haven't actually worn them but come a really harsh snow and they are ready to be dragged out of the cupboard to keep me cosy.  This time I chose 4 cones in ice cream colours and then wound them together to make the ball in the centre of the page. I have now crocheted it together to make a top. I have had to watch as I kept leaving a strand behind and it formed a loop so I had to back track and redo a row or two. It's not finished yet but whoever buys this top can be assured of a one off design although I do have a bit left over on each cone that might make a child's sweater in the same shade.

I have been progressing a bit on the slow side with my crochet this week. I should try to speed up as  I do have a few orders in the pipeline. When I started my Etsy shop I didn't want to be that busy so that I am under pressure to finish orders off. I actually prefer to sell the things that inspire me to crochet. I did get asked to make a full sized  blanket but I turned that order down as I really do not have the patience for that.  So far I am coping very well but a couple more orders would be nice. Never satisfied am I? I still have hopes of one day exhibiting at a craft co-operative shop.

 I can't afford even a tiny shop but renting a very small space in a craft shop could be ideal for me to showcase my work and hopefully get some sales. If I was younger and in great health I would have liked to start up one of these co-operatives but I will leave it to the younger ones these days. We have an Arts and crafts place in Manchester in the Northern quarter but it comprises of people who rent small workshops space  individually in a communal space and so is well out of my price range. Another of my pipe dreams. My main idealistic dream is to be able to rent a small shop in Skiathos and spend the Summer attracting the tourists with my crochet. That idea is only feasible in my wildest dreams.

Happy crocheting. Hopefully I will have the top finished by my next blog.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

New Crochet Books and Postal Goodies

At the moment I am crocheting in black cotton yet again. I do hope that I don't get any more requests for black for a while. Last night I looked at my crocheting and discovered a glaring (to me) mistake 2 balls down so once again I had to unravel (sorry but I hate the word frog) and start again so that was another wasted night of crochet. I am sure that it has happened to all of us at some time but it is still annoying. I get so annoyed at myself for not noticing it and putting another 2 balls into the work before I noticed it. Hopefully I will get the back and front finished by tonight ready to start the sleeves tomorrow.

I have been busy on EBay as usual. My Bank Manager now thinks that I am a hopeless case. I am beginning to think that I need therapy to stop all of my yarn buying. My stash room has now reached the point where I can't actually fit anything else on the shelves in there.


These two photos are probably about a tenth of what is actually in there. My friend even made me this sign for the door

What I would really like is to use a larger room and have it wall to wall cubed shelving to make it into a craft room complete with my knitting machines and cones, my sewing machines and a comfy chair and TV. I would spend my life in there and only come out for meals! I can't change the larger spare bedroom into this as my son and his wife use that room when they visit me and they do prefer a bed to sleep in rather than a pile of wool!

This week's deliveries from the post man include a pack of cotton that I bought on EBay. Two big needle knitting patterns also from EBay.Yes  I have been known to knit but crochet is my first love. The Big Needle Knitting book and the Today's crochet book came from 2nd hand booksellers. The crochet book is very 60's in style and I love some of the designs in it.  Anyone who knows me knows of my love for retro crochet patterns. I have a huge collection of patterns and books but am always looking for patterns that I don't already have.

I also got my latest subscription copy of Interweave crochet which is mainly shawls this issue. They are very fine and pretty though. The blue crochet dress is a vintage speed crochet pattern. It uses 3 strands of DK to make this garment. .Lastly I got my pre ordered copy of the latest Doris Chan book. I have made a rather jerky You Tube video showing some of the items in this book. I had to keep panning away from the book as I was scared of showing any of the instructions and invoking the wrath of the copyright police.

My intention was purely to show off the photos of the designs so that other crocheters would want to buy the book which is now out on sale.

Buster is really benefitting from being walked for a couple of days with the dog walker. He is much livelier than he was. I am still walking him around the block when I can but it was obvious that he needed more exercise than I was able to give him. I bought him a new ball when I was out shopping and he is happily driving my neighbours crazy with the squeaking ball as you can see in this clip.

Hopefully I will get the front of the black crochet Elegant sweater finished tonight if I don't make any more stupid mistakes. Today is hoovering day. My neighbour fixed my upstairs hoover. Buster loves being hoovered by the attachment hose on this hoover. I do brush him every day but he is shedding everywhere at the moment. Have you ever known a dog that comes running when you switch a hoover on and stands there until he gets hoovered? He is the same with the hair dryer. Wet or dry he runs to get dried all over with the warm air.

Happy Crocheting. Wish me a mistake free day.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

I Am Still Busy Crocheting

Sorry that I haven't been blogging for quite a while. I don't have an excuse as such. Just been busy crocheting and not in the mood for blogging. There is nothing wrong in my world in fact I have been busy reopening my Etsy shop once again Urban Gypsy Crochet which is going better than the last time I opened it. I have sold 3 things so far so very happy with that. I have also had orders from friends and friends of friends.

This is the latest order ready for posting to Scotland. It is the Far Point Topper pattern by Doris Chan and I made it using James C Brett's Marble chunky that I bought from Purplelinda. Modelling it is my new helper. I bought a mannequin to help with my photos. She has 3 different egos depending on which wig she is wearing. When she is wearing her blonde wig her name is Paris. I haven't decided what her name will be when she wears her brown bob or her long brunette wig. I will be making this pattern again in different colours for my Etsy shop as it does attract a lot of attention when I wear mine.

I am still ordering lots of yarns from my usual sources. Ebay, Kemps, Purplelinda to name just 3.
This is aran thickness cotton that I have bought in a few colours from a seller on Ebay. I used this cotton to make this waistcoat.

This is another pattern by Doris Chan from her Everday Crochet Book that took one pack of the aran cotton. My friend Sarah now has this waistcoat.

This is the Abigail Vest by Jenny King designs that I made for my niece using James C Brett's Cotton On DK that I got from Abakhan. Although the pattern isn't hard to make it was one of those pattern that drove me crazy crocheting row upon row of the chain loops that form all of the borders and bottom edge of this jacket. I don't want to make another one of these jackets in a hurry.


This isn't a good photo of the front of this jacket. It is much nicer than the photo shows.

This is a dress made f rom a 60's pattern in keeping with the fashion for vintage crochet. Once again I have used James C Brett's Cotton On for this dress. It is in my Etsy shop.

Another pattern from the Doris Chan Everday Crochet book. I made this Mei Mei with Reflection by Creative yarns. I love this little top. It is ideal for keeping shoulders warm on a chilly evening. Once again I have added it to my Etsy shop.

This is yet another Doris Chan pattern from the Everyday Crochet book. This has once again been made in Reflections by Creative Yarns. This was made for my Etsy shop but my friend Sarah bought it from me for her holidays.

If you want to see more of the things that I have been making recently and you are on Facebook then please like my Urbangypsycrochet page as I update that daily. I don't only use it for my items but I also add links to other crochet things and anything else that catches my eye. I think that is what has taken the place of my blogging.

I am still getting my crochet magazines and buying lots of patterns from Ravelry, Etsy and Ebay. I love my vintage patterns as well as the modern one. I order most of the latest crochet books via Amazon and today I got notification that one of my pre orders (the latest Doris Chan book ) is on it's way to me.

I still have the help of Buster. He is now going for twice weekly walks with the  dog walker and really enjoying it. He got in the habit of walking with her whilst I was looking after my neighbour's two dogs so now he walks with another neighbour's dog. He also had his toe nails cut so he is a new man.

This is Buddy who I dog sit when his Mum goes away on holiday. He is looking very sad as he was missing his Mum.

Poppy is alos looking sad but that was only because she was waiting for a treat. She is very food motivated. She lives next door but visits me daily through a gap in the hedge.

I have to go and post the first red top off to Scotland. I hope that it won't be too long before I write another post on the blog. I also have to make a new video for You Tube. I forget to show my crochet  off on video and still haven't worked out how to put still photo and voice overs on to the videos.

I hope that you are having a good day. Happy Crocheting.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Brightly Coloured Crochet Coat

I have finished off my brightly coloured coat that I crocheted in Austermann Murano. I used a pattern called Shaded Blanket coat that I found in the Simple Crochet book by Melody Griffiths. I bought the wool from EBay and only had 6 x 150 grams so the collar is shorter than it should be.

Sorry if the stripes make your eyes go funny but the wool is long length shaded and so the stripes are irregular and so they don't match up at the front. It didn't help that I fastened the toggles up a row wrong making one side look longer than the other. I did the body all in one so that the stripes would even out better, I didn't want any large patches of colour.

This is the back view showing the collar. I would have liked to make a hood but as I bought the wool from a private seller on EBay I couldn't find another ball. This jacket took 6 x 150 gram balls but it 51% wool so the yardage isn't that good.  Sorry that the following You Tube video is a bit dark. I thought at the time that the day light was bright enough when I filmed it

As you can see in the video I now have yet another Tunisian book and 2 double ended hooks. I really must get down to some practise very soon.

My son and daughter in law came down on Saturday and left their two dogs with me for an hour or so. Buster lived with the girls until he came to live with me so there are no problems between them  Well I thought so until Buster made his feeling very plain about the pecking order and sleeping arrangements.

The two girls, who are both bigger than Buster, had to squash up on the 2 seat sofa.

Buster, on the other hand, was lounging in style on the 3 seat sofa all by himself.

Even when he was awake he was on guard in case they wanted to join him in his area.

I also make myself a 4ply sweater from a machine cone. This pattern came from Plus size crochet by Margaret Hubert. I added the collar and the edging. It did seem strange to me to be crocheting the first size in the pattern and it still is a little large on me. It is draped on the smaller sized mannequin so you can't see the full size of it

We had a gloriously sunny day on Saturday and I hoped that Spring was coming at last but the weather is back to cold again yesterday and today. I am really fed up now of being cold. The only thing in the weather's favour is at least it isn't raining today.

I am going to try to finish off the chartreuse green chunky cardigan that I am making so will have something else to show for my next video and blog posting.

Happy crocheting