Monday, 29 August 2011

Crochet Shawl Finished Before Baby Arrives

Sorry that I haven't been writing my blog but I have been so busy for the last few days. At least I managed to finished the shawl for my 'adopted' niece Louise's new baby. I call her that as she shared a house with my niece for years before they both got married so I feel like she is part of the family. She is expecting her third baby any day now and I was worried in case her shawl would not be ready in time. It's all white as the baby will be a surprise. They already have 2 boys and Louise and her husband are convinced that this 3rd one is another boy but my niece and I have our fingers crossed for a little girl

The shawl pattern is one of Heather's from Just Crochet and the number is JC46. I had to thread white ribbon through the holes at the edge and sew on white bows. I would have chosen pink or blue ribbon but Louise wants to take the shawl in hospital for the new arrival. It's a sort of tradition. I made a new shawl for each of her boys to come home in so the third baby has to have the same. The wool I used was Sirdar baby DK in a lustre finish. It took 400 grams but it is quite a large shawl.

This is a little outfit for my Etsy store or craft fair. I am a little bit biased towards the girls which my crochet so far so I wanted something that a boy could wear. It has come out around 9-12 months size.

I put imitation leather buttons on it to give it a more 'manly' appearance.

I added a tab and put the same buttons on the beanie hat for the same reason.

Some 'new' vintage patterns from Ebay.

Some more patterns.

Some satin and furry motifs that I got from Ebay to use on pram blankets and jackets.

Some more yarn that I bought from Ebay. I will be sleeping in the garage soon as the house gets filled up with yarn. I will also be living on baked beans and jacket potatoes whilst I pay for these supplies. If I don't sell any of this stuff I will be eating yarn soon!

I used the the Wendy Moiselle to crochet up a small scarf.

As it was an oddment that I bought I didn't have enough to fringe it so it has a shell edging instead. It is much prettier in real life with the satin and organza ribbon threaded in with the yarn. That doesn't show up in the photographs.

Sorry if I am neglecting my blogging but I only have so much time to crochet until the first Craft Fair next month. I will try to write more this week. I still have to spend a day adding more things to the Etsy store. It takes ages to get the photos right and add them on to my shop. I think that I need a secretary but one who donates her time !

I went to the hospital on Friday and they want to operate on my left knee. Not a replacement yet. Just an arthroscope to have a good look around and hopefully trim the torn cartilage. This op wasn't a success on my right knee so I am not hopeful. They wanted me in before Christmas but I told them I had Craft fairs to do so to take me in after Christmas. They keep me waiting and cancel me all the time so now it's my turn to say no.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Still Crocheting Away

I am still busy crocheting although a lot of my time has been taken up with taking photographs and listing things on Etsy. I haven't sold anything yet but other people on Etsy tell me that this is quite normal until people get to know me.

If I don't stop shopping on EBay soon I will be asking you to send me food parcels! There are just too many bargains and I have decided that not only do I lack willpower where food is concerned I also lack it with yarn and crochet patterns.These are two cones of aran thickness. I just fell in love with the colours. It's so hard to get a  nice random dyed yarn these days without paying a small fortune per ball for it.

These wooden Tunisian hooks turned up today. I had almost forgotten about them as they came all the way from China. As I only bid 99p for them plus the postage of course I wasn't expecting much from them. Surprisingly they are so smooth to use. I have had expensive wooden crochet hooks and given them away because I couldn't work with the shape of the hook tips. A lot of them have more of a flat head. They used to snag on my yarn and slow me down. I had a practise with these today and they are as smooth as silk with just the kind of hook tip that I like. They are very short for Tunisian hooks. Only 10" long but I can wield these far easier than my plastic ones with the wiggly wires that cost me a fortune. Perhaps once I get the hang of using these short ones I can progress to the longer ones with wires to make larger things. For the moment I will just practise with baby things until I get better at it. Watch out Beverooni I will be asking you lots of questions soon!.

This is my doll Jo-Anna who came home with me from my shop. She was my display doll for many years. Now she has a new career of modelling for Etsy.

This is Maisie. The latest addition to my doll family. She is also a model for my Etsy store. Unfortunately she needs better lighting to show off her complexion better.

On this photo Jo-Anna is pretending to be a boy. I don't have any boy dolls so the girls have to change sex sometimes. I have another little doll called Sophia but as she is premature sized she hasn't done any modelling yet. The clothes that I have made so far are way too big for her. I shall have to make a set especially for her to model.

I have just signed myself up for 2 craft fairs in my home town. They are Vintage and Craft fairs with a variety of furniture, vintage clothing, cakes and jewelry as well as hand made crafts. I will be working like mad to make some thing more vintage themed as the first one is September 25th which doesn't leave me much time. I found out about them through my ice cream man. We were chatting about hobbies and I mentioned that mine was crochet. He gave me his daughter's phone number as she was looking for a crocheter for her fairs. I am also signed up for one just before Christmas and for that I will be trying to make more gift things as people might be looking for last minute Christmas gifts of hats and scarves.

Feedbackfrom my friends who have done craft fairs is they say that they can be good for sales one day and the next tine you go to one you can sell nothing. As I have been pre warned about this I won't feel too badly if I don't get any sales on the day. I am going to get some business cards printed. As the venue is so local to me and I will know a lot of the people visiting then at least it will raise my profile locally about what I do and where they can find me on my blog, facebook and Etsy. If they are not buying that day it might lead to sales later. Who knows. I can only try. I have been talking about doing this for quite some time so I thought that now is the time to give it a go. If it is successful then it might keep me occupied until I go to crochet heaven. With rising prices for everything any extra money I might make would be very welcome. If I just make enough to feed my EBay addiction to yarn and patterns I shall be happy!

Time is a wasting. I have some crochet to finish and a baby blanket to make. Not for my Etsy store this time it's for my elder niece's best friend who is due her third baby any day. I made blankets for her other two so I can't leave number three out. It will be a white blanket as she doesn't know the sex of the baby until it is born. We all think that it is another boy so it will be a lovely surprise if it's a girl.

There will probably be more photos of Buddy and Poppy as I am dog minding them for a day or so whilst my neighbour visits her new nephew. He still hasn't made his appearance yet but I think that the hospital is using dynamite if the other drugs don't work soon. He must be too comfy in there.

If you don't hear from me for a couple of days it will be because I will be busy with crochet and dogs in no particular order. At least these two don't shed hair all over everywhere as my lovely Buster does.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

My Etsy Store is Finally Open

It has been a long time in the making but finally my Etsy store is open from today. So far there are only a few items on there as I didn't realize how long it takes to photograph things and list them on the site. It's a day's work just going that! I hope that the weather is fine and sunny tomorrow as I have so many more things to photograph.  These are just a few.

I hope that my prices aren't too high and that people who don't crochet realize just how many hours and how much work goes into making these tiny outfits. I am so afraid of making things too expensive and yet if I worked it out how long it takes to make    one thing then I would probably be earning about 10p and hour for my crochet!  Urban Gypsy Crochet is the name of my site. The lovely heading is courtesy of my friend Rachael from Artyarn.

One for the older babies. A multi coloured jacket.

I seem to be in a groove with my crochet flowers. I do think that they pretty up an otherwise basic cardigan so much.

Things are still arriving from EBay. I think that I will be taking a second mortgage out on my house soon to pay my credit card bill. I have enough stuff to last me for years if I crochet non stop! I will be forced into getting my knitting machine out soon with all of these cones. I just wish that I could get in the mood for it. I am just in a real crocheting frame of mind at the moment. Not interested in knitting whether hand or machine. I have phases like this and I find that it's best not to force it. I will get back to it one day.

Back to the crochet. Before that I think that it is time to find something for my dinner. The Farmers Market is coming to town tomorrow morning so at least I should have something really nice for my dinner tomorrow plus some gorgeous French bread. I just hope that I get up early enough as the bread sells out so fast.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

More Deliveries

More deliveries today. The machine cones were delivered to me via Royal Mail. I bid for them on EBay as I am having difficulty finding anyone who stocks machine cones that aren't single colours. I am sure that there must be an online shop somewhere that I am missing. I have tried the usual machine knitting cone outlets but everything is either in plain colours or in very thin shiny viscose. I just have to keep looking out on EBay but unfortunately for me that all seem to have been put on the site this week. As I have been looking so long I dare not let these go at these prices. These are not for baby things but for shawls and scarves later in the year..

Two more patterns arrived, or rather one did and the other one I had to pick up from the Post Office. The same thing happened yesterday. Yesterday someone had re-used a stamp and so I had to pay the postage and today there was no stamp on it at all. I have had patterns from both of these sellers before and nothing was wrong with the postage then so I won't name and shame them. I just hope that it doesn't happen again as I am getting fed up of the ride to the sorting office. There is no room to turn the scooter around and today I got stuck on an kerb and must have accidentally knocked the manual switch on my scooter. I couldn't understand for a few minutes why it wouldn't go.

Another little jacket finished. This time it is darker coloured so I made it larger. I didn't use a pattern for this but I did write it down in shorthand so hopefully I will be able to follow it again should it be needed.

I made a baby hat from the pattern that arrived yesterday. I think that the Quickerknit specified on the pattern must have been more of a chunky as this hat has turned out to fit a premature baby. I am not over fond of the bobble stitch. It is hard to keep the bobbles all the same size and also I feel that little baby fingers will pull at the bobbles and stretch out the strings of the stitch. I have a feeling that it will look tatty in a short while. I will have to adapt this pattern if I make any more. I like that shape so will have to improvise.

More hats to make tonight, I think, but I am probably better at hats when I make the pattern up myself instead of using a pattern. It's just a matter of getting the shaping right at the top and then it's all improvisation after that.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

I Love This Pattern

I knew that I wanted this pattern. I will say thanks once again to Maureen for sending me her copy of the pattern after I got outbid on Ebay. I really love this pattern and I am so pleased with the way that it has turned out. I will definitely be using this pattern again.

My Ebay patterns keep arriving daily. I have got to the slow down stage now as I have bid (and won a lot of them) on most of the ones that I liked the most. I have probably paid well over the odds for a lot of them but they are such lovely patterns. Well I think so. That's all that matters.

These are all crochet. I especially love the crochet helmet in blue and white.

The middle design is knitted but the other two are crochet.

These are all in crochet.

The top two patterns are knitted and the bottom two are crochet.

I bid on this knitting bag and it arrived with 3 part balls of DK acrylic, some knitting patterns and one crochet pattern for babies hats and booties. The bag is practically new and is just the right size for carrying my crochet around to hospital appointments, There were also a few pair of old knitting needles in the bag but as they are short length I will be donating them to the knit club. Rachael is always teaching people how to knit and so knitting needles are always wanted to practise with.

These are some machine cones that I ordered from Ebay. I am not using them for knitting on the machine. I thought that they would crochet some lovely small shawls. It's so hard to find random dyed 4ply without paying an absolute fortune for the hand dyed wools. Lovely though these space dyed sock yarns may be, the price of the yarn would make the finished shawl far too expensive to sell. Nowadays it's not just a question of my liking something I have to take the price into consideration. If anyone wanted something in wool or merino then they would have to put their hand a lot deeper into their pockets. I love the colours of Noro but don't like the feel of it and definitely don't like the price of it even in the sales. I might splash out on it for myself someday but not to crochet and sell on. The cone in the right is especially pretty as it has a silver thread running through the colours.

I have almost finished another crochet baby cardigan. This time it is slightly larger than newborn size as the colour is a little bit darker. Tonight I am going to crochet some baby hats so that I can show something less expensive on my Etsy site. I am getting excited now as it should definitely be open by the end of the week.

My head is still buzzing with ideas and I have taken to carrying my notebook and pen around with me so that I can draw and describe what is in my head before it pops out of my brain again. I have a kind of short circuit brain. I have some brilliant ideas just as I am ready to fall asleep and then if I don't draw or write them down then I have forgotten all about them in the morning. I am trying my best to write down ( in my pidgin way) what I am crocheting free hand so that even though no-one else would be able to understand my shorthand at least I can make something again should it be needed.

Time to cook some dinner. Nothing fancy tonight. Just meatballs in a tomato and onion sauce with spaghetti topped with mozarello cheese. There will be enough for tomorrow too. I like it when I don't have to cook on certain days as it is already made.

After that it is back to the crochet.  I hope that there are some good programmes on TV tonight as the more enthralled I am in a programme then the faster I can crochet!

Sunday, 14 August 2011

I've Been Busy

Sorry I haven't been around in Blogland but I had this box of crochet to deal with. I had made lots of things but nothing was finished off. No buttons, trimmings or ribbons. It took me as long to decide which buttons to put on which garment and as to trimmings and ribbon - even more decisions. What I thought would take me an afternoon to finish off has taken almost 2 days. In future I will finish each one off before I move onto the next. It was all a bit overwhelming.

Thanks to Eadaoin I am nearer to opening my Etsy shop. I have got it set up but I need a banner for the top of my page and of course to take some lovely photos to show things in their best light. It will definitely all come together before the end of this week. Pricing is another nightmare. Anyone who knits or crochets knows that you never get paid for your craft. I could never add up the hours it has taken to make each thing and charge by the hour. It's just a question of researching what other people are charging for similar items and costing mine out and seeing if it is feasible to charge the same. Luckily for me it doesn't have to be a full time job. I just want to make some extra money so that I can buy nice yarns and patterns. That doesn't mean however that I am willing to work away for hours for next to nothing. If things don't sell then I will just shut up shop and continue to crochet for family and friends. If I don't try then I will never know if I can do it.

I have been bidding on lots of patterns on Ebay and buying lots of patterns on Etsy. As a lot of them are PDF files then they will only get seen once I print them all out or crochet them up. Once again my printer ink is running low. The refills don't seem to last 2 minutes and my printer has a fit if I try to use anything other than the real branded inks. The last time I changed them ( all branded inks) it took me over an hour to get the printer to stop saying that it didn't recognise my inks.

I did get a new set of inks but I have already used the blue. I love the brightly coloured buttons that I bought from Ebay. The old pattern is a knitting one for a change

I will have to find something to use these lovely buttons on. Once again though they are a bit girly.

These are some patterns that arrived by post. I love the long dress. I have ordered 3 more hippy style long dresses.. Hopefully I will get time to make a couple for me to wear in the house in the winter. With fuel prices  going up so much I want to keep warm and a long woolly skirt will be just the thing. Worn over leggings or a full length under slip it will keep the draughts out when I am sitting watching TV and crocheting in the evenings. The other three styles are a bit more substantial than this one and one has long sleeves. The baby patterns are 3 examples of  matinee jackets in fine yarn.

These two magazines have arrived but I have only had the time to quickly browse them. Not much is leaping out at me in either one of these. I noticed that there was a copy of Crochet today for sale on Ebay so I think that someone else shares my opinion and has decided to sell their copy.

This is the pattern that I got into a bidding war on Ebay to try to win it. The price was just getting silly for my purse but I did so want this pattern. A lovely Internet buddy Maureen sent me a message telling me to stop bidding as she had a copy that I could have. I do have some great friends that I have met through the wonders of the Internet. What made Maureen and I laugh was after I dropped out of the bidding another lady pipped my rival to the post and got in a bid with seconds to spare. Whoever she was finished up paying £18 for the pattern! I couldn't wait to start it so here is the beginnings of the jacket in blue and white. My crochet items are mostly white or pink and girly so I wanted a few blue items to try and balance it out a bit more. There is not much in the way of good patterns in crochet for boys. They are all a bit plain. I may have to knit some things which will really slow me down. I will have to put my thinking cap on. I have now taken to keeping a notebook and pencils by the bed as when I try to sleep my head is whirring with good ideas of designs to crochet. If I don't sketch them right away then I can't sleep for ages and once I finally fall asleep I have invariably forgotten the ideas in the morning.

I haven't done much of anything today despite getting up bright and early. I think that it's time to get a coffee and resume the blue and white crochet. I do love crocheting the old patterns which is why I am buying so many on Ebay. I love old patterns and it is so exciting to get some 'new' old patterns.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

It Has To Be Doris Chan For Me

This is what I have been crocheting whilst Buster has been visiting.  I used the Cinnabar pattern from the Everyday Crochet Book by Doris Chan.

I like the top down construction. Plus the fact that it makes generous armholes which is a boon for a plus sized lady like me. I was jiggling about with a bit less cotton than I should have had for the pattern. My friend Sue had given me almost 13 balls of Patons Washed Haze Aran. It is an acrylic and cotton mix so it doesn't have a good yardage.

As you can see when I wear it the sleeves are bracelet length instead of full length and the body is a little bit shorter than I would have preferred. I just wished that I looked as nice in the Cinnabar as my model does.

This is the back view of the cardigan. It is quite thick so it will be warm enough for our wonderful non existent Summer. As I write this the rain is absolutely hammering down.

As a change from all of my Kemps browsing I now have become an avid Ebay fan. These are 4 that have arrived so far but there are many more to come if I win the bids. There is one pattern that I am bidding on and it has turned into a bit of a silly bidding war between me and another lady. It's like a battle and I want to win it. The money is not the issue any more it's the winning that counts!!!. It's a baby crochet pattern that I have never seen before, not even when I stocked Emu yarns in our wool shops. I want it - it shall be mine!

As the label was covering the lemon jacket on the group photo I took another photo but it has not turned out well. That's the trouble with using a camera in dull rainy lighting. The flash comes on. I don't have a super dooper top of the range camera.

These are 2 patterns that I bought from the Vintagelady web site. I have more but my printer has run out of ink so until new cartridges arrive by post I can't do any more. I bought them as PDF files.

All I need now is some time to complete the abandoned (because of Buster and his hair)matinee jacket and finish all the other things that are minus buttons and ribbons. My friend is calling on Friday to help me set up my Etsy site so hopefully by the weekend I will be up and running. I just need lots of really clear photos and to work out how much to price everything. Too low and I will probably sell everything but make no profit. I know that I won't make my fortune but I do want some remuneration for all the time that I spend doing the crocheting and the cost of the yarns and buttons etc. I just hope that my garments are nice enough to tempt people into buying them at a decent price.

The exterminator came on Monday to spray the wasps nest. Touch wood it seems to have done the trick and I haven't seen any wasps since. He did scare me a bit when he said I might have to ring him again as they might set up in a different part of the tiles instead of flying away somewhere else. So far though I haven't seen any signs of that. Thank goodness.

My son came yesterday and put me a temporary post up for my washing line. In true form as soon as he had finished it the rain came down so I still had to dry my clothes indoors.

I went to the Kings Arms Knit Club on Monday eve and we had a good night. Quite a few people were there so it was a good old natter and I managed to crochet quite a bit on the pink Cinnabar. Yesterday and today I have been doing a bit of cleaning. It takes me such a long time as I keep having to rest my back every 10 mins. In the end I just get fed up and leave it. I keep hoping that the cleaning fairy will come in the night but so far no luck.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

I Need To Crochet

I had to start crocheting something. I was going mad with empty fingers. As I have mentioned before I can't make anything for babies whilst Buster is here moulting hair all over the place. I can't really start anything until I have cleaned up after he has gone home. I was going crazy without my crochet so I decided to crochet some Paton's cotton aran that my friend Sue had given to me. Dog hair seems to fall off cotton and as it is something for me then I am used to a few dog hairs on everything I wear. Trust me it takes weeks after he has gone home to wash and hoover all the dog hair away.

I am not sure exactly what this will turn out to be. I am spinning the cotton out as although I had 12 balls it doesn't have a good yardage. It may finish up as a bit of a Doris Chan Mei Mei but with some kind of a sleeve. Since I have got older I don't really do things with a cap sleeve. I have crocheted one ball into one sleeve and will do the same for the other sleeve. Then I will see how far the rest of the cotton will go lengthwise in the body of the jacket. Hopefully I will have enough cotton for the jacket to reach my waist. Waist? What waist?

I like Doris Chan patterns as not only do I like the pattern stitch I also like the top down construction as I am not overfond of sewing seams up on finished garments.

This is my parcel from Purplelindacrafts. I like using the very bright multi colours as trims on white or pastel coloured garments. It just gives a bit of Oomph to them. Although Purplelinda is very reasonable with her prices I still miss the thrill of nipping up to Bury market and looking at the colours myself. Plus they are usually a bit cheaper too.

Today is a rainy day so Buster is not in a very good mood as we can't play ball outside. Every time we attempt to go outside the rain starts. I hope that he is going home today. Not because I am fed up of him but at least he has his fur sisters to play with at home when they can't go out in the rain. Also the men are coming to fumigate my wasps nest tomorrow and I don't want him breathing anything toxic in or getting stung by any irate wasps.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Hair of the Dog

No, I am not hungover and in need of the hair of the dog (hangover cure) I am referring to the fact that I have another furry visitor. Buster is here for the weekend.

Lovely though he maybe and much as I enjoy his company you can see why my crochet for babies has to stop whilst he is here.

This is what my trouser legs looked like 10 minutes after his arrival. I have now brushed him and got a huge ball of fur off him. I  brush him at least twice a day but his hair comes out all over the place despite this. I don't know why he isn't bald with the amount of hair he loses.

All baby crochet has come to a halt as I could not try to sell anything that is covered with dog hair. I will find something else to crochet whilst he is here. Something for me or someone who is used to dog hair clinging to garments even after a wash.

The sun is out so I guess that we will both be in the garden today playing ball.  It's Buster's idea of a really good day, so at least he will be happy. He will be going home on Sunday as I have warned my son that there is someone calling to deal with the wasps nest on Monday morning and I told the people that I didn't have any pets. The stuff they will be using might be harmful to pets so I would rather Buster was out of the way. I don't want him to be poisoned or stung when the wasps come out.

One of my neighbours chatted to me yesterday. They have a little boy just over 18 months old and found out yesterday that they are expecting two babies and not the one that they thought they were expecting. They are not due until the end of January so let's hope that they don't arrive early. My niece's friend who had her last baby the day after my neighbour's baby is also expecting in September but she is having one baby to join her two boys. I do hope that one or both of my neighbour's twins turn out to be girls.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Another Crochet Jacket Finished.

My little furry visitors went home at lunchtime. Although they have been no trouble, apart from Poppy wanting to bark at her own shadow, I didn't get much sleep as they are used to their own house and I am not used to the little pitter patter of their toe nails as they wandered around during the night. Buster arrives tomorrow but he just sleeps when I go to bed apart from wakening me up for a wee around 4am. After that he goes back to sleep again until I get up.

It wasn't just the dogs that kept me awake. I had one of my itchy, restless leg episodes and that prevents me from falling into a deep sleep. It feels like I have ants crawling all over my legs and I just keep moving them involuntarily.

I managed to make this little jacket. It is my own design using the 3 coloured jacket as a guide size. This version if worked bottom edge to shoulders and is joined at the shoulders, the underarms and sides. I like combining lilac with pink and white.

As this jacket and the 3 coloured jacket have come out a bit larger than a young baby size and look a bit on the chunky side I am thinking of making matching turn back beanies to go with these little jackets. I think that they might be more saleable as a set.

I did start a pale coloured granny square last night but it was looking a bit wishy washy. I didn't want to make a strongly coloured blanket this time but the colours that I have are all rather on the pale side to make enough contrast between the colours.

Tonight I might make the beanie hats (if I can stay awake long enough) or start another jacket. I still have to finish off the other older garments that I made a couple of weeks ago. I might do that if I don't do any crochet tonight.

I am making some meatballs in tomato sauce with garlic and onions for my tea. I am going to cook some spaghetti to go with it. Pity that I don't have any mozzarella or Parmesan cheese to top it when it is all cooked.