Tuesday, 27 March 2012

The Latest Craft Fair

I went to a craft fair on Sunday. Although the pub is lovely it didn't seem right somehow for a craft fair. The lighting was very dim and the table was quite small. The weather was glorious which didn't help. I think people had gone out for the day rather than visit a craft fair.Plus I don't think that it had been well advertised.

 To be honest my stall layout was all wrong. I took a photo and it looked more like a second hand stall than a crochet one. I do need to work more on my presentation if I do any more craft fairs.

In all honesty I think that if I was a customer then I would have walked past this stall too.

The clothes rail idea doesn't work but I am at a loss as to how to display things without using it. When I sold things before I had a shop window to dress and I could use walls and transparent thread to drape things at more appealing angles but as there is no facilities to do anything like this at a craft fair display is very awkward. My things would display better on the old fashioned stalls with canopies. Then I could hang things around the struts of the stall. Displaying things side on is not the best way.

My only consolation is that the other stalls didn't sell much of anything either. Thank goodness the stalls were free or I would have been in a loss situation. My older niece gave me a lift with my things. She is really good to me that way. I could not do craft fairs without her help (or my friend Sue when she does the fairs with me) It's a pain having no transport but I cannot afford to buy a car at the moment and pay for insurance and road tax when it would sit on the driveway 90% of the time. Plus if I did drive anywhere then I would still have the problem of walking to the shops once I had parked the car in a car park. I would not have this problem if the metro would allow mobility scooters on the trams. Technically they are allowed on the buses but the space is so limited there is no room to manouver on a bus

This is a shawl that I rushed to finish off for the craft fair. It is from a pattern by Ken Jones called Doily Shell Stitch Shawl that I bought from Etsy . I did misread the pattern though and increased more times than I should have in the first few rows so mine has turned out a  much fuller version of his shawl. I do quite like it this way but next time I would follow the pattern to make it more of a summer shawl. It is one of those top down patterns so any thickness of yarn could be used with any size hook. The only difference is that the sequence of increase rows would have to be repeated more often. I can imagine this shawl made in a fine colourful sock yarn on quite a large hook to make it light and airy for summer.

I am taking a break from crocheting things for sale this week. I already knew about my niece's baby boy who is due at the end of April but now I also know of 2 newborn boys. I have reached out my blue, cream and white wool and will spend this week making some small items for the newborns and then start on somethings for my niece.

I also have some items to crochet for my friend who is going on holiday in June. She has chosen the kind of items that I like to crochet so I am happy about that.

Tonight I am going to a meeting of like minded craft fair people and hope that I can get some better ideas on how to create a web page and other methods of selling. I need some help in this department and as some of the others in the group are having more success than I am then I will sit and listen to how they market their goods.

These are two books that arrived last week. The one on the right looks a very interesting book. I haven't read it as yet but it is all about altering the patterns to fit. A few of he patterns inside this book are ones that I would be interested in making. The book with the green cardigan has a couple in it that I like but as with all books patterns grow on me the more I look at them. I believe my copy of the latest Interweave Crochet is on it's way to me although from the preview photos I am a bit underwhelmed by the designs.

The sun is shining so I think that I will sit in the garden and crochet for a while. I have to shower first but as I am waiting for a parcel that needs to be signed for I am dithering about trying to decide when is the best time to risk it. It takes me so long to get out of the shower and down the stairs that the postman has gone before I open the door. I can't sit here in my pj's all day. I think that I will just have a quick wash, throw some clothes on and shower before I go out later once he has delived the parcel.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

My Taste Is Sometimes Bizarre

If I were to dress the way that my inner me wants to dress then I think most people would find it a bit bizarre. As it is I dress like a normal 66yr old conventional woman does. Inside though I am still have hippy bohemian tendencies hence the name of my Etsy shop Urban Gypsy Crochet. I am not gypsy minded in the travellers kind of way but more the old Romanian gypsies as portrayed in the old movies. I love the flamboyant colours of the skirts and headdresses. I think this is why I love to crochet colourful things even though I don't actually wear them. I just hope that other people share my love of the colourful and unusual and want to buy some of my things. I am trying to give in to my inner boho self and actually wear some of the crochet that I want to wear despite knowing that people will view me as a little bit crazy. I just wish that I had more self confidence to be the inner me instead of the conventional me who dresses like people expect me to dress.

The red fingerless mitts in the centre are an example of my creativity running wild. I wanted a pair of gloves that hinted of the burlesque. They are lacy with a black fun fur edging and laced up the centre with ribbon corset style. The other mitts that I have designed are a bit more conventional to perhaps appeal to more people.

The hats are for the craft fair. What I call bread and butter crochet. The scarf pattern is Doris Chan's Sweet Lorraine and the is hat is one that I improvised to match the scarf. I added a flower to please my inner me. I think that I still have time to make a couple of lacy summer hats with flowers before Sunday.

I made this shawl from the Dudley Do Wright pattern that I bought from either Etsy or Ravelry. It is a very simple shawl to crochet but if I made it again then I would use finer yarn than the aran yarn that I used here. Whilst this version is a lovely warm shawl I think that it would drape better if done in a finer yarn. It is a top down shawl so could be adapted to any size of hook and any thickness of yarn just by altering the number of pattern repeats.

At the moment I am in the middle of crocheting another chunky shawl for the fair. I am also re-organising my yarn stash once again. I bought one of those shelving units with a cover designed as temporary storage for students and am using it for all my full balls of colourful acrylic yarns that I use for shawls, granny squares etc. Of course I underestimated my stash of single balls and so I have ordered another one today. I will post photos of  them both once they are in place and filled. I also bought a 4 tiered plastic vegetable tray on castors that I am using to store the part balls of yarns that I am working with. This idea works so well I am going to get another one to store the patterns that I am using at the moment as opposed to the ones that are stored away in boxes. I will post photos of those once they are all set up in place.

I do try my best to keep organised even though to an uncrafty eye my house is still untidy. I do feel slightly better about this when I watch the You Tube videos of the Cast Off Crew and Fresh Off The Hook as the backgrounds of their videos look equally as messy as mine. I know now that I am not alone in my crafty mess.

Today is nice and sunny although still quite chilly. The gardener has been today for the first time this season. I don't have her visit during the winter. It all sounds rather posh having a gardener but she just comes once a fortnight for an hour just to keep the lawn and the small  bit of garden tidy. I don't have a beautiful garden but at least it is neat and tidy when she comes. I just could not manage it before and I could not keep relying on the generosity of neighbours. I like to be as self sufficient as I can.

It will soon be the craft fair on Sunday and I need to sort out what I am going to take with me and make sure that things are labelled. I am not taking my baby things this time apart from a couple of newer items. I am trying out a different theme with the retro crochet items to see how they are received.

Thank you all for your comments. I do appreciate them. I am trying to blog more frequently after my long lay off but still not got back in the swing of things yet.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

I Am A Busy Bee

I am still being busy with my crochet. I have a craft fair on Sunday and although I have plenty of things for the stall I decided to revamp and add some different things.

This is another circular waistcoat but this time a different pattern. I call this one a spider's web waistcoat. I got the pattern from Etsy and it is supposed to have a loose hood but I didn't have enough black yarn in my stash to put the hood on. The front fastens with two ties.

This waistcoat has a hood, It is from a free pattern on the Red Heart site by the Double Stitch Twins. It was an unusual method of construction but I like the finished result. I made this mostly in Sirdar Crofter chunky with accents of grey and a dull turquoise for the edgings. This is going to the craft fair or on Etsy later if it doesn't sell.

The caps are made from a pattern by Ken Jones called the Jeff cap. I bought the chunky version either from Etsy or Ravelry. It is a very simple design to make and comes out quite well both in chunky and in double knit worked with two different shades crocheted together to give a mottled effect. The beanie was made with the oddments of the balls that I used for the caps. One again I doubled up the yarn using two colours to make a  chunky thickness. There is also a pattern for a cap in thinner yarn but I preferred the stiffness of the chunky version as it holds the brim in place.

This jacket is for my great nephew to be. I made it with Eco cotton DK that I bought from Kemps in their clearance sale. It has worked up really soft and looks very much like it is knitted which is a look that my niece prefers. It looks rather blue in the photo but is actually a pale silver grey with denim blue used as a contrast. The pattern is from Etsy by Mon Petit Violon who is one of my favourite childrens designers. I have bought a lot of her patterns.

The green and lemon pram blanket is also for my niece's baby and the pink one is for sale. I made them both using James C Brett Marble DK yarn which is a beautiful yarn for  babies but because of the long colour changes I think that it works better in blankets rather than baby jackets. Small jackets tend to finish up with one colour for the front and another for the other front instead of a random effect, I think that they look rather patchy and odd. I still have some more colours in the same yarn in my stash so I will be making more of these pram blankets.

I had my fur grandson Buster for just over a week whilst my son and daughter in law took a week's break on the Algarve.. I love having him here and he really didn't want to leave me but he does need more attention than I can give him. He is such good company but my crochet slows down as he wants to play ball or sit with me most of the time. He thinks that he is small enough to be a lap dog. As you can see he has made a fine mess of my lawn with his paws. He loves to dig. My gardener will be starting work again this week so she will have her job cut out trying to rescue what is left of my lawn. It sounds very posh having a gardener but I only have her for an hour every fortnight to keep the grass down and pull the weeds. I just can't manage it on my own any more.

I had more yarn deliveries this last couple of weeks but have not taken any photos. I have also had a couple of crochet magazines and a couple of crochet books. Once the rush for the craft fair is over and I have a bit more free time I will show you which ones I bought and give you a preview.

Today I went up the village and bought another storage box for my hair sprays etc. I cannot reach into the back of the cupboard that I keep my sprays and make up in as it is low down. I can't bend down that far and I cannot kneel anymore. The box has handles so I can slide it out of the cupboard whilst I reach the things in the box. I am constantly having to improvise to stay self sufficient. When you live alone as I do I don't have anyone that I can ask to reach me this and that so everything has to be reachable. It doesn't lend itself to a tidy house but I have to be practical.

Today I also bought a 4 tier plastic vegetable rack which I am going to turn into a yarn tray for keeping the balls of wool that I am working on close to me. When I am working with one colour I can keep the yarn neatly in a bag but when I am working with lots of different colours as in striped shawls, scarves and hats my part balls get into a huge tangle and are everywhere. I do try to keep tidy. It doesn't always work though. I am also a lover of granny squares for using up oddments and like to have the colours close to my chair. Tonight's chore will be sorting out which colours I am using for my next craft fair project. I finished off a multi coloured hat this afternoon so it's a new project to choose tonight.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Yarn From Turkey

I have been increasing my stash whilst I have not been blogging. My friend Sue introduced me to Ice Yarns that come from Turkey. She is an avid fan of them and whilst I had looked at the site the cost of the postage had put me off ordering. I have bought quite a few lots of Ice Yarns but through EBay. I decided to take the plunge and order direct as there were certain colours in certain yarns that I wanted. The plain colours at the front of the photo are the Ice yarns. I have 2 packs of each colour but only put one of each on the photo. The yarn cost me around £40 and the postage just slightly less than that which sounds a lot of money but when I divided it up per ball (60 balls)  the yarn has only cost me £1.35p a ball. The parcel actually came to me faster than the sale yarns at the back of the photo that I ordered from Abakhan! Abakhan has a free postage deal for March if you order £35+ of yarn.

I went into hospital for day surgery on my left  knee last week. I was able to watch the op on a camera which was all a bit surreal. The upshot of the the op is that when they looked inside the knee there was nothing much that they could do as I need a new knee on the left leg sometime in the next few months.

I am slowly losing a bit of weight. Not that I am actually dieting but with this diabetes I am watching what I am eating. Something that I haven't done in a while. I guess it took being diagnosed with diabetes to shake me up into this. I have only lost a few pounds so far but it's a step in the right direction. I know that if I consciously diet then I cheat. This way I don't feel like I am dieting, I am just being more careful.

This is a new crochet book that I ordered as I liked the top on the front cover. A few days after it arrived my copy of this arrived

Have you spotted what is inside? Yes the pattern for the top on the front cover of the Rowan book. Ah well. There is another couple of patterns in the Rowan book that could come in useful.

I have also got a copy of the Double Stitch Twins Fashionista book. This book is the reason why I needed the silky crepe effect yarn that I got from Ice. I am making a couple of tops from that book for a neighbour.

I had a visit from my friend Sylvia and she asked if I would make a new  bonnet for her current foster  baby. As this Sirdar pattern was for 3 months and the baby is 9 months I decided to use a bigger hook. As you can see this bonnet will fit the  baby when she goes to school. I am going to try again ,with a different baby pattern that is for a 9 month baby, and then I can follow the pattern. This bonnet has come out really pretty and I will make it again some day. I just don't like making 2 of the same one after the other.

I have finished a crochet jacket for my younger niece's baby. I thought that it was coming out big but I carried on as the jacket is worked from side to side and difficult to size. When I came to look at the pattern the first size is 9-12 months and not newborn as I had thought. I carried on and finished it as babies do grow and it will fit him in the Autumn. I will take a photo of it before I pack it away.

I still haven't finished off the machine knitted maternity sweater for my niece. Whilst my knee is fine when I am sitting down doing my crochet it still hurts too much to be bent up underneath the knitting machine. It's a pity really as I am doing another craft fair at the end of March. I have plenty of things for my stall but I did want some finer items as it is coming Spring even though it is still quite cold. I still need to crochet some small things for the stall.

Time for a shower as my elder niece is calling to turn me back into a blonde once again sometime today. I have lots of housework to do but just cannot drum up any enthusiasm for that.

Have a good weekend folks.