Category Archives: Bit of everything

Guest Blog Post – Etsy Shop Hopetheblackdog

A guest blog post from last year, from Amy.

Through The Looking Glass

Another guest blog post – the first in a short series featuring UK Etsy Shops.

This first shop is Hopetheblackdog and is owned by (or is it the shop that owns the person?) Amy Alice Donoghue from Nottingham. She’s opted to answer a few questions about her and her etsy shop. (Click on the captions to see the item’s listing).

Amy Amy

Hi! I’m Amy, 26, from hope the black dog, and I live in Nottingham with my fiancé and two pet rats called Marie and Rosa. I have Generalised Anxiety Disorder and I love teaching myself new crafts. Winston Churchill used to call his mental illness “a black dog” when he was suffering with depression and bipolar disorder. I wanted to take this imagery and make it more positive, so I took that black dog and I named it hope! I find a lot of inspiration from quotes, Instagram, Pinterest…

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The Magic of Blocking.

Blocking, what’s blocking, I can hear some of you ask. Especially if you have visited to look at my recipes…. Blocking is magic. It transforms a crumpled up a used tissue-looking piece of knitting or crochet into a fabulous piece of lace, cabling, plain stocking stitch hat/scarf/cowl/sweater/whatever that no one would be embarrassed to wear.

Sometimes the transformation is subtle, sometimes it looks like it’s not the same piece at all. There are whole threads on Ravelry.com about blocking, how-to do it and the results in photos… lots of photos….

This is an example of crochet. Not my crochet, I got this vintage crocheted table runner off ebay. It’s original measurements were 14″ x 22″. I think it was also ‘tea-dyed’ as when I washed it, a lot of colour came off and there are now some paler patches. I wonder if it was white, but was dyed after a tea-spilling accident?

When I washed it, I put it in a bowl of body temperature water, with a tiny bit of Eucalan, a non-rinse hand detergent. Then I swished it around a bit and left it in the water to soak and relax the fibres. When I got back to it a couple of hours later (usually I soak for 20 minutes) the water was tea-coloured and the crochet runner was lighter – not a lot but noticeably. I squished as much of the water out as I could then rolled it up in a towel and squeezed it again. Then I laid it out on my blocking mats (I have to get some that don’t have holes!) and began pinning out the middle 8 motifs.

This photo shows 7 of 8 center motifs pinned out. I started pinning like a clock face at 12,3,6 and 9 then pinned in between pulling the motif into as circular a shape as it would go. Then I moved onto the next one. There are about 20 pins for each motif.

The center 8 motifs

This shows one corner pinned and stretched out. I pinned all 4 corners first, then started pinning from each corner towards the middle of each edge. I found that the middles would stretch more than the corners so tried to pull out the middles enough, but not so much I ended up with a piece with bowed out edges. You can see how much the crochet has opened up!

One edge with the corners pinned out

This is just a close-up of one corner.

A corner pinned out

The piece completely pinned out. I actually had to go out and buy more pins as I ran out even before I finished the center.

The full runner blocked out

It stretched out to 17″ x 27″ and I suspect I could have stretched it out more. There are some ends of threads I’ll trim that have popped out because of the blocking, I don’t think it had ever been blocked. I’m not quite sure yet what I’ll do with it, I might sell it as is, for a photo prop layer, or I might sew it onto a little velvet blanket for a mini-bed prop…

Nothing to see here…. it’s just a boob scarf…..

I don’t often post about my anatomical knits, but this one was unique. I decided not to list it after all….

Through The Looking Glass

I get asked to make all sorts of things. Some I can make, some I won’t make (copyright infringing items, mostly) and some I don’t know how to make but can figure out.

This comes into the last category. How do you get 2 crocheted boobs attached to a piece of fleece?

I started off making the boobs. I altered my pattern to make them wider and flatter than the other boobs I make. I then cut out a piece of fleece and folded it in half and stitched it together.

Then I pinned the boobs onto each end and managed to sew them on with my sewing machine. (My machine rocks!) Here are a couple of photos, one on the machine and one all done, I haven’t decided if I’ll list it or not…….

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Finished boob scarf... Finished boob scarf…

… of course I’ll be listing it!

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A Thank you…

I can’t believe a year has gone by already since i got those flowers. I still look at the photos of them on my Desktop all the time and remember.

Through The Looking Glass

I recently sent out 5 keepsake cushions made from old T-shirts for a client. They were pretty ratty and well-worn and made quite large ones – 3 -24″ and 2 – 22″ keepsake cushions.

I sent out the cushions in 3 shipments, due to the size of the cushions, and the combined weight. On last Monday, I sent the last 2 out. I send all of them by Special Delivery or by Courier if they are over 3KG (which they may very well be by the time I box them up).

On Wednesday, I heard a knock on the door about 10AM. It was a delivery driver with a bouquet of flowers, addressed to me. When I opened the card, it was from my client! She thanked me for the keepsake cushions on behalf of her family. It was a lovely bouquet of peach roses, hot pink gerberas, nigellas, and…

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Guest Blog Post – Cord Necklace Tutorial by Heather Barber

Here’s Heather’s Tutorial on making a cord necklace!

Through The Looking Glass

This is a guest blog post from Heather Barber from Moosethemint on Etsy. She offers quirky eco-friendly gifts she makes from upcycled materials. Her guest blog post today is a Cord Necklace Tutorial. She recently made one for me for my ill-fated attempts at buying a blue agate pendant….

Cord Necklace Tutorial

1. Gather your tools – 2 set of pliers, scissors, ruler.
Tools Tools
2. And your equipment – wax coated cotton cord, 2 jump rings, 2 cord ends, 1 lobster
clasp and whatever you are going to put on the cord – I’m using a music pendant.

Cord and findings Cord and findings
3. There are a variety of different kinds of cord ends, often called bead caps, and
these ones have 2 fold over ends like a tri-fold wallet.

Crimpers Crimpers
4. Cut the cord to a suitable length, I normally go for 18 inches. The cord is easy
to cut with…

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Made with Love Designs – Guest Blog Post

I had a little break from blogging, but now I’m back and the first post is a Guest Blog Post by Anne-Marie , AKA Handmade With Love Designs. I love her work, the stamped bookmark she made from an old spoon for my son is gorgeous, and he loves it. Take it away, Anne-Marie!

Anne-Marie

I’m Anne-Marie Wainwright, aged 30. Ive got 2 kids (2 natural, one step daughter) and my amazing husband. I’ve been crafting all my life and finally found something I have a passion for – metalwork.

I decided on my business name “Handmade With Love Designs” because my mother-in-law used to make and bake with the kids and she said to them – “that was handmade with love.” The name had meaning in more ways than one and it felt right.

Stamped Bangles

I started jewellery making after my M-I-L passed away. The kids had this idea to make the nurses a bracelet to say ‘thank you’, they loved them and suggested fundraising. That lead to a year of raising money for Macmillan, and a new love for making jewellery. I enjoyed the making so much I decided to do it full time. I’ve always crafted with my Nanna, and after the fundraising I just wanted to continue, I found something I loved and that I could do around my kids.

Storybook Keyrings

My shop has been going for 5 years almost, but the stamping had been for around 4 years. My absolute favourite item to make has to be my book keyrings, they are so sweet and can be fully personalised. I take inspiration from everywhere, I take things I see and hear and try and make them come alive. My Nan was telling me about Ivy climbing up her walls, so I googled ivy and know it represents close families, so I hand-cut some ivy leaves and made a pendant.

Russian Doll Keyring

As my own boss, I love being able to wear my Pj’s, I love getting dressed up too, but doing it for work on a daily basis is exhausting. Its nice to sit in my Onesie and work away with the music blaring. However doing my accounts and admin has to be the least favourite aspect of running my own business – it’s so laborious and tedious, but it has to be done.

When I’m not working on my business, I craft a lot with my daughter Courtney, she is my mini-me in every way, completely craft obsessed. I like experimenting with hair colours, and love going for long walks in the summer.

Skyline of New York

If you would like to start your own handmade business — RESEARCH!!! Check everything, quality of materials, new suppliers, Legalities & Laws around what you plan to do. Look into trademarks and copyright and see if will affect you.
Read consumer contract regulations and make sure you’re 100% complying with laws.
Then go for it, build your business slowly and steadily.

Stamped Bar Keyrings

You can find Anne-Marie and her gorgeous work at:

Facebook: Handmade With Love
Etsy: HWLD
Website: Handmade With Love Designs
Instagram: HWLDesigns

Clothes moths

Do you ever wonder about moths?

thesheepshop

On WI visits, a question which always gets asked is “what’s the best way to stop clothes moths?”  As yarn is a prime target for moths and I need it in perfect condition to sell, this is what I’ve learnt over the years from pest control experts, other shopkeepers and the internet.

A dreaded clothes moth A dreaded clothes moth CC BY-SA 3.0 by Aiwok

In the UK there are three main culprits who chomp away at your natural fibres: common (aka webbing) clothes moths, case-making clothes moths and carpet beetles.  The adults themselves do not eat yarn but they lay eggs on it and when those eggs hatch, the larvae do the damage.  The warmer months – May to September – are prime moth season but due to central heating and mild winters, they can now party all year in your cupboards.  Their lifecycles are flexible, and can completed within a month…

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Shirley Woosey from Whimsey Woo Designs

Here’s Shirley again with her lovely book covers!

Through The Looking Glass

I’d like to introduce you to the lovely Shirley Woosey from Whimsey Woo Designs on Etsy and Folksy. She is today’s guest blogger and makes the prettiest book covers and miniatures for dolls’ houses that can be found her 2 etsy shops.

I’ll let her tell you a little about herself and her shops:

Shirley Woosey Shirley Woosey

Tell us a bit about you
I am in my early sixties now, the Mother of two grown up children and I have one 3 year old grandson.

How did you decide on the name for your shop?
My surname is Woosey and I wanted to use the “Woo” part in my shop name. I tried various combinations of words but decided on Whimsy because I though it suited the fabrics I use and went well with Woo. So Whimsy Woo Designs was born.

How long has your shop been open and why did…

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How much does a shopkeeper earn?

From the horse’s mouth….

thesheepshop

Do you believe the news stories about how if you want to keep your high street shops open, shop local?  Or how shopping in independents puts money back into the local economy? Perhaps the message without the maths to back it up makes it all sounds a bit wishy-washy.  So here goes, a real-life example with data from this independent wool shop.

The Sheep Shop is an award-winning LYS (local yarn store) which had its fifth birthday in November.  Last year we took £60,500.  The annual cost for rent, gas, electric, water, phone, broadband, insurance, alarm maintenance, heater maintenance, fire extinguisher checks, not one but two licenses to play music on the radio, waste disposal, web hosting costs, sundries like till rolls, printer ink, loo rolls and teabags, carrier bags, window cleans, anti-moth systems, occasional  repair costs or new shop fixtures, card proceBoxes of stock to unpackssing fees, card machine rental, business membership…

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Faux Mohair Wraps

One of the items that sold well this Christmas was my Faux Mohair Wraps that come in 3 colours. I had one person buy one in Lilac with a rush fee added on, and someone else ordered 11 for her bridesmaids at her New Years’ Eve Wedding…

These are upcycled from Mohair Throws, and I blanket stitch the edges with embroidery thread. This isn’t fast….. lol and i have to do it standing up at my ironing board so I don’t kill my back, and even then I put boxes on top of it.

Luckily DMC do the perfect lilac and tan colour and Anchor do the grey, so the thread matches. I still have a few left in each colour, and have 1 that is a little narrower than the others at 12″ instead of 15″ – it will be in my etsy shop soon!

Grey Mohair Wrap
Grey Mohair Wrap

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Natural (Tan) Mohair Wrap
Natural (Tan) Mohair Wrap

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Lilac Mohair Wrap
Lilac Mohair Wrap

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