I have no idea if anyone’s out there anymore reading this blog, so I guess I’ll just post these camera scarf straps and if you’ve read this, let me know!
I made these 3 new (well, 4 actually, as there are 2 of 1 scarf) scarf camera straps last week. One is a pink scarf,the 2nd a peach and the other 2 are from a turquoise pashmina scarf that’s great for winter outside photo shoots as it’s quite a thick scarf!
My newest Etsy shop, Green Living Co. is finally live! I opened it about a week ago and have managed to get a few things listed. My timing wasn’t great as it’s Easter Holidays now, but I knew if I didn’t start listing, it would be another month before I got it going.
I have some more items almost ready to list – the weather here’s been alternately too windy to shoot outside or too dark to shoot inside. I gave up on taking photos on a few days as it just wasn’t working. I have Organic Buckwheat Hulls for sale as well as a couple of finished buckwheat hull heat packs – more to come for those, I think!
I need to adjust the logo a little, I decided I want the writing darker so I’m going to sort that out in the next day or 2.
I have the other 2 Etsy shops still up and running, so need to figure out how to juggle all 3; the Anatomical Knits by LGD shop ticks over and I don’t have any plans on updating items in that one. I have added other body parts in the past but they don’t sell so I’m leaving it as mostly ante-natal teaching aids.
Looking Glass Designs is still going to get new items, product lines and ideas – more high-end accessories and more items knit on my knitting machine as well as knitting bags and hopefully other knitting accessories. I will need to market it differently, so I think I’ll be researching more about that soon.
My Amazon shop will still carry a selection of products from all 3 Etsy shops so not much change there…
You can get the buckwheat hulls in 500g packs here – Buckwheat Hulls These will come in plastic grip seal bags, wrapped in brown paper with recyclable tape.
And the Buckwheat Heat Packs here. All heat packs/wraps will be sent tied with twine, in brown paper, and taped with brown paper tape – all packaging is completely recyclable! I plan on moving as much of the packaging for all my items to be as reusable and recyclable as possible.
I’ve been making a lot of decisions in the past few months about what I want to make, what I like to make and the materials I have on hand that I need to use up. As part of that, I also have to look at what’s been selling. Photo props are no longer selling well; and that’s not just mine, but a lot of prop sellers are finding that there has been a flood of people thinking that they can make props and make money at it — but they are undercharging. You can’t actually make a profit and stay in business if you are charging £5 for a lace bonnet and the yarn is £3.
So I am putting my photo props on sale in turn. Right now I have all layers in my Etsy shop on sale with Free UK postage until March 22 – that’s lace layers, knit & chunky layers & roving blankets as well.
If you see something you like, check out my Etsy Shop and see if you are able to grab it!
Hello all 3 of you that are still reading my blog! I kinda got lost with it last year and stopped blogging regularly. It’s harder to do than it looks! I’ve had this blog since I started Looking Glass Designs over 7 years ago and it’s never really taken off. But that’s OK. I don’t want to be known as a blogger.
I have been busy in many ways both personally and professionally in the past year. My son is getting older – he’s 10 now (not sure where that time went) and he’s getting so grown up (sometimes). I knit a shawl for his housemaster who left in December, she decided to move on after almost 22 years at the school as a parent, chorister parent, staff and housemaster. The photos in this post are of that shawl. (and yes,the pronouns are correct!)
Business was OK last year; it didn’t grow as it has for the previous 6 years — but I think that’s down to outside influences like Brexit and a lot of uncertainty in the world right now. It was steady and while I’d have liked my Christmas Rush to have started before Dec 1 I managed even with going away to York for 4 days before Christmas.
I will be starting up another Etsy shop in the next few weeks (see, now that I’ve told you I’ll have to, won’t I?) for reusable, recycled, and upcycled products. I am setting up a new Facebook page for it as well but will still use this blog to show you those items.
Personally, I’m sure you’ve noticed that I am very good at procrastinating – it sometimes feels like it’s my one true talent. I always hesitate to offer new items because I don’t know how well they will do and I don’t like going out of my comfort zone. However I decided to start this new Etsy shop as I have fabric and supplies coming out of my ears and need to use them! I have been looking for testers and have found a couple while making new items for them to test out for me; some will be redundant as they are items others sell, others will be slightly different so I want to get them tested by others as well as me. I plan on having 10 products ready to go when I open up – so keep an eye out as I’ll be running an opening sale!
I hope you have had – or are having – a wonderful Christmas. We had our usual Christmas morning – waiting for son to wake up and then doing stockings and presents before breakfast.
I haven’t been blogging recently; I haven’t had much to say, I guess. I have had a slower year than usual in my online shops; I think people are being more careful with their money and aren’t buying as many ‘wants’ as before. I have had some issues with my arms, shoulders and wrists at times through the year with spending a lot of time knitting and crocheting for orders; I need to increase the time I spend sewing and doing other things or I will have to cut back permanently on the time I spend playing with yarn…
I am opening up a new Etsy shop in the new year, and will be putting one or both of my current Etsy shops on vacation mode to get the new one up and running – I’ll let you know what’s happening soon! Anatomical Knits, Looking Glass Designs , Amazon
I do appreciate each and every one of my customers – some will never know how much their reviews, emails and happy comments have uplifted me. This isn’t something I do as a ‘side hustle’, a hobby or to keep me occupied while my husband brings in a paycheque. I craft for many reasons, one of which is my mental health. The joke is ‘I knit so I don’t stab people’ but for many people, crafting helps them with managing their well-being.
Some of the most popular items I sold this year have been my ante-natal teaching aids, camera scarf straps, camera buddies and photo props. Do keep an eye out for more styles and patterns of scarf straps!
Here’s another batch of camera scarf straps – I’ve made another since but haven’t managed to get photos done yet. I think the cat print one is my favourite, which is yours? I still can’t decide which design is better – the nylon straps or the adjustable style with keyrings.
The week before last I screwed up. I managed to swap 2 address labels on orders going to France. In 7 years, I’ve done this 2 other times. Usually the buyers are happy to send each other the parcel and I pay them the postage. This time was complicated by the fact that neither buyer spoke English.
It would of course, be the buyer that ordered the more expensive item – an Ante-natal Teaching Aid Set that realised she got the wrong order when she received a skein of yarn. I already knew she was impatient – she ordered a listing with a 2-3 week turnaround time (with a Rush Fee add-on possible) and messaged me 4 days later wanting to know where it was. I sent it 6 days later and 8 days before the processing time was up.
I figured out which orders were swapped and contacted the 2nd buyer. She didn’t respond until the next evening, but before the cut-off I gave myself to remake and send by courier the ante-natal teaching set; I still had to make the set well before that cut-off, so I made it again – in 1 day.
This post shows in-progress photos of making that set, in about 30-40 minute increments. The set was a uterus with a caesarian opening & drawstring top, a placenta, a crochet breast and a drawstring bag. (The drawstring bags are all RTS in the listings that offer them).
In this photo I have knit the ribbing and In the next, I’ve made the caesarian started the body of the uterus: opening and knit a little more of the body of the uterus.
The next 2 just show how much more of the body has been made:
Then I moved onto the decrease section: And the uterus mostly finished:
Now I have started on the placenta and: Here’s the placenta parts with added on loops for the button closure. the velcro added.
The placenta is ready to crochet together. This photo shows the finished placenta, the uterus w/buttons and the crochet breast started.
The crochet breast is coming along in the next 2 photos, the uterus only needs ribbon through the drawstring top and ribbing.
This last photo shows the crochet breast almost done – it only needs stuffing and crocheting shut.
As you can see, they do take a lot of time– and I barely stopped working on the set at all. If I’m working normally on one of these sets, I give myself 2 days to complete them so my hands and arms don’t complain. I know what your question is – Why do I have a processing time of 2-3 weeks if I only need 2 days to make the set? I often have 3-6 uteruses, crochet boobs and sets on order at any one time and if I had a shorter processing time, I would have to work like I did when I made this set – pushing hard to get them made in time. By keeping a longer processing time, I can make sure I never send an order late – and I usually send them in about 5-8 working days, occasionally a little longer.
Back to the mixed up orders. Both buyers sent out the parcels to the correct buyers and I repaid them the cost. Each buyer now has their order & only a few days later than if I’d been on the ball and put the correct address labels on each parcel.
I started dyeing cheesecloth last summer to make wraps to sell and I decided to use only food/plants to dye with. Commercial chemical dyes are expensive and the waste isn’t great for the environment. I’d also need separate bowls, spoons, pots etc. for dying in and I have no where to store extra equipment.
I dyed using tea, coffee, and blackcurrant juice(sold out) last summer and fall and listed the resulting cheesecloth layers in my Etsy and Amazon shops.
Recently I used turmeric and blackberry juice (see my last post about the blackberry) to dye 6 more pieces of cheesecloth, 4 in turmeric and 2 in blackberry.
The turmeric ones, although I used different methods of dying – how long to leave the cloth in for and how long to simmer them too, turned out exactly the same shades. They came out unevenly dyed but I like that, they are unique. The blackberry ones I did separately as I didn’t want to use so many blackberries to be able to cover 2 at a time.
Once I have finished the last few pieces of undyed cheesecloth (if I do) I won’t be dying more. I have enjoyed doing it and seeing what happens – the colours I have achieved and how. The amount of water needed to rinse them out though, is astronomical! The 4 turmeric ones took almost 80L of water to rinse out, and 1 blackberry at least 15L. I want to save water and not use it willy-nilly so I am going to have to decide what to dye the last few Metres of fabric I have – or sell it as is.
With the weather being so hot in the last 2 months and basically being in drought conditions, I am far more aware of the water we use both for household use and in our garden and allotment. We have no water left on our allotment, and have been taking 25L at a time down in a large plastic jerry can on a little trolley and have just about been able to keep the few plants we have left on the allotment going. Using a lot more than that to dye a few metres of cheesecloth just doesn’t make sense.
I think I’m going to make up 1 set of the 4 colours I have left and then sell the rest as singles – I’ll pop a post up with the link to that listing when it’s published.
I decided to dye cheesecloth with blackberries this weekend while I had the house to myself. I picked blackberries from the wild canes on our allotment yesterday morning and then used 6 cups of berries with 7 cups of water to cook up the juice.
I brought the water and berries (crushed) to a simmer for 30 minutes, strained out the pulp then put in the prepared cheesecloth. You prep the cheesecloth by soaking it in boiling salted water; the water is a fixative for dyeing in fruit juices. I simmered it for another 30 minutes, then left it in overnight.
I didn’t get photos of it straight out of the pot, but it was the same strong purple as blackberry juice. I started to rinse it, and rinse it and rinse it, changing the water 4-5 times. Eventually I decided to stop as all the red was gone from the cloth and I had a purple-blue shade.
I hung it up to dry. When I went back to it 20 minutes later it had changed colour again to a grey-purple. I had put in the 2nd piece of cheesecloth in and had simmered that for 30 minutes and it had been about 30 more since I had turned off the stove. I decided to rinse it out now. It was a lovely light purple. I put them side by side and the difference was incredible. I thought I’d take some photos and as I did I realised the 2nd one was already fading in colour.
5 minutes later… I haven’t edited the photos in any way – they were taken outside in cloudy conditions.
So as you can see, dyeing cheesecloth with blackberries was a dud. I ended up with 2 dull grey pieces of cheesecloth – at least they are right now. As I finish up this post, I looked at the 2nd piece again, and it’s almost completely grey-purple too, just a lighter tint. My advice if you want to try dying using plants, really research which ones make the best dyes!