Category Archives: Selling

Anatomical Knits… again!

I don’t often talk about my anatomical knits. Mostly because some people get very embarrassed when I tell them what I’m knitting when I’m out in public – but not children, interestingly. They always want to know “Why?” And I tell them as much as I think they will understand – or the adult they are with is comfortable with me telling them.

If you’ve read my blog for a while, you know I make crochet breasts and have made hundreds. I do occasionally get requests for modifications to my pattern – some I won’t do, some I can’t and some I don’t have time to make to the buyer’s timeline. (The request at the beginning of my Christmas rush for 3 knit alimentary tracts fell into this category). The request below didn’t fall into those categories.

I had a buyer in the US ask if I could modify a crochet breast to add a simulated tumour inside it. It took several tries to get it right, and even then I wasn’t sure. I sent it off to the buyer and then another one off to an IBCLC I know who is also a nurse. Both were impressed, so I guess I got it right as my IBCLC friend said: “I think you have nailed it. It is really good. The lump is not obvious unless you palpate the breast and women are told to use the flat of their hand and not finger tips to do this. If you do it that way you do find it but you have to be thorough which is what women need to be when looking for lumps. Got my husband to try it and he found the lump too.”

Crochet Breast with simulated tumour

You have to palpate the breast to feel the “tumour” just as you would if you were self-examining your own breasts. I didn’t make it easy to feel because usually tumours aren’t easy to feel in a real breast.

It’s shorter and has a cardboard insert to press against while you palpate to find the tumour. It’s made from the same ever-popular pastel rainbow yarn and high quality polyfill as with my other crochet breasts.

Most of my anatomical knits are used as medical teaching aids or models – they don’t break, are washable and you don’t have to worry about handing them to all and sundry when teaching. You can find this Crochet Breast with Tumour in my Etsy Shop, Anatomical Knits by LGD.

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Happy New Year!

Hello again. I know, I know, I abandoned you – but not intentionally! I ran out of steam to write blog posts – I did’t just want to post new items I have made to sell all the time, but couldn’t think of anything else to blog about!

Happy New Year!

In Real Life, it’s been hectic, son’s settling in well to boarding and singing, hubby’s been very busy at work and helping son with music practice. I’ve been busy labelling new clothes to replace ones that have gone missing at school, and reminding him to wash his hair properly. He’s shot up as well; he’ll need yet more new clothes in a few weeks, I’m sure. We already had to buy new school shoes to replace the half pair he lost a week before the holidays started – 1 went missing after Games and he hasn’t had his ‘Cinderella’ moment yet. We couldn’t wait to see if it did come back when the new term started, though. Right now, we all have colds, so are grotty and grumpy but I stocked up the house before Christmas so we have had enough stuff to make soups and meals you want to eat when you have a cold.

Looking Glass Designs has been doing well, too. I haven’t finalised accounts for November & December yet, but it looks like I have passed last year’s turnover for those 2 months. Not sure about the tax year as a whole yet. I also started selling on Amazon Handmade and am pleasantly surprised at how quickly I got busy on there.

I have plans for several new product lines that I hope will sell well, and another style of Camera strap too. This one will be a cover, so I can use some of the fabric on my shelves – I have some gorgeous fat quarters!

I smacked my hand on the edge of our kitchen door jamb in August and it’s still not healed. I’m going to look for a physiotherapist – I went to the doctor’s but as it wasn’t ‘deformed, bruised or not bending’ they wouldn’t do anything…

Pippy’s still missing Annie, he spends a lot of time wanting cuddles and sleeping beside me. He got “old” very quickly once she was gone; he refused to go outside almost at all for most of September. We used to have to pick him up and take him outside. He’s slightly better now, but I’m not allowed out of the house for longer than a couple of hours or he’s very upset when I/we get home. He will be 14 this year, in May/June time.

I hope you and yours have a 2018 that is mostly good – if there were no ‘downs’ the ‘highs’ wouldn’t be so wonderful!

Craft Fairs – and why I don’t sell at them…

I do get asked why I don’t do craft fairs right now. One reason is that my current best-sellers are mostly custom-made so can’t be made ahead of time. I also don’t have transportation right now either, which makes it difficult to get to craft fairs.

This blog post by Mahala at “The Barefoot Blog” is also why: The Curse of the Craft Fair”.

(Just a few of my camera scarf straps – all are available in my Etsy shop except for the butterfly strap which already sold out).

Leopard Print Scarf Strap
Blue Hearts Scarf Strap
Yellow Scarf Strap
Butterfly Scarf Strap

Exciting News! I’m a Hiya Hiya Stockist!

About a month ago, I was approached by Hiya Hiya Europe regarding stocking their products. I wasn’t sure, so asked quite a few questions, which were cheerfully and quickly answered.

Hiya Hiya Booket

I had a good look at their catalogue, trying to decide if I should go for it or not. I had some unexpected expenses in September – my printer had to be replaced for one – and didn’t go ahead right away. I let them know I was interested but that I couldn’t order right away and they extended the introductory offer for me.

I ordered this week and it only took a couple of days to arrive. I got a retail pack, so a good assortment of Hiya Hiya bamboo,steel fixed and interchangeable needles and lots of accessories. The sheep needle gauges are especially cute!

I spent 3 days writing listings and editing photos and they are now live! Join me on my Facebook page – Looking Glass Designs to enter the Giveaway on the pinned post!

Sheep needle gauge

Jumper by Commission

Sept. 3:

I don’t often make clothes – by clothes meaning jumpers/sweaters, cardigans, socks, that kind of thing. (Actually I’ve never made socks!) But I got an email from a local-ish lady wanting to know if I was able to knit her a jumper – extra large, plain and using a very thick yarn. Many more emails later, we met up to talk and to get measurements.

She had picked out a yarn (Rowan Cocoon in “Clay”) and was looking for a pattern. Usually it’s the other way round, but I managed to find a pattern – plain, big, and one that I could add her requirements to – a polo neck and long cuffs that she can turn up. She had bought the yarn, so gave me that and 50% of the agreed price. (The remaining amount is due when half the work is done).

I started on the jumper – bulky yarn and 6 & 7mm needles mean it knits up quickly, but when you have to frog…. not so much fun. I knit up the front to about 2/3 done after swatching, then washed and blocked it – even without pinning it out, just laying it on a clean towel, it stretched 3″. So I took 1″ off the front and back length and started again. The front and back got done fairly easily, then I sewed the right shoulder seam together and started in on the neck to get the polo part started.

The sleeves I also started – 6″ and a 4″ cuff to check that which length she wanted and part of the sleeve as well. We met up for her to try on the pinned together jumper front and back and see how long she wanted the polo neck and the cuff length. 6″ cuffs it is, then…. 🙂

I also checked her arm length, as the shoulder seams come down over the top of the shoulder onto the upper arm. She was very happy with the partly done jumper – it will definitely keep her warm; there is going to be about 800-850g of yarn in this jumper once done and it’s thick as well. I haven’t washed it yet, so it will grow a bit. The yarn is a single ply wool and will soak up water. I’m going to wash it carefully by hand once it’s finished and all sewn together so the seams can support it.

Sep 25:

I got busy and didn’t manage to get back to this post. The jumper is completed and is waiting to be picked up. I washed it once I sewed it together and it kept its shape well. I washed it in my bathtub, keeping it flat and making sure I didn’t wring, twist or agitate it so it didn’t go out of shape or felt.

I am happy with it, and I hope my customer is too!

Here’s the finished jumper:

Jumper
Close up
Cuffs
Front close-up

Chunky Wool Mini-blankets

I have finally managed to re-wallpaper my background board, it was looking a bit ratty. I had to wait until the weather got better- wet weather and wallpapering don’t mix very well. I used the same wallpaper, so no change there.

All 3 colours

The first things I photographed using it were these neutral chunky mini-blankets – I also moved where I take photographs, so hopefully the lighting will be better. These came out well, I had to adjust the white balance and exposure a little, but I usually do. These were knit using 15mm needles and super-chunky yarn. It felt like knitting with broom sticks and rope, after the 4mm needles and fingering yarn I’ve been knitting shawls with!

There are 3 colours – cream, grey and light brown. They are perfect for layering under a newborn or popping under a sitter. These are great photography props! Each one is available in my Etsy Shop. Which is your favourite colour? I think mine’s the grey…

Grey Mini-Blanket
Grey Garter Stitches
Cream Mini-blanket
Cream
Light Brown Mini-blanket
Light brown

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…

Grey Lace Shawl in Wool – Custom Order

I’ve had this lace stole pattern knit up in a bamboo worsted weight yarn for several years, and the people who have bought them all love them – they are soft, squishy and warm. A bonus is that as they are grey, they go with almost anything.

Grey Lace Stole

I had a request from a bride in the US for 4 of them, but the yarn is discontinued, as I’ve posted before, and I don’t have enough left for 4. So I looked for another grey yarn, and found 2. One was an alpaca/merino blend and the other a wool/acrylic blend. The alpaca/merino was much thinner than the wool/acrylic, but I held it double and knitted up a small sample of each yarn in the pattern then took photos for my buyer-to-be. She picked one and I gave her a quote, with courier shipping and she bought them.

It took me about 6 weeks to knit them – the yarn is thinner than the old yarn, but there is more in the skeins, so the pattern got adjusted slightly to make sure it was as wide as she wanted them to be.

These stoles are approx. 19″ wide and 84″ long – considerably longer than the old stole, but as they are finer, they are the same weight and don’t feel too long when you wear one.

The buyer loved them and couldn’t wait to give them to her bridesmaids! I love it when I get an email from a happy buyer!

She wrote: “I got the Shawls today, they’re lovely!!! I love them & cant wait to give them as a gift to my bridesmaids! Thank you so much for all of you help.
I’ll have to try and remember to send you a picture from our wedding this September with the girls wearing them :-)”

Here they are, and the new stole will be in my Etsy Shop shortly!

Wool Blend Grey Lace Stole

Wide Grey Lace Stole
At the back
Pinned at the Front
Pinned at the shoulder
As a scarf

Rainbow Mini-blankets

I found a rainbow yarn online recently and bought some to knit up for mini-blankets. It’s a wool blend yarn, from the burn tests I did, and it knits up as a fingering weight yarn. There were 2 colourways, so I bought both. Neither are a ‘ROYGBIV’ rainbow yarn; the colours mostly knit up that way, but not always, as you can see from the photos. The colours are very blended; there’s no way I could cut and split the yarn so it kept to the traditional rainbow line-up. I still can’t decide which one I like better!

I knit the blankets on my knitting machine, then washed and blocked them. There isn’t a lot of roll because I knit them using every other row, which gave enough yarn to adjust the tension so that they can lie flatter. These are perfect for any newborn photo shoots, not just for rainbow babies!

I offer them in my Etsy Shop with and without a cream wool fluff; which would you choose? You can find the bright rainbow mini-blanket here and the rainbow mini-blanket here.

Bright Rainbow 1
Bright Rainbow 2
Bright Rainbow 3
Bright Rainbow 4
Rainbow 1
Rainbow 2
Rainbow 3
Rainbow 4

Easter Holidays

My son has a long Easter Holiday break at his school, so he’s been off almost a full month now. I’ve managed to get my orders out, and a few new items started and finished but haven’t managed to get photos done yet.

We have made some cookies, and a chocolate nut butter (recipe soon!) and had several playdates with new friends and old. Son had holiday orchestra for 4 days but I volunteered on 1 day. We went out together several days too, but we didn’t go away anywhere. For most parents when you have a child in private school, holidays are few and far between! Day trips are what we usually do, and we have some good friends who treated us to a day at Audley End House and were willing to drive closer to us to meet up for dog walk & picnic because my car is still not reliable and I don’t want to drive too far from home.

Son took a crochet class at a local yarn shop – The Sheep Shop, where he met Ruth and she taught him how to crochet over a couple of hours. He created a bookmark, and we have a headband pattern for him to try at home. He really enjoyed it, especially the biscuits, Sarah, the owner supplied… lol. Do check out The Sheep Shop – Sarah has regular knitting groups and offers lots of classes as well. There are several more children’s crochet classes available! He also learned to purl and started an easy rainbow winter hat.

We had some disruption too – our boiler died and needed to be replaced, so that was 2 days of pretty much no work getting done, along with no heat/gas or hot water. Trying to knit in a freezing cold house is not conducive to getting much done!

We went out for dinner on day 1 of the boiler replacement, to a newly opened restaurant. It was very disappointing, my chicken burger had cold meat that was cut oddly so it kept falling out of the burger bun and the guacamole was off. I ended up eating english muffins with peanut butter for dinner when we got home.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to get my head down on work come Wednesday when son’s back at school and I have the house to myself again. I have plans for yarn, old quilts, and these scarves!

Scarf Photo 1
Scarf Photo 2
Scarf photo 3
Scarf photo 4