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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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…
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.
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!
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.
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!
I’ve been offering this Grey Lace Stole almost since I opened my shop on Etsy and it’s been a decent seller for me. The yarn is now discontinued and I have to decide whether to source another yarn for the pattern or find a different yarn and pattern combo to offer. I have enough yarn left for 1 more stole.
I base what I offer for sale on several things; what yarn I can get and what I want to make to sell in my shop are two. I have tended to go for thicker/chunkier yarns as they knit up faster, and how long something takes to make is a factor in whether or not I’ll make it to sell.
Some knit/crochet items I find don’t sell well, and I sell a few then stop listing it, other items sell very well only at certain times of the year. (My Herringbone Handwarmers come to mind here!)
I prefer to use natural fibres and blends and not just 100% acrylic – they tend to be nicer to knit with, and can last longer without pilling. As I now have a knitting machine, I’m hoping to offer items using finer luxury yarns and bigger items such as larger lace stoles and wraps. I have to master the machine first!
I don’t tend to jump on trends like the ‘pussy hats’ or the polo neck rectangular ponchos with cables and large buttons for toddlers, I am careful about ending up with (more) yarns and materials that I won’t use if they don’t sell.
I have a yarn website that you can get packs of yarn at great prices – less than retail! I’ve never had a poor quality yarn from Ice Yarns, some are a little thinner than the website states but the luxury yarns are gorgeous. The bulky alpaca is scrumptious, soft and squishy.
I made this Handkerchief Scarflette from it, you can get one in my etsy shop if you don’t want to make your own.
if you like self-striping yarns, there are hundreds on my site. One I plan on trying soon is this one – Primadonna, a 50% wool/50% acrylic yarn with a fabulous texture and great colour combos.
Cake yarns are also popular right now and there are several available, including some with 100% acrylic like this one, simply called Cakes There are 5 colours in each cake.
Take a peek and tell me which yarn you’d like to try!