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!
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 bought this yarn a while ago, but hadn’t gotten around to making mini-blankets with it until last month (yes, I know…) It’s an alpaca/merino blend yarn in a chunky weight that was lovely to knit up. Shame it’s discontinued – so this is all I’m going to get. I have 3 colours: peach, blue & green.
I usually do neutral colours and I thought I needed some that weren’t. The peach was labelled as pink, but there was too much orange in it to my eye so I’m calling it peach. If it looks more pink to you, well, that’s brains and colours for ya!
I have enough yarn to make 3 more of each colour; if you’d like to get them, they are available in my etsy shop – Peach, Blue, Green.
Use this exclusive code to get 10% off if you’d like to get 2 or more – 2CHUNKY10. It’s only available until the end of May!
(Only for 1 use per person, for 2 or more chunky blankets only. If used for 1 blanket, I reserve the right to cancel the order and ask you to reorder without the code, or to add another blanket to your order).
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’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’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:
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 you start?
My Etsy shop has been open since May 2011 but my Folksy shop opened a few months earlier in January 2011. I needed a creative outlet for my sewing and the amount of fabrics I had stashed.
What is your favourite item in your shop at the moment?
Currently this is my favourite item: It’s a large Bible or Book Cover made from a gorgeous piece of green and gold vintage kimono silk from Japan.
What made you start?
I have always loved fabrics and find I can’t resist beautiful and unusual ones. When I was quite young, under 10 years old, my Granny taught me to sew book covers for my school books. These used to have carry handles. I always loved making them but over the years I have evolved them. They are more popular now without the handles and have an elastic loop and button fastening.
About 5 years ago I thought I would make some as Christmas presents for friends and family. They were a great hit and I needed something to do which was creative. My job in accountancy was becoming more and more frustrating and I needed to do something else to relax. My daughter suggested selling on Folksy and I soon discovered Etsy as well and after 2 years I was able to give up my accountancy job and concentrate on Whimsy Woo Designs.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
My original inspiration for sewing and crafts definitely comes from my Granny who was a trained milliner in her youth. Now my inspiration comes from beautiful fabrics which are created in the United Kingdom if possible, especially Harris Tweed. The tweed comes in all sorts of bright colours and is very contemporary. One I especially like is this Pink Harris Tweed.
I also love Art Nouveau and vintage designs. I have managed to find several vintage fabrics from around the world over the last few years. I especially love vintage kimono fabrics from Japan. The warehouses in Tokyo and Kyoto have many bolts of silk and yukata cotton fabrics which have been stored for 40 to 50 years. These are unused and have the most beautiful patterns and pictures on them. I tend to buy fabrics which I like myself because I know I will enjoy sewing them.
What do you love the most about running your own business?
The best thing is being my own boss. If I want to spend all day in my pyjamas, just pottering around my craft room, then I can do. It gives you an enormous amount of freedom.
What do you love the least?
My least favourite thing is editing my photos and putting listings on my websites. I would far rather be sewing or choosing fabrics.
What other things do you like to do in your spare time?
In my spare time I love to read. I can always find a little time to read, even if it is only a few pages a day.
I also love dolls’ house miniatures and hand stitch miniature rugs and carpets. Some of these are for sale in my other Etsy shop, Whimsey Woo Miniatures along with other miniature textiles I have made. I have my own 4 storey dolls’ house which I am slowly decorating and filling with furniture and rugs.
As my husband is now retired and my Etsy shops are not as busy in summer time we take the opportunity to get away as often as possible in our motorhome. We love to go to Scotland and across to Europe. My favourite places to stay are in the mountains and I also find time when travelling to look out for more fabrics for my book covers.
What would be the one piece of advice would you give to a person setting up their own shop?
The best advice I can think of is to take the best photographs you can of your craftwork. Remember if you are selling on the internet then the customer can only judge by the pictures. They can’t pick the items up to look and feel them. And do make something you enjoy doing.
Thank you, Shirley!
You can find Shirley and Whimsey Woo Designs here:
I have these crochet mannequin heads listed in my etsy shop in white and black and last week I was contacted about making 2 in another colour, ‘natural’. When queried, she meant an oatmeal/light tan colour. These are used as product photography props for 6-12 month hats. I have made other sizes, but have to refine them.
So I knew where I could get an oatmeal colour yarn quickly and set up a custom listing for the customer, and bought the yarn when I was picking son up from school. I had to adjust the pattern as it was for a heavier yarn – more increases, more rows, smaller hook size but not a difficult re-write…
I think I’m going to list this new colour in my shop, and then offer the patterns with kits with the corresponding black/white/oatmeal yarns… but first the crochet mannequin heads themselves!