Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Photos from my days off work

 It's that bonkers crazy time of year at work again and we still have weeks of it to go, so yet again I thought I'd post some moments of pure peace and tranquility from my days off.

At this time of the season I try to make a conscious decision to make the very most of my days off work and then by capturing the essence of it all in photographs so that I don't forget!
 I had a day down on the beach -- and look what I saw! the first ones I've seen in ages - this was a pod of common dolphins swimming (more like zooming around) in Ballinskelligs Bay - it just lifted my heart so much to see them! I am so grateful for the excellent zoom on my new camera though, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to have taken a photograph at all.
 Then the next day Peter and I went to Killarney, to see 'The Song of the Sea' in the cinema - I think it is my favourite film in a long time, I can't wait to get it on DVD so I can watch it over and over again. We went there via Bealach Oisín, the road that goes over the mountains - it's my favourite route :)
 ..and then these ones below are from my last days off (I actually had a weekend off work - my next one isn't til the middle of September) -- I got up at the crack of dawn on the Saturday so that I could go beachcombing and catch the low tide over at Portmagee.

 This was the early morning mist over the River Inny on the way out of Waterville - often when I've been rushing to go to work in the morning I've noticed how still the river is and thought how lovely it would look as a photograph.
 These are taken from the beach just outside of Portmagee - it's my go-to place for finding the tiny shells for my Etsy shop :)

 The tide was right out so I went walking along the strand further than I would have done normally - it was so so peaceful, I was the only person down there.
 The rock pools were full of gorgeous sea anemones!

 From Reencaheragh I headed over the mountains to St. Finan's Bay and did a quick scout about on the beach there --

 and then from there I headed to the Black Strand (over the water, just outside Cahirciveen)before finally heading back home!

A New Arrival!

 Meet Ondine - she arrived in the post yesterday! I've had a cheap mannequin head for modelling my hats for a few years now but haven't really ever liked her much at all, she was just the only one I could afford at the time.
So thanks to the success of my first market in Portmagee earlier this month I've splashed out and bought this model instead (from Amazon) -- she is actually bald so I bought the wig separately - it's quite a good idea really as I can change her 'look' in the future if I want to.

She looks incredibly sad, doesn't she, but I think she's more photogenic than my 'old' mannequin (who I used to try and turn in the photos so that you didn't make eye-contact with her!)

Talking about markets, my second one at Portmagee was pretty successful but I was working the next week so Peter went instead for me - and didn't sell one single item. Sigh. I'm taking a break from it now til I'm back off work on Wednesdays again - my next ones off will be the 12th and the 19th August.

After the summer markets in Portmagee I think that will be it for me until the run up to Christmas (how awful to be talking about Christmas so much when it's only July still)

Making Wrist Warmers in July

 Isn't this the most amazing yarn?! It's 100% merino wool, which I bought on holiday in Germany last winter - I bought a few balls of it in different colours -- this shade is called 'Fresh Fish' (not sure why??!)
 This is the same yarn in a different colour-way (I'm not sure of the shade name/number of this one)
 ..and then I've been using up the end of my last order of King Cole wool - country tweed and riot dk - I am running low on the wrist warmers (they usually sell quite well for me online and at markets too), so I've been concentrating on rebuilding my stock levels, in anticipation of winter!

 ..and I think this pair was Lang devore?? I need to go and check!
It seems strange to be concentrating on making wrist warmers through the summer but hopefully all of these will sell. I've actually just ordered some more King Cole (riot dk and country tweed again) from both Springwools and Deramores - to try and get some colours in my boxes, ready to make up for markets and for my shop for the winter.

The crocodile stitch wristers really are my favourite thing to make right now - I love making them in self-striping yarn best of all, and the amount of different shades and brands just is mind boggling! I'm in the middle of making yet another pair of them, also in the merino wool I'd bought in Germany - it's just gorgeous!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

First Market of the Year.

Last Wednesday was my first market of the whole year - it's the weekly one in Portmagee; my work always gets in the way of me being able to attend it every week, but I was able to go last week, and will be going again tomorrow.

I am always nervous about craft fairs, people can make stupid comments like 'oh I could knit this myself' (it isn't even knitting, it's CROCHET!) and I still have very vivid memories of the market in Dromid where I didn't sell a single thing at all....it really can be a feast or famine situation.

I'm delighted to be able to say that this one was a huge success for me last week - it far exceeded my previous sales there. I had been doing pretty ok sales-wise and then Barbara the artist came over with her group of artists who were over from America for their week-long course on the island. They bought so much! Even better, they all said how much they liked their hats!

I kind of lost track over how much had sold and exactly how much money I took but I am so happy - I was able to put some more money into my selkie-savings-account. I'm not sure what I'm saving up for but after my pre-Christmas markets last year I thought it would be sensible to put some of the money into a post office savings account, so the success of this market meant that I could add a wee bit more to it.

I'm not expecting to do anywhere near so well there tomorrow and I'm not sure if Peter will be able to go to the market for me the weeks after that but at least I had a good start to the season :)

Diary of a pair of wrist warmers

At the start of last month I had a message from a lady in California, asking if I would make her a pair of larger wrist warmers in the colours of the sea (so that the scales would look like the waves on the sea) - I LOVE to get messages about custom orders; first of all, it's so exciting when someone new finds my shop but also I do like a challenge - it's through my custom orders really that I learn new patterns and techniques.

Anyway, I sent her a photo of this pair to see what she thought of the colour -- this was some King Cole Country Tweed DK which I had found in a wool shop while I was over in England. It was a shade I hadn't seen before but of course it caught my eye (I love these colours!) - they only had one ball of it in stock so that was all I had bought; enough for one pair of my 'regular' sized wrist warmers.

My customer loved the colours too, so I was able to track some more of it through Springwools up in Dublin and then was able to get started on a scaled-up version of them :)

I started on the wrist warmers on one of my days off work, and had taken my crochet to the beach for a few hours of relaxation.

I love how the colours match my surroundings - this shade is just perfect for ocean-inspired crochet!

These custom ones are quite a bit bigger than the ones I usually make but it was no problem to make a bigger size - they did use a lot of wool though, nearly twice as much.

I love how they turned out and they are now somewhere between Waterville and Sacramento!

As I wasn't 100% sure how much of the wool I'd need for this project, I had ordered three balls of it from Springwools - so I had a whole ball left over, which was enough for one pair of the 'regular' ones :)