Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Last Post of the Month

January has been a pretty quiet month in my Etsy shop - I've decided that this year I am going to make a proper effort to keep a note of what money I'm spending and how much I'm actually making through all this. So far it's not great! - not enough to live on  - it'll be interesting to see how it pans out over the course of a whole year, and to take into account my sales from the local craft fairs etc as well.

This is my little 'accounts' book -  it was part of my birthday present from a friend and I thought that I will put it to good use, even if I don't always like what it says!!

I've finished my scrubbie-athon and have been making cotton shower mitts instead...

They're something that I used to make for a while and then stopped - they aren't the BEST sellers but the other day when I was sorting through everything I found these cottons and thought they'd be perfect for shower mitts rather than yet more scrubbies. 

I still have one more to make but it's on the back burner for the moment as I have a customer on Facebook who wants to order a few things.

This is a cotton shower puff I've made for her

and a pair of plain wrist warmers in my favourite shade of yarn. She also wants another pair of wrist warmers (which I had already made and listed in my Etsy shop) and some of the cotton scrubbies (also already made) and then a slouchy hat too.

I've got these three made in a couple of days (working with chunky yarn is so much quicker than what I usually use) - I've sent her photos of these three hats but I need to get some more hats listed in my Etsy shop (and just as general 'stock') so I had a look through my wools and will be working my way through these over the next few days...

The only ones I've made slouchy hats from previously are the two studio Donegal wools (the big cake of turquoise and the one with the label on it) - so the other three will be a bit of a mystery. We'll see how they turn out; hopefully there will be photos!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Make Your Own Scrubbies!

I'm still staying firm to my resolution not to buy new wool/yarn until I've made a considerable dent in what I already have...turning a blind eye to the emails that come daily from Springwools, Deramores, PurpleLindaCrafts etc etc offering free postage and great discounts...I find it easier to just delete the emails without checking what the latest 'offer' is as I have so little will power that I often am tempted.

I'm taking a break from making wrist warmers for the time being and am working my way through my cottons instead...once I've finished making scrubbies I'm going to make a few cotton shower mitts as I don't have any left in stock and I'd bought some nice cotton online last year and it would be a good way to use it up.

I got the 'use it up' idea from a group on facebook - ZERO WASTE IRELAND (I'm a long way from being 'zero waste' but am trying to do my bit when I can) and posted a photo of my scrubbies on there & said that I could share the pattern (such as it is!) with anyone who was interested.

So here it is!!

I use a double knitting thickness cotton and a 4mm hook - my favourite brands of cotton would be Twilley's of Stamford's 'freedom sincere' or Rowan's purelife' but any dk cotton is fine :)

So, using a 4mm hook, chain 6 - join with a slip st into the last chain to form a ring.

Chain 3, then work 15 trebles around the ring- join with a slip st at end of the round.

Chain 1, then work 2 double crochet into each stitch - join with a slip st at end of the round.

Chain 3, then work 2 trebles into the next stitch, work 1 treble in to the following one and repeat (2 trebles in one st, then 1 in the following) to the end of the round -  join with a slip st.

Turn the scrubbie, then chain 1 and work 1 double crochet into each stitch around - join with a slip st.

Turn the scrubbie again, the chain 1 and work 1 double crochet into each stitch - join with a slip st.

To make edging make 1 double crochet into the stitches of the previous round - this gives the scrubby a nice  edge and helps them last a lot longer.

Sew in the loose ends securely. 

 Now off you go and make your own!!

I get about 7 scrubbies from a 50g ball of cotton.

You can of course, make them bigger or smaller or alter the stitches to suit yourself but this is what works well for me!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

 I'm still holding strong on the 'not buying more wool' mantra - hopefully I will manage a whole month without buying any new stuff!

I haven't had any custom orders through my Etsy shop, which is a help really I guess, as I NEVER seem to have the 'right' colour/thickness etc in my 'stock' whenever anyone asks me to make a particular item.

My head has been a bit fuzzy lately - just hormonal/mood wobbles - so I've taken to making scrubbies for my Etsy shop again -- they've never been my 'best' seller as I guess a lot of other people make them, but they are a quick project for me to make when I'm feeling like I can't manage anything more complicated.

So I've made practically a rainbow of scrubbies! These are made from organic cotton (apart from the purple ones) - they are made from 'Freedom Sincere' cotton.

I've made a set in grey and yellow too - these are made from organic cotton and use only natural dyes too! (they are made in Rowan's ''purelife'' cotton)

I love it so much whenever someone new buys scrubbies - I am such a convert to them myself - it's a small change you can make to your daily routine that can have an impact on how lightly you tread on the earth. Before I started using them I used organic cotton wool to cleanse my face, and would compost it along with our regular household/garden organic waste...this is better than buying non-organic or just chucking it in the general waste bin (or flushing it down the toilet!!) --- BUT the cotton scrubbies that I make will last for ages.

I've been using mine now for years, and they are still holding up strong. They just go in the wash with our clothes, dry them, and they're good to go again :)

It isn't all scrubbies though - I did make this pair of wrist warmers last week, made from Rowan's pure wool dk - I prefer a bit more colour myself but hopefully someone will like them!! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

All Natural

As I mentioned in a previous post on here already this year, I've decided to try and work through some of the yarns that I've had in my boxes/cupboards for a while...of course with me, this is a mammoth undertaking and I've only started on the top shelf of my cupboard, but already I've found some treasures!

These two pairs of wrist warmers are made with Rowan 'Alpaca Colour' which is a dk pure alpaca yarn. Sadly since I bought it it's been discontinued, so I'm not sure how easy it would be to purchase now.

Each skein is just enough for one pair of wrist cuffs.

 I made these blue wristlets from a skein of Mirasol's 'Tahu' - a dk blend of baby llama, merino wool and angora - again it's another one where I can't remember where I bought it but it's lovely and soft.

I wish companies would make the skeins bigger though - again, this skein has just enough for one pair of wrist cuffs.

 And finally, this is Malabrigo's ''Rios'' - another double knitting yarn; this one is 100% merino wool and I bought it in Iceland (it is actually a Peruvian wool I think so it's well traveled!)

I reckon there will be enough for the pair of wrist warmers AND a pair of wrist cuffs from this skein.

I'm continuing with my 'use it up' mantra and am just about to start on some plain wrist warmers made with Rowan's pure wool dk (in navy blue) - I'll take photos when they are finished :)

Feed the Birds...

 We've decided to put some bird feeders up in one of the trees in our garden and it's been SO successful! We hadn't put food out for the birds in years and years (though they used to steal the chickens' food back when we still had hens) because of having so many cats - but the cats don't seem so interested recently so we thought we'd risk it and see how it went.
 We have several different species of birds every day - I am trying to get them all on camera! These are male house sparrows...

 ...these are goldfinches....

...and this is a male chaffinch.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Happy New Year!

 I thought I'd post a couple of photos from our conservatory! It's still a work in progress, even after all these months, as we are still waiting for the plumber to fit in a radiator, and also waiting for the electrician to finish off the lights...but in the meantime we are enjoying it as a (slightly chilly) sitting room!
 We were away shopping yesterday so we bought a few bits and pieces for the conservatory to make it feel more homely -- I'd been given some vouchers for Christmas from one of my sisters so I bought these two gorgeous orchids and the pot of hyacinths with them...then we bought the large house plant when we were in Tesco...I love having plants inside the house and am hoping to use some of the windowsill space in this room next summer for growing tomatoes as they just won't grow well outdoors here.

We also bought a pair of new suitcases as we are going to New York on holiday (next month!!) and needed the cases. Isn't the print on the fabric so cute? We definitely won't lose them!!

I'm trying to stick to my mantra and annual 'new years resolution' of using up what I already have in my boxes and cupboards - and just before Christmas someone asked if I could make them some plain wrist warmers using just natural wool/alpaca etc rather than a blend with acrylic or anything man made, so recently I had a quick look through my cupboard and came up with some 'new' yarns to work with...

 These are all the way from Iceland! I bought them in the wool shop in Reykjavik last February and hadn't done anything with them :( Each ball weighed 25g, in lace weight wool - it's super fine, using a 3mm hook! 
 I had just enough for a pair of little wristlets in each shade.
Just last week, I used up some more of the wools that I'd bought in Iceland - to make this fluffy pair of wrist warmers: they're made in a Danish yarn but I'd fallen in love with it in the shop in Reykjavik so it fell into my shopping basket (along with everything else!)

This one is a 'cobweb' weight yarn, so even finer to work with, and the fluffiness makes seeing the individual stitches quite difficult...it was a labour of love and I must remind myself to THINK about how wools might be to work with before I am so eager to buy them! -it's a blend of alpaca and polyamide and is soooo snuggly soft! 
Now that I've finished this pair (and shipped them off to my Etsy customer in America!) I'm back to my all-natural fibres and am using up some Rowan alpaca - I can't even remember buying it but I have two skeins in my cupboard...more in my next blog post I'm sure!