Monday, 30 December 2013

2 hats , 1 pattern

I decided to try my hand at knitting a woolly hat as a Christmas present for my daughters boyfriend. I had some beautiful 100% wool in grey and thought it would knit up wonderfully. As it was my 1st time knitting a hat (and I wasn't planning on selling the hat , just giving it away) I scoured the Internet looking for the perfect easy pattern. 

This web site "Tin Can Knits"  came up trumps for ::: irresistible modern knitting patterns ::: 

They have created The Simple Collection - a 100% learn to knit series, including 8 excellent free patterns and in-depth tutorials.

They say that "Whether you are knitting your first scarf, cozy socks for your dad, or a sweater for your little man, the Simple Collection will teach you all you need to know to make modern seamless knits for the whole family!"

The Barley pattern is the one I decided to use. With a lovely mix of simple garter and stocking stitch , I thought I could just concentrate on getting my gauge right and knitting in the round.
Barley Hat by Tin Can Knits

 I started knitting the pattern in the lovely grey yarn , only to be told by my daughter that her boyfriend had a passion for woolly hats , the more colourful the better. It was then I decided that perhaps grey wasn't the best choice.

I started again , rifling through my stash to find a colourful chunky yarn. The only yarn I could find suitable was some Sublime tweedy yarn , a stunning black with flecks of colour in it. I did however find some vibrant left overs of Rowan Big Wool which I thought would make a stunning pom pom for the top of the hat. 

Here are the finished hats. The grey one has now become mine , I love it fits tight on my head with the rim of the hat turned over once or twice. It really shows off the different stitching.

And yes, the pom pom on top of the black hat is huge , but it is LOVED !

Monday, 16 December 2013

Free Tutorial - Knitted child's bracelet

During the autumn I was asked by one of my friends if I could possible knit a chunky bracelet for her youngest daughter. 

I have finally got round to writing up the process for you all.

For this project you will need 

1 wooden bracelet with a diameter of approx 88mm 

and a dark wooden button
Small quantity of cream cotton yarn


Step 1. With cream cotton and appropriate sized knitting needles (see ball band) Cast on enough stitches to make the width of knitted item twice the width of the bangle. For the bangles I used  , the width was 23mm , so my knitting was 46mm using 4mm needles.

Step 2. Knit in Moss stitch
Row 1 K1, P1, K1 , P1 .............K1
Row 2 Same as Row 1

Repeat these 2 rows until the length of the knitting measures the circumference of the bangle. Check this out by wrapping the knitting round the bangle before you do the final cast off.

Step 3 Cast off

You should end up with a cream band , approx 88mm x 46 mm.

Step 4. Sew button on to cream band in a central position.

Step 5. Sew 2 narrow ends of band together

Step 6. Place band around wood bangle and sew in place , align stitches to be in the  middle of the inside of the bangle.

Step 7. Sew in any ends.

Hope you will enjoy making this child's bracelet. 

Remember, if you make any of these lovely bracelets , then send photos to TheFeminineTouch and I will feature them on facebook or in my blog (or both).
Please feel to make as many of these as you like for personal use, but I would ask that you don't sell the finished items. Please do not reproduce any or all of the tutorial, without linking back to here.

 The Feminine Touch Knitting Kits

Heh !  If you like this free pattern and want to know as soon as I write another , then why not like my Facebook Page!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Christmas @ Uniquely UK

Well Uniquely UK has been awake for a few months now and we have had a few sales under our belt.

We have been talking  between us about how we can reach out to our UK audience and bring them in, even if its just to look at what we are doing and show us they appreciate handmade items.  We believe that on-line shops like Etsy are not really known throughout the UK , maybe only to the crafting community. Somehow we want to help change that.

Today we launched the start of our Christmas Giveaway , a free competition open to UK residents. Hopefully we will get lots of UK people liking and following us through some of the media channels. Can you help us share the word?

Update - this free Giveaway is now over and a winner has been chosen , so sorry to those of you that have visited this after the closing date. If you are interested in goodies at Uniquely UK and would be interested in a Coupon Code for 10% off until February 2014 or are interested in a newsletter subscription , then please add your comments below.  Uniquely UK will then get back to you.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Interior Design Course - the start

Hi all

You know I said I had given up full time work a few months back and I was still deciding what I should. 

Well one of the things I've always been a little interested in AND would sort of link up to the homely parts of the TheFeminineTouch is "Interior Design". So going back a couple of months, just after I got back from a little holiday I decided to enrol in an on-line Interior Design course. Its a 12 week course , which doesn't in fact mean that I have only 12 weeks to do it in , it only means that I get sent 12 weekly tutorials to read through in my own time. There is a lot to learn , ranging from colour theory to architecture , designing rooms to what standard symbols you use on room plans. There is a whole load of reference material too , which I will find really useful (its a good job they said we didn't need to learn all that off by heart). 

I have now completed tutorial 6 , which in theory should mean that I'm half way there. 

Humph , not so sure about that. 

There are a number of assignments to do too , these are the things that take the time. I have completed 3 1/2 of them (1/2 because I have completed the 1st half of assignment 4 and got it marked before I embarked on the 2nd half). 

I have yet to look forward to see how many assignments I have to do as I think that will put me off. They are getting steadily harder and harder.

The 1/2 assignment I completed successfully was to collect samples of wallpaper , fabrics , carpets and pictures of lighting and furniture to make what we call a "mood board". 

But it's not just about putting the samples together on the board and having it looking pretty , you also have to have them all labelled neatly , and have these all listed , where you buy the fabrics etc from , how much you will need and it all costed up properly.

and what did my tutor have to say.......

Sandra, your sample board and index for the living room reads very well, your client will have no difficulty in seeing what you are intending to achieve with their space

Now to get back to the second half of that assignment - a drawn to scale room plan.   See you later.....

Monday, 25 November 2013

Free Tutorials

Free Tutorials

One of my fellow crafters on Uniquely UK has been very successful with her free felty tutorials that she made to celebrate Halloween.

The team at Uniquely UK have decided to follow Simmi's lead and provide little snippets of information that will help those who want to understand our craft a little better or who want to improve their skills.

Obviously I will concentrate on providing knitting tutorials , but if I stray don't tell me off please.

So , this one is the first of many (I hope).  How to knit a cable tree

I really enjoyed writing this up, ensuring that all steps were covered and that the photographs helped tell the story. I think my experience writing system documentation has helped me a lot here , I just remembered to replace system screen dumps with photographs showing the work in progress.

If you would like to keep up to date with ALL the free tutorials that the team at Uniquely UK will be producing , then why not follow the team here - UniquelyUK

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Welcome to Uniquely UK - our welcome poem , he he

Uniquely UK: Welcome to Uniquely UK: To all our new readers, We'd like to say 'Hey!', And a very warm welcome, To UniquelyUK ! Looking for gifts...

Christmas with Uniquely UK

Celebrate Christmas this year with hand made products that have been designed and created with lots of love and passion.

UUK , ie Uniquely UK bring you an assortment of goodies in wonderful Christmas colours. Just click here for some inspirational ideas for gifts and decorations......and if you like what you see and it doesn't quite fit your colour scheme then just let them know

Friday, 15 November 2013

Life after full time IT work

Its been a long time since my last blog posting and my life has changed so much since then.

My full time work , that I did enjoy so much has come to an end. After a lot of heart wrenching discussions with family and friends I decided to take voluntary redundancy from my full time job in June 2013. My job was with the local council looking after a team of IT developers and support people. I have been in IT since my twenties (over 30 years ! Yipes) and thought I was there to stay well in to my sixties but life is about living ! and its about time I had a change and leave all the new emerging technology to the youngsters.

4 and a half months later and I'm still trying to decide what to do for the rest of my life.

Do I try and find another full time job in IT? My professionally written CV is out there , I have job agencies contact me with jobs they think I'm suitable for and I have applied for a few jobs. Am I bothered that I don't get interviews? I think the longer I'm out of  a job , the more I don't want to go through an interview process and the more I'm scared of the 1st days at work , getting to meet new people , being tested on my IT skills (which will be diminishing as technology changes , month on month). 

 Do I try and make a living out of selling my hand knitted items. Well we all know that's impossible! If you calculate the amount of time it takes me to hand knit an item x even just the minimum wage then I would be pricing my hand knitted items right out of the market. So even though I love knitting and love selling on-line and the on-line community , hand knitting will always stay as a hobby. Saying that, have you seen my new "mug hugs" , little fair isle wool mug cosies using some techniques I picked up at a Rowan workshop. These are adorable , brilliant gift ideas for Christmas presents. I would really like these to take off , I have some really cool ideas for designs for the whole year , for kids and adults alike.

Within the 1st month of being at home , I developed 2 little web sites , one to celebrate TheFeminineTouch , linking to my Etsy shop. Here I try and give potential customers some background information on my designs , what I have been working on recently and how to buy from me. The other one - UniquelyUK, is one that really excites me is one I developed in collaboration with a team of UK artisans from the Etsy community.  here I used my team leader abilities to bring a team from all over the UK virtually together to develop an on-line presence. I am finding that each individual in the team has unique skills to bring to the table. For example, one young lady is brilliant at manipulating photographs into montages to use on the web site and another is a lovely poet and we have used her skills in bringing together an introduction poem (more of that in another blog posting).

So how do I incorporate my knowledge and skills in IT, my team leader abilities and my knowledge of on-line selling and crafting to make a living for myself? Read my next blog postings to follow me in my journey.........

Friday, 31 May 2013

Uniquely UK

You might have heard of us, you might not, but you soon will ..........................

Uniquely UK is a name we deliberated over for a few weeks, it’s something to celebrate our uniqueness and individuality and also letting the world know we are from the UK.  

Who are we? Well let’s start from the beginning. 

We are 10 individual crafters, selling on Etsy, chatting virtually in the forums, loving each other’s work, really getting to know each other. A few months ago, we decided to venture away from Etsy a little. We wanted to set up our own web site, showing off our best work to the world. We had tons of ideas for new products to complement each others; what we wanted the web site to look like; how we wanted the admin side of things to work.  It soon became obvious that it would take a few months to get it off the ground.  

So in the meantime we decided to open a little shop on Folksy where you can see our work alongside others in the collaboration. We are really pleased with the result. Hope you are too.

We have built special “wedding” and “father’s day” sections, our themes as we call them. We are able now to see where the gaps are in our product range and most importantly we have learnt how to virtually work together. This has been no mean feat. It’s difficult enough when a “team” work together in the same office, but imagine having to coordinate everything when we are all scattered across the UK. 

 Introducing the individual crafters in Uniquely UK

GracesFavours  ~

PursePoppet  ~

Blucha  ~

JaneCrick  ~

TataniaRosa  ~

And myself ~ TheFeminineTouch ~

In  ~ UniquelyUK ~

Pop over and join our
and our
to keep an eye on what we're up to and all of the exciting things coming soon to

Quick View of Woolly Goodies available on my web site

Quick View of Woolly Goodies available on my web site
Click on photo above to see detail / to purchase