Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Mosaic Knitting Book Review

I finally gave in and purchased the Mosaic knitting bible !

It seems there are not that many books out there on the subject and I thought to try and get my learning done a bit more fast paced I would purchase the book. Little did I realise at the time that the book came from USA and took over a month to get here , Oh well that's another story.

Wow! what a book. Tons and tons of charted patterns. Just a pity all were done in black and white , I expected a some what colourful book , given the book cover and the title. 

Barbara explains the technique very well though and I was very pleasantly surprised at the volume of patterns.

Today I tried one of them out , making sure that I fully understood how to read the chart. This is the basket weave pattern you can find on page 23 of Barbara's book. 

No doubt I will be sneaking quite a few of these in to my work in the future. 

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Today's Mosaic Masterpiece

Some exanples of my mosaic work
Since I first found out about Mosaic knitting, probably around 2 months ago, I have been been teaching myself all about it, researching what little information there is on the Internet, trying out those few free knitting patterns that used this technique, re-engineering charts to understand how they work and generally getting to grips with the whole subject.

I ended up ordering the "Mosaic Knitting" book by Barbara G Walker but because it was out of print here in the UK, it came flying over from the USA and took around 4 weeks to arrive . And during those 4 weeks, what did I do? Yes I carried on researching and trying things out. 

I was a little impatient to learn this wonderful technique.

The book was great to get , it confirmed everything I had worked out and it had tons of mosaic charts to use.

However in those few weeks of waiting I had worked out how to design and chart up my own! Woop!, which meant when I designed and wrote up a knitting pattern I could honestly say the design is mine , totally mine !

Today's mosaic masterpiece isn't finished yet but I just had to show it to you. I have been amazed by the colour's that are on display from the one ball of Noro yarn (Aya)

The finished article will be available in my on-line shop soon and I will be writing up the knitting pattern too.

1st March , cushion is finished and knitting pattern written and tested 

For sale here -  Mosaic abstract pillow 

Pattern available here - Ravelry store 

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Look what I found for a fiver


Golly gosh, don't know how I missed out on this wonderful web site. Found it purely by accident yesterday and I've been browsing around and buying too.

So what is it, that I'm in love with now?

This great site called fiverr - is full of people with smashing skills , skills that most of us don't have and they offer their services for a fiver , yes $5! . 

Each service is what they call a "gig" and a "gig can range from someone designing a logo for your business , writing your cv, finding a birthday gift, drawing a cartoon character of you or knitting you a hat that they send through the post.

And I'm just thinking , when I don't have the time to mess about with photo editing tools or I can't for the life of me think of a new way of describing my products, can I find someone on fiverr that will do it for me?

And can fiverr provide me with some new ways of promoting my little business, can it help me manage my time more effectively, can it stop me just thinking about new business card designs and actually get me doing it.

Oh Yes ! I think it can.

So I looked around , brainstormed fiverr to see how it might help me sometime. I'm happy to share that with you today.

For Knitters

They provide people that will proof read your newly designed knitting patterns or test them for you. There are people in fiverr too that will answer your knitting queries. The gig that I really liked was one where they would digitally knit my logo ! cool!    Just search "Knit" 

For Etsy shop owners

They provide people that will help you improve your shop , write product descriptions , create banners and avatars for you, review your shop, edit your photos, help with promoting your shop. The gig that I really liked was one where they would research the best keywords for your listings.   Just search "Etsy"

For small business owners

They provide people that will write blog postings or newsletters for you, help you decide on a name for your business , design your logo and / or business cards. They will do graphic design tasks for you, create web sites and distribute flyers.  Just search "small business".

For you

Just some simple gigs personally for you, such as writing love songs, recommending perfume and teaching you the guitar.

And lots of people offering to advertise your business / web site / Etsy shop / Blog or just you , whether they take a photo holding your sign or your name written on a snowman or on a sunny beach , its only a fiverr ! 


Monday, 23 March 2015

What does "The Feminine Touch" conjure up for you?

When I first opened my little crafty Etsy shop and came up with the shop name of The Feminine Touch I gave only a cursory thought to the name I gave it.
I just wanted something that conjured up a feeling of femininity that my knits would give someone; whether its whilst they wear them or when they displayed them in their home.

Its only now when I am a little more established I have started to think, what exactly does it mean?

For example,for you crafty people is it something you add to something you already own to give it that "feminine touch" as in this ehow article

or has it do with "girl" power in the business environment? does "the feminine touch" in the office really make a difference?

I would like to think it’s all about bringing pretty feminine accessories in to the home without it looking too much like a boudoir, no pretty pink sexy lace for me. Embrace the new feminine in your home decor as this article says.

We even have menswear that’s embracing The Feminine Touch, is this a bit too much?

And what about these 5 masculine way to do A Feminine Touch in the home, cool eh!

So for you, what does the term "The Feminine Touch" conjure up?

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Free Pattern Choice

Free patterns to choose from
If you haven't already subscribed to my email list then today might be your lucky day! 

I'm giving away one of my most popular knitting patterns (normally valued at £2.50 and more) to anyone that subscribes. And what do you get when you subscribe you might ask. Well I'm building up a number of tactics to keep you interested.

  1. News , whether its new knitwear or home decor I've designed from scratch you will be the 1st to know
  2. Reviews of other hand craft sellers, what they sell , any selling tips they can provide you
  3. Any free gifts or sales that I get to know about 
  4. Free knitting tutorials
  5. News re newly published knitting patterns & where you can get hold of them.
  6. Small business tips , as I find them, you will too
  7. Book / course reviews, If I have read a good woolly book or attended an interesting course I will let you know

I'm going to try and cater for you knitters, crafty people, small business owners, buyers of feminine knitwear and home decor. The range is wide and the newsletters will cover lots of interesting ideas.   Please click here to make your choice 

Monday, 16 March 2015

Scottish Inspired WATG

I was loving the idea of knitting the Tartan hula loops when I was first asked about knitting for WATG The Wool and the Gang. I just wanted to find out how they made the tartan stripes, it really intrigued me and they did look fantastic. I was a little taken aback by the price of them though, but now I know what work goes in to them I am not surprised!

I chose to knit both colour combination's, the red, white and black and the blue, purple, red and white.  Or in the official WATG colours, the Lipstick Red, Ivory White and Space Black and the Midnight Blue, Margaux Red, Lipstick Red and Ivory White (Gosh I know those colours off by heart now).

I so wish this video was available when I knit these, it really explains the tartan knitting process really well - http://www.woolandthegang.com/videos/tartan-knitting

I also learnt a new technique to invisibly join two pieces of garter stitch work together. When joining this work you are creating an extra purl row. For selling items on line I had to make sure that the finished seam was basically un-noticeable. 

Here its is :-

  • Take your two knitted pieces and place them end to end, right side up on a flat surface. Make sure the edges of the pieces line up correctly 
  • Thread a tapestry needle with the same yarn used to knit the project and join the yarn to the work at one of the edges.
  • Begin one stitch row in from the cast-off/cast-on edge of one of your pieces.
  • Find the first purl bump on one of your pieces. With the tip of your needle follow the line of the bump to where it ducks under another purl bump and insert your needle following that path.
  • Now cross the gap to the other piece and find the first purl bump and do the same as above.
  • Then go back to the first side and put your needle back under the same purl bump you went under before but going the opposite direction.
  • Follow the next purl bump to where it ducks under it's neighbour and repeat from repeat the process working back and forth across the gap.
  • Don't pull the yarn tight as you go. You want the row you are creating to look like a normal row of knit stitches. Your seam will be nearly invisible and lay completely flat.
If you are new to knitting or want to improve some of your skills then the video WATG have on their web site are ace! - http://www.woolandthegang.com/videos

And here are the finished items 

Wool and the Gang

Friday, 13 March 2015

My Knitty life - lessons learnt so far

I’ve been knitting, creating and designing now, sort of full time since giving up my full time job in June 2014. 

I was thinking about the things I had learnt, not just knitting skills but what life skills had I learnt / improved upon.

1. Making friends:

I met 2 other on-line yarny friends back in summer last year and we have stayed friends on-line every since. They both have helped me with my confidence, tested out my patterns, helped me with my knitting problems and with my challenges (see below). I now feel quietly confident to join in knitting forums on sites such as Ravelry, ask silly questions and give others advice.

I feel like now is the time to find a local knitting chatty group, see people in real life, show off my knitting to others. I can’t wait.

2. Challenging yourself:

Challenging yourself is all about picking something out of your range of abilities or something totally new. Every week I seem to pick something new to knit ,something out of my comfort zone,some new technique,some new stitch and yes its a little challenging , but I think that's just a way of improving my knitting skills.The main challenge for me recently was deciding that I was going to get some of my documented knitting patterns properly tested and published on world wide knitting pattern sites. I learnt loads about the process,about how to think like a knitter whilst writing the patterns ,how other knitters will literally pull your pattern apart before your very eyes if you let them.

3. Working out and sticking to deadlines.

I was always the one at work, that left things to the last minute, enjoying the pressure, but now in the knitting world you can’t really afford to leave things til the last minute. If you are working to publishing timescales then you need to ensure that the knitting garment is finished , blocked , photographed and out of the door in good time. And well knitting something is always unpredictable , how can you estimate how many times you need to redo a piece because it doesn’t quite fit like you wanted and if you try and knit under pressure well you are bound to loose a stitch or two on the 1st few rows.

So for me, when I knew that my pattern submissions to the Knit Now magazine had been approved I set aside a whole week alone where I would work on the knitting and writing up the patterns. My family were great about this, they knew how much it meant to me, and they knew how grumpy I would get if I was stressing out as the deadline approached.

I hope to continue learning more of these vital life skills.  If you are a crafty person, what life skills are you learning whilst your are crafting, I would live to hear.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Do Something Creative Every Day

I just thought the title to this post and my creative item was rather appropriate now that I seem to be crafting every single day , yes even on holidays!

They do say that crafting has all sorts of healing properties / is good for the soul and of the mind. 
And I must say , that I do seem to get rather involved in my crafting work; it does take over the mind (and the hands) and stop me thinking too much about any worries I have. 

Anyway it was holiday time, off to Newcastle to visit my daughter Michelle and her fella Paul.

Me and Michelle set to and learnt something completely new on Saturday. We went to a little crafty workshop in the heart of Whitley Bay, called Made Cafe. 

We learnt how to alter pretty vintage plates; make them into something we would treasure and show off.

Now I have the secret ingredients ( a little ink jet water slide decals , royalty free clip art , paper , acrylic spray paint, water and a plate) and the knowledge I may be applying this technique on EVERYTHING ! , watch out house and garden! 

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