Thursday, 30 January 2014

New Ideas

I've been very creative so far this week but have very few photos to show for it because the weather has been consistently dark and rainy. I prefer to use natural light for photographing my work and there have only been short glimpses of sunshine. In the northern hemisphere I think we are all looking forward to the coming of Spring!

I finished writing up a crochet pattern for a cowl and a close friend has agreed to test it out for me. The cowl is made with alpaca wool which feels luxuriously soft and warm against the skin. The use of chain stitches makes the pattern quick to make up, and gives the cowl a light and airy feel. 




Detail of cowl pattern

Today the cold and dark weather continues and I decided it was time to start thinking of warmer weather and plan what to make to sell at Easter time. I remembered making hanging bunny ornaments 5 or 6 years ago, when crafting was simply a hobby and thought I would try sketching out something similar to see how it looked. The bunnies can be made from thick woollen jumpers, embellished with scraps of fabric and lightly stuffed with ends of wool from my numerous crochet projects.


Bunny sketch in my drawing pad

I have a good selection of flowery fabric in my stash which I can look out for the ears and tummies. These sunnier fabrics are sure to brighten up these dark days!

Friday, 24 January 2014

Deadline Achieved

I started making heart shaped coasters at the start of the week and set myself a personal deadline of today to make a dozen coasters, photograph and list them on folksy.com. I was very happy to achive my goal early this afternoon. Our middle son was off school with a virus mid week which held me up a little but other than that I focussed and sewed away!

Work in progress


Finished coasters

Working for myself is proving to be a lot of fun and I think I will continue to set myself goals and targets so as not to end up at the end of the week thinking "what have I done this week?"

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Inspiration

This week I have turned my attention away from crochet pattern writing (it's going well, patterns are being tested at the moment) to making new items for my folksy shop (I need to pay for my wool habit!).

Yesterday I decided to create a Valentine's Day themed item to generate fresh interest in the shop. I looked through my home library of craft books and magazines for inspiration, not really sure what sort of item to make. Flicking through Stash Happy, FELT by Amanda Carestio I found the pattern for scrap coasters which I had made a few of for the house last year. While I am happy to copy patterns and ideas from other crafters for personal use I would feel wrong about producing them on a mass scale for selling. I do often take inspiration from fellow crafters and tweak them, adding my own personal touch. In this instance I thought of changing the shape from circular to heart shaped to give these coasters a Valentine's Day twist.


The evolution of the coaster

Some of my ideas are formed in similar ways to this and at other times completely new ideas form in my head. The circular felt brooches, which are proving popular in my folksy shop, were created by playing and twisting the felt and enjoying the way the spirals were shaped. To create my chunky bead necklaces I took inspiration from other necklaces in high street shops and thought "I could make something like that!".

First pair complete

My plan is to make a dozen of these coasters by the end of the week when I will list them in my folksy shop, www.folksy.com/shops/martasecocrafts . I think I will sell them in pairs, and make each pair limited edition!

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! So far this year I have spent most of my time doing what I love best ... crocheting! Up until a few days ago the weather was grey, rainy, windy and horrible, the perfect excuse to snuggle under my granny square blanket and crochet away!

I finished a toy polar bear for my youngest son a few days before New Year and he immediately started talking about the possibility of a family of polar bears! The one I had given him was Daddy Bear and he thought there should be at least a Mummy Bear and a Baby Bear. I had followed a pattern in Mollie Makes magazine by Kerry Lord and using this as a guide I adjusted the pattern to make Mummy Bear. She was a big hit with my youngest and from there I had to design my own pattern for Baby Bear. He was to be a lot smaller than his parents and I had to stick to similar proportions in order for him to look similar. He is very nearly complete but has been pushed to one side to make way for a delivery of yarn from www.yarnandcraftshop.co.uk!

Mummy and Daddy Polar Bear

I have decided that this year I am going to start writing down my own patterns and spent a big chunk of my Christmas money on purchasing some gorgeous yarns to play with. Towards the end of last year I wrote up my first pattern and I am excited that it's now in the testing stage. Although time consuming the process was very satisfying and I am keen to write more. I have been designing my own crochet patterns for the last 4 or 5 years but I prefer to make them up as I go along as I am so absorbed in the process that I don't want to keep stopping and analysing what I'm doing! I have however found the solution to this; make the crocheted item in the same fast and furious way and then when it's finished carefully examine it and write down the pattern before making it again, checking that everything is correct as I go along.

Pattern writing progress

Today I began work on my first hat pattern using Erika Knight's Maxi Wool. This wool is chunky and feels lovely and squishy! I used a 10 mm crochet hook and the hat came together quickly, within an hour and a half I had produced a hat! I used pen and paper to scribble down my method and my next step is to take it to the computer because I doubt anyone wants to read my scribbles!