Monday, 29 December 2014

Free Crochet Pattern - Alpaca Wrap - a Christmas gift to all my readers!


Merry Christmas everyone! I am sharing this alpaca wrap pattern as a Christmas gift to all my lovely readers! This pattern has been thoroughly tested and I am happy to share it with you for your personal use. Please respect my original design and do not reproduce this pattern or the wrap made from it for your own financial gain. Happy hooking!

 main photo

Alpaca Wrap Pattern by Marta Mitchell


A warm wrap which drapes beautifully over the shoulders. Worked in one of the neutral King Cole Baby Alpaca shades, this wrap will look pretty worn over blouses and dresses.


Materials


8 x 50g balls King Cole Baby Alpaca, DK (110yds/100m per ball) I used shade 500, “Camel”
4.5 mm crochet hook
tapestry needle for sewing in ends


Tension


20 stitches, 8 rows in 10 cm². The tension should be fairly loose, move up a hook size if you crochet tightly.


Abbreviations (UK terms)


ch chain
ch-sp chain space
dc double crochet
tr treble
shell shell motif (see notes)
fdc foundation double crochet
sl st slip stitch
WS wrong side of work


Notes


This wrap is made of two symmetrical sections which branch out from the centre. It begins with a row of foundation double crochet stitches. I chose this method because it produces a stretchy piece of crochet without any gathering or tightness. If you are unfamiliar with this technique it is worth looking up or you could create a similar effect by chaining 67 stitches and working a dc into the 2nd chain from the hook, and carrying on with 1dc into each ch (65dc across).
The shell motif is produced by working 2tr, ch1, 2tr into the dc stitch indicated.

detail of wrap
Pattern

Edit: This pattern was only free for a short time. It is now available to buy for only £3.60 in my Ravelry Store (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/crocheted-alpaca-wrap) and in my Etsy shop (https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/462745672/alpaca-wrap-a-crochet-pattern-for-a-cosy?ref=shop_home_active_3)


I am extremely grateful to my online friend Anthea for testing this pattern for me. Anthea's blog is well worth a look - it's full of creative ideas!  http://www.talesfrommountpleasant.com/

If you have a go at making this wrap please send me photos, I would love to see how you get on!

Marta xx

Monday, 8 December 2014

5 Top Tips for Selling at Craft Fairs

Two days ago I had a stall at the Windmill Christian Centre in Arbroath, Scotland. It was the first craft fair I had done since turning my craft from a hobby into a business. I want to share a few top tips of how to make the most of selling to the public at craft fairs and markets.

1. Pack a small bag with items which might just save your day - eg blu tac, scissors, drawing pins, a pen, pencil, rubber - you never know exactly what your space will be like and these small items have always come in useful to me in the past.



2. Make friends with stall holders round about you. They can be a great help watching your stall while you nip to the toilet or grab a bite to eat. Fellow stall holders often offer each other discounts or freebies which is a great way to network too!



3. Have everything clearly priced. Customers often believe that if they have to ask the price it must be expensive.



4. Make sure the event has been well publicised. Ask the people running the event if they have created a Facebook event and invite your friends, offer to put up posters or hand out flyers.



5. Take a cloth to cover your table and use boxes or crates to create different heights to your display. This will add interest and make your stall more interesting. If it's Christmas time perhaps add fairy lights or battery operated tea lights to give it a festive look.



I hope these small tips help you if you are setting up a craft stall, please let me know if they do!

Monday, 1 December 2014

Happy Scrappy Yarn

A few years ago I began to join all my odd ends of wool together to make a ball of stripy yarn. I then used this wool to make crocheted toys which my family loved! I have continued to collect the wool and join it together ever since, making bunnies and monkeys as soon as I have enough to do so. 

crocheted monkey, hanging from a tree!

Recently I decided to see if this stripy wool would work well  if it was crocheted into fingerless mitts or wrist warmers The result was just as I imagined and my "happy Scrappy" collection began!

1st pair of wrist warmers

Above: happy scrappy wool, ready to use 
Below: odd ends of wool, waiting to be joined

I use a needle felting tool to join and blend the two ends of wool together. This creates a strong join and a lovely blend between the two colours. The first pair a happy scrappy wrist warmers sold very quickly and before long I had enough to make a second pair. I make a lot of granny square blankets and any wool which is too short to make the centre of a new square is placed to one side.

2nd pair of wrist warmers

The yarn is all 100% pure wool and a mix of all sorts of different brands including Rowan, Debbie Bliss, King Cole and Drops. As long as it is around double knitting (DK) thickness and any kind of pure wool it is added in!

2nd pair of wrist warmers, modelled

I listed the second pair of wrist warmers today in my Folksy Shop today  www.folksy.com/shops/martasecocrafts This week I am offering a special 15% discount on all shop items! Simply add the code "CHRISTMAS" at the checkout. Offer ends Friday 5th December 2014.