Monday 30 June 2014

Craft Fair Evaluation

This was me!!

Now for the sober part of my first craft fair - the evaluation.
Good things
Setting up the stall
Meeting the organiser and discussing future events
Meeting a varied collection of very nice fellow (!) crafts people

Bad things
Very quiet day in terms of customers (I know this as the others told me it was!)
Very few sales as a result
Cold in the barn!

  • Expand my product lines - all of my products are gifts so I need to give the customers lots of choice.  I had already decided to do lavender bags and an autumnal wreath, but will add some knitted jewelry that I have already started working on, am thinking of trying some covered notebooks and will expand the smaller purse range.
  • Improve presentation - so that there are lots of bits and pieces in various places.  Have found some old planks of wood in our garden that I am going to turn into a stand by nailing together, sanding and painting.
  • There is very little I can do about footfall, the next fair I am hopefully, attending will be at the same place in about a month, but in a different location on the farm.  It will also be in the summer holidays so I need to make sure I have lots of things that appeal to children (and mums and grandparents!)
  • Take a cardigan!
I will be linking to KCCO again this week, pop over for more crafty blogs.

Saturday 28 June 2014

Year of Projects - Round up of the year

Well here it is - the last post of the year!  
When I look back, I can't believe how much progress I have made this year, although it bears little resemblance to the original list.
The first thing I have gained from this year is inspiration from an amazing group who do amazing things and make me want to improve my skills and ambitions.
The second thing I have learned about the process is that I should structure my list differently.  I should have listened to the last posts of last year to tell me that, but I think I had to find it out for myself, being a novice knitter.

Of these points the first impacts on todays post and the second impacts on next weeks!

So - this year - I will summarise the list in a mo, but most importantly, what have I gained from the inspiring people in this group?  I have opened a shop and am doing my first craft fair TODAY!!  Ahh - wish me luck.
I will report on how that went tomorrow.
Here is my 'pretend' table!

And now to the list - I have put photos of some of the FO's on the YOP 2013 page.

Firstly, gifts for Christmas

  • For Daniel and Lily - a bag for Lily and will knit Daniel an elephant later in the year
  • For the sisters in law - wristwarmers - finished 14/08/13 
  • For my mum and brother - pot covers and mug hug - another change of plan - scarf for mm and gardening things for my brother
  • For Thomas and Luke - crocodile scarf  - finished 20/12/13
  • For my mum and mil - dishcloths and bag - finished 01/12/13

  • This part went very well - a few changes of heart but all in all well, and added a pair of socks for my SIL.

    Then, there's all the projects just for me

  • Finish tote bag  - hurrah - finished 04/07
  • Hat for me - finished 09/08/13
  • Socks for me - definitely using my A Stash Addict yarn - no I used it for Miss Winkle (I have new yarn for socks!!)
  • Placemats - in time for Christmas I hope! - next Christmas!!
  • Scarf for the husband - for dad finished 
  • Shawl for me - Dragonfly wings by Boo knits - will be my next project - finished 14/07
  • Winter hats for the boys

  • Again this section went well apart form the socks and placemats (these may appear again this next year!!), however, I finished this up quite quickly and other projects came along that weren't on the list at all.

    Additions!  I gave up adding to this part as in the end I felt it was a little like cheating!

  • Little Gradient for Thomas - Finished
  • Hexipuffs - more made
  • Bonnet for SCBU - finished 14/08/13
  • Vanilla socks as first sock project - yarn bought from Mellifera yarns
  • MKAL  with One skein - scarflette - finished 26/07/13
  • MKAL with Boo Knits - Morticia - start 01/10/13 - finished 01/11/13
  • MKAL with Amy Miller group - start 01/09/13 - completed 2 cowls - 2 more to go
  • September MKAL with One Skein - nearly finished - changed into scarf and finished

  • Poncho - Lemonade from lemons -Linda Blakeley - finished 10/01/14
  • Learn to crochet - Yes!!
  • Willow boot socks - possible Xmas gift for SIL - finished 25/12/13
  • Sewing - make myself a project bag - Made 2 and a tote bag and some pj's

  • So there it is - most projects are finished but there are lots of things not on there - nothing for the stall or shop for instance, and my latest projects are not on there.  I think I have learnt a lot from the whole process, from organising, techniques and inspiration. 
    All in all I feel I have had a very successful year but not so much in terms of completing my list.  My list next week will be slightly different in structure as a result.
    I hope everyone has a great week and I can't wait to see everyone's round up.

    If you want to see more, then have a look at the Year of Projects group on Ravelry.  Even better, if you fancy joining in, now is the time to do it!

    Monday 23 June 2014

    Craft Fair Preparation

    About a year ago I decided to join a group called A Year of Projects on Ravelry.  Through this group I have organised my knitting, improved my blogging skills and been inspired by their endevours.
    One of which was that I could sell my knitted items.
    I love knitting large, garment type items for myself and using reasonably expensive yarn.  However, I love the quick satisfaction that comes with accessory knitting and if I could sell it make some money for the expensive yarn!!

    Lo and behold the idea was born for aknitandacake.

    I decided to specialise in purses and here was the first

    Not brilliant, but I persevered and here are the latest

    I then signed up to some craft fairs - my first at a place called Tulleys Farm near where I live on the 29th June and then at the civic hall in Crawley on the 5th July.  Here is my mock table to make sure it looks ok!

    Since signing up in February I have:

    • Knitted enough stock to stock a stall
    • insured my business for £1m
    • registered as a business
    • set up as a business on Etsy
    • set up a new E-Mail account for the business
    • produced business cards and postcards
    • produced a newsletter
    • purchased bags and packaging materials
    • made myself a money belt
    and I am sure much more!!  All of this was actually very easy with the use of the internet - registering as a business online was easy and took about 5 mins and setting up the shop was equally as easy but took a little longer.  

    So this is the start of the next part of the journey - I have set everything up - now to put it into action.  I will report back next Monday on my first one.
    Wish me luck!
    Linking up with KCCO for this one.

    Sunday 22 June 2014

    Year of Projects - Penultimate post of the year

    Well we are nearly there at the end of the year - for the YOP anyway!!
    I have made lots of progress this week.
    First of all my cardigan is finished and here it is!!
    Hurrah!!  Of course now we are having a bit of a heat wave so I will have to wait to wear it - but hay ho!

    Having finished that I immediately cast on for a pair of mitts that I wanted to knit for my boys' childminder.  I used Spiced Cocoa by Laura Aylor and I have subsequently finished them - a nice quick knit that, I think, looks lovely.  I used some Malabrigo worsted in Cypress that I had left over from my poncho at Christmas.  I think I have enough left to knit myself some although I will go up a needle size to 5mm to accommodate my larger hands.

    Having finished those I have been able to cast on my Myrna for the Outfit-a-long with Andi Satterlund (see link to the side) - I have made some progress since I took this, but hopefully, I will have made lots of progress for next weeks last post of the YOP year.

    I have also knit a few more rows of my Christmas jumper - we will have to see if I make my first deadline on this!  I am supposed to get to the first pattern repeat by 1sy July - hmmm.

    I think I am pretty much there with products for the stall.  I will be writing a preparation post tomorrow, but here are the last items - a few smaller items and my latest design purse - a fox (in case you couldn't tell!)

    And lastly I thought I would leave you with some shots of our garden since it is in full bloom at the moment.

    Have a lovely week - looking forward to seeing everyones round up post next week.

    Friday 20 June 2014

    FO Friday

    Yay - I am doing a FO Friday!!
    That means I have finished my cardigan.  And here it is

    It took quite a long time because I have had other projects and once I got to the neck band each row took forever and put me to sleep!!  Details are on my project page on Ravelry - here
    As a result of finishing I have started my spiced cocoa mitts for my childminder.  I don't have a pic of these but they are nearly done and I will include those in a later post

    I started these because after the epic fingering weight cardi, I wanted a quick knit and that is exactly what this is.  I am using Malabrigo worsted in cypress that I had left over from my poncho knitted last Christmas.

    And I have made some progress on my Christmas jumper.  I should finish the mitts today, so will then CO my Myrna by Andi Satterlund to knit as part of the outfit-a-long.

    Hope everyone has had a good week - what are you working on?

    Sunday 15 June 2014

    Year of Projects

    Well this week I have made very little progress, or it seems as such!
    I have worked almost exclusively on my cardigan, but it is still not finished!!  I have completed the arms and am now on to the neckband, but it runs all the way round so each row takes an age.  And, because it is stockinette it puts me to sleep!
    So here it is at the moment - I will finish for next week!

    Otherwise, I have done very little, just a few rows of my Christmas jumper on the way to a golf shop yesterday.
    I am going to start thinking about my summing up post later as I will be doing my first craft fair on the Sunday.
    Hope you all have a good week :-)

    Wednesday 11 June 2014

    WIP Wednesday

    I am nearly there!! 
    I have finished both sleeves of my cardigan and now only have 30 rows of stockinette to finish for the neck band.

    There is a slim but present possibility that I will make FO Friday!
    My Christmas jumper has not been touched for 2 weeks but on completion of the cardi, I intend to get cracking on it.
    I finished my tunic top on Sunday and did a kind of review of the pattern  here.  I have since worn it to school and decided I will definitely finish the hem (it had a hem but it falls down on ocassion so think I need a second row of stitches to hold it in place) and next time I will shorten the length slightly and not make such a round neck (as unless my underwear is on the edge of my shoulders you can see it).  Otherwise I love this top.
     Now I've finished this I have started on my Delphine skirt for the Outfit a long.  I have cut my fabric and hope to sew up next weekend.
    Thought I would leave you with some pictures of our garden.  The rambling roses are again out in full force!

    Will be linking with KCCO - pop over if you want to read more.

    Tuesday 10 June 2014

    Easy Dress Pattern - review

    I completed this as my first 'proper' sewn garment.  I did do a skirt a couple of months ago, but cut too many corners and didn't really know what I was doing.
    This pattern - the Easy Dress Pattern - came free with the May issue of Prima magazine.

    The fabric was bought from Plushaddict.  I cut the pieces a while ago - opting for the largest size.  
    Sewing up was quite straightforward.  I pinned it all in place first, omitting sleeves, to try it on.  Then sewed it up with a 1cm seam allowance.  I sewed with a ziz zag stitch up the side seams to prevent fraying but must admit that was the only place I did that.  If I was to do it again I would do that first to all raw edges.
    The neck was a bit of a pain - I don't know if it was the fabric or the tension, but it gathered all the way round.  After this section I made sure I kept the tension on the fabric as I pulled it through and this seemed to help.
    Putting in the sleeves was relatively painless, think I even managed some gathers on this part!  I also omitted the casing at the back to pull it in - I think if you had more of a waist then it would be a good idea, but I don't so it is fine without.

    All in all - the neckline is a tad dodgy in places, but otherwise I am happy with this.
    Next up - the Delphine skirt by Tilly Walnes from her book 'Love at First Stitch'.
    I have since worn the top and confirm how happy I am with it.  If I were to do it again (and I think I will) I would:
    • Zig zag stitch all raw edges first
    • shorten the length slightly (by approx 5 inches)
    • wouldn't make the neck so wide - depth is fine but would bring it in slightly at the sides closer to the neck

    Sunday 8 June 2014

    A Year of Projects Update

    So, I've waited until lunchtime to update this week, so that I had more to talk about!  I am pleased to report that I do.
    I am so close with my cardigan, I'm halfway through the second arm, so just the other half and the neckband to go - I will have this finished before the new YOP!  No pic as I forgot to take one.

    This morning we did some baking (not YOP but a project none the less) and I managed to take photos before the boys finished them off!  These were so easy I will put the recipe on the cakes page soon.

    Here is the progress on the Christmas jumper - not very much, but once the cardigan is finished I should be off.

    I purchased a whole load of yarn in the week, to knit a baby blanket.

    I have cut the fabric for my Delphine skirt for the outfit-a-long and sewn together the pieces of my tunic top. This is my first proper garment that I have done properly and I am quite pleased with it.  Yes, there are areas I would like to improve, but I would happily wear this and may do so in the week.

    I also completed a few articles for the shop/stall, just some plain pieces - I think I am nearly ready now.

    So what have you all been up to?
    Have a great week.

    Wednesday 4 June 2014

    So many projects!

    I have so many projects at the moment, it is threatening to become unsustainable!
    Firstly, the cardigan is still going!!  I have finally completed one arm - only the other and the neck band to go.

    I have made no more progress on my Christmas jumper - still at the 2 round stage.  This is fine as my first deadline (to complete the first rib part and first chart) is the 1st July.

    I have laundered the fabric for my skirt for the OAL (outfit-a-long - see the link on the side).  I have also cut the pattern pieces and wound the yarn, but this is where it stopped for a moment.  I hope to get back underway at the weekend.

    Lastly, I mentioned in my last post that I might make some phone cases for the craft stall. well, I ordered the yarn which has come and I have started to put some together.

    So they are all coming along, but slowly.  I will have a FO soon!!

    I will be linking with KCCO hope to see you there.

    Sunday 1 June 2014

    Year of Projects Update

    One month to go - wow, doesn't time fly?
    I have a whole load of projects to update on - none of which were on my original list!!  Mind you - this is my first year and I have learn a lot about projects, knitting and blogging so I won't beat myself up.  I will be a whole lot better prepared next month!

    Firstly - projects that I have started, finished or are in progress this week:
    My cardigan is coming along nicely and I know I keep saying this but I hope to finish it this week!  I am now going down the left arm

    I treated myself to a new phone this week.  As a result I needed a cover.  Of course not one to spend unnecessarily (unless it is yarn related) I knitted one and I am quite pleased with it.  To the extent that I may make some for my stall - I will see what time I have.

    I have cast on for a knit along with Andi Satterlund - I am a bit late to the party  (although it sounds as though I am early!) - it is a Christmas jumper knit along.  I have a timetable here.  I have so far only done a couple of rows so not even worth taking a picture  hopefully next week.
    I have finished my tote bag and have used it twice - seen here in action at the zoo (Port Lymphe - set out as a safari)

    And here we are on the truck and the view from the truck.

    My fabric is washed and my yarn wound to start the outfit along today.  My aim today is to get the fabric cut and to cast on - my fingers are crossed (although that may make it difficult :-)).
    And finally, I purchased some more yarn to make up some SQ's of Mellifera yarn - so that I can properly start my year of projects off on the right foot!!  Isn't it beautiful?

    Hope you all have a good week.