Tuesday, 26 November 2013

A Very Successful Day With Robins, Penguins,and Puddings

This will need to be unbelievably quick. We were so successful at Wokingham that I need to make stock for the next fair which is at Edgebarrow school on Thursday!!
The Wokingham carnival was amazing and not only did we sell huge amounts but  we have had several orders since. Not unaturally people want their order before Christmas so Vicky and I are going to be very busy.

Here we are set up and ready to go. We were on the pavement just outside the toy shop and the weather was largely very good. Vicky forgot her coat but she was never really cold.We were still there as night fell and although the camera struggled a bit the next two pictures give some idea of the atmosphere.

There was an impressive parade in the dusk which came so close to our stall you could reach out and write your name in the dust on the vehicles!

Once upon a time Vicky found a button that  looked just like a red nose. So lynn made a reindeer head but we cannot have 'they all lived happily ever after' because we are still working out how to make the rest of him. Any suggestions please?

I have made about a million Christmas puddings over the last few weeks they seem to be very popular. Even more popular are Vickys robins and penguins but she is so busy filling orders that I thought I would try to help out by making'some for the next fair. 

If you want to laugh it is worth going to our Facebook site to see what the real thing is supposed to look like. My ones look like a mutant ninja penguin and a robin whose mum has stuffed  him in his really warm but slightly small jumper. Ah well back to   the drawing board.

And finally: the most popular products by far were Despicable me inspired characters.We sold every single one so I can't show you the ones Vicky made so here is a phone cover that I have just made -not anything like as good.
I must apologise if this is full of mistakes but I am in a great hurry to get back to making stuff for Thursday. Mind you I expect these blogs are always full of mistakes it is just that today I have an excuse.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Gift bags, Chocolate Crackers, Peace and Love

My computer is really playing up so it might take me several days to do this. Anyway Vicky and I had a conversation about adding some more decorations to our Christmas range and I had some new cotton yarn in jewel colours which I was dying to use. These little bags are the result. I thought they would be nice for small gifts or for hanging sweets on the tree. Each one has a silver charm either on a Christmas theme or saying 'For a special Grandma', I am going to put sweets in them on Sunday at the Wokingham  Carnival.

I can't remember why I decided to do crackers but here they are each with a 'Celebration' chocolate inside.

 Then I read in this months 'Simply Crochet' that the seasons colour was white so I made these.

They are made to hang on the tree and each one can be untied so that you can eat the chocolate and then reuse it next year (not the chocolate -the cracker)
As I said last time we are at the Wokingham Christmas Carnival this Sunday and its theme is the sixties so I have been making bunting in the form of beads and bells, I know what I am doing looks authentic because I was there! My neighbour even offered to lend me a kaftan but I think it is going to be cold so I need to wear lots of layers - I never would have even thought about body temperature in the actual sixties.
Peace man.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Christmas Wreath Taste Test and Some Really Cute Pugs.

We are going to have an outdoor stall at the Wokingham Winter Carnival next Sunday and wouldn't you know it the weather is turning cold. To make things worse Vicky's boys have both had a bug and now she has fallen and hurt one of her precious crocheting fingers. I am sure it will all be ok by Sunday (touch wood with your fingers crossed please but not if you are Vicky). We went to this show last year and it was very successful so I am trying to make sure we have enough stock:

I didn't really make this one the things are just pinned on, this was to show Vicky my bad taste!

This one I did make and I like the combination of big buttons and the crocheted bow. If I have time I might make some more of these in different colours. Confession: I have a hoard of buttons as well as yarn.
I have also been trying to fill an order for pug dogs and I am really pleased with the result but I am not sure they are pugs.

These are the phone charm/key
ring version

These are pictures of a slightly bigger version. He looks as if he wants you to throw the ball.

And here they are together. I made the big one from a pattern in the Ami Ami Dogs book by Mitsuki Hoshi.
I must get back to making more stuff. Hope to see you in Wokingham on Sunday.

Friday, 15 November 2013

WreathsI , Dream Catchers and A Fish.

In between making the ever popular christmas pudding decorations and chocolate cosies I have found a new fun thing for all you crocheters to try.

Some of you will know that I have been destroying lampshades ( an unusual super power ) so that I could use their metal rings to make circular decorations but now I have discovered wreath rings. I found them on ebay they are really quite cheap and you can get them in different sizes. These are 10 inches in diameter. First attempt was to wind tarn around the bare metal until it was completely covered. Then I made miles of crocheted mossy leaves which I wrapped around the former before tying on roses made from soft cotton ( red) and ribbon yarn (white).

The photograph makes it look a funny shape but it is actually a circle but I do need to redo the bow and cut it shorter. When I took this picture I didn't notice the shadow of a noose, it was a piece of rope tied on the end of a ladder kept on the garage roof - this is the end wall of our garage.

Attempt 2:  I wrapped the ring former in stuffing and tied it in place with yarn before making a cover from really thick yarn and adding some crocheted holly.

I am about to start attempt 3 using decorations from our 50 pence sale box.

I have also added bells and beads to the stars to turn them into dream catchers. The grapes in this picture have been left for the birds.

Two other things before I get back to crocheting:
 A hat not really original,
I saw it on that well known auction site and decided to try my own version.

Isn't he friendly looking?
Thing two look here for these beautiful crocheted baubles and much more.

Aren't they amazing?

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Diminishing Phone Charms and Teeny Tiny Christmas Puddings

It is funny how your mind works. Having made a pair of owls I went to look at what we still have in stock and look what I found. They all look slightly bemused and bewildered probably don't like crowds. So then I thought what else can you have in pairs ( I have a few double chain thingies left)

Mouse and his cheese. I think the mouse has a really charming face but he won't look so good if he eats all of that cheese. Mouse is made with variegated 3ply yarn and three little black beads. the cheese is 4ply cotton in two different yellows. Can you imagine anything better than a piece of cheese as big as you are? Mind you I am not sure I would want to be chained to it.

So then I thought you might like to see all of the phone charms and key rings we have in stock but I didn't realise how many we had so here are just a few.

and a better view of the ones lying down:

Some of them we have put on here before but they are a pair of hearts, a tiny sparkly red purse, a tiny blue draw-string bag, a bee and a flower, and an alien. But there are many more and we are always willing to try new suggestions. Having made a small owl I went for the record

This is the smallest owl yet. So on the subject of small I thought could I make really tiny Christmas puddings - I think the answer is yes, these must surely be the smallest - unless you know better!!!

Sunday, 10 November 2013

How to Make Tiny Owls

A new approach today. Vicky and Stu went to a craft fair yesterday.  Look at how festive the stall looked!

It was a good day - especially for Christmas tree ornaments and key rings and some things need restocking. So I thought I would produce the stages of one of these things here.
I am about to make a phone charm, key ring bag decoration sort of thing.
To join in you will need:

The yarn is some lovely variegated 3ply but any small amount of fine yarn from your stash will do, a 2.5mm hook a pair of self adhesive eyes and a clip on key chain. The pile of greyish stuff is stuffing ( surprise!). You will also need a big eyed needle and some scraps of contrasting yarn for beak and feet.

1. Make a magic circle and make one chain before working 8 dc in the ring.mark the first dc so that you know where the row starts.
2. Working in a spiral 2dc into each dc all the way round, you should now have 16 stitches but if you have got one or two more it won't matter.

3. Work 7 rounds of 1dc in each stitch.

4. double crochet 2 together at the beginning of the next round work 6 dc and then dc 2 tog then 6 dc. This should get you back to the start of the next round - it is not too drastic if it doesn't just add a few more dc.
5.Work 2 more rounds of dc.
6. At the start of the next round work 3 tr in the first stitch work 1 dc in each of the next 5 sitches ( or until you get to half way round and then work 3 tr in the next stitch, dc in each stitch until you reach the first 3tr. fasten off.

7. Stuff and sew across the top.
8. Add two googly eyes and embroider beak and feet with contrasting colour.

9. Sew him onto the key chain.

10. and finally make him a friend.

One of the many things that I really like about handmade things is the way in which things take on a character of their own even though you think you have made them in exactly the same way. One of these looks snooty and one looks vaguely dreamy. Here is another crochet puzzle: spot the deliberate (I wish) mistake or the difference between these two little friends.
I don't write patterns often so some of this may be incomprehensible if so please get in touch and I will try to help you out. But if you don't have the time or the inclination to make your own owls we can make them (or any other small creature) for you.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Buttons and Bows and things for Crafters.

I seem to have done lots of crochet but mostly just replacing stock so there is not much that is new to show you. Vicky and I have concluded that the people at shows or those that look at our facebook or Etsy pages are often fellow crafters, So we have tried to include in our range things that crafters need/want. So here are a few of those things:
Easy to carry wherever you go

Opened out a plce for your hooks, scissors and needles.

We sell this one with the hooks, scissors and two big eyed needles we can make it for bigger or smaller hooks, for more hooks and in other colours. It has been so popular that I started to dislike making it so we have produced a pattern so that our customers can make their own.

A clever design by Vicky. She has made us both one and they are so useful we thought we should share them with others. The reason they are so good is that you can put normal sewing needles in the felt leaves but you can put blunt yarn needles in the crochet part. The loop goes over a button to keep the needles safe when you are not using them.

One of the jobs that everybody hates is blocking and pressing work, especially if you have to pin it out first. These little pin cushions and their gorgeous pins will make the job less tedious?

With the success of these few things we have branched out and are trying a limited range of findings or haberdashery.

Is there anyone who does not love buttons?

The brown buttons have reindeers and snowflakes and stars on them. The ones under the brightly coloured clown buttons have flowers, rabbits and snowmen. I am very peculiar I know but I love sorting and packaging buttons, probably a hang up from being given my grandmas button box to play with when I was a child.  The ribbons are organza or satin and packed in 2m lengths so you can use them for craft or for wrapping you Christmas presents.

These buttons are 3cm in diameter and they are so lovely that I could easily cover my t-shirts with them - if only you didn't have to sew them on - does anybody out there remember the buttoneer?