7 Dec 2011

What's all this Craft Business...

Great Post on the Crafty Network by a local (local to me - Chesire) Crafter, can't wait to follow the 'this crafty business' - sounds right up my street!
They also have some great tips and advice pages.

I'm still learning so much and things are going so quickly in the craft business world (it is Christmas after all), it's hard to get my head around it and keep it all in there. I would say this is one of those things that you have to do it to learn it! From setting up the blog to selling at the craft fairs so much has happened! The good things are the blog, which I am really enjoying writing, meeting people at the craft fairs and seeing people liking your work. The hard things so far have been selling online (how to get people to see your stuff over everyone else's) and picking the right craft fairs. And the bad things ...... there haven't been many of these I can think of thank goodness! Don't get me wrong I have made many, many mistakes but I have enjoyed almost everything I have done and definitely learned from everything.

There have been some things I would have done differently
1. I shouldn't have worried so much about which craft fairs to do- I should have just done as many as I could from the big to the small and then I could decide which ones were the best.
2. Selling online takes a lot of time and needs organisation - something I am lacking at the moment, I should stick to admin Monday and maybe add admin Saturday and Sunday too
3. Stop being shy, get out there!
4. When handing out business cards be ready to optimism the blog/folksy views I might get from this- I am kicking myself about this one

I must say though I am still enjoying it and that is what I love about this crafty business!!!!

6 Dec 2011

Croxteth Hall Christmas Fair

Polly Purl was at Croxteth Hall on Sunday but as there was little advertising and the weather was sooo bad there was not a large foot fall. It was a dissapointing and slightly dull day unfortunately but here is hoping this Sunday is better.
The hall itself was lovely- a bit of a grand house from the Victorian times and I meet some really nice stall holders that have given me a wealth of tips to investigate - some piccie's to help visualise

I did buy a little something though - 
My obsession with dolls is never ending at the moment - this is a cute tree decoration from a company called Jacqs hearts, but I think this will be all year round in my studio. Can't find them online - it was a lovely mother and daughter. The daughter had some really beautiful jewelry, which can be seen on her website - http://www.riajewelrytiaras.co.uk/
I think the fair was good for the Networking alone, as it was quiet it meant a lot of the stall holders had chance to look around and chat. 
I'm still on the search for more craft fairs but time is running out and I really need to spend some time on my Etsy and Folksy pages, but there is always tomorrow.......

2 Dec 2011

On the first day of Christmas.....

My knitting machine gave to me a Christmas Jumper!

'Oh I didn't see you there, yeah I'm just relaxing in my Christmas Jumper' -

Check out the jumper at this site - I love it, going to have to try to make it for my Christmas day!

This week I just can't help myself - it's Christmas time and I have no time to put up the decorations yet but I can still listen and dream of a white Christmas! 

I wonder if I can convience the family to all dress in red velvet and white fur this Christmas? 

PS- I have booked Polly Purl in for an extra weekend of the Craft Fair at Croxteth Hall - this Sunday the 4th. Come along if you're free, it's a Victorian themed day so we have to dress up, should be fun.

30 Nov 2011

Check me out - hot water bottle covers

November is here and it is so cold. It doesn't help that in our house the builders are here and we can't have the heating on. I find myself being drawn to the oven and hob and lamps- anything that gives out a slight amount of heat. I am dreaming of roaring fire's, duvet's, snuggling in layers of blankets and hot water bottle. Hot water bottles are something from my childhood. Something that was a real treat on a cold winter night, my mum tucking me in with the hot water bottle or even better - the hot water bottle heating the bed up before I even get in it. I also remember the down side of being burnt on the rubber which would just get too hot (I can't believe I am saying the words too hot!). I remember putting the hot water bottle away from me in bed and trying to get the heat from afar.  Well this was the inspiration behind my hot water bottle cover's, something to help prevent the burning and something that is pretty and make's a great gift (look out for hot water bottle shaped present under our tree this year).
To make them I thought about several ways I could make the opening. A few of my drawings below show some options I contemplated. But in the end the sac idea won out, it is slightly easier to knit but I just like the texture it gives the very flat hot water bottle.

Just check out Folksy to see my selection:

A few lovely hot water bottle's as well -

27 Nov 2011

Success - or something like it

Yesterday was Polly Purl's first craft fair and we had a great time! It was so much hard work to get ready, all week we had been working our socks off (or working on the socks) but Friday night was still a mad rush. There was stress, sweat, tears and laughter (although it might have been manic). I found myself with all the pricing and labelling still to do by midnight on Friday, as this was something that required some nice handwriting I decided not to do it while I was half asleep. Instead we labelled and priced on Saturday after setting up at the market, this actually turned out to be OK as we had two hours to set up!
The Hope Street Market was lovely, I was pleasantly surprised as I had never been to that area of Liverpool before. Had lots of interest in the stall and managed to had out some business cards.
Learnt a lot too -
1. Don't stress - the worst case is either you don't sell anything or you sell out and both or not that bad
2. Think about the display more than just a passing moment- it's worth spending a bit on it if you plan to do a few fairs
3. Write down a few notes that can be used in your sales- I was incredibly nervous and surprised when people wanted to buy things!
4. Take some water and a snack that will pick you up at around 3pm when my energy completely dropped.
5. I think it's worth trying to get a good table-i.e turning up early, we were near the beginning and a lot of people said they wanted to look around before buying.
6. Each craft fair is worth it as I can learn something new and get people's reactions to my products.

A few pic's - a HUGE thank you to my sister-in-law Jenn for the lovely bunting

I am still recovering - my body just wanted to stay in bed all day today.

22 Nov 2011

Christmas craft fair!

I have been neglecting my blog of late - something much more important has come up...
My first craft show!!!!
So excited now it is almost here! On Saturday the gang will be heading down to Liverpool - 

My knitting machine needles have been on fire and half the time I have almost set them on fire! They never said machine knitting would be easy but many, many, many mistakes later I am finally getting there! Laid it all out tonight and seeing it may stop the recurring nightmare's. 
The Folksy website has been helpful with advice and stuff -

And I will be making a poster of the above picture to go up in my studio! Focusing has been really hard, especially having the studio in my home - popping downstairs for a cup of tea can be drawn out for a long time! 
And finally I wanted to share with you all the view from my knitting machine - 

11 Nov 2011

Button and Pom Pom heaven

Oh I got the most lovely box in the post today. Some lovely second hand and vintage buttons I ordered off lovebuttonsHQ.com. Check out the below, can't wait to add them to an item to give it that speacial something -

My favorite is the little green glass jelly mold with gold on the edge's - it's sooo small!

PS - a big thank you to the people at lovebuttons, I ordered these late Friday, they emailed me back on Saturday, they had been dispatched and on Monday I got them. I even got a few extra buttons, could not have been better service.

The other lovely thing this weekend was pom pom making! I went into a pom pom mania and just wanted to add them to everything!

Spot the pom pom. 

These were just made the old fashioned way with two cardboard rings - a quick time saver was to double up the yarn lots of times before using so you have lots of strands to wrap around the cardboard ring. I like the idea of these as Christmas tree dec's. I would like to get some spray glitter and just lightly coat them - a little sparkle.

9 Nov 2011

Christmas is coming! (crochet snowflakes)

We have been booked into two Christmas fair's, YAY!!!!!
The first is on the 26th of Nov in Liverpool - Christmas on hope street - http://www.blackburnehouse.co.uk/whats-on/event/hope-street-christmas-fair/

and the second is at Croxteth Hall on the 11th of Dec

Now the hard work begin's - stock to be made up, business cards to buy and decorations to think about.
I found a great blog post on things that are needed for the craft fair -


Stock for me will be many hats, scarf's, socks, mittens and snoods as well as some jumpers for adults and kids.  I may even be selling a few of my new favorite crochet item - Snowflakes:

 - these came out of the Crochet Today magazine. I am not great at crocheting yet so they all look a bit wonky but that just adds to their character. They weren't very hard to make and were finished in about half an hour! An idea I had was these would be a great little tag to add to gift wrapping for that something special -(that's if I could find time for presents let alone these) 

My lovely Mother will be selling her felted bags on the stall as well - She is just experimenting on knitting them up on the chunky machine and then felting them. Much faster then the hand knitting and if it's going to be felted then why not?

I have invited my two nephews along to help with the running of the stall (not sure how much help) and I even said if they can make some crafty things they could sell them too (probably asking too much). I am hoping they will enjoy seeing the fair and learn some things about business and selling that will help them in the future.

Come along and say hello to PollyPurl and her knitting mum - Hilary Shacklady

7 Nov 2011

Listing on Folksy

This weekend I managed to get photo's of everything I have finished so far and list them on Folksy for selling. If you want to see them all there is a link to my shop on the side bar.
It's not easy thinking about somewhere pretty but plain as the background to the photo's - when looking through Folksy I noticed that I liked the knitwear pictures that were set outside. It is where these things will be worn after all. So I dug out my tripod and set up something in the garden - with the help of my mother I got a few good images. However after adjusting them on the computer I was disappointed when I realised Folksy only show square images. Meaning a lot of re-cropping, not sure why they decided to go with square as most people will have the usual rectangle shape photo's.
It really takes time to list things - thought has to go into the description, price and photo's - I hope it is worth it(I'll keep you up to date)
Just a few out takes of the very professional photoshoots -

 Socks on the wall? 

Just hanging out against a wall

Check out the below link if you are into crafts -
Selvedge magazine: The Fabric of your life: textiles in Fashion, Fine Art, Interiors, Travel and Shopping:

'via Blog this'

2 Nov 2011

Socks, Socks, Socks

I got my socks pattern to work so at the end of last weeks I was completely absorbed in socks - the first sock is always so much fun and full of anticipation of what it will turn out like and then the second sock is boredom and rushing to move on to the next one's.

I will be adding the pattern for these very basic socks to my pattern page. The yarn used was from Yeoman yarns - the main is called Lux Kaleidoscope, it is a space dyed bright acrylic. I know what your thinking 'acrylic!' but they are super soft and hard wearing and come in these amazing colours - am I convincing anyone? I added the clever comfort stretch yarn to give the socks a really fitted feel. Mother has not had them off her feet so they must be comfortable! 

I also experimented with making booties - another success I felt! Check out the pictures below -

Next stop children's booties me thinks!

1 Nov 2011

Transfer Carriage among other things...

Today the builders are in and I can not reach my studio space so I am confined to the computer - I good thing really as I have been really bad with the posts of late. Last week I had a spurt of creativity and productivity and just couldn't bring myself to leave my machine for any time. In the post last week were some shade cards with JC Rennie yarns, such lovely colours and yarns. Glad I discovered this little gem - they are a Scottish mill producing all the yarns in Scotland, using green energy. They have a range of lambswool and cashmere mix's, it all looked so scrumptious! Check out the below
This weekend I was at the boyfriend's so that was gone and I still have not finished his cardigan off so that is added to the list of things to do, the list never seems to go down!

Also last weekend I headed off to a craft fair at Newton-le-Willows, very close to home. Unfortunately I was not selling but it was great to go along and show support. Some really lovely stuff but also a few odd stalls - non-alcoholic wine from all over the world at a local craft fair? I didn't take any pic's - sorry guys!

Just a little up date - the transfer carriage is working away like a star! I really love this little gadget, so simple yet saves me soo much time.

And finally an update on the colour changer - a little pattern a knocked up.

26 Oct 2011

Colour Changer - Jacquards!

I ordered myself another new gadget - a Brother KRC- 900 colour changer, a beast of a machine! This is used to knit double jersey fabrics with patterns on and no floats at the back - in other words jacquard fabrics. It is also a great time saver for knitting stripes and comes with a tension unit for four yarns (ok I may be a little over excited about it). It took a while for me to understand it - having to consult all my books and swear and pout a little, but I finally got it to work on stripes and jacquard - I could not be happier with the results! This means I can make so many things now with a pattern on - scarfs, mittens, socks, booties now will all be float-less in the back of the fabric!
Check out below for a video and images. I didn't do a tutorial video as I'm not sure anyone wants one but if anyone has any questions please feel free to ask.

Looks like I am trying to contact the mother ship - but this is my colour changer in action. You can't really see what's happening but that's the magic of it- at the end you get something like the below.

Look no floats in the back - a total reversible fabric! 
One of my best purchase's from Ebay ever! 

24 Oct 2011

This week...

This week I was listening to -
Very fun and different listening. 

I was working on a round yoke fair isle cardigan, which is getting the better of me. The idea for the pattern came from one of Mary Weaver's book - I tweaked it for my own needs and decided to use the Forsell Superwash Yarn with the contrast as a high sheen acrylic. As my tension was so tight and the stitch's so small I couldn't fit the whole back on my machine so had to separate it out. The pattern consisted of less sewing up (which I hate) and more casting off on waste yarn and picking up again. All was going ok and I got the back and both sleeves knitted up - attached one sleeve and back together fine and then attached the other sleeve on the wrong side! Arghhhhh - Having to unravel all the fair isle I had been working on was torture! And then trying to get it back on the machine - I am ashamed to say I gave up. I will try again but I think I need to move on to something easier to help get things going. (Pictures will follow)
So I started to design and make socks - I got the clever comfort and elastic yarns from Yeoman to try out with the Space dyed yarn. So I am Sockward bound now.........

17 Oct 2011

Autumn Colours

  1. collage studies
  2. color forms
  3. parka city
  4. psychedelic furs
  5. sixties minutes
  6. spotty service
  7. tux love


3.1 phillip lim
antonio berardi
bcbg max azria
bottega veneta
costume national
daryl k
derek lam
giambattista valli
jil sander
jonathan saunders
narciso rodriguez
pedro lourenço
proenza schouler
rag & bone

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