Bury Show 2024

I managed to enter a few items in this year’s craft competitions, after the traditional last minute decision that I had to make something new to enter into the knitted / crochet baby item class!

It was an early start to walk down to the show grounds, but I made it in plenty of time and entered 7 items into 4 different categories. I really must do some baking for it next year too!

I went home for some breakfast and made some lunch to take back later. Nobody wanted to come with me so I took a more leisurely stroll back to the show, hoping to spot a kingfisher. ( I didn’t) It was pretty cool and drizzly so I went straight back to the craft tent to see how I had got on.

I was thrilled with my placings. Four prizes out of seven entries wasn’t a bad haul at all. There were two third places for my knitted headband (bottom in the above photo) and for my crochet baby comforter – which I had only finished after midnight!

Best of all though were being placed First and Second in the Handmade card competition.

Apparently the pop-up box card was loved by the judges and was considered for best in show! Although that was won for a needle felted picture which was gorgeous.

There were more entries than I’ve seen in the past, which is great for all the crafters. And there were lots of visitors to the tent during the afternoon. So it was a good day all around and I really did need my roast dinner when I got home!

I’m going to aim to make some things for the show much earlier next year as the knitted and crochet items that won obviously took more time than the day before! So next week I shall start thinking about what I can make and getting prepared.

Happy crafting

x

Craft Stall Update and Review

Hello Again!

This week I thought I’d have a look back at some of the craft stalls I’ve done over the last year or so. I’ve made much more effort to get ‘out there’, although it’s quite difficult trying to balance the place to be with the costs of doing the fair. As my cards and gifts are generally low cost items to purchase, I need to sell a lot to even cover the costs of the table and there have been times in the past when that’s about all I’ve managed and that is very disheartening I can tell you.

Anyway, balancing act aside, I did a few stalls last year. I ended 2022 with a successful stall at the local primary school Christmas fair. It’s a good cause to support, the table money goes to school funds and they ask for a raffle prize for on the day. With it being after school on a Friday, it only lasts for a couple of house as well (and there’s the bonus of only having to transport my things down the road). It’s hard work but good fun and I can always nip home if someone asks for something specific! I could do with more like this.

Into 2023 and I arranged to have a small stock of special day cards in my local Post Office. I’d missed the boat for Valentine’s / Mother’s Day, but I did get a decent collection of Father’s Day cards in there. They went down quite well, so I also did some thank you teacher, Halloween and Christmas cards, and then some Valentines and Mother’s Day cards this year too. The cards don’t sell in huge numbers but as the ad says ‘every little helps…’

Back to 2023 and I discovered that my local Dunelm has a community group and they offer a table at weekends to local small businesses in exchange for a donation to their charity fund. I thought it was worth a try to see how it went, so a booked myself in for a few dates. It’s a long day (10-4) and I was on my own for a large part of it – definitely one to limit drinks! Crafty-Teen (craftykid has grown up) dis accompany me on a couple of occasions but didn’t stick it out all day. I did the weekend before Father’s Day last June in the hope I could sell some sports shirt and trophy cards. I tried to make at least one for every football team I could think of! The weather was ridiculously hot. so it wasn’t the best attended stall I’ve ever had but I did sell some things and get my name out there. I had another table in October, this time in a different location in the store. Once again the weather wasn’t on my side as it was very wet. I focused on Halloween themed items and sold a few knitted pumpkins (new for 2023) and some little tassel ghosts. All in all it was a better day than it had been in June.

At the end of the Summer term I attended the primary school Summer fete again. I always take lots of teacher thank you cards to this but hardly ever sell any which I find very strange. However, the small knitted/crochet characters went down well with the children. I guess small mascots at pocket money prices area winner. It was nice this year as we were able to have the tables outside and it was very well attended (I was starving at the end though as I was very close to the BBQ station).

I had another table at Dunelm in November with a focus on Christmas cards. I find it difficult when to pitch Christmas as lots of people don’t want to see festive things until December, but with making and selling cards I really need to get them out there well before Advent. This was the earliest stall I’ve ever done for Christmas and I launched my £1 card collection which did reasonable well , along with my regular recycled cards. I did a few bundle deals too which seem popular so I will continue those again next Christmas, It was my best stall of the three at Dunelm but it really is a very long day on your own, with long periods of nobody stopping to chat. Thank goodness for some friends dropping in to say hello!

I managed to get a table at Clark Crafts in Ramsbottom at the start of December. I was really lucky to get a last minute cancellation place as I had somehow been missed off the initial listing. I was really looking forward to this one as I had been double-booked for their first market in the Summer, so missed out and it had been really well attended. It was cold! Snow on the ground (and we didn’t get much over Winter) but the Ramsbottom Maker’s Market was on so my fellow stall-holders and I were hopeful. I think the weather must have put people off because we didn’t have lots of customers. I still managed to do ok, but it was a long day and several stall-holders didn’t make their table money back. The highlight was a lovely lady selling Thai curries and she gave us all some of her tasters – much needed on such a cold day!

I finished 2023 with another table at the school Christmas fair and again it was the little knitted characters that sold to the children. It’s a fun way to end the year, but it wasn’t as well attended as previous ones and my sales were down a bit. But it is very local and not a long stand! The time does go very quickly with lots of people to chat to.

Total sales from the stalls:

Cards – 51; Knitted/Crochet Characters – 44; Gift tags – 35; Christmas decorations – 29; Chocolate orange covers – 14; Keyrings – 6; Pumpkins – 6; Hat/Gloves – 5 Ghosts – 4 Poppies – 3

And from the Post Office: Total 20 cards (to date)

Father’s Day – 3; Teacher/Thank You – 7; Halloween – 1; Christmas – 6: Valentine – 1; Easter 2.

So those were my 2023 efforts to get out and about a bit more. It was hard work and I must thank my husband and Crafty-Teen for their help with transport, setting up, lunches and packing up. I have learned a lot about what people are prepared to buy/pay at these small local fairs and I’ve met lots of lovely people (fellow makers and customers). I will definitely continue with the school fairs and need to have plenty of pocket money characters ready for these. I shall keep taking a view on my stock before making a decision on doing Dunelm again, but I have got my name down for Clark Crafts again and I will get my Father’s Day cards back in the Post Office soon. Then it’s back to updating my Facebook page!

Happy Crafting

x

(Last week’s Parkun 44:52)

Spring sunshine

Today I have taken the plunge! I’ve coloured my hair. I fully appreciate this isn’t a major event for many, but I’ve only ever done it once before (in my twenties – a very long time ago now). It wasn’t as complicated as I thought it was going to be, but it wasn’t that easy with hair as short as mine is – fingers crossed I don’t end up with dye all over my face!!

So I’m taking this opportunity for the twenty-five minute relax (while the potion works its magic) to sit outside in the sunshine. The garden was looking very tidy after my afternoon’s weeding, pruning, planting and collecting fallen magnolia petals, but the wind has rendered the petal collecting pointless – I think there might be even more on the ground now. I might wait a couple of days before clearing up this lot.

A non-alcohol beer in the sunshine

I’m pleased to say there are plenty of lovely signs of Spring taking advantage of the April sunshine with me. I’ve been serenaded by a pair of blackbirds, squawked at by a starling and enthralled at the majesty of a pair of goldfinches and a pair of bullfinches. The first orange tip butterfly of this year (that I’ve seen) has flitted around, joining the countless ladybirds basking on my hebes and geraniums. Oh, I think this really does have to be my favourite season – I hope my sunflower seeds germinate and don’t get eaten by slugs!

My first flowers on my rescue clematis

A short pause to deal with my hair! I must mention I have very dark hair with a few (very obvious) greys, so I’m not sure I expected much from this colouring. However, if anything it looks even darker now- so much for the deep plum/red tones I was initially hoping for! No visible grey though (but I forgot to wipe my ears before leaving the potion to work – oops!) The real test will be if anyone notices when they get home from work and school!

This last couple of weeks I’ve been crafting away as usual, lots of little knitted chicks which I sold to buy some books for my local primary school (Springside where I’m a governor too). I was making some little knitted baskets to put larger Kinder surprise eggs in, but the reports of salmonella meant I didn’t actually finish them even though I had some eggs ready to put in them. The eggs I have weren’t in the affected batches but I though better safe than sorry. So I think I’ll be adding the surprises to my geocaching swag box and I’ve taken the hit on the eggs. I’m just pleased I didn’t spend a fortune on them.

Right, I’d better get on with making tea for the workers!

Happy crafting

K x

PS – 3 days in and no-one has commented on my hair yet!

The knitting needles are out

What happened to Spring? All the glorious sunshine and balmy 18oC has been swapped for snow and -1oC! I’ve had to put the heating back on (not for long) and I’ve retreated to blanket crochet again, just to stay warm!

Gloves work-in-progress

This cold snap has made me think back to the last couple of winters and my chance meeting with a friend I hadn’t seen in ages. She had recently bought a shop in Ramsbottom, not long before lockdown, and selling lovely ladies clothing. Over a chat about Easter chick knitting (more of that in a future post), she asked if I fancied making some hats and gloves to sell in her shop when Autumn came around. So we decided on a trial of a dozen or so items, just to see how they went. Lots of knitting (and the inevitable unpicking) ensued, choosing different yarns, colours and patterns. She wasn’t concerned about them all being the same, if anything she was happier for lots of different designs to add to the uniqueness of the products. A great opportunity to practice some long forgotten and new techniques and to improve my cabling and sizing.

Ribbed beanies

With my first collection complete they went on sale in October 2021 just to coincide with a warm late Autumn! But in the run up to Christmas, the weather did turn colder and they started to sell well. So-much-so that I was asked to make as many more items, particularly hats, as I could. What a confidence boost for me. I’ve had a few knock-backs with job applications and interviews over this last year – it seems being a peri-menopausal fifty-year-old returner to work is not who people want to employ these days, in spite of plenty of work experience and qualifications!

Bobble hats

Anyway, suffice it to say I think the hat/glove trial was a success and I have been knitting away frantically in the evenings to make more for Autumn/Winter 2022. I have been working on my cabling and making some headbands as well, with my now teenage daughter’s help in colour choices!

Finished gloves and wrist-warmers

The knitting was something I enjoyed doing even if it was a bit of a production line, but I had completely forgotten about having to make labels for all the items. So there was a frantic couple of days wondering what I could do, investigating sew in versus stick/iron on labels and having them all printed. But I settled on making my own and adding in all the care instructions for the yarn from each yarn band. I’m quite pleased with the end result, I think they add to the handmade feel of the items too. What do you think?

Time to warm up again with a brew now. Have a lovely week.

Happy crafting.

K x

Work-in-Progress Progress!

It’s three months (ish) since we went into lockdown and I have tried to get through the large bag of partly made projects I had hanging around back in March. Twenty items really is too many to have left so long, but I really am all about the knitting / crochet and not the stuffing and sewing.

Having finished the three lockdown lions a few weeks back, I have been steadily working through the other bags and boxes of pieces and my menagerie is growing once again.  Most of the creatures are from kits I’ve had from either Let’s Knit or LGC Knitting and Crochet magazines, and are great for making something a little out of my comfort zone or for little gifts for friends and family.  I have enjoyed making most of them.  I do find that sometimes the instructions can be a little vague – sew legs to body, for instance – so I do make a point of studying as many pictures of the finished articles as possible before committing to the final positions of limbs and features.

So, what have I managed to finish over the last few weeks then?

From LGC Knitting and Crochet magazine, I have made,

Amy the Donkey (design by Hannah Cooper)

Easter Bunny (design by Nicola Valiji)

Safari bear (design by Sarah Louise Read)

and a knitted chick (design by Sachiyo Ishii)

From the Let’s Knit kits, I chose

Sparkle-dash the unicorn (design by Steffi Hochfellner)

And I finally finished an Aldi, So crafty kit of a hippo.

I hope you like them as much as I do.

There is still a way to go, but the pile is steadily reducing which means there is more space in the living room – I actually found my sewing machine this week, which had been buried under two bags of yarn.  So there’s something else to do, hmmm, what to make next……..

Happy crafting

x

Unicorns

Last Summer I was trying to make up all the knitting kits I have in my craft space, in order to free up some space and to see how they look when finished.  One of the kits I made was a little knitted unicorn.  It was a lovely little make and proved very popular with my daughter and her friends.  So much so I have been asked to make several more. (This pattern was printed in Let’s Knit magazine and is by Christel Krukkert)

I love it when people ask me to make something for their children for birthdays and make requests for favourite colours.  I’ve also enjoyed making these in my own colour combinations to give as gifts.  They are so cute and when made in baby yarn, they are so soft and cuddly too.  I’ve embroidered the eyes on these as well, so there are no problems giving them to smaller children.

This lovely pink creation was for a gift for a friend’s daughter.  She loves horses so I think a unicorn made a lovely present.

This one was a Christmas present for a friend’s daughter.

Alice was desperate for a unicorn of her own and she chose this colour combination as it reminded her of Twilight Sparkle from the My Little Pony series.

The next three have been made as gifts.  The pink one made a lovely new baby gift for my daughter’s dance teacher.

I was starting to think I wouldn’t get to do any crochet again, until one of my work colleagues asked me to make her a different unicorn for her grandaughter. (This pattern was posted in Let’s Get Crafting magazine and is from Moji-moji designs).

These are all so lovely to make and I can’t help but feel happy when I making one of these creatures.  Long live the unicorn revolution!!

Happy crafting
x

A little knitted kitty!

With only a few days left until we are back at school, I’ve finally got around to making something for my daughter and her friend. They are both mad on cats (we have two and her friend has one) and whenever they have got together this holiday at least one of them has been wearing cat ears on a hairband! It’s very cute and I hope it continues for some time yet, as they are growing up far too quickly.

Anyway, as they are off to Blackpool Zoo at the weekend, I thought I’d make them a little cat bag each from the last issue of LGC Knitting and Crochet, to carry their little bits and pieces in.

I stuck to the pattern colours for my daughter’s bag, although she insisted on a change to the handle colour as her favourite colour at the moment is white!  It’s a really simple pattern mostly in garter stitch, so very quick to make. Her friend asked for a black one with pink and purple features!

They certainly liked them before I finished them, so fingers crossed they will like the fully finished articles.  I think they will be purrfect for carrying around a little mouse purse and a few sweets each!

Happy crafting
x

A Dancing Hippo!

After the completion of my knitted unicorn last week, this week I’ve been working on another of the knitting kits I have been meaning to make for ages. It’s quite appropriate for many of our friends and their children, as it’s a dancing hippo!

This was a gift from Let’s Knit magazine and included two balls of grey and one ball of pink yarn. I set about following the pattern , but I decided to use slightly smaller needles as I wanted a tighter knit fabric.  I love this hippo and the addition of the ballet tutu and little bows are so sweet, I can see this being popular at dance class next term!

It’s another knitted toy and I was doing quite well with all the pieces for a while and managed to get the little hippo to this position

but I have now run out of yarn to make the nose, arms and legs!!  So I have spent the last few days looking for a match.  No luck so far, but I shall keep on trying.  I think I will also contact the magazine and see if they can provide me with another ball of the grey.  I think I have enough pink for the ballet shoes and bows.

Wish me luck.  Hopefully |I will be able to find some more yarn as the poor hippo is looking very forlorn in my knitting basket.

In the meantime I’m going to get out another kit and see what else I can add to the menagerie this Summer!!

Happy crafting
x

First Week of Summer Makes!

Well the first week of the school holidays has flown by.  We’ve been pretty busy catching up with my parents, some friends and generally having some home chilling time.  Both me and the not-so-little-one have been doing some crafting too, while we sheltered from the rain!

I have moved into the craft room and had a good sort out too.  It’s looking much tidier and I feel like I can find things again – only time will tell though.  During my epic tidy up, I put all my knitting and crochet kits from magazines in one drawer, so my aim this holiday is to get some of them made into things.  So this week I have made a start on a knitted unicorn.

This kit was a gift with Let’s Knit magazine, not that long ago, and I think it will make a nice companion for the little crochet unicorn, Meadow, I made a couple of years ago.  Here’s the pattern picture, which has been very helpful when putting all the pieces together.

It’s taken a little while this week to get all the pieces together, and then I, of course, ran out of toy stuffing, typical! I haven’t used safety eyes either as I like to try and embroider the eyes on, just in case the animals fall into very tiny hands.  I don’t think this one will though as Alice has claimed it already.

So here is my finished unicorn, it has already had several hair styles and has claimed a place on the shelf in my craft room, just to make sure I do actually finish some more animals to keep her company.  I don’t have a name yet though. although Rainbow does seem to be a contender.

She’s is a decent size too, which I was surprised at as I used smaller needles than those stated in the pattern.  Sat down she is about 25cm tall, so she makes a lovely addition to my tidy craft room, now to see if I can claim Meadow back to join her!  They have certainly enjoyed having their photo session and a good girly gossip!

Next I’m starting work on a dancing hippo!!

Happy summer crafting
x

2017 is flying!

I can’t believe where this year has gone and it’s almost July already!  It’s been a rather odd year for me and I’ve been busy with all sorts of things that I haven’t had time to sit down and write anything.  So I’ve grabbed a few minutes and thought I’d have a catch up and see what’s been going on.

I had a rather rotten end to 2016 and start to 2017 as my back went and I was unable to stay in any position for long, so I was a bit grumpy (to say the least), well lack of sleep will do that to you!    So I’ve been trying to do some back strengthening exercises every day to help, but it still twinges every so often.  I also spent several weeks on physio and hospital check-ups following my broken foot last July.

Anyway, I seem to be hospital free for the time being (fingers crossed) and I’m back to my weekly tap class which is great fun.  I’m also back crafting again and have spent the last few weeks and months busy making all sorts of items for orders and for our own use at home.

I ended last year making loads of legwarmers for the girls at dancing, and this year has continued the trend.  Since Easter I’ve been knitting frantically, furry wrist cuffs and legwarmers for some the girls taking part in a ‘Cats’ number both for the annual dance show and for competitions.

These feel lovely when knitted up, but depending on the yarn used I found them quite difficult to make.  The white ones were made with Eskimo yarn and that knitted up quite nicely, but I used some eyelash yarn that was really difficult to keep count of my stitches.  They did all look lovely on the girls though and made the outfits.  Alice has also asked for some now as she’s obsessed with white!

So I’ve beenknitting quite a lot over the months, and managed to get in a bit for my family.  I always make the children something to play with at the end of the egg hunt we do at Easter, and this year was no exception.

This year the three children found a knitted egg cosy character with a chocolate egg inside.  These are made from a free pattern of Jean Greenhowe that I’ve ad for ages and never got round to making up before.  They are easy to do and they were very popular, so I introduce you to Holly, Eggy and Steven!  They certainly has plenty of adventures on Easter Sunday, poor Steven was lost several times, but he was eventually found and went home with his new best friend!!

Easter also involved quite a bit of baking which was shared with family, friends and neighbours.

Mother’s and Father’s Day meant a lot of card crafting and my large owl cards were very popular.

I made these in a variety of papers and love the different effects they create.  I also enjoyed making the triangular backgrounds and took this further making some cards for men.

I love the monochrome set of card and toppers and when matched with the Hunkydory rainbow mirri card they really shine.

For Father’s Day I made a collection of cards for Hearts for Homes in Ramsbottom.

I fancied doing some more origami and made these using an old Papermania set of men’s papers, but I had to do some owls too and loved using these old maps.

Well it’s time to head off to work now, but I’ll be back soon with some more ramblings of a middle-aged crafter!  Have a great day.

Happy crafting

x