Monday, May 24, 2010

South Bay Shawl

This is the fourth shawl for the year. And there is a story behind it.

South Bay Shawl

The short version - I have a lovely friend at work who is shortly moving overseas with her family. She asked me to make her a shawl for payment, but I told her I didn't crochet for payment, and decided to make her one as a surprise gift instead. Another friend found out her favourite colours were sage green and lavender. Eek. Not my colours, but I decided on this beautiful lichen-coloured Hyena in Petticoats sock yarn. Sneakily, I showed it to my friend one day, as I was making it. Her reaction to the colour was not positive. But she didn't know it was for her. In the meantime I was loving it - for me.

South Bay Shawl

And let's just say I'll be showing my friend a selection of colours I think she would prefer (like purple, deep red, pumpkin and leaf green) on Monday when I return to work. I think the surprise thing just isn't going to work, and that's OK!

South Bay Shawl

The shawl is a freebie pattern from Lion Brand Yarn called South Bay Shawlette. It took me two weeks to crochet, but in the middle of that I had a big market, lots of sewing and a very busy day job. It's a really fun pattern to crochet, and I love the hidden flowers that leap out from behind the shells. I think I'll be making this one again.

South Bay Shawl

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Painted Mountain Shawl

This shawl crocheting thing has become a little bit of an addiction. In fact, I love making them so much that I joined the "10 shawls in 2010 challenge" over at Ravelry a couple of months ago. There is a small, friendly, incredibly supportive crocheting bunch over there, and I not only want to marry them all, I also want to emulate their shawly awsomeness.

Painted Mountain Shawl

This here, the Painted Mountain Shawl by Vicki Mikulak, is my third shawl for the year. It took me exactly a week to make it, and I used a skein of Noro Kureyon Sock and a 4 mm hook.

Painted Mountain Shawl

I found Noro Kureyon Sock to be incredibly nasty yarn to crochet with. My hands never get sore with crochet, but this yarn made them sore for the first time ever. The yarn goes from being cobweb thin to chunky thickness, often in only a few inches. While the colour changes were incredible and lots of fun to watch, I had only one thought while I made this shawl.

"I hope it blocks out OK."

Painted Mountain Shawl

And it did. Thank heavens. A good half hour soak in some Softly and an overnight stretch being pinned out on the spare bed, and it bloomed quite nicely, evening out the yarn a little. It is still not very soft, but I'm not wearing it close to my skin so it's OK. And it looks pretty, especially with a purple shirt underneath it.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My creative space - sicko

My creative space Thursday 20 May

After all the stress, excitement and coldness of the market on Sunday, I've come down with a nasty virus which my doctor and I are working hard on not becoming an infection. So I'm home, with my couch, blanket, panadol and latest crochet project - another shawl, made using Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in a lovely charcoal grey. I'm in love with this yarn and this shawl.

When I said that all I wanted to do after the market was sit on the couch with crochet for a week and not think about sewing, this was not quite what I had in mind...

In between cups of tea I've been updating my Etsy Store. I still have a little way to go, but all the prices have dropped due to the strange Australian dollar at the moment. Plus I've gotten creative with the usual price of the boxes for sockses - and I've taken about $4 AUD off the price. You can blame the medication for that one!

Go and visit Kirsty if you want to see more creativity. Go on. You know you want to.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Market day

So today was market day. Carrie and I got to the market at about 7 am to set up. It was a really cold morning - as I drove down Limestone Avenue, I saw the thick frost on the ground and thought "Crap, I hope I'm going to be warm enough".

We were all set up by about 8.30. The market officially starts at 10 am, but we had our first sales a little after 9. Luckily we'd had time to get coffee before those people arrived, or it could have turned ugly - an uncaffeinated, tired, cold Michelle is not good! Here's what our stall looked like before it was decimated by yarn-hungry knitters and crocheters. (The scarves at the back aren't ours - they are another stall's.)

Stall after setup

And here's the lovely Carrie. She was awesome fun to share a stall with.

Carrie from Fibrewebs

Michelle loaned us her amazing tree. We decided to make it the tree of greenness.

Tree of green

We had a table of sunshine, with orange and yellow yarn, fibre and bags.

Table of yellow and orange sunshine

I only managed to make nine sack bags in time, but they looked so cute on their top shelf. They were all sold out within an hour of our first sale. This, in itself, was pretty incredible. You'll notice, of course, that the other shelves are arranged by colour (we love our colour, we do!). Every yarn skein that went into the wire fruit bowl was sold very soon after. It was our freaky lucky fruit bowl, we think.

Shelves of colour

After lunchtime the huge numbers of people had left, and it was a lot more relaxing. Our friends Jacqui and then Bron turned up to help out - much needed relief for loo, meal and shopping breaks, and excellent company to boot. Admittedly Carrie and I were going a little crazy with exhaustion by this time, and we weren't making much sense to anyone. I have no idea how Carrie gathered the energy to tally up the till at the end of the afternoon, but she did it, and she's a trooper, and it's one of the many reasons why I think she's awesome. There were a few yarn purchases of the Polwarth and possum/silk variety, even though I'm as allergic to possum fibre as I am to cats. It was just really pretty and I couldn't help myself.

So it was a great market. Insanely busy, yes, but also a great opportunity to meet some of my Etsy customers, fellow members of Ravelry, and people who read this blog. Thanks for coming by and introducing yourselves, and I apologise if I looked a little dazed and confused.

I don't think I can face my sewing machine for at least a few days. I'm going to put my feet up, crochet a lot, and catch up with my poor neglected Mister. He's been cooking me dinners and making me take it easy when he saw stress take hold this last week, and I don't think I could have done all this without him.

(Better not forget his birthday on Wednesday then, shall I!)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My creative space

Until last Sunday I thought I was on top of things with the market I'm doing with Carrie this weekend. I had my Sunnyboys and Boxes for Sockses made, the display sorted, and half a sock using Carrie's yarns crocheted. All I had to sew was a banner for Carrie, finish the sock and maybe if I had time, crochet a few flower brooches for sale.

Maybe I'd also have time to write a job application and broker world peace. Oh, the possibilities.

That of course was until I came up with a new design last week, and I just had to make it didn't I? So now I am making a whole lot of these for the market. I've been carrying the sack around with me all week and using it when I have the chance, and I've now made a few adjustments to the design to make it more usable. The handle and tab are shorter, and I've sewn the side bits together so that they fold in a little when the strap is pulled through the tab.

And I've discovered you can fold down the sides like a flour sack when you're using it. It kinda makes me feel like a genius discovering little surprises with something I've designed myself, even though I probably would have already known about this feature when I designed it if I was a proper designer. Oh well, can't win 'em all.

I've also been making Carrie's stall banner. It's similar to the one I made myself for the MOCCA market last year, but of course, not the same because that would just be weird. The banners aren't anything fancy - just fusible applique stitched down with the sewing machine, and then embroidered edges and a little bit of flair. I get to use my light box for tracing the letters onto fusible web, and that's always fun.


Until I realise I traced the letters back-to-front and have to erase the pencil marks and start again.


See more creativity than you can poke a crochet hook at over at Kirsty's.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

It's in the bag

After all the sketching in my creative space post last week, I decided it was time to put my thoughts into action.

My sketching unfortunately hadn't included any measurements, so I flew by the seat of my pants, looked at my fabric, grabbed the ruler and the rotary cutter, and cut. Two outer pieces, two lining pieces, two iron-on pellon pieces and the strap and tab. I made the rest up as I went along. The basic idea in the sketch was all I kept - the rest went out the window as I sewed.

New sack bag

These are bloody awful photos, but I have misplaced my camera so my camera phone will have to do the job.

New sack bag

It's a lot bigger than a Box for Socks.

New sack bag

It holds a folded A4 pattern, about four 100g yarn cakes, and your project. It's not big enough for your aran jumper, but it's big enough for a sleeve.

New sack bag

It stands up by itself and looks a bit like a small grocery sack. The Mister thinks it looks like a large popcorn bag, like the kind you get at the cinema.

New sack bag

It has no zips and no velcro, and it's perfect for a quick getaway. I'm still tweaking the design but I think I will shorten the strap (so it's still big enough to go over your wrist) and bring the front tab in a little closer to the edge.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Help! Orange penguin fabric

Orange penguins

Would anyone have any of this fabric they could sell me? It's Kokka linen/cotton fabric from a couple of years back, orange with penguins. I have a customer who desperately needs a replacement for a penguin sunnyboy she lost. I've googled for it, with no luck whatsoever!

I only need 43 cm x 23 cm (or 17 in x 9 in) and I would love you forever if you could help me help someone else.

My creative space

With a market only 10 days away, I'm not too sure this is the time to be drafting designs for new bags. But after almost two years of the same bags it's happened. I'm bored. Actually, I could just be procrastinating on making more of the same bags for the market, but I suspect this time it's boredom.

Drafting new bag designs

Plus people seem to be asking for bigger project bags these days, for their crochet, knitting and sewing (I'm one of them) and stuffing your half-made jumper into a bright green eco Coles shopping bag isn't overly fashionable I suppose.

More creative spaces can be found here!