Thursday, 22 December 2011

New Home

Hello everyone, I know I haven't been here for such a long time but there are changes afoot at Loves a good yarn HQ.

I am in the process of setting up a website and this will have an inbuilt blog so we are moving over there, I would love you all to come across and carry on following, if you are interested in doing so then you can find me here.

In the meantime I would like to take this opportunity to wish you well, have a marvellous Christmas/happy holidays and may 2012 be a great year for you. x

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Do spiders have feelings?

Do spiders have feelings...I am not sure but after watching the big one who has a web on the outside of our kitchen window, I think they might.

I wonder if they dislike the fact the a lot of people are scared of them (me included-although I am trying to overcome this and not pass on my fear to the kids).  Little spiders, money spider size or maybe a tad bigger, I can be fine with but the mahoosive house spiders-urgh!  My new method of dealing with spiders is to talk to them, explain that I understand why they are here but why they cannot stay, me, the kids or the fact that the cats will eat them, etc etc and then kindly ask them to leave.  Bizarre I know but it does seem to have a very high success rate.

Anyway back to this morning, while I was standing by the window making a brew, I was watching the big spider outside.  A little insect fly into the web and she was down on to it so quickly,  I don't know what she was trying to do with it but she dropped it!  She sat in her web and if she had shoulders they would have dropped, her head hung low she slowly and despondently climbed back up to the corner of her web.  No breakfast for her then, if she hadn't of looked so sad it would have been funny.  So am I putting human emotions onto a spider or do they have feelings and emotions...who knows?

In honour of my spider this morning I have been browsing the web (!) to see what spidery crafty things are out there and here are just a few of the shops.  Please go and see what they have to offer.

Diomo Glass

Nics Knots

Mogs Togs


Oh well, that is all for now, catch up with you all soon!

Friday, 30 September 2011

Customer input.

Good morning (well it is at time of typing!) everyone, hope you are all well and enjoying the warm and sunny spell we are currently basking in, I know yesterday that records were broken with high temperatures but I wonder if new records will be set today or over the weekend?

Anyway, as I am currently working on Winter warmers, with more ideas running around in my head I thought I would take time out to start working on design ideas and content for my website for when it goes live!!
I have plenty of ideas but thought I would ask followers and readers if they have any ideas themselves, as I am sure that we have all seen and used sites that are both good and bad.  What kind of things do you like...galleries of work done/available, separate pages for different categories, multiple sizes/colour options, do you prefer simple uncluttered backgrounds or textured/patterned backgrounds, what kind of colours work and what colour combinations don't?

I would appreciate any input that you have as I want to create somewhere that is a pleasure to shop in and who better to ask than those who shop?

Thank you in advance for reading/suggesting, catch up soon!

Friday, 23 September 2011

What are you working on....

....right now?

Hi there everyone, I am sitting here in the middle of quite a large project and just got to wondering what you are all working on?

I am currently working on a bespoke piece.  My customer has two shawls in her collection and cannot buy any more as the shop she bought them from has stopped making them, which is why she has come to me to see if I can re-create the pattern. Here is one of her shawls;

and a close up of the shawl;

The order she has put with me is for mainly black, grey and white with a high contrast of blue.  After working out the pattern (which was not as easy as I first thought) I started to make the coloured flowers/centre of each motif, here is a pic of just a few of them, actually in this photo are the centre motifs for just the first 3 rows of the shawl;

There are 72 grey flowers and 62 white flowers needed to be made before being joined together with black like in this photo;

It should look quite striking when finished shouldn't it?

Well that's me, I would love to know what you are all working on right now?

Catch up soon!

Monday, 19 September 2011

Decision made!

Well, after my last post and a number of conversations with various people I have finally come to a decision about where and how to sell items made by Loves a good yarn!

I would like to state that I support handmade, however its made.  For more information on this there is a badge on the right of this page or click on SHHIM.

I am going to go down the route of my own website,  I am going to keep my shop on Folksy, even though I am not too happy about how Folksy have gone about things and their timing is dire but as I have spent a fair amount of time promoting this shop and have built up a small reputation with some buyers but I intend to use it in future to feed through to my website.  It will be stocked with a selection of crochet items but it will be clear in the shop description that more sizes and colour options will be available on the website.

I will also have to change blog providers as the template that I am planning on using for the site will work with a different blog but I will be letting you all know over time before the move occurs (so if you wish to carry on following me you can).

In the meantime I will keep you all updated with the goings on in the world of Loves a good yarn! and I will keep posting photos of products on Loves a good yarns Facebook Page.

Thanks for reading and catch up soon.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Decisions decisions decisions!

Sorry I have been a bit quiet lately, I seem to have a lot going on and most of it is inside my head!

I am a great believer in fate, what is for you won't go past you and all that, sometimes things happen for a reason or make you change direction.  Well it would appear that now is one of those times.

There has been a change or a tightening up of criteria on one of the selling platforms that I use to sell items made under Loves a good yarn's name, as it happens most of my makes are still suitable but before this was clarified I had to consider the option of not using that platform any more and striking out alone, selling through my own website.

With my own website, I wouldn't be charged fees or commission, I can list decent stock levels, I would have full control over how my site looked, photographs, backgrounds, multiple pages, it would all be mine to control.
I can promote my own website as much as I was promoting my shop on the other site, or more.  I can link it in to all social media that I use, create a brand image that is mine and mine alone.

On the other hand, I don't have the publicity/promotion budget of selling platforms, or the protection of selling under their umbrella so to speak.  I have a few return customers and have built up relationships with fellow crafters in the forums, some of whom have been converted into customers might I add.

Or do I keep my shop/keep a presence while I get to grips with my website and then use it to drive customers to the website.

As I said in the title, decisions, decisions, decisions!

If anyone has an opinion either way or any advice then I would love to hear from you, in the meantime I will continue to ponder (whilst crocheting of course!)

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Folksy Friday - Crochet Thread, Stitches and Fine Detail

I love to crochet, that much is obvious but I really love to crochet in do all the really fine detailed work.

Thread crochet is exactly the same as yarn crochet except for the thickness of what you are crocheting with, fashion thread for clothing tends by numbered #3 or #5, bedspread weight/mainstream thread is generally #10 but you can get #20, #40, #80, #100 (!), I believe that you used to be able to get thread numbered over 100 in the past.  The higher the number the finer the thread, the highest that I own is #80 but I have not used that yet, the highest I have worked in #20.
The stitches are the same in whatever medium, yarn or thread, plarn (plastic yarn from carrier bags, video tapes etc), T-shirt material, twine, etc.
Hooks for crochet thread go very very small, the largest you would use for thread would probably be 2.00mm and can go as small as 0.6mm !

My love of thread crochet is the reason that I chose to make a lace Christening Gown for the competition at the Anglesey Show this year.
I have had the pattern (and the #20 thread) for quite a while, just waiting for the right moment to make it, when I was told the class title was for crochet in the competition, 'A crochet item for a baby', this seemed like the perfect moment.

The excitement that I started out with turned into a typical large project relationship - more of a love/hate any knitter or crocheter...or any crafter for that matter!
The amount of Micropore tape that I went through protecting my finger, at least 2 rolls, as the fineness of the thread and the constant back and forth with the small hook meant that I just kept cutting into my finger.

However once finished, washed and put together, I fell in love with it again but now that I had to put up for someone else to judge, suddenly I lost all faith in my skills, I didn't want someone to critisize my work!

Turns out however that I was fretting over nothing as my entry was well received and I won 2 awards - Yay!

My love of thread crochet is the reason and the theme for this weeks blog, I wanted to take this opportunity to show you some of the marvellous stuff that has been created with such a versatile medium by some other Folksy crafters.


Studio Aitch~Bits&Bobs Crafts~FaustaPink900~Isamo Crochet
MiCrocKnit Creations~Craft Junction


As usual, click on the image to see more info on that item or click on the shop name to browse other items that are available.

Thanks for taking time out for a read, catch up soon I hope.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Apple blossom means Apples means Apple Crumble!

Hiya, it really has been ages since I have been on here, chatting away to you all.

Do any of you remember this post; ?

If you do then here is the evidence that painting my apple blossom worked.....

What a brilliant crop, this is just from one tree too, the other tree got a bit poorly and the apples didn't grow too well.

Good apples have been peeled and chopped, are in a dish top with extra deep crumble topping and will go in the oven in a few minutes to cook while we are eating our evening meal....mmmmm mmmm mmmmmmmmm!

Right then, I shall sign off for now and will be back soon with more updates, take care and see you all soon, x

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Hello again, long time no see and the reason why!

Hello everybody, it really has been a long time since I have been here isn't it?

I have had so much on that I am afraid that this little blog of mine got bumped down the list quite a bit, what has happened since I last posted, numerous things to be honest but with regards to Loves a good yarn, I have had a number of orders to complete either side of a massive weekend to the F1 at Silverstone with my brother, (that was a weekend and half I can tell you, the content of which probably wouldn't be suitable for this blog!!)
It has been so busy here that I haven't had a chance to make any new stock for my Folksy shop or take part in the daily listing clubs on there and I am missing the forums too!

Do you want to know what is keeping me so busy now....well here it is;

Yep, I have decided to make this Christening Gown to enter for a is made from #20 crochet thread so is quite fine(!)

and the skirt is worked in one piece of 720 stitches (again!), 

I am only half way up the skirt and have to complete this in about 3 weeks to enter the you think I will do it?????? Hmmmm?

Anyway, this has led to numerous conversations between DH and myself as to what this would be priced at for sale, I have an idea of a price and his idea is about 5 times more than I was thinking.  This is a regular conversation between us, I suggest one price for something, he suggests another much higher price and we tend to fall somewhere in the middle.  He has even researched on the internet and there is nothing out there that is in anyway similar, does that mean I could charge what I liked as no-one else is selling something comparable?

So, the age old argument for pricing handmade items starts again, now I know there are various formula for working out prices and these work well for a number of crafts but for crochet and knitwear these formula do not work.  The time it takes to make an item of clothing, you cannot set a decent hourly rate as people would not pay the price.  Now nothing is more annoying than someone under pricing their work as that brings all yarn based crafts down etc etc but incorporate a minimum wage into the formula and the price is ridiculous!  Two of the pattern rows on the Christening Gown can take an hour to complete, the others thankfully are worked up slightly quicker. 

So my question is, what kind of price would you put on something like this and how did you come to that amount?  I would be interested to know your opinions.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

A parliament of Owls moves into Folksy - Folksy Saturday

Hello everyone, I think this post was supposed to be a Folksy Friday post but work kinda got in the way of that so I thought I would make it a Folksy Saturday post instead!

Over the last couple of days in the daily listing club that runs on Folksy there have been a number of owls listed so I thought I would show you a few of them, they're of an interest to me anyway because they are wonderful birds but also because I have been making them myself to list in Folksy as well as to sell at a craft fair that I have coming up next week.

Casper the friendly owl Percy pear see sock owl
Loves a good yarn and Pollypurplehorse
Grey Owl Fimo Earring Owl writing set
Squintessential and 100 percent delicate
Owl and the pussy cat clock chocolate brwon owl
WithHugsandKissess and HeloiseV

So there you have it, the latest parliament of owls to move into Folksy, as usual, click on the image to see more info or click on the shop name to see what other goodness they have to tempt you with!

See you all soon, x

Monday, 30 May 2011

Those elusive first few sales!

On Folksy, someone started a thread asking for shops that had yet to make a sale or were under 5 sales to leave a link to their shops and she was going to blog about them to get the word out to a wider audience.  She had such a response she was starting to wonder how she was going to pick a few for her blog, another Folkster then offered to do the next few and then a third offered to carry on, this is where I stumbled on to the thread so I decided to do the next 6 shops from those that responded to the original question.

So here are the next shops from that original thread and my favourite items from their shops, all of them looking for the first few elusive sales;

Seaglass bracelet clear Elephant hair clips
Maram and Merryberry
Chunky purple and silver bracelet Before the storm
KatyJaneCrafts and Images21
White Bobbly Bracelet Toki the mini munster
Bonnylass and MadbrilliantIdeas

So there you go, some new shops for you to look at, all full of real treats, as usual click on the pic for mre detail or click on the name to see what else they have to tempt you with!!

See you all soon, x

Sunday, 29 May 2011

I have missed you! I am back and with an award too!

Finally Blogger has let me back in,  I have missed my blog so much!  I think access was lost when Blogger had a bit of a meltdown the other week but we are back - yeeha!

Right before the meltdown I was given a blogger award so I would like to thank Maria Devine of the beautiful for awarding me 'The Versatile Blogger Award'

Now there are rules for receiving the award and these are as follows;

1.  To thank the person who gave the award 

2.  To tell you seven things about myself......hmmm
 - I love the colours green and purple
 - I have 3 ridiculous cats, one who jumps at his own shadow, one who loves in the kitchen and never leaves and one who likes to hunt socks and crochet items!
 - I dont like milk so my tea and coffee are black
 - I have just bought a little purple Micra called Shlurple
 - I used to be scared of crumpets (because of the holes) but now I am not and they are yummy!
 - I love camping and cannot wait to go away this year and live in my gorgeous tent
 - My fave drinks are red wine or a vodka and coke

3.  To pass on the award to 5 newly discovered bloggers ( as I only started blogging this year all bloggers are new to me!)  and they are;

Right, so there you go, my very first award!  I am chuffed in case you didn't know.  Back soon with more posts now that we can get in again, see you all soon, x

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Return to the labour market and mummy guilt

Well on Tues 3rd May I returned to the labour market for the 1st time in over 10yrs and this was an interesting mix of scariness and excitement.
My new job is a minibus driver for a charity that works with Autistic adults, I drive out in the morning and collect the service users from home to bring them into HQ for a days activities, the middle of the day is mine and then in the afternoon I go back to HQ to collect all the service users on my run and take them all home again.
This last 4 days I have been mainly learning the routes but pretty soon the bus will be mine...should prove interesting and challenging yet rewarding methinks.

Anyway on top of me returning to work was the fact that my children at 4 and 2.5 have never known me work, daddy goes to work all the time but mummy has never worked so this was going to be a big change for them to deal with too, not just me.
Tues, Wed and Thurs things seemed to be going fine, it was Friday when I started to pick up some attitude from the eldest and wondered if it was work related, but it was only when I got to my mums to leave the kids with her for the afternoon that it became apparent that this attitude and back chat was to do with me going to work when she said to me 'please don't go to work this afternoon mummy, I don't want you too' with tears in her eyes, that nearly broke me then but I managed not to cry and we had a big cuddle.  That afternoon I was feeling a fair bit guilty, I know it will pass and that we will all get used to it but that hurt.

So as it was the weekend and a proper weekend for me I decided that I would make something with eldest, she always wants to make something!!
Daddy took youngest out shopping with him and the eldest and myself set about making a mess in the kitchen, I had decided to make chocolate Rice Krispie cakes with some Easter Egg chocolate (the stuff that has managed to survive Mummy and Daddy's raids!)
She had great fun mixing the Krispies into the chocolate, most of then went in to the bowl, fair few didn't, she had even more fun eating the mixture of the spoon!
We both were exceedingly (!) pleased with the end results and I can tell you that they did taste real scrummy.

On Sunday, I decided to crochet some stock for the shop, but guilt kicked in again when I was asked what I was making and upon telling them that I was going to make an owl there was a dual chorus of 'Oh I would LOVE an owl Mummy' from both of my little ladies, it has been a while since I have made them a toy and they have watched me make so many for the shop so I asked what colours they would like and have spent today making them the owls they asked for, what do you think?

I think they are so cute that I am definitely making more to sell!

Anyway, hopefully my little ones will feel a bit better now, wait and see how this week goes, fingers crossed for no more guilt trips!

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Girls Sumer Hats and Free Flower Pattern

Firstly, can I wish you a Happy Easter and if you don't celebrate Easter then a Happy sunny Sunday to you!

Well it is that time of year when the school has started to ask the little people to wear their sun hats when they play outside, so I decided to make the girls new hats for this year.  Last years hats were gorgeous but as I had made them from 100% cotton, one play outside with water and the cotton gave into the laws of gravity and dropped something dreadful!
So this year I decided to use a blended yarn, a cotton and acrylic mix, so the hats still look and feel like cotton but hopefully (fingers crossed!) the acrylic should help the cotton stay in the shape I make it.

The pattern I used last year and re-using this year is the Sofie Floppy by Adrienne Engar and this pattern can be found here.
I love this pattern and it suits my girls totally, here is them wearing their hats.

Now you will see that I have added pink and yellow flowers to the hats and it is this pattern that I am going to give you.
Before I start I would just like to point out that this pattern has come out of the confused scrambledness of my head but I am not totally 100% sure that it is original or if at some point I have read this pattern elsewhere and stored it away until it surfaced again ( I do have my original scribbles and notes), so if this pattern bears any resemblance to yours or to someone that you know then I would like to apologise as I did not mean to copy.

This pattern will be written in UK terms, US terms will be in brackets ( )
Stitches used
slst - slip stitch
ch - chain
dc (sc) - double crochet (single crochet)
tr (dc) - treble crochet (double crochet)
2trtog (2dctog) - work a treble but stop before the last yarn over and pull through 2 loops, work the next stitch to the same point then yarn over and pull through all 4 loops on hook.
2 dbtrtog (2trtog) - work a double treble (wrap yarn over hook twice before starting) but stop before the last yarn over and pull through 2 loops, work the next stitch to the same point then yarn over and pull through all 4 loops on hook.

I am using DK weight yarn with 4.00mm hook, but any yarn weight with suitable hook will do, tension (gauge) is not important.
(For those that are going to use the photo tutorial, please accept my apologies for the fact that blogger has decided to change some pics from landscape to portrait and I cannot seem to change them back again!)

- 6ch and join into a loop with a slip stitch
- 1ch, 15dc (sc) into ring

- sl st in front loop only to close

- with new colour - (if changing colours)
Work the rest of this round in front loops only
- *2ch in sl st, work a partial tr2tog (dc2tog) over next 2 sts - do not complete the final yarn over and pull through 2 loops, repeat in next st before final yarn over and pull through remaining 4 loops, 2ch and sl st in next dc (sc)

- rep from * 4 more times making 5 petals, sl st in 1st ch (change colour at sl st if changing again)

Now at this point you might be thinking this flower looks hideous, all straggly and ugly but bear with it, it will improve immensely when the back loops are worked into and pull it all back into shape
The back of your work should look like this

Now with the yellow yarn from round 1 that you dropped before, sl st into the back loop of the sl st from round 2

Now working in the free/back loops from Round 2
To make these petals visible behind the first petals these need to be taller so they will be worked like this
- *3ch, work a partial 2dbtrtog (2trtog) (wrap the yarn over the hook twice, pull loop through, yarn over and pull through 2 loops 2 times in each st before yarn over and pull through remaining 4 loops), rep from * 4 more times making 5 larger petals.

Your finished flower should look something like this

Now weave in your ends and VĂ³ila, one double layer flower!

The flowers can be done in 1, 2 or 3 colours and in each instance will give many different results depending on colours used.

And for those of you who just want the pattern, here it is just written out, no pics;

- 6ch, join with sl st into a loop
- 1 ch 15 dc (sc) into loop and join with sl st - optional colour change
Work this Round in Front Loop Only
-  * 2ch, 2trtog (2dctog) over next 2 sts, 2ch slst into next st, rep from * 4 more times - 5 petals
Optional colour change here 
- Work this Round in Back/Free Loops of round 2
- *3ch, 2dbtrtog (2trtog) over next 2 sts, 3ch slst into next st, rep from * 4 more times - 5 petals.

Fasten off and weave in ends.