Sunday, November 29, 2015

800 Etsy sales!

Woo-hoo! I had been hoping that I'd reach 800 sales in my Etsy shop by the end of the year but I managed to do it before the end of November. I'm creeping slowly but surely towards 1,000 sales - hopefully I'll reach that goal before the end of next year, but who knows?!

I'm up to 815 sales now, but things should start to quieten down a bit after the next couple of weeks. I always remind myself that these things happen when they're going to happen; there's no point in stressing about if/when they happen!

This storage cupboard is what I treated myself to, to mark the 'big 800th' -- isn't it lovely? We bought it in Ikea when we were over in England earlier this month.

I was able to get rid of four of my ugly, large plastic yarn boxes and the whole room looks much better - I love that I can see my yarns through the glass :) I still have two boxes full of yarn and a box full of my finished items but I now have been able to use one of the redundant boxes to keep all my 'packaging' stuff, my yarn books, hooks etc. Everything is so much more neat and tidy: it's great.

These wrist warmers have been my success story for this season - I just love the colour so much; it's King Cole's Country Tweed in shade 'Cotswold' - I'd bought just one ball originally last year when we were visiting Shirley for the day over in England but I fell in love with the colour and have been using it ever since -- to the point where I bought six 100g balls of it from Springwools the last time I ordered from them.

I had intended to make a scarf or a couple of cowls with it but instead I've been using it all up for wrist warmers - both the crocodile stitch ones and these scallop-topped ones.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Meet Marina! Yes, she's the twin sister to my Ondine - I decided in the end to go with a blonde wig for her -- a friend on Facebook had suggested it so that people who were blonde/brunette would be able to see how the hats would look on them when they are viewing my listings online. I thought it was a good idea and hopefully from now on (well, after Christmas, when things are a bit quieter) my hat listings will feature photos of both my models.

The head models work out quite expensive really, when you take into account the postage and then the price of the wig (and then the postage for that too!) but they will be with me for a long time to come and hopefully they will bring about an increase in my sales of hats. I'm thinking that in the Summer months, one of them can stay in Lucy's shop in the village to display my hats there, and then I have the other one for my Summer craft markets or for when I've got new hats/headbands to get listed on Etsy.

She had her first outing last weekend - it was my first craft market of the 'Christmas season' and I'm happy that it was a big success. The season kicked off with the market in Portmagee, then this Saturday I've got the fair at the Tech just down the road and then after that I'm half-thinking about going to one of the ones in Cahirciveen, if I can sort a table out...I'm giving the one at Foilmore a miss this year as it's on this Sunday and one a weekend is really enough (added to the fact that de-activating my online shop repeatedly affects my views/sales on there)

I'm really looking forward to the fair on Saturday, it really is my favourite one of the whole year - I must remember to take photos this time (I always forget). I'm really hoping it'll be a success for me, it's usually my best one of the year but of course that can can't ever take anything for granted.

We're just back from our annual trip over to England - since I started my job on the ferry we always have to wait for the winter before we can make a trip together. This year we had a night in Cardiff on the way to the Midlands, and then went from Kidderminster on to the south coast - visiting Peter's sister Sue in Seaford, a day trip to Brighton and then on to Portsmouth to visit my sister Barbara and her family.

As you can see, I did visit a couple of wool shops! I needed to buy the plain brown wool for a custom order and also have had a request for 'forest green' wrist warmers so I needed to buy the wool for them too. The wool shop in Kidderminster didn't seem quite as well-stocked as it usually was, I hope it isn't a sign of it going downhill; but I ''only'' spent £50something there instead of easily double that. We also went to the haberdashery department of John Lewis in Birmingham (which is where I bought most of the wool in the photo above - they had LOVELY Rowan stuff) - they didn't have a great selection but it was all lovely quality.
 ...and then I had a visit to Paperchase... It's always a 'dangerous' (i.e. pricey) shop to visit - I'd already told myself not to spend too much on writing paper etc in there, but then I fell in love with all of these. I always put in a little thank you note or card with every purchase from my Etsy shop, so I WILL get them all used up: it'll just take me a while!

This is the Rowan merino wool that I'd bought in John Lewis in Birmingham; I'd had a request from a past customer on Etsy to make a 'chocolate brown' hat for her friend. She wanted the same hat design/style as the ''artists' hats'' from this year (the same as the one I'd originally made for Kim)... with a little tweaking of the pattern I'd originally jotted down this is what I came up with :)
 I'm really pleased with how it worked out and I hope my customer will be too. It's a great deep chocolate shade, it reminds me of Bournville chocolate...yum!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

New Old Stock..

 For the second year running, Lucy Hunt has stocked some of my items in her 'Sea Synergy' centre here in the village of Waterville - I've just got back the stock that hadn't sold through the summer so yesterday I decided to take some new photos for the Etsy listings for the hats and headbands.

I'm happy to say that I sold more in her shop this year than I did last year; she had a longer season this year, which made a big difference, but I'm hoping that this is something that will build up year on year.

I love my new model head SO much -- looking back at the old photos I'd taken for these hats (when I still had them listed on Etsy earlier in the year) makes me cringe a old model isn't a patch on my Ondine :)

I like her so much that I'm thinking seriously about buying a second one - in the summer months she can model the hats for me at Lucy's centre - and then I'll have a spare one myself for the summer craft fairs and for hats for my Etsy listings...and then in the winter I'll have two for my winter craft market displays...

I just need to choose a wig for Ondine's twin sister to this space....

More New Bits and Pieces...

 This is some of the wool that I'd ordered from Germany earlier in the year -- it's just perfect for winter hats so I've unearthed it from one of my many boxes of yarn and have started to use it up!

I've made up two hats already from these shades and have just got them photographed and listed in my Etsy shop this afternoon.

It is just LOVELY to work with - it's Lana Grossa's ''Olympia Gold'' and is one that I would go back to buy (even going to the trouble of ordering it online from the same German website) - I really hope that the hats sell; I think they might sell better at craft fairs as you can feel how soft and warm they are when you can actually pick them up.

I've been so busy making things just lately - these three are wrist warmers made from King Cole's baby alpaca - the camel ones are already spoken for and the other two are in my Etsy shop. I need to get making more wrist warmers like these ones as not everyone is keen on the crocodile stitch ones!!

I've also been busy with my King Cole 'riot' - making these three hats in the last couple of days, and also finally finishing off this flower headband...(matching wrist warmers available!)

All this industriousness has boosted my stock in my Etsy shop -- I'm now up to 35 items in my wrist warmers section and 29 in my hats and headbands; giving my shop a healthier total now of 129 listings.

I've got four more hats to make in the German yarn and then I'll be going back to wrist warmers again for a while.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

New Items

 Here are the hats that I made for the daughter and grand-daughter of my Mum's friend - I really hope they will like them! The yarn I used was King Cole 'fashion aran' (bought from Deramores) and it's one I think I'd use again for every-day items. it's a nice soft yarn, but isn't 100% acrylic (it's a 30/70 blend of wool and acrylic)

And this is the hat for Rosie ~~~ I think that the flower really 'finishes' it off nicely - I love these colours; I'm so glad that I bought four balls of the king cole dk in this shade -- I made the hat in the chunky version and then made the flower in doubled-up dk.

...and these are the wrist warmers for Jana - lovely Autumnal colours! The yarn was so fine to work with though - using a 3mm hook - they were a bit of a labour of love.
I'd ordered yet more yarn from Deramores just lately - the riot dk will go to making wrist warmers and head bands (I am really into making matching sets now!) and the baby alpaca will be wrist warmers. I've nearly finished the camel wrist warmers already - they are for Sandra on Valentia island :) Really I'd only gone online to order the camel baby alpaca yarn, but they do free delivery if you spend over €50 so I bought a few other bits and pieces too. There should have been another shade of the baby alpaca (plum) but it wasn't in stock, so it will be coming separately in due course. 

...and here's what I ordered from the mighty Springwools (my favourite place to buy yarns from) -- again, I'd only gone online with the intention of buying the King Cole 'shine' for the pair of wrist warmers (bottom left in the photo -- they are already en route to America!)
I've already made another pair of wrist warmers in the brown/cream King Cole 'shine', which are listed in my Etsy shop, and have also got a pair made in the silver/black shade.

I'm thinking about making a hat/headband in the blue/green country tweed and also maybe a scarf or cowl...not sure when I'll get around to it though!

I'm still trying to work up some more stock for my shop/winter markets...once I finish the camel alpaca wrist warmers I *think* I'm caught up on my custom orders for the moment -- though I still need to look through my boxes to see if I have something suitable for Mary Ruth's husband (wrist warmers in forest green/tweedy yarn)