Knitting Challenge

So those of you who know me and my challenges will no doubt be wondering what I'm up to this time.  Well I've given myself a knitting challenge and before you say how on earth am I going to do a 30 day knitting challenge STOP because it's not a 30 day challenge.  I don't think even I'm that adventurous.

Ok so what am I doing?  Well you see I have this pattern by Sirdar which uses the Nomad range of wool.  But I wanted to make it in a chunky wool..........can you see where I'm going with this?  No?  Well I decided to make this cardigan/jacket  with a different wool still by Sirdar but in their Indie range which happens to be very chunky and thick.  I like this pattern because there is no shaping involved - just squares/rectangles for back, fronts and sleeves.  So how hard can that be to knit up?

I made a tension piece with the Indie wool using 5.5mm needles and it came out the same size as the instructions for using the Nomad (15 sts and 25 rows to 4in/11cm in garter stitch) and I thought great here I go.  I have to say the ladies in the wool shop were/are still skeptical as to whether this is going to work or not.

Today I finished the back and it has taken 7 and a bit balls of wool to make (short version).  The challenge is going to be in making up the fronts as they knitted lengthways with 104 stitches and the challenge there is that I can't fit 104 stitches onto my needles so I have decided that I will knit it width ways up (if that makes sense).  However my concern is that I won't be able to get the collar to fall over the way it's supposed to.  

I've started knitting the front today using 28 stitches but I think I may have to shape the collar or just have it without and have straight fronts and then do something creative with the edges - sounds like a plan?  Anyway here is a picture of the back and the start of the front.

Now that you've read what I've been up to why not pop on over to Wendy's Handmade Monday blog and see what everyone else has been up to.


Another Piece of Wearable Art

Oh dear I'm late posting this today.  I was going to do it yesterday but woke up with a niggling headache - which didn't turn into a headache but you could feel it might do - yeah weird I know but there you go.  Anyway here we are at the start of another week and getting closer to Christmas.  It's quite frightening when you see someone post on twitter that there are only XXX amount of days left.  

I've been busy with a few craft fairs not many and I'm glad as I've had an absolutely amazing response to the Shrink art bracelet I posted last week.  I've already had people ordering and paying up front for them - which is great.  I've also been making quite a few Christmas cards for customers.

This week I made a necklace with some polyshrink that was left over from another project.  These bits make for unusual shapes which in turn makes the necklace impossible to recreate and totally unique.  I've used the same design on the pieces just because I like it and it was already out.  I've used doubled up lilac satin ribbon instead of using beads because I like the idea that you can adjust the length of the necklace to suit the outfit and neckline of your clothing.  

Lilac Shrink Art Necklace with Czech beads

Here is one of the cards I've been commissioned to make - 

So there you have it. Now that you've seen what I've made why not pop on over to Wendy's blog to see what all my fellow crafter's have been making. 



All Made Up

Last week I posted this picture showing you the start of my new collection.

If you follow me on twitter or have subscribed to my facebook page then you will already have seen the pieces made into a bracelet.  If you haven't then here it is all made up and ready to be sold.  

I've had some amazing feedback from people about the bracelet.  At a recent Christmas Market held by a ladies networking group I had the bracelet on display and everyone of the ladies who showed interest in it held out their wrists to try it on.  Normally I have to ask if they want to try anything on - but not with this one nope they all wanted to try it on.  Which I think is a good response.

The first sample piece that I made was made in lime green and that colour seems to be the most popular even though I offer to make the bracelets in the customers choice of colour.

I'll leave you with a photograph of the original piece. 

Why not pop over to Wendy's blog to see what my fellow designers/crafters have been up to.  We have an array of talented ladies and gents and if you are a fellow designer/crafter why not share your makes - we always like to see what others have been up to.

Please do leave a comment of what you think - it's always nice to know that I've had visitors.  There's always tea & cake on offer :)



Cut, Paint, Shrink, File & Seal

Another week over and it's getting colder each day - there was frost on the cars and rooftops this morning.  I don't like the cold in fact if I had my way I would quite happily go and live in India or any hot country until it warmed up here in the UK.  But for now I will have to make do with the warm company of my on-line friends and blog readers :).

So what do I have to offer you today?  Well sometime back I posted a picture of some new jewellery I had been working on and to date I have had some pretty amazing feedback and a couple of requests for purchase.  So with that in mind on today's "To Do" list was pricing up the new design starting with the bracelet.  

Here are some of the pieces I have made today in readiness to be made up into a bracelet. I will be adding some Czech crystals in coordinating colours along with some wire-work.  Excuse the poor quality photograph I took it while they were still drying and had the desk lamp shining down on them.  The true colour is more on the red side than orange.  I'll take another picture when I've made them all up.

I also painted this papier mache heart box.  I bought a few different shaped ones months ago but never got around to doing anything with them.  So today while I had the paints out it gave me the opportunity to get one made up.  I've used acrylic paint used straight from the tube (my favourite way). There are several layers on the lid to give it lots of texture.  The design is the same background stamp I have used for the above bracelet pieces and for the Christmas Card Trees I made in a previous post.  The base of the box is half red and half black again the pictures were taken at my work desk with the light shining over the top but the colours are more or less correct.

I hope you've enjoyed reading today's post.  If you would like to see what other crafter's/designers have been making why not pop on over to Wendy's blog and check out the links in her Handmade Monday post.


Tameside Creatives Network

Last week I posted about networking  and how it helps to keep you motivated and “sane” especially if you are a sole trader and work mainly from home.
Today I am writing about a networking event that I run along with Shilpa Mistry – and before you ask no we are not related it’s a question we get asked quite often when we go to the same events :) .
The idea came about after I returned to work in Tameside after a year of working from a studio in Reddish.  In my 12 months working in the Stockport/Cheshire area I found that Stockport council had a thriving Creative Industry and were actively promoting “creatives” in the area and as I had a studio there I was invited to attend their monthly events which I found really useful and got to meet and work with other like minded individuals.
However, moving back to Tameside I found that there was no support/meeting in the area (other than the established BNI’s B4Bs etc) and found myself to be really isolated working from home and not having as much contact with the outside world other than online via twitter, facebook etc.  I tried to find help and funding from the local council but unfortunately they were going through cuts etc.  So having come to a bit of a dead end Shilpa and I decided that we would do something ourselves and in our own time.  
So with my list of  ”creatives” database and Shilpa’s expertise in finding a venue we launched Tameside Creatives Network in May 2011 at Costa Coffee.  We didn’t really know if anyone would be interested in coming along as it was mainly aimed at creatives (although everyone is welcome).    I am pleased to say that we have gone from strength to strength in the last 7 months that we have been running the event and we have members who have been coming from day 1 – so we must be doing something right.
We get people from all types of businesses – photographers, cake designers, graphic artists, web designers, solicitors,  a member of staff from Tameside College the list goes on.
The photographs below were taken at todays networking and as you can see the event is relaxed and inviting and there is no pressure to hard sell it’s very informal – which is exactly what we envisioned and we couldn’t have done it without the support of the people who attend our meetings so from both me & Shilpa I would like to say a very big THANK YOU to everyone who has come along and supported us and hopefully we will get to meet many more new businesses at our future events.  If you would like more information or would like to come to one of our meetings please have a look at the Tameside Creatives Network website or alternatively you can contact me here via the contact form. 
Thank you for reading my rambles and if you have any thoughts please do leave them in the comments box.