Let the Research Begin!

This week I have been focusing on trying to find things to make for the show in August. I have definitely decided to do it and have been excitedly looking up everything I can, to get tips on what needs to be done for a good stand. The debates around the need for a gazebo are ongoing in the Egan household.

I argue that this is Ireland and the chances of a completely dry day here even in August is next to impossible. But Stephen is right about the fact that I might only ever do one show, or the others will be indoors. Maybe I need to make some money before I spend some on even more crochet hobby related stuff ! I decided to start selling crochet items in the first place because I had so much crochet stuff around the house and I had to find a way to make a dent in the mountains of yarn I had somehow managed to accumulate.

But now I realise that this hobby is not just about a hook and some yarn! It’s about collecting all the yarn, and multiples of hooks, and scissors, pins, baskets, ribbon, darning needles, threads, wooden dowels, pliers, canvas, staple guns, felt, hot glue guns, a sewing machine, stitch markers, fibrefill, poly pellets, safety eyes, googly eyes, etc, etc. and more patterns than you could ever make. Of course I would need a gazebo at some stage! How silly of me to even consider I didn’t!

So this weeks makes include these adorable Beginner Friendly Owls from KhookCreations

I didn’t use felt for the eyes, I just made a magic circle with 6 single crochets and then a second round of increases. I then used black yarn to make the pupils instead of safety eyes. It’s my first time sewing eyes and although they are a bit of a mess, I like it. They feel safer this way. I added a key chain to both and they have definitely made my list of items to make for the show.

I also made these frogs from Little Love Everyday. I decided to just do the face and not the legs because I find sewing bits in amigurumi so tricky. How cute is my first attempt though?! He ended up hiding in the potholder I also made this week for a crochet cactus that is in the works. A Little Love Everyday has so many fabulous patterns. I would highly recommend you try them out.

As the week went on I became tired of working with thin yarn and hook sizes of 2.5mm so I decided to try out a bird pattern. I have just spend ages trying to find the pattern again but no luck. I will definitely add a link when I come across it again. I used some of the Red Heart Retro Stripe yarn I bought from Joann’s last year and a 4.5mm hook. I didn’t like it when I used it before. I find it very scratchy but I must admit the colours are fun and I loved how my bird/alien turned out. I decided not to make it into a bird when I was nearly finished it. It just made me smile, looking like a turnip/alien ball thing. So I made another 😂

I tired other things like whales, jellyfish and succulents but gave up because they were too complex or needed a lot of time to get right and at the moment I’m on the lookout for things that only take an hour or two. I will return to some of those patterns though when I’m not under time pressure.

We are heading to Spain soon and my crochet time will be severely limited until 10 days before the show. At the moment my stock is very low but we will see what happens over the next few weeks. A miracle might happen!!

Work in Progress Wednesday

I see people post their WIPs on Instagram every Wednesday and so I’ve decided to do that here because I am too tired to have an original thought today 🤣

When I started crocheting I had no idea what this new language meant! WIP, SC, HOTH , frogging, blocking, the list goes on. But over time I have learned the lingo and if you are new at this- I promise you will too!

By the way:

  • WIP means work in progress
  • SC is single crochet which is the American name for a stitch that is called double crochet (DC) in English terms! (Deserving of a major post of its own to explain that one 🤣)
  • HOTH means hot of the hook as in a piece that you have just finished
  • Frogging is when you have to pull out a few stitches or rows as in ribbit ribbit 🐸
  • Blocking- a process done when an item is completed to give shape to a garment/piece and relax the yarn

So back to my WIP

I’ve been thinking about all the great suggestions on my last post about the craft sale. Rainbow Junkie’s suggestion of coasters made me think about the pile of fab ones I had started a few months back using a pattern from Annie Design Crochet. And so I’m here at 10pm enjoying the late evening brightness and weaving in all the ends

Could this Bee any cuter?!?!

I’m really enjoying my journey through different amigurumi patterns at the moment. The possibility of participating in my first craft sale in an outdoor market type setting has arisen and I’m both excited and terrified at the prospect.

I’ve been trying out so many different patterns, trying to find that elusive thing that I can produce in about an hour and that people will love and want to buy. I have about 20 items ready and my collection is looking pitiful. I’m going to have to crochet my fingers off over the next few weeks to be anywhere near ready. Maybe I should leave it till I have more products built up or maybe I should just go for it. My mind keeps flipping from one side to the other.

In the meantime I am enjoying discovering so many lovely different amigurumi patterns. Especially this lovely Rainbow Bee from Little Love Every Day. There are so many fabulous free patterns on this site which are easy to follow and fun to make. I made the bee from Hobbi 8/6 cotton yarn and it turned out bigger than planned but I still think it’s the cutest!

Find the pattern here

Have you any market/craft fair experience? I’d love to hear some dos and don’ts

Dear Diary- I’ve been totally neglecting you, please forgive me!

18th June already! This year is flying by. I don’t seem to be able to keep up with all my goals from the start of the year but I happen to be big into the practice of self-compassion so I won’t beat myself up about it 😂

There really is no point in me trying to catch you up on what’s been happening. Mainly work has kept me very busy and I was also lucky enough to get to crochet lots of Rainbow themed items for Pride Month. Part of me has issues with the idea that maybe I have joined in people who capitalise on the LGBTQAI+ community by gaining sales for this month. Another part of me is so happy to see people buying rainbow keyrings and wall hangings that show love and support for the community. It’s a tricky one.

Rainbow pattern from The Crafty Therapist

I was discussing my problems with my day job in this post from February. I had been having such a hard time and was not coping well. But now I’m very happy to say I have decided to take a career break for the next academic year. I am soooo looking forward to it. I need this break. I have worked with teenagers for over 20 years now and am definitely experiencing symptoms of burn out. I am going to be going back to college part time to pursue a degree in Counselling and Psychotherapy which is something I have wanted to do for years but didn’t have the self belief to just go for it. Now the time has come and I am so excited.

Of course it also means I will have so much extra time to crochet!!! Woohoo, can life get any better!!

Hopefully after the year out I will have build back up my resilience and will be a better teacher and mentor for the break.

Garrucha ❤️

Mr E and I headed off to our lovely apartment in the fab Spanish seaside town of Garrucha at Easter. It was just what we needed after the horrible bout of Covid we both had and all the stress I had been suffering at work. It was 9 days of bliss and it just gets better and better every time we go over there.

I was looking forward to getting the chance to go yarn shopping in the two China shops in Garrucha and China Vera too. These shops are quite the sight- they stock everything you can think of. It’s like Ali Express in person. I usually pick up bits and pieces for my packaging and then spend ages browsing the shelves. They have lots of different yarn at great prices. I must remember to take some photos the next time we visit.

Easter

Garrucha is a very traditional Spanish town and loves a good parade. Religious occasions are a big deal here and this year they made a big effort for Easter because they haven’t been able to have a procession/parade since before Covid. There were processions all week of Semana Santa, leading up to Easter Sunday, sometimes 2-3 a day. We were lucky to catch one on Good Friday.

Sunshine + Relaxing

We were blessed with the weather for the first few days of our trip. Almeria has been experiencing high levels of rain and some disruptive storms in the last few weeks so we knew there was a high chance we would see rain at some stage during our holiday. I decided that for this holiday, crochet was going to be about trying new patterns and getting ideas for future items to possible sell. I wasn’t under any pressure to produce anything and this left me feeling great as I sometimes feel stressed about making items quickly to get them to people.

For the first time ever I brought my crochet to the beach. I only did about 20 minutes before needing a sleep and then I never brought it again once I realised the heat, the sound of the waves and the repetitive motion of crochet have me asleep in no time. I don’t know how all those ladies on crochet instagram do it!

We did a little sightseeing and hill-walking and tired to be more active on this holiday than we usually are. Stephen and I are really showing signs of living the good life and have decided to try and remedy that to improve our overall health. We did a lovely cliff walk in Mojacar and then went to see the Plaza del Toros de Vera. I am very much against the barbaric practice of bullfighting but we visited it because it’s a landmark and carries history. It is still used to this day. We also visited Torre de Macenas and of course we went to the fabulous Friday market in Garrucha. The stalls in the market are an amazing mix of fresh fruit and veg, dried and pickled fruit, clothing, beach wear, household items, sweets, shoes and of course Stephen’s favourite- the chicken stall.

There were 2 days where rain and clouds kept us off the beach and so I managed to get a nice bit of crochet done in the apartment. I enjoyed trying out new patterns and seeing what worked and what didn’t.

So it was a fabulous trip at a perfect time. Can’t wait to go back again in the summer.

Have you ever been to Garrucha or Mojacar? Or even Almeria province? I’d love to hear what you thought. Let me know in the comments below x

Covid has finally left the building!!

Phew!! That was a rough 12 days. I had expected a bit of a headache and some fatigue but wow I was not ready for the complete lack of energy, the extremely sore throat, the headaches, the chills, the sweats, the sinus pain, the chest pain, the indigestion, the lack of appetite, the brain fog, the sensitivity to light and noise…

But finally I’m nearly out the other side. I’m still very tired and have a headache that still needs paracetamol but I’m ready to go back and face then world again.

I have been able to crochet a while I’ve been sick which as always is a huge comfort to me.

This week I’ve been working on these fabulous Flower Coasters from Carmen at Annie Design Crochet.

The plan for today is to finish this pile off:

Got a bit carried away 😂

As you can see, I loved making them so much I ended up making 20!

I’m also delighted to say my Easter Bunny Baskets have all come out of isolation too and are selling very well through my Shop In Ireland store.

I finally posted the Checkerboard bag to my daughter and she is delighted with is. She is already using it for work and some grocery shopping. It’s her job to stress test it and see how it holds up to wear and tear. Maybe that crazy dream I had of us working together might come true some day eh!!

Latest items for Sale

I’m happy to say I put those lovely Easter baskets up for sale on the Shop In Ireland website.

All bunnies are isolating at the moment to make sure none of my Covid germs get on them. Hopefully I’ll get a sale or two in the coming week. I know I say it all the time but I get such a thrill when someone orders an item from me. Like they are amazing for picking my stuff to have in their homes or to give as gifts to other. It’s such a privilege for me.

My Shop in Ireland Product page

Bunny baskets pattern from the amazing Repeat Crafter Me

Greetings from Sunny Ireland

Covid has finally hit us here in the Egan household. We have been very lucky to avoid it this far. While Mr. E is very sick and suffering some very severe symptoms, I have gotten away with a sore throat, headaches and a bit of pressure in my chest. My antigens have been negative so far so maybe he won’t pass it on to me!

On the bright side, I have to isolate while I have symptoms so it gives me today at least to spend some time catching up on my blog and reading posts from all the wonderful blogs I follow here on WordPress.

We have been blessed with some very unseasonably warm weather for the past week and it’s been fab. It’s amazing how sunshine and brightness really lifts my spirits. I’m going round with a real holiday feeling. Just love it. Last Saturday I sat outside in the back garden all day crocheting away. Just magic!

I managed to go most of the bag sewn together and later on that night I finally finished it completely. The plan is to send it down to my daughter in Cork and have her photograph with it and try it out for a while. I want to see how the yarn holds up to day to day wear and tear. If all goes well, I am hoping to make a few more to sell.

This is the video I used to make my bag. Pim does a great job of explaining how to do the 3 sections of the bag but I had to figure out my own way of putting it all together.

I’m delighted with how it finally turned out. It took me about 20 hours in total but I think I could drastically cut down on the time it takes the next time. I’m much more confident with colour changes and crocheting different pieces together now so I reckon I’ll fly through the next one.

Materials used:

Big Twist Value Worsted Yarn in white and orange from Joann.com

5 mm Clover Hook from Hobbii.com

If you are buying from Ireland, I would highly recommend these sites. Huge range of yarn and accessories, quick delivery and no customs charges.

Quick Update

So I haven’t been posting on my blog for a few weeks now. I have felt my ramblings on here are unnecessary and inconsequential considering the awful events unfolding in Ukraine. My heart is heavy with sadness and worry for those poor people. And I cannot understand how this can be happening while the rest of the world looks on. I have spent countless hours reading about the terrible things happening to these innocent Ukrainian people and shed so many tears watching videos of people doing everything they can to survive and just stay alive while that insane man in Russia plays his criminal war games.

I never thought my crochet blog would be a place where I would talk about such things but it would be shameful of me to continue on talking about my attempts at making Easter decorations and Christmas baubles while ignoring the plight in Ukraine.

However I do believe it is possible to feel sympathy and outrage at what is happening in the world, while continuing to pursue the things in your own life which bring you solace and joy. So I am still here crocheting away. And I will continue to update my progress here but I felt I needed that little break in the last few weeks. So now I will continue to write about how I feel about life alongside my crocheting adventures.

Weekly Update: 7th to 13th February 2022 & 14th to 20th February. Another Double Dose

What a few weeks!

Some weeks I achieve very little, some weeks are majorly productive. This week was a productive one. I finished the blanket for my friend and I sold 3 beanies on my Shop In Ireland store. I just love it when people buy my stuff. It’s not about the money. I’m always operating at a major loss because I’ve spent soooooo much on materials over the last few years. I just get such a thrill when people actually like my stuff enough to buy it and wear it. And then to have some people come back and buy more off me- well that actually blows my mind.

I’ve suffered from depression my whole life and this often leads to me having thoughts that I’m inferior or never good enough. I think this is partly why I can’t believe people want my stuff. I’m getting more confident in myself though. People work hard for their money. They aren’t coming back to me time and time again just to throw that money away. I really want to make items that are high quality and people love.

So after the blanket was finished and hats posted off, I decided to focus on the every popular Pinterest Checkerboard bag. I’m using this video from a lady called Pim on Youtube.

I’ve been making slow progress with my bag but I’m getting there. I’m lucky to have done tapestry crochet before so the colour changes are easy to do. I think my biggest challenge will be sewing all the pieces together. I was a little amazed that these bags are selling for over €60 on Etsy but now I can see the time that goes into making them, I don’t see how they could be sold cheaper.

In other news…

In other news I had a very rough time at my day job this week. Tuesday morning I had a huge run in with one of my learners which turned into a gang of teenagers versus me. I did my best to calm the situation but these kids love a fight and were trying their best to cause as much drama as possible. I was very upset after the class as I am very kind and compassionate in my work. I know I should not take their behaviour personally as they have so many issues in their lives which cause them to lash out.

I feel though after 20 years working in such a stressful job, it might be time for me to try something else. Of course that would have huge financial ramifications on my family so it’s not a decision I can make lightly. Luckily it’s now mid term so I have a break and time to think things through.

Imagine if I could crochet full time!! I wonder if I could live off sales of like €20 on average per week??

Please send me good luck and calm vibes as I work my way through this decision. Maybe I should start a different blog about trying to find your true calling in your 40s

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