WIP Wednesday

At the moment I am working on a few things at the same time. I think most crocheters are like that, especially when you have been crocheting for a few years. My main project is still the Baby Blanket I’m making for a custom order. Im on Row 34 now. I think it will be 47 rows around but I will measure it to be sure its a suitable size and keep going until then. I am aiming for 36″ x 36″

Blanket size chart by Cosy Rosie UK

Size charts such as this one form Cosy Rosie UK are very handy when trying to estimate how big or small to make a blanket. The pattern you use will also tell you what size the blanket will end up but if you are like me and use different yarn than recommended or go a little rogue on a pattern, having a size guide like this really helps.

My Superbly Simple Baby Blanket (Pattern by Keep Calm and Crochet on UK)

I’ve also been doing a little research and development for future products to sell at Christmas markets and my online store. I was awake at 4am this morning so started making some Ribbon Tree decorations from this lovely Poppy and Bliss pattern. I made these 2 years ago and they were my most popular sellers. I made them out of DK acrylic that time and was a bit worried about how floppy they might become over time. So this time I’m trying out cotton. I just want the things I make to be long lasting and of good quality. I know people loved the acrylic ones but I also want to be happy with what I make too. So I’m going to finish this one off, hang it up and see how it holds its shape. If it manages to do it, I will go all out making them again for this years Christmas markets.

What are you working on at the moment? Let me know in the comments

Anita x

Learning To Crochet

This article by Wooly Thinking is excellent. I wish I had this kind of guidance when starting out with crochet

https://woollythinkingbyjoblog.wordpress.com/2022/09/15/learning-to-crochet-part-2/

Let me tell you a good yarn Picture this. You have found a shop that sells gorgeous yarns. You go in to have a rummage and a squidge of some goodies.…

Learning To Crochet Part 2

Work in Progress Wednesday

Yesterday I started working on a blanket for a custom order using a fabulous pattern from Keep Calm and Crochet on UK.

I’ve used this Superbly Simple Baby Blanket pattern before for the same customer and she was very happy with it so she has came back for another. It makes me so happy to get return customers. She is a friend though so she is slightly biased towards buying from me 🤣

Row 1 – 10

What I like about this pattern is it is very simple with a 3 row repeat but it actually looks more complex than that and it quickly turns into a beautiful baby blanket. Just a small note- there are a few instructions missing from Row 5 of the pattern but it’s possible to figure out what to do to get round that and once you work it out, the repeat is very straight forward.

Up to Row 19

I went to a Sewing Class

I recently signed up to a Machine Sewing class for beginners which is being ran by my local ETB (Education and Training Board). The course is free but you do need to buy materials for the projects we will be working on.

Today was my first day and I loved it. I’m so bad at it. I was totally lost at times but the teacher was so nice as were the other women on the course and it was such fun.

It was mostly an intro session, looking at what we could make, the tools and materials used in sewing and where to get them and finally we got to use the machines.

The hamster in my brain had to run very fast on it’s wheel to try keep up. And well it actually couldn’t! But that was no big deal. This is a leisure class, there isn’t meant to be any stress or pressure.

In the end I managed to thread the needle and sew a few crooked lines. I’m thrilled with myself. Yet again I’m amazed that little ole non creative me, is finding out that I can actually do these crafty things (even if it’s in a slightly wonky way 🤣)

Can’t wait for next week!

My first ever piece. Crooked and wonky but it’s a start!
Class notes

My First Craft Stall

I spent the run up to my first craft stall questioning myself and wondering if I could do it at all. I wasn’t sure if I had enough things made, I worried the weather would be bad, I didn’t have a gazebo! But in reality it was all a front for the fact that I was afraid of putting myself out there. It’s so lovely here in my comfort zone, crocheting away in my house, posting the odd photo and selling one or two items every few weeks. Going out and facing people, standing firm on my prices, opening myself up for rejection. These were all legitimate concerns I was having.

I spent the few days before the sale finishing off items, doing up signs, getting Stephen to help me with the pricing and putting tags on all the items. I managed to borrow a gazebo, picked out my tables and cut a lovely piece of material I had bought in Garrucha, to form a fab table cloth. I think I got about 5 hours sleep the night before.

Luckily I awoke to a beautiful day. Amazingly enough that day was one of the sunniest we had here in Tipperary all summer even though the forecast had said 90% chance of rain at one point! Stephen had left early to help get the place set up as the Vintage Day was being held on his father’s land so I packed up everything I needed and headed down for 10:30. Things were to kick off at 11am and so I had a nice bit of time to set up and see how it all looked.

To say I was thrilled with how looked is an understatement. Of course there are things I could have done better but for my first time ever putting a market table together, I was pretty proud of myself!

It was amazing how well supported the event was. So many people turned out. There was such a lovely community atmosphere and there I was in the middle of it, loving it all. I have spent a lot of time in my home, hiding away from the world for a few years now but wanting to be able to be out and about like other people. So this day was a huge step forward for me.

At 5pm we did the raffle and a woman from a nearby town won (same second name- no relation!). Stephen and I packed up and with sore feet and a tired head I headed home. I sold about 40% of my items. Somethings didn’t sell at all, the coasters and bunting were complimented a lot but no one bought them and the hot pads/placemats didn’t draw much attention at all. The number one seller were my key rings. If I had more owls and bees, I could have sold twice as much. Desk buddies, baubles and cacti were also very popular.

Great lessons learned and a fab day all-round.

I think I’ll do a post to give tips to people for their first market stall later this week. I was very well prepared because I had scoured the Internet for advice beforehand but I definitely learned a few things and hopefully my next market stall will be even better.

Special note. My parents and sister travelled from Cork, which is over 2 hours away, to surprise me. I cannot put into words how much that meant to me. I had no idea they were coming and the fact that they gave up their Sunday to come to a Vintage and family fun day to support me, nearly brought me to tears. As did the visit from my lovely friend Shirley and her family who travelled from Clare to see me too.It was so lovely to see them. I can’t thank them enough.

I’m taking a Career Break and It’s Long Overdue

I should be at work now preparing for my student’s return to classes next Monday. I should be doing my job. The job I’ve had for nearly 22 years. But I’m not. I’m at home. I’m at home because I’m worn out. I’m burnt from it all. Twenty two years of dealing with young people who have become disengaged and disillusioned with mainstream education. Young people who have not fit in. Young people who demand extra care and attention.

I both love and hate my job. I love the amazing relationships we build with some of these kids. I love it when they really get what we are trying to teach them. I love seeing some of them grow and thrive in front of our eyes. I love the comraderie, the laughs, the subject I teach.

EXHAUSTED

But I’m exhausted from the constant challenging behavior, the extra needs teenagers have these days, the lack of support we have, the constant changes implemented by management. I’m tired of being treated like the lowest of the low. Of constantly feeling undervalued and unwanted.

I suffer with my mental health and boy have I felt it over the last few years. My job has been the number one stressor in my life for so long now and it’s time I did something about it.

REBUILD

So I’m at home and I’m delighted to be here. I am super privileged to be able to take a year off work and have a job to return to. I am so lucky to be able to afford to take this time out to work on myself so I can rebuild my resilience and try to find that old sense of optimism I used to have in the early days and not the cynicism that drips out of me now.

CROCHET

I’ve written before about how much crochet helps me. It gives my mind a break from the stressful thoughts. It forces me to focus on the present moment. Try counting stitches while your mind wanders- you will end up frogging, I guarantee it! So obviously crochet is going to be a major component of my year off work. I want to make all of the things! There are so many patterns to try, so much yarn to squish, so many people to make things for!

BACK TO COLLEGE

In reality I’m taking this career break to return to college part time to persue a Degree in Counseling and Psychotherapy. I’ve always wanted to help others, like I have been helped through tough times in the past. Doing this degree will also help me learn how to mind myself and hopefully avoid getting burnt out in the future. Who knows, it just might be the start of a whole new career…

~ I’m Back! ~

Gosh it’s been so long. I knew I would be offline for a while but had no idea it would turn into weeks away from my blog. I won’t bore you with a huge update on everything that happened since but I have had some lovely experiences I’d like to record here.

The last time I wrote a post was back in June when I spoke about my decision to have a stall at our local Vintage and Family Day. One of the reasons I planned to take part was because of the support of my lovely readers here who encouraged me to go for it. Again I have to say the crafting and blogging world are such a supportive space, I love it!

Zona del Playazo, Garrucha

Anyway, Mr Egan and I headed off to our apartment in the beautiful Garrucha for July and the first few days of August. I was fabulous as usual. We are so lucky to have a holiday home in Spain and thank our lucky stars every time we go there. It was a hot, hot, hot few weeks, especially as it got into August. It never went below 34 degrees during the day for the last 2 weeks. Some people don’t like that kind of heat but I don’t mind it at all. Once you decide you can’t really do much, you adapt your lifestyle to avoid the hottest part of the day and go out earlier and later than usual, it becomes very manageable.

And so….crochet! Yes this is meant to be a crochet blog, not a travel one 😂

I managed to do lots of crochet this time. I spent a few hours most days in air conditioned bliss working away on pieces for the market stall. I made more owls, frogs and bunting and made a few coasters and placemats. I tried out a few other things, like a wall hanging but that was taking too long to complete and I needed to be producing things fast to be ready in time for the Vintage Day. I then moved on to cactuses…cacti…I’m not sure of the correct way to say that!

I found these fab pots at a local China store. I ended up buying 24 of them! Every one they had in stock. 50c a pot, just perfect for my cactuses

I made a few scrunches and a couple different key rings too. My suitcase was bursting on the way home. I had brought the yarn to make things. Far too much I realised once I took it all out over there but then I bought even more. Yarn is so cheap in those Chinese stores and such good quality. It would be madness not to buy some.

When we arrived home, there was just over a week left to the big day and I have to admit, I really got nervous and more than once I decided to just let it go and not take part. Reason 1 was because the weather forecast was predicting rain for days on end. No 2: I had no cover/gazebo organised and number 3, I was suffering with bouts of anxiety that was telling my brain not to put myself into a situation where I had to deal with lots of people and kept reminding me that so many things could go wrong.

Luckily, I ignored that bully and everything was sorted in the end. The day went so much better than I could even have imagined and I enjoyed myself immensely! Can’t wait for my next one.

I think I’ve done enough rambling now, so I’ll leave it at that and come back tomorrow to put up some photos from the day and my thoughts on it all.

Have you ever taken part in a market/fair? How did it go? What advice would you give others? Please give your thoughts in the reply box below.

Thanks so much

Anita x

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

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