Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Merry Christmas and a little update.


My blog is now in its second year and celebrating its 3rd Christmas. So its time for a little reflection and update. 

Skiing in Chamonix
My first year of blogging was full of excitement and a rush make new stuff and post on my blog. The second year has been much slower. This year has also been a year when i have moved around a lot, first to Chamonix, then to Lyon, then to Scotland and Shropshire and finally to London. 

I started off the year living i Chamonix, France and with no access to a sewing machine, so i had turned to knitting. I designed my first pattern the Chamonix Head - Headband (Raverly link) and knitted my first pair of socks. In February i started a travel blog, which i had fun keeping for the first part of the year, until i went to Scotland and could not get regular internet.  

In the spring i knitted the Lyon Cowl, which i have virtually lived in. 

Being Blown in the Wind, Scotland
In Scotland all blogging and crafty stuff ended, as i was working ridiculous hours. Despite lugging my sewing machine all the way up to Scotland on the buses and trains. 

Then in October i left Scotland and visited Shropshire for one month. This was a crafty month. I knitted three hats (here and here), nearly finished a jumper, sewed a Sureau dress and made a ton of lace jewelry (most of which i did not blog). 

Then i moved to London.

The future

Not my picture. Link
The future for my blog looks a little slow for the next 6 months, because i have a new project i am working on. I have decided to go self-employed. I have spent the last 2 months, doing planning and research, and even taking a self-employment course. My plan for now is to open a market stall, in a London market. Selling? Err Probably jewelry and accessories for now. I would love to sell handmade jewelry but i don't believe my skills are up to making it. 

The stall is going to take a few more month to sort out. I believe that January is a bad month to start in retail. Also i am a perfectionist, so i would like to scour every part of London and the UK for the best stock. So, if anybody knows where i can pick up any cool accessories at reasonable wholesale prices or can offer me advice, i am all ears. 

So i have big and exciting plans, but experience tells me that life happens when we make big plans. So, well see what happens, maybe something better!

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Tayberry Hat

Brown

Brown

This is the Tayberry Hat by Cirilia Rose, such a crazy hat! I love it. This is the last of my finished projects from October. I have a couple that i have not quite finished yet, namely a second Arleen.

The main part of the Tayberry Hat is a two colour start stitch pattern. Despite looking complicated its an easy pattern to remember, but a pain to rip back. The hat looks great but i found it best to scrunch up the end a little, or it looks a little two boxy. I might run some stitches on the inside to make the scrunching more permanent.

My ravelry notes.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Sewing Post!!! The Sureau Dress

Sureau Dress Chambery

Well this was my main project for my October break. The Sureau dress by Deer&Doe.

As soon as I first saw this dress, about a year ago, I knew that this was the dress I was looking for. Only, I also knew that I was not going to have time to make it before I went the France. I dreamed of sewing this whist in France, but soon realised that finding a working sewing machine was going to be too difficult in Chamonix.

When I went to work in Scotland, I dragged my sewing machine all the way up there, along with my luggage on the bus. I ordered the pattern and fabric but, realised that I was not going to have time to make this and do a good job between shifts. But I took the month of October off work and went to stay at my parents, where I finally completed my first Sureau.

It was not the most ideal situation to try to sew in. There is very little space and I had to complete it in small chunks, whilst my parents were out. So one sewing session went something like this:-
  • collect my sewing stuff from the spare room,
  • unpacked all on the living room table,
  • sew for 15 mins,
  • pack it all back up again and restore in the spare room.
It took me nearly 3 week working like this to produce two toils of the bodice and the final dress.

Sureau Dress Chambery

The final dress is very wearable, unlike most of the dresses which have come before. I decided not to make any hacks on the pattern, and went online to order a dark blue chambray (one of the recommended fabric). I had not done any sewing in such a long time and my projects usually fail due to poor fabric choices, so following the pattern seemed like the sensible thing to do.

The only alterations I made was to grade the pattern from a size 40 on the bust to a 44 (and a bit) on the waist, and added 2 cm to the bodice. If I was to make this again I would not lengthen to the bodice. The pattern is actually good as it is, it took me two toils trying to guest where alterations would be needed to realise that I just needed to expand the waist.

Sureau Dress Chambery

These photos are very over exposed, the dress is actually dark blue. I took them in a hurry as I was getting ready to leave for London. I tried darkening the photos as much as I could, but any more the colours get really strange.

So I am now in London, staying in a 15 bed dorm whilst I try to find a new job and somewhere to live. I am really hoping I can land my self a good job quickly. I have been pretty lucky with jobs over the last year. I think my best policy is not to except a job which I know I am going to hate, I don't want to go back to factory hell, any time soon.

Sureau Dress Chambery


Monday, 4 November 2013

Grace Lace Beret and Lattice Hat

Red

Having this last month just to chillax, has been so good for me. I was feeling so incredibly tired, just being able to sit and knit, crochet and sew for a month. I have started ticking off my sewing and ravelry queue's, it's been so good. I am at last starting to feel like myself once more. Its not going to last long though, i have to find a job and somewhere to live. I can't stay here forever. I don't think the parent/daughter relationship could survive me becoming a permanent unemployed lump, knitting on my parents sofa.  So i am off to London tomorrow (still, we see if i can put that off for a few days) and then start the mammoth task of finding employment and accommodation in a new town. Its exciting starting again, but i do wonder how many more starts i can do it. 

Grace Lace Beret

This is the Grace Lace Beret by Elizabeth Eisenstein. I first tried this pattern last year, which frustrated me so much as i could not get the cast on right and always ended up with the wrong amount of stitches. Eventually the hat was frogged and forgotten. But browsing ravelry, i was still attracted to this pattern, so i decided to give it a second try. 

This time around i had absolutely no problems, i abandoned the crazy cast on in favor of a double banded rim and the rest of the hat just few off my needles in one evening. 

Grace Lace Beret and Lattice Hat Red

Grace Lace Beret and Lattice Hat Red

Lattice Hat

This is my favorite of the two hats, Its the kind of winter/sporty beanie that i usually wear. Though it does look abit like a Turkish Fez in my photos. It's the Lattice Hat , the pattern worked out well, once i figured out what i was doing. I had never done Front Post Double Crochet (fpdc), Back Post Double Crochet (bpdc) or Lattice Treble Cluster (LTC) before, and i found the pattern quite complicated to follow. However once i got the hang of the stitches it all came together nicely. 

Grace Lace Beret and Lattice Hat Red

Grace Lace Beret and Lattice Hat Red Fez

For both of these hats i used up one of the many balls of cheap acrylic that i had in my stash. I am really starting to hate the feel of acrylic, but i have so much!!!

Friday, 18 October 2013

Lace and Pearl Bracelets



So with being back at my parents for a few weeks, i have been knitting and crocheting like mad. Most of what i have been crocheting has been 'experimental' and will probably never see the light of day on this blog. But i did make these bracelets, which i love. They are made from leftover cotton from the victorian collar, i made last year. I am thinking that i might put some of these up for sale in my Etsy shop. My last attempt at selling on Etsy failed after i had limited internet access over the summer and could not maintain it.  But before i can even think about that i need a job and somewhere to live. 

So i am heading to London next week, with the hope i can cash in on the so called economic recovery and get a job. I have not given up on the thought of going back to the Alps, but after a summer of extremely hard work, my back has nearly broken and i don't think i can recover in time for a winter of making beds and scrubbing floors. So i am looking for less back breaking work than hotels for the time being. 

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Resurrecting Old Ethel










Last year before i quit my job and moved away. I rode my bicycle to work everyday. A 14 mile journey each day.  I did this for 18 months, no matter what the weather, down some of the worst roads possible. So i was relieved to stop, and throw poor old Ethel (i named my bike) in the skip. However my mum stopped me and stored the rusty Ethel in her garage. Now i am staying with them for a few weeks, it makes me so happy to be able to ride my bike with nowhere to go. 

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Lyon Cowl - My Most Useful Item Yet!

Knitted cowl

When i decided that it was freezing cold so i should knit myself a cowl, i felt that i was wasting my time. It was late April and the weather in Lyon, France had unexpectedly turned to snow, and student services had turned off the central heating, because you don't need heating in April and May, do you? Only the week before we had been basking in 25 degree heat and i had thought it appropriate that i hack off the legs off my jeans. Oh i am so regretting that decision now. It's been far too cold for cut off jeans, and i have just had a pair of jeans stolen from the dryer, which means i am now down to one pair of ill fitting jeans and a holey pair of leggings. 

So i knitted up this cowl with a ball of yarn i bought on my trip to Geneva. The yarn is Calura by Four Season Gruendl.  The cowl was very simple, i just cast on an even number of stitches, on 7mm circular needles, and knitted in seed stitch until the yarn ran out of yarn. I did not bother to count the stitches, and was convinced that the cowl was going to come out a horrible size. However once it was finished, it turned out to be exactly perfect.The colours in the yarn are a little more subtle than i would usually buy, but i actually quite like them. This is actually one of the most grown up items i own and wear. I think that this should be a hint for future yarn and fabric buys, we'll see. 

On another note its a new job and a new location for me from next week. I am heading to Scotland, somewhere close to Ben Nevis. So now i am desperately hoping for some sun before it is too late. The forecast does not look good though. 

Knitted cowl

knitted cowl

Sunday, 21 April 2013

New Hat - For Shop

A new hat for my shop. I can't see that i'll be posting much about my shop as lets face it, it is a pretty boring subject. But at the moment having my own Etsy shop is all new and exciting, so bear with me. This pattern is the same as the pink and purple stripy hat, only i did a different configuration of strips. Its 100% merino wool so its really soft and warm.

Knottedrose, Etsy, Stripy, Blue, Purple In other news i have decided to stay in Lyon for another month. I will be carrying on with my french course, in the hope that eventually French becomes a second language. Then i am going to need to move on. France becomes really expensive over the summer, so i am either going to need another live-in job, or to go back to the UK to work. I am really hoping i can find another live-in job as awesome as the one i have just come from. As i find live-in work is the best way to save up money for more travel, whilst experiencing somewhere new. I wish i had more news, but i have been studying hard as now i have to pass a test to move up to the next french class.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Reinventing for Summer - Jeans to Shorts


Refashioning clothing has never been a thing of mine, despite some really inspiring stuff on the net, see here


Desperate times. So now i am in Lyon and my ski season is well and truly finished, and i am left with a suitcase full of heavy winter clothes. Usually i would go, hooray  great excuse for a shopping trip, but i am really having to watch my penny's. So i have now got to turn a jumble of old warn winter clothing into fantastic summer outfits. My mind is well and truly boggled at this task, i haven't just left my sewing machine at home, but my sewing kit and probably a lot of my sanity. 

My first task in this quest has been to hack the legs off these jeans with nail scissors, cringe. I chose these jeans because i have had them for over two years and they are starting to wear at the crotch, therefore i can't see them lasting much longer anyway. I cut them just bellow the knee, so i could roll them up over the knee. In an ideal world i would probably add a couple of stitches to the roll ups to keep them in place, ill do this if i come across a needle and thread in the future.

The result: i actually really like them now, which is a bit of a relief, because i was expecting them to look a mess. I have been wearing them all day and the roll ups have stayed rolled up and in place, which i was not expecting. I also own 4 long sleeve tees, i am hoping i can do something similar to them, and hack off the sleeves, but as of yet i am holding out for a better solution.




Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Welcome to My Etsy Shop


Crochet, mittens, beanie

So its funny how plans never go as planned. I just need to remind myself that its the journey itself that's important and not the destination. These last few weeks have really demonstrated just that. I mentioned a few weeks ago that my time in Chamonix was coming to an end, but the truth is, events conspired against me and i ended up leaving early. So i decided to go to Lyon and study French. The course i wanted did not start for two weeks, so i went to Nice, France to hibernate and recover for a few weeks first. 

Suddenly having 2 weeks unexpected down time followed by 4 weeks part time study (with no spare cash) got me thinking, What am i to do with all this spare time?

So i decided to work on one of my life goals, that is that i would one day like to work for myself. I have uummmed and aarrrred over the various businesses i could run for many years, and still don't quite know what it is that i want to do. Starting an Etsy shop selling crochet accessories was an idea i had back in 2011, but dismissed the idea, as i would have to put too many hours into it and get very little out. But i have come back to this idea now, because my circumstances and experiences have changed. This is almost the perfect little side line for me, now i am traveling/working intermittently.  In the long term i don't think that crocheting hats and gloves is some thing that i could live off forever, but its a stepping stone to my larger goals for the future. I will get experience running my own little business, and hopefully make a bit of money to keep me traveling longer.

hats, gloves, beanies, crochet
And yes i know that i am starting a 'hats and gloves' shop in spring. I figured that by the time i am properly organised, built up an inventory, and have figured out just how to sell these hats that it will be autumn anyway.

So i decided to activate my Etsy shop that i opened in December 2011, but never made anything for. I have called the shop KnottedRose (traveling crochet). I want to keep the shop simple, simply because i am traveling and if i get involved in long complicated projects, i run the real risk of traveling with a suitcase full of UFOs. Which is baggage just i don't need. 

The weather in Nice and Lyon has been pretty dismal (i am writing this in a thunder storm), so i have had plenty of time to design the hats and gloves i wanted to go into my shop. Its funny how much effort goes into designing items that appear to be quite simple. I wanted to get the shape and fit perfect and to also make simple easily easily repeatable products. So i can make them again and again, if i need to. So i spent the first two weeks of my business plan, just designing my first four items. Now i have the patterns, have repeatedly tested them, and feel confident that i can make them in a reasonable amount of time. 

I launched the shop. Welcome.