crochet · Etsy · Shopping · vintage · vintage hair

Snood of the week – Fancy green cotton

A new snood, in infancy.

Today I’m going to finish this snood, I’m making a small one as a custom order for a customer and while she’s said she’s in no rush for it I’d rather get it done than have the poor thing hanging around half done and it’s pretty so I want to finish it. I call this one Fancy Green Snood because its fancy on two levels, the pattern is fancy and the cotton is pretty fancy too. I am resisting calling it Spring Greens (which is the name for it in my head).

I have started this snood and restarted it a few times now, it’s one of those stitches that you have to gauge by eye as you do it and a couple of times now I’ve taken a step back from it and seen a stitch in a row 2-3 rows back that I’m not happy with so I unravel it and do it again. If charged for my snoods by an hourly rate some of them would be in three figures. Still though, if its not right its not right and I have to redo it.

I only have this one ball of this mercerised cotton, I have no idea at all where I bought it so the chances are this is going to be a very limited colourway. Mind you, green is one of my favourite colours so if I do ever see some more of this I’d buy it but that kind of depends on being allowed to go to out to shops that are allowed to open…

That first picture was taken a good week ago, I know that because I’ve finished reading that book and nearly finished another since then. Here’s how it looks right now.

Looks a bit darker than in real life but you get the gist.

I only have the edging to do, a bit of sewing and then Bob’s your uncle, Fanny’s your aunt, we’re all tickety-boo and away she goes.

I do have one more of these in stock in my Etsy shop, its a large one. I think I have enough of this colour to make a medium and a small to complete the set but we’ll have to see how that goes as I make them. The pictures below are of the large size, I put a cream ribbon on this one because there is quite a lot of cream in this yarn and also variegated green is much harder to match to a ribbon!

Etsy · vintage hair

The snood of the week – pastel pink

Every week I make black snoods for my shop, they’re THE snood staple and I simply cannot make enough of them, but I also cannot only make black snoods because to be brutally honest, it would be very very boring. Don’t get me wrong, I love a black snood, its the colour I wear most of the time but I like to have a colour going too so each week I choose a different colour to work on alongside the classic black and this week it is pink.

No winkers please

Pink to make the boys wink as they used to say when I was a girl. Thank god they don’t say that anymore and who wants random boys winking at you?

When I say pink, I mean pastel pink, an unashamedly sweet shade that will see you through from spring and into summer and also looks absolutely cracking with navy or brown.

The pastel pink is quite different to the sugar pink I also sell, have a look at them here side by side to see what I mean. Sugar has more of a flamingo legs/coral tone. In the pictures below the one on the left is the pastel and the one on the right is sugar, which is much stronger isn’t it? They’re both nice but they do slightly different jobs.

crafting · crochet · embroidery · Etsy · Knitting

Sunday Crafts update

Here is my plan for today. Every Sunday I choose a maximum of six projects to work on for the day and work on them in rotation, either in one-hour blocks or for the length of whatever podcast I’m watching on YouTube, because Sunday is also the day when I binge watch podcasts and Sewing Quarter. I start at the bottom left corner and go round in a clockwise direction. If I finish something I can replace it with another project. I’ll go into each project in more detail below but so far today we have:

The PPS shawl – by Louise Tilbrook
Three snood orders to pack up ready to post
My current book – Lady Audley’s Secret
A black snood
A marker to remind me to do my embroidery coursework
Shell Cottage socks – by Curious Handmade

I actually cast on this shawl when I was on holiday in Crete in June, then I came home and neglected it a bit. I am the sort of person that has a million projects on the go all at once which means slow progress on pretty much everything but there’s no deadline on enjoying yourself is there? Who cares if it takes forever.

I’m using my gorgeous little bird yarn bowl from Little Wren designs – who sells on Etsy and she has these in several colours. The colour has not come out brilliantly well in this picture – this is a really cute sandy yellow in real life.

Here is my progress so far, as you can see I’ve finished the first set of stripes and things are looking pretty good so far. I’ve started the shaping for the main single colour part of the shawl and that’s coming along nicely though I’ve realised I have made my usual mistake of doing slightly too tight yarn overs for the increases but thankfully it hasn’t ruined the shape and a bit of blocking will sort it out if need be.

This is a great pattern and really enjoyable to knit.

Here’s a close up of the yarn – the stripes are a mini set from Manos del Uruguay, they’re the silk blend Fino and I bought mine from Interknit Café at a local monthly artisan market but she also sells online and had several other colours when I bought mine but she was expecting them to sell out fairly quickly

The main colour was a silk blend from Once Upon a Time Skeins who sadly has stopped dying to sell but I believe she still has a few skeins on Etsy of other colours and fibres. Her colours are beautiful, this one is a gorgeous eau de nil lightly flecked with blue, yellow and pink.

I’m using my Knitpro Zings, I mainly like them because of the colours – I find the join between the needle and the cable can be a bit harsh but this metallic lime green goes so well with my colour 2 stripe that I don’t care.

I love this stitch marker, I bought a set of these from Wild & Woolly in London, which is currently my favourite bricks and mortar shop. The owner is such a nice woman, though I’ve only managed to visit a couple of times myself to be honest. These stitch markers were part of a multi coloured set that are all stamped with different stitch abbreviations so that you know what it is you’re supposed to be doing when you get to them. Brilliant.

Not much to say here except that the postage and packing element of an order takes a fair bit of time in itself, but once these are all labelled up and in my bag to take to the post office tomorrow I’ll replace these with another craft project.

These poly bags are plastic so not ideal but they are recycled. I did use brown paper for a while but I was really worried that one day a customer would cut right through the snood when they cut open the package. I want to find an economic degradable version of these poly bags but if I can’t I’ll move back to brown paper and swallow my fear.

Next up is my current read. I’d never heard of this author before buying this book. This is utterly gripping, it’s a Victorian ‘sensation’ novel. It might even be THE Victorian sensation novel, it was hugely popular in it’s day and would make a brilliant tv serial drama. Lady Audley is not all she at first seems to be, there’s not much mystery here in that you pretty much know what she’s up to from quite early on but its the way her secrets are gradually unravelled that makes it so completely gripping. I’d say this is one of the best books I’ve read this year out of the 25 I’ve read so far.

I read 50 pages a day so when I’ve hit that target I can replace the book with a craft project.

A black snood. Always there is a black snood on my hook. This particular hook is my much beloved Lyn Roberts silver hook, bought at Yarnporium 2018. It never leaves the house but it is the only hook I will use to make snoods when I am at home. I LOVE it. I do like making black snoods but I also like a bit of variety in my life so I probably don’t make anywhere near as many of them as I should. Plus I’ve scaled down dramatically the number of snoods I’m making this year so that I can get on with my embroidery coursework.

Speaking of which – this I my placemarker to remind me to actually get on and do some of my embroidery coursework.

I feel like I am quite behind with it but I only have one and a bit modules to complete. I think I’ll be able to finish this current module by the early part of October but I’m still worried that I won’t have time to complete the one after that in time for the end of the course, which I think is November. I need to check that really but I’m scared of the answer.

I’m plotting out a counted stitch chart today which I’ve made harder by having the wrong sort of graph paper.

Last but far from least are my Shell Cottage socks. These were the first pair of socks in this year’s Curious Handmade Sock Society. I haven’t finished a pair yet and I think we’re on the fourth pattern release now. That’s alright.

This project bag is from Flying Tiger when they did their £2 sale earlier this year. Nice isn’t it?

Its a good roomy bag, plenty of room for your socks, pattern, yarn and notions. There are a couple of pockets inside and some of those ring things to feed yarn through which I never use.

See how I’ve artfully draped my yarn across the repeat where I knitted an extra row. Actually I think I did that on another repeat a bit closer to the cuff. See also how little I care.

So here we are, warts and all.

I think I like the Curious Handmade patterns best of all because she literally writes out everything row by row, and you get a percentage in the right margin to let you know how far along you are. Its simply brilliant.

I’m knitting these on my Addi Crasy Trios which are my favourite needles for socks and the yarn is West Yorkshire Spinners Signature sock. Good old WYS, you can’t go wrong really can you and they have the best solids.

So that’s it for today. I’m happy to report it’s absolutely piddling down outside so I’m staying in and enjoying myself with a ton of coffee and toast. I hope you’re loving your day too. x

crafting · crochet · Etsy · Knitting

Today I’m making… a snood and a scarf

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It’s been far too long since I’ve updated this blog. I really want to make more of an effort with this rather than just spending time on Instagram, don’t get me wrong, I do love a bit of Insta but I feel like the time is right to move back to blogging.

I’ve been on holiday since my last update, 9 nights in Crete which was really lovely but I think I’ve fallen out of love with flying. I used to really enjoy the whole airport experience but this year I just found the whole thing really stressful and just not worth it.  So we’re thinking of staying in the UK next year and maybe driving up to Yorkshire. I’m all for it.

Right so lets get on to what I’m actually making today.  Usually on a Sunday I have about six projects on the go at once and I flit between them all during the day but today I’ve only picked two things to work on and hopefully I’ll make some decent progress for a change.

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First up is a lipstick bright red snood.  I finished a large one in this colour this morning and have updated my Etsy shop with it, so if you want a large red snood I have one ready to post to you.  This one is going to be a medium, and then I’ll make a small.  Not sure I’ll get both done today, I have some housework to do too and I have this delicious Portuguese tart to eat (only 50p in Asda!).  I’m in love with this shade of red, it’s a blue red so very easy to wear, I’m a redhead and I can wear this shade.  You’ll also see in this picture my perfect and much loved solid silver crochet hook from Lynn Roberts Design and I’m sure I mention it all the time but it’s just the most joyous thing to work with. It feels really special and is a joy to work with.  When I’m at home its the only hook I use, I don’t tend to take it outside because I’d be really upset if I lost it.

Anyway, I’m making a bit of an effort to put some snoods back in my Etsy shop, I’ve had to put them on the back burner for most of this year because I’m doing a City & Guilds in hand embroidery and I need to concentrate on that really so I’m only adding stock I have in hand rather than listing everything and making snoods to order, which I what I normally do but means I’m constantly making them and I fell way behind with my coursework.  I think I’m back on track now but my snoods are thin on the ground to say the least.

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Next up is my fisherman’s rib scarf.  This will eventually go in my Etsy shop but it will be a long time in the making.  I can’t quite remember where I got this yarn, I’m pretty sure it was passed to me, it might have been my mum’s but I don’t think she ever bought grey.  It doesn’t really matter does it?  It’s an acrylic 4ply so that means it is pretty practical for a scarf because its easy to wash and won’t felt from rubbing against your clothes.  Its SO squishy and soft and the shade of grey itself is such a nice pearly grey, with almost a pink tone to it.  I just realised this Sunday is all acrylic.  Now I’m not much of a yarn snob, I just use what I like and I do like hand dyed natural fibres but if I see acrylic and like it I’m having it.  A lot of my acrylic yarn has been gifted to me when another knitter has died or has a destash and it’s better to knit with it then send it to landfill.  However you feel about yarn content, this is a lovely yarn and I have two huge balls of it.  Let’s just take a moment to have a little smirk at my two huge balls.

As I said, this is fisherman’s rib which has the look of brioche but none of the faff.  I have seen several people online assert that brioche and fisherman’s rib are the same thing, they’re not. They’re really not, fisherman’s rib just looks like brioche and has the same squish factor. It feels amazing.  I have actually pulled back about three inches this afternoon because there was a row where I slipped a stitch with the yarn in the wrong place and I had been thinking it didn’t really matter because it was in a pretty good place for me to sew on a label to cover it up anyway, but then thinking about it that mistake draws my eye so much that I’ve been putting off working on the scarf so I thought, sod it, just rip it back and reknit. Of course I could have just dropped that stitch and picked it up correctly all the way up but I like knitting, so more knitting is good, right? I’m going to put a stitch marker in to see how much progress I make on this today.  How many inches do you think I’ll recover? Its 4ply knitted on 4mm needles.

Books · crafting · crochet · Etsy · Knitting · vintage

Today I’m Making… all the snoods

Today I’m making several snoods all at once, a Gin Poodle and a 1940s sweater.

The snoods have several days grave before they need to be posted to customers but I to post early if at all possible so I think I’ll have them all done by Tuesday at the latest.

I’ve already finished two snoods from this order, look at how little teal yarn was left! That was a slightly hairy moment, I can tell you. Sadly my supplier had stopped dying this shade so this is the last teal snood for the foreseeable. I’ll keep my eye out for a replacement, I really liked the teal but never got around to making one for me. Berk.

The sweater is the Pretty as a Picture 1940s sweater, all I need to do to finish it is finish the swag shown, sew it up and knit the neckline so I want to get all that done today if I can.

The Gin Poodle is just for my own amusement and because I only have three of them in my Etsy shop at the moment.

The book is my current read and to be honest I’m not that engaged with it. I’ve started skipping descriptions of dinosaur skeletons for instance. I think if you can skip bits of a book it’s not the book for you. I’m using it to give my wrist a rest now and then from crocheting snoods.

Books · crafting · crochet · Dieting · embroidery · Etsy · Knitting · Shopping · wittering

New Year’s Resolutions

Yeah I know, they’re a bit tragic but I’m doing it anyway.

  1. Read at least 34 books this year.  Easy peasy, I’m on Goodreads so I’ve set myself a reading challenge.  Click here to see how I’m doing.  Right now I’m doing fantastically well, I have read no books yet this year and I’m apparently bang on target.
  2. Lose 20kgs.  Thought I’d chuck in the traditional fat bum challenge.  Though my bum isn’t actually that fat I have spotted a bit of thigh bulge today that has to be got rid of immediately if not sooner.  Then once I’ve lost 20kgs I’ll still want to lose another 10.  Then perhaps another 5.  We’ll see. I work for a law firm and the cakeage is immense and I loathe exercising so this one is a bit challenging. I also hate exercise clothes and seriously object to any heel lower than a kitten heel.  Keep thinking about taking up running but I also very much dislike outdoorsiness. And running.
  3. Do more embroidery.  I very rarely sew. Its the one thing I absolutely love doing and yet I hardly ever do it because I used to hand sew for a living and now I don’t and it may sound pathetic but its quite emotional for me and I’m a bit frightened I’ve lost all my skills. So much as I’ve amassed a huge quantity of yarn and patterns and stuff I’m going to scale back the knitting and crochet (except for snoods and Gin Poodles of course) and get back into embroidery.  I had a small test piece framed a few years ago and the framers asked me if I’d like to make more for them to sell.  So I might not be a complete ham-fisted duffer.
  4. Stop buying mass-produced junk.  You know that ‘make it, don’t buy it’ idea floating around at Christmas? Well I’m going to stop buying things from major chains and only buy handmade wherever possible.  I’ve had my last clothes shopping spree in 2016 so from now on I’m going to make my own clothes, at least they’ll fit properly and I won’t bump into anyone else wearing the same thing. I can try out embroidery on my own cuffs and that too can’t I? I’ve got a sewing machine up in the loft and I expect that is where it will stay because I don’t really like sewing machines.  Hand made clothes last longer because they’re better and every stitch is beautiful. I’m not expecting anyone else to agree or even see the simple beauty of a white cotton tacking stitch or go into ecstasy over a button hole, but your loss and all that.
  5. New Etsy shop. Once I’ve got my fingers back to being able to pick up with a needle a single thread in any fabric without looking I’ll be able to produce work worth selling. These are not going to sit well with super kitsch knitted poodle bottle cosies or even lovely vintage style hair accessories so they’ll need their own space.

Five resolutions are enough.

6. Oh but hang on. Food. Must stop eating things that make me ill, like fried things, fatty things, dairy, and eggs.  A doctor told me years ago that the odd sensation of my throat going all thick and gagging for hours after eating isn’t really normal and should be avoided. Spose he might have a point.

7. Bugger it I’ve thought of another.  I have a half brother somewhere.  Not even sure what his name is but I should find him in case he’s the head of membership of a major ballet company or something and can get me a hefty discount.

 

crafting · crochet · Etsy · vintage hair

Today I’m Making… gold hair snood

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This morning I finished making my first ever metallic gold 1940s style hair snood.  Its something customers have been asking me about for quite a long time but I’ve never found a metallic yarn in a quantity that makes it possible to make a large snood without a join.

I always have a look in yarn shops for metallic gold but never have any luck, in the end I found this yarn online from the Turkish company, Ice.  Turkey seems to be a pretty enthusiastic knitting country, a lot of yarns seem to be produced there now and its good quality too. Ice make a lot of more unusual yarns, I’ve bought from them before and never been disappointed.

So, I have bought six balls, each one is just enough to make one large snood with a fair bit left over so not entirely enconomic  and the yarn is quite expensive so this batch of six will be the only ones I make.  If you like them and want one please do move quickly, they’re a very limited run.

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The other reason I won’t be making these regularly is the yarn is properly metallic, it’s gorgeous, it has a lovely sheen and teeny tiny little sequins that really catch the light so they’d be brilliant for performers but the yarn is quite stiff so it’s blimmin’ hard going on my hands to crochet with.  Course, this means the snoods are a bit stiff too, so if you have one of my usual acrylic numbers it won’t feel anything like that.

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I am going to keep looking for a softer metallic gold yarn, I think Ice do a lurex thread I can use alongside a ‘normal’ yarn but finding a base colour of a non metallic gold is also a bit of a challenge.  Don’t hold your breath because I’ve been keeping an eye out for gold for years so far.

Books · crafting · crochet · Etsy

A pair of sparkly snoods

Things have gone a little quiet over the Easter weekend for me on Etsy orders so it gives me a chance to let you see the progression of an order I have just posted off to America.

I’ll take this picture by picture and explain what is going on. The first picture is the yarn I use to make the sparkly snoods, the cone on the right is super fine metallic blue lurex which I crochet in with the usual blue yarn.  The lurex is a funny thing, it is really quite strong but feels very delicate as if it would snap at any moment.  In the background of this pic you can see some of my snood making yarn, that wicker unit is crammed to bursting with the rest of my snood yarn and a small amount of Gin Poodle yarn also on the coffee table are a couple of books I’ve read and haven’t decided what to do with yet, a train timetable and a book and map that I intend to make paper flowers from.

Next pic is the snoods nearly finished, the silver one is pretty much done apart from adding the elastic, the ribbon bow and sewing in a label, the sparkly blue one  isn’t quite finished, I’m putting a neat edge along the hair band here.

Next up is the book I am struggling to get anywhere with (The Last September by Elizabeth Bowen) which I’m reading in between making things.  I just can’t get into it, I don’t like any of the characters and don’t really care what happens to them. I’m a quarter of the way through it so surely by now I should care a bit? I’ve set myself a modest target of reading 26 books this year and I’m already three books behind schedule. Ms Bowen is not not helping. Sometimes I just give up on a book I’m this apathetic about but this is a book I picked up through Bookcrossing so I feel like I owe it to its previous owner to let them know what happens to it so I’ll slog on.

The last two pictures are the snoods pretty much ready to go sitting on my bony knees – all I’ve got to do now is wrap them up in tissue paper and add some complimentary sparkly hair grips to the vintage postcard and send them off.  The postcard is just over 100 years old, I bought a job lot of them and while they last I’ll use them as my notepaper or hairgrip holders in all my orders.  This one shows Gertie Gitana who was a music hall actress also known as The Staffordshire Cinderella.  This one was written on and posted, nothing exciting though, just some bloke Dave asking after his mate Jim and saying he’ll be home soon because they expect to be sent off to France soon.  I wonder if he was a soldier in the First World War but he doesn’t say so expressly. If they are blank I usually write a message on the back but if they’ve been used I like to keep them as they are and just pop one in the package as a nice surprise. Not that it will be much of a surprise if the customer reads this post before the package arrives.

 

 

Books · craft fair · crafting · Etsy · Knitting

Today I’m Making – Gin Poodles

I have an Etsy shop called GinPoodle its where I sell all the things I make, and seeing as it is called GinPoodle the one thing I definitely have in stock in abundance at all times is of course… well actually I haven’t had any Gin Poodles in stock for a while now.

I don’t know who that happened really other than I’m quite often crocheting 1940s style hair snoods but its not really an excuse is it? So yesterday I decided to pull myself together and get at least one finished and up for sale by the end of the day.

The actual knitting part is fairly quick to do, its making the pom-poms that takes the time. I used to use a traditional pair of discs but that takes forever so now I’m a massive fan of Clover pom-pom makers, they really take the pain out of making them, I can whip one up in no time. I do still need 10 for every Gin Poodle though so its still a hill to climb. I did buy a Multipom but I didn’t really like it, I found the pom-poms come out looking quite cubic at this size, I expect its better for smaller ones.  SAM_2493

Then there are the eyes, nose and ribbon to sort out, until those are on I’ll admit the poodles do not look their cheeky best. That wicker storage unit in the background holds all my snood making yarn.  Yep, there’s a lot of it isn’t there? I’m not ashamed to say every one of those drawers is groaning with yarn and that’s not my entire stash.

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So here it is finished and listed for sale with a very bright peachy orange ribbon. SAM_2501

One Gin Poodle is very far from what I would call fully stocked so here are the beginnings of the next one, though I’m not sure I have enough of this flecked cream yarn so the body colour may well change.  I’ve signed up to do a makers market at the local carnival in the summer so I really need to concentrate on building up some stock for that rather than making things reactively or more accurately, randomly.

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I’ve been very behind with my reading too, I have a very reasonable set it yourself reading challenge on Goodreads – my goal is only to read 26 books this year, which is only one book a fortnight so that should be easily do-able but here I am five books behind schedule and it’s only March. In between bouts of frantic poodle knitting and watching Tipping Point I’m reading as much as I can.  Despite this book being a Daily Mail recommendation its actually pretty good – its about a woman who was put in a mental health institution 60 years ago by her family and then basically just left there and never spoken of again, so when the hospital is marked for closure her granddaughter hears about her for the first time as her only surviving relative.  Its a good read but pretty chilling to think this sort of thing really did happen.

crafting · crochet · Etsy · vintage · vintage hair

Today I’m Making… 1940s style Ribbon Snoods

Today I’ve finished making two snoods that might already have a buyer, 2016 has been lucky for me already, with an order every day so far.  If things continue like this it will be astounding.

This red is gorgeous, its a nice rich lipstick shade, by that I mean it has blue undertones which I find is the most flattering type of red.

    

I have been crocheting these snoods for about ten years now, a whole decade! Its a bit of a shock to realise it has been that long. My first ones were made following an original 1940’s pattern to the T but I wasn’t overly keen on the fit so I reworked the pattern until it gave me the fit I was looking for.

I have fine hair so the standard size was too baggy on me and didn’t look great so I tweaked the pattern again to give three sizes:

Short – for bob length hair off the shoulder
Medium – for hair down to the shoulders but not lower than the bottom of shoulder blades.
Long – hair is below shoulder length

The red and purple ones shown here are both large.  When it comes to hair, one size definitely does not fit all.

This aubergine colour was quite hard to track down, I do have another chalkier shade of purple in stock and one that is quite bright too in a cotton.

    

A saggy baggy snood does not look good at all and not all of us are good at fiddling about with padding and hair pieces so why bother.

I also did away with the traditional drawstring ribbon to gather it up because I think that is the one thing almost guaranteed to make it ping off the back of your head and besides it makes getting it on way to fiddly.

So my snoods have elastic running around them which makes them much easier to get on and you can still have a ribbon bow at the top.

It was at this point in the process that another Etsy seller based in America bought a couple of my snoods in different sizes and by an amazing co-incidence they now sell snoods that look quite similar to mine. Best of luck to her and her karma, she sells lots of them but I still believe mine are the better fit and quality, my prices are better too.  I do think it was more than a bit cheeky of her to so flagrantly copy mine but it happens.

In some ways I would like to sell more of them but then would I still enjoy making them so much if I was under pressure to get them done? I have tried teaching other people to make them for me to build up my stock but I am very very picky about quality control and I’ve never found anyone who can make them to a standard I find acceptable.

What I really enjoy is the personal contact I have with a lot of my customers.  Take a look at my feedback on Etsy if you have time and you’ll see some lovely reviews and some utterly gorgeous photos from customers.

Now all I need is to track down a good metallic gold yarn, and that’s a quest I’ve been on for years and years.