Crochet babies of doom

By hook or by crook stall - Devonport Craft Markets

What an exciting blog post this sounds – I hope I can live up to your expectations! I recently purchased a second-hand book from a fantastic local second-hand store, called Junk & Disorderly. I am in love with the place … Continue reading

The long lost pin cushion

My last post here was All quiet on the craft front at the end of September. Now almost a month on, I’m reflecting on what I have achieved – sadly, nothing much that is exciting! Oh I have definitely been crafty – trying out a few new ideas but mostly doing what I find hardest… amassing a pile of stock for sale at the markets. I have to say that while I am proud of and love each item I make, this is not my favourite thing to do which is probably why I has taken me so long to get around to selling at markets. For the baby beanies I make, I’ve been delighting in every individual colour combination, for the tiny crocheted flower attachments I enjoy imagining the possibilities of where they will end up and what combinations their eventual owners (right word? I think not but never mind) will come up with. But because I know my patterns inside out, there is not a lot of creativity outside of colour combinations that goes into these items, and my mind starts to wander. This is great news for new products – I’ve come up with several new ideas this week alone while I’ve been making hat after flower after hat. BUT I’m now getting to the point where I am going to have a rather ecclectic collection of goodies at my market stall and am a bit nervous that this will confuse the market goers.

This morning I read a post that really resonated with me over at Knitrun4sanity that spells out eloquently how confusing it can be to have so many ideas whizzing around and not enough hours in the day to implement them. Well said! And on that note I’ll get onto the real point of this post – the long lost pin cushion! Back in August I started work on an idea for upcycled pin cushions – I had a gorgeous wee salt dish that came to fruition without too much drama (yummy, still pleases me to gaze upon the finished product), but the napkin ring presented a few more challenges. Firstly I was bored with the green felting wool so had to wait until I could get to the store and buy a different colour. Then I got sidetracked by the markets. Then I thought I had figured out a new way (fabric instead of wool for the cushion part – fail). Then the napkin ring went into a project bag, which went into a box and remained “lost” for a few weeks. Last week I finally uncovered it and finished the project – phew! Delighted with how it turned out – what do you think?

Napkin ring upcycled into a pin cushion

Napkin ring upcycled into a pin cushion

To market we went

Well the big day has been and gone. It got incredibly hectic over the last 48 hours – nothing like the added pressure of Day Job kicking in at the worst possible time. Here’s a brief (I’ll try, honest!) diary of how it all went down:

Thursday PM – this was supposed to be baby beanie night in the production line. It was not to be. It was freezing here and my hands just couldn’t hit their hooking rhythm. I managed to make two hats in the time I was sure I would be able to knock up at least 5, and went to bed in a serious funk.

Friday AM – Woke up still feeling funky (not the good kind). Emailed the organiser asking if it would be ok for me to downgrade from the 2.4m table I originally requested, to my own 1.2m table. She said fine – I felt instantly better.

Friday PM – My plans of shirking from Day Job early were thwarted – phooey. Didn’t get home, fed and watered until 8pm – double phooey. Funky feeling starts up again – cue procrastination. 9pm I get a fire under me and the production line cranks into gear. Finally get to bed at 2am (!! never again !!) feeling satisfied with my efforts – this is proven by falling asleep instantly and sleeping solidly until 6am.

Saturday – Market day – Wake up at 6 and start putting the finishing touches on everything. This means writing up the prices, packing my market box and loading the car. I cannot believe it when it’s 8.25am (market starts at 9!) and I’m about to set off. I don’t know where that 2.5 hours went.

Get to the market in a few minutes and set up – Toni-maree the market organiser is LOVELY and soothes my nerves instantly. My neighbours are also very kind and friendly, and I’m relieved to see there are others still setting up. My table comes together quickly (glad I practised!) and I’m ready to roll. So is the wind – it is absolutely howling by 10am. It helped build camaraderie I think – everytime a big gust rushed in, we all held onto our gazebos to prevent lift off, amid much hilarity. Here’s how my stand looks – note, a bit skimpy at this point because everything I couldn’t hold onto was likely to blow away in the wind!

Despite the wind, the punters roll in. I’m excited to see my ring-ins show up while it was still sunny, and my friend fell in love with the lemon and grey fingerless gloves. She buys them – my first sale!! A few other punters drifted past, a couple stopping to check out my goods. They don’t buy – instantly I’m worried that I’ve got my price point wrong. The weather is steadily worsening and the flow of punters slows to a trickle. Thankfully I have had a couple of buddies show up to keep me company, and of course my lovely stall neighbours to chat to. A lady comes and buys the cute-as-a-button Dr Zeuss One Fish Two Fish onesie – I’m delighted as I’ve now made back the money on the stall. My last sale is the bargain of the century waterfall crocheted scarf for $10, purchased by a lovely lady. I wonder if she felt sorry for me because of the increasingly nasty weather.

By 11am some of the other outside people are packing up – the weather is looking decidedly grumpy and the rain clouds are rolling in. Between the oncoming rain and the foul wind, a lot of the other stallholders have left and it is really just Janice (I wish I knew her company name so I could plug them), Otello’s, Cachecol, Blackwoods Bakery (I think) and I left.

We finally packed it in at the scheduled closing time of 1pm. I am knackered – in fairness, definitely more because of the mad panic last night than the rigours of the market today – but really, really proud of myself. This was a huge personal goal for the year and I’m so chuffed to have ticked the box. So thanks for having me Birkenhead Artisan Market – I’m hoping to be back in November and December, and in the meantime have also applied to hit the Devonport Craft Market in early November. I am absolutely fizzing with ideas on how to better dress my stand and feel like I could even be ready to start up a Facebook page for my efforts to try and drum up a bit more business.

And you know what the first job is? Making a plan for the next 6 weeks so I don’t end up hand stitching at 2am again next time around!

Tomorrow Day Job will take me to Adelaide, Australia for a week. I’m presenting at a Tertiary Education Conference with my boss and strangely I’m really looking forward to it. Now that the market madness has subsided, I can focus my energy on something else for the next few days.

Hope you’re all well and the weather is better for you, wherever you are in the world.

To market we shall go

Eek – we’re inside the one-week mark and I’m shattered after a solid day of sewing up purses yesterday. Here is a selection, looking very pretty (in a rather poor photo).

Purses all lined up and ready to go to market

A bit of an ecclectic mix here – we have cross-stitched purses, silk and linen, 100% cotton… All fully lined, each one a touch different to the last. I think they look very pretty and I hope the market-goers like them too!

My space has been confirmed, so I have a 2.4m table to fill – yikes! I had a bit of a play around yesterday with a 1.8m table, practising how I might set it all up. I’m nervous that such a big table is going to look a bit bare with my paltry offering of goodies, so will have to come up with some creative ways to dress the space. This is so exciting and nervous-making at the same time, I’m feeling quite discombobulated (great word!) and giddy with all the thoughts whirring around my head.

I’m also super excited to be receiving my stamp from Sandra Waine – she is hugely talented and has worked wonders with my logo. Once the stamp has arrived I’ll take some pics and post here – I can feel a whole lotta stamping coming on. Check out Sandra’s work on her Facebook and her blog. And for the last little plug – not only is Sandra hugely talented, she is a super nice person and has replied to all of my lengthy emails (who…me?!) with interest and kindness. Big fan right here, just in case you couldn’t tell!

Back to the market stock… Now that alll the sewing is finished I can concentrate on the crochet side of things, so this week the big focus is fingerless gloves, baby hats and baby beanie accessories. Every spare moment will be spent working on these, so with that I’m off to sit in the sun and get hooking on some fingerless gloves with a gorgeous lemon and gray colour way.

Think I might come into Day Job a bit earlier tomorrow so I can have a really good look through Handmade Monday at Handmade Harbour – don’t think I will get a chance this afternoon.

Thanks for stopping by xxx