Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Making Opportunities

Apparently I'm rubbish at being unemployed - I keep finding myself applying for jobs before I remember that I'm 'freelance', stay-at-home-mumming and trying to live in a more holistic way.  To combat this I have written a very long list of things to do to promote the freelance crochet designing which anyone can do, and hopefully you might find useful.

Completed items:

1. Emailed 'Inside Crochet' to thank them for the lovely spread from my book, as well as asked if they'd like to work together.  They have already got back to me and said they would and my mind is whizzing with possible ideas. Big tick.

2. Made and photographed a submission for 'PomPom Magazine' for their winter edition. Half Tick - this needs to be finished please Emma

3. Got my self together to get all the finished pics and text to the gorgeous Bibelot Online Magazine, which they will be featuring on Wednesday :)  Have another Big Tick.

4. Sat down to write this blog post.  Could have done better.

There are many other things I need to do but haven't, like figuring out exactly how to navigate Ravelry and finishing a piece for a collaboration with the lovely Poppies & Polkadots, but the moral of this story, ahem 'list' is: that you have to make your own opportunities, no one else will.  And you never know, it might just pay off!

I'll leave you with a sneaky peak of the pattern that will be available, for free, on the Poppies & Polkadots website from June...

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

My Craft Witch

A while ago I told you about buying a spinning wheel from a witch (in the most flattering way), with arcane, magical knowledge of all things crafty.  She has become a regular feature of my week, and frankly stops me from sliding into an isolated crochet hole.  So while I am working hard trying to design something and get a sample together to submit to PomPom Magazine, and continue to work on a tapestry collection, and design something for a collaboration with Poppies & Polkadots, she is my craft-relief.

Last week we dyed wool with coreopsis flowers, which was practically a spiritual experience for me.  This week I made my first skein and learned all about sheep breeds.  She's 50 years my senior but there are moments of sparkling connection between us as we share our love of colour and wool and craft.  Next week we're going to learn how to deal with a raw fleece.  Every week it's a completely amazing craft and friendship experience.

 Dried pansies for dying

 Experiments dying with heather twigs

My first, plyed skein

Monday, 27 April 2015

Unemployed, I mean 'Freelance'

We're well and truly into the world of unemployment, ahem I mean freelancing and stay-at-home-mumming, and things are finally starting to settle into a routine.  But I can't seem to stop applying for jobs!  After years of being indoctrinated in the world of work, trying to stay unemployed, ahem, I mean freelancing, is still one of the most uncomfortable experiences ever (well, child birth was pretty uncomfortable, but slightly different).

Being a vaguely uptight sort I'm finding the key to sanity is having routine.  Mondays are now dedicated to getting all the computery, officious things done, and with that in mind I have finally written up the lovely new, Blue Block Tote Bag pattern and got it on Etsy/Ravelry.  I might be losing my marbles and spending too much time in the garden talking to the tadpoles, but I do at least have time to do this now.  AND I get a chance to play around at styling and getting an image I really like, which I've not had the chance to really do before, or I have, but not with the same understanding that I have of it now.  So here's the fruits of today's labours...

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Crochet Magazine Loveliness!

Now my Pa isn't much of a crochet fan, but when
I heard I was going to be in Inside Crochet magazine last month, I order that all family members go out and purchase a copy for their 'Emma Scrapbook', and all beit a little late, he called me last week to say he'd got it.  We chatted for a bit and he said how great the pirate looked, and I said 'what pirate?' and he said the one in 'Love Crochet' magazine.  Having no idea what he was talking about I dragged the littlest to the shops today and found THREE magazines that Crochet-Dress up has been featured in!

I found:
Three lovely reviews
Two pics on front covers
One center fold

Surely this now qualifies me for crochet stardom and unimaginable wealth?

Monday, 20 April 2015

The Art of Blogging

Writing a blog, this blog, regularly, was very much on my to-do list as part of the 'making it as a crochet designer' lifestyle change.  Any social media officiando will tell you that this is the way to 'get an audience'.  What they don't say is that you have to be able to think of something engaging/beautiful/entertaining to write at least 2-3 times a week to keep that audience engaged.

I thought this was going to be the easy bit.  It turns out that I find coming up with crochet patterns exceptionally easy.  The only thing that's stopping me is time and RSI.  Writing about it and not thinking that what I've written is deeply tedious and uninteresting is much, much harder.  Technically there's stacks I could write about:

1. How I've planted peas and carrots to take the pressure off the grocery budget (approx 78p a week, BOOM!)
2. All the deeply fascinating things I'm learning from my octogenarian spinning teacher - seriously, there's SO much she's teaching me about all craft
3. How to start up a crochet group and get paid for it (well, that's just at the beginning, but still)
4.  How to randomly email publications you like and offer to write something for them, thus enhancing your craft CV.
(This is 'Bibelot', a quarterly craft and on-line magazine, I love it, so have emailed and asked if I can contribute in anyway).
5.  How to make your own chicken stock from all the leftovers and glow with a smug sense of self-satisfaction

What actually happens is I finally get the beasts to bed, clear up after the day, get the washing on, have a bath without small people coming and asking for things, pathologically check my instagram account for the 17th time that hour, sit down in front of the computer and it all goes blank.

So maybe what I'm sharing with you is this: you need to plan these things out.  When you have an idea, write it down, give yourself prompts so that when you finally get the time (and energy) you've got something to work with.  Let's see how that goes shall we?

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Basic Basket

One of the things that obsesses me a bit as a designer, is that the thing I make is useful.  I love pretty doileys that have had the Dottie Angel treatment, but will probably never make one because it seems like a bit of a fussy nonsense.  I like things with purpose.

Often I'll get an idea for something because it's something we 'need'.  The toys, hero hats and bat cuffs are all to be played with and used.  The countless hats, snoods, hoods, bed rolls, glasses cases and bags are all a response to a 'need'.  The jar covers of previous posts are the only real exception, but were a request from a friend, so they don't count!  Basically I don't 'do' purely decorative, and as soon as I saw my first roll of jersey yarn I knew we were destined to be together in a practical world of delight.  I longed to make a basket.

This isn't my first, but it IS the first that I get to keep, and has been made to hold all the fleecey bits that go along with the new world of the spinning wheel.  I urge you to get making something like this, it's extremely satisfying knowing that the thing you just created will be truly useful.  You can either trot over to my Etsy shop and grab the pattern for this one, or work one up for yourself, either way, you will glow with smug pride for HOURS afterwards.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

In love with Cornwall

Around a week ago I diligently spent 2 whole days cleaning the house, making nutritious and wholesome sauces and packing for all of us to stay with friends in Cornwall for the week.  We left in tipping rain and freezing cold, arrived in a gale, and being on a budget, got in our little rented caravan and spent the night listening to the bed springs vibrate from the sheer force of the wind.

In the morning it was still going, and being British, we headed straight for the beach.  It really was bitterly cold, but so utterly beautiful that the numb cheeks and aching ears didn't really matter. Fortunately I'd taken some yarn and a hook with me - colours that made me think of Cornwall and sunshine, and as soon as we were tucked in and dry I set to work on a hat.

The next day the sun crept in and then it went all-out, glorious sunshine, and we paddled, rock pooled and rolled in the sand and had literally the best time you can imagine.  But I still carried on with the hat, and on the last morning, at 6am when everyone was still sleeping, I snuck out into the mist, popped the finished hat on, and chased the sunrise with my camera through the sand dunes.  It was honestly one of the most joyful moments I have possibly ever experienced, and just goes to show that you don't need money or stuff (apart from wool maybe) to have an amazing time. 

Anyway, here's my last morning at 6am, and the hat - it's a tribute to Angela Lansbury in 'Bedknobs and Broomsticks', and I used a popcorn-shell-granny stitch.  The pattern will be on my Etsy AND newly set up Ravelry shop (see, I did it!) very soon.