Hashtags

This week has been all about hash tags for me. I find my instagram account is getting plenty of likes but they aren’t translating to Etsy views, let alone sales. That is because alot of my likers are fellow makers. I am of course very grateful to have any likes at all, and approval from other makers is always welcome. I would however be happy to get a few more likes from people or organisations with an interior design angle as I think this is the market most likely to be interested. So I have ‘done a google’ (Grandmas House reference: anyone else remember that excellent BBC2 comedy). I found a blog by Brabantia which listed 19 of the best interior design hashtags. I have taken screen shots of what other makers of cushions use hashtagwise and I have been seaching google and buying platforms imagining I am after a brighter sofa. What would I type in if I wanted to buy my cushions. It’s quite tough to switch your think around like that,but worth a try. 

So far my likes have remained roughly consistent but I have been picking up followers at a rate of knots, about ten in the last two days and Etsy is seeing more views. I know this probably seems little to propel with wizz-bang accounts but it’s progress for me.

I have also started selling on Folksy too. I find it much easier to list items, especially having longer tags, you can be more inventive with your descriptions. However, no sales there either. The higher price point is certainly putting off the kind of buyers I am able to attract at the moment, however I cannot drop the prices by too much and still call myself a business. The solution is to try and attract different buyers, and that requires a bit more work on my part. The Handmade Fair will hopefully push my profile up, along with a few other projects I have in mind.

 As ever the battle is to find the time to do all this, do my day job, look after my family and lose some damn weight. It can’t be impossible though, busier people than me have managed it. And if someone can do it, it must be possible, if it’s possible, then I can do it. 

Hopefully in few years I’ll look back on the days when getting 11 views on Etsy and no sales felt like a success and smile to myself as I am packing up yet another big order for posting. 

Hashtags

My Top Five Tips For Machine Knitting

 

  1. If you start producing loops at the edge of your knitting, check you haven’t got your weaving brushes on – and also check your yarn is feeding correctly through the tension mast.
  2. If you drop stitches at the side of your knitting, take the weights off the knitting to prevent it from getting worse. Grab your tools and get those stitches back on the needles anyway you can. To prevent dropping more stitches move your edge weights up more often and hang them a tooth or two over the edge of the material – Also check your yarn is going through the tension mast correctly.
  3. Changing your main colour yarn is a dangerous moment. This is when you are most likely to deposit your nearly finished garment, weights and all on to your feet, so always check the yarn is in the sinker plate holder correctly twice, and then maybe just once more to be sure.
  4. When doing a repetitive task always get a system in place so you are less likely to miss a step. I normally sort the yarn, then the carriage, then the needles.
  5. If you’ve been at it for a while, you’re getting tired and you start to make mistakes, that’s the point at which to go to bed. Never knit tired.

 

I have compiled this list from my own mistakes and from having done it wrong myself soooo many times.

My Top Five Tips For Machine Knitting

Use the Best Materials You Can Afford

I have recently splurged out on some lambs wool from JC Rennie, a British Wool producer. It was a bit more than I would usually spend, but my word was it worth it. I produced my first swatch and I haven’t looked back since. I love this wool, in a very deep and real way.

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I have set up my old Jones KH585 which has an eight button patterning centre rather than the punch card on the Knitmaster 360. Even through it is older and more basic, it works as smooth as a lounge lizard on an ice rink. It makes me smile.

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Combining the JC Rennie Wool and the classic machine makes the experience of knitting a real joy. The wool stands up well to a gentle felt. Because of this, I don’t have to cast on and cast off, I can cut it after it’s been felted and small mistakes are just felted out. The time this saves has made me think I might be able to create a lot of items in the little time that the family work schedule allows and if they are popular than I might be on my way to making my hobby my work.

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It has made me think of a piece of advice I’m sure I read somewhere, ‘use the best material you can afford’. This is very true but I would add, practice of the cheap stuff first, with knitting machines, there’s a lot of mistakes to work through first.

Use the Best Materials You Can Afford

Post 27: Socks

I have a project in mind. I am going to try and make all my family socks for Christmas.

When thinking about this I start to evaluate my family. How related am I to In-laws? Do I count my cousins but not my friends. All of a sudden I find myself being quite ruthless.

This is because I started one pair of sock in January and what with everything else I am up to, and the fact I am a slow knitter, I finished it the second one in at the end of February. At this rate I will only manage 6 pairs in the year, so I have to be quite harsh, Husband, Daughter, Mum, Dad, Sister, and possibly Brother. I say possibly brother because he has big feet, but my daughter is only little so if I have time for both of those, they should balance out.

Apart from my little girl and her tall uncle, everyone will be getting roughly the same sized because we all have fairly uniformly sized feet in our family, which is a bonus.

I am now on to my second pair, the first sock is at the ‘looks a bit like a weird sea monster’ stage. The yarn is ‘Man of steel’ by the very talented The Yarn Tree.

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The pattern is the basic socks pattern from Knitty Gritty : The Next Steps. This is a great book along with its counter part I used it to teach me to knit, and going back to again I still find things I’d love to have a go at.

 

 

 

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Post Sixteen In which I celebrate because I have made a sale.

Just a quick blog today.

I have made my first sale! To a friend of the family but nonetheless it is nice to wave good buy to one of my creations.

DSC_0044 (800x532) DSC_0043 (800x532)I am working on learning to hang hems for another item which should still be useful for a summer project. After a temper tantrum and an early night I think I may be close to cracking it.

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Post Sixteen In which I celebrate because I have made a sale.

Post Thirteen The Idle Knitter Underground

Sometimes things just fall into place, and you get the inescapable idea that the universe is trying to tell you something.

I had a fairly clear idea of what I’d call my baby, we had a girl’s name and a boy’s name ready, but we kept an open mind too, I’ve heard babies don’t always suit what you’d like to call them, and this is exactly what happened after my Tiny Trouble Maker was born. At some point in the hazy days after she was born my husband looked at her, and asked “Alice?”, and after a thorough check for any silly permutations or acronyms, Alice she became.

This slotted in nicely at Christmas. I had been looking at those beautiful and over the top editions of Alice in Wonderland and musing to my Dad that it would be nice to get one for Alice and write in it for her. Dad went very quiet and changed the subject which seemed odd to me as Dad will usually egg me on to spending if it’s on books. It turns out he had an unbound copy of the original Alice manuscript up in the loft dated 1979 from his time working in the print trade. He had it bound and gave it to Alice as her first Christmas present. it is a thing of beauty.

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It was here I found out the story was originally called “Alice Underground.”

Then I happened to catch a very interesting radio programme called “The Story of Alice”  on Radio 4 which was all about what happened to the manuscript after Lewis Carroll’s death. And finally into my inbox drops an email from Etsy announcing a competition  ‘Redesigning Alice’ all to do with Alice Underground to celebrate the 150th anniversary of this work. Now I know I’ll not get anywhere with this competition, the standard will no doubt be very very high but I feel a bit like the universe is telling me I should at least try.

Post Thirteen The Idle Knitter Underground

Post Number 11, in which I get over excited about buttons and podcasts and the biggest snood in my world gets posted onto my Etsy Shop.

I have my first commission! It’s from a family member, does that count? I am very excited about it any way. It is for two cushion covers which will hopefully match a rather snazzy cushion which has a slight nautical theme so I have been button shopping of course! I thought this would be a prefect job for Etsy, which it was, look at this.They are just right, I tracked them down at Celestina Jewellery.

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I accidently bought some sock yarn too, but just look at this colour.

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It is the Sherbet Lemon colour-way from ‘Yarns From The Plain’ I just couldn’t walk away and I am so glad I didn’t, every time I look at it it makes zingy little happy things happen in my head (it is also a a baby magnet – baby that is not babe – my Tiny Troublemaker has had it off high surfaces more than once to have a little play with it). I have ordered a sock pattern to knit it with, update to follow.

I must admit I have come late to the world of podcasts which is why I have spent sizable chunks of this week catching up with the most excellent Curious Handmade podcast. I love to listen to people talking about knitting whilst I am circling the streets of my home town with a pram trying to induce an afternoon nap in an eight month old. Helen Stewart who presents it knows how to describe knitting projects in a way that has me simply itching to pick up my needles again. It is a true joy to find something new that makes you so happy without making you put on weight, I would certainly recommend a look if you get a chance.

I have just posted another snood to my Etsy shop and it is a whopper! 280cm long, made entirely of merino wool it is one of my favourite things in the world. Please do pop by and take a look if you get a chance.



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Post Number 11, in which I get over excited about buttons and podcasts and the biggest snood in my world gets posted onto my Etsy Shop.