Monday, September 26, 2011

I sold my first pattern on Ravelry!! Yay!! It was for my "Quick and Easy Coffee Cup Jacket".

I also wrote a second version of the pattern using UK terminology. It is now available for sale in my Ravelry shop "Deidre Eyles Designs" along with the original version using US terms.

I've also updated my info on my etsy shop:

I've set up a Face Book page for Crochet A la Carte. Please feel free to take a look and "like" it if you enjoy it:0)  Thank you.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Up-cycled jean bag for me

I decided my daughter's up-cycled jean purse turned out so well, I would give my old favorite pair of Calvin Klein button fly jeans a new life! They were very old and had been "retired" due to great wearing in spots, but I hated to throw them away. I love the buttons on them!

Here they are after cutting the legs off. I'll probably use the legs to make a change purse and some of those microwave heating pads.

 Turned inside out to see how they look and lay before trimming them shorter.

 Trimmed and sewn inside out.
 And the final look after turning right side out.
 This is a gorgeous teal blue Batik material with various shades of greens, browns, blues and purples. Liner sewn and ready to install. I forgot to photograph the next part, but I sewed in several pockets for specific items; ie, cell phone (mobile), a tube of lippy, my business cards, of course!, credit and membership card wallet and a couple extra, just in case!

Tada! The finished purse!
 The handle is only temporary. It's a spare handle from something (not sure what) that I found in the house. I haven't decided what I want the handle to be yet... This one just clips on at the ends.
 This is a gorgeous wool blend yarn I had on hand. I just did a free form piece to go over the button to close. The colors matched the liner perfectly! It's like they were made for each other:0)
 The front pockets are perfect for storing my coffee cup cozies:)
 A pocket that's easily accessible for your lippy is a must:)
 And of course I couldn't forget my business cards. They need to be in easy reach! I placed it on the front side of the liner.

And there you have it! My up-cycled jean purse. A new life for a beloved pair of jeans:0)

upcycle jean bags

My daughter had an old pair of jeans that no longer fit and had holes in the knees, and as they had a lot of embroidered butterflies on them, I decided to make her a purse out of them. I cut the legs off, turned them inside out, and sewed across the leg openings. As the material is denim and quite thick, and as the crotch part is an odd shape, I had to fiddle a bit to get it to work properly. Here is the finished product.

 I let her pick out the material from my material stash and this is the one she chose. 
It looks like a sky with clouds so suits the butterflies really well, don't you think?

 The next step was adding a handle. I used 2 strands of embroidery floss, which she picked out, to crochet the handle. There was a bit of miscommunication on our parts; she wanted stripes and I thought she meant across, but after it was done she informed me she meant length-wise like a Rainbow! I did offer to redo it, but she said it was ok and that she liked it anyway:0)

 Attaching the handles was the tricky part. I crocheted the handle in sc, 6 sc across. First I worked several rows of sc. Then I worked 2 sc, ch 2, fed the skein of floss through the belt loop, then worked the last 2 single crochet. for the next row, I turned, then worked the first 2 sc, worked 2 sc over the ch 2, then fed the skein of floss through the belt loop again, and worked the last 2 sc. Then I had to repeat the whole process again to finish off on top of the belt loop. Doing it this way, I ended up with a bar of crochet behind the loop so the handle should be pretty secure.
 I'm thinking of making another handle and attaching it on the 2 front belt loops as well for added stability when carrying the purse. Maybe I could make them in the longer Rainbow stripes?... There was some embroidery left on the legs as well, maybe I will make a matching change purse...  She still has a few more old pairs of jeans with embroidery and embellishments...more purses anyone? :0)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Halloween crochet

Now that the kids are back in school, I've had more time to get things done. I'm concentrating more on my etsy shop and getting more items made to post on it.

For my cup cozies and coasters, I've come up with some Halloween items. 

This is a really cool felted cup cozy for Halloween. The spider's web is hand stitched in a fine weight wool yarn. Each "anchor" line is stitched separately so that if one gets caught and breaks, it won't pull the others. Each line of webbing going across is separate as well. This pin is metal with black and white rhinestones on the body. I found it at my local Michael's craft store.

This is modelled after my Molar Coasters. It's a rotten molar! Every dental care professional's worst nightmare!!

This adorable little fellow is cute enough to make any child (or adult) smile:0)

This cute little guy is the Molar Monster!  He's what happens when a good tooth goes bad!

Don't they make a cute pair?

It's Frankencozy! Isn't he just adorable? :0)

All of these frightening little fellows can be found in my etsy shop and I'm listing more every day.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

tid bits of info I've learned for selling on Etsy

In the past couple of weeks I have listed 31 items for sale on Etsy and found out that there is a steep learning curve to selling on etsy!

I thought it would be simple.
Step 1: crochet item
Step 2: photograph item
Step 3: list item on etsy
Step 4: watch the items sell...

Wrong! lol! Silly me! hehehe:0)

After barely any views and no sales in the past couple weeks, I started reading articles on Etsy on how to market your stuff so it sells.

One tid bit of information I learned was that apparently, people who shop on Etsy don't want a "thing", they want an item with a story! They can get a "thing" (read: an item off a shelf in Walmart with a tag that says Made In China), so that when someone asks them "Where did you get that gorgeous purse?" their reply might be something like:

"I bought it in Walmart. It kind of looks like a beach and water with fish in it."
(I'm using my Ocean purse as an example, IF I were to sell it. NO, I am NOT selling it:0)

No, they want to be able to reply:

"I bought it on Etsy. Isn't it Unique?! The designer loves the Ocean and would love to live there. She is also fanatical about the Environment and this crocheted felted purse was her way of getting the message out there that we need to clean up our Oceans and beaches and keep them clean if we want to be able to enjoy them! She hates that more and more species of Ocean life are going extinct every day and tries to use her creativity and artistic talent to get the word out there about the dire straights of our environment. The fish skeleton represents the fish that are dying and becoming extinct.

The designer used eco friendly food coloring to dye some of the wool because she couldn't find the colors she needed. She tries to be environmentally friendly by using upcycled materials and found objects in her works when she can."

I did not know that. Now I do. Huh. I guess I have a lot of re-writing of my descriptions to do!

They don't want: "wool, crocheted, felted purse. Looks like beach and ocean with fish charms." That doesn't give them anything to talk about when asked about their wonderful new purse.

No, they want a conversation piece. They want:
"Watch the fish swimming in the ocean and pick sea shells on the beach with this Ocean inspired crocheted, felted 100% wool purse with silver shell charms and delightful fish swimming amongst the coral and sea weed!

I love the Ocean and would love to be able to walk the beaches every day looking for treasures in the sand. I included a fish skeleton charm to the beach to draw attention to the state of our oceans and the sad fact that there are many species of ocean life going extinct every day."

That description gives them fodder for a good conversation! It gives them a very interesting and very unique, One-Of-A-Kind Work of Art to hold all their precious items, that no one else will have! Not a mass produced "purse" that 500 other people have.

There you have it.

I decided that if I am a newbie seller that knows nothing about marketing my works of art, then so are a lot of other people. There is a big learning curve to marketing on Etsy and I thought I would pass along any tidbits I pick up to others in the same position. I hope this helps someone and they find it useful. Now I'm off to re-write 29 listings:0)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

updated photos of the crocheted, felted free form ocean purse

Here are some more photos of the crocheted felted free form Ocean purse I was making myself.

Here's the front with the flap open. The handle on this side was made to look like seaweed or kelp. I even crocheted some free form coral.

Here's the back view. The handle on this side was made to look like different colored coral.

The greeny-brown, orange and yellow were originally the color of the base (off white) the colors were the result of dying the yarn with food coloring.

Here are a few sea life charms I added before felting in the washing machine.

Here;s a cool fish bead I found that I thought would make an awesome button to close the flap on the purse. Too bad it broke apart in the machine:( Hubby thinks he can glue it together with a special glue.

A cool spiral charm makes it look like a swirl in the water currents:)
A little fish swimming in the coral:)

Will post photos of the finished felted purse later. Still needs a liner put in as the finished purse is a bit roomy and is really hard to find stuff in. Also, stuff keeps falling out of the holes in the free form. I've lost a couple of pens this way;0)

crocheted teachers gift

This is a pashmina style shawl/scarf I made for my daughter's teacher at the end of the year (June 2011). I used a yarn called Midas by herwool. It is a cream colored ladder yarn with a gold thread zig zagging through it. Very pretty and works up beautifully. The teacher loved it and couldn't wait to wear it!

This is a close up of the yarn.

new crocheted coffee cup jacket listings on etsy

I've been busy the past week or so listing more coffee cup jackets on etsy. The total is now up to 15 ! I have more ready to photograph as well, hopefully today, then I can list them. Here's a few pics of my favorite listed ones:

This one is worked in a unique lacy linked dc stitch I "invented". It reminds me of wicker. I'll make one in a brighter color and post so you can see it better.

This one is a particular fave of mine as it's my favorite color, lime green! The colorful bits of metallic thread in it gives it a bit of sparkle without being overdone.

This one reminds me of the beach! The aqua blue tropical waves lapping the sandy beach with bits of shells in the sand and the blue sky overhead.... can't you just hear the waves? I want to make another one, but add a bit of shell or 2 and sea shell charms...

I've been working on some unique coasters as well. I am making some right now and should be able to photograph and list them today. I won't spoil the surprise, but I will give you a hint....your Dentist or Orthodontist would love it!

The coasters done in the unique ribbing stitch I mentioned are giving me a bit of trouble. I had the pattern down a couple of years ago, but wasn't completely happy with the finished product. It was a bit sloppy looking and not crisp and finished enough for my liking so I decided it needed tweaking before I was ready to publish it. It's proving a bit tricky to get right, but I'm almost there. I will keep you informed of my progress and hopefully will be ready to publish it soon. I am going to try to post a "sneak peek" pic or 2 today:0)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Busy, busy, busy!

The last few days have been busy for me. First I changed my Ravelry user name from "CreativelyMe" to "CrochetAlaCarte" to reflect my business name.

Next, I crocheted up a few samples of a coffee cup jacket I designed, ready to be photographed for the pattern, plus a few more as ideas hit me on how to change the pattern up using color changes, variegated yarns, furry yarn edges, etc. These will be listed for purchase on my Etsy shop as soon as I get time. My dd helped me with the photography and did a smashing job if I do say! Thank you Alannah!

Next I put my design for the coffee cup jacket into a Pdf file, then uploaded it onto Ravelry and listed it for sale in my Ravelry shop - Deidre Eyles Designs Ravelry downloads.( "Quick and Easy Coffee Cup Jacket)"!! It took a huge learning curve for me to get it there, but now that I have, I hope to list more as I get them written up and put into Pdf's. I'm already working on one for a coaster using a "new" hdc st I "invented" while playing around one day, that looks a bit like surface crochet and is a ribbed stitch. I hope to have the pattern written up, proofed, converted to Pdf and listed in the next week or so.

I also have some more ideas brewing using more "invented" stitches I discovered while playing with yarn and a hook:0)

A few coasters using my new hdc ribbing stitch will be available for purchase on my Etsy shop as soon as I get some made up.

Friday, April 1, 2011

dyeing yarn

I've dyed some more yarn for my free form crochet felted purse. Here's the yarn soaking in water prior to dyeing. Spaghetti anyone? :0)

Here it is in orange, yellow and red for the coral. The rest is a brown/green mixture to be used as seaweed.

This was all dyed with food coloring and vinegar. I crocheted up a small piece in the natural wool and some that I dyed blue. After felting, there was no color loss to speak of and no real bleeding of the dyed wool. All-in-all, a successful experiment! :0)

I think this wants to be a coaster when it grows up:0)

Friday, March 25, 2011

a very productive day!

Today was a very productive day! :0) I taught a beginners crochet class at a local yarn/quilting shop, Pine Ridge Knit & Sew. I ended up with 3 students registering and actually teaching 2 ( one didn't make it as she was confused on the timing). It went very well and a good time was had by all:)
One of the students even ordered a child's crocheted hat from me!

We have plans to offer the class again soon, but this time on a Friday as I already have a student lined up. We may even offer more advanced crochet classes if we see a demand for them.

After class I stopped at the grocery store and one of the cashiers was really interested in my crocheted felted purse and possibly a hat as well. I didn't have a business card on me as I had just given out my last one, so told her I'd drop one off later. Later on when my husband came home we popped into the grocery store again (they had chicken on sale at a REALLY good price that we just couldn't pass up:0) and I gave her the card. As we were going through the checkout later she stopped to talk to me for a minute and now had a request for a pillow as well...with the British Flag on it! THAT one will definitely take some creative thinking on my part! lol. But it will be a really fun project that I am definitely looking forward to!

Contract crochet job...finished!

I just finished a contract crochet job. A lady brought me the yarn and pattern and asked me to crochet an afghan for her. The pattern is a diamond pattern made by using sc with ch's between worked with 2 strands held together. The original pattern was done in one color. My job was to incorporate a second color into the afghan pattern if possible. The 2 colors were black and red. This is what I came up with:)

The afghan is supposed to be approx. 48" X 64", mine turned out slightly larger due to the yarn being used.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The journey of the free form felted purse continues

Here's an update on the free form purse.... I dyed some more wool yarn using food coloring and vinegar. It is a bit more "turquoise" than the main body color, but not bad. I think once I dye some more yarn in red, orange and yellows and crochet some coral to put on, it should look ok. The color contrast didn't show up as well in pics as I'd hoped:)
Here's a close up.
To finish off, I want to add a coral/seaweed? handle and maybe a few shells / beads in the "sand"....
hmmmmm..... A pocket or 2 might be nice as well, then a lining that will show through the holes and enhance the look. More as the journey continues...