Sunday, 24 April 2016

Cat versus Sheep . . .

Hello peeps - so much craft stuff going on at the moment - hence the lack of posts, but I thought I'd share some cute photos of our cat's first encounters with my neighbours sheep and lambs.  This is her first year during the lambing season - she was quite fascinated!  I documented a little encounter one morning last week . . . . .

Looking very interested . . . .


Getting closer and checking no-one's looking . . .


A little closer still . . .


This little lamb is moving in on the action . . .


Up close and personal (Awwwwww!) . . .


What -  you don't want to play!?  A bit indignant . . .


Looking sideways . . .


Looking at other avenues of exploration . . .


A better view from up here . . .


Aw, come on - the sheep have finally completely lost interest - good try though 'Ji-Ji'!


Well, it was a fun thing to watch - even although I only went out to take a photo of my knitting as it is very sheepish looking . . . .


I'm using some North Ronaldsay yarn from Orkney - the sheep graze on seaweed on the island - I was so intrigued, I had to try it out - it's lovely to knit with.  Very sheepy and soft and natural - here's the stage I'm at today with it . . .


Looking interesting but taking much longer than I had thought it would - ain't that always the way with knitty things!  I'll tell you more about this scarf in another post - time to have a relaxing morning Sunday coffee I think - have a lovely weekend!

Alison x

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Easter hols, here we come :)

Ahhhhhhh . . . . . and breathe :)  I definitely feel it's time to take a little break, and with eldest son home from university (to study for exams - poor thing!!) and youngest son on his school hols, we're all set to take a little break - yay!

I've worked hard on my Etsy shop the last month or two - transferring all my products was a bit of hard grind, but I was rewarded by a few sales which was great!  I decided to reward myself by buying some gorgeous Japanese designer fabric (I have a fetish for it!).  I really enjoy using them as very lavish linings for my tweed collage purses - just a cute surprise when you open a zipper purse and see these delicious designer fabrics inside - yum :)

I was really delighted with my purchases (all fat quarters I think) . . .


I seem to have gone all "mellow yellow" for my fabric choices!  Two of them are a cotton/linen blend and the other is a nice weight cotton.

I'm not sure yet what we will be doing on our hols but it's a lovely time of year.  We will have the pleasure of seeing our next door neighbour's lambs bouncing around hopefully and I have a list of things we really need to do outside as we have a rather large garden which needs sorting.

The construction of a hen house is still on the agenda but if that will happen these holidays or not, I don't know - will definitely be making space for it that's for sure :)  Lots of other things to do too though!

I'm not going to list all the new items in my shop, but I did add a little softie as I haven't made one for a while.  He was really fun to make, so I added him as a custom order . . . . 


Here he is outside in his natural habitat . . .


Anyway, he's obviously feeling a little sleepy - me too, as it's a little late and I'm ready for my last day at the office for a week or so.

See you in a week or two - Happy Easter!

Alison x

Friday, 25 March 2016

Impromptu Tea Party :)

We had an impromptu tea party last weekend (or was it the weekend before - time flies!) to celebrate the completion of the tea cosy :)  Actually 'teenage son' was more taken with the teapot I'd picked up in the charity shop - I didn't have one the right size to fit the cosy!  So he decided we should take out the best china and go the whole hog :)  I think he just wanted the lovely scones I'd bought the day before . . .


Here's a couple more views . . .


from above . . .


This was such a lovely pattern (Sheep Carousel by Kate Davies) to work on - I learnt a couple of new techniques - namely how to cut a steek in my knitting - yikes!!   Also how to to do an i-chord bind off, which leaves a lovely tubular knitted finish to your piece - so I was happy with my tea cosy and we enjoyed the scones too :) :)

This was actually two weeks ago and I don't seem to have stopped crafting for my Etsy shop since then - pheeeeew,  I'm ready for Easter!  Too many crafty makes for this post so I'll save them for another one - I'm off to have another cup of tea before I head off to the office job, I'm not using the best china today though!

Have a lovely Easter weekend :)

Bye for now
Alison x

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

What I've been doing . . .

Well, I HAVE taken a step back from 'stock making' over the last week - I needed to get back to basics :)

A bit of home baking (which was purely for my own gratification as I find baking very relaxing and therapeutic!).  I don't think anyone else indulged . . .


And with my cup of tea . . .


I'm trying to get the rest of the family on board as to adding some new pets!  This is a work in progress . . . . teenagers do not like hens I've discovered - come to think of it as a teenager I wouldn't have liked them either LOL :)   Well, you never know - it's good to have some aspirations!  I kind of like them though . . .

My current personal project started at the weekend . . .


Kate Davies' lovely pattern is too addictive!  Some lovely knitting techniques to learn . . . I'll keep you posted on my progress :)  I'm being a complete knitting heathen and using acrylic yarn from my stash . . . . I was a bit embarrassed adding it to my Ravelry page - I'll make it in pure wool the next time :)

Only one item added to the shop last week . . .


Well, I did say I was taking a break!  Lovely Harris Tweed herringbone pattern though :)

Bye for now :)
Alison x

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

So much crafting . . . . so little time!

The last two weeks seem to have been pretty busy . . . . trying to squeeze in a lot of crafting but not always finding the time to blog about any of it!

We had some beautiful snowy scenes here in the Hebrides last week . . .


This is me one week later getting round to posting my snow pics!

Never mind . . . . it was lovely at the time ;-)

Spent some time with my new Mary Jane Mucklestone book (in German - don't ask!!) . . .


I'm loving playing around with some fair isle patterns from it - hence the wrist cuff - not the best colour choices but all I had in my small stash of Shetland yarn.

Made some more buttons for the shop . . .


Some baking (we had no biscuits in - don't panic!!) . . .


These are viennese biscuits - easy peasy recipe here :)  I'm rekindling my love of baking - Yay!

A new collage purse in the shop . . .


And some new labels for future makes . . .


Also thinking and planning of a new, fun venture for later in the year - but more of that when I have some concrete information - hmmmm, yes very cryptic!

I think I meant to post all this in about 4 different posts - ah well, it's a condensed post I suppose!

Ji-ji the cat has slept through it all - isn't she lucky - it's a cat's life . .


Hope to get back to regular blogging now that my intensive stock making is slowing down a little :)

Bye for now :)
Alison x

Friday, 12 February 2016

Feeling a little sheepish . . .

I had some extra office hours to do over the last week, so crafting was a little on the slow side.  Before that happened though we had some awful weather and high winds here in the Hebrides, resulting in school and college closures, and ultimately in my having some extra time off, so it's all been swings and roundabouts!  In my extra days off I decided to try and bond with my computerised sewing machine. I have to say that we are now firm friends - swapping anectodes and all sorts, hehe :)

I ended up testing the limits of the sewing machine by making a couple of zipper purses - so by doing that I got used to using the zig-zag stitches, inserting a zipper, and generally giving it a good runaround!

Here's the two pouches - as you can see, there's a sheep theme going on . . .


I added the little tractor coming down the hill as an afterthought, but I thought it was quite cute :)  I've had this sheep button for ages - it was crying out to be placed on the little hill in the foreground.  A little bit of embroidery finished it off :)

Next I made a smaller, simpler version . . .


A lot of fun to make . . . I put both purses into my Etsy shop and the second one sold, which was my first sale on Esy - whoooop!  I was delighted, it was quite unexpected as I'd just decided to move all my stock to Etsy at the beginning of the week.

Lots of hard work finally paid off - so I hope that will continue, fingers crossed x

I'm cutting this post short so I'll finish with my little sheep brooch which my family slated me for!  I'm never showing them any of my work ever again, LOL!!!!  I thought he was quite cute . . .

Baaaaaaah! :)
Anyway, we are on half term break at the moment, so I'd better get off my laptop and do something productive.  Hope you have  a nice time if you're on half-term hols or are having them soon :)

Bye for now,
Alison x

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Little Socks for little feet . . . and some sheep's tails :)

Thursday seems to becoming my day for blogging :)  I've been pretty busy the last week - it started last weekend when I took the notion to make a little pair of baby socks with some lovely cream chunky wool I had purchased for another use.  My mantra at the moment is "make use of what I have" in terms of yarn anyway!  Once I looked at my yarn stash I started coming up with all sorts of ideas and notions of things I wanted to knit - the plan is to stock my Etsy shop with lots of yummy knitty and tweedy creations, yay!


I have to say I LOVE using my double pointed needles - be it bamboo ones or steel ones.


This yarn was lovely to use - I finally found out that it's a Drops yarn (wool and alpaca mix) so very soft for little squidgy feet :)  I think they turned out quite cute:


I made the decision this week to rename my Etsy shop to the same as my website/business name:  Handmade on the Croft.  I'd named it Yarns on the Croft initially but I've decided to keep everything under the same name now - keep it simple!  

I'm pleased with how my own website is developing and having my own domain name is really good :)  It's also simple to contact me from there on my Contact page :)  I'm trying to tidy things up so it's easy to find me and my 'makes' online!

Back to the fun stuff - I also decided last weekend to make another fair isle sheep sleeve with a little change to the reverse.  I made this one in grey which I thought worked well . . . 


I made a little change and instead of having the reverse exactly the same I embroidered two little bobbly tails (on two bobbly sheep bums!) instead . . . 


Sorry, not so clear in my photo but you get the gist!  I thought it added a bit of fun anyway :) 

I do like how the sleeves are very slim but quite densely knitted because of the double width of fair isle technique . . . 


I've still to get back to my new sewing machine - perhaps later today!  I think the last thing I made was this tweed/vintage style sleeve (I'm a little suspicious that this is what, er, damaged my old machine).  Perhaps I'll be using a lighter weight lace embellishment the next time - I did love this one though . . . 


It's listed here :)

As you can see I've been very focussed on making stock at the moment - perhaps a craft fair should be on the cards later in the year.  It's something I will have to look into definitely :)

For myself I'm still drooling over this yummy yarn which I'd forgotten I'd ordered before Christmas and it arrived well into January . . . 


It's a lovely dark/gold bronze colour - Ji-ji the cat would loveto get her paws on it :)  It'll be on the back burner for a while though until I get my Etsy shop stocked up :)  I have a few more ideas of stock I would like to add eg. tweedie buttons, perhaps more kiddie socks, and of course I'm sure I'll be making some more fair isle phone sleeves - I've another design in the wings!

Are you an Esty fan or not?  I do love browsing through it myself but it's difficult to be impartial when you are also selling from it at the same time!  Any suggestions/opinions re either of my online shops would be gratefully received - I can take it, hehe!

Better go - I still haven't checked out that sewing machine - oops :)  A busy week at the office job next week so I may have to take a week out of my blog - back soon though!

Apologies for a very 'shop' driven post - I guess it's where I'm at, at the moment though :)

Alison x