I love to work with bulky yarn and Red Heart Medley was a pleasure to work with. I used the color Energy and I love how it turned out. The yarn is so soft and easy to work with. The mixture of colors is truly unique.
I love the art of crochet, I love the stitch patterns and texture that it creates. I have always wanted to create a basket weave toque and this yarn gave me the perfect look that I was looking for. The texture that is created by using post stitches just makes the uniqueness of the yarn stand out even more. The bulky weight helps it hang nicely and I used a larger hook so that it would have more space so that it wouldn't be too hot or heavy.
I would use this yarn for so many things, because of the bulky weight I would use it for a shawl or wrap because it would work up quickly and have a gorgeous flow of colors.
I was able to find a selection of this yarn at my local Fabricland.
I can not wait to create with this yarn again!
I love the texture in this design and the colors reminded me of the many flax fields I see throughout Saskatchewan. I have made many of these camera strap covers. I have one on my camera and I get asked all the time where I got it from. I sell these at the Tourism Gifts shops and craft markets for $20.
You can have so much fun with camera strap covers, you can add buttons or flowers to add extra detail. I have even added pockets to hold the camera lens cover. Have fun and post your designs on my Facebook page or tag Living Skies Crochet in your posts so I can see what you come up with!
At the beginning of a new year I like to pause and reflect on what I have learned over the past year. 2014 was full of lessons, some good, some learned the hard way. But everything that happens is an experience that I can learn and grow from.
Today as I was carrying in groceries through the fresh snow that needed to be shoveled off my front deck I looked down at the top step and noticed something orange. What on earth is that? I took a closer look.... oh, it's a pumpkin from Halloween! YIKES!
So that pretty much sums up the last half of 2014. It was a blur and I tried to fit in family and holidays where I could. And I didn't do a very good job at any of it.
My planning and scheduling was not very good. But last year was a year of trial and error as I try to figure out how this crazy world of crocheting works.
I started off well with listing patterns for sale in February and my pattern listing continued to grow through the spring. Then summer came - I was so happy to home with my daughters for the summer that I forgot about being self-employed and lost a lot of time. (this will be an area needing better balance next year)
In September with the girls back in school I suddenly realized that I had my big artisan market the beginning of November! Last year I ran out of items on the first night, I did not want that happening again. So the crochetmania began! I went through my stash of yarn and my pile of patterns and I got to work. I crocheted and I crocheted and I crocheted. Then I started to get email regarding orders for Christmas and I was staying up to midnight or later every night trying to create. I was even able to write a pattern or two during that time.
My mind kept telling me that I had to create as much as possible before the Artisan Market, my Facebook page was rapidly growing and people were getting excited about all the goodies that I would have available at the market. The November date was closing in rapidly and I felt so unprepared and completely overwhelmed.
I recruited my daughters to help in anyway that they could. I paid a friend with a cowl to spend a morning sewing on all my labels (she did a better job than I could have done!) and I drank a lot of coffee.
Whenever life gets like this you know something is going to happen. I have never had this problem before but here it was, a very severe problem. My hands were so sore that I could barely hold my crochet hook, I was in so much pain I was taking pain killers everyday so that I could keep crocheting. I would go to bed with a heated wheat bag on my wrists and forearms trying to get the pain to subside so that I could sleep.
Have you ever had that problem? I didn't know what to do, so I emailed my friend Becky over at Farmgirl Paints, I noticed on her IG feed that she would wear gloves when she is creating her cuffs. She told me that the gloves help and she gets hers from Tommie Copper. I looked all through the stores in my city and couldn't find gloves anywhere, (I figured there must be a lot of sore crafting hands) so I decided to purchase online, I didn't want to wait for shipping but I figured I had no choice. I am so glad that I went this route. The Tommie Copper gloves are rehabilitation gloves and are infused with copper and zinc, and they have little silicone grips on them. As soon as they arrived in the mail I put them on, and I left them on as I did everything around the house. My hands felt like they were at the spa. I would highly recommend them. I will be ordering the wrist sleeves soon as well. If you suffer from pain - I am so sorry, it is not fun at all. Check out the Tommie Copper gloves, compared to what else is on the market the price is comparable and they are a really good quality. This sounds like a commercial! :)
So the artisan market came and went. This market is always a success for me. This year the big hit was cowls, anything with buttons and the color grey. I wish I would have made more fingerless gloves, headbands and boot cuffs. I was shocked to see my two day total was double what I had made the previous year. I really appreciate this event, so much so that I volunteer to help organize it this past year and I will volunteer again for 2015 market as well.
I thought that after the market was done that I would have time to make a few Christmas gifts for family and relax before the craziness of Christmas began. But it didn't stop. I continued to get orders for Christmas gifts and my motivation to continue to make money took over my instinct that I needed to start saying "no." I delivered my last order on Christmas Eve morning. I really wish I had that time to do over because all I wanted to do was to sleep through Christmas instead of appreciating and enjoying Christmas time with my family.
I am writing this blog post as a reminder to myself that my family needs to hold more of an importance in my life. Money is needed to pay the bills and keep the heat on in the middle of a cold Saskatchewan winter, but I know that our needs have always been met and we will be taken care of. It is my responsibility to take care of my family.
I am so excited that I have been nominated in three categories for The Crochet Awards.
In category 13- Best Pillow or Cushion ~ Chevron Weave Pillow
In category 17- Best Headwear ~ Bella Toque
In category 18- Best Scarf or Cowl ~ Gwendolyn Cowl
Visit The Crochet Awards website, enter your email and vote everyday!
Our local CTV news station invited me on to chat about crocheting! How cool is that! After my appearance on the show my crochet classes filled up and the turn our at the local farmer's market was fantastic. I'm so thankful for this opportunity.
Unfortunately, the station could not give me a copy so I had to try and record it off the tv with my iPad. So I apologize for the quality and for my nervous laugh. How embarrassing!
I have wanted to design a hat pattern for a while, this new yarn from Isaac Mizrahi is so inspiring I got up at 6am on Sunday to create this pattern. It whipped up so fast I knew it would be good. When my daughter modeled it for me on a beautiful Saskatchewan evening, I was in awe! I love it. By far my most favorite pattern, and it's easy!!!!
Fits teen to adult and since the yarn is super bulky it works up quickly with a size 15 (Q) hook. Happy Crocheting!
Look even Isaac himself likes it!
How do you represent your product to the public?
In my previous post I shared about how to make money crocheting. I want to see you continue to grow and develop your business. I have found that with a little extra effort it can take your business to a whole new level.
At artisan markets people are drawn to what stands out to them. Do not be like every other table. Do a few small things to go above and beyond. Pictured above are my dishcloths. (patterns on Ravelry)
They are the basic dish or wash cloths that everyone makes. I always use 100% cotton and I always sell out. I can't make them fast enough. Why do customers purchase mine over others, even when mine are priced higher? Because of the label. It shows extra pride in my product and looks more professional.
My labels are made from craft or packaging paper. I cut it into 8.5 x 11" sheets of paper and put it into my printer. Because it usually comes in a roll I may cut the paper into the size needed and put a couple of heavy books on it for a couple of days before I print.
I created a file on Word that tells everyone what it is and I put my website (free advertising). I print four to a page, I cut out the strips wrap it around each cloth and I attach it in the back with some funky washi tape. Voila! A little extra work for guaranteed sales!
Because I want to see others succeed I have attached my template below and you can fill in your business website for Facebook page. If you need a website check out Weebly, is it easy to make your own site and the free version would suit any business just starting. (this site was made using Weebly)
Putting your name out into the public is necessary if you want to grow. I take pride in the items that I make, I do not want to throw one of my handmade items into a grocery bag and hand it to my customers.
I bought the bags pictured to the right at Michaels. I used a 50% coupon and got them for a good price. I then went to staples and purchased round craft labels and printed my name on the labels and my daughters put the labels on all my bags.
My business is a family business. Our daughters (ages 10 & 12) love to help and are always giving me ideas and are great models of my items to their friends at school.
Adding a few extra touches goes a long way, Make the effort it is worth it. Before I go to a show I make as many items as I can up to a week before the show. The week before the show I use as prep time for all the bonuses, I even set my table up at home first to see how it will look and I find out what I may be missing. I lay out all my items to see how it will be displayed the best. I take pictures with my phone so that when it is packed away I can quickly set up. I usually pack my vehicle the night before so that I can not frazzled the day of the sale.
If you like these tips please sign up in the right-hand column for the pattern of the month club. I will be adding extra info to the monthly emails and you will also receive a free crochet pattern from Living Skies Crochet!
Please "Like"Living Skies Fibre Studio on Facebook for all the latest news!
This is what I shared at my friend Connie's celebration of life service this past Saturday. I am posting it here because I want to honor her, to use it as a reminder of her legacy and the example she is to us all.
Also, an opportunity for those that were in attendance that couldn't understand what I was saying through my sobs, here is what I said......
I only have two – three minutes to share what I am sure could take 2 -3 hours to tell you about the legacy that Connie leaves behind for my family.
It takes another fiber artisan to understand the value and importance of the size of your yarn stash. I personally know only a few people that have a yarn stash that rivals my own, I think Connie may have me beat. I will always cherish our fiber bonding moments over the past few years.
Especially the time our family found ourselves homeless on a very cold night in January during our home renovation. I called Connie to see if we could take her up on her offer to stay in their home and without hesitation she said yes and to make sure that I brought my yarn so we could crochet by the fire.
I’m sure that anyone who stepped foot in her house left with a hat. Just a couple of weeks ago Connie gave me a new art lesson using ink, tiles and air. Always willing to try something new and so very gifted.
Which includes her music ability. I remember her leading worship one Sunday morning doing camp songs with all the actions. Always full of life and action.
A couple of years ago, our daughters spent a summer at the Friesen house when Maxine babysat the girls. It was a summer that they will never forget and they talk about often. A house full of dress up clothes, art supplies and amazing hiding places for ultimate games of hide and go seek and the place that they were introduced to Dutch Blitz. I have never seen firsthand Dutch Blitz in action in the Friesen household but my daughters insisted that we needed purchase and play this game and the girls have obviously been taught by the masters because I cannot beat them.
Not only was their home a “fun house” but the love and acceptance that the girls received from the whole family during that time makes my mama heart overwhelmed. Connie’s example of unconditional love, generosity and acceptance lives on through her children.
The other day, Nevaeh and I were having a chat about all the reasons that we love Connie. I believe that life is a series of lessons, I call them Character Building Exercises.
Nevaeh and I learned from our sharing time that all the qualities that we love about Connie are all things that we can do and share with others through our own lives. Each one of us have been created for such a time as this. It is up to us how we choose to use it.
Connie was created for her time and she touched so many lives. We are here today because she made an impression on us all. My prayer is that Connie’s spirit of generosity, faith and kindness will live on through our family - that the reasons our hearts hurt so badly are the same reasons that will inspire us to live each day with and on purpose. May Connie’s legacy live on through us all.
At the end of the ceremony the family had an idea to remember Connie's love of yarn. Under random seats there were balls of yarn. The family started by throwing the first ball while holding onto the end, and the yarn toss that happened was amazing. Balls of yarn flying all around the room, knitting everyone in the room together in remembrance of Connie.
Thank you to the Prince Albert Daily Herald for the great article!
That’s correct -- Dog River; the fictional town featured in the television series Corner Gas.
“I was one of the first people crazy enough to say ‘Let’s go to Dog River,’” she said -- one of the first Saskatchewan artists to accept the Facebook invitation.
In celebration of Corner Gas, the Town of Rouleau, where the television series was filmed and where a debut movie is being filmed this summer, is hosting Dog River Days.
“I’ve watched it a few times,” Carleton said of the series. “I wouldn’t call myself a die-hard fan, but I think it’s cool that they’re putting Saskatchewan in the spotlight.”
Originally from Ontario, Carleton’s story mirrors that of Lacey -- a Corner Gas Character who moves to Saskatchewan from Toronto.
“I had no idea that Saskatchewan was like Prince Albert and area – growing up in Ontario,” Carleton said, adding that when she first moved to Saskatchewan 16 years ago people mistook her for an American.
“Saskatchewan’s so fantastic -- it’s so laid back,” she said -- stark contrast to Ontario.
I wouldn’t call myself a die-hard fan, but I think it’s cool that they’re putting Saskatchewan in the spotlight.Carolyn Carleton
Her upcoming trip to Dog River will be only one of two significant trips Carleton has on her 2014 schedule.
Some time in August she’ll be heading to Regina to host a crochet workshop with a handful of wives of Saskatchewan Roughriders players.
“Crocheting is a new hip thing to do, I guess,” Carleton said with a shrug.
“I am so excited – I’m taking crocheting on the road.”
Between these two trips, full crochet classes at the Prince Albert Arts Centre and busy website traffic at www.livingskiescrochet.com, Carleton said that she’s confident she made the right career choice.
In January, Carleton took on crocheting as a full-time career, having previously dabbled in it as a hobby.
“The first selling that I really did was the Evergreen Market at the E. A. Rawlinson Centre in November,” she said.
“That’s when I figured out that my designs were catching on.”
This past weekend I participated in our local Farmers Market, which was included with the Downtown Street Fair. I wasn't sure what to expect from this event.
If you go to an event to sell your crochet items you know how much work goes into making items and setting up your table. Over the last week my family and my daily routine were put on hold so that I could prepare for this sale.
I usually only do sales at Christmas time, but I thought since I had a few items made that I would go enjoy a day Downtown and hopefully make some money.
It was a beautiful day, which brought lots of people Downtown. From what I have seen in the media it was a record turn out! Many people stopped by my table to look and only a few bought. If I evaluated my day based on sales, I would never do it again.
What made it a good day was the interaction I had with the people that stopped to look at my table. I proudly told them that everything at my table was my own unique designs. And the top selling item as always was the Madison Necklace.
An awesome moment was when I had my Genevieve Cowl on my display mannequin and someone came to to my table and said, "I pinned that on Pinterest!" It's not everyday that you meet the designer behind a Pinterest pin in your home town.
I spoke to many people about crochet classes, I received good ideas about new designs that I can create, and I was interviewed my the local paper (I will share the article once it is published).
Overall, other than the nasty sunburns that my daughter and I received it was a good day.
Would I do it again?
Probably not, here's why:
I had a great opportunity the other day and I can't wait to tell you about it.
My church has a program called Peter's Pantry. Each week members of our congregation bring in food items and then we work with different groups within the city to provide food hampers for families in need.
Each week I give my daughters something to donate to the bin by the front door and then we go about our regular morning at a Sunday Service.
This week I got to fully experience it. I had a coffee date planned with a friend of mine and when I called to confirm she said that she had to pick up somethings for Peter's Pantry and would I mind tagging along. Why not! I jumped in the car with these two sweet ladies and off we went to the grocery store. Perishable items are bought the day of, so we grabbed two carts and off we went. We were buying for three hampers. One was a large hamper for a family of eight! I have a hard enough time buying and making meals for a family of four. Then I learned that this was grandparents who just received custody of their six grandchildren. Wow. So many thoughts ran through my head. I can not imagine the adjustments that this family is making, and that this hamper will help and be a blessing when it arrives on their door step.
After the grocery shopping was done it was back to the church to put the hampers together. They have all the donations organized on shelves and charts made up as to what each family will receive. I was totally impressed with the set up of the hamper system. But as we were compiling the hampers some items had to be skipped because of lack of donations.
I can admit that there has been times in our marriage when money has been so tight I wasn't sure where grocery money would come from, and we got behind on our bills. Sometimes life throws you a curve ball that you weren't expecting and life gets hard.
As I was helping to prepare the hampers that day I was praying for the families that would be receiving them into their homes. I don't know the situations but prayers are powerful and they can help the families in whatever their situation or circumstances are.
Not only do the families receive food items, but also toilet paper, cleaning and personal supplies. As I was looking through the supply shelves I found two beautifully crocheted wash cloths.
That is when I got an idea.
What if we could put something in their hands that would be constant prayer over their families? I have seen such wonderful things happen with the healing blankets, why not make healing cloths!
So this is what we can do: knit or crochet a cloth and with each stitch say a prayer for the family that will receive it into their home. We do not need to know the circumstances but we do know that they need our prayers. There is a lot of hurt and darkness in my city, I am so very thankful for your prayers.
If you need a pattern: I have FREE patterns CLICK HERE, or you can find thousands on Ravelry. When they are ready please use the contact form below and then I will email you the mailing address.
Once I receive the cloths I will package them with a special prayer card attached to it.
*please know that I will donate all the cloths that are sent to me to Peter's Pantry, I will not keep them for myself or sell them.
I do not deserve this blessing in my life, but I am so thankful for it.
Life is a series of lessons to be learned, I am thankful that I have started to learn the lessons and not fight the lessons. I will continue to go each day through what ever circumstances come my way.
Colossians 3:17 says Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
As I begin each new day may I keep this verse in mind.
I am participating in the Handmade Saskatchewan Spring Auction. All you have to do is visit their Facebook page and browse through their Spring Auction photo album and bid on whatever you like. The auction runs from April 25 -28th.
It is a great way to see some of the talented artisans in Saskatchewan. Make sure that you check it out!
I have to admit that when I resigned from my office job last year I had no idea where things would go and what would happen. I have to admit that I do miss the pay cheque, but I have been so blessed with where things are going.
My mind is overflowing with crochet patterns and I can't seem to crochet fast enough. I have orders that continue to come in. I am teaching at least two crochet classes a week and the biggest surprise of all is that Living Skies Crochet was asked to be on the Morning Show on Global Regina. All of this happening within a couple of months of putting my full time attention to this passion of mine. And I just added my first crochet video to the website last week.
I did not think that any of this was possible but what I need to do is believe that anything is possible. I am so thankful that I stepped out in faith to face this adventure and I am looking forward to what lies ahead.
Basket Weave Dishcloth
I love the look of the basket weave crochet pattern. It is something that I always teach in my crochet classes, because it covers so many of the crochet stitches and it looks great!
I searched for a pattern that I could use for my class and could not find one that I liked, so I wrote my own. And I am offering it as a free download. Enjoy!
It's not a secret that I love to crochet. I love to hold that ball of yarn in my hand and get excited about what I can create with it. I love knowing who I cam creating projects for so that I can pray for them with each stitch that I make.
I have a section of my website dedicated to Healing Blankets. I have made many through the years; it becomes a need so desperate in me that I have to make one for someone that I know that is going through a difficult time or illness. I shared about it here.
In my previous post I shared about resigning from my job and working from home - which adds challenges on all levels, especially finances. There is always someone on my heart that I need to make a blanket for and currently there are two people.
Last week was very exciting for me, I wrote, published and starting selling my first pattern! It is something that I have wanted to do for a very long time. It was so fulfilling to see my listing on Etsy and then I posted it on Pinterest and people are still pinning it, it has been pinned over 200 times. What an encouragement and blessing that is.
Both designing patterns and making Healing Blankets are very important to me, this morning I realized that the two are really one. The proceeds that come from my pattern sales can be what I use to purchase yarn for Healing Blankets! Why didn't I see the fit before? You know how it is, it is obvious for people who are on the outside looking in, but while you are in it you can't see two steps in front of you.
So, I have made a few changes on my website and now all items and patterns can be sold through my website which saves me on Etsy fees.
To purchase the Gwendolyn Cowl crochet pattern and support the Healing Blankets funds please visit my store for the instant load by clicking here.
How exciting is this! More patterns to come soon, I am just testing one now and hopefully will be available by the end of the week.
Thank you for all of your support!
The end of 2013 signaled big changes and a step- no actually a giant LEAP of faith for our family. I resigned from my office job and I am stepping out to be self-employed. I am going to give everything that I have to Living Skies Crochet. I am an excited nervous mess right now. I have so many ideas and designs swirling around in my head, that I feel like I can't write them down fast enough.
On the weekend I took my daughter to see the new Disney movie Frozen. It is a wonderful story, as we were leaving the theater my daughter says, "Let's go the store and buy that movie!" We were ready to turn around and go watch it again.
My favorite part was when Elsa sings the song Let it Go- I posted the video below in case you haven't seen it or maybe you just want to watch it again. After I saw this scene I seriously wanted to stand up and cheer right in the middle of the movie theater. I love what it stands for, I love that she finally feels free to be herself.
That is what I am striving for in the coming year. To be who I am, free to be myself. To let go of past choices, experiences, failures and move on to be who I am. To be comfortable in my own skin, to be joy-filled and experience life to the fullest.
And the biggest part of that is Living Skies Crochet. Yes, I can contribute to my family income with crocheting. Yes, I make crafts for a living and I will succeed.
If you want to join me on this journey please subscribe to my feed. I will try to blog often. I have lots coming up and I can't wait to share. Today is the first day of my photography class, so be prepared to be bombarded with photos. Good thing I have cute kids!
I want to get to know my readers, so "What does 2014 look like for you?"
Yeah it's fall! I love this time of the year, bring on the color and coolness of fall.
Fall is the perfect excuse for more crochet time. I am trying to find ways to include fiber art in our everyday.
I saw a picture of a wreath on Pinterest but instead of using silk flowers I decided to crochet my own.
I think it turned out great and I get a lot of compliment from visitors to our home.
I did a variety of colors of yarn of different styles of crocheted flowers, then added a few silk leaves.
I found the big letter C at Micheals then I painted it in layers of cream, chocolate brown and mustard yellow. I sanded it in a variety of places and different depths to bring out the different colors.
I hot glued it all on the grapevine wreath that I also found at Micheals.
And viola! I think it is a perfect fall addition to our home decor.
Despicable Me 2 just arrived in theatres. A friend of my daughters invited her along to this movie. Her friend has been through a difficult time and I have been praying for the family.
Whenever I hear of someone who is hurting I have to crochet them something. It is like an incessant need in my soul that I have to crochet!
I thought that it would be fun to make my daughter and her friend both Edith hats to wear to the movie. So I searched through my yarn stash for pink and came up with enough of two colours of pink and I was off.
Since they were watching Despicable Me 2, I figured the best inspiration was to watch the original Despicable Me while I worked on the hats. Since it was a rainy Saturday afternoon, my two daughters joined me and I crocheted away.
Sure I had other things that needed to be done. But nothing was going to get in my way of getting these two hats created. I did take a bit of time to make supper, but I was dedicated to getting the hats done before I went to bed that night. After I tucked in the girls, my husband joined me for a movie and I kept at it. Both hats were completed before 11pm and I even finished another crocheted necklace while I was on fire!
Have you ever felt that need in your soul to create something for someone? I get it all the time! If I ever won the lottery I would crochet gifts for everyone that I know that is hurting. I have given so many prayer shawls and healing blankets away over the years, and I know there will be many more to come!
I love to crochet! It is such a great way to pass the time. I feel my stress and anxiety leave my body as I pick up my yarn and crochet hook.
Both of our girls are playing soccer this year, that gives me time to make my fiber creations while they practice their awesome soccer skills.
This is a very common view for me. We have a great soccer facility in our city and an amazing soccer program. I am very thankful for all the work that this club does. Our girls are able to benefit greatly from the volunteer coaches, manager and the staff that make it all happen.
I just had these awesome new wooden tags done for my crochet
items. I found them on Etsy- Urban Timber Woodworks. They did a great job, I was able to order the size, the hole placement and the font that I wanted. After my first order I was so pleased I thought that I should order another batch right away because I wanted to put them on everything. For my second batch they gave me a great deal. I can’t say enough good things about this great Etsy shop.
I love to create with yarn and I love living in Saskatchewan. This is where the two merge to become one.
Find Living Skies Crochet on Ravelry!