Monday, 15 April 2013

Crafty Tips for Etsy Sellers

We were asked by the team at Stitch Craft Create Business to write a posts for Etsy sellers on how to spread the word of your shops beyond the standard Etsy site. The first post gives instructions on how to set up an Etsy mini. This is a little gallery of images displaying your beautiful hand crafted wares as a gadget on your blog. It is really easy to do this once you know how. We did it so it must be!

Why not pop over to the Stitch Craft Create Business blog now and take a look at the post. They have loads more information for Crafty sellers as well as courses and information for those of you who are getting serious. They are fast becoming a valuable resource to the crafting community.

We will have a little think about a few other little tweaks and additions we have made over the months since setting up our Etsy account and there are bound to be a few more purls of wisdom we can offer so watch this space and the SCC business blog for more posts. If any of you have questions about Etsy or anything craft blog related please comment. If we are able to help we will!

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Granny Shawl Joy

Well I am on a roll this week! Another blog post already you say? Its because I have made another thing I want to tell you about!

It all started when I tidied up my yarn stash...



As I was sorting through l found some leftover chunky yarn in a lovely blue and purple self striping pattern. I had used it to make a scarf when I was learning to knit. The scarf was incredibly long because I had nobody to teach me how to cast off for ages so I just kept knitting! There were a few balls left however and as I had been sitting shivering in our old Victorian home with inconceivable drafts blowing from here there and everywhere (in March!), I thought I should treat myself to a shawl.

I opted for a granny pattern which was free from Ravelry (here is the link if you want to have a go.) There were quite a few options when I searched on it but I picked out one by a lady who has great photographs of her patterns. I always find this visual approach is good for me for a new project. Her name is Solveig Grimstad and her blog is great if you want to have a mooch. I made her flowers in the snow blanket as a baby blanket and finally finished that in February after starting it last May!

As work progressed I realised I was not going to have enough yarn left to complete the shawl! I had no idea what brand of yarn it was or how to get more, and I had promised myself and my long suffering partner that I would refrain from further yarn hoarding until I had used some of what I had! So I did the only logical thing possible. I unravelled my scarf and added the yarn into the shawl! It was starting to look a bit tatty anyway and once the yarn had been reworked it revived no end!

By using the yarn from my scarf and edging in a deep purple (also from my stash) I was just able to get it big enough to be snuggly and practical.

Oh yes! The edging, I almost forgot! I did a few online searches and found a blog with an edging solution for a granny shawl which I used on mine. Here it is if you would like to use it. I found it to be very simple and yet quite striking. 

I am really pleased with the results and with how quickly it worked up. I encourage you all to try a granny shawl! Next time I make one I will use different solid colour yarns and make my own stripe pattern but it was fun working with self striping and quicker without having to tie new colours in all the time, and still very effective I think.

I am sitting in bed finishing writing this post, wrapped in my granny shawl and I am nice and cosy! Get in touch if you try a granny shawl pattern or tag us on instagram so we can have a nosy!

Monday, 1 April 2013

Cheeky chick and egg pattern

As it was Easter I thought I would make a cute little chick for my friends baby daughter. It was very cute but I realised watching her play that at 18 months she is really enjoying putting things together and hiding things. So I thought I should put the chick inside something and made the little egg case!

Finger's crossed she will like it, but on finishing it I loved it so much I made one for myself for a nice Easter decoration. While I was making mine I took note of the pattern and a few snaps so if anyone else would like to have a go here it is!

You will need:
DK (8 ply)  yarn in yellow, orang and multi colours for egg.
Safety Eyes or black yarn to stitch eyes for younger children
3mm hook
Stitch marker
yarn needle

Stitches used (US terms):
ch = Chain
sc = Single Crochet
blsc = Back loop Single Crochet (miss the first loop and stitch through the back loops only)
dc = Double Crochet
hdc = Half Double Crochet

Special Techniques:
Amigurumi continuous spiral
Mostly single crochet stitches worked in the round without joining. You make a continuous spiral to build up the shapes. To keep track of the start or end of each round place a stitch marker. You can choose to join each round but I find this creates a seam and doesn't look as smooth. See here for a good tutorial on how to work up amigurumi shapes. There are lots more on youtube too.



Body (worked in the round)
round1: Ch2, 6sc in 2nd ch from hook. (Place stitch marker in last stitch of each round here and throughout)
round2: 2sc in each st around (12sc)
round3: *2sc in first st, sc in next st* Repeat between ** around. (18sc)
round4: *2sc in first st, sc in next 2 st* Repeat between ** around. (24sc)
round5: *2sc in first st, sc in next 3 st* Repeat between ** around. (30sc)
rounds 6-8: sc in each st around (30sc)
round 9: sc in next 10 st, blsc in next 5 st, sc in next 10 st, blsc in next 5 st. (30 sc)
rounds 10-12: sc in each st around (30sc)
round 13: *sc2tog, sc in next 3 st* repeat between ** around. (24sc)
round 14: sc in each st around (24sc)
round 15: *sc2tog, sc in next 2 st* repeat between ** around. (18sc)
round 16: sc in each st around (18sc)
Stuff firmly and attach safety eyes if using.
round 17:  *sc2tog, sc in next st* repeat between ** around. (12sc)
round 18: sc in each st around (12sc)
round 19: sc2tog around until closed. Fasten off leaving a tail.
stitch opening closed firmly and hide yarn end inside body.

Wings (worked in rows with turning ch)
round 1: attach yellow yarn to first front loop remaining from round 9 of the body. sc in each loop across. (5sc)
round 2: ch1, turn. sc in each st across (5sc)
round 3: ch1, turn, hdc in next st, dc in next st, hdc in next st, sl st in last st. Fasten off.
Repeat rounds 1-3 on other side. 
stitch yarn ends into the wings and they should curl in a little to create the right shape.

Feet (make 2)
row1: Using orange yarn ch4, sc in second ch from hook, sc in next ch, sl st in last ch.
row2: ch3, sc in second ch from hook and in next ch, sl st in beg ch of row1.
row3: repeat row2. Fasten off leaving a long tail.
You should end up with three crocheted claws, joining together at the base. 

Stitch eyes (if not using safety eyes) in black yarn and beak in orange yarn.
stitch on feet at base of body and hide yarn ends inside body.
Stitch in any loose yarn ends.


EGG (worked in the round)

Bottom half
rounds 1-5 (repeat from Body instructions using starting colour yarn)
round 6: *2sc in first st, sc in next 4 st* Repeat between ** around. (36sc)
rounds 7-13: Change to new stripe colour. sc in each st around. (36sc)
Fasten off and stitch in yarn ends.
The chick should sit snugly inside this bottom half with the eyes just showing (if you positioned them where I did!)

Top half
Change colours on each round as preferred. I did my first 5 rounds in the same colour and changed every round after that.
round1: Ch2, 6sc in 2nd ch from hook.
round2: 2sc in each st around (12sc)
round 3: sc in each st around (12sc)
round 4: *2sc in first st, sc in next st* Repeat between ** around. (18sc)
round 5: sc in each st around (18sc)
round 6: *2sc in first st, sc in next 2 st* Repeat between ** around. (24sc)
round 7: sc in each st around (24sc)
round 8: *2sc in first st, sc in next 3 st* Repeat between ** around. (30sc)
round 9: *2sc in first st, sc in next 4 st* Repeat between ** around. (36sc)
round 10-12: sc in each st around. fasten off and stitch in ends.

That's it! You should have a cheeky little chick hiding inside a stripy easter egg all ready to give as a gift or decorate your home with. Maybe a bit late for this year but next year you could have some fun with it I am sure. This is a great little starter pattern if you are looking at getting into Amigurumi toys. If you make the body of the chick you could do this in any yarn colour and turn it into a different bird, add a tail or some yarn to the top to make a crest, anything really! I would love to see what you make if you can send me the pics or tag me on instagram @twobirdscraft.

Happy Hooking! x

P.S. As with all our patterns and information, this pattern is free for you to use but please do not reproduce the information in any way without our permission.