Cracking on… (for Christmas. Shhh.)

It’s less than two weeks. No, not to Christmas, come down from the ceiling, it’s not that scary though it is nearly as bad. Nope, it’s less than two weeks until the big Harlech Craft Fair and I am picnicking.

PANICKING, thank you, WordPress autocorrect.

Wish I was picnicking, but there you go. In fact, here is Picnic Central, otherwise known as the kitchen table, complete with iPad, knitting and one of the 85,345,278 cups of tea I drink in the course of a day.

table

Ahem.

It’s a great Fair, the Harlech one – really more of a makers’ market, as the craftspeople are professionals who all earn at least part of their income doing what they do. But everyone is used to it being called Harlech Christmas Craft Fair, and so it stays as that. I’m one of the stallholders and this year, due to having had a crazy summer where I almost sold out of everything, I’m diversifying.

No, not into ‘innovative jam’ (copyright Teresa May) or pottery or pyrographing my name on my forehead or doing anything surprising in metal. Into a few simple woolly kits. It struck me, during the summer of eeeeeekkkkkk!!!!!!!, that I was missing some potential customers. Knitters came to chat about knitting, great, enjoyed it, loved it – can happily talk about knitting until the cows have come home, changed and gone out on the town partying – but they didn’t buy. Well, the chances are that I wouldn’t buy knitting either on a woolly stall, though I would always make a beeline for any such stalls at similar events.

This got me thinking, as did some of the things these knitters said, such as ‘what’s a three-needle bind off?’ and ‘Russian splicing? What’s that?’ When you knit and know things, you tend to assume that other knitters also know those things, and yet sometimes they don’t. Take me, f’r instance. I can’t do kitchener stitch (I know) or work on double-pointed needles without tying myself in knots: we all have things which aren’t our thing, if you get my drift.

So: basic kits for my own straightforward but effective patterns, each incorporating a technique or alternative approach – that is the idea. I’ve sourced some wool which is good quality but reasonable so it allows me to sell it on at an equally reasonable price, though not in huge quantities – this is just a test, after all. I’ve worked up some patterns, tested them, made silly mistakes, corrected them, retested them and now all I need to do is type them out. The most complicated one is my Woolwinding Shawl, and that’s not really complicated; the simplest one is an offset rib double cowl. But the one I am most absurdly pleased with is almost as easy, a pair of simple fingerless mitts / wrist warmers.

mitt

I spent ages fiddling around with the cables, after one silly mistake with the pattern I thought I was going to use made them look like varicose veins (definitely best discarded, mistake or no mistake, largely because I couldn’t stop laughing). They’re a variation on the classic claw Aran pattern, but without the long thread across the traditional 1/3 cable which can catch on things. There’s a right and a left mitt; the palms are plain because that’s more practical (and it helps the wool go further so you can get two mitts out of a single ball of loveliness; these test mitts are in Rowan Pure Wool DK, but I’ve got a few balls of delicious DK alpaca for the kits themselves). I’ve also got a fingerless glove pattern in 4 ply which is more complicated, but I’ll see how these go first.

This made me think about fingerless mitts. I’ve always used them – before I even knitted -because I was a photographer and needed my fingertips free. They were really difficult to find, once, too. Not so now; I’ve noticed them in the outdoor and mountaineering shops round here, often with a mitt bit (must trademark that) which fastens back, but I’ve also seen them in general shops, and whenever I have them for sale they always fly out. Maybe it’s something to do with all the tech we use nowadays, rather than the fact that we’re all rock climbing?

Anyway, let’s see how the kits go. If nothing else, it will take some of the pressure off me for finished objects (took some off by not doing commissions any more, and that helps), and they can go on etsy too, when I get my act together. And now I’m back in love with cables, too.

mitt2

And with warm radiators, even though they make a disconcerting background for photos. Doing a selfie of your hand is not as easy as you’d think (thank goodness for protective cases for tech). Hey ho!

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13 thoughts on “Cracking on… (for Christmas. Shhh.)

    1. kate Post author

      Thank you!

      There’s always stuff we don’t know, it’s just that we all don’t know different things, ❤️. Oh dear, I think I may be chanelling Dick Cheyney and his ‘unknown unknowns’. It must be getting to me.

      Reply
    1. kate Post author

      I may have underestimated the tea slightly. Rooibos, but still…

      (A friend decided to tot up the coffee he drank – he was a screenwriter, and tended to roam his flat looking for inspiration and making coffees. He drank over 40 in a day and, like a twit, decided the STOP then and there. I swear it was like cold turkey. Scary.)

      Reply
  1. ElaineChicago.

    Your kits will surely be an outstanding sellout!! If a knitter sees a kit, along with a color picture of it, in the package, perhaps they are more likely to purchase rather than grab skeins of yarn that “maybe I’ll knit something with this some day” I only have done this a few times but the complete “package” seems to make it much more desirable. Good Luck with this venture, Kate!!

    Also, I love your cosy home photo, especially the extremely deep window well… very thick walls to keep you warmer in winter and cooler in summer? The beautiful view from your windows……..
    Where is the marauding sheep??!!

    Reply
    1. kate Post author

      I am keeping fingers firmly crossed (even when fighting with my printer). Hoping you’re right… it’s git a lot colder, which tends to concentrate minds on Christmas.

      The most-marauding sheep – she was a hand-reared lamb which may explain her desire to get up close and personal to humans – has alas gone to the big meadow in the sky. Her many daughters don’t seem to have the same expansionist world view, though there were a couple in the car park a few days ago. My garden is safe – and now I realise I’ve tempted fate. Probably safe!

      Reply

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