Handmade Monday 132 – Reviewing a Summer

Welcome back to Handmade Monday – don’t forget to pop over to Handmade Harbour and join in the fun! It feels like I’ve been away forever instead of around 6 weeks because I’ve been….

Taking some “Me Time”

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Shipley Bridge, South Brent, Devon – one of my first “swimming pools” on the River Avon

I decided over the summer to take a bit of a break from work and mainly concentrated on making as I had some orders to clear before starting work on a couple of very special projects for my grandchild, who is due in December. As well as crocheting and knitting madly, I’ve got into creating zentangles, had some time away to visit my family – camping, wheelchair and all!  Spent time with friends star gazing and being amazed by the meteors and amused by the kids comments. Run a couple of kids workshops and crochet classes, plus one to one lessons. So I’ve still been busy – but chosen to use the time I wasn’t teaching away from social media on the whole.

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Zentangle inspired by driving through Dorset – Hill Forts and Pastoral Landscapes

Why? Well its been a very challenging year so far, with Lucy’s miscarriage at New Year, 2 or 3 bleeds with the new baby, who is happy despite all efforts to give us grey hairs before arriving! Dad’s serious illness and move into residential care. Helping Lucy move back home once it was obvious that staying put, was detrimental to her and junior… I was  emotionally wrung out and my general health was suffering  so I needed to identify space to relax and take some pressure off.  Muggy weather always flares my condition, as the higher atmospheric pressure messes with the pressures in my spinal cord and the falls, muscle fatigue and dystonic episodes increase and the only “cure” is upping the meds and resting. But to rest with nothing to occupy the hands is just impossible so I was pleased to be kept busy with writing bespoke lesson packs, trying out some new ideas for makes and completing commissions….

So here’s a  gallery of some of the things I’ve made this summer:

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Commissioned blanket based on a pattern from Modern Grace Designs with added self- designed bear motif. Click for a link to the original free pattern

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Crochet poppy jewellery made as a gift for my lovely friend Suzie, to match a bolero she commissioned… photo to follow

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Spiralled baby hat – designed and crocheted by me

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Commercial Commission – pure wool vintage flowers with leaves for a vintage seller

Baby hat in a beautiful randomised King Cole yarn.

Baby hat in a beautiful randomised King Cole yarn.

And Finally……. Pattern Testing

When I teach or work on commissions I often end up developing my own patterns from scratch. I hand these out to the class on the understanding that they are still works in progress currently as its not easy to test your own patterns as you know what you mean so don’t tend to pick out the glaringly obvious glitches others can find easily…

I want to be able to sell these patterns online and at fairs, markets etc, further developing them over time  into mini e-books, with step by step instructions that help the new knitter or crocheter make them from scratch, whilst extending the skills of the more experienced. There is also the potential once I fathom out the IT to add Skype lessons and classes to the patterns range. Branching into kit making longer term is another option,  if I can persuade a few people that becoming my own personal house elves would be rewarding 🙂

But in order to achieve this I need to make sure that all patterns have been rigorously tested…. And that is where my readers come in if they choose to do so…. I would appreciate feedback from my blog, readers, newsletter subscribers, Facebook fans and Twitter followers who have a bash at any patterns or  tutorials I post…. so that I can make corrections, explain things more clearly and generally improve! Your reward is having the pattern for free and being able to use it to conjure up all sorts of lovely makes before it is released to the wider world.

Obviously I need to work out a way of limiting access to the patterns so that they are only free during the test period –  after all why would anyone want to pay for something they can find gratis on Pinterest? So before I start sharing patterns I’d love to hear your thoughts on how best to achieve this:

1. Do I share the patterns on the blog but remove each pattern once it is ready for publication?

2. Do I share the beginners pattern as a tutorial on the blog, so that I get feedback from makers of all levels of experience? If the person liked the tutorial I could then either:

a. Set up an invitation only blog for pattern testers, closed Facebook group or something similar? If I do how do I ensure the patterns aren’t shared outside of the group?

b. Set up a pattern testers newsletter via MailChimp, where I send a pattern out to all those registered who are able to test crochet or knitting patterns?

3. Is there another way that might be simpler for those who already have pattern testing experience?

4. How would you like to feedback to me? Do you want a Word version of the pattern you can correct and email back? Or do you want me to design a simple form that allows you to give constructive feedback? Is there another way that works well for you if you test patterns already?

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6 thoughts on “Handmade Monday 132 – Reviewing a Summer

  1. WOW !!! You have had a busy summer. I too love the spiralled baby hat. The colours are gorgeous. Sadly I can’t offer any advice with the pattern testing but I hope that everything goes well with it xx

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