Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Blogging for the Sake of Having a Recent Post

There's nothing in specific terms going on to say but a few general update type things of what's going on, what I'm doing and generally that I'm still conscious and haven't drowned in an ocean of wool and fluff.
Obviously some projects are still ongoing, you know who you are - I'm very close to finishing a lot of things, it's getting a little easier :) I have been quite a bit too busy recently and it's been a bit too stressful so as you've probably seen in a few recent posts I'm still working on slowing things down and resting plenty so I don't explode my knitted brains all over everyone in a lecture or something icky :P

I am looking for my camera because I would quite like to get some photos up, bear with me...
*random rummaging around a lot for where my camera is*

Naha! Okay, so a few things that are going on;

I bought more fabrics.

These look like they'll make beautiful lining fabrics
for drawstring pouches, purses, that sort of thing.
If you really like a fabric for something just ask and
I'll say what I can do :)

So yes, loads of fabric now. You should see the pile building up because I need to use more of it faster. In fact have a look at the pile building up.

They are all so pretty!

In conclusion I have a pretty fabric buying problem, and anybody who wants a purse or pouch or anything they can think of lining with one of these (they are massively varying in quantity I have from 16 inch square to half meter pieces) Prices also vary quite a bit, the pretty ones obviously were more expensive.

On the topic of making and lining purses I bought the green scaly one with a purpose as I had the idea for a Cuthulu inspired coin holding small zipped bag, or an "octopurse" if you prefer... (I know, I'm hilarious aren't I)

Cthulu the Crochet Purse, because letting Cthulu look after
your money is as good an idea as trusting him with your sanity.

Look it has a lining :D and a zip :D I am so massively excited :D

So those show you the Cthulu purse from the front with his little happy eyes and his tentacley tentacles, and another view so you can see that it has a working zip and hand sewn in very carefully lining made of the scaly pattern fabric which you will have seen further up in this post. I am hoping to sell him and he will be in the shop after I have written this post and got round to putting him up for sale :D Lining is a bit hard and sewing really small is fiddly but I am super happy with how well he came out ^_^

Oh, and finally I have recently finished (and only just had my camera, computer and brain in the same place) an Axolotl made from another talented crafty person's pattern, who was great fun to make although much bigger than I tend to make stuff (more than 30 stitches in one round is big for me :P)

Little Axolotl as designed by MrFox of Etsy who also makes
a whole lot of other crazy and awesome patterns for sale :)

I really like this pattern, apart from just being a really adorable outcome it's also nice and easy to follow and has little explaining notes for when there might be something confusing ^_^ I made him quite slow, but I'm making a greeny one next who should be faster because I've worked through the pattern once already now. I'm hoping anyway :) after him and my super secret project (which is near completion) I only have a few little orders, which should allow me to get my competition up and running hopefully before the end of this term!

Competition ideas so far; there will be an online prize draw bit as usual because not everyone I know who might want to enter will be able to be in Durham to take part in the physical part of the competition, sorry for you but you will still have a good chance of winning things because I will design it all in :) I am hoping for some physical element, possibly involving searching for business cards with a winning message written on the back (I will distribute them to suitable places and probably place hints on the facebook and blog posts so you don't have to run all over Durham trying to figure out what I've decided is suitable)

So there you go, that's pretty much everything that CraftyMutt has been up to in the last over a week since I was too sleepy to do anything. I am still sleepy, and getting busier and sleepier as time goes by, but I'm still plodding on with everything.

Oh, and soon I should be getting an order of 6 bags of scales which will go into making 2 pairs of gloves, which already have prospective owners. Anyone else interested in gloves have a look back at the previous post (I promise there will one day be a "custom orders" tab among the top left for this sort of information to congregate)

Random bunny so there is something nice on the screen for all those
brave enough to want to read the huge quantity of text following.
(thank you Google for providing all manner of random cute photos)

On a slightly important end point, I am starting to get to the point where I cannot guarantee that I can take on any and all projects (particularly coming up to Christmas) not due to the fact that I would not be able to make and finish it within that time, but because I have a) quite a few different things to make and will start to forget things even though I try to write everything down and b) realised that the pressure I am already under with knitting was too much, casual and friendly as it is I need to give myself the option to turn down projects occasionally and it helps if I put out a warning first so I don't feel too bad if I can't help with something.
Usually the problem is I can't force myself to knit even a small project within a short period because there is no guarantee of my mental capability to knit in any given time period, and the other is that for projects I know will take longer I sometimes get bogged down with the fact I'm still working on it after a long period of time, so basically anything with a short or long production time could be turned down just to keep me sane. Something with almost no deadline should be fairly okay, it's really a case by case basis and if all goes to plan I shouldn't have to turn down any orders at all :)

Monday, 14 November 2011

Too Tired to Knit Today

I do not know why I am so tired, I did not do an awful lot of difficult stuff over the weekend, and I didn't go to bed late. I didn't even struggle worse than normal to wake up this morning but now I feel like I am already asleep, my arms are tired and my eyes still don't want to stay open...

However I feel bad, because there are several orders I should be working on today, seeing as I have such a convenient gap for them, but I really need to go back to sleep. Maybe I am getting ill, I didn't feel so well recently. As an apology here are some pictures and awesome stuff to make up;

Sleepy kittens seeing as I am super sleepy right now

Awesome Sammich-saur (is what I call him) who if anyone
is interested can probably be commissioned here
*resists urge to request one for self*
I might be able to knit something inspired from this for personal
use but the character belongs to the linked person so no sell thing

More sleepy cat-blobs

Tiny baby octopus-cthulhu, because tiny octopuses are also awesome
Someday I may knit an octopus this small, you never know...

I think I need to go back to sleep again now if I have any chance of managing this Formula Student thing which I am going to tonight. Apologies again for those who's stuff I'm supposed to be knitting and to those who wanted some actual content to this post and not just four random pictures that I like.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Scaly Solutions :D

I have spent almost all my spare time today doing research, lots of inputting data and reading costs and trying different things, and I have managed to find three top quantities to buy which makes the fast delivery option of only 8-15 days viable without having to change the prices I wanted to use :D

 Cost of Scales for Gloves for Different Order Sizes
Number of packets
--- Long Gloves
--- Regular Gloves
--- Short Gloves

As you can see from my poorly constructed graph (The scale up the left is linear but otherwise useless) there is great variation over the cost for me to make them, especially for smaller orders over which range I am more likely to be buying. Thankfully this allows me to see that if I buy 6 or 11 packets I will be getting a good enough price that there is enough leeway in the amount I want to sell them for to cover the wool and a bit of leftover for my effort :) I must not buy just 3, 7 or 12 packets though because that would cost me too much and I couldn't afford to make them. But I will buy them mostly in bunches of 6 so it is all alright :D

Due to these developments I am going to be working on a page for custom orders, which will host pricing guides for knitty creatures, keyrings and charms, and the new gloves option guide with prices. This will explain what options there are, and things like choosing colours to make patterns or random combination gloves.

So with many things sorted I have ordered some scales for a commission and three packets of mixed scales, which I plan to probably make rainbow gauntlets out of. Hopefully someone out there will want regular (6 inch) rainbow gauntlets!
I have also decided pretty much what I will be doing next with these 100ish brushed aluminium scales I have right now, seeing as pangolins are so cute...

Look it's a pangolin with a tiny baby pangolin :D

I will be attempting to knit a pangolin complete with scales! I hope he will be super cute, and probably not use up too many scales so I can make a few from this 100 or perhaps think of something else again to make with them ^_^

Thursday, 10 November 2011


Well actually they're fists of aluminium, but it still looks pretty spangly. Obviously the first thing I did after my small order of scales arrived was knit them into short gloves;

The back sports rows of silvery brushed aluminium scales

The scales are attached onto a wool knitted glove section,
so they are comfy and warm to wear :D

I am now looking to order a whole bunch more scales, so if you are interested in anything scaly even just a little bit please please contact me even if you're not sure what you want or what's on offer. I'll try and give people an idea of what I'll be doing and how much it will be so first I'm going to wander over to the scale buying place and check out prices and postage...

Turns out postage for the scales I want is minimum 25% on top of the price of the scales and that'll take 6-12 weeks :S and I'm looking at over $100 of scales with around half of them with possible homes...
If I want a sensible delivery time of 8-12 days it's 50% more O_O
I won't buy them yet but I hope people who are interested will stay interested because I can't justify spending $125 without a pretty decent demand, no matter how much I want to play at making scaly gloves :(
This also means that I feel mean about my prices but the scales alone for these are well over half the amount I'm asking;

Glove Cost

Length (from base of fingers down arm)
Approx Scales
Brushed Aluminium
Colour (see below)
Short (4.5 inches)
Regular (6.5 inches)
Longer (9 inches)

Okay, now that I've gotten over how much I'm going to have to charge for this sort of thing I guess I should explain what I mean by brushed aluminium and colour;
Basic aluminium scales are cheaper than colour, obviously to make colour you have to do something extra; these scales are anodised with the colourfulness to make them pretty.

Colour Choices
Scale Colours (same on both sides); Red, Orange, Gold, Green, Blue, Purple, Pink, Silvery gold and mixed (which has random colours including most those just listed)
Special Scale Colours; Black (only coloured on the outside), Black/Bronze (bronze on the outside, black on the inside)
Wool Colours;
I have wool in Gray, Blue, Red and Green+Lilac (looks like a plant) and I intend to get some Black of suitable gauge soon, but my regular DK wool I own in many colours isn't thick enough for this sort of thing so that's the limit really. These colours are all variegated (i.e. they change colour as you knit, with single shade balls going darker and lighter and double shade swapping between and changing intensity)

I am totally excited if you would like to ask for basic patterns or styles, like a mixed bag to be arranged in a more rainbow fashion (due to the random nature I cannot guarentee even stripes of colours) or to be randomly arranged, or to have two colours in alternating stripes or chevron shapes, or even something a bit more ambitious like having 2 red, 1 orange and 1 gold for a medium pair and make a flamey effect.

Why is the shipping so slow  and expensive, I am so excited I want to make pretty scaly things now!

Alternative Method;
If you would like your gloves soon and a bit cheaper, buy some scales yourself and bring them to me so I don't have to deal with long shipping times and high initial costs. A pair of gloves worth will cost you up to £16 for the most expensive scales for 4 packets for the longest gloves including delivery, and once you give me the scales I can then transform them into gloves for you using whichever wool colour you choose.

Provide Scales
Glove Cost
Short (4.5 inches)
200 (2 bags)
Regular (6.5 inches)
300 (3 bags)
Longer (9 inches)
400 (4 bags)

The bags are as written for buying scales from The Ring Lord (buy small aluminium scales in anodised colours or plain brushed aluminium in 2, 3 or 4 bags of 100 depending on the gloves you want) again you can pick different colours for patterns to make them pretty, whatever you like. If you find a site online which sells scales cheaper, faster or in any way better than they do (being so far away it's awkward and expensive) please tell me and I can get cheaper scales and sell cheaper gloves!

If you want me to get some scales and make you a thing then I'll put it in with a bunch I shall order soonish (maybe at the weekend) but this does not benefit from any delivery discount, in fact the delivery gets ridiculous as for larger packets the only viable option is the 6-12 week delivery and even that's expensive...

Probably best if you have something you know you want to buy your own and give them to me, unless you have already told me specifically you want some and what you want (I will be purchasing 3 packets of black/bronze scales with my next lot for the one already confirmed)

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

A Bit Much Work

I've been knitting as efficiently as possible recently, I have quite a few people with things "in the works" or at least written down to be done in the near future, and I'm not sure if it's the number of things I'm doing or the amount of time I'm spending doing it but I'm going to be cutting down a little bit for a while to relax - also because I have lectures and work and stuff which they want me to do :P

This doesn't mean I can't get the orders I am working on done in a decent time, but I know I could be doing them much faster although it's not sensible for me to be going at that pace with everything else on the calender and I've found I need more time in the day when I'm not working and not knitting either, which is a shame because I enjoy knitting and I'm always keen to finish a project as soon as possible so I can get excited at the finished thing and about the next thing I'm doing :)

So right now I have a work in progress that is top secret and in no way should I let a photo of it leak out...

Whoops, how did this get here?

I am soon to be having a go at a pattern made by a very talented designer, he makes the sort of crazy things I'd like to have a go at and so soon I will be :D

Recently in the post I received the dice I ordered, the normal set is now happily in the sparkly drawstring bag with the first ones, but I may have accidentally bought two sets of tiny adorable minidice, which now need their own tiny adorable minidice-bag ^_^ I will work on this when I have done with any big and important orders, because I don't know what I want to do yet. Maybe a smaller version of the one I already did, a tiny drawstring pouch would be pretty and I could attach a keyring to it and hang it from stuff :D

Pretty sparkly dice bag which I don't think I've put a
photo of here yet. It's lined with black moon-star fabric,
and has a matching octagonal patch on the bottom.

I still need to finish the companion cube, although that's more a personal interest project which I will probably sell (not too cheaply because the weighting beads are expensive) afterwards. Before that I will need to do a check around that I'm not missing anything I'm supposed to be doing, because a lot of people asked me to do things recently and I've been struggling to follow who wants what for when and who just wanted to ask about something and who was just vaguely interested. If you think I should be making you something and I'm not contacting you about it regularly enough definitely get in touch to make sure I've not lost it in the ocean of balls of wool and pretty fabric all over my room!

So, in summary, knitting needs to slow down a bit now. Current projects should be done in a similar timescale to anything indicated, but new projects may be given a longer timescale to ease the work, especially with the engineering projects coming up which is a big group whole year design thing which will steal an awful lot of my time.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Working Really Hard on Content ^_^

I think I've pretty much finished what I've been working on all day, and I'd love if some people could have a look around and see if they think I make sense and if you notice any broken links or wrong links.... I wrote a lot of links today!

So simply I have a new shop page, as you can probably guess from the shiny NEW tag on the shop link. I'm sure it's more organised and better looking than the previous version, and I tried to make the instructions more concise and the details include the important technicalities that might come up.
If anyone feels like reading through even a bit of text I've written on the Crafty Shop page (follow the button link) just to make sure they think I make sense too that'd be awesome! I'm sure somebody will spot a bunch of spelling mistakes and grammar issues which I left lying around :P

As part of this new page there is now a Crafty Mutt Deviantart page, which is only linked through the shop page as that is in essence my shop account. The art link on the side still links to the Opiel16 Deviantart page, which I want to get more to actually being my art. This will of course include uploading knitty photos as I have been, but hopefully I'll get some more digital and traditional art uploaded soon! I wanted to do this before, but felt too much that I should limit the account to be solely CraftyMutt images, so what I'm doing is hopefully letting myself breathe and getting myself out there as organised and understandably as possible.

Now that that little interlude is over I have an order to make, involving some pale blue and pale yellow wool, so I'll get back to crochet and leave you with a random photo of a tiny sleepy skunk I just found searching Google for cute things to finish with, because there haven't been any pictures in this post and that would make Crafty Mutt sad.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Tales of Tiny Things

First a quick note, I have finished one of several prizes for the 1000 blog view prize draw :) I want to run it as soon as possible, but equally I want a few nice prizes to give out and I have to make them first... they're on their way :P

So, here's what pikachu looks like;
And here's what little knitted pikachu looks like, who is a little compromised by the fact that knitting things on a small scale makes them a bit simplified;

Little Pikachu happily sits up and it nicely palm sized, complete with ears, cheeks and tail!

So, now you all know that the prize draw is in fact coming I have an exciting story :D well, it's pretty much an exciting story. It comes with pictures and everything. It's about how tiny I intend to try and make something very soon :)

Here are 3.5mm and 3mm, the two hooks I use to make most my little things. I use 3.5mm a lot and then use 3mm if something's a bit fiddly and I think I need something smaller.

Here is 3mm with his little friend 2.5mm, who comes out to help when stuff gets really fiddly. I also use 2.5mm to make my smallest crochet creatures using sock yarn, which although it's quite hard and often makes my fingers achy makes really really tiny cute versions of my regular sized patterns, such as the tiny Cthulus compared to the regular sized ones;

Little Cthulu is about 2.5 inches tall

Tiny Cthulu is only 1.5 inches tall!

Today I dug around in my tins and needle bags and wool boxes and made an exciting new discovery. As well as 2.5mm hook which I like to use for very tiny things I also own a whole family of really tiny hooks!

Here is 2.5mm (on the far left) with my newly discovered tiny crochet hooks! The littlest one is so tiny I had difficulty taking a picture where you could tell that it actually had a hook on the end, as you can see from my thumb these are ridiculously small. Specifically we have 1.5mm, 1mm and 0.75mm hooks here :D

So, my slightly smaller than commonly used 3.5mm crochet hook looks like a giant compared to my newly discovered 0.75mm hook. I like having a lot of hooks :D I'm really excited to find these, I need to get hold of some tiny tiny crochet thread and make some ridiculously tiny crochet creatures! Ones which will be so small that they will have to live in a little house like a small bottle or box home to keep them safe seeing as they are so tiny XD I love making tiny things. If my 2.5mm crochet hooks makes 1.5 inch Cthulu, then my 0.75mm hook would produce a Cthulu of sanity destroying cuteness proportions.
Unfortunately that requries I own crochet thread small enough for use with that hook, which I don't right now, but I do have some fairly narrow sock yarn which I should be able to use with the 1.5mm hook to test just how small I can crochet :)

Side note: there will likely be microsoft paint doodles of using 3.5mm alot and alot of crochet hooks later for the amusement of those who have read Hyperbold and a Half who I find really quite inspiring and everyone should check out, at least just to learn about alots - there's a shortcut to alots on the side bar a bit down the page

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Making a New Page

Now I'm not sure if anybody notices them, so I'll start at the start; to the right left of this text you will see a bunch of buttons, linking the whole of CraftyMutt together. I was thinking about people who want to make orders, and how I can help them to help me knit what they want how the want it, and I think it would be a great idea to have another little tab over there for "What's in Stock"

For those of you who are just here for the cute stuff and don't really feel like paying attention to the block of rambling text that follows please appreciate this random kitten photo I have borrowed from Daily Squee to make up for the fact that there is nothing else in this post for you, and then go off and do something more exciting :)

Note: do not scroll down if your idea of cute does not include things
which are not fluffy or huggable, espeically if you don't like octopuses

Just in case the kitten wasn't enough here is a cute octopus also from Daily Squee;

Apologies to those who don't like octopuses, but judging by the
number of Cthulu's I have sold you are mostly pro-tentacled creatures :)

Right, back to my thoughts about a new page of stuff I can use to make things right now;
This would include photos of the types of wool I have right now, with a bit of description and photos of the final effects I can produce with it; things like basic knit and crochet texture, brushed finish, a few fancier effects maybe and a bit about shaping and strength.
Obviously for the most part this will just be showing what colours I currently have and how much so you know if I'll be able to make a massive Dragonite right now of if I'd need time to buy a new ball of wool for him because I've only got a little ball of the right sort of Dragonite colour (as is the case). In general I have most colours to make any order, so that's not too much of a worry.
Additionally there would be a much more exciting section for fluffy, fuzzy, sparkly and special wools, of which I have a less extensive colour selection and a whole variety of textures so it's good for people to know what I have so they can specify if they like the fuzzy pink with poofy bits or the fluffy soft pink or the really soft short brown pile or the longer brown funkyfur (I mostly have animal colours and pink in fluffy wool)

As well as knitting I have the obvious accessories - various eyes, keyring and phone charm attachments, necklace chains, beads and clasps, zips and hooks, an array of felt and a few pretty fabrics. All of these can be combined in a primarily wooly order, for example making a phone charm or necklace of a tiny knitted creature, or creating a purse with a zip and lining it with the fabric you like best. They can even be used to make orders on their own, such as the plastic phone charms, felt sewn creatures and beady necklace type things should you like.

This however will take quite a bit of time, what with taking photos of all my wool (fairly quick), writing a bit about each (an evenings work) and drawing a new link button to sit with the other ones on the right hand side (will take FOREVER because I don't have CS4 on my new laptop)

Just for fun I have moved the links over to the left hand side of the blog, see if it helps people to mentally link the sites up better and use the links more (I don't know how much they are used right now, but I'd like to get more people to find CraftyMutt on facebook from here so I can pass the 30 barrier and get access to all the fanpage owner options!)
If anyone thinks it looks bad (I do but I don't know if it's just it looks funny somewhere different) then comments please, and I'll probably put it back if anyone agrees with me.