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Advent – Cuddlebums Yarn

This Christmas, the lovely Jodi from Cuddlebums Yarn launched an advent box which contained 25 little paper bags of loveliness. Lots of yarnies like me signed up and on the first of December we tore them open like excited toddlers.

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The range and variety of resulting projects are amazing!

Advent Wrist WarmerI started by knitting a pair of wrist warmers following this pattern. I used days 1 to 11; splitting each mini-skein in two so that I have a matching pair.

I realised after the first two days that 25 x 5g was a lot more than one pair of wrist warmers so I cast on my first ever Hitchhiker shawl. I had seen the pattern many times and it had been in my queue for ages! In order to create a big snuggly shawl, I decided to stripe the colours with some grey from Jodi which I already had in my stash. I used 3.5mm needles with a 80cm cable which was perfect.

I love how it turned out!

Advent Hitchhiker

As a group, we shared our excitement each day. Some of us were good and didn’t peek ahead; some of us were not. Some of us knitted; some crocheted. Some of us were fast and finished by boxing day; some of us did not. But what we all had in common was that we loved the surprises and the amazing colours which Jodi and created.

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If you would like to add an image of your finished project please add it in the comments or email it to undertherowantrees@gmail.com and I’ll add it to the slideshow.

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Creativity saved me!

Hi, I’m Danielle and I am the creative behind Under the Rowan Trees. I call myself ‘creative’ because anyone in my school art class would let out a laugh if I called myself an artist and I’d like to think I’m more than a crafter – I’ve taken the next step and turned my hobby into a business and it has saved me!

I’m a part time teacher, a full time wife and mum and somewhere in the middle I am me! I lost myself for a bit but thanks to Under the Rowan Trees – I’m back!

My job is tough. I’m sure you all know that we don’t work 9 until 3:30 but what people don’t always realise is the emotional burden that goes with working with adolescents. As a new mum I was exhausted. I worked in a school under a lot of pressure from Ofsted and under even more pressure from some of the students. I was miserable!

I took up crochet towards the end of my maternity leave and I knew right away that I was going to love it. The textures, colours and the concentration – perfect therapy! Endless counting and pattern reading stopped my mind from wandering … worrying.

The biggest shock was that as I started to share my work in online forums and Facebook groups, people liked it! I was used to nothing ever being quite good enough. Results could always be better; books could always be marked a bit faster; my baby wasn’t sleeping. All of a sudden I was getting praise and people were asking me for advice!

My next step was to set up a Facebook page to share what I was doing. My friends and family liked it and then some of their friends and family. I soon had 200 likes. That is when I decided to start selling my makes. I had branched out into embroidery, knitting and jewellery making. I love starting new projects; hunting for materials and patterns (shopping!).

It has been nine months now and business is growing slowly but steadily as is my confidence. I have left my job in the tough school and taken another closer to home. My baby is now a three year old and is an amazing little boy who gives the most gorgeous cuddles.

It has taken hard work, lots of it and quite often the first step I’ve had to overcome has been getting out of bed but I’ve done it! I’ve been to several craft fairs, not sold a huge amount but people loved my work – worth more than any cash to someone like me.

Want I want you to take from my ramblings is that if I can do it, so can you. Get out of bed. Try something new. Ask for help. Share what you have done. Keep trying and grow!

I’m not going to be a millionaire any time soon. I may not even cover my costs (that would be a bonus) but I am happy and I’m making others happy by sharing my creativity. I’m doing it and I’m not going to stop!

Follow our journey into 2016!

www.facebook.com/undertherowantrees

www.undertherowantrees.etsy.com

www.instagram.com/undertherowantrees

www.twitter.com/undertherowans

www.pinterest.com/undertherowans

undertherowantrees@gmail.com

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Cloudy Day Hat

Cloudy Day Hat - Crochet Pattern

Cloudy Day HatToday I have made a simple bobble hat. This pattern is ideal for beginners; easy to adapt and really quick to make – perfect for a cloudy afternoon!

Equipment
Aran weight yarn (I used a wool/acrylic mix)
6.5mm crochet hook (I’m a tight hooker)
Darning needle
Pom pom maker

Abbreviations
Trc = treble or triple crochet (UK)
Htc = half triple crochet
Ss = slip stitch
Sts = stitches
Ch = chain

Pattern

  • Starting with a magic circle, ch 3 (counts at 1 trc) then work 11 trc (UK terms) into the ring.
    (If you find a magic circle tricky, ch 4 then join with a slip stitch to form a loop).
    Join your last trc to the top of ch3 with a slip stitch (12 sts).
  • Ch3. 2trc into each stitch around. Join to ch3 with a ss. (24 sts).
  • Ch3 trc into next stitch then 2trc. (Trc, 2trc) repeat to end. Join with ss. (36 sts).
  • Ch3. (Trc, trc, 2trc) repeat to end. Join with ss. (48 sts).
  • Ch3. (Trc, trc, trc, 2trc) repeat to end. Join with ss. (60 sts).
  • Ch3. 60trc. Join with ss. Repeat this row until the body of the hat is long enough. Approx 9 times.

Ribbing
This section is worked at 90 degrees to the main body of the hat. Half triple crochet (htc) should be worked into the back loop only to create a ribbed effect.

  • Ch 8. Turn.
  • Skip 2ch. 6htc. Slip stitch into next stitch on hat body to join row to main hat. Ss into next stitch. Turn.
  • 6htc. Turn.
  • Ch2 (counts as htc). 5htc. Ss into next stitch on hat body. Ss. Turn.
  • 6htc. Turn.
  • Ch2. 5htc. 2ss. Turn.
  • Repeat this row to the end. Slip stitch the final htc row to the first. Fasten off and weave in ends.

Use a pom pom maker or other method of your choice to make a nice big pom pom. Stitch to the top of your finished hat securely and weave in ends.

Wear and enjoy!

This pattern is available on Ravelry.

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Laser Cutting – Guest Post from Chris Braithwaite

Our lovely friend Chris from Laser Cut Supplies has written a guest post for us to explain how he brings to life amazing designs for Under the Rowan Trees.

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I’ve always been creative, and found my first love for computers 25 years ago. I started graphic and web design when I was 13. I’ve taught myself everything – never had any education in computers or design. I’ve always used technology and creativity to solve problems.

I moved to Leeds from Hull when I was 21, met a girl, fell in love and decided Leeds was my new home. 5 years later we have our first child. My partner is very meticulous with a keen eye for detail. For our son’s first birthday she bought boxes and balloons and stickers and made personalised favour boxes for the children. The comments she received were fantastic and as she enjoyed making them and so wanted to make a small business out of it. I worked out that the profit margin was tiny, and we couldn’t charge more for what is essentially a disposable item.

I had been looking for an excuse to buy a Silhouette Cameo craft cutter, and with a small bonus from work, this was the perfect excuse and opportunity to buy one knowing I could save money by making everything from scratch.

As time went on I brought many ideas to life, but eventually my tiny craft cutter was no longer cutting it (pardon the pun) and about a year ago during a stint of depression I decided that if I didn’t change anything, nothing would ever change. I decided to invest in a laser cutter. Secretly I’d been wanting one for years, but never had the guts to outlay such an expense. I took a risk and it paid off. I love experimenting and creating. It’s the perfect tool for me. 

Laser cutting starts at the design stage.

Laser Cutting DesignWhen designing something for laser cutting, a few things need to be taken into consideration. Because a laser cutter burns the material, although not impossible, it’s very difficult to achieve shades. Any point on the material is either “burnt” or “not burnt”, so for simplicity let’s call this Black & White. All designs are created in blocks of black and white.

You also have a choice of cutting, engraving, or a combination of the two. When you decide to cut a section you need to think about whether or not that section is going to fall out of the design or not. You also need to think about how strong each section will be once cut. Because of the precision of the laser it’s easy to create objects so thin that they break very easily.

A lot of thought needs to go into the designs to ensure that they are both attractive and functional.

Once a design is created it needs to be exported to the laser.Laser Cutting Vector

A laser cutter is a type of CNC (Computer Numerical Control). CNCs don’t use pictures like a printer would, they use
vectors. A vector is two points with velocity. The machine uses two (sometimes 3) axis to move a laser beam along a vector. The laser works a lot like using a magnifying glass focusing the sun to burn things, except the focus has a much higher precision than a magnifying glass. If focused correctly it is precise to 0.01mm

Preparing a laser cutter for use is a much more complicated process than simply pressing print on a printer.

A laser is produced in a fragile glass tube – something to do with agitating co2 inside a chamber. I don’t really care for the science involved. The tube gets hot. very hot, and as such needs to be cooled. If the laser tube raises above 25C it will shatter. To keep it cool, water needs to be pumped through the tube all the time while operating. About 50 Litres of deionized water helps keep it cool for a few hours of use.

One the beam has been created, it needs to be redirected to the material, and it does this by being bounced off 3 carefully placed gold plated mirrors and then finally through a  focusing lens. All these parts need to be cleaned on a regular basis using Isopropyl Alcohol. this removes all dust and grease and soot. If you were to leave the parts dirty they would heat up and eventually crack.

As we are burning the materials a lot of smoke is produced. This needs to be removed from the machine and the room. A simple air extractor does the job here. You know the saying “Where there is smoke, there is fire.”? That is very true here. A small flame is often created at the laser point which can damage the lens, or much worse cause fires. This needs to be extinguished, and we do that by focusing a jet of compressed air right at the point. This not only puts the flame out, but it reduces the heat of the smoke, and in turn reduces the extent of the burn to the material.

The laser usually cuts at around 2cm per second (which is pretty slow) and some cuts – depending on complexity –  can take in excess of an hour to cut!

The materials that we use includes paper, card, mdf, spruce plywood, American walnut, cherry and acrylic. We are always exploring with new materials.

There are some materials that we can’t cut – anything that contains chlorine for one. This would produce chlorine gas and that’s probably the last thing you want to be inhaling. Other than the health issue, it would corrode the machine. Polyvinyl Chloride is hidden in a lot of things. A good example is LPs which sometimes get laser cut. This must be done with more advance machines and ventilation

Each material that we use has different settings, so it’s not a case of one size fits all, and as most of the materials we use are from nature, we often find imperfections and have to compensate for these.

I personally find acrylic the best material to work with; the engrave gives a good contrast, it cuts cleanly and it smells great. It can be filled with acrylic paint, and sanded easily.

Acrylic Snowflake

Who knows what the future holds? Maybe a bigger laser and a workshop. I’m still testing the water but I’m confident that one day I’ll find my niche.

Laser Cut Supplies can be found on Facebook.

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The Gallery @ Papercuts

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Yesterday was the launch of a gorgeous new gift shop and gallery in Whitley Bay. The Gallery @ Papercuts is the brain child of Saffron and Pat. Located at the back of a successful craft shop, this pop up shop is destined to be a huge success. I have filled four cubes with a mixture of hoops, memo boards and jewellery – some of which sold before I could even take a photo!

The gallery contains an array of beautiful art, jewellery, cosmetics, gifts and even preserves. The is certain to be something for everyone!

Other contributors include:

Claire Cooper

Claire Cooper

Kath Woollen

Kath Woollen

Tori Lo

Tori Lo Designs

Green Ginger Glass

Green Ginger Glass

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Photography Challenge!

As part of my 30 day challenge I’ve been working on my photography and editing skills. Still very basic but I think I’ve made huge progress. Here is one of my first attempts:20150726_135351And here are some I took today. Hopefully you’ll agree that there is a huge improvement!

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I used PicMonkey which has lots of features which are free and is quite straightforward to use after a little play around.

These items are all now available to purchase from my etsy shop: Under the Rowan Trees

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The Epic A Sale A Day Challenge! Eek!

A-Sale-A-Day-Challenge-2Ok so I’m setting myself a challenge. Lots of lovely people are visiting and liking my etsy shop and other social media pages but sales are slooooow so I’ve decided to take on the 3o step challenge! Hopefully you will be seeing a lot more from me and your walls will soon be adorned with my hoops and noticeboards and you will have rings on your fingers and bells on your toes!

My first challenge is to set myself a goal. That’s easy … or so I thought. Making it specific and achievable was much more difficult.

Step one – Goals

Sell five items from my etsy shop by the end of August.

Host a giveaway on instagram to celebrate 500 followers.

Learn how to use twitter to promote my etsy shop and increase traffic by 10% from that route.

Wish me luck!

 

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LYS- Local Yarn Shop Day

I had wondered where this amazing LYS was that everyone else seemed to be visiting to buy gorgeous yarn. But yesterday if figured it out! A LYS is a local yarn shop! In fact, yesterday was local yarn shop day! A fantastic excuse to sit on a squishy settee, drink tea and natter with some lovely ladies whilst plodding on with some of my favourite crochet projects. Bliss…

My LYS is Woolaballoo in Hexham, Northumberland. The owner Lucy is lovely and helpful and it is such a calming environment that a couple (or four) hours on her sofa felt like a week’s holiday!

Woolaballoo sofa