Turning Green

I have always had a passion for environmentally friendly action, and have had a few items within my shop that would fall within this category, such as this red riding hood bunting, made on organic cotton.

019But I recently decided that I needed to make the whole shop as eco friendly as possible.  This means a lot of restructuring.  I have a lot of fabric that simply does not fall within the remits of eco friendly, so will be holding a fabric sale in the next week or so, to sell off the larger pieces of fabric.

My focus will, therefore, now be to create items from second hand/vintage fabrics, scraps or waste fabric, or organic or fairtrade fabric. Along with some innovative uses of wool.

I have recently also been creating artwork.  Needlefelting onto a wool blanket with ethically sourced merino wool.  This has been a wonderful creative outlet, on which I would like to expand.  This piece, was recently in an exhibition for eco friendly art, in Banks Mill Studios, Derby.  beepicture

I have been able to turn some of them into blank cards, which would suit a myriad of occasions.

sunset card4I have also been creating artwork, from the small bits of yarn left over from previous handspun projects.  This woven wall hanging was inspired by the layers of earth, and has been finished off with snowflake obsidian beads.     weaving3

I have also had access to fabric that would have been destined for the bin, from the retail industry.  Using these scraps, I have been able to create various bohemian style garlands, which have proven rather popular. raggybunting5The creative floodgates are now open, as I will be creating more one off pieces, and looking at fabrics in a completely different light.

Being eco friendly, does not, of course, stop with the products.  The packaging is just as important.  So my packaging is now recycled, or biodegradable.  But I want to go one step further.  I want to work towards being a zero waste business.  I am not sure exactly how close I will be able to get, as there are things like the plastic strips from the biodegradable polybags, that I will have to contend with, and the plastic spools from spent cotton reels, but if I can work imaginatively, hopefully it will be something I can ultimately achieve.

There will be some of the previous designs still available, whilst I use up the fabrics that are not in quantities that are sellable, but I am hoping, that within the next 6 months I will be have made the change over completely to being an eco-friendly business.  My products can all be found over at my Etsy shop, but also over at www.eco-create.co.uk , which is a wonderful gateway to products all with an eco-friendly quality.

Summer flowers

A wonderful customer, who has requested many colour combinations of hair grips in the past, recently contacted me to see if I could create some more colour combinations for her.  This is such a lovely way to explore colour combinations, and I set about spinning some wool.

custom order

For some of the colours of wool, I approached a friend who dyes wool, and asked her to create some of the colours that were asked for.  Kirsty, at Wharfedale Woolworks kindly obliged me, and this enabled me to get the colours needed. rose and dark grey

Some of the colour combinations have been added to the shop, as I spun extra wool.  Others will be added when I find the time to add them!!  mint and light greyThis colour combination I think would make lovely hair grips for a bridesmaid, and can be ordered heremint and beige purple and dark greyI think this may be my favourite colour combination, olive and salmon pink.  It can be ordered right hereolive and salmonIf you would like to order any of the colours here that have not yet been added to the shop, you can order them via this listing, and just specify what colours you would like, or just drop me a line via a contact conversation on Etsy. pale pink and green

I am always open to custom orders, and love creating colour combinations especially for the individual, so if  you have your own ideas as to what colours you would like in a floral hairgrip, please do contact me. turquoise and cream

 

 

Adding to the range

I have a number of hair clips in my shop, in a variety of colours and have had a number of custom order for them, which has added to the number of colours available.  They are all made with handspun wool, and embellished with lace and crystal beads.

Some of the new colours are more summery, such as this beautiful lemon-y coloured hair grip. Available for order just here

lemon hair grip

Also some cream hair grips, which I think would be perfect for a summer wedding, or to add a touch of  glamour to an outfit.  Which can be bought here

cream hair grip

I have also had a custom order for a gorgeous blue/green combination, which I can re-produce for you if you order it here.

blue green hair clips

Creating these, then sparked some other ideas, such as a ring, based upon the same design. This is secured to an adjustable ring base, meaning it will fit many different shaped fingers.  This can be bought here

flower ring

I also had a desire to create some peacock inspired hair clips, which are available to buy here

peacock hair grips

I have an idea for some pastel coloured hair clips in pale blue and pink, but these are still in the development phase!

I am always open to colour combination suggestions, for both the hair clips and rings.  I can be contacted via Etsy to discuss any custom orders.

Hibiscus macBook

Last time I mentioned I was spinning more wool for a macBook cover.    It is based on the Hibiscus bag that I made back in the Spring time.  And is basically a much bigger version of the iPad cover I made here.

It took the best part of three bobbins of three ply, handspun wool.  Again using the zwartble/suffolk cross fleece.  It is lined with the beautifully bright, Hibiscus material, and finished off with a large ceramic button.

Within the case is a protective structure which both give form and rigidity to the cover, and is padded too, which will protect its contents that bit more.

I have gained a great sense of achievement making this.  It all went to plan, and the reciepient is pleased wiith it too, which makes Aisling Designs very happy indeed.

The build up to Christmas

I know it is only October,  but Christmas is only around the corner, and I feel so disorganised as a crafter.  I haven’t been doing this long enough to have “done” Christmas before, and I already feel like I’ve left it too late!!

One thing I am excited about is a little project between myself and Michelle over at Handmade Haven.  She made a batch of cinammon soaps, which I am felting in Christmassy colours and designs.  The felted soaps lather up beautifully, which means you use less soap each time. The felt also acts like a flannel, and gently exfoliates the skin, and as you use it the wool continues to felt, so it stays close tight to the soap itself.  These will hopefully make a wonderful stocking filler type present.I have been asked by the guild if I had any things that I could sell at a stall they are doing in November.  So, I am making up some crocheted flowers using bits of spun wool, and turning them into brooches.  There is also plans for hairclips and bobby pins too!

I have a custom order for a macBook cover based on the original Hibiscus bag and the iPad cover that came from that.  So have been busy spinning more wool to complete this.

There are plans for Christmas bunting, although, right now, this is right down on the list of priorities, but the material is there, ready and waiting for when I have a spare moment!

A custom order for some jungle bunting is ready to be made, now that I have all the material.

And three more custom Blessing buntings to be made by December, using various ccombinations of these colours.

I think this should keep me fairly busy til December, but just on the off chance there is a quiet moment, there are some Christmas cross-stitches I could do too!

And don’t you just know, it will be here before we know it!!

 

Busy behind the scenes part 2

I showed you back here in the summer holidays what was keeping me busy, with the preparing and spinning of the gorgeous Zwartble/Suffolk cross fleece in order to fulfill a custom order for an iPad cozy.  It is all finished now, and with its new owner who has let me know she is really pleased with it.

So here is the rest of the story.  I knitted up the cozy, and this was a sneaky peek of it before it was finished.

To finish it I had to add an internal structure to protect the iPad from knocks, and I had to find the perfect button.  A lovely warped silver button really finished off this iPad cover brilliantly. Such a feeling of satisfaction when you find the perfect item.

The iPad fitted perfectly, and the contrast of the bright pink and the grey gives an element of surprise to this lovely cover.

The internal structure gives a more rounded feel to the cover than it would have if it had simply been a slipcase.  But feels sturdy enough to withstand the wear and tear a well used iPad takes.

There was enough wool for another case to be made, but this time it is simply a slip case with no added structure.  This one is available for sale in my etsy shop.

You would think that might be the end of the tale.  But, another spawning of the original “hibiscus bag” is in the offing, this time in the form of a macbook cover.  So the story continues…

Busy behind the scenes

Not much to see in the finished article line of things at the moment, but here’s what I have been up to.  After the Hibiscus bag, I got asked to make an Ipad cozy.  Unfortunately I had run out of the grey zwartble/suffolk cross fleece I had use to create the hibiscus bag.  After a message to a good friend, I was able to get one of this years fleeces.  Much darker this year due to the lack of sun bleaching with our dismal summer!  Still a very beautiful fleece, and I was looking forward to see how it turned out.

So wash day saw some of the zwartble get washed, along with some of sorted Jacobs fleece I have also managed to acquire from our local childrens farm.

With the fine weather we have had this last couple of weeks, it was a joy to be able to sit out in the garden and card the fleece, plus all the little bits that are caught in the fleece just fell on the garden instead, so less clearing up!!

Then this last week has been spent spinning it up.  As I spin quite thin, I decided a three ply would give me the worsted Aran weight yarn I was after.  I worked out that three bobbins, holding between them around 300m of single ply yarn, then plyed together, meant that over a km of yarn passed through my fingers last week.  No wonder they were feeling nice and smooth!

On to the knitting now.  It is beautiful to knit, having seen the process all the way through from fleece to final article, a real sense of pride, as well as the yarn being lovely to knit anyway!

A second installment will follow once it is all finished.

 

 

 

 

Every cloud has a silver lining.

This is what I have been reminding myself these last couple of weeks.  About 10 days ago I hurt my little finger.  Just bent it the wrong way but gosh, did it hurt!  And it is still hurting.  I can’t crochet, as I use my little finger to create the tension in the yarn.  It tends to be hurting only when I put it under pressure, so I can still spin, and the yarn I have produced is so wonderfully soft and squishy (alpaca/merino three ply) and such subtle colour changes.  This is destined for a cushion cover for the guiild competition, but I think I will have enough fleece and fibre to make some more for sale.

My sewing machine is poorly at the moment, so all things sewing had been put on hold.  However, after a plea on facebook for a recommendation for somewhere that could do a sewing machine service, my aunt stepped in and gave me her machine that she no longer used.

Not only that but she gave me all of Grandma’s threads that she used.  Grandma was a very talented lady, and would often make gorgeous outfits for herself, as well as collages and sewn birthday cards, so I feel very honoured to have such things that were hers.  I just hope I can do them justice.

The final silver lining, after feeling that I was such a tiny fish in Etsy, and not being able to get any sales.  I was recommended to join a team, full of British sellers, and they are a wealth of knowledge for all things Etsy.  They support each other and help to promote each other.  I still don’t have any sales other than commissions from friends (which I’m not knocking in any way whatsoever, I LOVE doing commissions) but I don’t feel so alone doing what I do now.  And in the light of promoting others, here is the link for CraftBritannia’s shop of the week.