Monthly Archives: May 2013

Colours everywhere

I don’t know about you but I really like strong and bright colours. Especially as it is all grey when I look out of the window. It is may though, isn’t it?

Maybe I suffer from some kind of parrot syndrome or lets call it rainbow syndrome, that sounds slightly better…. Anyway, I really love these few tops that I have knitted using the “Versa” pattern by Shannon Passmore. She has a great blog too: crafty-desires.blogspot.com

There is also more info on this pattern with even more pictures on my projects – page.

This blue-purple-red one, I made  for my niece last year and I have been told that she has been wearing it a lot. And as it is a tunic, it fitted her for ages. In fact I think it still does:

bold colours with pockets

bold colours with contrasting pockets

For the next two, I have used rather sunny colours, they remind me a bit of a sunset:

sunset colours, pockets and bow

sunset colours, pockets and bow

I also really like the details. The bow is fully stitched on, I guess it would look nicer if it wasn’t so securely stitched on but I made it in a under 2 size so I wanted to be on the safe side.  The pockets are really small as it is a small garment but my daughter always managed to get at least a tissue in hers and she just loved them.

I have used Lana Grossa Elastico Big for these. It really comes in great shades. It is a cotton yarn with 4% Polyester. I guess I can live with such a tiny amount, it still has all the good sides of cotton and is just more stretchy, which is very good for this type of garment that should sit closely to the body.

On the other end of the intensity scale there is this set of cardigans for newborns for hopefully soon to be born twins (and they better are the announced girl and boy 🙂 ) And even if I am normally a fan of bright and bold colours, I do like this yarn a lot. It is just right for tiny new babies. It is a discontinued yarn (Rowan purelife organic cotton DK)  so I will only be able to make a few very precious little things out of my last stock anyway.

softness for newborn twins

softness for newborn twins

I guess this project deserves its own post, hopefully with better pictures…. I just need time to catch up with everything I have done….

Pricing

Before actually starting Atelier Oursonne, I was thinking and researching a lot about the pricing of hand made items. There seems to be an agreement in the online world that 2 or 3 times the price of the material is appropriate and I have to say that I find that calculation a bit odd and does not value at all the amount of work that goes into a knitted item. I came across this blog post http://ittakesballstoknit.com/?p=2457 from a guy who is even suggesting that people should not buy any hand knitted items sold at ridiculously low prices.

And on Portobello Road Market I once saw a stand with lots of hand knitted sweaters in children sizes for about 8 to 10£. They were only made of very cheap acrylic yarn but still, this is ridiculous. It barely covers the costs of material. So where did they get the yarn from and who has been knitting? Certainly no one in London, or the UK, or Europe… I still regret that I didn’t ask the lady when I passed. I was clearly under shock.

Obviously, if I would calculate the price of a very simple sweater for a baby by adding the costs of the material to the labour costs (even if I just used the minimum wages for my calculation), then I would have to price it somewhere in between 100 and 150£. Some might find that a tiny bit too much for any garment for a baby…. And I have to say that I personally would not pay that kind of money for a knitted sweater for one of my children even if it is made of 100% pure merino wool. I would just knit it myself 🙂

I know that some people are actually prepared to pay even more for a special piece of their toddler’s wardrobe but I also think that every child should have the right to wear a good quality woolen sweater during the cold winter months rather than the statically charged and sweaty acrylic version. Well, “every child” is probably a bit ambitious considering that already the material costs easily 10 – 30£ depending of the size of the sweater.

So I have finally decided to take many things into account when calculating my prices: the amount and quality of the used yarn, the complexity of the actual work (sometimes it is simple and you can do it whilst doing other things too, sometimes you really need to focus), labour time to a certain extend and the “intended purpose” to name just a few.

Intended purpose  means that the price of the necessary woolen sweater for a child will not depend much on the labour time whilst the price for the pretty cushion or for the delicate lace shawl knitted from a silk-merino blend will reflect those hours of work much more.

So, having high and low prices in the same shop might look odd at first but I hope I could make my choice clear with this post.

The Little Rascals

ImageThe Little Rascals by Julia Stanfield is one of my favourite patterns. Actually it is a whole set of patterns, it is really clever and versatile and I wish I could come up with something as well thought-out as this pattern (and no I am not getting paid for praising her 🙂 ).

It is a seamless knit so you do not get those sometimes fairly bulky seams when you are using a thicker yarn and there are no troubles with armholes not quite meeting the width of the sleeves. Especially for children cloths I find those two criteria very appealing.

The other thing I really like about this pattern is the fact that it is knitted from top to bottom which means you can adjust the length much more easily and just stop knitting at the required length (even trying it on before cutting off the yarn) rather than doing complicated measurements and calculations in order to suit your particular needs.

Now, both techniques have existed before and have been invented by another very clever person (who should be praised for, too) but I just happened to stumble upon this pattern and it has been the base for a few sweaters so far. My own children and two nephews were lucky enough to get woolen ones for this winter, the next one to knit will be a summery cardigan for my niece.

Who would think that those two come from the same original pattern:

IMG_9591

IMG_9585

This is one that I have just made for a young boy, I quite like the slightly crazy eyes of the caterpillar, it must be really hungry:

Image

And the best thing is that actually the pattern offers me lots of variations, sweater, cardigan or short sleeved vestee, different types of pockets, collar or no collar, hood or no hood,…

So those options plus my own ideas basically allow me endless and very individual designs which is just great.

I’ve done it!

ImageAfter years of dreaming, months of talking, and weeks of preparation I have officially opened my etsy-shop. You’ll find it here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/AtelierOursonne

I guess May 1st is quite a good day to start a new business.

So far I have only listed one item, there will be following a few more in the next couple of days and I will also write lots and lots on my new blog but for now that’s it.