Thursday, April 28, 2016

Now I am a photographer too

Well, at least I bought the equipment: DSLR camera, book, bag, memory card, remote trigger, extra batteries. 

Spending money is so much fun! 

Some of my new Etsy product photos:

I'm sure there's lots to learn and improve. To be honest, I'm still using it on auto mostly. The blurry background doesn't seem so difficult, I'll work on this some more. 

I've also been photographing my triplets, the feral cats that show up at my kitchen window, wanting food:

Monday, April 25, 2016

Christmas stocking with Raccoon

I recently knitted a Christmas stocking to match this fox with Santa Hat Christmas stocking:

It has green and red reversed, so it starts off in red:

The raccoon is quite large, but so is the fox with hat. 

This is the pure wool version, around 25" long.

Now available as a made to order Christmas stocking on my Etsy website:

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Lidl Ireland finally doing real, tasty German food

This is going to be the weirdest blog post I've ever written, but I must share this amazing gift Lidl is making us German expats living in Ireland this week. And all others brave enough to try new and exciting food!

In Ireland, we have two large, popular German supermarket chains: Lidl and Aldi (while in Germany there's a bunch more shops like these). They have a large selection of food at a discounted price and I do my main shop at Lidl. 

In the 9.75 years I've been living in Ireland they have never offered the German food I love: Spaetzle, Schupfnudeln, Nuernberger Wuerstchen, Leberkaese, Currywurst. 

One gets used to this grave oversight in product supply. Sure, black pudding and bacon rashers are great comfort foods too. But as of this week, Lidl is actually offering the good stuff! All I've missed (and more), available in Lidl:

My flatmate and I have been stuffing our suitcases when coming back from Germany to bring back a few weeks' supply of Spaetzle ("Egg noodles"), Schupfnudeln ("Potatoe noodles"), Leberkaese ("Bavarian style mini meatloaf") etc.  

Check out the selection in Lidl's Newsletter:

To make it even better, it couldn't have come at a better time: We ran out of supplies from the Christmas break a little while ago and the next trip to Germany is 1 month (for her)/ 2 months (for me) away. 

So this was the combined shopping, which should last us for a few weeks:

I'm very grateful to Lidl, you've made a bunch of German expats very happy this week! Let's hope it catches on and becomes a regular thing. These things don't necessarily have to become part of the product line, but once every 3-6 months would be amazing! 

And then there's Aldi. Due to it's lack of freshly baked breads and pastries it's only my second favourite supermarket. But in keeping tabs on what Lidl is doing, they might do these German superfoods in a few weeks too. 

Aldi's commercials are great here in Ireland, check out some of my favourites:

More great news: After stacking up all the food in the fridge, there's even a bit of space left, so we can go back to Lidl and buy some more Spaetzle tomorrow, because, you know, Every Lidl helps...

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Sail Boats on a Christmas Stocking

I recently finished knitting a Christmas stocking with sail boats, on special request for the customer.

This stocking has the same name on front and back. Sometimes I knit a nickname, birth date or initials on the back. 

The customer chose the boats and I made a knitting chart from them. I had to frog a part of the boat, it wasn't looking right.

This is pure wool, Donegal Tweed. 

I'm always a little nervous sending a new pattern to a customer, they have such faith in me. 

I sell Christmas stockings and knitting patterns on Etsy: Santa's Sock Central
Ravelry name: Gigi82

Sunday, February 21, 2016

5 years on Etsy

February, 21st marks my Etsyversary! My shop has changed a lot through the years! 

First item sold: kntited pillowcase with cable pattern
First 3 Stockings
Year 1: Within 5 minutes of hearing about Etsy, I opened my shop. I had one (badly-photographed) aran cardigan, beautiful and way too cheap! Later on I listed baby booties, leg warmers, socks and pillow cases that I knitted. I sold nothing for 4 months. Finally got some orders for pillow cases (with aran patterns, all kinds of colours and sizes), most were custom orders. Got into personalized Christmas stockings and sold a few around my first Etsy Christmas, way too cheap, although they weren't as good as they are now.

Year 2: Custom pillow cases took off! Had to go yarn shopping every week (yeah, such a chore), because everyone wanted a different colour and lots of yarn goes into them. I realized I wasn't charging enough but kept going. Around Christmas time again Christmas stockings were popular. I raised my prices. I offered more choices on colours and patterns. Sold more than I could make, ran out of time, customers had to wait a long time.

More colours, more patterns

Year 3: Found my niche: Personalized knitted Christmas stockings. I wasn't giving any discounts before Christmas. I stopped doing the pillow cases. I offered more choices for Christmas stockings: More patterns, more sizes, more colours, pure wool and acrylic yarn.

Popular Christmas Stockings

Year 4: My out of season discount was still quite high and I had a waiting list I was working on well into the time new orders started rolling in. I started creating knitting patterns. I changed my shop name to SantasSockCentral.

Lots of large stockings

Year 5: Last year. Out of season discount went down to 10% and I finished the waiting list by August. Success! I created more knitting patterns. Promoted on Instagram and Twitter. Started an email list of customers.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Christmas Stockings - Creating Memories

Christmas conjures up soothing memories - the scent of pine and cinnamon, the crackle and warmth of a fire, and time-honored traditions that thrill hearts young and old in equal measure. One of the most delightful of these traditions is the Christmas stocking. Whether your family dives into stockings bursting with treats the night before Christmas or early in the morning before the main event, the hanging of empty stockings always elicits a tiny thrill of expectation. 

Wool Christmas Stockings
Stockings are the perfect place for the most personal of gifts: little trinkets that remind our beloved ones of the best things in life often find themselves tucked neatly in the toe of a knit sock. Capture the spirit of this tradition with a traditional Christmas stocking personalized for your family.

Personalized Christmas Stockings
Now accepting orders for 2016, out of season discount available until May 2016 (or a small stocking for cat or dog as my gift): Santa's Sock Central on Etsy

Monday, September 14, 2015

Set of 6 Knitted Christmas stockings

I got a great order for 6 personalized knitted Christmas stockings last month, I like everything about them:

Personalized Knitted Christmas stockings by Santa's Sock Central
These 6 stockings are extra large: 29" long and 8.5" wide. Each stocking repeats 3x a smaller pattern (hearts, snowflakes and trees). I was also able to include the diamond pattern at the foot.
I enjoyed knitting these
I made a mistake as well, but caught it in time to be fixed: The Santa heads were supposed to be blue on white, the first time I made them white on blue. 

Mistake fixed! 

They are really quite big, here held by a fully grown person (me):

Big Christmas stocking

I got the official order on 10th August, finished them on 7th September. There were a few smaller orders I was working on at the same time, but this was my main project. In September till November a set of 6 would take me longer (I would have more orders at the same time). I exchanged about 75 messages with the buyer. 

Very happy with the result

To order a set of (or just one) personalized knitted Christmas stockings, please contact me via my Etsy shop: Santa's Sock Central