Friday, 22 January 2016

Shock! Americans aren't rude

I've been selling beads (and before that jewellery) for quite a while on Etsy and have lots of lovely customers in the USA. In fact, today I have realised that I have even more lovely American customers than I realised.

I get quite a few requests for custom beads and a fairly typical one liner is:
"Could I get more of these"

If I were writing that to someone, I would add a please on the end.

I was brought up with manners being important. Very. Not saying please or thank got a more severe telling off than running through the house with dirty shoes on (or setting fire to a saucepan ... or encouraging my sister to put a motorised spinning top in her hair ... but those are stories for another day).

Anyway, I'm not one (normally) to turn down business so I would (usually) reply in a jovial and friendly manner, get a good two-way conversation going, find out the customer is actually pretty nice and wonder why on earth they were so rude and bossy in their original message. This has happened upteen times so when I got another this morning, I put an irritated complaint into Google
"Americans don't say please"

and Google duly obliged with a link to this enlightening article

Such a good job I did because it turns out "could" seems to be the American polite word when asking a small favour. Adding please is overkill, too formal and might be interpreted as bossy. I'm appalled with myself for not checking this out sooner.

To any American who caught me on a bad day and so received short shrift and got an unhelpful answer, I must go through my messages and apologise most humbly. Could you forgive me, please? I know, I know. I'm also sorry I added the "please" but I can't help it, I'm British (and my mum would tell me off!)

Do you have any examples where cultural differences have led to misunderstandings?

Sunday, 17 January 2016


Crochet catnip mouse toy with cheese

Please help! My house is over run with crochet mice. I've managed to catch them all and they're now for sale in my Etsy shop. Available in a whole rainbow of colours, they're about three and a half inches long, including tail. A little silver coloured "bell" has been incorporated into the tail, it doesn't ring, it rattles more than jingles! 

Here's a super cute video of my sister's cat, the gorgeous Georgie, enjoying hers

I'm hoping they will sell fast .... before I run out of cheese!

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Temperature blanket

Missy is helping me with my temperature blanket. I've unraveled the first ten rows. With changing colour every time the temperature varied by 5 degrees, I was only using two colours and I confess to getting ever so slightly fed up with turquoise repeating as often as it was. 

I decided instead to change colour every 3 degrees, this means I have used three colours already! Much more fun.

I check the temperature for my village on the Met Office site first thing when I get up. Whatever the site says will be the actual temperature at 12.00 noon determines the colour for that day's row. Here's my revised colour scheme.

I have sneak peeked ahead and if tomorrow's temperature stays the same at zero degrees, I will be able to use Plum for the first time! The excitement is palpable. Of course, MTM doesn't understand, he rolls his eyes in disbelief at my jubilation. "Just do a row in Plum if that's what you want". 

 On a temperature blanket, THAT would be cheating!

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Hot water bottle cover pattern featuring flip top

Flip top granny square hot water bottle cover

I am pleased to announce my first paid for crochet pattern is now available on instant download from my Sooz Jewels Etsy shop for approximately £2.50 (depending on exchange rates).

Flip top granny square hot water bottle cover

One of the more unusual features of the design is the flip top flap opening which I designed for ease of use for my elderly parents.

Beginners with a little experience of basic stitches should be able to use this pattern. If you can chain and do double, treble, half treble and slip stitches, you should have no problems. You make 12 granny squares (pattern included) and then join them together.

The pattern is 19 pages long and contains 55 photographs so it's very detailed. There is a full step by step picture tutorial walking you through the joining technique, the flap opening and the tube section on the top. Everything is explained comprehensively. If you've never joined squares together before, this pattern is a good way of expanding your experience.

It's written in UK terminology throughout.

Warmer toes in bed are guaranteed!

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Finishing off WIPs and starting a temperature blanket

Inbetween Christmas and New Year, in that quiet little lull when the weather was rubbish except for one day, I managed to get quite a bit of crochet done. I spent the time concentrating on finishing off items that have been neglected, otherwise known as my WIPs.

The above picture is my finished Frank O'Randle's Rings of Change tablecloth being blocked. I told you a few weeks ago when it was still a Work In Progress how I modified earlier rounds to make it into a tablecloth. It was big enough when it got to row 78 so I finished it there and added two rows of my own custom border. It's been drying on towels under my dining room table for the last 3 days, I'm giving it another day just to be sure.

Two cushions for my antique Edwardian chaise longue. One in granny squares and the other a very simple bobble stitch which is just dcs and dtrs, I should do a closeup so you can see the texture of it but I'll probably write it up as a free pattern so I'll save the close up for then, 

I spotted the stitch on a Dutch Pinterest board, I had to work out what the UK equivalents were of words like afstand, herhalen and doorgaan. Google Translate only gets you so far when it comes to technical crochet stitches. It was actually quite a lot of fun; I'm thinking if I ever need to get a proper job again, I may retrain as a linguist!

I also completed a throw for one of my armchairs, It needs blocking before it can be photographed. With Rings of Change taking up all the available blocking space at the moment, I'll save that for another day. 

Haven't I been good?! Three finished WIPs means I'm allowed to start a new project. There has been talk in some of the crochet groups I follow on Facebook about temperature blankets. The traditional time to start one is 1 January. 

The original link I followed was made in Bernat yarns but I've never used it and I don't have any. I have so much yarn in my stash, I wondered if I had enough equivalent yarn in other brands to get going. I have plenty of Stylecraft Special DK; I found I was only one colour short which I bought this morning from the Wool Zone in Oakham. Here are my colours, from left to right:

Plum, Petrol, Turquoise, Aspen, Grass Green, Kelly Green, Gold Sunshine and Tomato. 
The pattern I'm using is Lucy of Attic24's Granny Stripes.

The idea is that you crochet one row a day, the colour of the row varies depending on the temperature so at the end of the year, you have a woolly record of how warm (or cold!) it's been!

So far, all six days (at around midday) have been either Turquoise(1 to 6 degrees C) or Aspen (7 to 12)... it will be exciting to change to another colour, apparently it'll be getting quite a bit colder next week so I may have to get the Petrol (-5 to zero) out! I'm wondering if it'll ever be cold enough this winter to use Plum (below -6)!

Stay warm x