A day in the studio – Leaf stitch markers

February and March are always the busiest time of the year in the studio and it’s always at this time that my thoughts turn to the Wonderwool Wales show that is only 8 weeks away (22-23 April 2017). Preparation for this show (and all shows) begin some 3 months before the show with a long “to do list” that I dutiful review every week in my bullet journal, and often feel like I make little real progress on until the pressure begins around now (6-8 weeks before)! With over 2 pages of products to create, I probably should have started a few weeks ago, but hey, who doesn’t work well under pressure! Today’s post is about a day in the bead studio.

As you can see below it’s fairly time consuming to produce each batch of stitch markers, photograph the set and upload to the website.

Show Prep

This will be the 8th Wonderwool Wales that Atomic Knitting has exhibited at, and I feel that the stand together with the whole show has come a long way since those early days. For Atomic Knitting there are usually over 1500 products to get ready/create, package and price up ahead of the show, then all the loose beads, buttons and ‘special items’ that I produce just for the show. In between there’s the stand design to consider as well as the relevant marketing paraphernalia that needs to be ordered around 6 weeks before. This is all in parallel with running the website, writing newsletters, creating new products, making up wholesale orders, photography and social media to name just a few tasks.

I do love it all though and am thankful that I can spend the day in such a creative way.

A day in the life…Leaf Stitch Markers

Here’s how today turned out the studio.

9:00am  Coffee & BuJo

I usually start by making a list of what I want to achieve in the day, from creating new products to paying the bills, it all gets written down. I usually end up with about 5 or 6 things I want to accomplish, and I know I might only get 1 or 2 done today…the rest are there just in case!

9:15am  Gather

First on the list today was the creation of new beaded leaf stitch markers. Once ready to begin the first product, I start by gathering together the beads, findings and tools that I need. In this case, leaf beads in multiple colours, Swarovski Xillion crystals in all available colours, seed beads, findings, rings, clasps, ribbon, card and packaging. I’ve had the leaf beads in stock for a little while and last week had a new batch of Swarovski Xillion crystals arrived that were sparkling away on the desk, catching my eye.

9:30am  Design

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It took around an hour to make up one of each of the seven designs that have been released today. Each marker is made using a leaf bead, a Xillion Swarovski crystal and seed beads. There’s a variety of gold and silver plated designs, and the Make Your Mark service is available on all seven designs.

 

10.30am Nettle Tea Break & Email check

The email check reveals a couple of orders have come in to be processed and dispatched later today.

10.45am Make

Now the designs are finalised it’s time to create multiple versions of each one including Make Your Mark sets. Markers to fit 4mm, 7mm, crochet and removable markers are made up.

Each set is ribbon tied on card and packaged ready for immediate dispatch.

12.30pm Lunch

 1:15pm Photo

Meanwhile the dark rain clouds had rolled in, at the time I wanted to get the photography done. I usually prefer to use natural light where possible in the product photography and that just wasn’t going to work today, so out came the full studio lighting rig and after about an hour, the shots of the seven designs were ready to go on the website. The last of these designs are also packaged up.

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 1:45pm Upload

Once the photos are uploaded, they are cropped and tidied up ready for the website. The final uploads of each product are now available to purchase here (or at Wonderwool Wales!).

 2:30pm Orders & Post Office run

The orders received overnight and so far today are picked, packed and dispatched (this was quick today as all product ordered was available for immediate dispatch!). A quick run to the Post Office then back to the studio.

 3:45pm Tea & Teacake

Naughty, I know but it was soooo cold outside and I really fancied something with a cup of tea!

 4:00pm Website

Updates to the front page carousel with a new picture of the leaf stitch markers.

 4:30pm Blog

Time to start writing the blog, collating pictures and publishing! Narrowly finished at 6pm ready to publish later. A quick review of the BuJo (not much to tick off today!) then a tidy up, finally closing up the studio at 6.15pm.

Phew – that was a busy day! I’m really pleased with the Leaf Stitch Markers and I always enjoy making them. Now time to head home and publish this blog and flip a pancake or two.

Emma

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First charity donation to BHF

Last week I made the first donation from sales of our specific British Heart Foundation charity products plus 10% of sales from our mid February event.

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I couldn’t have hoped for a better start to our campaign as the Charity Deep Red Heart 4mm Stitch Marker set with Swarovski crystals – BHF sold out in the first 2 days, and our other products also sold well to enable us to raise donations in just a few days!

Very happily our British Heart Foundation Just Giving page now has a grand total of £35 towards our £100 goal. Wow! Thank you!

If you would like to help support through sales of Atomic Knitting Charity products, our shop is here. The shop has been restocked for immediate dispatch today. I will continue to donate on a monthly basis to our Just Giving page with donations from the specific products in the shop link.

A huge thank you to everyone that helped support this charity through Atomic Knitting. I hope with your help, we can make another fantastic donation next month.

Best wishes

Emma

For the love of charity

February is often associated with St Valentines day and typical images of hearts and flowers. This February at Atomic Knitting we have decided to add to our charity work by supporting the British Heart Foundation (BHF). We’ll be donating the proceeds of sales of a selection of our exclusively designed heart themed knitting and crochet notions, including heart stitch markers sets, a beaded heart progress marker and a red foil heart Portuguese pin.

Our Just Giving page has been set up here and we will donate to it directly every couple of months with the proceeds of these sales (in the same way that we have been doing for Cancer Research UK).

To kick start our campaign, from today until 15th February, 10% of all Atomic Knitting website sales will also be donated in addition to the sales of our specific BHF charity products to our BHF Just Giving page.

Our shop is now open here

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New this week

A New Year brought a resolution about business blogging and social media updates regularly. As an online business, both blogging and social media are important part of reaching customers and enabling the Atomic Knitting brand to gain more visibility.

With the help of my new bullet journal, I plan to have more consistency with social media postings and interactions. This year, my plan mission as far as the blog goes, is to write weekly blog posts (I decided the first week of January didn’t count ha!). Social media updates will become daily across the various platforms of Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. Each day, depending on the topic, there should be at least one post on one of these platforms, sometimes on multiple platforms. It would be great if you could join me!

Find us here:

Facebook – Atomicknitting1

Twitter – AtomicKnitting

Instagram – AtomicKnitting

Pinterest – AtomicKnitting

Google Plus – AtomicKnitting

LinkedIn – Atomic-Knitting

Content will include shop updates, daily life in the studio and getting out and about. I’m sure there will be more along the way. That said, here is this week’s shop update. All available here although, the owl and cat are one off pieces.

Emma

 

 

From the Studio

This week has been the first full week back in the studio after the rush of Christmas. I’ll be honest, the studio needs a big sort out which is easier said than done! There really are beads everywhere!

In the meantime, the new designs have started to be completed with the first ones ready this week. Our new set of Sing A Rainbow Removable 6mm knitting stitch markers are super sparkly with gorgeous glass crystals that catch the light. The removable knitting markers can be used in projects that need various stitches or rows marked and have 10 markers available in the set with a pretty heart holder to keep them together. This set is also available in to fit needles up to 4mm and 7mm.

rainbow-stitch-markers-remove-2Also this week our new lace stitch markers in retro colours to fit needles up to 6mm are launched. These will be available with some savings on bulk buying, however I do expect them to sell fast!

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I couldn’t resist making these Portuguese Pins with a lovely Celtic charm. They can be made with a variety of attachments to suit.

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All the above are available to purchase at www.atomicknitting.co.uk

The Overwhelm of Underwhelming Cyber Shopping?

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As a small business, I’m thankful for every customer that visits Atomic Knitting, especially at this time of year when there is seemingly so many websites vying for the attention and ultimately clicks of a ‘hopefully soon to be’ customer. With so much choice and variety in the online world, customers really can afford to shop around at the click of a button.

With Black Friday, Black Friday Weekend, Cyber Monday and it’s endless offers bombarding through emails, tweets, Facebook posts and other social media, as a consumer it’s pretty overwhelming. Underwhelm sets in shortly after finding that maybe some of the offers aren’t quite as great as you hoped or the products are not quite what you wanted.

As a business I sent out a newsletter just before Black Friday and interestingly, it’s the least opened newsletter I’ve ever sent out (down 28% on the average open rate). I put this down to the sheer volume of emails received by consumers in the lead up to Black Friday & Cyber Monday. Looking at my own inbox, I could hardly believe the onslaught of unopened promotional emails – there must be 3-4 pages of them at least. Overwhelming for everyone and I think fatigue sets in. Coupled too with media stories regarding what a true bargain is (I’m referring here to the ‘big shops’ that pile ’em high, sell  ’em cheaper but not the cheapest they’ve ever been). Add in a little more than a dollop of global economic uncertainty and it’s easy to see why consumers are careful with their buying choices.

Nevertheless, at Atomic Knitting we had “Black Friday Fortnight” and now I am extending these offers into “Cyber Monday” too (until midnight). The reason being, I don’t do a lot of sales over the year, and yet I want my customers to have the best offers and products that I can give them, especially in the run up to Christmas. I’m not a fan of the Black Friday terminology, so perhaps this will be the last one for Atomic Knitting in it’s current guise. Maybe I should call the next one ‘not a Black Friday sale’ and run it in October 🙂

Here’s a short list of our special offers, that yes, are the best offers we have had all year:

  • Atomic Knitting will donate 10% of sales of Black Friday products to Cancer Research UK. We like to fundraise and I will be donating via our fundraising page in early December. With your ongoing help, we’ve raised over £600 so far.
  • Buy One Get One Free on all bamboo circular needles and Double Pointed Needles
  • Over 60 studio special products available at our best discounted price, with many as one off designs that we won’t or can’t repeat. These include progress markers, knitting stitch markers, stitch holders, row counters and much more
  • For UK customers, it’s free shipping when order is over £10

I do hope you’ll take a moment to click and take a look at our offers at Atomic Knitting 🙂

Emma

 

 

 

 

pattern marker

How to use a pattern tamer

Our pattern tamers/markers can be used with paper patterns to keep track of each row or section that is knitted.

Pattern Marker how to useSimply place the pattern in-between the pattern tamer and slide it down the pattern with each row worked. Use two pattern tamers to section off parts  of the pattern that you are following. This technique should make it easier to follow the pattern and keep your place. It’s also useful to leave on your pattern ready for your next knitting session, then you can just pick up where you left off. Easy!

We suggest also using a row counter to help keep count of the rows and a lifeline with complex patterns.

Until Midnight Sunday 21st August, we’re having a flash sale with 19% off (to celebrate Team GB’s 19 gold medals won to date) with coupon code Rio16 entered at checkout. Shop now!

Counting Stitch Markers

This week we’ll take a look at counting stitch markers. These are used in the same way as stitch markers and are colour coded or numbered/lettered or both!

They can be used on the needle to count stitches across the needles – handy for a 300 stitch cast on – simply use a counting marker every 25 or 50 to make it easy to keep track of the cast on. Leave the counting markers in place while knitting your project, and should you drop a stitch/yarn over one, it should be easier to spot the mistake by counting stitches in each section. Counting markers can also be used to track pattern repeats or sections, especially useful for repeating sections or complex patterns with stitch variations.

In the studio we produce two types of numbered markers – those labelled 1 -10 which you can use as you wish on your project, and a second type with higher numbers on 10, 20, 25, 50, 100 etc designed specifically for a cast on. These cast on counters are very popular and do sell out quickly, so why not subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on social media to keep in touch with when we release each batch.

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How to use a stitch marker

Every week we take a look at one of our products in a little more depth. This week we’ll start with our sweet stitch markers, that we began selling 10 years ago and are a staple on our website and in our knitting bag.

What is it?

Simply put, a stitch marker is really just a memory device. That’s it.

It’s there to help you remember to check your pattern. Perhaps it’s a tricky section, or there needs to be some increase/decreases/yarn overs/beads added/stitch change/start/stitch counts…..to name a few.

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How to use one

Stitch markers can be placed on the needles or on a specific stitch depending on pattern requirements. When you reach a marker, check you pattern, remove it from the needle (move to the other needle) and knit per pattern.

Sometimes they are added on large sections to count stitches (we have special ones available for that). Stitch markers can be used in a variety of ways to aid your knitting projects and we’ll be giving more hints and tips on the blog, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Click to follow us.

Want to know more about us? See our 10 things you should know about Atomic Knitting Stitch Markers

Like to buy our stitch markers? Click here to see our shop.There’s 20% off until 7th August 2016!