Friday, 29 April 2016

Days 3 to 8: Jazzy Metallics

It's been a crazy week full of all sorts of chores and events (largely because of the ongoing annual Jazzkaar music festival). Kristjan has a couple of performances and I'm trying to be as supportive as I can by taking care of the domestic sphere. Of course, I'm trying to attend as many jazz concerts as I can, but this involves a lot of planning and organising. Luckily, we have a couple of great babysitters and we don't have to waste time on commuting, as the main festival venue is located just around the corner in Telliskivi Loomelinnak. I just adore the jazzy neighbourhood we live in!


Tomorrow morning we are heading to our country home for a much-needed quiet couple of days, and hopefully I will be able to find time for crafting too. Enough, at least, to keep my daily pace in my personal 100 days challenge.



I have promised myself that I will do my best trying not to lag behind in the #the100daysproject, so here are the items from Days 3 to 8. Same design, different spring shades of metallic: golden, champagne and purple. First of those sweet mommy and me sets is already up in my Etsy store, and I will be adding more in the near future. :)


Also, I'm so excited to accessorise another photo shoot for friends. Stay tuned for more details! :)



Tuesday, 26 April 2016

1/100 and 2/100: Linen Lace Headbands for Mother and Daughter

I am trying to catch up with the rest of the #the100daysproject gang (who are currently doing Day 8), and therefore decided to 'work in pairs', i.e., to start my challenge with a few 'mommy and me' sets of headbands for quick leaps to catch up the others.


Here are the first two: the pearl white set of 2 linen lace headbands. This pure linen, Lino by the Spanish band Katia, is my new favourite. I just love the crisp feeling of this yarn, and the beautiful earth tones it comes in. Perfect for country weddings and so much more.


Available in KERA SOFTWEAR.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Fresh out of hibernation

(Although the title of this post feels somewhat ironic, as the small kids related severe sleep-deprivation still takes a heavy toll on me...)

I hope this will be... not exactly a fresh start, but hopefully a fresh continuation. I have been so busy with my day job and raising the kids that I have only occasionally managed to work on new crafting projects, let alone taking the time needed for developing, designing and testing out new products. This is about to change, as I just did something reckless.


Namely, this morning, through a fellow crocheter who has always been such an inspiration to me, Marianne from heegeldab, I discovered the recently announced #THE100DAYPROJECT of 2016 by The Great Discontent. I'm SO taking part in this! This is exactly the boost I need right now to get out of my crafting hibernation, and to overcome my blogger's and photographer's block. And to launch a new product series in my Etsy store.



As you may have noticed, I have been working on some crochet headband designs: for women and little girls, but also sets for mother and daughters, sisters, etc. I have sold a few, but I can see that although they receive quite a lot of views and hearts, they are probably too pricy for this product category - due to the laborious techniques I use. The 100 Days Project is a great opportunity for me to try to simplify the process and design something quicker to realised and therefore more affordable.

Anyone else out there to join me on this journey? You can join in with whatever you make or do!

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Big brothers to be

Today I received the first sneak-and-peek image of a photo session some time ago, featuring the first two crochet bow ties I ever made, as well as a matching crochet flower belt. It was a family photo session of our dear friends and neighbours who are expecting their third child due in mid-January. Thus, these two charming young men, Albert and Lennart, will soon be big brothers to a little princess.

Photo by Krista Kõiv
I am hoping to show you some more photos, hopefully featuring all of these items, as well as some close-ups, in the future. For now, I’m leaving you with these handsome lads. Not too shabby, eh? ;)

Friday, 27 November 2015

Red is the new black

I know it’s Black Friday, but I’m currently all about RED!

This ball of bright scarlet red mercerized cotton crochet thread was waiting for its time on my shelf for quite some time, as I couldn’t think of a perfect project for this shade of red. Then, one day I came up with an idea of testing some holiday ideas for kids. Uku and Ada are perfect models for matching sibling’s outfits, photo props and accessories. They are more and more pals every day, and it’s so cute to just watch them get along. Well... most of the time anyway.


Photographing them is of course a challenge of its own, as they hardly ever stand still and I'm still in the process of domesticating my new Nikon camera, which refuses to obey from time to time. Here are a couple of shots I’m most pleased with.


Just for fun, I posted a couple of these photos on my Facebook page, and now I have orders from friends piling up - matching accessories for entire families. I should get to it, before it gets out of hands. I’m so excited, and it means a world to me knowing that my friends appreciate what I do.


Oh, and as for Black Friday: I’m running a massive ‘Black Friday to Cyber Monday’ sale on KERA Softwear - 20% off everything! Please pop by. Who knows, maybe you will find a perfect handmade Christmas gift for yourself or your loved ones… ;)

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Unbearable Lightness

Days are drifting into oblivion, while we are enjoying the 'unbearable lightness of being' on the paradise island. How I love the silent dampness of its autumnal forests, desolate beaches and starry nights! And although we are sorry to miss Kristjan’s concerts in Tallinn with his brand new international trio, I’m more needed here by the rest of my family.

My days are filled with juggling between numerous different tasks (work-related and otherwise), plus the daily chores with and around the kids. Time for my Etsy store and creating new things has become scarce, but I have still managed to come up with a couple of new designs.


This mother and daughter set of crochet flower headbands is one of them. Curiously enough, the listing for these two snow white flower crowns has become one of my most popular ones. Which makes me wonder: perhaps there is a real market for 'mommy and baby' matching accessories and outfits out there? Indeed, the one time me and Ada were proudly modelling the headbands on a summer event in the local open air museum, we were quite a tourist attraction and photographing object. Uku was completing our gang beautifully in his white linen shirt and grey cropped trousers. Rustic chic.


I managed to grab my brand new Nikon camera and take this shot just two seconds before Ada dropped off the toy horse. ;)

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Marital Arts

It’s a beautiful day! Of course, it would be even more beautiful if I could spend it with my beloved husband to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. Instead, he just arrived in his next concert destination in Alsace, while I’m here in our summer house on the paradise island with the kids. We will see each other again in Tallinn in 10 days.

Photo: Annika Metsla
Our wedding day exactly one year ago was simply magical! We have the most beautiful memories of the entire event. Everything went exactly the way we had planned, and we had tan absolutely wonderful team of professionals working with us. I know I have promised to cover the different aspects of our wedding preparations in here too, and so far I have hardly even touched the subject, but I will definitely do it in the future, introducing all these great artists and professionals we were happy to meet and hire during our wedding planning, from the designer of the rings to the caterers. I’m excited to re-live all these cherished memories when blogging about them!

Photo: Annika Metsla
I’m so happy and blessed to have this man in my life He has brought along so many wonderful things. Thanks to him, I’m living the life of my dreams.


The last picture was taken in early July by a photographer friend Kaupo Kikkas, when we revisited the wedding venue, Õisu (Eusekyll) Manor in South Estonia to get some new portrait photos of Kristjan. We used this opportunity to have Kaupo take a few of shots of our entire gang as well, which has increased by one member since the wedding. I'm looking at this black and white image, and I'm seeing colours - as bright and vibrant as our life together.

Photo: Kaupo Kikkas

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

About...

It literally took me AGES to get to it, but when I finally did, it turned out not to be such an insurmountable task after all. Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you the freshly crafted "About" text of my Etsy store. Of course, I would be very grateful for  any tips about further pieces information I should add etc., so please let me know if you have ideas on how to improve it. :)

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Welcome to KERA Softwear! My name is Epp and I like to make beautiful, functional things.

Crafting has been a dear hobby for me for years. I have been knitting and crocheting since I was a child. However, it started to take a more serious nature for me a few years ago, when I decided to open an Etsy store and make it a playful business beside my day job as a translator. I immensely enjoy designing functional and feminine fashion accessories to balance the time I spend behind the blinking computer screen, converting things from one language into another.

For my passion for handicrafts I have to thank my late grandmother Elisabeth who first introduced me the endless possibilities of the versatile art of crochet when I was a child. She herself was a skilled crocheter, creating beautiful and meticulously realized garments and fashion accessories. Using the very limited selection of materials available at the time behind the Iron Curtain, she was able to turn simple cotton threads and dull-looking lambswool yarns into intricate cardigans and clutch bags etc. I have started to see it as my mission to bring her legacy to the next level, taking advantage of my access to the endless variety of inspiring high quality materials and using the cream of them to create exquisite luxury items, such as clutch bags and purses, hand-knitted lace shawls, scarves and fingerless gloves. As a tribute to my beautiful grandmother and the remembrance of the past, I am still using her size 3 crochet hook for many of my projects, with Czechoslovakia written on its side. This “lucky needle” travels with me everywhere I go.

I mostly find my inspiration from nature, its infinite variety of colours, patterns, shapes and textures. No matter how crazy and out-of-this-world designs you may create, you can rest assured the shapes and shades already exist somewhere in the nature. My surrounding environment is a constant source of inspiration to me. However, my greatest joy comes from my little “crew*: my husband Kristjan and our two adorable children, son Uku (3) and daughter Ada (9 months). Although it often feels that they all have mastered their own special ways to keep my mind off my crafting business, it is them who I see as my greatest source of inspiration and motivation. There is so much blessing and happiness in my life, and I truly hope that my products also exude some of this positive energy and the joy I have felt when creating them, which carries on to all the beautiful people wearing them all over the world.

For more information about my life, thoughts and working process, please also visit the blog section of my website at www.kerasoftwear.com. 

Thank you so much for stopping by and reading this!


Monday, 10 August 2015

Sapphire Blue

Early summer I received another exciting custom request from one of my ‘gold clients’, a lovely lady from the States who has ordered and bought many items from my Etsy store over the past few years. It’s always so much fun brainstorming with her to find the best design solutions and materials for her custom requests. Many of her wishes have inspired me to test new things and think outside the box.


This time, she requested a set of hand-knitted lace shawl, lacy fingerless gloves, a shell clutch and a silk satin sash belt with flower embellishments and extra long ties. It was so much fun to work on the order, although none of the designs were new. It was the colour that intrigued me the most this time. At first, she hesitated, whether to go for lime green or royal or sapphire blue, so I suggested what most appealed to me at the time: sapphire. Mostly because I had been looking at these skeins of super soft feather-like kid silk mohair for some time in my local yarn store, but hadn’t yet found a right project to inspire me. It wasn’t too difficult to colour-match the rest of the materials: silk satin for the sash belt, materials for the clutch bag, beads for the fingerless gloves and Swarovski Elements crystal buttons). Some of these I already had in my stash anyway.


The central and most time-consuming item in the set was of course the lace shawl. This pattern, Branching Out by Susan Pierce Lawrence published in Knitty online magazine a few years ago has been my favourite for large ethereal lace shawls. Intricate and detailed, but very easy to remember and knit, with no hocus pocus, such as nupps. I have found the perfect way to combine three pattern panes into a wide lace shawl. The crochet lace edging is my own original design. I had some trouble finding the right density along the narrow sides of the shawl, but I got it right on the second go. 

Yarn: King Kid Silk by Classic Yarn
Needles: Size 5 circular bamboos; crochet hook size 3



I had my biggest a-ha! moment with the silk sash though. I had had similar sash belts with 3D textile flower embellishments in my selection before, but I had always limited the length with the width of the fabric pane (usually 1.5 m or so), which is not very long for a tie belt. As the client specifically requested a belt with extra long ties, I was a bit puzzled as to how to solve it, as I already had the textile in the perfect shade of blue, but - as always - only 1.5 meters long. What I really didn’t want was the look of the belt disrupted by a visible seam somewhere in the middle. So I came up with this: the one inevitable seam is discreetly hidden behind one of the flower embellishments. The result: a belt 2.56 meters long. It’s the perfect length for a tie belt, and I’ll be sure to use this solution from now on!


Wishing you guys a wonderful rest of the summer with warmest greetings from the paradise island!

Thursday, 9 July 2015

After Eight

I have gone through another lengthy identity crisis as a blogger, but I recently had a constructive discussion about it with my Better Half, and he asked some right questions and gave me some valuable advice. I believe I have now managed to define my unique path more clearly. Although I’m still planning to write about a little bit of this and that, I will, from now on, still mainly focus on my activities in the design and crafting spheres. How does that sound to you?

Keeping my Etsy store running during the holidays has always been a challenge to me, but I believe I have now finally found a way to keep things going and mobile. So I packed a small (board size) suitcase with the essentials for keeping my small business going: a sewing machine, needles and hooks, supplies for duplicating my bestsellers and finishing the custom orders in progress, and also materials for testing new designs. Frankly, I haven’t so far got the chance to even touch the latter, as I have been busy working on some challenging and exciting custom orders. These eight emerald green clutch bags, for instance, which recently started their journey to the US as gifts to some lovely bridesmaids.


I was an honour to make these! Although I have been thinking in that direction before, it was a novel task for me in two respects. First, although I have been thinking about it a LOT, I have never really got to make an item in several identical copies in one go (as you may know, I usually sell single pieces), so that I could present them as a set of identical accessories (for bridesmaids, bridal shower guests, sisters, etc.). Second, some customers have asked about personalization before, but I had always turned them down out of my fear for failure. Until now. I decided to give it a try in hand-stiched personalization. And although I admit I have a looong way to go, I believe I fulfilled the task nicely enough. And by doing that, I managed to push my limits a bit and overcome my fear for failure, which has kept me from doing MANY things over the time. :)


Indeed, repeating the same design in eight copies can start to feel like working in a sweatshop, but luckily for me, this stunning shade of emerald green and the materials selected by the customer were super fun to work with. Next in the pipeline is something in a shade equally beautiful and inspiring: sapphire blue.

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Seljataga on järjekordne pikaleveninud identiteedikriis blogijana, aga üks hiljutine vestlus Kristjaniga on aidanud veidi selgemini määratleda mu oma ainulaadset rada. Ja kuigi temaatilisi hüppeid siia ja sinna ei keela ma endale ka edaspidi, keskendun siitpeale siiski eelkõige oma tegevusele käsitöö- ja disainimaastikul. Kuidas tundub?

Poekese käigushoidmine suviste ümberpaiknemiste perioodil on olnud minu jaoks pidevalt väljakutse. Varemalt pidasin paremaks lülitada kogu ettevõtmine puhkuserežiimile, aga nüüd on mul, kuhu iganes ma kulgen, auto pagasiruumis kaasas üks lisaühik - pardamõõdus kohver koos kõige vajalikuga, et poodi käimas hoida. Lõviosa kohvriruumist hõivab õmblusmasin, ülejäänu võtavad enda alla materjalid bestsellerite dubleerimiseks ja eritellimuste lõpetamiseks ning üht-teist ka uute lahenduste katsetamiseks. Viimaseni pole ma aga paraku veel jõudnud, sest eritellimused on röövinud siiani kogu aja, mida raatsin oma fantastilise kolmiku ja tõlketöö kõrvalt käsitöötegevusele kulutada. Näiteks need kaheksa smaragdrohelist pruutneitsite ridiküli, mis alutasid paar päeva tagasi teed Ühendriikidesse.


Suur au ja väljakutse oli nende tegemine! Kahel põhjusel ka uudne ülesanne. Esiteks, kuigi olen ka varem selles suunas mõelnud, et tore oleks pakkuda oma tooteid n-ö valmiskomplektktidena (pruutneitsitele, lilleneiudele, kokkusobivateks kingitusteks õdedele jne), ei olnud ma siiani kunagi teinud mitut ühesugust ridiküli korraga, et neid siis vastavalt kooslusena pildistada. Kasutasin kohe võimalust ja jäädvustasin neid edasiseks tarbeks kahe-, kolme-, viiekaupa… Teiseks, personaliseerimise kohta on minult ka varem küsitud, aga olen siiani alati arglikult ära öelnud. Need kaheksa kotti aga on varustatud käsitsi tikitud nimede ja pulmakuupäevaga. Aega võttis, aga asja sai. Olgugi et tikkijana on mul veel arvatavasti valgusaastate pikkune tee minna, enne kui ma ka ise oma tööga rahule jääksin.



Et kas hakkas lõpupoole juba liinitööks kiskuma? Õnneks olid valitud materjalid ja see hunnitu smaragdroheline toon niivõrd meeldivad, et väga üksluiseks ei muutunudki. Järgmine eritellimus, mis juba varrastel ja nõela otsas, tuleb samamoodi silmapaitavat ja inspireerivat tooni - 
safiirsinine.