To Etsy or not to Etsy?

I’m going full tilt trying to get a Christmas inventory set up for either;

a. Etsy
b. Local Crafts Fairs
c. Consignment shop

To break it down, they all have their pros and cons. Let’s start with Etsy.

~ Worldwide competition where items are offered for less than I can purchase the yarn, 1.8 million sellers as of 9/5/17, and monthly fees.  This would seem to be a dismal market for a small crafts maker such as myself and I’ve read in more than one article that finding a niche market is what  a successful entrepreneur does.  I don’t do that.  I make what moves me at that time.  The are two things that offsets all this negativity is that it’s relatively cheap to sell and one does have a larger market.

Now onto Local Crafts Fairs

~ Nasty weather, low turn-outs, long hours of exposure to said nasty weather, seller’s permits and insurance are all part of selling directly to your customer.  Having said that, the big draw is that you are offering a product and the buyer is looking, handling and appraising the product right there.  No waiting for shipping, no information given at the electronic checkout, it’s just look, like, buy.  There’s a lot to be said about this approach in our instant gratification society.

Consignment shops

~ High cost of sales, the disposition of the shop owner and their willingness to display/market your product.  These would all seem to be a major deterrent, but if you are in with a shop owner who has high foot traffic, this can mean $$$ for your Christmas budget, UNLESS you get paid after Christmas.  With me, that would not be a problem, as I don’t have small children in the house.

So there you have it.  And now that I’ve written it, down, it seems I will not Etsy again; at least, not at this time.  It looks like the crafts fairs and consignment this year!  Thanks for hearing me out, you guys!  What do you all do?

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From Scarf to Cowl and Shark Attack Socks

It is with a heavy heart that I must say….I FINISHED THE DAMN SOCKS!  Yay!!!  I was working on those so long that I felt I was in a bad relationship.  Say bye-bye to the shark socks – woohoo!

With that out of the way, I could focus entirely on my scarf.  I was so excited to finally work on a pooled crochet project.  If you saw my last entry, you know how keen I was to be doing this.  It was going to be the prettiest scarf, ever, with tassels and everything.  When I finished with the first skein, I was figuring out how to join the two yarns so that the color sequence remained the same, and discovered that in order to make the match, I would have to pull not from the center but the outside.  I unwound the factory skein with my yarn winder so the correct end would be used.  Ok, so I can be funny that way; I just didn’t want to be pulling from the outside as it always causes trouble later on!

As I successfully joined the yarns, I had to blink my eyes several times because, oh crap, the colors weren’t the same hue.  In my haste to begin with this beloved project, I failed to check dye lot numbers.  Goody.  I had already unwound the new skein, so there was no returning or replacing it.  Double goody.  What do you do when this happens?  You check how it fits around your neck and make a buttoned cowl, or neck wrap, which was no easy feat considering the pattern I was trying to keep; but, I persevered and got ‘er done! Ta-da!

I will be making a scarf next, and I will be checking the dye lots!  I will also be using a different technique to see how that goes.  I’ll let you all know.  In the meantime, behave!

See you in the funny pages.

 

Let’s Be Honest

Hey, everyone.  How are your holidays going?  Treating you good?  I hope so.  Although this post has landed perilously close to Christmas and, I assume, other holidays, it has nothing to do with them.  Let’s take a break from that, shall we?

I want to take a moment and talk about us liars out there.  You know what I mean.  “Knitting is easy!”  “Crochet is a breeze.”  I’m very guilty of this.  And you’re shaking your head, if not physically, then mentally.  What is she talking about?  Knitting is easy and crochet is a breeze!  Ok, smarty pants.  Maybe for you, and a very small minority, it was a breeze.  Your needles fly under your deft fingers, your hook is moving so fast that it’s a blur and every stitch is perfect.  New techniques?  No problem.

Like the title of this post says, let’s be honest.  Think back to when you first picked up those knitting needles, felt their heft, or gazed wonderingly upon that crochet hook, marveling at the sleek lines and how they turned into…well, the hook.  Some of you may have to really dig in the vault of memories for this, but do it.  Did it feel natural?  Remember that first chain, and how proud you were of yourself.  And then, when you got tired of that, discovering how to turn and create stitches.  Let’s not forget that first successful cast on row.  My tongue worked as hard as my fingers!  Speaking of tongues, we also have our own language.  You think k2tog then yo or dbl through fp means anything to anyone else?

….but, think of the beginner.  How many will give up because it’s just too hard?  For whatever reason, they are done after that initial foray. Their skeins of yarn will either gather dust in some forgotten drawer or be thrown away (gasp! oh, no!) because they’re taking up space. And yes, there are a great many people, who, literally, simply don’t care.  Of course, they will enjoy the fruits of our labors, and marvel at the overall beauty of the gift, but that’s as far as it will go.  However, for us, we wanted to do it.  Whatever our motivation was at the time, we wanted to do it; and we did.  Look at us now –  champions of the crusade!  Not only is it easy, there are multiple benefits to knowing these crafts.

And I for one, think we should respect our hobbies for the honed crafts they truly are.  Will I stop saying it’s easy?  Probably not.  Should I?  Yes, most definitely.  Is all this work worth it?  That, I’ll leave for you to decide…

Knit Freebie Just in Time for Christmas

Here it is, just a week shy of Christmas, and I’m adding a pattern!  Never fear, this uses worsted weight yarn and works up fast.  This year I’ve been really interested in stranding and I love snowmen, so I thought I’d make my own chart and my hat.  I downloaded a chart from Pinterest for the red hat.  I’m sorry – I don’t remember which!  Just enter knit snowflake chart in the search bar and you’ll get so many cool options.  I included the picture so you can see the versatility of the basic hat pattern.  So here it is, just in time for Santa’s visit!

Knitting – machine or not?

Doesn't look like knitting

Doesn’t look like knitting

I made the mistake of signing up for a machine knitting group, thinking it was a regular knitting group.  I have just unregistered, but it got me thinking.  Again.  Am I knit purist or snob?  I don’t think using a knitting machine can be rightly considered knitting.  Is it even a craft?  I’m not dinging the people out there who love to do this.  I know it’s a lot faster to finish a project than hand knitting, but I also know it’s limiting.  I had purchased a machine about three years back because I thought for a minute that I wanted to crank out my own sweaters.  Then I went on YouTube and looked at some how-to videos.  It doesn’t appear to require a whole bunch of…technique.  Is that what a makes a craft?  Practice?  Discipline?  Does it take any of these things to use a knitting machine?  I have no idea, as my foray into the world of semi-automated knitting was short lived.  I didn’t even open the box; I returned it immediately.

Ah. There it is.

Ah. There it is.

I think it depends on why you’re using the machine.  My idea of making my own designs and then making the garment was valid enough; however, while waiting for the machine (I ordered it online), I realized that my passion was not for cranking out mass amounts of sweaters, but the act of knitting itself.  Feeling the needles in my hand, the yarn that seems to automatically wrap around my right hand fingers for tension, holding my mouth a certain way as I fight with a particularly difficult cable, the whole throwing vs. picking technique, continental vs. English, the mobility of it while you tote around your latest pair of socks, sitting around a table with other knitters while talking about knitting! – that’s knitting.

I would like to hear from both sides!  For those of you who use machines, do you use them exclusively or do you mix it up with hand knitting?  For those of you who hand knit, why did you start?  Was it a yarn thing, the finished product thing, a family thing…?  Let me know.

Cold and Flu Season

As I sit here in the perpetual twilight of my house that is a Northern California winter, clacking away on the laptop, I let out a deep, bronchial

Oh, yea. I feel pretty.

Oh, yea. I feel pretty.  And yes, I have a great RBF.

cough that seems to reach back 10 years.  Oh, yea.  Hurts so good…  As the title suggests, this is about being sick.  Kinda.  Not really.  It’s just a segue.  But read on anyway.

I expect one cold a year, and this one is early.  They normally show up around January or February, so whatever this is, it was in a hurry.  Probably trying to run its rounds before the upcoming election.  (Ha!  Can’t get around that impending disaster about now.  And I also can’t shake the feeling that we’re being played to, and that the actors cast for their particular roles are not very good.)

So back to me, because this is my blog.

Have you ever started a project, let it set for years, brought it out, put it back and let it molder for another few years, and repeated that cycle?  Oh, you haven’t?  Well, bless you!  Because this project has loitered around my consciousness for close to a decade.  Sometimes it’s in the forefront, where I believe I’ll actually bring it out to play, the other times, it sits dormant for years, and then I’ll see something that reminds me, Oh, yea.  I need to work on that.  In an effort to get the damned thing done, I’ve brought it out of its hiding place in the upstairs closet, put it next to the stove in the family room and waited for inspiration to strike.  This ploy has worked a bit.  I’ve brought out my paints and dabbled here and there.

Like my knitting and crocheting, I prefer to work on my projects in a linear fashion, i.e., one project at a time, and if I’m stuck on one particularly difficult task, everything gets backed up.  So for close to 10 freakin’ years my painting groove has been backed up.  Must not be a serious thing for me, because you’d think I’d move on.  Honestly, I have sneaked in a painting or two since…actually several.  They went to a good friend of mine, Miss Pamela Fein (images not available), and my mother, who usually gets any decent* painting of mine.  Ok.  You got me.  I have been painting a little on the side, but I feel like this unfinished still life has been choking me and needs to be done.  Now.

Which brings me back to the sickness.  I’m over the worst of it, I hope, because I’m starting to drain.  I don’t feel like dancing a jig or going out to the costume tonight (damnit!  My husband and I were going to dress up as Bob and Linda Belcher.), but I do feel like…painting.  Being sick has forced me to stay indoors, where I would usually knit or crochet, but not today.

You may be asking yourself, Glenda, why are you telling us?  I would initially shrug my shoulders and play ignorant, but in all honesty, I think I need a boost.  What’s your long-running project that you finished?  What was it that made you think, Ok.  We’re done with having this hanging around, let’s finish it!  Was it writing?  Painting?  Crafting?  Woodworking?  Tell me!!  I want to hear your story.

See? We're almost there. Kinda.

See? We’re almost there. Kinda.

*Don’t judge!

Sneak Peek

New patternI have been wanting to make this scarf for the longest time, and damnit – !  I’m going to.  I hope it comes out as well as I think it will, and what I find exciting is that I haven’t seen anything at all like available anywhere….so I want to finish it – NOW!  LOL  I’m sure it’s been done before, I just haven’t found it yet.  When I do finish it and the pattern, I’ll want to hear from anyone if they’ve seen it before.  I got so much guff when I posted the Foxy Hooded Cowl for looking exactly (and it didn’t!!!) like another, fiber artist’s work whose fame is renowned, I almost gave up.  I did have supporters who backed me up that it wasn’t the same thing, but man, I learned my lesson.  Now I endeavor to do my research before, and even then, it’s not always a sure thing.

Anyway, I’m going to continue doing what I love, and in the meantime, try not to step on too many toes!  Let you know when it’s done!