Of Yarn Crawls, Craft Shows, Re-Imagining, And A Snowy Thanksgiving

Here we are, staring Christmas in the face, and I am, yet again, in the middle of the busy craft season. I started building up my inventory in August, but I think it looks woefully small…again. I should have started in June, but I don’t feel like spending the better part of the year, and my life, making stuff for sale. I like wearing the stuff I make *pout*.

Adopting our newest family member from the shelter!
My new baby and a sweater I knit

Conversely, no one is putting a gun to my head and forcing me to do this. I feel that selling my goods is a way to not feel like a freeloader in my house. Along with my writing gig at Outlaw Soaps that I mentioned a few posts back, I realize that, yes, I am contributing, but it doesn’t feel like enough.

In the spirit of that thought, I decided to up my game with my graphics. Rather than keep them in the limited world of Cafe Press, Zazzle, etc., I have re-imagined my Nittin’ Ninja brand. I now have shops on Etsy, Inktale, and Bonanza platforms. Still working on loading graphics – did not realize how much time it would take! However, if you’re interested, click on those links! If this isn’t your cup of tea, do me a solid and share the goodness, please! This is a very limited niche market, and I’m just trying to spread the word at this point. Thank you guys!

On to other stuff!

After many years of reading about yarn crawls and wondering what they were like, our area LYS finally got it together. Of the 11 participating shops, I made it to only three before I ran out of money!

Map of Sierra Nevada 1st Annual Yarn Crawl
Those three pins look sooo lonely!

As you can see, I will have to pace myself. I had actually planned to hit up at least 6, but there were other events going, such as the Colfax Railroad Days event that happens every year.

While there, I purchased some fiber art from really cool people.

Beautiful mandala work from Bohemian Designs by Silvermoon Regalia (artist not pictured. She had to go take care of her children while her mother and husband manned the shop!)
Local folks having a laugh

Those both pics are from October, and a lot of the merch has been sold and replaced with new stuff – yay!

Taking a break from shoveling a track for the tires on our slanted driveway!
The view from the other side…

And this was Thanksgiving. Three hours of scraping and fighting to get the Subaru up the driveway – but I freakin’ did it! And I still managed to gain weight!?

What’s everyone else up to these days?

Adieu, adieu, parting is such sweet sorrow – NOT!

As I pack up my minivan for the last show of the season, I am loathe to admit that, yes, I am glad that it’s over, and yes, I’ll be doing it again!  I went all out this year, purchasing a canopy, lights to illuminate my wares for night time shows, a cool pink chair that has a lot of gee-gaws, including a fold out side area for my lunch, electronics, etc.  I am pleased to say that my endeavors were able to cover the costs of the purchases I felt necessary, even though the money earned managed to disappear in the general household fund.  How does that happen?

Anyway, with all this industriousness, I was able to write up a few of my own patterns and will be sharing them as soon as I can.  The first one I have is very popular and doesn’t stay around long.

 

California Little Quail Messy Bun Hat

California Little Quail Messy Bun Hat

I named this hat after the California Quail because it’s little curved crest reminded me of the bobble stitches on the hat.

This pattern is worked in rounds with joins.  When joining, sl st to the first st, and work first st in the new round in this spot.  Here is a link for the method.  It reduces the gaps when joining, giving the finished work a much neater look.

Abbreviations:

Yo = yarn over

Ch = chain

St(s) = stitch(es)

BLO = back loops only

Sc = single crochet

Dc = double crochet

Tr = treble crochet

FPSC = work single crochet in the post of the stitch directly below from the front

FPDC = work double crochet in the post of the stitch directly  below from the front

Materials:

1 skein worsted weight yarn

Crochet hook size I or 5.5 mm

Definitions:

Bobble stitch: work tr EXCEPT leave the last two loops on hook; yo twice, and repeat, leaving three loops on hook; yo twice, and repeat.  There should be four loops on hook; yo, draw through all the loops.

With I hook (5.5 mm), ch 20, join with sl st to first ch to make a circle.

Round 1:  ch 1, 24 sc into the circle.  Ensure the sts are lined up so as not to twist them; join

Round 2:  ch 2, dc in each st = 24 dc

Round 3:  ch 2, *2 dc in first st, dc in next st* around, join = 36 dc

Round 4:  ch2, *2 dc in first st, dc in next 3 sts* around, join = 45 dc

Round 5:  ch 2, *2dc in first st, dc in next 5 sts* around, dc in last 2 sts, join =  53 dc

Round 6:  ch 1, FPSC around, sl st to first sc, then sl st to first st in back row

Round 7:  Working in the back round of sts, ch 2, *work 2 dc in first st, dc in next 6 sts* around, dc in last 3 sts (the last st will be half hidden because of the unusual join at the beginning of the round – don’t despair, it’s there!), join = 61 sts

Round 8:  ch1, sc in BLO around, inc. 3 sts evenly, join =  64 sts

Round 9:  ch 3,*Bobble stitch, 3 sc* around, join with chain on top of first bobble cluster

Round 10:  ch 2 , dc in same st as the join, dc around, join

Round 11:  ch 2, FPDC around, join

Round 12:  ch 1, FPSC around, sl st to first sc, then sl st to first st in back row

Round 13:   Working in the back round of sts, ch 2, dc around, join

Round 14:  ch 1, FPSC around, sl st to first sc, then sl st to first st in back row

Round 15:  Working in the back round of sts, ch 1, sc around, join

Round 16:  repeat round 9

Round 17:  repeat round 10

Round 18:  repeat round 11

Round 19:  repeat round 12

Round 20:  Working in the back round of sts, ch 1, sc in BLO around, join

Round 21:  ch 2, dc in BLO around, join and end off.

Optional earflap extension variation:

Row 1:  Using last round as reference, DO NOT CUT YARN.  ch 2, turn, hdc 30 BLO.  Check at this point for position and comfort; if you need to go further, add a few sts at a time, if less, remove a few sts at a time.  If more length is needed, repeat the row as you see fit.  If you like what you see, follow next step.

Finishing:  sl st into next st, turn, sl st across the row plus one.  End off.  This should round out the squared edges and give the hat a less “home made” look!

Work in any ends, tuck your hair up and enjoy!

Goofing around

 

 

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?