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July

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July has already been a crazy, disappointing month for my business-wise. But, personally, it has been great. The first week, I was in Italy. The second week, I was sick as a dog, so I didn’t do much. The third week has consisted of getting registered and set to start college in the fall. So, this entire thing is sort of back burner.

I am prepping for the only festival I plan on doing this year, which means straying from this path, as it is something I hadn’t intended on doing, so I am trying to tailor my product. I do need to try and make a few Halloween photoprops, as it is my primary business income. But, I am hoping that what I am planning for the festival goes over well.

 

Jul 3 – Halloween Props

Jul 10 – Free Week

Jul 17 – Skull Shawls

Jul 24 – Halloween Amigurumi

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June Review

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June was a very busy month. As evidenced by the fact that it has been over a month since I’ve blogged, and that I am not closing June out until nearly the end of July. And July was just as busy, so no high hopes there.

 

It is pretty safe to say that I have given up on my plan for the year. I have fallen so far behind, and I have so much else going on, there isn’t time for it.

I have changed directions with product for a brief moment in time while prepping for the one and only festival I plan to do this year. And, unfortunately, it looks like I will be giving up my major money maker, as I have not had time to sufficiently prep for Halloween this year, as I have in previous years. Plus, I am officially a full time college student again, and still working a full time job. So, being that this business wasn’t exactly raking in the cash to support my family, it is sadly going to sit on the back-burner, smoldering.

 

June Plan

 

May 29 – Halloween Props
Nope

Jun 5 – Amigurumi
Nope. Though, I did have a couple of orders that were amigurumi…does that count?

Jun 12 – Photo Props
Not for the shop, but I did make a really cool princess blanket for my niece, and a really bad airplane blanket for my nephew. Oh, and I also made a photo prop for a customer order. Does that count?

Jun 19 – Christmas Props
Nope. I was scrambling to finish an airplane.

Jun 26 – Hats
Nope. I actually didn’t crochet at all while I was in Europe. Except for maybe like two hours on the plane.

 

 

Yarn Purchased in June

10,955 yards total (YIKES!!)
1,775  yards of Crafter’s Secret (for the photoprop and amigurumi orders)
9,180  yards of Pound of Love(for the blankets for the kids and because I had a minimum to spend for my coupon)

 

Yarn Crocheted in June

3,315 yards total (Not too shabby considering I spent a week out of the country and not working)
1,065 yards of Crafter’s Secret (orders)
2,250 yards of Pound of Love (gift blankets for my family)

 

Sales History

  • 2013
    • 0 sales for 0 items
  • 2014
    • 0 sales for 0 items
  • 2015
    • 12 sales for 12 items, increase in revenue
  • 2016
    • 16 sales for 18 items, increase in revenue (includes Patchwork Festival)
  • 2017
    • 5 sales for 5 items, large decrease in revenue
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May

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May should make for an interesting month. Personally, I have a lot to handle this month. However, I am only out of town for one weekend, so it should be more feasible to get some serious crocheting done. We shall see.

 

May 1 – Charity

May 8 – 4th of July Props

May 15 – Free Week

May 22 – Pinup

May 29 – Halloween Props

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Skull Shawl (Pattern Review)

This skull shawl pattern , is one of the more difficult patterns that I have worked through. Don’t get me wrong, the pattern is fantastic! The finished product is beautiful! The technical aspect is wonderful. However, the original pattern is in German or Dutch (I am not sure which) and the translation can make it a little hard to follow.

 

So, at the end of this post, I am going to include some of my notes to make the pattern a little easier to follow. I will not, however, post the actual pattern due to copyright concerns.

 

For reference, I used Lion Brand Ice Cream Big Scoop and a J hook for this. I love the self-striping, it just turned out looking so cool.

 

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I made some mistakes…which is why I shouldn’t let myself get so lazy and complacent when I am crocheting in the car. So, I frogged an entire section of skulls. :-:

 

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My finished shawl. I ended up keeping this shawl for myself. I loved the colors and I so rarely keep anything I make. I did make 2 more, one in pinks and one in grays, that are smaller – child size.

 

Now, for a border on this one, I am not a huge fan. I just did a DC across for the border, and it make it really lumpy and lay funny. Which isn’t a huge deal, because it is just mine, but yea…I didn’t like how it looked. For the other ones, I just left them once completed…

 

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So, as you go through the skull shawl pattern , feel free to reference my notes, or even leave your own in the comments to help out!

(1)           1DC in the 9, 10, 11, 12 CH stitches

(2)           You are make your double treble crochet (DTR) in the ch right below where you are at, from the first row you did. This should leave you with big loopy gaps on either side of your 4DC. This concept had me jacked for the first few attempts…

(3)           Your DTR will again be in the first chain from the previous row. This should leave you with 3 big gaps with 4DC between each. Your DTR at the end of each row will continue to go in the first chain from the previous row here on out. You should always end with a big gap on either side of your row, to make your shawl wider as you go.

(4 & 5)     Continue on with the same pattern…however, on this pattern, there are two row fives written out…so pay attention to that.

(5 & 6)      This starts your skull, easy to follow.

(7)             Complete your 1DC, 1ch across the 4SC from the previous round, not onto the 4th.

(8)             Follow as expected

(9 & 10)    EYES – I did the alternative eyes, which is found way at the bottom of the blog. So, I skipped the entire eye making tutorial and the regular rows 9 & 10. I followed this version because I am super lazy and hate to sew things, so I didn’t want to make separate eyes and try to slip stitch them in.

(11 & 12)     This finishes your skull, and starts your gaps to begin your next skull in.

 

The rest was pretty easy to follow. You just have to remember that any time you have 4 groups of the DC clusters in a row (on the sides and in the middle), then you should be creating new skulls the next round. The skulls go up by one each round, and should stagger. So, your 1, 3, 5, 7 group of skulls should line up in the center, while your 2, 4, 6, 8 should line up on the sides. 🙂

 

The way she ended her pattern was pretty simple, just don’t make the new skulls, continue adding the DC clusters with the chain 2s. As far as a border, well, good luck. I will probably just leave mine from now on ended like that.

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Restructuring

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I’ve decided that next year, I am going to do things a little bit differently. Instead of doing monthly goals, I am going to set aside weeks to work on certain things. I plan on keeping the shop on finished items only for a little bit, probably through February. It is just less stressful and is giving me the time that I need to work on some larger orders.

This will also give me a chance to really work on creating new product, preparing for shows, and getting a new website launched and available.

The general gist of it is to dedicate each week to a certain type of product, obviously allowing for time to complete orders as well. Then, if I miss a week, I miss a week, and whatever. That product can wait until a free week or get scratched completely. I am going through and trying to figure out the best use of 52 weeks, that is the tough part!

Additionally, I am stealing a great idea from a fellow blogger. She tracks the yardage of yarn knitted vs yardage of yarn bought each month. I need to do that. I definitely need to do that…because the amount of yarn I have in my office is absolutely ridiculous. And I really need to work on slimming down my stash. For both space and financial needs. 🙂

So, as we enter 2017, I am hoping to see some changes, hoping to find a better way, and plan on just taking the bull by the horns and seeing what happens. 🙂

 

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Piecemakers Festival

I am sorely, sorely disappointed with this festival. I try not to badmouth the festivals I don’t enjoy, but this one was so ridiculous, that I feel the need to warn people about it. I will not be returning. I have walked this one, I have seen amazing photos, I have followed it…and my experience as a vendor was frustrating. Speaking with other vendors, it seemed that was the general consensus. This year, it was poorly planned, poorly spaced, and had no real oversight. People were tearing down early, bringing cars in early and block booths, they tried to add more booths, so some of the booths actually ran into other ones and blocked them, and the vendor parking was 2miles away with a single shuttle running…that we waited 30min for to get the truck to pack up after we had totally broken down. It was ridiculous.

As far as sales and customers, people were not out to shop. People were absolutely out to get ideas and spend a Saturday hanging out. It was frustrating, but I can deal with that. What really bothered me, was how unbelievably rude so many people were. I was easily one of the most expensive vendors in the area (which is saying a lot, considering my prices); so after I realized this, I realized it was not going to be a good sales day. What I did not expect was the obscene amount of people making rude comments about how worthless my product was, how ridiculously overpriced I am, and straight up trying to take pictures so they can just have a friend do it (or another vendor!!) for “half that price at the most.” I had many women come in just to tell me that they crochet as well, and are more skilled and my prices are outrageous.

It was not a good day…at all. My self esteem, my art, my finances, my anything.

I will most definitely not be back at that festival.

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Patchwork Festival – Santa Ana

I did the Patchwork Festival in Long Beach over the summer, and I decided to do a different one for the winter. And man, oh man am I glad! When the Long Beach one happened, it was HOT! So hot! Like, over 100F…in November. It was really bad for business. So, the Santa Ana festival happened the Sunday after Thanksgiving, and the first couple of hours were rough. It was pouring rain, off and on, and I had to set up a tarp over my booth. It is the only festival that I do that I don’t get a full 10x10ft space for, so I didn’t have my canopy. I just had a little patio umbrella (that sucks…a lot). So, we covered the booth table and gridwalls with a thick painters tarp, then my husband and I hid under a canopy that was set up behind us, along with a few other vendors of glorious paper products that couldn’t be set up in the rain either.

But, we did get lucky, once the show was really open and swinging, the rain stopped. It was still cold and windy, but that didn’t stop anyone! The streets were busy, people were out buying, and sales were quite steady. I did get several new email subscribers, and even gained a few new blog followers out of the day. It was definitely a good festival. I can’t wait to see how it goes next summer and winter, when hopefully the rains and winds aren’t against us!

 

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