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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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April

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April is actually looking to be a lot of fun for me. I am really digging everything I scheduled this month, and that makes it much easier to get back into the swing of working. I am still trying to work on skirts and dresses as I have a chance, plus I have a couple of baby gifts that I need to knock out of the park this month…but, I think I will be okay.

 

Mar 27 – Free Week

Apr 3 – Summer Props

Apr 10 – WIPs

Apr 17 – Skull Shawls

Apr 24 – Halloween Props

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March Review

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Shop-wise, March was better than February, but still not as good as last year.  However, I spent most of the month with the ship in ready to ship only, and I was doing very little advertising. However, about a week before the month ended, I started editing and adjusting listings, and getting some MTO items back out there. I immediately started garnering sales again, so I suppose that was the issue all along.

Blog-wise, I bit the big one in March. I only posted twice. The biggest issue was just that I wasn’t creating, and the few things I did create, I didn’t photograph! So, there as nothing to blog!

 

March Plan

Feb 27 – Charity
I made an adult scarf, adult hat, baby hat, and a baby blanket!

Mar 6 – Halloween Props
I started making a spider prop, but didn’t finish

Mar 13 – Easter Amigurumi
I made a baby chick!

Mar 20 – Unicorns
I made a fun unicorn hat!

Mar 27 – Free Week
I did nothing because I have barely sat down!

 

Yarn Purchased in March

2,130 yards (I needed to for orders!)
2,130 yards of I Love This Yarn (purchased for the fox rug I am making a pregnant friend, and for bearded baby hat orders)

 

Yarn Crocheted in March

3,203 yards total
405 yards of Lion Brand Jiffy (unicorn hat)
2,548 yards of Red Heart Super Saver (charity)
350 yards of I Love This Yarn (beard hats)

 

Sales History

  • 2013
    • Not Open
  • 2014
    • 1 sale for 1 item
  • 2015
    • 5 sales for 5 items, increase in revenue
  • 2016
    • 12 sales for 18 items, increase in revenue
  • 2017
    • 4 sales for 4 items, large decrease in revenue
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Fox Rug (Pattern Review)

I absolutely adore Ira Rott patterns. She wrote the amazing pattern that I used for my elephant pillows. I actually have about 30 of her patterns, and am very slowly working my way through them. The next one I found time to work through (during my AMAZING free week according to my new organizational system!), it happened to be this super cute fox rug pattern. Now, I did not add a backing to it, because I like the idea of it being a blanket or a rug on the carpet or a photo prop, as opposed to an actual rug; but the pattern does give detailed instructions on how to add a non-slip backing to it.

This pattern worked up super quickly, I did it in 2 days or just working on it part time, and turned out SO cute. The stitches are simple, with a crab stitch and a picot being the only real “non-basic” stitches in it. And, as always, she gives detailed instructions on how to complete these stitches.

The most difficult part of the entire pattern is sewing things together. But, that is because I am super lazy and hate to hand-sew things. 🙂

Seriously, from beginner to experienced crocheters, I highly, highly, highly recommend Ira Rott’s patterns. It is all so STINKIN ADORABLE, so many options, and so easy to follow.

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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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