First e-Pattern

I’ve been writing my own patterns nearly as long as I’ve been knitting + crocheting.  However, it was only when I started teaching + using my simple, beginner patterns that I started to seriously write them out for others to use. 

Luckily my students have been very forgiving as well as constructive critiques to help me get the pattern written correctly for beginners to follow easily.  

You can check out the new pattern here. 

Does anyone else write + sell their own patterns?  What words of advice would you offer?  I’d love to check out your work; please leave a link to your listing in the comments!

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Hair Bows & Bow Ties

I finally got around to trying this nifty little pattern back in March (was it really that long ago?), whipping up quite a few more than I intended, and I’m ecstatic to introduce it in the Etsy shop!

Add a bow to any hat or headband in the shot

I think this pattern was originally intended to be a little girl’s hair bow but I have been on a quest to find cute *boy* clothes & accessories before EJ was born.  Using my grandfather and his adorable bow ties as inspiration, I think these would make wonderful bow ties for a little boy!  What do you think??

I haven’t figured out how to safely (i.e. not a choking hazard) attach these around a little neck, but I’m open to suggestions.  In the mean time, I’m also selling these under supplies.

I plan to add many more colors soon; I just had this baby blue skein to use up.  What are you working on today?

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Tools I Use for Selling on Etsy

Along the same lines as Blogging Tools, I found myself getting into tools/sites that I use for sales so I broke that off into this post:

Even as I am starting to branch out into physical booth for sales (and possibly consignment??) I still like to have Etsy as a landing page & sample of work available by me.  Along the same lines, I like to keep a dedicated Pinterest board to my previous work, especially when it comes to one-of-a-kind pieces to be referenced by customers or used as inspiration for future work.  This has also been handy in knowing what needs to be duplicated for popularity’s sake.

I also use Pinterest to brainstorm my craft show set up, new patterns to try, and any marketing or advice I might come across that I find worth referencing.

Square has been a great tool for accepting credit payments in person plus generating a neat, digital sales receipt for anyone requesting one.  So far the only draw back has been that my particular smartphone (LG Spectrum 1st gen.) is not fully supported so I always have to type in the card numbers which results in a higher fee.  I still did fairly well at the Make It Indie fair in November but it sure has me thinking about that next phone upgrade this spring….

Facebook – to promote art/craft shows I am participating in, send customers to for product & experience feedback as well as interaction, share new items listed in the shop, latest blog post link, and anything I find interesting that I think my followers may also enjoy.  I like to keep my Facebook light-hearted but centered around the knitting/crocheting/crafting theme.
Maybe not so surprisingly, I have noticed that some have even used my Facebook page as a way to contact me via message instead of my email.  This is how I was invited to join the Merchant’s Landing Arts & Craft Show!

Free “scrap” bracelets

Speaking of physical shows, I’ve also found that a little freebie is a great draw to your table.  I like to crochet long leftover scraps of cotton yarn into bracelets which I offer for free to whomever.  I find it is a great way to strike up a conversation with anyone “brave enough” to pick out a free bracelet.  🙂

So far I haven’t branched out into wholesaling (purchasing or selling) but it has crossed my mind several times.  Does anyone have any wholesale experience?

And as always, word of mouth through supportive friends and family members has helped generate a fair handful of sales this past holiday season.  Plus a few times when asked what do I do for a living (a question that always makes me cringe), I mention that I am a knit/crochet instructor as well as an Etsy shop owner.  I like to show pictures of what I make via my smartphone (images taken directly with my phone as well as pulling up my Etsy shop on my phone) and hand them a business card, encouraging them to explore my shop more when they are home.  I don’t know how well it works, but I figure it can’t hurt, right?

I’d love to hear what tools you use for “pedaling your wares” 🙂  If you already have a post about it, would you mind pasting a link to it in the comments section?  I’d love to read it!

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Soap Savers

You may have seen me mention these little things in passing (I believe the first time I even mentioned them was Flower Weekend back in May & then again in July at my first Art Walk) but it doesn’t look like I’ve ever really talked much about my Soap Savers on the blog.

If you follow me on Facebook you may have seen their debut at the Toledo Farmer’s Market:

This handy bath item is the perfect size to collect those little shards of soap in to get every last bit of use out of your soap, or you can even to store a whole bar of soap in it!  I describe them as self-refilling loofas/washcloths because once you have added soap to the inside of the pouch and started working a lather through its walls, it will continue to lather every time it is massaged.

Here is one of my friends who has used hers since last summer (about 6 months at this point).  She loves how well it lathers:

I’ve even found that it makes a nice scrubbie and would probably work to scrub dishes or the bathtub walls!  Does anyone else use a soap saver?

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2014 Goals

I know it may seem a little late to be posting goals for the new year, but these have been swirling in my head since the end of January and I think they are finally ready to be listed and documented.  Not to mention by publishing them I can hold myself accountable and keep myself on track for the year.

  1. Finally get my Tax/ Incorporation in order.  Aka, am I a sole proprietor or LLC?  I meet with my uncle who does taxes for a living to figure this out next week.  🙂
  2. Commit to at least one show/fair/market per month.  Obviously I missed the first three months this year but so far I’m on track to start in April with the Merchant’s Landing Show April 12 & 13.
  3. Post to this blog once a week.  If more is happening that’s worth posting about, I’ll be sure to post it as well, though it may be less wordy.  Who is ok with just a picture post once in a while?
  4. Get my wares into a physical brick & mortar store.  More to come on this once things are settled.  I’m currently talking with two different shops and it just makes me super excited for new possibilities!

I’ve also started reading this great book that has some nice exercises (I’m not usually a fan of “exercises” in a book) that really spoke to me after I met my goal of doing 1-3 physical shows in 2013.  I felt so empowered and excited I couldn’t wait to make more goals for this year & feel an even bigger empowerment at the end of this year.  Thus my mind has really started opening to the possibilities because of this book & it has really inspired some energy in me for this year’s success.

So far my favorite passage is on goals & goal setting (thus inspiring this organized post instead of just a note to self on a scrap piece of paper):

Goals are really amazing things.  They give you focus and set your course.  […]  Goals support Intentions.  By actively working on these goals, the end result will be accomplished.  You can use your intentions to make sure you keep your business on track. […]  Your goals should be your friends; they should excite you, and you should look forward to working toward them.  Goals are not chores.

Exercise: Make a list of all the goals you’ve had since you decided to be a creative business owner.  Now circle all the goals that you’ve already accomplished.

Quote from Jolie Guillebeau: “Take small steps consistently.  Do something every single day to make a little progress toward your goal.” 

Grow Your Handmade Business – Kari Chapin

Anyone read anything inspiring lately?

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