Crafting Wherever, Whenever

My favorite thing about the knitting + crocheting niche is that I am not
tied to a designated desk all day in order to get my products made.

I can stash a ball of yarn and utensils (scissors + needles or hook) in my purse and work wherever I am that day.  When I would chauffeur all day, I could knit at our stops (15 minutes here; 45 minutes there), or when I would watch an older gentleman in his home (while his daughter/ caretaker was out running her errands) I would knit while he watched a movie or we would work on a puzzle.  Sometimes I’d bring my laptop to catch up on emails + blog reading/writing.  But the best part about this aspect is that when I’m waiting in a long line or in a waiting room, I can happily pass the time productively knitting (or crocheting) without feeling like I’m “wasting my time.”

The other great part about this niche is how infinite it is.  There are so many different interpretations on the same project, let alone on the different items + styles that one can create out of yarn, that there are vast options available to the customer.

Sometimes I think it is hard to be original in this field because it may seem like everything has been done.  But then I allow myself to solve a problem with my own puzzle-solving creativity before I look to the internet to “tell” me how others have solved it (youtube, pinterest, etc).  You can see examples of my problem-solving when you read one of my original patterns.

What is your favorite thing about your niche?

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Are You a Blogger Who Makes or a Maker Who Blogs?

Because, let’s face it.  These are two different approaches to blogging.

Are you a Blogger or a Maker first?  |  knittedhome.blogspot.com
When I first discovered this idea, I was rocking my daughter to sleep + the question came at me like a riddle.  Which one are you? it wanted to know.  It took a couple of rockings for me to decide.  

A Blogger Who Makes

You blog to tell a story + if your craft or wares come into the picture, it is because they are part of your story.  You blog to put your voice out there + to hear others validate your thoughts through comments + shares.  You may blog to build a community through more interactive approaches like knitalongs + link parties.

You probably have quite a few categories of topics that you love to cover and this helps you build a large following around many topics.  My personal favorites are sustainable family living, crafting, and minimalism.

Some of my favorite Bloggers are Buckaloo View + Field*Wonderful + Thrifty Frugal Mama
 + Little House Living + High Heels & Two Wheels + Reading My Tea Leaves

A Maker Who Blogs

You blog to share your process or your wares with your fans + build a following around your product or services.  You want your readers to have behind-the-scenes access to your creative process + all that it entails.  You are most likely using your community’s feedback to better understand what your audience is seeking in your business.

Your categories are more in line with your business niche + less about your personal life (though I know plenty of business blogs that deviate from this).

I don’t find myself following as many of these blogs as the former, but when I do, I binge read them because they are full of self-help articles + pretty stylized images.  My favorites include:
Pickles + DarlingbeBrave + A Bowl Full of Lemons + Elle&Co + byRegina + KylaRoma

Certainly there isn’t only one way to blog.  And readers need a mixture to keep things interesting.  I just thought this would be fun to see who identifies with which personality. 

Ultimately I’m a Blogger first who happens to make + sell things.  Looking at how long I’ve been writing, what motivates me to write, and why I write, all point to my reason for blogging: community engagement.  That’s not to say I don’t want to monetize or mention my Etsy shop, but it does highlight the fact that those are or have become secondary to my motivation for reader engagement.

So I pose the same question to you:  Are you a Blogger who makes or a Maker who blogs?

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Why I Love Affiliate Programs

It is a win-win for everyone!

I’ve slowly been adding affiliate links to my posts + need to do a blog audit to clean up + polish my old posts + add in appropriate links to make each post better.    My goal for these affiliate links is to increase my blog income (without costing you anything!) so that I can remove the Google Ads between posts.  Wouldn’t that look so much nicer??

If any of these programs interest you, just click on one of my links.  It doesn’t cost you anything but it helps me out a LOT.  In some cases you might even get a bonus by using a referral link instead of just signing up with their website!  Coupon Apps usually offer this incentive (interested to learn more?  Comment below + I’ll write about it next).

SWAGBUCKS

I fill out surveys, print grocery e-coupons, watch videos + answer polls to earn points which can be redeemed for gift cards.  My current favorites are Home Depot, clothing stores, and Amazon.com.  How does this relate to knitting + crocheting?  AMAZON SELLS YARN!  I only just discovered this myself (duh, me!) and it has opened up a whole new level of shopping at home (uh oh).  It is where I have found my latest favorite, new baby mitten colors.  But best of all – it now means I can get my yarn for free or very cheap because of swagbucks + Amazon Prime’s FREE 2-day shipping!

Once I earn 450 points I redeem them for a $5 amazon gift card.  It takes a couple weeks to get the card so I make sure to redeem the points right away so that I have the gift card code when I’m ready to make a purchase.  Even better?  Once you have the gift card code, you can go to your amazon account + enter that code to use later.  (They make it way to easy to have a shopping spree…)

Click here to sign up for SwagbucksIf you’d like to know more of my strategies to earn swagbucks quickly, you can email me @ knittedhome @ gmail + I’ll send you an email with everyone I know!

EBATES

Ebates is my favorite way to earn cash with all my online shopping.  It reminds me of a cash-back credit card.  For my yarn friends, Ebates offers cash back to Michael’s + JoAnn’s, Fabric.com (I just bought tons of yarn from this awesome shop!) + Hancock Fabrics + some Amazon.com departments!  Just type the name of the store into the big green search bar at the top.

Once I have all my purchases in my online shopping cart, I close the store’s window and open ebates.  I select the store I’m shopping at + it opens a new window to that store.  Stay in this window to complete your purchase.  Select your shopping cart + complete your purchase as usual (enter any promo codes + gift cards as usual; your credit card info is safe + Ebates will never see it).   Ebates will track your purchase in this window in order to give you a percentage back of your total (minus tax + shipping).  That’s it!

Sometimes Ebates will have a daily double deal where they offer double cash back on a particular store.  You can sign up for those emails (one a day) if you do a lot of online shopping + want to maximize your cash back.

Sign up here for Ebates.  Did I mention you can also use your Swagbucks giftcards to pay for your purchases you make through Ebates?  What a great way to double-up + maximize your savings!

AMAZON

If you are doing a lot of Amazon.com shopping (like all those new crochet hooks + knitting needles + yarn), this savings add up QUICK!  You can sign up for Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial to get FREE 2-day shipping .  If you like it (which who doesn’t love getting something in the mail in 2 days for free?), you can sign up for a whole year with Prime for only $99.

I hope this post helps shed some light on my use of affiliate links in my posts.  I also hope it will allow you to keep your confidence in me as well as allow you to support this little blog without spending any money out of your own pocket.  I’m right there with you in wanting to save money.

Did I miss anything?  How do you save on your hobby?

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Retrospective Business Lesson from High School

I will forever wish I had had the wisdom to accept payment upfront in high school for the “fad” that my crocheted purses created in my freshman year.

It started with one that I crocheted for myself to hold my planner, calculator, reading novel, + writing utensils.  Someone liked it and asked me to make them one which I did.  Within a week, I was taking names + color designs down faster than I could crochet.  I had a list of over 80 names by the end of the second week + a class president candidate mentioned me in her speech.  (I blushed).  However, if I had just been smart enough to listen to the customer when they all offered to pay me upfront, I would have had much more (Etsy) start-up capital + many more purses with happy customers.  Not to mention maybe more exposure via word-of-mouth outside of school.

(Look at that adorable, hand-embroidered + hand-sewn early label!  WAY too time-consuming for multiple orders… )

My initial fear was that they would pay for the item + I would have no way of getting their product to them (solution: take down their name & locker number upon ordering & leave the finished product in their unlocked locker) or that they would be unsatisfied + want to return it.  (Which still haunts me today.  How do you handle returns or unsatisfied customers?)

Sometimes this little taste of “fame” haunts me.  What if this was my peak?  Am I a one-hit wonder?

Or do I need to realize that maybe a large part of my market is the teenager + I’m just not marketing properly?  Do any of you consciously market?  Care to share some tips?

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Stumbling upon my own Invention

Do you ever have moments where you feel like you are ahead of your time or where you “invented” something and then find out later (maybe a day; maybe YEARS later) that it was “already invented”?

I stumbled upon this email from Crochet Me and it was like being taken back to a younger self, wide-eyed & experimental…
I like that I “invented” this without ever knowing it was an actual *thing* to do.  I think I was in high school the first time I ever tried “embroidering” with crochet …. :]

How about you?  I’d LOVE to hear any and all experiences.  I’m sure I’m not the only one with moments like these.

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Lots of Inspiration!

Most Januarys are filled with resolutions and to-do lists to stay on track.  Mine has been filled with education, pretty pictures, & support groups.  😛

Lately I’ve been bingeing on new podcasts (Elise Gets Crafty), new facebook groups, youtube videos,  & the ever-enticing how-to blog posts.

Some new things I’ve learned:
 – play music while you work!  (NOT the TV)
 – Podcasts or YouTube videos (the how-to kind) while washing dishes and loading/folding laundry have made me WANT to do more chores!
 – It’s ok to redirect my blog (Thanks Laura – new blog friend from Daring Creative Workshop)
 – Affiliate programs can be mutually rewarding

New Discoveries:
 – Daring Creative Workshop – a facebook support group for bloggers & creatives
 – Bowl of Lemons Home Organization – another facebook support group, for purging clutter & organizing your home in style.  I love all the amazing support & plethora of suggestions from members (just ask a question/post a pic & wait for the comments to roll in!) as well as the pretty pictures from real homes that people post.

I’d love to hear what you are discovering this new year!  It will help me fill my days indoors with all these snowstorms.  I hope you are enjoying your winter weather!

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