Drawing to an End

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As we approach the end of the year, we tend to start thinking about what we want to accomplish next year. We set goals, we plan, we make resolutions. But, sometimes we forget to just be thankful. We also forget to look at all the good from the previous year. It has been a challenging year for me, and a busy one. I set up my website this year with all my patterns. I also started up my Etsy shop full time. Both were larger endeavors than I expected, with the website taking me months to get it where I was satisfied. I’m only just now feeling comfortable with where I have things. Setting up my own website for sales also meant getting tax licenses for Europe and what not. It was a bit more taxing on me than I thought it would be, but it got done. 🙂 My Etsy shop is coming along, but I am still in need of more inventory to get my page noticed. That means more wood burning designs. I have plans to make 4 sets of gnome ornaments (one set for each season). I also have some items I’m working on for Easter. I should perhaps consider doing something for Valentines Day, too. Anyway..I’m off track a bit. But, that’s how my brain works. It will occasionally get off on a mini tangent of things I could do. lol

So, not only did I get the two shops set up this year, but I’ve also been working on new designs through all this. I managed to publish 8 patterns this year. That is lower than I had wanted, but the summer was taken up with other things. I also have a full sweater in that mix that I had to get the sample knit for. In all, I think 8 was pretty good. I’m very happy with the improved quality of what I have been working on. This was also my first full year of getting all my patterns tech edited. I started doing that last year, but this year everything that was released was fully edited. I almost launched a 9th pattern, but it’s still in testing. So, we’ll say 8 1/2 patterns this year. lol

For 2020, I figured it was the best time to really start putting myself out there. I want to get more blog posts out, as well as continue the help section. I have not completed the Sock Basics posts yet, so I should start there. Then I will move on to other types of garment constructions and techniques. I also need to do more promoting. I just have not decided how to do this yet. When you are just starting out, you really don’t want to just hemorrhage money. And with tech editing, it’s already pretty rough. Unfortunately, you have to do what you have to do. I’ll try to take advantage of ways to not spend boatloads of money, but I think at least one ad campaign is going to be needed. I just need to figure out what the best place is to do it. The good thing about an ad campaign, is that once I have created and placed the ad, I just walk away. lol It’s not something I have to babysit.

On the design side, there are things I already have on the go. I have colorwork socks that I am about to bounce back in to. If I’m good about them, I can have the pattern ready for testing and editing by the 2nd week of January. I’m on the gusset right now, and they are toe up. So, it’s getting to the point where I can just knit and knit right up the leg. 😀 I can even give a sneak peek on these. I am loving the design, and it’s not just on the top of the foot, but also the bottom as well.

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I also have a sweater on the go. Unfortunately, I have lost weight and the sweater may already be way too big. That might mean that I need to start over again (for the 2nd time lol). It’s meant to be an oversized sweater, so maybe it will be okay. Unfortunately, loosing 2″ off the chest has meant sweaters are a problem. haha! I still have a sneak peek of this one too, though. And looking at it, I think the size might be okay. I’ll check my calculations to see what the finished size should be, and go from there. 😀

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Other than that, I want to try and get 10 pattern launched this year. These two with the one that is still in testing will be 3, so I am well on my way. I have already been doing some brain storming and have a few more that I am trying to figure out. There will be some more socks, as well as fingerless mittens in there. I also have a baby blanket and a scarf in the works. 😀 Depending on my time constraints for knitting, I should be able to get really close to my 10.

I am also trying to squeeze in some knitting just for me. In all likelihood, I will be selling some of my samples that I make for my designs. I really have so many fingerless mittens right now, that they are just everywhere. haha! I had been eyeing the Ease pattern by Alicia Plummer for ages! I finally decided that now is the time. I picked it up during the Gift-A-Long sale, and have been working on it since early this month. And I’m happy to report that I finished it this morning. And I’m in love. I love the fit, the look, everything. 😀 I made mine with the optional cowl/drawstring neck, which is just my style. I did have to start over initially, because my gauge was way off, and it was going to be far too big. I dropped down a few sizes on the pattern, because I liked the fabric I was getting with the size 10 needles. The yarn I used was Concept by Katia. It’s a cotton/merino blend, and is so amazing to work with. I’m hoping for just the right feel of light and airy with warmth, and I think this will do it. I can’t wait to wear it tonight.

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And just as a reminder! I still have a 15% off sale going on. All the patterns here on my site are 15% off with the coupon code “Christmas”. Also, if you prefer Ravelry, the same code will give you 15% off there too. My Etsy shop has 15% off when you spend a minimum of $20.00, with no code needed. And as always, I have affiliate links at the bottom of my home page if you are ever so inclined to join in my oily journey, or are looking to buy some items. LoveCrafts is having a sale during January, so feel free to click my link to go check that out as well. 😀

Thank you so much for your support!! I really appreciate it! I hope the holidays are great to you, and that you have a Very Happy New Year! Stay safe, and I’ll be back here in a few days. 😀

Hand knits going up for sale

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I am currently plowing through a bunch of knitting to get some hand knits listed on my Etsy page. My goal is to list only high quality knit wear on my page. I won’t be using any acrylic (even though I do love acrylic for a lot of purposes…but people frown upon it), and it will always be a product that feels nice on the skin. I will also be listing only items made with my own patterns. The reason for this is that there is a lot of confusion when it comes to pattern copyright. People assume that if you are not allowed to benefit from someones pattern, that it means you can not sell finished goods that you have made from said pattern. That’s actually not the case. You can not copyright the final product. You can only copyright the words on that page. So, you can not sell my patterns to someone else, nor should you give them to someone for free. However, the finished products are yours to do with as you desire. But, that confusion means that if I use someones patter that does not understand the finer details of the copyright laws, I could find myself in hot water, even if I’m not doing anything wrong. And no one has time for that. That means I’ll play it safe and if it’s my pattern, I’ll use it.

One of the biggest issues with selling hand knits online is that you really can’t make your money back. It darned near impossible. For example, the scarf that I have listed on Etsy right now is up for $120.00. It sounds like a lot, and it is. However, it took me 21 hours to knit. If I were to try and fetch an okay wage, of say $7 an hour, that would be $147.00. Then I have the yarn to account for. After the basic expense of yarn, I’ll be making approximately $4.50 an hour. Not a lot, but really when you are self employed, every little bit helps. I may or may not list socks for sale. I have not decided. That’s even less of a return. They would be listed for about $50.00, which makes my profit margin pretty tiny. Right now, I am going to list products based on my profit margin, because looking at it based on an hourly wage is just downright depressing. lol

But, enough of the nitty gritty of what will be listed and pricing schemes, here is the first product I have listed. It’s a Dragon Scale Scarf, made with 100% Merino Wool that is an absolute delight to have against your skin. I have one just like this for myself, and I adore it. It’s soft and squishy and holds up really well. It will need to be hand washed and laid out flat to dry, but it’s worth it. Of course, there is also the option of using a fabric refresher of some sort to keep it going longer between washes. 🙂 I like to do this, personally. The color of this is a light/medium heathered grey, which adds an extra layer of interest to the look. Did I mention that I adore this yarn? I have 6 more in the works to be listed. But, as I said, it takes 21 hours of knitting, which I have to fit in at various times, so it takes a while to complete. Because of that, they will only be listed as finished products to make sure that I don’t impose extra deadlines on myself. I do need to also get designs out the door.

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Be sure to subscribe to my blog, if you would like to get updates on blog posts, and shop updates. Whenever I update the pattern shop here on the website, or my Etsy shop, I will put up a post about it to keep my followers informed. I am currently getting ready for 2020, and have my goals list started. You should see a lot of things coming down the line over the next couple months, as I really get moving on these things. I have a whole line of wood burning ornaments that I’m starting to get out. They are a seasonal gnome line up. Each season will have 6 gnome ornaments to choose from. I can’t wait for you to see them! I’ve been working on the winter set for the last couple weeks. I think I almost have the design worked out. I just have one ornament to change. And, as always, these have been hand drawn by me. However, they are hand drawn on to a template, so that each set is identical. I have so many goodies in my head planned, and I need to start getting them on to paper!

Thanks so much for reading. I can’t wait for you to see what is coming.

Having some fun

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One of the problems with trying to have your own business, is that sometimes it can get overwhelming and just not feel fun. You can feel like you are bogged down or stuck. That happened this past weekend. I started to feel very stuck. I was overwhelmed by everything going on. My sales have been in the tank, which can be very common during the summer, but it’s still really tough to deal with. So, as I usually do, I start thinking about plan B. That usually involves the thoughts of what I can do to make money via online sales. Perhaps I SHOULD look at getting into Lularoe (which I debate about every 3 months, even though I just don’t have the mental stuff to do it…just really not something I am good at), or perhaps focus more on the Young Living sales (which I might still push forward with), or search for something else. Then I remember that I’m just not the sales type. Which is funny, but I’m not. I need to work on this more, because obviously it would be beneficial for more things.

I ended up going back to the thoughts of my dormant Etsy shop. I thought, what can I put on there that could be good. I settled on keychains. A very specific thing, that I can make varieties of. Just keychains. Keychains with wood burned tags. Keychains with stuffed critters. Keychains with beaded creations. All keychains. I might add stuff later, but for now…keychains. haha

I started working on my prototypes this weekend, while I wait for some yarn to come in for these. Now, the stuffed critters will have safety eyes, but are still not for kids. They are specifically for keychains, and not for play, but are still super cute. 🙂

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These are the three I have worked up so far. The kitty still needs whiskers, and his tail to be attached to his body. I don’t want to have a dangling tail that would get all tangled up. And the other two are getting some kind of mouth. I just need to dig out the embroidery floss to take care of that. 🙂

Stay tuned for these little guys to be released. I have a bunch more options for critters as well (shark, bat, dolphin, a hug), but I need to get the right color of yarn first. 😀

Thanks to this helping to clear my head and give me some direction, I will have some designs coming down the pipe. I have a couple things that are finishing up testing, and will be released around the 15th. I also have my Scarf of Many Colors that is scheduled to go to the editor on the 12th. That should mean I can start testing of that the following week. Right now the scarf is blocking, and should be dry before too long, so I can get proper pictures. 😀

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Thanks for reading!!

Making Plans

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We have been waiting for someone to come and look at a couch/recliner that we have up for sale, so I took the down time to do some planning. It’s good to do that every once in a while to make sure I know where I am heading. This time, it wasn’t all about patterns, though. I am working on getting some products up for sale. I’m not 100% sure how that is going to work. If I can get it to work on here, then they will absolutely be listed here, but if not, they will go up on Etsy.

I was trying to decide what would be the first product listed. Part of the problem is getting myself going. I spend so much time working on my pattern designs, that I don’t do much else. I need to be able to balance my time a bit better. To start with, I have decided to make a bunch of keychain items. I already have some wood burning items I have been wanting to do for that. I am now expanding into little crocheted toys that will be on keychains. I have about 8 different designs that I am working through to get them the size that I want them to be.

To start my day, I cleaned up my desk, but you would never know it now.

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I’m playing around with yarn I currently have on hand, but I do have a bunch of specific colors coming to make what I am planning. I have to find my keychain hardware though. I know I bought some. lol I also bought craft safety eyes a while back, and have no idea where they are. But, I know I don’t have near enough, so I went ahead and got some more. My original craft room is still in complete disrepair, so the eyes are probably down there…somewhere. hehe

I better get myself back to work, or I will never get these going. Thanks for reading!