Today was one of those days when I REALLY wish I could just hire someone to do admin stuff for me. The webhost I use (Weebly) for this website released a major ecommerce upgrade and it means I need to pretty much rebuild my entire shop. I'm thrilled with all the new features (seriously, I am) but eesh. I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 120 items including 80 pattern files that have to be uploaded. 1 at a time.
I've spent the entire day working on getting things 'rearranged' and I'm nowhere near done. I did manage to get most of my tangible items finished - except for the stitch markers. LOTS more to do there. But all my hats, gloves, boot cuffs & blankets are ready to go and waiting for me to hit that 'publish' button. But I'm more than a little hesitant to do it.
You see, huge upgrades like this NEVER go off without a hitch. It's the nature of the beast - there will ALWAYS be something wrong. (Right James??) And if I switch over to the new features and find that there are several things I need to fix before it works right, well, I'm toast. I'm completely out of energy to do anything else this evening so my website would just sit there. Broken. For at least a few days since I'm pretty booked with other plans this week.
6 weeks before Christmas is NOT a good time to have my website 'broken'. So I think I'm going to back slowly away from that 'publish' button and just leave things as they are for now. All those new fancy features will have to wait a bit longer to debut here. And I'm okay with that - I haven't even picked up a crochet hook in over 24 hours and I'm feeling a little twitchy.
Have you thought about taking your crocheting or knitting to the next step and offering items for sale online? If you've visited my blog before, you've probably seen the series I've done on opening an Etsy shop
Now thanks to Crochetville, I'm going to be the featured "speaker" this week during their new "Chat with a Designer" event! If you're not already a fan of Crochetville's Facebook page
, head on over and click that Like button - and then join us this Friday, November 1 at 10 AM, Pacific Time.
I'll be answering questions about selling online - mostly Etsy, but I'm open to other questions as well.
Goodness, here it is almost the end of the month again! Seriously, that bit our parents told us about time moving more quickly the older you get?? Yup, something else they were right about.
Now that the government shutdown thing is over, it seems that folks are getting into the Christmas shopping spirit - at least they are over on Etsy. I've gone from feeling comfortable with my inventory of finished items to feeling slightly panicked. Definitely appreciating the upswing in sales though!
I've spent the past couple of weeks working out lots of details for the new stitch markers I'm making - including holding a contest on Facebook for some cute cat photos to use. (Did you miss the cat contest? If you're also a dog lover you'll have another chance to participate soon!) You'll be able to order custom stitch markers with YOUR photo on them - and if you have a favorite local yarn shop they can even order markers with their logo on them at wholesale prices. (Psst - if the shop lets me know you referred them here, you'll get a free set of markers!)
My latest "personal" project was a new poncho for my granddaughter. I've made her a total of 3 of these over the past 4 years - the kid thinks it's okay to keep growing for some reason. I can't find a picture of the one I made "in between" the 2 shown below - and you can tell SHE chose the colors of the latest one. I'm still trying to talk her into letting me put some ties at the top opening of her new one, but all in all I have to say I like it as much as she does. Her mom keeps hinting that she wants a "hippie poncho" too!
Monday was a very long day - it took 3 flights to get home from North Carolina to Oregon. I was glad that I had done one last thing for myself before leaving the conference - I booked a massage for Sunday afternoon.
That was a first for me - and to be honest, I'm not sure why I did it. But it was wonderful (even if my shoulders were a bit sore the next day!) I didn't need the masseuse to tell me that I have some stress & knotted muscles and he did a great job helping me to get some of that out. He also showed me some stretches I can do for my hands and forearms during the long days of crocheting coming up. I'm going to have to do that again. :-)
It feels a bit like I was holding my breath during the conference, and now that I'm back home things are picking up very quickly! Both Etsy & my website are busy with orders and I'm working on some new designs for stitch markers. In between I'm practicing some of the new cable techniques I learned at the conference (like the braided cable in the photo - that sucker was a challenge but I love how it looks!)
Sunday - the last day. :-( We had classes in the morning and the marketplace was open until mid-afternoon for last minute shoppers - there were some good deals to be had then too. Some of the vendors would rather sell at a discount rather than pack stuff up, so quite a few had marked significant percentages off. Since I was already worried about getting everything I'd won/been given/bought into my suitcase, I did not buy ANY more yarn this day. Now that I know what the marketplace is like at these things, I'll be better prepared next year!
One of the highlights of the conference was the Design Competition - crocheters sent in everything from the owl bean bag chair shown above, to vintage look christening gowns, jewelry & tiny sculptures. Pretty awe-inspiring designs. My pictures are below; you can see pictures of all the entries & winners on Doris Chan's blog
(she was the coordinator of the event)
Saturday afternoon was my very first pattern signing experience - when I walked into the marketplace and saw my name on the schedule, it was just too cool! And I actually had folks come talk to me (and purchase my pattern!)
Saturday evening was "Fun Night" (also known as Trekker Crocheter Night). MORE goody bags (and yarn!) were given away (with my sample stitch markers included), a fastest crocheter contest (83 double crochet in 3 minutes), and some very UN-diet friendly desserts made for a great time to relax and chat with new friends.
Well, I meant to update this last night (Friday night), but by the time I made it back to my room after the dinner & fashion show I was toast. And I'll tell you - it's REALLY hard to not sit down and play with the pile of yarn on my couch that continues to grow! But I know if I try 1 of 2 things will happen: I'll either *think* I'm making something really cool that will look like a hot mess in the morning light; or I *will* make something really cool and have no idea how I did it come morning. So I don't drink wine and play with yarn. Just. Don't.
Yesterday was another wonderfully productive day! I mentioned that a local yarn shop was interested in meeting me and talking about selling my patterns in his shop - that happened yesterday morning. An online friend (who lives near here) came to the hotel to pick me up (with the sign in the picture!!) and I got to see a bit of the area on our way.
The hotel is located very close to a huge NASCAR racetrack/stadium - I knew that, but good grief! I don't know how many that place can seat, but it makes ANY football or baseball stadium I've even seen look like high school bleachers. There is some kind of NASCAR even next week and I'm really glad I'll be out of here before then. I can't even imagine what this place is like with eleventy million race car fans running around!!
ANYWAY, I was able to meet one of the owners of The Yarnhouse in Charlotte
- what a comfortable shop!! Not a huge place, but very comfortable and oh such luscious yarns! Repacking my suitcase is going to be a serious challenge so I maintained control, but they have some very nice yarn in there. (I did leave with 1 hank of Noro silk & cotton stuff - it literally jumped off the shelf into my hands - what was I to do??)
I had a very nice chat with Chris and left the store with him printing out information sheets on quite a few of my patterns. Which was great - but what got me even more excited was his reaction to my stitch markers.
He loved them. He wants them. We will be talking soon about selling them in his shop as well as working on some custom markers with his shop logo on them. I think I may be expanding this product line in the near future - they really are pretty fun to make and custom markers might be a popular niche market. We'll see.
I won 2 more door prizes yesterday - one book was a duplicate of a book I won off a blog contest just recently! So I gave it to one of my table mates at the dinner last night. But I'm getting the hint that I'm SUPPOSED to have this book! :-)
I'll be signing patterns this afternoon for a bit, then helping to put together goody bags (with my sample stitch markers in them) and then our Star Trek themed party is this evening! What a week. :-)
Today was a very full day - I had 2 classes (each 3 hours) on aran cables, twisted & crossed stitches, and braided cables (if you don't know what all that means, just trust me - challenging crochet stuff!). I know I'm a fairly advanced crocheter, but today really stretched me in that respect. And I LOVED it! This is what I wish there were more opportunities to explore - truly advanced techniques and skills. My head is about to explode from all of the ideas that are swirling around inside it - you should see the pattern "doodle notes" I've made! I'm excited to put some of these new techniques to work in upcoming patterns.
And then tonight the marketplace showroom opened for the shopping preview. (It opens to the public tomorrow.) In the words of my granddaughter: Oh. My. Goodness. I remember feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of curriculum when we used to attend homeschooling conferences; that was nothing compared to the yarn & fiber choices I encountered tonight.
The ones that jumped in my bag are all piled on my couch, but I'm not going to post a picture. I really don't want to give my hubby a heart attack (or a reason to overindulge in more Y2K stuff...) Suffice to say there were some really great deals on yarn tonight and yes, I took advantage of a few of them.
But one of the coolest yarns I bought was a hank of Rose yarn. Yes - yarn made from ROSES. It's all hand-dyed by the owner and it is smooshy soft! (No, it doesn't smell like roses.) I'm a sucker for unique fiber yarns and this stuff was on sale during the preview tonight, so yeah, I bought some. Can't wait to play with it.
Tomorrow morning I'll be visiting a local yarn shop whose owner is interested in carrying my patterns; and then another skill-building class in the afternoon. Tomorrow evening is the "big" dinner and fashion show. Thankfully I don't have a class on Saturday morning so maybe I'll be able to sleep in a bit to recover. :-)
I've been looking forward to attending the CGOA Chain Link Conference
for months (and months and months); but even with all the glowing reviews I've heard from others in anticipation, I'm still amazed after only the first day.
I really underestimated just how much fun it would be to spend time with a large group of ladies (and a few guys) who share my passion for yarn and arranging knots & loops with it! Not to mention the networking I'm able to do with others in the design industry - so much experience represented here this week!
Yesterday was Professional Development Day (PDD) - 8 solid hours of on-point, detailed, specific information on publishing a book in this industry. From researching a book proposal & getting that contract from a publisher, to book signings & publicity so you can let everyone know about your amazing, must-have book. The specific topics at each presentation of PDD change from conference to conference, so the fact that this year it's on getting a book out there is SO kismet!! I've already accumulated a ton of notes plus handouts - and there are 3-1/2 more days to go! (Not to mention the goody bags with YARN that are piling up on the couch in my hotel room.) :-)Today's agenda includes breakfast with the "Newbie" group (those attending their first conference), 2 classes (textured stitches, simple and braided cables), the official conference kick-off tonight, and the marketplace preview this evening. Lion Brand yarn is a major corporate sponsor of this event and they will have some limited edition yarns available at their booth. We got a sneak preview of some of those yarns yesterday (silk!) and I'm hoping to snag a hank or 2 before they are gone. These are yarns that won't be showing up at the local big box stores so it's nice to have the opportunity to see (and squish) them up close and personal.
REAL pictures coming soon - I promise!!
I love felting - the whole process from crocheting to trimming the fuzzies on the finished piece. I've made mouse pads, insoles for boots and even slippers once; but my favorite things to make are purses & tote bags. I'll admit, I'm a tote bag junkie anyway and making them this way is SO much fun!! And since felting makes the crochet fabric nice and thick, you don't have to line these bags. HUGE bonus.
As I'm getting ready to attend a crochet conference this next week I'm trying to finish up some of my recent projects so I can take them with me. Everyone says you "have" to wear articles you've crocheted yourself, but since I don't wear them, I'm taking purses & totes!
Above are pictures of my current favorites - although I'm still working on the tote bag in the 2nd row. It needs something else on the front - I'm going to try to felt a flower or 2 and see how they look on it.
I also had this bright idea for a bag - basically a nice sized tote like the grey & burgundy one, but with a button on the lower front that you could use to attach various adornments. Maybe seasonal flowers - poinsettia for Christmas time? Maybe a pumpkin or apple for the fall; bright flowers for spring, watermelon for summer, etc. The appliques would all have a buttonhole right in the center to attach to the button on the tote. You could change your bag with the seasons or your mood. The more I think about this idea, the more I want to play around with it. Who knows - maybe a new pattern to add to my list to write?
I also want to update the tote pattern to include more pockets inside - maybe with magnetic closures, pen holders and what not. Nothing makes me crazier than trying to find something in the bottom of a purse or a bag!!