Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Holidays!

I am feeling so very blessed to have had so much support this year, from customers, fellow artisans, friends and family.  I wish each and every one of you a fun, safe, rejuvenating and enriching holiday season!

Monday, August 15, 2011

New Designs and Changing Seasons

I've just designed my own wrist cuffs for Captain America and Spiderman fans! I'm very excited about them. My farmer's market face painting neighbor paints incredible renditions of these superheroes on kids' faces each week, so I thought I'd try something to complement her work. Making some pretty wrist cuffs, too, because I just can't resist the girly.

I've been working all summer to create cool designs for hotter weather, so I'm finding it difficult to start working on hats, scarves, gloves and holiday items.  As a customer, I always find it annoying that retailers rush the seasons so - with Halloween and Christmas already on the shelves!  But as a crafter, I'm finding I really need to start way ahead of time to make sure I have enough inventory for the busy season of online buying and craft shows. 

What makes you crazy about or lights you up in anticipation of the changing seasons?!

Monday, July 4, 2011

OMG My Market Bags Are Selling!

OK, so all of you who follow me or check my past posts know of my struggle with selling my market bags.  This summer at the weekly farmer's market I decided to hang them more prominently in my booth.  I bought two shepherd's hooks that clamp onto a table and hung the bags between them on an old expandable curtain rod I had laying around.  The first week, nada.

Then I decided to give away a paperback book with any purchase of a market bag, addressing two challenges I face:  1) selling the market bags and 2)getting rid of paperback books I've read that are cluttering up my home (good reads, though, in good condition).  Well - that did the trick to bring a little attention to the bags.  I don't think the book giveaway necessarily was the biggest incentive, but the "today's special" sign and the reference to the beach is what I think got people looking more closely.  I sold 4 bags that day!  Success :D!

Last week I did not offer a free book, but turned the display so that the end of the display faced the sidewalk, allowing passersby to see the front of the end bag.  And I sold 3 more bags!  What a relief!  One woman could not decide between two of the bags, and said she could only afford one (good feedback on price).  She returned later in the day saying the vendor further down didn't have the produce she needed, so she spent that money on the second bag!

These bags being the inspiration for my going into business, I am vindicated at last!  Now to restock...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Making New Friends

This week I explored some commercial store sites looking for employment/career opportunity tips and ended up making some great new friends!  I opened an account in the JoAnn Fabrics community portion of their website, requested joining a few groups, and sent a hello message to all members in one of them: Crochet Addicts Anonymous.  So far I've gotten very friendly greetings back from so many great folks who I feel will become wonderful people to know.  And they totally understand my crochet fetish - the best part!!

Have you explored any other places to make friends on the web who also crochet and understand the compulsion?  Do share!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

There's A Lot of Gray in Being Green - Part Two

More questions to consider when trying to be environmentally friendly with crochet:

If I order fiber from places too far for me to drive to, is it shipped separately, or can I have it delivered to my local store combined with a regulary delivery?
Some yarns I can only find online where I live.  Take Caron's Simply Soft Eco or Red Heart EcoWays.  None of my local craft stores (Michael's, Walmart and JoAnn's Fabrics - all big box stores) carry acrylic yarns with  recycled content.  My Michael's does carry two lines of organic cottons in limited colors, and non-organic USA-made Lily worsted weight cotton yarn, but no other yarns with recycled, repurposed, recovered or organic content.  Thankfully, more stores are now offering to ship individual product orders to the nearest store instead of directly to my home.  This way, it can be combined with shipments that would be going to the store anyway, requiring no separate truck use to get it to my house specifically.  Then, I can pick it up when it is convenient for me, and when I'm combining my own trips around town. 

Does the yarn producer incorporate ecofriendly practices and materials into its labeling and packaging?
I look for yarns that have simple labeling and low-impact packaging. More and more frequently, I'm noticing labels produced with a high percentage of post-consumer recycled paper content, as well as labels that indicate the paper is made from sustainably managed forest resources. I truly appreciate that producers are doing this, and letting me know by printing it on their labels! I'd love for them to tell me they're using soy/veggie ink for printing, too...

to be continued...

Monday, February 14, 2011

There's A Lot of Gray in Being Green - Part One

What types of questions do you ask yourself when perusing the yarns at your LYS, big box or online store?

One of my goals for my crocheting business is to be ecofriendly, from start to finish.  After all, I decided to start this journey because I thought I could use my skills to make a difference selling reusable, locally created market bags at my weekly farmer's market to cut down on the use of plastic bags. 
Well, I'm finding that there are many gray areas along the way, as I ask myself more and more questions!

My First Question:  What is the yarn I'm using made from?
Fortunately, over the last few years, many larger yarn producers are jumping on the recycled and renewable source bandwagon.  I'm finding acrylic yarns made with up to 30% post-consumer recycled material and cottons made with up to 75% recycled cotton at my local big-box craft store, for example.  Organic cottons and yarns made with renewable fibers, such as bamboo, milk byproducts, and soy, are also becoming more generally available.  Unfortunately, organic yarns and yarns made from recycled and renewable materials tend to be notably more expensive than the more mass-produced yarns, and are stocked in relatively small quantities and limited colors.  I am able to find some local sources of wonderful alpaca and wool fiber in my area, however these are luxury yarns due to their cost, and none of them are organically grown or processed.  Of course, online sources increase the types of yarns and color variety available to us crocheters and knitters at multiple price points, but then I must consider...

Second Question:  How far must it travel to get to me?
How much jet fuel, gasoline, diesel fuel and electricity does it take to transport the yarn to my location?  I've made the decision, for the most part, to limit my purchases to yarns produced in the eastern United States and Canada.  Occasionally,  I will order yarn from further away in the U.S. or Canada if it has been repurposed or is made from a majority of recycled or ecofriendly materials.  This really limits me quite a lot, because an overwhelming majority of the yarn in any craft store has either been totally produced, or the raw material has been imported from, far distant lands (Turkey and Peru come to mind, but there are many others).

To be continued...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Crochet Aspirations is now The Crafty Nature Lady!

I have finally decided to make my blog consistent with my business name, and so have changed my blogspot URL to!  With this comes a renewed determination to write here more often, with an eye to exchange crochet and jewelry-making stories, tips, techniques and progress on projects.  I hope you will check here often for new posts and updates!