Monday, December 07, 2009

Finding My Niche

I've been busy working on Xmas knits, but I've also been contemplating how to make my Etsy shop successful. I've been reading articles and scoping out the shops of the highest sellers and have determined 3 things:

1. supplies sell the best.

2. good, artistic photos are essential.

3. you need a niche product.

What is MY niche product? I don't know. Knitted items really don't sell well. I guess there are just too many knitters out there & I've noticed that people really undervalue the effort that goes into making these items. I hear "I can get that cheaper at Target"... well, yes you can, but it won't be a high-quality, one of a kind, hand knitted item.. it will be a machine knitted item from China made with acrylic yarn! (but I digress)

What I need is an item that is inexpensive and non-durable, so that I generate repeat business. I have a few ideas percolating in my brain and have even started on a prototype for one. I'm also thinking of getting back into hand-dying yarns, spinning more and maybe even doing yarn wholesale (but need to get my dba first).

So for now I will just keep scheming, staying up late fleshing out ideas and praying that I can make this work, because really this is what I want to be doing for a living. I don't mind working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, as long as it's something I love.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Yet Another Cowl

As promised, here are pics of one of the cowls I finished.

This cowl was made using Merino that I spun a few years ago. I used the eyelet & flame chevron stitch from my Vogue Stitchionary, Vol. 1. I cast-on 112 stitches on size 9 needles. The finished cowl measures 26" in diameter & 7" wide. Yes, it is up on Etsy.

The other cowl I finished just isn't up to snuff. It's pretty laying flat but looks like crap on, so I'm gonna frog it and try again. Might be a while before the redone is posted, I really need to get back to holiday knitting... only 20 days left! eek!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Knit, Knit, Knit

I've been sick the last couple of days, but that doesn't mean I haven't been knitting! In fact I've finished off 2 more cowls! I will post pics once I have some daylight to do it in, my camera takes crap pics inside but loves natural light. I guess it's time for a new one, eh?

In other news, I made my first etsy sale! It was for 2 pairs of dryer balls! I whipped up a few more of those, hoping to get regular business from them.

Unfortunately, ArtFire seems to be a bit of a bust... just not getting any traffic there. I'd really like it to take off, but I'm going to focus my energies at Etsy for the time being.

I'm also working up a new design for gloves. I've got an image in my head, but can't seem to find anything similar in my stitch libraries. I just don't know if I'll have the time to perfect the design & get the item knitted before Xmas.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Cowl #3

My first moebius scarf! I really like it. Simple, versatile & comfy!

I knit it in simple garter stitch on size 10 circs. I wanted it to stretch a bit so it would have extra give when doubled up as a neck warmer. I also wanted it to be reversible due to its moebius nature. I used homespun yarn in a beautiful merino/silk blend that I spun back in 2005! Unfortunately my camera can't capture the richness of the color, but you get a bit of the shimmer in the first pic.

I also whipped up a bunch of wool dryer balls this weekend!

I had a great time doing that! For those who haven't heard about them, they are just felted balls of wool. You pop 3 or 4 of them in the dryer instead of dryer sheets... they naturally reduce static and improve your drying time and the lanolin from the wool acts as a fabric softener! I tried them out with my towels yesterday and they work great, plus you can use them over & over again! I've got some for sale on ArtFire & Etsy. :)

Cyber Monday

Hey all! I'm offering free shipping today on my items at ArtFire! :)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Futher Distraction

True to my word I put Autumn's scarf on the back burner and whipped up another cowl...

Lace Detail

This used one skein of Blue Sky Alpacas Brushed Suri yarn in Toasted Marshmallow. I cast-on 108 sts on size 8 circ. and used the Meandering Eyelet Vines pattern from Vogue Stitchionary, Vol. 1.

I absolutely love this cowl. I can not possibly convey how soft and warm it is. I just listed it on Etsy, but will not be sad if this one doesn't sell. I will totally have to make one for myself! :)

Friday, November 27, 2009


As stated in my previous post, I fell in love with the giant braided cable! While knitting away I thought it would make a lovely cowl. So, I put down the x-mas present, picked up my size 10s and began knitting away on a cowl in bulky plum alpaca!

I cast-on 31 sts and knit 4 rows in seed stitch. I knit 5 stitches of seed stitch on the edges and used just shy of 1 skein (110yds) of Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande colorway 2213. I added a couple bamboo toggle buttons as fasteners. The cowl measures 19"x5".

I added this to my Etsy shop late last night & already had 10 views by this morning (which is huge compared to my other offerings). I think the hooded scarf is going to take a back seat this weekend while I try to whip up similar items and see if I can't generate some sales!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Progress Report

The scarf so far...

I love the giant cables! This is the first time I've knitted anything with cables this large (usually a 2/2 or 3/3 this is a 7/7!). I love the softness of it!

Another modification: the pattern calls for knitting the scarf portion in 2 parts and then joining in the middle... I can see no reason for this so I'm just knitting the scarf as one length. Hopefully I will have the scarf done this weekend and can move on to knitting the hood. I'd love to have this finished by next weekend so I can move on to other items.

BTW- For Thanksgiving I'm giving free shipping on my ArtFire Items for buyers in the US! Please, take advantage of me! ;)

Happy Turkey Day!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Let the Knitting Begin

Holiday Knitting has begun!

First up:

Pfeiffer Falls Hooded Scarf by Anne Kuo Lukito from Interweave Knits Winter 2008 issue. This is for Autumn. I'm knitting it in Knit Picks Comfy, Planetarium colorway. It's a beautiful deep blue that her mom says will match her winter coat nicely. :)

Modifications so far - no pockets (who puts pockets on a scarf?!) and am using size 9 needles. Will post images soon.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Art Fire Vs. Etsy

So in an attempt to actually sell something, I've cross-listed my Etsy items on ArtFire. I like that ArtFire doesn't charge a listing fee or take a cut of your sale price... it's absolutely free to sell there! You can upgrade your account to list as many items as you like and access all kinds of features. If I end up selling anything there I will probably do this. It's not as pretty or as well known as Etsy, but that may work in my favor because there isn't as much there. Who knows.

What do you think of the shops?

Here is my ArtFire Studio

and here is my Etsy Shop.

Any input would be appreciated!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Leg Up

2 Things:
1. I finished Anouk!

2. I made a Leg!

I got inspired this weekend after seeing a tutorial on how to make a custom dress form (which I'm totally going to do) and thought it might work for other body parts as well. I got to thinking about how I've really wanted mannequin legs/arms for the modeling of socks & mittens and wondered if I could apply this technique.

So, if you want to make your own model leg, here's what I did...

First, wrap your foot & leg in plastic wrap:

Then, wrap your leg with duct tape. I recommend using strips & not simply winding the roll around your leg. This will give you smoother lines and will prevent you wrapping your leg too tightly & cutting off circulation. The smaller/thinner strips will allow you to create greater definition on the heel & toes as well. I did 3 layers of tape.

Once you have finished taping, gently tease the tape & plastic wrap away from your leg and cut down the side using very sharp scissors.

The plastic wrap I used (Glad Press 'n' Seal) adhered to my leg a little too well, so you may want to use something not so sticky. The tape allows for a good bit of flexibility so removing the form isn't too difficult, however the getting your foot out can be a bit tricky... Like a pair of boots that are a size too small!

After you've removed the form, tape the cut edges back together and stuff the form with newspaper. Viola!

I plan on playing with paper maché and decoupage to try and pretty it up a bit and add extra stiffness. I'll let you all know how it goes!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

OK, So I Lied!

Yeah. I lied. I promised to blog more in August and here it is November and it's only my second post of the year!

I blame facebook. I spend all my computer time there these days & have only just started getting back to Ravelry and blogs. I have been knitting however, and doing a bit of spinning. I've also opened an Etsy shop (check sidebar) to try to raise a little extra income because my hubby is still in need of work.

Currently I'm working on a dress for my friend's new baby niece. The pattern is Anouk from Knitty. I'm using the same yarn but the body is pink and the trim is white. The pockets will have a white background and purple flowers. Depending on how much yarn I have left, I may even make a complimentary diaper cover.. we shall see! I will post project pics later.

No promises, but hopefully I'm back. :)

btw- how do you like the new look?

Friday, August 07, 2009

That's right, I knit!

I can't believe it's been over a year since I've posted here! Wow. So,life kinda interfered and I haven't even thought of blogging in ages. Short version, hubby got laid off, father had a heart attack and subsequent triple-bypass surgery, and mom is still bed ridden. So with all that going on I haven't had time to knit, let alone blog about knitting.

A few days ago I picked the needles back up to start on a baby sweater for my cousin and I thought it might just be time to come back to the blog. Hopefully I can keep it up again.

Thanks for reading. :)