Revamping my studio

Originally posted on True North Knitting:

As most of my friends know I am always looking for the next trend to come around the corner. Well. this winter has been particularly nasty (yes we still have titanium snow on the ground) so I have spent a lot of time surfing and looking for new ideas. I went through a studio renovation and could not work so my laptop became my friend. The studio is now done (not without those.. do you want the good news first or the bad news).. Yup.. the window I was having redone turned out to be a big mess. It apparently had been leaking from the top and running down to the framing below the window

this was the area I was having redone. Initially I wanted to leave the center two windows and the skylight windows and then have the corners walled in and painted.. seemed easy enough right?

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Well…

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Are you worth what you sell?

I saw a post on facebook today that really hit a sore spot with me. It is time for me to vent and express exactly what I think about knitting and Crocheting for craft shows and selling online.

This is the picture that got me going.

crochet

Now how flipping true is this. I will begin by telling my story.

15 years ago I decided I needed to make a bit of extra cash. Newly divorced ,,,trying to make it in the real world was not totally working out the way that was comfortable for me. So I decided to start knitting dog sweaters with a pattern that had been designed by a good friend. After many tries I got the design to work for the sweaters I was trying to create. For the first year I barely slept. The dog sweaters really took off and I was trying to build my customer base so it got to the point where I was not turning anyone down and I sat up for hours at night making and shipping these sweaters. I nearly drove myself into the grave doing this but I got a very loyal customer base that kept coming back for more sweaters. A few years went by and the economy took a bit of a nose dive and the knitting business slowed down (as  did I). I had knit so much that it was not fun anymore. So I put the needles away to take a well deserved break. Well a few years later I decided to start up again only to realize there was a whole new batch of customers with different mentalities. You know those customers.. “What?  you are not going to drop everything and make a sweater for me for $5?”  They could not understand why I was charging what I was charging for these sweaters.. Unbeknownst to them I had done a bit of a trial knitting session. I took my yarn.. (cost me $5) and sat down for the day. It took me 5 hours to complete a sweater to fit a yorkie or a pug. from start to finish. So.. if you figure out the yarn cost $5.00 plus 5 hours of labour at minimum wage ..$10.00 x 5 =$50.00 plus yarn $5.00  for the total cost of making this original design sweater  $55.00.  Now I realize you never get that for a sweater but seriously, people were complaining when I would charge $12 or $15 in my listings.  Seriously?  that would be labour at $2 per hour. Would you work anywhere for that amount?I think NOT!

So at that point I had decided to write up my pattern. That in itself is labour intensive. Each pattern has to have a sample sweater knit for the pattern itself, as well as the expertise to put it into a design and make it as user friendly as you possibly can. Like I have said about this new mentality. No one wants to purchase just a pattern anymore, They want a full tutorial with pictures (again more labour intensive than it is worth) . So now I have several patterns listed on my website and each year I have the plan to add 2 new patterns to the list.

So as the story continues, lately I have been trying to purge some of my yarns buy making hats and mittens. Again, same thing.. I made some wonderful chunky knit sock monkey type mittens for the fall craft show. Had them listed for $15 a set. People just looked and checked the price and moved on. Seriously.. if you want a pair of $2 mittens go to the dollar store or Walmart. Do not insult me by saying that $15 is too much for a pair of hand knit thick mittens that took me days to knit. So again this past craft show season left me a bit deflated, like the Patriots footballs. I am tired of knitting (which is an art in itself) and having people turn their noses up at my prices. I swear I am going to put a huge poster behind me telling people the breakdown of work done by hand knitters or crocheters. But I am sure this will just go over their heads as this is a society of non appreciative shoppers that expect everything for nothing. It is so disheartening.

So I will just keep knitting to use up the yarn I have for now , knitting for the church to give to needy families and when I get tired of that I will donate my yarn to a good cause.  Until the appreciation turns around again I will no longer be practically giving my knit and crochet items away for the price that people expect anymore. I am worth more than that, I am a professional hand knitter (or at least semiprofessional ) and I am worth more than $2.00 an hour. and good god I will never do socks because the yarn for socks cost almost $30 plus the hours put into it. I read somewhere on some other blog saying that (and get this)!!!!!   it takes as long and uses as many stitches to knit a pair of socks as it does to Knit a ladies sweater!.. Just sit back and think of that for a few minutes,, let it sink in.. amazing huh?.

With that being said. I am done for the day. That is my only and last vent about prices for knitwear.

Just remember.. when you see someone’s beautiful work displayed for sale, you now know how many hours of love went into each piece. If you don’t want to purchase it, at least tell them how nice it is. Do not grumble about the price because more than likely is it priced way lower than it should be. If you don’t knit then you have no idea the amount of time and money that went into each carefully made item. We truly love what we do.

Well Happy New Year

Christmas has come and gone and I thought I was going to slow down some…….Nope.. I decided to keep reducing my stash for the past few weeks. Well that is all fine and good but my mistake was posting pictures on facebook. I started doing extra thick hats (double strand worsted weight). Well the first one I did was dark purple. It turned out really pretty. I figured.. ok I will just knit and put them in my rubbermaid tote for next season… nope.. Several people jumped on the hats!!!..

the purple one was purchased and the lady ordered mittens to match.

purple double thick Hat and mittens

This is made with the bernat premium yarn. I absolutely love this yarn to work with but it is so difficult to find.

Vintage Lumbersexual Hat

the tan and orange went to my Daughter who had an orange jacket, the light blue with navy went to my son in law. the purple on the right lower side went to my Daughter in law. All these were extra christmas gifts. Who doesn’t like getting warm hats for christmas,, right?

Right now I am working on a medium grey hat with white and lavender and matching solid textured mittens to go with it.

grey double thick hatdouble thick hat and mitts

The mittens are in production and I will come back and insert the finished project when they are completed.

What an awesome way to purge your stash !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

After this I will be making another purple set  for someone that ordered it and then it will be on to a couple pairs of worsted weight socks I think.

I am having fun  mixing and matching colours  and since I have this pattern in my webstore you too can purge and have fun mixing and matching.

As for the mittens the pattern is from drops designs (sorta) they are called Astrid Mittens.

Well I am off to work some more on the mittens white the cats snuggle and try to keep warm on this windy day in the Maritimes

Lumbersexual Hats

Well true to form I have continued to purge the yarn stash in my studio. A couple of weeks ago I was sitting and thinking.. “What the heck am I going to make to purge this yarn?”  I woke up one night and it was there in my head!.. Retro hats, double thick. I had the pattern sitting in my web store for the last couple of years and just never got around to knitting any. Never seemed to have time with all the craft show knitting I was doing.

After this years’ season I knew I had to revamp what I was doing, and I had to make the decision as to whether I was even going to participate as a vendor next year. This year it seemed like there were several shows every weekend from the first of October until last weekend. This not only over saturates the craft show vendors but the shoppers as well. With so many shows in the area the shopper numbers were extremely low and anyone that makes it to the show they usually end up being tire kickers.

Anyway, enough complaining about the craft show season. Time to move on. So I did. I grabbed the skeins of yarn, needles and just sat and worked up a hat.. Hey it turned out great!  and as soon as I posted it on facebook, IT SOLD!.

It is a vintage, retro hat that I now call Lumbersexual.

Soooo.. I made up a few more.. and will continue using up the yarn I have until I can see the bottom of the shelves.. lol

Vintage Lumbersexual Hat

These work up quickly because I use two strands of the #4 Worsted weight yarn. Win win !!!!

I have this hat pattern for sale if you are interested in working up your own hat.

Retro White Buffalo Hats 

I am working on another one today, darker tan. Great way to spend the day, Christmas Movies and Knitting!

Security Dog Collars

New Safety collar Tutorial

I have been making regular dog collars for a while now but recently I have had requests to make a dog collar with a double D ring. This is a security feature which gives you peace of mind when you latch your dog outdoors or when you are taking him/her for a walk.

Having adopted a few shelter dogs,  the last one being a 45 pound, 4 year old and she was used to running. I was concerned with the fact that she would not respond to me when she got away from the leash. She didn’t know her name, had no formal obedience training and this worried me. Now this was not her fault, she was an abused unloved dog and the only thing she knew at the time was to run free. She did not respond to any command and I knew I had a lot of work to do to build her trust and love.

For the first year I had been concerned with her somehow breaking her collar buckle and taking off down the road. Speaking with some of my friends that wanted to order a special dog collar from me, I realized they were dealing with the same problems. The Plastic buckles that I could buy as well as the plastic buckles that came on the store bought collars were just not strong enough any more to give us any sense of security when we latched our dogs outdoors.
So.. I decided to come up with a strong , secure, and oh so cute dog collar for the medium to larger dogs. There is really no reason for the smaller dogs to have these unless you want to have an easy latch one for your convenience.
I have several of these collars made, each one I make has a bit more of a tweek to it and today I have finally come up with a final design that I am happy with.
As well as having the collars for sale I am now working up a full tutorial for you to make your own security dog Collars.. make one for your own dog, your friends dog or make as many as you want to sell online.. all I will ask is that you don’t claim the pattern as your own., resell or modify it as your own.  Please give me credit for the long hours and many tries and failures I had before the final design.
These can be made with just 1″ webbing or you can go crazy and add decorative ribbon,  or fabric to one side of the webbing. Mix it up and be creative!
Right Now I am in the middle of drafting the tutorial and this will take me a bit of time but once I am happy with it I will release it on this site as well as ETSY.com

I am really excited about this venture. I love creating new things.

Recently Updated3Recently Updated2

New Little Boys’ Belts

Another design for this week. I am trying to figure out a way to use up all the webbing I have here and here is my next product.

The belts are size

Small – 33 inches (Fits a 24/25 Inch waist or a 8/10 pant) 

This length belt has and extra  9 inches added to the waist size, which will allow for the belt to wrap around his waist, under the D rings and then fit through the first belt loop on the pants to secure it.

Little boys belt size  Small - 33 inches (Fits a 24/25 Inch waist)

Little boys belt size
Small – 33 inches (Fits a 24/25 Inch waist or an 8/10 pant )               $12 +$3.00 s/h

Little Boys Belt  Small - 33 inches (Fits a 24/25 Inch waist or a 8/10 pant)

Little Boys Belt
Small – 33 inches (Fits a 24/25 Inch waist or a 8/10 pant)   $12 +$3.00 s/h

These will be selling for $12 -$14 depending on the lengths. I will also be making bigger boy belts with a buckle attached to it. As soon as the supply of buckles arrive.

I am pretty well done in for the day. Time to clean up the studio for the weekend and go to the TV room to start a Purple sparkly hat for my Grand daughter.

oh boy  oh boy.. what a mess in here!!… hehehehe

Tartan Dog Collar

I have decided up to use some more of my stash in my room. The other day I found a container that had rolls of webbing and dishes of dog accessory hardware. WELL NOW!.. I proceeded to muck up my room again. I dug out my cutting boards, sewing machine and got at it. I have made the first one of my leashes. Not sure I like the double fabric for such a small leash. It feels too thick, I also made a collar, so I have the harness, collar and leash. size Small

Step in harness

So the next set I will be making with the design fabric or ribbon on the outside only. Much nicer for the small sets.

Also I have a different design bouncing around in my head so I am going to work on that design. So if you hear clanking, thumping and loud screams, do not fret, it is only me trying to get my head around the pattern. HAHAHA

I have also finished what is the first in the line of Tartan Collar sets. I will have Cape Breton Tartan, New Brunswick Tartan, Nova Scotia Tartan and Newfoundland Tartan sets in production within the following week.

PEI Tartan on the front and Dark Green webbing. The 4 ft leash comes with a metal swivel clasp.

PEI Tartan on the front and Dark Green Webbing.      Medium size 12″ – 19″                     The 4 ft leash comes with a metal swivel clasp.     This can be purchased right now in my shop.     $20.00 + $5.00 shipping in canada.                         buynowdog

So with all this being done the last few days, I am taking a break to have a bagel for lunch and to check my emails.

Be safe and remember!… if you see something brown on the side of the road, for goodness sake step over it.. hahaha