Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Story of a Custom Order

I consider myself somewhat of an artist. My husband smiles at me indulgently when I talk about "the fiber arts" and being a "fiber artist." Let's just say I'm creative with yarn. I may get inspired by a visit to a museum, you can read about that here, or a fashion magazine. Sometimes something catches my eye and I get that Aha! feeling. Lately, my inspiration comes from buttons, little packs of themed buttons. I purchased many, many of these little packs in a variety of themes. My pan is to make mug and cup cozies with these cute buttons on them. 

One of the first button packs I grabbed was a football theme. There are several footballs, some stars, a helmet, and some that say "Football!" or "#1 Player." Being a football fan myself (Go, Bucs!) I knew these would be perfect on a green and white knitted background, basically a football field background. 

Knitting with different colors on the same project is a skill and takes practice. The different threads have to be combined just right or it will look bumpy and funky. I knew my football field had to be smooth, so I simply cut each strand of white at the end of the row. Easy enough, but really a pain to weave in all those ends! Ask any knitter about weaving in ends and they will tell you, ugh! It's the most tedious part of the project. There were a lot of ends to weave in! But, it was worth the effort because the cozy looked exactly how I pictured it.

I listed it in my Etsy shop and moved on to another project. Well, what do you know, but the wife of a football fan, a Green Bay Packers fan to be exact, saw that mug cozy and requested a custom order. She would like one knit with green and gold, the colors of the team! What a great idea! Now why didn't I think of that when I listed it? Of course I can make one in those colors! No problem! 

I knew I had that gold yarn SOMEWHERE. I knew it had to be...nope, not on my shelves. Maybe it was...nope, not in my stash in the house. Hmm. Maybe it's in the storage room, but I hope to God it's not because that room is filled with stuff! But it was in there. It HAD to be in there. I had already given up and gone to the craft store to get some new gold yarn. But it isn't time for gold yarn on the shelves. No, it's still summer colors. Dang it! I crept into the storage room, halfheartedly moved some bags, and hallelujah! There it was! The gold yarn was sitting at the top of a bag! Success!

I got busy knitting the cozy and am very pleased with how it turned out. The buyer purchased it and off it went into the mail. I love packaging my knits to be shipped. There's a feeling of completion and satisfaction wrapped up in it. I also updated my listing to include custom orders. 

"Just click the Custom Order button and tell me the team and colors you want!"

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Of Books and Blankets

Now that summer is almost here, I'm making lists of projects and changes I need to make for my shop. I am transitioning away from scarves and warm knits into bags and hair wraps, more summery things. I have a bag full of cute themed buttons waiting to be attached to cup and mug cozies. My time right now is still taken up with homeschool and finishing the school year well, so making the lists satisfies my creative urge for now.

My goal is to list something new at least once a week, but I've been stalled out a little. I am finishing a custom baby blanket. This blanket is the first one I've knit to sell. I've knit blankets as gifts, but this is the first time I am knitting one on a real deadline. I thought knitting under pressure would stress me out, but actually it's been the opposite.

I know exactly what I need to work on each day. My family knows I am on a deadline and they have been picking up the slack on housework and meal prep. Also, when I knit out in public, the blanket is eye-catching and generates a lot of interest. I always carry business cards now!

So, this is the first of many to come, I hope.

This is the tri-color basket weave baby blanket I am currently knitting.

My husband and I went on an overnight anniversary getaway last week, which you can read more about here. One of our favorite activities is thrift store shopping and the area we stayed in had quite a few. I found these like-new knitting books for $1 each at a hospice thrift store. At a retail store, these books cost $15-$25 each, so this was an amazing find. I was especially thrilled to find the knitted bags pattern book.

Four like-new knitting books for $1 each, score!
So the countdown to summer begins: 30 days!