Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Continuing to Step Outside of My Comfort Zone

Has anyone else noticed that it is easier to be brave when you're sitting in front of your computer in the quiet of your own home?  In a moment of euphoria, the send button is hit and then the angst comes on strong.  At least that's the progression of emotions that I live with.

In light of last week's t-shirt yarn success, I reached out to another local shop owner and crafter who I thought might be interested in the t-shirt yarn.  She's someone I know but not well.  I hit send on that email last Monday and then waited...and waited...and waited.

I was bummed by the lack of response and then on Friday I got an email back.  She was interested!  We emailed back and forth regarding her color preferences and then I headed out to the thrift store for supplies.

Once again, I spent the weekend replenishing my supply.  This time was definitely easier, as I began to really refine my technique and I felt more confident about the desirability of my product.

 On Monday, I packed my bag to go meet with her.  I wanted to throw up (are you seeing a pattern?)  The hardest moment for me is when a prospective customer starts to look at the balls.  It makes me feel slightly insane and totally unworthy.

But guess what?  She bought 8 balls!!!

I guess I'm going to keep trying to push myself outside my comfort zone.  I have another local shop in mind to connect with and I'll be making that pitch tomorrow, possibly in person.  My fingers are crossed!

So what else is going on?  Well, I've made some changes in my Etsy shop.  I finally have enough items to have categories, so I added those today.  I'm also trying to become more involved in my local Etsy teams.  They are a great source of info.  I just need to figure out how much time to devote to everything.

Speaking of time, knowing what you're doing saves a ton of time.  I don't know jack about Instagram but I've got a 15 year old who does and he's promised to help his mom get onto Instagram in the near future.

 In addition to the t-shirt yarn you see in this post, I also added the denim throw that you see below to my shop.  The front of this throw had been complete for almost two years and I just never got around to backing it.  I hadn't realized how much my technique had changed over time but this throw looks very little like more recent ones that I've made.  Still, its fun to see a little blast from my sewing past.

See you next week!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

T-shirt Yarn? Or is it tshirt yarn? Or maybe t shirt yarn? It couldn't be tee shirt yarn, could it?

Well, whatever way you choose to spell it, I've just added it to my Etsy shop.  Take a look at these happy spring colors.

And of course, we need some point of reference regarding the thickness of the t-shirt yarn (this is my personal spelling preference.)  I've opted for wraps per inch, since that gives a consistent visual result to compare.

Interestingly, these three shirts were all 100% cotton and all cut to the same width prior to stretching but they yielded slightly different results.

So why t-shirt yarn?  It comes back to my personal goal for 2015, which was to be open to the opportunities that present themselves.

For me, part of becoming someone who crafts to sell, rather than someone who crafts just for themselves requires outing myself self a bit.  If I intend to get anywhere in this endeavor, I have to confess to others that I have an Etsy shop, how much I love what I do and what's so special about my stuff.   That's hard for me.  I'd rather wear the hand knit sweater or use the handmade yoga mat bag and hope someone notices it and asks about it.  It doesn't work that way though.

I live in Ithaca, NY.  It is a place that has more crafty people per square mile than anywhere else I've ever lived or visited.  Its a place that invites crafty show and tell.  My challenge has been to answer the question, "what have you been up to?" with something other than, "not much."  Which brings me back to the t-shirt yarn and why that has been added to my shop.

A local business owner knew I made rugs out of upcycled t-shirts, because I finally had the courage to tell her about my Etsy shop.  She uses t-shirt yarn for some crochet projects in her shop but the commercial t-shirt yarn she had been using was out of stock.  Since she knew I worked with upcycled t-shirts, she asked me if I could make some t-shirt yarn for her.

I needed a few days to make sure I could create something that would yield a consistent product.  That was Friday.  I spent a good portion of the weekend, figuring out my process and my costs.  On Monday I met with her to share what I had come up with.  I wanted to throw up.

She bought 5 balls and I walked home feeling validated and dancing on air.   The best part was, I really enjoyed the process.  You can expect to see more t-shirt yarn in the the shop's future.

For the record, although the overall endeavor was a success I did have one notable fail.  White t-shirts yield boring t-shirt yarn.  I didn't have any fabric dye and I looked up other options on the web to try. The food coloring as fabric dye tutorial that uses salt as a mordant was an epic fail.

What new endeavors are you dipping your toes into this year?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Bib & Burp Cloth Sets Are Here

In the last two weeks, two people close to me have had babies.  I suppose that meant it was time to stop thinking about making burp cloths to match the bibs in my shop and actually make them.  Let's face it, you can't have too many bibs or burp cloths.  

I didn't have very much of the patterned fabric left after making the bibs so only one set of the penguin and flower pattern have made it into the shop.  Don't wait if you love them, once they're gone, they're gone.

I'm still trying to find a way to use the leftovers of the plaid bibs creatively to make at least one burp cloth to match each of those as well.