Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Do I, or Don't I?

There are lots of posts on the internet about why knitting patterns cost what they do.  One of the best I've read lately is by Woolly Wormhead:  http://www.woollywormhead.com/blog/2014/9/17/the-true-cost-of-a-pattern.html  and her followup: http://www.woollywormhead.com/blog/2014/9/18/the-cost-of-a-pattern-a-follow-up.html .

(Pictures in this post are designs I've created myself!)

A machine knit dress I designed for my youngest, 2010

I'm particular about how I expect patterns to be written.  Now, if you've looked at any of my "patterns/tutorials", you might think I'm talking out both sides of my mouth.  However, I've tried to be upfront and honest with my tutorials, and they are free.  I do still have certain expectations for free patterns, though I know enough to not complain if there are things missing!  But if I'm paying $7 for a single pattern, I expect it to follow standard pattern writing, and include all info--especially the gauge (and telling me that each crocheter works to their own gauge so it's not necessary to put in the pattern, is NOT an acceptable answer!).  Single patterns cost a lot, compared to magazines, and Woolly talks about that.  All the work comes down onto the pattern writer who is also now the publisher.  That's a lot of responsibility.

Custom designed Chunky Cable Blanket, 2014

I try to support pattern writers.  I want them to succeed and write more patterns worth buying.  But, I'm also on a tight budget.  So, sometimes, I will try to work things out on my own.  I'm somewhat patient, and experienced and unafraid.  Sometimes, it's just quicker and easier to buy a pattern, especially if a client sends me a picture of that actual pattern!  I will never share patterns I have paid for though.  I will suggest knitters go to the library, or look through Ravelry, or learn to use gauge and measurements to create their own designs.  Just from the limited pattern writing I've done, I know how much work goes into "real" patterns, and how deserving (most) of those writers are.  If a knitter has spent 20 hours knitting, testing, writing, photographing, publishing their pattern (and likely a lot longer when you add in yarn research, shopping, and swatching), then think of how many $5 patterns they need to sell to recoup those 20 hours at minimum wage.  Is it even possible for the average, new, pattern writer to sell that many patterns in a reasonable amount of time?
Sideways knit newborn cap, 2012
Epic Hat, 2012

Kelly Sweater, custom order, 2014
So, I usually present my "patterns" in a casual manner, with the intent that readers learn how to make it themselves, not be told how to make it.  I want to empower knitters, to teach them, not make them into little knitting robots.  And, I feel that none of my patterns, so far, have been all that unique.
Bear Set, 2014

Except for the Pocket Bunny.
The first Pocket Bunnies, 2014

Yes, there is this awesome designer on Ravelry.  Her creatures are bigger than mine, but do have a similar feel.  I have looked at many of her pictures, but I know if I ever get asked to make a Pocket Elephant, Rhino, or Duck, etc, I will buy her patterns.  I have no idea of how well they're written, but she presents her designs on Ravelry in a professional way, so I have hope.

I've been asked if I'm selling the pattern for the Pocket Bunny.  The first ...5 or so were somewhat experimental, lots of fine tuning.  Now I have the pattern written down, and as long as I stick with the same weight of yarn, it's been working out well.

I have one more, almost ready to show!

I am so torn as to whether or not I should publish this pattern. These are my babies.  I love designing each one (even though the pattern is the same, there are differences with each order), and selling these, and I'm not sure I'm ready to see other knitters create them.  I know that sounds selfish!  I want others to also enjoy the joy a Pocket Bunny brings.  I'm just not sure I want other knitters to make them.  Yet.  I want to be able to write the pattern and publish it as professionally as possible (it won't be a free pattern).  Which means more knitting, picture taking, more computer time.  I want to tweak the cheeks a smidge more.  I've got some other projects I need to focus on, though I don't know if that will bring in any money either.  

If I get tired of making these (is that possible?!), then I might be ready to write the pattern. Until then...I encourage knitters to try on their own...that's how I created it!  It all just comes down to stitches, increases, decreases, short rows...however, if I find someone else publishing anything close to this, I will be furious! Just a warning :)

Oh....and I had an idea last night to create a Pocket Yoda.... 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Retro Basket

I'm still working on a custom order of Minion hats and a Toronto Maple Leaf Pocket Bunny.  She told me when she can pick up, and it's not for a week...so I've procrastinated on the finishing LOL.  I decided to make Megan (my youngest, who's a bit of a hoarder), a crocheted basket.  I have a few skeins of this awful, old, Mary Maxim yarn.  Very bulky, very acrylic, very retro.  Yellow, orange, white and brown.  Oh yeah, baby.  Just like my kitchen in the '70s!

I had trouble with the base, it seemed to be curling up so I increased more than usual for a crocheted circle.  But then, once done, it seems like it's bulging.  Should have been more patient and trusted the math.  I just worked random colours, double stranded.  The last two rounds were single crochet instead of half double crochet because I wanted to finish off with two strands of orange and was running low.

Not much else to say about it, except it used up 302gr of yarn.  Almost every bit I had of it.  I'm so glad to get that out of my bin, and hopefully help my daughter organize her room.  Yeah...well, we'll see if that happens.

Yarn In: 1226gr
Yarn Out: 302gr + 2154gr = 2456gr
Balance: 1230gr more USED than bought
Costs:  53.39 /88 days = $0.61/day

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Snug Bunnies and Snug Hands

I had to get the sewing machine out to fix two of the three kids' backpacks.  So, I figured it was time to sew up these mittens that have been sitting cut out and waiting since....early last summer?  Winter is not going away here it seems!  Now, I will admit that I get the sewing machine out every three weeks to perforate the coupon sheets the kids give out when they collect for their newspaper route.  But I don't actually thread it.  That's what made the difference this time LOL
 I don't know how I feel about these.  I think I don't like the pattern I've been using--they're so wide!  I really trimmed down the inside layer (so they're not reversible now), but I didn't touch the outside layer.  The outside is so soft compared to the inside, which feels more like a boot liner.  But, the solid felted inside layer will really block the wind!  I also just don't like mittens with the thumb on the palm.  And, I have a hard time sewing these fabrics, and cutting them out...I try to be accurate, but they never come out identical.
The Pocket Bunny family went home today.  Last night I decided I needed to whip up a blankie, which was her original request, before the clothes idea.  I did it in purple, the girl's favourite colour.  Originally, I was going to make a little bag for them in this yarn, but I sort of thought I had done enough already.  I wish I had made a blanket that could have been drawn up into a bag.  If only I had thought of that sooner!  Oh well, another 22gr of yarn out the door!

Yarn In: 1226gr
Yarn Out: 22gr + 2132gr = 2154gr
Balance: 928gr more USED than bought
Costs:  53.39 /84 days = $0.64/day

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Canadian Classics Collection

I'm really excited to get started on a new line of knitted items.  Made with Briggs & Little "Heritage", this hardworking Canadian yarn has stood the test of time.  Perhaps not the softest wool out there, it is durable, and offers all the great qualities of wool!  It comes in some great colours too.

I'm planning on starting the collection with mittens.  Good, old fashioned mittens.  I will also test out hats, headbands and wrist warmers.  The mittens will be available in regular, convertible, and thrummed.  All sizes, from Child's 2, to Men's.  I am planning to start knitting soon, and have some as in stock, and always opened for customs.  Trying to decide between on the knitting machine, or by hand, or a hybrid.  My styling is going to be of a more classic nature--might break out the stripes for some added colour once I start having part skeins to use up, LOL.  I might even consider breaking out the dye pot again!

Although I have complained in the past about knitting the same item more than once, I'm hoping that by having some stock items, I can expand my sales.  I'll be better suited for craft shows, and perhaps get into some shops.  I'm excited by this new direction!

Yarn In: 226gr + 1000gr = 1226gr
Yarn Out: 2132gr
Balance: 906gr more USED than bought
Costs:  $13.45 + $45.94= 53.39 /80 days = $0.74/day

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Multiplying like Rabbits

I've just finished up an order for a family of Pocket Bunnies.  Oh my, are they ever cute!  They will be part of a young girl's Easter baskets in a few weeks and I hope she likes them!  The mom wanted them to represent their family, so there is the Dad (Mike) in white, the mom (Kim) in tan bling and the girl is made with one strand of each of those yarns!  Great idea!

 Just hanging out in a tree!  Cause rabbits can climb trees, can't they?  Oh, well, Pocket Bunnies can!
 They might not be dressed for playing in the snow, but Pocket Bunnies don't care!
 Momma Bunny shows off her ballgown in the ever popular black.
 Poppa Bunny is wearing the latest in denim shorts with suspenders.  His shorts are even built with the adorable feature of an opening for his tail.
 Soaking up some sun after the long winter
 Family portrait, 2015
 I liked both pictures.  It's my blog, I can post both if I want.
 Easter is coming!
 Momma was getting chilly so she donned a poncho
 My photo assistant shows a Pocket Bunny in their natural habitat
 The girls plot Easter shenanigans
 Their wardrobe:  Sundress (Noro sock yarn), purple poncho, scarf, mohair dress, purple mohair shawl, black ball gown (Bunny can actually stand up in that one!), blue shorts, pink mohair scarf, blue bow tie (there is also a blue scarf for dad).
Mom also really wanted hats.  I didn't think I could do it, but after she told me her husband got married wearing a baseball cap, I knew I had to try!  Purple, black, and blue!

The bunnies weigh 100gr and the clothes weigh 65gr.

And for those of you who prefer watching a video with music

Yarn In:  1000gr
Yarn Out: 165gr + 1967gr = 2132gr
Balance: 1132gr more USED than bought
Costs:   $45.94 /78 days = $0.59/day

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Mitten Slideshow!

In a FB small business group, it was brought up that videos are now the way to get views on your page.  It seems FB will include your video in more people's newsfeeds, then posts with links or pictures.  At first, I thought "I can't make a video about knitting!" and then someone said slideshows count as videos.  At first I thought "I can't make a slideshow!  I'll get my 14 year old son to help!".

We've had problems with Windows Movie Maker and Live Movie Maker.  Hugh told me he couldn't do it, it wouldn't work.  I said Pooey, and gave it a try.  And wouldn't you know--I made a slideshow!  It was even fun!  Though I had a few issues.  When I first tried to post it on FB, it wouldn't accept it.  Then I learned that I had "saved Project as" but actually had to "Publish movie".  I still never found how to get it as a mp4 file, but it appears that I can still post these on FB.  I also thought the quality was bad, but then realized I hadn't selected the "HD" option at the bottom of the viewing screen.  The next day I added some music even.  I wanted "Little Rabbit Foo Foo" but it was too long.

I did try to add the video to a recent post here, and it hadn't loaded after 30 minutes so I gave up.  I just tried with my second video, and it loaded, so I've gone back and tried to add the Pocket Bunny one, but I'm not sure it's working.

My second slideshow was a short one, for a hat I've been trying to sell.

My third slideshow is about mittens.  I love knitting mittens--nice ones in real wool!  It's hard to find songs about mittens!  Many of these pictures were taken before I got serious about my pictures!  I hope this post works, you never know with Blogger and videos.  I have two mitten slideshows and one has the titles slightly off, so I hope I got the right one!

Monday, March 09, 2015

Where'd It Go?

Last week sort of flew by...but at the same time, took forever.  Since the middle of January, I've only had 4 day work weeks, except finally this past week I worked all five lunches.  A couple of them were inside, and they were a little crazy.  I'm still having some memory problems, and then we started having problems with Meg's new aquarium and lost two fish--one which seemed healthy!

Anyway...it appears I do not have any finished projects from this past week!  I have three faceless bunnies sitting here though.  I'll get them finished up today.  I made another slideshow, but I can't seem to get them to load here.  You can see them on my facebook page, www.facebook.com/tracykmdesigns .

Yarn In:  1000gr
Yarn Out:  1967gr
Balance: 967gr more USED than bought
Costs:   $45.94 /67 days = $0.69/day

Monday, March 02, 2015

Oh Boy!

What a silly week I had last week.  I forgot so many things that were supposed to be routine to me!  I decided to go get a B12 shot on Thursday, when my doctor is in the walk in clinic.  She set it up for me so that I can go to the clinic every Thursday after lunch, and not have to wait!  However, the B12 shot didn't  stop me from forgetting even more things on Friday.  Like, why my daughter didn't come home on the bus on Friday...or that Pocket Bunnies are shipped pre-assembled complete with tiny pompom tail...Yes.  I shipped a Pocket Bunny on Friday and then realized late last night that I had forgotten to make his tail.  I seriously can not believe it.  None of my kids said anything either!  I did his photo shoot, I made a fun slideshow (my first!), we petted him, and smiled at him, and never clued in he needed a tail.  But here are his photos anyway!

 I've written down all the mods I make now, including that adorable face!
 He has much cuter cheeks than ever before.
 How could you not want to cuddle him?
I did the pick in the nose cause I didn't like how the stitches get finished off.  You can't really even notice in these pictures that he's missing a tail. But I'm ticked off at myself.  Anyway, he weighed 36gr and his scarf wardrobe weighed 7gr, for a total of 43gr.

Since I was over at the clinic, I continued on down the road to Michael's.  I was looking for a "Toronto Maple Leafs" blue, suitable for a bunny.  I don't want to have to reconfigure the pattern too much, so I was hoping for either sock yarn (double stranded) or DK.  I found some Astra in a bright blue that looks decent.  I also found some Deborah Norville Fashion "Jeweltones" in Red Diamond, Blue Sky Jasper, and Moonstone.This is a lovely feeling yarn, with 40% wool and nice shading but not a million colours in one ball.  The red is solid red.  My daughter's synchronized skating club's colours are red, white and black.  Many of the moms that were in the club last year have red ruffle scarves.  I do have some ruffle yarn in red, but well, I don't like to be a copycat.  So, I can make my own scarf...maybe a "potato chip scarf" on the machine!  They were all $1.99 a ball!  And the Astra was $4.99--but being regular price, I could use a coupon.  Wish I had waited for the 40% of coupon though.  I used the "20% off your purchase, including sale items" BUT it doesn't include clearance items!  All total, 500gr.

Yarn In:  500gr + 500gr = 1000gr
Yarn Out:  43gr + 1924gr = 1967gr
Balance: 967gr more USED than bought
Costs:  $21.19 + $24.75 = $45.94 /61 days = $0.75/day

Wow, still doing great on those totals!  I felt a little guilty buying yarn without specific plans (but at $1.99/ball, I knew I had too!).  I have plans for a big yarn purchase in the near future, but there's still room in my totals!