Monday, February 23, 2009

Product Development Does Not Produce Pretty Pictures

My major problem these days isn't a lack of ideas for projects to work on. It's that when I've finally scrounged enough little scraps of time together to start working on one project, I have ideas for three others - all of which will require prototypes and tweaking before they can be finalized, and during which I will think of yet nine more things to make or do! I have to keep reminding myself that I don't actually have a deadline for any of these things, other than my own desire to be productive and generate a little income.

Ultimately I'd love for the shop to be successful enough that when the girls are both in school, the shop can be my job. But for that to happen I need to have popular and profitable products, and for that to happen I eventually need to finish a whole bunch more of these "proof of concept" projects and figure out which to pursue and which to abandon.

Right now my three main areas of focus are crochet, flannel baby items, and recycled/upcycled/eco bags. I'm in the middle of too many projects to count ... and have very little by way of tangible evidence to show for it! :-) But I keep scribbling in my notebook, and working up samples, refining my ideas, and hoping and praying that by God's grace I'll be able to transform this enterprise into a Proverbs 31 kind of thing.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

First (Real) Hat - 3rd try is the charm!

So I did finally manage to make a real hat using an actual crochet stitch! Of course, it took me three tries, but I got there eventually. Fortunately crochet is easy to rip out, and then you can just keep re-doing it until it's right. :-) The above hat is the result - made with a single crochet stitch in a spiral pattern, and using yarn by Vanna White. (Who knew?! But it's good to see that she's diversifying her portfolio.)

I'd originally intended it to be a hat for my hubby, but the sizing never quite worked out (and he thought the hearts were somewhat girly, I suppose), so I finished it in a scalloped edge for myself. It's a little snug, and a little long, but it covers the head. Success! And evidently, it's also quite tasty. :-)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

And they said it couldn't be done!

I've been teaching myself to crochet. So far I know three stitches: single, double, and half-double. And that's plenty, evidently! You can make a lot of things with just three stitches, so I've been having some fun.

I started the grand crochet experiment with a skein of yarn that my mom left at my house after doing some crafts with the girls. It seemed such a waste to let the yarn just sit there, and crochet only takes one hook - how hard could it be, I figured.

I started, where I start most things, on Google. :-) Found a page that described how to do the most basic of all crochet, the single crochet stitch, and I was off and running. At my local supermart I found a free (yay!) pattern for a hat using the single crochet stitch, and I was good to go! Figured I'd use the yarn I had on hand and the one crochet hook I purchased to make my brother a handcrafted hat and scarf set for Christmas.

So there I was, happily crocheting away ... except the further and further along I got, the more and more it was plainly evident that my creation did not look anything like the picture. But it did look vaguely hatish, so I kept doggedly on. (The scarf I'd already given up as a bad job and renamed it "scarflette" so it would sound intentional.) Finally I finished, tied the ends off, wrapped and shipped it. Merry Christmas!

Remarkably macho brother models the impossible hat and scarf. Um, scarflette!

So it serves the general "hat" function, in that it covers the head and whatnot, but it's not what I was thinking of making ... well, not exactly.

Come to find out, I'd not actually been doing crochet at all! The entire hat and scarf were constructed completely through the use of the slipstich. (D'oh!) And how did I figure this out? I was looking at an actual crochet book which helped me discern my error (and also why the hat didn't look right when finished). But what got me was their description of the slipstich, with the explanation that it cannot be used to create fabric. Ha! Guess I showed them.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

"Did you crochet a coozie for the flashlight?"

me -- "Um, yes."

him -- "Why?"

me -- "Well, clearly because I could!"

"Let this be a light to you, when all other lights go out, even though you are trying to read, while your husband is trying to sleep!"

So welcome to the world of crochet! I've only been doing it for a couple months, but already obsessed. :-) I love that it can be very portable (unlike the sewing machine), and can also spawn lots of other projects. My mind is just spinning with ideas of things to make, patterns to create, and lots of new bags and goodies to sew to store them all in!

The last few months have not been super-productive, crafting-wise, but I'm hoping to get back in gear. Tons of flannel to whip up into baby sets for the shop: wraps, burp cloths, toys and the marvelous X-bag (post to come soon). Several things I'm working on with crochet that I want to list as well - mostly baby items. And a spattering of beaded baubles to toss in just to liven things up. I need to unload the fabric (and now yarn!) hordes ... so I can justify shopping for more things. :-)