Thursday, July 24, 2008

Crocheting with Twine - Mini Baskets, New Items and Patterns

I like to experiment crocheting with new materials and my latest is 100% natural jute twine. Twine is fun to work with and, of course, much different than working with yarn. It’s very rough on the hands and I noticed that my hands got tired much faster too. But I think it was well worth the effort.

I made a small round basket several years ago and managed to find my pattern that I had created then. It’s amazing to look back at something you created and know that you can make it much better! So, that’s what I did. Instead of using the old pattern I created a completely new one. Plus I also made two other basket shapes, a square and an oval. I like to challenge myself with different shapes and sizes. I think the three baskets work well as a trio.

The round basket, I discovered, also makes a great can cozy and it will also hold a drinking glass. I can imagine using these for an informal party, perhaps a barbecue? Change out the ribbon and they would also be fun for a tiki bar!

Of course, they will also add a nice decorative touch to any room and will hold your small trinkets and treasures.
I have listed a set of these available for purchase in my shop:
Mini Twine Basket Trio

and for those of you who like to crochet, I also have the pattern for sale. You get all three patterns for one great price! Purchase here for an instant download.

It’s fun to experiment with new materials and there are so many to choose from! Aside from all the new novelty yarns that are available, I’d like to try using recycled materials. Fabric, plastic bags, yarn from recycled sweaters, the possibilities are endless! I think that’s what I love most about crochet, there is always something new to try and even old techniques tend to get recycled.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Etsyversary! RedBerryCrochet

Today is my Etsyversary! Two years ago I signed up on Etsy to become a seller. With my crochet hook in one hand and high hopes in the other I set about adding some items to my shop. If you list it they will come - right? So wrong! I was busy with another selling site at the time and didn’t devote much to my new shop. And it showed. From July through December of 2006 I had 3 sales.

Fortunately, I decided to get serious about Etsy around March of 2007 (I’m a slow learner) and sales picked up. My highest month so far has been December of 2007 with 24 sales. While I certainly don’t break any Etsy records, I am happy with my sales record and I can only hope that my monthly sales averages increase.

There are always tons of thread posts on Etsy for newbie shop owners and they offer sound selling advice, so I won’t repeat those words of wisdom here (except to list/relist regularly). But what I can tell you is to think positive, relax, create what you love, and to love what you make. There’s someone out there in cyberland who will love it too!

‘Nough said, time to celebrate with some cake :)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Busy Bee and Ladybug - Catch the Reading Bug, Felted Crochet

It all started with an idea from my boss at the library where I work. She suggested I should make something as prizes for our summer reading program. The theme this year is “Catch the Reading Bug” so what better something to make than a bug? I started with the ladybug and I was really happy that it turned out so well. It is crocheted in one piece and then felted, and the spots and wing line are hand needle felted.

Then I got the idea of making a bee. I had checked out a few picture books with awesome illustrations for inspiration.

Bug Safari, by Bob Barner

My first bee didn’t turn out so well, I just couldn’t get the wings right. My husband commented that it looked like an airplane! So, back to the drawing board, and my next idea turned out much better, and "bee" like.

The bee and wings are crocheted separately, attached, then felted. The eyes are hand needle felted and the antennae is made from stiffened yarn. It took me awhile to figure out what size pin back to use on both these pins. Sometimes what you think is going to be simple turns out to be much more complicated. I was hoping to have these listed much sooner, but it’s been a very busy couple of weeks. But finally, here they are all finished! And I couldn’t “bee” happier with the way they turned out. I also plan on the selling the patterns for these cuties in my shop.