Bamba!

You just try to tell me this hat isn’t cute…go ahead and just try! This hat is already sold and I just loved making it. One, it’s as fast as heck but two because there is some creativeness in the buttons. (Note to self: need more buttons.)

I just finished another order and it is all packed up and ready to be taken to the post office which I thought I would do right after I went to the bathroom and I am here writing this because Joe is in his reading room – read, the bathroom – and I thought I would do this post because I needed to do a post and doing this will keep me from pounding on the door complaining about what a slow reader he is and all I want to do is use the room for the intent it was designed and then will leave it immediately so he can continue to peruse the financial, AARP, car catalog, etc. to his heart’s content.

My sister called to tell me my yarn purchase from Tempe Yarn and Fiber is on the way to me Priority Mail. I promise that really will end the yarn purchases for some time (unless an order comes through with a fiber I don’t have.) Even as we speak, I am in the process of cataloging the yarn I have. It will take several weeks to finish and maybe a notebook  or forty, but I will get it done bit by bit. We are slowly going to turn the closet in my office into my yarn stash keeper.  Being a realistic sort – stop laughing – this isn’t likely to be accomplished before Christmas.

Oh good, he’s decided to come out. I have to get in there before he decides the phone book looks good.

More Than You Know

I’m telling you the blessings are more than I can deal with. That’s something of a problem because we’re taught to believe that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. So if I am getting all of this it must be because I can handle it. I just have to learn how.

I added this crochet newsboy to the shop a little while ago. Since we last spoke, I have had two more orders and they will show up in these posts sometime.  Remember the poncho I had to do 4 times in 4 days? It finally made it to its final Canadian destination where the owner has deemed it ‘absolutely beautiful’ – whew!

There have also been meetings and church and Mr. Honey’s birthday is this weekend and I will tell you all about that next week because I think more things are unfolding but he’s already been blog fodder and I can feast on it for a couple of posts.

I’ve got some new stuff to show you – one completely new hat that I’m kind of sweet on. I think I may be making a lot of those coming up – but I’ve thought that about other hats and I haven’t had to pull out the pattern again.

Scarves are showing up in the shop and I have them listed first but I’m thinking I should move them after the hats because the hats are my anchor product.  I just moved them and now they are on page three following all the hats and before the ponchos and wraps. I think I can live with it. I also think I need to have a section just for scarves to move them away from the ponchos and wraps because there will be more of them coming eventually.

I am also getting items ready for the sale at the end of October. I am pulling out items, pricing them and moving them out of the zippered bag and into my dresser – because I don’t keep a lot of clothes in there and this will give them some room to breathe before they get packed up for the October 29th show.

It’s amazing how my mind has gotten used to having orders. I mean, just a few months ago, I was in despair because I went a whole two months before getting an order and now I start to dip when I go a few days without one. I have completed the two orders I got on Thursday and I am already looking for some more. At the same time, there is a little bit of fear mixed in with the excitement when a new order comes in. What strange creatures we humans are – or it could be just me.

 

 

One Day out of One Hundred

Here’s the latest hat to go in to the shop. I did a grown up version of a hat made for a kid.  Rather pleased with myself, too.  Kind of reminds me of an octapus. You may not think so looking at this view but what if you saw it from the back? See? Octopus. Kinda freaky and yet kinda cool.

I am on a 100 day countdown to see if I can be any kind of disciplined to get to where I want to go. Since I have an outstanding order, I will be leaving this post to go and work on the hat. It is about 1/3 done so getting it done within the next six hours should be doable and that will leave enough time to get it photographed, packed up and over to the post office to be delivered.

After that, the living room needs to be cleaned and I will have to fight my lazy demon to get it done. When I wasn’t looking the yarn procreated and I will need another yarn sort and the start of a new Jessie bag. I don’t know the next time she will be at a knitting get together but seeing she lives less than 10 minutes away, I’m pretty sure I can drop it off at her house. Better her house than mine.

My new paranoia has set in – because what would life be with just the old ones – I haven’t had a sale since the 12th and for a long time my items were very prominent in the Etsy searches and now other folks have gotten a clue how to make their items prominent as well. So, while I still have really good positioning, I no longer have great positioning. The fix for it is actually more items. The tagging is pretty much set so I need more items to occupy more spaces. The idea is to have several pieces at the beginning of the search – which I do – I still have nearly ten items in the first ten pages of a search – but also to have items that appear all through the search.  Some buyers, just for fun, will do a search and then start from the back of the search. I tried it and I couldn’t find myself way back there – which is a good thing I think – but there were some killer items at the back of the search I did. I don’t know how to get a listing back there and I wouldn’t want all my stuff to be at the end of the line, but it’s an interesting concept. So, I have to add more items. I added the octopus (I didn’t call it that in the shop) yesterday and I have plenty more I can add or renew. I remember when the goal was to have 50 items in the shop. I have a total of 75 now and that’s not going to be enough.

You know what? The paranoia isn’t going to serve any useful purpose – I can use that energy to knit.

 

 

 

When You Believe

I’m not sure I showed you Bindi – yes, Bindi is the hat. This is my third or fourth pattern but the second one I’ve written down and she is on sale on my Ravelry site.  One more written pattern and I will put them back on the Etsy site as well – don’t ask me to explain the logic just accept my mind has worked it out somehow.

Life is back to normal for the moment. I have one open order and the hat is actually done but the customer wanted a slouch hat without too much slouch so I am sending a picture with a hat with a little slouch and pending approval will be sending that off.  I have two others just waiting, all boxed up and postage ready,  just have to drop them off at the post office.

Now that I have a little breathing room, and believe me, I am looking forward to the next order coming in. I’ve gotten a taste of this success thing and I like it, but the down time has given me a little time to extol the virtues of this hard work thing. Hard work does pay off when you believe and I can’t believe how easy success comes after you do a bunch of work to get it.

I find there are things I believe to my soul and those things are easy to achieve and then there are things I really, really want but don’t know if I can do them or deserve to do them and I find I get in my own way.

I don’t know how to change that. It infuriates me and makes me sad because I really do want these things but cannot talk myself into them enough to put the fear of getting them aside.

Right now, the answer is to continue to want them and make the effort and hopefully, prayerfully, I will find the thing that provides the breakthrough I need to make them happen. As long as there is breath in the body and faith in the spirit, there is a chance I will make it all happen.

I believe that.

 

On the Road

Yes, I know, but yes I have had some more orders so I’ve been really busy getting them out. In fact, I have one more hat that I’ve started and want to be able to get into the mail on Monday along with the other hat I’ve just packaged up.

I know there’s no reason to be negligent. No one ever said ‘Wow, wish I spent more quality time at work.’ But here is my thinking: when someone orders something from me, they buy it. It’s paid for by the time I see it. I think my obligation is to get it to them as quickly as possible so I work on it to the exclusion of everything else.

So the house looks like a mess – more than usual. And the online games I play have been without me, and I don’t do a blog post. The really good news is that I have about a dozen hats you haven’t even seen and they’re photographed though they are not yet sized for the shop. Did I show you this one? It is sized for the shop. It is in the shop. I call it Sassy because the flower makes it, well, a little more sassy.

I am really sleepy. I could go to sleep right now. I was working on the hat order when my mind just told me to step away from the needles – just for a little bit – and regroup. I still feel as if I am trying to prove that I am capable and worthy to handle a lot more business to come my way. But I need to be able to stay awake.

I cannot express how blessed I feel to be so tired because I’ve been working hard, reaping what I’ve sown over the past few months. Of course, you are told that this is how it’s supposed to be. Hard work is rewarded with hard results. I have to say that every time I’ve put action to that theory it has paid off. I have not always walked away the winner or the best but I have been more successful and had more joy than I had before I started whatever venture was ahead of me.

That has to stand for and mean something. I am tired at the end of the day but if you’ve  been around me you would also see me grinning from tired ear to tired ear.  I’ve gotten up in the morning and headed straight for the computer to do some work or to pack up an order and it will be 1 or 2 in the afternoon and I realize I haven’t eaten anything that day.

I am certainly not rolling the money but I have to I am not disappointed in the dollar amount. I haven’t written anything in the books, either, but I have more to write about now.

I am very much aware tomorrow is the 10th anniversary of the towers. I am also aware we have reached a remarkable degree of both optimism and pessimism all brought about by the election of Barack Obama and I know that fear and pride and all come from the same place.

The best thing we can do is carry forward. I would rather believe in the optimism that hard work will pay off in the success of both my business and the spirit of our lives. I want to believe that this nastiness and fear we feel is because we have shut off that part if us that needs to be vulnerable and connect with other people. Between 9-11 and the election, I think many of us feel the world is changing too fast from the status quo and are feeling a bit displaced. Presidents never looked like this before. The last time we attacked in this manner was by another group foreign to us who didn’t look like us.  We made them the enemy, too. We sometimes forget the last terrorist attack was in Oklahoma City by someone who looked just like us – well, some of us.

This hard work is exhausting and I both wonder if I can do it and if I deserve to do it. I can and I do. And in a very small way it is my contribution to our collective forward movement and our healing.

 

Deep Into It

I know it’s been awhile but until you hear. I have such a good reason for being away.

I’ve had orders. Two ponchos. Four hats. I’ve been busy. The story of the first poncho will kill you – it nearly killed me. This is the poncho that took me three tries to make. The first time I made it, it looked really small. I went over the pattern and discovered I left out twelve rows. Kinda important. So it was frogged and done again.  The second time, I just didn’t like it. I couldn’t get it to line up the right way. The third time (took three days by the way) it came out like this. I was ready to go.  Sent the photo to the customer saying ‘here’s your poncho!’

I was prepping to send it when I noticed it was two different dye lots. I had noticed one ball was coming out way thicker than the other but it wasn’t until I got it in dimmer light that the color change was too much.

Went to Joann and bought the last four skeins of the fiber – making sure it was the same dye lot and made it again. It is on the way to Canada. And that was after I was on the last part and noticed I didn’t do the increases that needed to be done and ripped back about twenty rows.

The new poncho order I have had me back at Joann for more of the same fiber. They didn’t have any on the shelf – I bought them out the day before – so I bought Lion Brand Thick and Quick which is $1.45 more per ball but I had two coupons that were used on two of the four skeins. I wasn’t going to drive around to all the different Joann stores to find the other fiber. Glad I didn’t, this one is going like a dream and you can tell the difference between the two. I love them both but there is a difference between a name brand and a generic.

Then I had to knit two of the rasta hats (one I knit in between poncho attempts to keep me same..saner.) Then the last two I had in the inventory.  So, it’s been pretty busy. I have to admit having to do the poncho over and over caused me a great deal of stress that took me a day to recover. I was really tired yesterday. I didn’t even start the new poncho order until late last night.

There are some really positive things: I’ve made my sales goal for September. I wanted to make four sales for the month and I have. I know it was a low goal but seriously, with one sale in July and one in August, I thought it was a good stretch. Now I am looking for the next sale and was a little disappointed to wake up and not have it there.

I also discovered this cute book of scarf and hat sets to crochet and I started one of those as a way to help de-stress and found some new crochet patterns that are fun and it makes the already wonderful I Love This Yarn feel more lush and thick.

I also discovered the joys of PayPal shipping labels. I’ve been doing my own labels, taking the boxes to the post office to be weighed and paying postage there, spending extra to get delivery confirmation, etc. Decided to try the PayPal shipping label option where the label and postage are done on the computer. The label prints out and I can schedule the post office to pick them up. I had to go to the PO because I didn’t have the International shipping label I needed but in the future, this can be so much easier. Plus confirmation via PayPal is $0.19 instead of $0.80. That can really add up.

Discovered a service where I can insure my shipments. A lot of sellers insure their packages if they are $50 or above. But I want to insure everything.  It costs me $20 for a one skein project and though I’ve never run into any problems, that could also add up. insurance against loss or damage or someone who decides to make false claims is a small price to pay.

The last thing I discovered is I did what I had to do in order to get my customer’s order out by the time I said. I always worry that something will go wrong but I am glad I had the strength to make that poncho four times. It shows me I do need to rest, relax, get some exercise and eat well in order to handle the stress of what might just be an uptick of business. It was a good lesson to learn now just in case the holidays do prove to be a busy hat making season.

OK, there is one more thing I learned:  I deserve success. This little glimpse into what a successful shop might look like left me tired and stressed but deeply happy and grateful. That little voice in my head that sometimes comes out to tell me to opt for easier and lazy was nowhere to be heard during the last few days. I was way to busy for him to come out. That’s a good thing. I think it shows God that I can be trusted with a blessing. An important attribute when there are so many blessings to be had.

Chains

I am taking a break from getting what I asked for. I wanted the sales and now they are here, I have to actually make the items. I actually finished the poncho, held it up and wondered why it looked so small and going over the instructions found I had left out twelve rows. Twelve. Yeah, that explains it. I also will be one ball short – and that was before the missing twelve rows. It will not do to combine Sensations fiber with Thick and Quick because the color difference is too great – subtle, yet too great. So I will have to go out in that 90 degree weather to get fiber to make a winter poncho. So many different roads to irony and not a map to get me there.

The hat (the third time I’ve sold this one) will need to be smaller and that can be accomplished by simply not putting on as many cast on stitches. Here’s the trick: I already had to adjust the pattern so now I have to remember how I did it so I can readjust it to suit my customer’s needs! Why do you all let me get myself into these things?

I am off to Joann to get ONE ball of the yarn I need. Though I will admit I saw Deborah Norville on Knitting Daily and she showed a granny square afghan made from sock yarn that just made me flip!! I don’t have the time to start another project right now. I have the granny square afghan squares to get back to after the poncho and the hat. I don’t have time for it. I don’t have time for it.

I really don’t have time for it.

OK, start taking bets. I really don’t know how this will turn out.