Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Free Crochet Pattern Time again!!!

So,  I have been playing a lot lately at using up scraps of yarn and sometimes upcycling or recycling items I already have to give them a new look!

Here's one for a Braclet:



20-40 yards of Recycled Sari Silk Yarn
An old bracelet
Size 4.5 mm crochet hook.
Darning needle.




Row 1:  Make a slip knot as you normally would to start crocheting.  With the inside of the bracelet towards you and the yarn on the insert hook to the inside (from top to bottom) of bracelet, yarn over and draw up a loop, bring yarn around back side of bracelet, yarn over, pull thru 2 loops on hook.  You are going to repeat this until you have covered your bracelet.  Join with slip stitch to first stitch.  Fasten off and weave in ends.  Please see the photos for visual
help.





















Tip, work the tail from the beginning under as you go, then you don't have to weave it in later.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pattern Sale in my Esty Shop

Shop Link:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/chrisssmith22

**I am having a sale on all patterns Beginning Friday November 20/09 @ 6 pm until Sunday November 22 @ Midnight. This sale will include all single patterns in my shop. Please note sale prices will not include pattern collections, pattern sets, or my charity pattern.**
I wanted to give everyone a chance to make their own handmade gifts and save some money too.

Here is the challenge!! If I can reach my 100th sale by midnight on Sunday I will send everyone who purchases a free copy of the pattern of their choice (not including pattern collections,or pattern sets)!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I made it thru my First Craft/Gift Fair!

Well, I made it thru Christmas Chaos.  I learned so much about selling my items.  My eco friendly fiber art was  a hit with both young and old alike.  My Step-Father aka Papa was a real estate agent and has done hoards of home shows, he gave me a few tips.   I am also including what I learned.  I hope this helps.
Stand up or use a stool that puts you on the same level as your customer.  I also sat/stood and crocheted at my table and this brought loads of interest.  I used a mannequin to display my items, I changed what my mannequin was wearing every 30-45 mins.  I also used my mannequin to show people how to wear the items I make.  SMILE!!!!  It draws people to you, I can't say how many people  were simply drawn to my table by my smiling at them.  Listen to the customer but remember you are there to sell not visit.  Deter people you know from just visiting with you at your table, this can deter customers.  Post some sheets with large Titles about what you do, many people will not read them but the Titles such as Hemp or Bamboo will be seen and draw them in.  Print out a business sized card with Large lettering on it that says Custom orders welcome.  Make tags easy to find.  People almost always look at the price first.  If you can have 2 people working your table, do so.  I found that if some one is taking a lot of my time and humming and hawwing about the sale, and you have someone else waiting.  Politely say your partner is going to assist them and help another customer.  Sometimes this gives them the push they need to make a decision. It can also redirect their attention to what they want.    Be kind, be courteous, be polite.  I hope you find this info useful.  :)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

It gets easier to talk about your business......

I'll never forget how difficult it was to talk about my business at first.  I was so sacred of rejection.  I thought people would think it was stupid.  Frankly, not every person I talked to was interested.  especially when I was talking about crocheting.  I found the key was being at the right place at the right time.  Literally shopping at places that I believed my items would do well.  Wearing my items was huge!  People would ask, "Where'd you buy that?"  Of course, this was an opportunity to talk about the stuff I make.   Now,  I am shameless!  I had to find out who would buy this and where are they?  With the Handmade market taking off, this can be difficult.
I consign.  I consign my items and patterns.  This doesn't make me hoards of money at this point, but it sure helps to get me exposure.  Plus then I can brag about it on my blog and websites.

Networking online was really something I did not do for a long time.  I was never big on forums and such.  Now, I realize I have to.  I also need to look at other people shops and support them.  I don't have loads of time to be on Etsy forums for example, but I try to make an appearance, or do a critique to help a newbie.

My three rules to live by:  Be Kind, Be honest, Be helpful.

Frankly, not everyone cares that the item(s) are made with hemp or fair trade sari silk.  They just loved the item.  Point is I cannot give everyone the same spiel, they are not all interested.  So is researching my fiber choices is not a waste of time, because when someone does ask, I have answers.
Constantly, I get you don't use acrylic yarn?  No, I don't and no, I won't.  I have my own personal beliefs that I will keep to myself.  

Realize that your business is built on others businesses.  :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More Sari Silk Patterns Available!!!

So I finished some more patterns this morning.  They are both exclusively available @ www.darngoodyarn.com
So have  a look see!  Feel free to comment and encourage!!!  :)
 

Believe it or not the second 2 pictures are the same Hat!!!!   What do you think of that?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Recycyled Sari Silk Patterns

So,  I have really noticed that there seems to be a lack of patterns for Recycled Sari Silk out there, especially fro crocheters.  I have been working my keester off to come up with some that really do this yarn some justice.  I love this yarn, the colors are incredible!!!  Mostly I love how it helps the women in Nepal provide for their families and hey,  it is a form of reduce, reuse, recycle!  For more info on the Yarn I use go to www.darngoodyarn.com.
Now, here's some photos of the Patterns I have come up with!


   


This is just a small sampling of what is to come!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

All about.......Hemp

A large part of this blog is about what I do, how I do it and with what.  With what is a big deal to me.  There has been so much awareness raised about "eco-fashion"  and "eco-textiles", but what does this mean really?  So this is where I am prepared to explore the textiles I am using such as hemp(both raw and mercerized), soy, bamboo, recycled sari silk, and banana silk.
Now, not everyone out there is gonna agree with me on what is "eco-fiber" and what isn't, so I am prepared to take some flack for this.  My purpose of writing this information in my blog is not convince any persons, or change anyone's beliefs, but just to inform those whom are interested about available "eco-fiber".

So, thanks to all those folks who are following me, and supporting my "with what".

Hemp:  Now, hemp is really becoming one of my favorite fibers to work with.  The colors are amazing, rich and saturated.  Amazing Drape!  Now believe it or not it stands up with silk when it comes to drape.  Hemp keeps me cool when it is warm and yes, it keeps me warm when it is cold.  Hemp is comfortable to wear, and softens more and more with use and washing.  No dry cleaning!  :)  Now, I do still hand wash my hand crocheted items, but I don't want to stretch or misshape them, especially when they are wet as this can result in a misshapen finished product.   Hemp combines beautifully with other textiles such as cashmere cotton, silk, soy, tencel (wood fiber) and wool.
Hemp will not stretch, (do not be confused with stretch from your crocheted or knitted fabric), pill, or fade.  Hemp is naturally moth proof, antimicrobial, and UV resistant.  
Hemp plants grow extremely fast, and do well in almost any climate. The same components that make hemp fabrics anti-bacterial and mildew-resistant also make the crop naturally resistant to pests. Hemp requires no or very little use of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or even fertilizer.  It's also resistant to weeds because it grows so fast and tall, blocking out sunlight to smaller plants.  Hemp can be grown in the same field year after year with no negative impact on the land. Its long root system aerates the soil and helps control topsoil erosion.  Hemp fiber is very long and that is part of what makes hemp a great textile.  Short fibers such as cotton, ( I am not hacking cotton here), are weaker and more prone to breakage, which shows hemp is incredibly durable.  Hemp is grown in over 31 countries including: Russia, China, Canada, France, Switzerland, Germany, Australia and South Africa.
Hemp is incredibly versatile, it is used as food; hemp hearts (hulled seeds), and oil, textile fiber to make clothing, YARN, rope, canvas, and paper, just to name a few.
The process which is used to convert hemp from a plant into usable fiber is done mostly by machine and requires no chemical process.  So, even the process itself, is earth friendly.
Most hemp yarns are dyed using fiber reactive dyes.  Many consumers also appreciate the eco-friendliness of fiber reactive dyes. Some companies process the dyes with natural ingredients and materials, focusing on creating a product with a minimum of harmful waste. Since the dyes are colorfast, they will not bleed into wash water, leading to a reduction in dye-laden water runoff, which can be harmful for the environment.

So, here's to hemp! 


I hope you found my little blurb informative.  :)

Please note some of the information has been reproduced with permission from Lanaknits.


For more information on Hemp for Knitting and Crocheting Please visit www.lanaknits.com and www.darngoodyarn.com

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sale in my Esty shop this Weekend!  From Saturday October 10 to Monday October 12 all shipping is half price!  I have already lowered my prices, so come take advantage.  Happy Thanksgiving to all you Canadians!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Getting my stuff out there!


So, business online has been pretty quiet since summer has ended....not sure why?  So, I decided to get there and see what I could come up with on my local scene.

I spoke with a lovely lady named Cindy at the Community Farm Store (Local Organic Produce and lifestyle items)  about 2 weeks ago about selling some of my Hemp Tams.  (Ultimately, you've got to figure out your target audience before doing this.)  I followed up last Friday and she took 9 Hemp Tams( I also sell these Tams and the pattern in my Etsy shop).  This is a start.  Technically this is consigning, but a sale is a sale.
Now for my tags,  I use a handwritten tag for size, price etc. Then I use another card to tell the buyer how to care for their item, and then a business card to round it all off!  I want people to see me. 
Not, every business owner I approach is so willing to take my stuff, but if I don't get off my duff, nothing will sell.  But, every time I get out there it gets easier and easier, not to mention a confidence builder.

Another Good Idea!
WEAR WHAT YOU MAKE!  How can you expect anyone else to wear your stuff if your don't?
I wear what I make, people ask me "where'd you get that?"   I have family and friends commission me to  make gifts.  Go to where your target audience is.  People will notice you, it just takes time,(who has loads of that?).
I have been wanting to do a craft/gift fair for a while but this has been hard because I work weekends.  I am doing a very popular one called Christmas Chaos in November and next spring I will hopefully get a table at the Chemainus Market on Wednesdays.

Next post, researching your materials and  some info on hemp yarn.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Scarf for Rainee Fundraiser


I just wanted to give everyone an update that Rainee is doing very well since her surgery.  She is adjusting very well to only having the sight of one eye.  Which is the best news that we could all hope for.  To date I have raised $70.00 CAD, which in December, my Daughter and I will donate all the funds we have raised at that time to Vancouver Children s hospital.  Thank you for all your support.  If you are interested in purchasing a copy please use the link to my Etsy shop.  :)

Chriss and Billie

Monday, September 28, 2009

Free Belt Pattern

So, I am sorry that this has been so long in the coming, but you can plan and plan and life just seems to happen.


My inspiration came from having a few belts that were worn out belts lying around.  Anyone who knows me knows that I hate just throwing things away.  I also think its very important to provide patterns that make durable, useful items that look good on more than a mannequin.   So on to first (yes....there will be more) and most simple, Upcycled Buckle Belt Crochet Pattern....

You will need:
About 150 yards of worsted bulky weight yarn (depending on how long your belt will be,  any kind of yarn, Plarn, or Tshirt yarn would be cool.  If you don't have bulky then hold 2 strands of worsted weight or 3 strands of dk weight yarn together  Recycled Sari Silk looks awesome!)  I used Raw hemp from Darn Good Yarn for the lighter one and Lanaknit Allhemp6 in chocolate for the Darker one.
Size 5.00 mm Crochet Hook.
1.5" Belt Buckle (you can use a different sized buckle, however you will have to adjust the amount of stitches.
Darning needle


Row 1:  Join with a sc to one corner of you buckle, four more sc around buckle, move your swivel pinto middle of buckle and continue to crochet around it, 4 more sc, ( your Buckle should seem  pretty full at this point.
Row 2: Chain 1, does not count as first sc. sc in each sc across, stitches should be done as tight as possible

Repeat Row 2 till desired length, now at this point I recommend crocheting you belt about 3 " shorter than you want it.  Your belt is gonna stretch, and I want you too anticipate this rather than be dissapointed.
To make a pointed end:

Last Rows:
Chain 1, turn, sc2together across first 4 sc, sc in next sc, sc2together across last 4 sc.
Chain 1, turn, sc2 together across first 2 decrease stitches, sc in next sc, sc2 together across last 2 decrease stitches.
Chain 1, turn, sc3 together with last 3 stitches, fasten off, and weave in end. 
Now to help prevent stretching, and to give your belt a nice finish you need to edge your belt in a slip stitch, so with right side facing start at belt buckle, join with slip stitch to belt, now simply put one slip stitch into edge of each row along one side of the belt to the end, then work along the opposite side. Fasten off, weave in ends.


Placing you belt loop is important,  At this point I would try on your belt and using a stitch marker find the best place for your belt loop.
Belt loop:
join with a slip stitch to to side of belt in stitch indicated by your stitch marker, chain 9, slip stitch to stitch parallel from first slip stitch, slip stitch into next stitch ( this works as you turning chain) sc or hdc in each chain of belt loop, across, slip stitch into stitch beside join, fasten off and weave in ends!!!  
Finishing!  If your belt is twisting, I suggest you wash it, gently, following the instructions for your yarn, then roll into a towel and squeeze out excess moisture and lay flat to dry.

Now, I hope you enjoy your belt for a long time to come,

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

So who's looking for some ways to reuse some perfectly good stuff around their home?  Well, stayed tuned because I gotta free pattern coming up real quick!  I'll give you one clue:  It's a cinch!  LOL.  :)

Whooooo! My first Blog!

I decided that this was probably a better way for peopel to get to know what The Art of Zen.......Crochet is all about.
So here's my little spiel......I have been crocheting for over 14 years now. I am a lefty, not left handed but a left handed crocheter. So if I were to ever be so bold as to write a sweater pattern, I would have to reverse everything, (well not everything, but at least the sleeves!) I love creating items, accessories in particular, that are made with eco friendly textiles, now I know some people have some different views on what that is, so I will tread lightly on this one. I believe in the 3 R's REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE. I believe in supporting those less fortunate than we are by purchasing supplies from fair trade, equal opportunity, fair wages/compensation, child labor free, etc. sellers. My favorite supplier is www.darngoodyarn.com
I love growing and do grow as much of my own food and sharing it with others.
Anyways, I will be posting more, but now it is time to get the kids off to school.
So here's to trying something new!