amandajocrafts

December 11, 2012

On Some Things to Look Forward To.

I got busy with my hook this weekend and started two new patterns for two exciting things to come in the shop!

The first is a pairĀ of boot cuffs. This pattern was more challenging to create than I had expected. First, I’m not the best mannequin for them, because I think my calves run slightly larger than your average calf (all those years of dance class!). Second, I wanted a good blend between an interesting pattern and something that didn’t take forever to work up. I’m pretty happy with the way they turned out! (And, of course, I had to add a bit of scalloping at the top :))

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Second, I hopped on the start of a newish bandwagon–move over moustaches, peter pan collars are up next! I’ve loved the look of a peter pan collar on cardigans and blouses for a good long time now, and then I started seeing some necklaces that mimic that design. Well, I took it a step further and crocheted a peter pan collar! I absolutely love the way it turned out–the pattern kind of fell right into place naturally, without much redoing on my part to get it the way I wanted it. I’ve ordered some great buttons for it, so I just have to wait for them to come in to start listing on Etsy!

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What were you working on this weekend?

November 12, 2012

On Some Fingerless Gloves.

Gotta share a quick one šŸ™‚

I just listed my first pair of fingerless gloves at my Etsy store, and I couldn’t be more excited about them. I made a pair for myself last week (in pink, a made-to-order set in that color will be showing up later this week in the shop!) and have been wearing them to work ever since–they’re great to type with, they keep my hands nice and toasty, and I love the dexterity!

I wanted something that was both super warm and cozy and something that looks delicate and classy, and maybe a little Victorian–so both bulk and delicacy (I wanted it all, basically :)) Well, I worked with it for a bit and finally came up with a pattern that I think satisfies both!

Also, I just wanted to mention how excited I am by the photgraphy of these gloves–don’t they look great?! I owe the photo to my fiance, because my hands were in the gloves!

If you have a moment, come and check them out here!

November 6, 2012

On If the Customer *Really* Wants Crochet.

I was handed a nice little epiphany yesterday, courtesy of my friends on the Etsy Success team.

As you probably know, I’ve started creating scarves and cowls for my Etsy shop. I was (and am) really excited about adding this new element to my shop, and since I assumed “tis the season,” I expected them to be searched for with regularity.

One of the “offenders” :).

However, in the two weeks since I’ve listed the first scarf, it’s only come up in search once. I was floored–after all the work and understanding I now have about the tagging/SEO system for Etsy, I really thought I had done so efficiently for the scarf.

After a quick question out into Etsy Success team,Ā I received the most fascinating answer: no one is searching for “crochet.”

This whole time, I’ve been thinking like the seller, not the buyer. I’ve been thinking about how it’s made, not by what people are looking for. It’s kind of like searching the internet for glassware with the word “lehr” (the oven that’s used to heat it) rather than “glassware.” Oh.

If people are looking for something like my scarves, they’re searching for “women’s fashion scarves” or “red winter scarf” or “dressy women’s scarf,” not the way in which it was made.

Hopefully some title change will bring some views to this beaut!

So, I’ve now updated my titles and tags to reflect this little epiphany, and I’ll keep you posted on the results!

October 23, 2012

On Etsy Scarves, At Last!

Just a quick post to say: at last, at last!

I have (finally!) created some scarves for Etsy (the yarn has been sitting there for a month–darn the homework!) and listed the first one today. I’m so happy with the yarn and the pattern (just a simple shell pattern I created, but it gives off a nice elegant vibe).

Look for more coming soon, too!

October 22, 2012

On A Granny Squares Update.

After lots and lots of bus rides to and from work, I’ve got all the granny squares I need for the blanket! (If you’re curious as to its inception, read here.)

I’m not making this to keep; instead, I intend to list it on my Etsy shop as a young boy’s blanket. It’s just the perfect size–at 6 squares wide by 10 squares long, it should be the perfect durable, run-around blanket for any boy!

As you can see by the picture, I didn’t have the chance this weekend to begin connecting them (something I haven’t actually ever done before…so it should be interesting!) I did, however, lay them all out how I wanted them (I was going for an eclectic feel, rather than a definitive “blue, green, white, blue, green, white”) and labeled them to make connecting a little easier.

I also took a trip to Michael’s and purchased some green yarn (kind of a muted army green color) to connect them all. It was harder to decide on a connecting color than I had anticipated, but I think the green will bring it all together.

I’m so excited to get them connected (!), but I suspect that it’s not going to be finished until after school finishes for the semester. Just not enough hours in the day! However, I’m really hoping to have it in the shop well before Christmas so it can be the perfect present for a young boy!

September 24, 2012

On Granny Squares.

Filed under: On Crocheting. — Tags: , , , , , , , — amandajocrafts @ 10:44 am

I have a LOT of yarn.

My mom used to knit and crochet a lot in the years before I came along. After I grew old enough and wanted to know what the boxes and boxes of yarn were doing in our closet, she taught me. She also kindly offered all the yarn in those boxes to my project whims. (Mothers are so darn selfless!) Of course, then I was the one in possession of all these possibilities.

I remember, so clearly, dragging the heavy metal stepstool from the laundry room up the stairs to the hall closet. The folding doors would squeak delightfully as I pushed them open on either side. I would, so carefully, open the step stool, because it made a sharp snap when it locked into place, and my mom had always made it clear that my fingers would not be happy if they were in the proximity of the snap. I’d climb up the three steps and, with my short, chubby kid fingers, inch the box off the top shelf, holding it in the crook of my neck and shoulder while I eased my way back off the stool. I’d look inside, knowing just what I’d find in there because, of course, my mom had marked in Sharpie on the outside what colors, and just how many, were kept inside.

Last year, when I started my Etsy shop, I bought even more yarn. And then, when I moved out of my parents’ house to pretend to be a grown-up, I brought some of her yarn with me. It hung out in a lot of eco-friendly bags until my fiance encouraged meĀ to purchase a wooden storage bench with some lovely baskets (I think he was just getting sick of all the bags in the corner).

I think, at the time, I felt as though I needed as much yarn as possible, “just in case.” Then, my Etsy shop didn’t have quite the direction and continuity as it does now; I was not sure what the next item would be, so I felt as though I just had no clue what I needed. However, I now have a clear vision, and it does not include all this extra yarn! (Especially when I bought out a certain brand a Michael’s a month ago for those teddy bears I’ve been making. They do not fit in the baskets with everything else in there.)

So, I pondered what to do with this yarn. I didn’t want to store it somewhere, because then I would forget about it. I didn’t have the heart to fill my parents’ hall closet back up with it again. Then, I stumbled across the fascinating “granny square.”

You would think, being a hard-core yarner, yarn-artist, and general yarn-a-holic, that I would have a lot more experience with a granny square. (Really, my only “contact” with them was when I was just starting out crocheting and found some of my mom’s old, leftover granny squares. She taught me how to connect them, and my American Girl Dolls had a nice little blanket.) Granny squares are the perfect way to utilize this “homeless” yarn!

I wasted no time in looking up how to create them, and even less time in coming up with my own, slightly varied, version of the traditional granny square. I tried a couple out, and decided this would be the perfect project to do on the bus on my way to work.

Putting thought into action, I assumed–with a slight delight–that this might cause some interest on an otherwise morning-dulled bus. Maybe I can hand out some business cards, I thought to myself. This could be great shop publicity. People can see me in action!

I was wrong. No one even looked twice! It actually harkened back to some even odder behavior by myself, where, right after moving, I put all my crochet animals in bags and took them to the park and beach to photograph them. (I have since changed my photos on Etsy, but some of my fourth and fifth Etsy pictures do still have examples, like my octopus here.) Although I didn’t mean to draw attention to myself, I thought that at least a couple people would wonder what the heck this girl in a sundress was doing with bags of crochet animals slung over her shoulder. Nope.

At any rate, I’m still really excited about these granny squares. I have quickly mastered their efficiency and can knock them out relatively fast (a little over one per twenty-minute bus ride). I’m looking forward to having enough to connect them into a really fun, colorful young boy’s blanket! I’ll let you know when it makes it onto Etsy. šŸ™‚

August 13, 2012

On Amigurumis.

Filed under: On Crocheting. — Tags: , , — amandajocrafts @ 10:30 am

What is an amigurumi, you ask?

It’s not a thing so much as a way of doing things. An amigurumiĀ is a piece (doll, animal, etc.) crocheted in the round. Rather than an afghan, or a washcloth, whose lines go back and forth, an amigurumi goes in a circle, spiraling out from the middle:

It’s a great way to make a doll that doesn’t have any sort of seam, and as long as you don’t need to make something square, it’s my new favorite way to go!

AmigurumisĀ traditionally have other qualities, such as a strong level of cuteness (or kawaii, a word I just learned for a fellow Etsyian), are often smaller in nature (think, fits in the palm of your hand), and generally make you go “awwww!” Recently, I’ve expanded my personal definition of amigurumiĀ to include anything I can possibly make, including larger items, such as Henry the Octopus (above), any slew of Harry Potter Inspired dolls (mandrakesĀ and sorting hats and Dobby, oh my!), and gigantic collector-style teddy bears (my new favorite thing to crochet do. Ever. It’s beginning to impede my freelancing work. But I figure I’d better get it out of my system before I start my master’s program).

Once you get crocheting in the amigurumi style down pat, you can basically create anything you want.Ā  It’s so much fun to start a new project, and even more fun to finish, hug your new doll, and know YOU made it, from start to end, and someone else, someday, is going to hug him the same way you just did, and treasure him just as much as you do.

August 11, 2012

On Yarn, and the Possibilites of Craft Stores.

Filed under: On Crocheting. — amandajocrafts @ 8:51 pm

I have a yarn problem.

I suppose the first step is admitting it, but I’m sure some step in there is supposed to be doing something to alter the issue, and I see no impetous within me to do that.

Going to Michael’s is like Christmas; there’s all that beautiful, soft yarn in all those different plys and brands, and everywhere you turn, you can envision a thousand products stemming from all that yarn. I look at the thin, circly yarns and see loose, fall scarves. I look at the Red Heart, my go-to for its durability and stableness, and see a ton of amigurumi animals. I look at the baby yarns and see blankets and footsies and hats for some child I’ll have ten years from now. I look at the bulky yarn and see winter scarves, hats, gloves, warmth and cuddling by the fire and warm tea when I get home from a long day’s work and an even longer bus ride. (My fiance finds the fisherman’s wool, every time, and sees a cableknit, zip-up sweater, that he insists upon making himself. He hasn’t even finished a knitted washcloth yet.)

Today, I headed straight toward a newly discovered type of yarn, one I just started using for my new line of “collector” teddy bears, and saw a new bear in every single color. I believe I ended up purchasing twelve different colors, not because I couldn’t decide, but because I kept deciding I needed that color, too. I have to wait to start making those bears (you know, life and all. Psh.) but I’m so excited.

Moral of the story: My fiance isn’t crazy (at least, in this respect). He’s the one who has the right of it–craft stores are all about the possibility; creating something with your own hands. It’s like magic.

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