Friday 17 January 2020

The Result - Crochet Mandala's part 2

I've never really understood the point of crochet mandala's or even mandala's in general. The cynical part of me thought it was just a trendy word for swatches & motifs and that mandala's were just interesting patterns.
So when I started crocheting circles mandala's I felt a bit of a fraud, so I did lots of research and discovered I was wrong.
The following quote is from Wikipedia

The mandala is "a support for the meditating person", something to be repeatedly contemplated to the point of saturation, such that the image of the mandala becomes fully internalized in even the minutest detail and can then be summoned and contemplated at will as a clear and vivid visualized image.

I've never been a spiritual person, but realised that sewing in ends is my version of meditating. I use a lot of scraps in my blankets's and love remembering the feel of the different yarn types, the sound of the scissors as I snip the ends (rustic wool is especially satisfying as it crunches) and the colours, always the colours..
Looking at the finished mandala gives me the same enjoyment, the way the colours work together, the stitches and different yarn types, I hope others feel the same way.
I'm getting immense pleasure making them, I'm using my colour and design sense's, hoping that it will help lift my block.
Having something to sell that people want to buy has bolstered my confidence, I didn't even realise it was something I missed until I started posting packages.

So I have a mandala plan...........
For the whole of January I'm going to make 2 round mandala's like the ones at the top of this post.
On Tuesday 28th of January I will post them all for sale on Instagram and Facebook, the following week I will add the unsold ones to Etsy.

For the whole of February I'm going to make 3 round mandala's, like the one below.

And for the whole of March I'm going to make 4 round mandala's

In April I will work out what to do next, maybe more mandala's, maybe my block will have lifted and I will start making more blankets or maybe I'll do both.
Watch my Instagram account and Facebook page for more updates and information.

The Reason why - Crochet Mandala's part 1

For the past 10 months I've struggled to work, my heart isn't in my work anymore, nothing seems quite right, I've only made one blanket in the past year and social networking is a chore I try and avoid.
After all our ups and downs, life has finally broken me a bit.

My children are the three best things I've ever made and when one of them needs me, I do my best to help. When Dais needed my help after the birth of Magnus, I was there. 
Ten months later Dais is back at work, Magnus still doesn't sleep well and Bert is well and truly a terrible two. Dais still needs me, so I'm still there, child caring, helping with bedtimes when Daddy isn't there, taking Magnus to toddlers group etc etc

I cherish every moment I spend with them, I'm so lucky to live so close and to be able to be such a big part of their lives and at this point in my life they are my main focus.
Being a grandparent is the best thing ever :-)

The beach photo was taken at Woolacombe, it shows Bert singing to Tinks, while his Mummy tries to keep Ron under control and in the distance Grandpa drags Magnus across the sand in his buggy

However my baby boy's don't fulfill my creative needs, so I've been mindlessly crocheting jumpers, nothing special and nothing I want to share, but it fulfills my need to create. 
Before Christmas I decided to sell a lot of my samples and swatches as I wanted to buy Phil a chiminea as an extra special Christmas present.
I sold them on Facebook, most of them were snapped up immediately (the remaining ones are in my Etsy shop), the thing that became apparent was that people especially loved my circles swatches.
Several people referred to them as mandala's, so I thought why not make more.........

Continue reading this story The result - Crochet Mandala's part two.

Thursday 8 August 2019

Summer Sale & Pattern Updates

August seems to always be the month I run my summer sale and this year is no different.
This year I thought I'd test out a sale in my Etsy shop
There is a 25% discount on all the items including my book Rainbow Crocheted BlanketsI've re-listed it as Etsy have changed their free postage plan to sales over $35, I guess someone listened to all the complaints after all :-)

When I closed NDS in 2015 I decided I needed to rewrite and edit all my old patterns, I imagined it would take about 2 years. 
Four years later and I'm still rewriting, editing & drawing new charts. I really didn't think it would take me so long, but to be fair I have published 3 books and become a grandma to 2 tiny boys who live in the flat above me.
I have finished the main bulk of my patterns, all the blankets and garments are done, but I still have 4 shawls and 6 scarves to do. I need to edit the 10 designs and remake the samples, so they are going to take a lot longer, probably longer than the previous 43 designs. 
The first on the list is the much loved Angel scarf, I'm still being asked for the pattern nine years after I first designed it. I've misplaced the original sample, somewhere in one of our numerous moves, or maybe I gave it away it was so long ago

Anyway to celebrate my pattern rewriting achievement I've created 4 collections in my Ravelry shop. 

You can find the collections at the top of the page,
Each collection has a different selection of patterns.
Simply add 5 patterns from the same collection to your basket and you will receive a whopping 50% discount.

Happy Crocheting

Tuesday 16 July 2019

Etsy & my books

Yesterday I posted the following post on my website blog.

I have just removed all my books and blankets from Etsy and listed them all in my website shop  instead. I'm afraid this is the only place you will be able to buy books from me in the future.
The following rant explains the reason why.

Over the past couple of years Etsy has changed, it used to be all about supporting makers and giving them a platform to sell their hand made products, now its all about how much money it can make as a company.

There have been several changes the first one I remember was to change the price of listing items, originally it cost 20 cents per item listed, Etsy made a fuss about how they were going to charge us only 20 cents for a listing that contained as multiple items. It sounded like a benefit to shop owners, but what Etsy didn't emphasize was that when you sold one of the items they would charge you another 20 cents to relist it, so in reality nothing had changed.

Then this year (or maybe it was last) they implemented a payment account, meaning our customers had alternative options to paypal, it sounded like a good idea, but actually meant I don't get paid for several days or I could choose to wait a month and be paid a lump sum. 
Earlier on this year Etsy decided to cut out paypal completely, they didn't give the sellers a choice they just did it, it means my earnings sit in their bank account earning interest until they decide to pay me.
The thing I object to more than anything is being forced to do something I didn't want to do.
Like a lot of Etsy sellers I'm a small seller earning a little bit extra money to help with household costs and having a little bit of extra money sitting in my paypal account gives me the comfort of knowing I have an emergency fund if the car breaks down or we have some other disaster.

A couple of weeks ago Etsy informed us that it would stop promoting sellers who didn't offer free postage and would drop their items to bottom of the categories, whilst promoting sellers who did offer free postage.
I feel this is another strong arm tactic to force sellers into doing something they don't want to do, obviously its all about Etsy earning more money for its shareholders, but I haven't worked out how yet, as they already charge us 5% on our postage costs.
I could either absorb the postage costs and carry on selling my books at the prices they are listed meaning that I would hardly earn any profit.
Or I could put up the prices to incorporate the postage costs, it would mean Rainbow Crocheted Blankets would cost 24 pounds, my UK customers would have to pay the same price as my US customers even though the postage is actually over 5 pounds cheaper.

Etsy used to be about homemade, artisan products, Etsy used to support their sellers, now its all about earning more money for its shareholders without any thought to the people who pay them.

I will continue to sell my pdf patterns on Etsy, until Etsy comes up with a new scheme how squeeze more money out of its digital sellers.