Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Finished Object Roll Call: June 2015



Ummm.... apparently I didn't finish any sewing projects this month... Next month there will be plenty! 

If you'd like to see the FO's in progress, as they are completed, and some other random bits and pieces of life, follow me on Instagram!I also do GIVEAWAYS on Facebook.  You should go 'like' the page, be sure to be following it too! 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Transparency in Business Costs

One thing I really struggle with when running my business is what level of transparency to have when it comes to pricing.

I still really debate with myself over pricing items. Is it too much? But I still need to pay myself fairly for my time. Would someone else be willing to be paid that much per hour? What if no one will buy it because of the price?

I need some help here from you all. I have been very vigilant the past few months with accurately recording how long it takes for me to make an item, as well as the cost of the materials it takes to make the items. I realized that I often paid myself pennies per hour after everything was added up.

However, since raising my prices to reflect a fair wage for myself, I've been getting less traffic through my shop. IS it the prices?

Do I tell people that the shawl they like took me over 20 hours to complete? Or the toy took 15? That it takes 7 hours to make one sock, and I'm 18 hours into an adult size sweater and still have to do the sleeves?

If I do, that means letting people know how much I charge per hour for labor. No big deal, I do that on custom items. But still, I feel like that would open me up to a lot of 'trolling' and criticisms from other folks. In my head it comes from those "I don't do it for the money" folks and would sound like this: "You shouldn't charge that much since it's your hobby and you enjoy doing it." "Why not just give them away as presents?" etc.

What do you think? If it was you, what would you do?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Caesious Update: A Road Trip and Some Netflix

I feel like I've been really seriously slacking in the knitting department lately. There are several projects on the needles that should have been done long ago. But they are still there.

Caesious is one of them. Thankfully, we had a road trip recently. 10 hours one way, with lots of driving while there. I was able to make a lot of progress on some projects. One that really needs to be done (the Mielie vest) and of course Caesious.

When we got home I weighed how much yarn was left. 50 grams which means I am officially halfway done with it! Yay!

Here's a picture:

I also reached the point where I have the pattern in my head, and can move fairly quickly through a repeat. I can even stop in the middle of a repeat and walk away for awhile, then pick it right back up no problems.

The yarn is Three Irish Girls Cashmerino Sock. This pattern helps the yarn feel really light and squishy (John came up with that word after touching it). It's just lovely.... The only complaint I have is that it's variegated. I think I would like this project more if it weren't so variegated...

Since I will be finishing up my thesis soon, I should have a little more time and brainpower to devote to the knitting, and this project in particular. Caesious is the 'experiment' one to give me a gauge on how long they take, and once I have that under my belt, I will set a goal for when I want to have the entire Curls Project completed!

Friday, June 19, 2015

#100DaysofSewing and Thesis Writing

I saw the hashtag "100daysofsewing" on Instagram awhile ago. Honestly, I didn't really research it or try to find out if it was  a challenge from another blogger, or sponsored website, or what. I just saw it and liked the idea. So I decided to go for it.

It was off to a rough start. My machine was acting up, and I got about 10 days into it and decided I couldn't stand it and sent the machine to the shop. When I got it back, it worked a lot better (still not perfect, but much better than before) so I started the count all over again.

Then things went swimmingly for awhile, until I realized that we had a vacation scheduled in the middle of the 100 days, days 30-34 to be exact. I made plans to bring some hand sewing stuff, but in reality it didn't happen.

So... I'm going to start again this week. While it's a rough two weeks I have in front of me (thesis needs to be complete, turned in, and defended) I think the sewing will help. Why?

It will provide a few moments each day that are just for me. I will be making something, and that is what I love to do. Even if the finished product isn't going to remain in my possession, it will become something new.

Sewing a little bit each day allows me to see progress happen each week. As frustrating and stressful as this whole thesis deal has been, I often feel like I am starting over from square one on the 90+ pages I've written. Since starting the #100daysofsewing I have completed 7 projects. The 8th will be finished in the next couple of days, and I've started one other 'big' project. Those 29 days produced more sewn items than the previous year. Seriously.

I'm able to finish half done projects, and start new ones. I love finishing projects that are just sitting around. It's great to see something that was 'abandoned' for whatever reason, picked up, taken care of, and given a new life. It's even better when I have a new home for it to go to!

Stash busting. Yep. STASH BUSTING. I don't have time to keep going to the store to get new fabric for a project idea right now. I am forced to use fabric I already have, or to come up with new ideas that suit the fabric I already have. It's actually kind of fun.

Finally, money. You heard me right, money. Since stashbusting is a huge thing for me this year, as I go through the fabric I find some pieces that I don't think I will ever use, or that I had a specific idea in mind for it when I obtained it several years ago. In these cases, I take pictures and I list on various sites for selling (eBay, Craigslist, even Instagram).

Also, since I'm producing more than before, I have plenty of new items ready to be put in the Etsy shop once I re-open it (after thesis stuff is done). I'm working on a new Etsy item policy for myself since we are so limited on space it's difficult to store everything without explosions happening each time I need a new skein of yarn or fabric from the fabric bin.

I almost forgot; this project has led me to have 5 Christmas presents already done and ready to go. 5! It's only June! The productivity has me ready to tackle the rest of the presents asap, this way when December comes it will already be taken care of and I can relax and enjoy the month.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Stop Asking Me That

After I got married I noticed a new phenomenon in my life; I couldn't be around certain people without them mentioning babies. Are we pregnant yet? What's the hold-up? Why aren't you pregnant yet? Are you pregnant?

Now, some of them were not as overt as that (but a lot of them are). A simple mention to the person sitting next to them that we don't have kids yet. Or talking about another couple who just had the cutest baby ever in a tone of voice that suggests we are missing out on something.

This drives me crazy for several reasons. I'm going to send out a desperate plea to EVERYONE to stop talking about babies, or having babies, around folks who do not yet have children for the following reasons;

There are people out there, right next to you right now even, that desperately want children. But, for various reasons, they can't have children. Each mention of babies or children is extremely painful to them. You can NEVER know if you are saying something to this person. You also never know if this person is the one sitting next to you but not part of the discussion, or at the table next to you at the restaurant trying to have an enjoyable night out, or is even across the room at a family event hearing every word you are saying about having babies.

Some people don't want children. And that's fine because it's their choice. Did you hear that? It's their choice, not yours. Stop trying to guilt trip them into something they don't want, and don't pass judgement on them for following their path, not your interpretation of what their path should be.

Finally, I'm going to advocate a little for my generation here, some of us are not ready for children yet for various reasons. There's a lot of time and energy and commitment that goes into having a child. Not to mention money. Some people are waiting to pay off student debts, or to get a job that has insurance that is good enough to help offset the medical costs of being pregnant and giving birth. Some just need a little more time to learn who they are as a person before making the decision that parenting is right for them.

The ONLY exception to this rule is if you are pregnant yourself and you want to share the news. After that, let them initiate baby related conversations. Why? Because, again, they may be in one of the situations above (especially the wanting but not able to have category) and conversations about babies and nothing but babies can be causing them huge emotional pain that they have to keep buried until they get to the privacy of their own homes. Don't be the person to cause them that pain, please.

I can hear some of you  out there, "But we want to know! We want them to have babies and all the joy that goes along with it! It's our right as mom/dad/aunt/cousin/sister to know the SECOND it happens!"

No. It's not. It is entirely up to the couple when they have children, and when they start telling people that they are expecting. It's THEIR right to do it THEIR way. When they are ready to let you know, they will. And for various reasons they may delay telling you. (Such as having an extremely high risk pregnancy and not wanting to have to tell people about it if they mis-carry, or not wanting the entire world to know until much later in the pregnancy {yes, there are people who cannot keep a secret, especially pregnancy related ones}.)

Finally, IT'S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. And in the future, if you bring up babies around me and whether or not I'm expecting, or when we are going to start trying, or anything like that: Be Prepared to receive an earful.