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Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas is Over!

Christmas is over, but surprisingly enough, business is still steady! I just received an order for a lined hat and mitten set.  And right before Christmas, I got an order for a special order hat. All in all, I'm pleased with how my winter season has been going. I've even been forecasting out what I'd like to get done for next year. I'm definitely pursuing a small local show and plan on getting ready for it this spring and summer when business is sure to slow down.

Winter is here though, and there is still plenty of cold weather left, along with the need for toasty hats and mittens. Plus bags and purses are a year round accessory. One of my goals is to use up the yarn I have before buying more. We'll see how that goes! Easier said than done! My website is also in need of updating and items need to be added. I guess it's a good sign that I haven't had the time and have been too busy with orders!

There is currently a wait time of 1-2 weeks for all hat and mitten custom orders, and a 2 or more week wait time for all purses and bags not in stock. Things go fast, so order now!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Sale

I've got a new Christmas Sale on my Artfire Website. Check it out!
Also, new items listed on my etsy site and official website

http://www.seasonsofwool.etsy.com/
http://www.seasonsofwool.com/


Visit SeasonsOfWool's Studio
SAVE 15.00 % On


All Items
Use Coupon Code:
WINTERSALE
during checkout.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Artfire Sale!


Visit SeasonsOfWool's Studio
SAVE 10.00 % On


All Items
Use Coupon Code:
NOVSALE
during checkout.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A New Hat - not listed yet


I just finished and shipped out a custom 1920's style felted knit tam. It is loosely based on a non-felted crochet pattern from the 1920's. I'm really pleased how it turned out! Let me know if you are interested in one! It's created in 100% peruvian wool.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Business picking up! Get those orders in!

I have been delinquent in my postings lately. I wanted to let you all know that business is picking up. If you have orders you'd like done by Christmas, especially custom orders, I suggest you order soon! Custom orders can sometimes take 2 weeks or more to complete - not always, but sometimes. I'm currently working on 3 pairs of custom mittens and a custom hat, and will be starting another 2 pairs of mittens with matching hats next week (or as soon as I get the colors from the client).

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Artfire Sale!

I'm currently offering 15% off every order from now until Sunday Sept. 20!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Yarnaholic

I am a certified yarnaholic. I suppose there are worse things to be addicted to though! I love trying out new fibers, strolling down the yarn aisles, touching yarn, and even smelling it! I do believe I am passing this on to my kids too. Today, while picking up a few supplies at one of my favorite craft stores, my 5 year old chose a skien of yarn as her little gift for being such a good helper. She and her 7 year old sister have recently learned how to crochet.

A pic of my kids and a family friend playing with yarn.
So while my daughter came away with 1 skien, I came away with 8. I saw these new yarns and immediately started thinking of what I could make with them. This one would make a beautiful hat, that one a wonderful bag, and oh this would be just perfect for that pair of mittens, etc.
Here are my latest aquisitions:
Sensations - Kashmira Pattern, one in shades of green, one in shades of purple. As you knit, it creates a wonderful pattern
Lion Brand - Alpine Wool, 100% wool roving yarn. I got some cinnamon and some olive. A bulky yarn that I just love the feel of!
Plymouth Yarn - Galway. This is in a lovely olive green color with flecks of darker green.
As I look at this list, I realize that I must be in a green phase! Oh well, I went through a pink one recently, then brown, why not green?
If you have any yarn favorites, I'd love to hear them!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Balancing it All

As I'm sitting here typing this post, I am trying to figure out where I should divide me energy and time. I've got two lovely girls and am home-schooling the youngest in pre-school; I've got 2 dogs - one of which loves to roll in interesting things in the backyard on a daily basis; my husband is in the Air Reserves - he's never been deployed, but is gone occassionally for training (a week to 3 months at a time) and duty time; and all the other things that need to be done on a daily basis

On top of it all, I have this blog, an Artfire Website, an Etsy Site, and my 'main' website. Oh, and in there somewhere, I have to find time to actually make the things I am trying to sell. So, my dilemna is where to professionally focus my time. I've had lots of traffic to my official site, but no direct business  (however there has been some word of mouth business this way). My Artfire site has had a little business, and my Etsy none. I have sold some things locally through a shop, but the commission is so high, that it's almost not worth it. I am beginning to wonder if by spreading myself out, I am creating a problem in that I just don't have enough time to do any of it as well as it needs to be done. I read a post on Etsy today that said don't expect any business unless you have 100+ listings! Because of the type of work that I do, it would litterally take me at least 6 months to make that many items! O.k. that might be a slight exageration, but it would take awhile, and it would certainly depend on what pieces I am making. If making large or intricate bags, it could take a year. Then there is the time it takes to list all those 100 items.

I think what I need to do is focus on a different forum on a weekly basis, either that, or cut out some of my forums. So, I think this week it will be Etsy. If I'm lucky, I'll bet those posts up to 50. Right now it's at 27.

Wish me luck!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Even Lower Prices! And new items!

I've lowered my prices on most of my items even more! And I've added some new things! Check out all my sites - my etsy site and artfire site are very close and have the same products (artfire is currently 10% off everything and both have free shipping)

My main site - http://www.seasonsofwool.com/ has twice as many items and I've lowered 95% of my pieces.

http://www.seasonsofwool.etsy.com/

http://www.seasonsofwool.artfire.com/

Expect more pieces over the next couple of days!

Friday, August 28, 2009

New Prices and Products!

Check out my new products: Butterfly Coasters! Two-Toned Beanie! Silk and Wool Neck Cozy!

More coming tomorrow!

New prices on most clothing items - and more changes coming tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How a Sale Can Rejuvinate

When I decided to take my crafting and creating to the next level (i.e. from hobby to business), I knew that 'success' wouldn't happen overnight. I also knew I wasn't going into it for the money. I felt and knit and create because I love to do it. However, there is something wonderful about opening up your e-mail and finding that you have made a sale.

Most of my sales occur through word of mouth and also through a local craft consignment shop. So much so, that I have debated whether or not to keep my energy focused on on-line avenues. I have an Etsy site, an artfire site, and my own personal website.

http://www.seasonsofwool.etsy.com/

http://www.artfire.com/users/SeasonsOfWool

http://www.seasonsofwool.com/

Well, yesterday, I opened up my e-mail, and there it was, my first order through artfire! I was so excited! So, for now, I will keep all my avenues open. The more exposure the better!

If you have a website that you'd like me to link to on any of my sites, just let me know and I'll be happy to help you out!

A photo of the fingerless mittens that I recently sold.

more from artfire

Artfire Website

Great way of helping fellow artists

I came across this link in one of my e-mails from ETSY. It's a great way to encourage other artists, and keep the handmade movement going.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

On-Line Yarn and Fiber Sources

While I prefer to purchase yarn and fiber at my local shops, there are times when I desire a greater selection to choose from. There is absolutely no substitution for wandering up and down the yarn aisles, feeling, smelling, and imagining all the things that can be done with a particular fiber. However, living in a small town (population 350) has it's limitations. So, I've decided to keep a running list of my favorite yarn and fiber sources. If you have any to add, please post a comment. Thanks!

Favorite Sources:

Royal Yarns International - A great source for a large variety of yarns. They have many ongoing sales. http://www.royalyarns.com/

Bargain Yarns - Great prices! You never know what you are going to find! http://www.bargainyarns.com/

Knit Picks - Great prices, great pictures, large variety of colors and a site that's easy to navigate. They also have free shipping on orders over $50 - something that is easy to do with yarn! http://www.knitpicks.com/

Yarn Country - Easy to find yarn by brand - if you know what brand you are looking for. http://www.yarncountry.com/

Jimmy Beans Wool - A selection of yarn, books, tools, patterns, etc. Be sure to check out the Sale Outlet! http://www.jimmybeanswool.com/

Earthsong Fiber - A new source I found. Has a really nice selection of wools, especially Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride. They carry every color on the color cards! At leat that I saw. I just ordered today, so we'll see how the shipping is. http://www.earthsongfibers.com/

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Christmas Gifts

In my preparations for the Christmas Season, I was wondering if anyone out there had some ideas on things that would sell really well in my store. Think gift giving. And thanks!

Washing Felted Pieces

I have always been a little nervous about washing my finished pieces in the washing machine. I didn't know what would happen. How much it would shrink, if it would be ruined, etc. But this weekend, I took the plunge. During a trip to the airport, I accidentally dragged the bottom portion of my felted, lined, button topped purse through the dirt. There was a nice little line of gray along the bottom. I tried just brushing it off - nothing. I thought, "What the heck, I'll just throw it in the wash." So, along with a bunch of other like colored clothes, I put it in my front load washer. After the wash was done, I checked it. It was clean, and not distorted at all! I had washed it in a cold, normal cycle. Yeh! Now, granted, it was a fairly thick purse to begin with, and I probably wouldn't throw it in a top loader with agitation, or wash something this way that was a very quick felter, but now I know! And it makes things so much easier!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Felting Without A Washing Machine, Continued

Well, I thought I should post an update on felting without a washing machine. For those of you who don't know, my washing machine broke a few months ago. We debated and debated and finally decided to go with a front loader. It uses less water, less electricity, and we figured we'd make our money back. The only problem is, it is a bit more difficult to felt in. We tried fixing the old washer - no luck. And I really don't want to lug all my knitted handiwork to the laundrymat to felt. So, I began to experiment with felting in the front loader.

Here are a few things I've discovered:
1. It takes many more washings to get the desired effect - like maybe 5 times through instead of the 1.
2. You can't stop it midstream, like in the top loader, so if it's close, you better continue the felting by hand.
3. The ideal recipe for felting is: multiple items to be felted, an old pair of jeans, and a couple of those bumpy dryer balls.
4. Add just a little detergent.
5. If it looks like only 1 more cycle is necessary, do not do the extra rinse.
6. You can speed up the felting process by putting your item in the dryer for a little bit, then back for another run through the wash.

The bottom line is, we are not currently saving any water or energy on my felting, and I still want to get another old top loader, but for now, it does the trick. We are saving money on the regular laundry, so it's probably a wash at this point.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Free offer!

In order to generate interest in my blog, and in my business, I have a free offer! Place an order on one of my websites between now and Christmas, and I will send you a free felted butterfly with your order! The color and type choice will be mine. Just let me know that you follow my blog and I'll include the butterfly with your order. You need to be a follower of my blog to be eligable!

Feel free to shop at my Etsy Shop (http://www.etsy.com/ under Seasons of Wool); Artfire Shop (http://www.artfire.com/ under Seasons of Wool) or my official business website (see link above). You will find the most selection on my official website, but each site has it's incentives. No minimum order necessary!

You can see samples of the butterfly at http://www.seasonsofwool.com/

Finishing and Finding the Time

I love to craft, but I have found one of the hardest things for me to do is actually finish a project. I love the creation part, but putting on that final button, lining, and finishing touch often takes me way longer than all those things leading up to it. Why? I don't really know. Maybe it's because I like the process best of all. Maybe it's because I've invested so much time into a project and can see it's end, that I can't wait to start on the next.

It's also hard for me to take that final step and post my new creation to my business, etsy, and artfire website. Probably for the same reasons. I know that I can't sell unless people see my pieces, but I also am already thinking of the next thing I'll me making. I've tried to set up a day and time where I play 'catch up', but inevitably things come up. Things like kids, grocery shopping, working in the garden, doing the laundry, etc...

Does anyone out there have similar problems and solutions?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

craft show

I need some advice. I am thinking of entering a craft show this fall. Having never done one before, I was wondering if anyone out there could give me some guidance concerning amount of stuff needed, what types of things would sell, etc. Check out my website to see the kinds of things I create: felted knit mittens, fingerless gloves, hats, bags, teddy bears, butterflies, bowls, etc.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

neat stuff with string - wish I could do that!

I came across this neat store today - Nothing But String. My daughter saw it and said, "Mommy, you could do that!" I wish I could! Crochet is not my strong suit, but I immediately started thinking about how I could knit or felt it. Such cool colors! I love the flowers! I also love how my daughter thinks I can create anything! I think I need to get some new yarn for inspiration in the brightest colors I can find!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Felting Without A Washing Machine

Well, we broke down and got a front loader washer after the other one died. Apparantly felting was not the cause of the late washer's demise, just a loose belt. It will however, take a bit of finangaling to fix. My hubby will eventually get to it, but at the moment, it does not have top priority. So, I've been aquiring a stack of knitted items waiting to be felted. As the pile grows, I have begun to debate wheter or not to attempt felting on the stove top. So far I have convinced myself to just wait. I don't really want the kitchen and house smelling like wet wool. We'll see how long I can stick it out! Any advice out there would be appreciated! I've even contemplated going to the laundromat, but am not sure if they have top loaders with agitation any more either!