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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?