Small Biz Rant: Do Crocheters Support Their Own Craft?

Small_Biz_Rant_Support“Crochet books don’t sell as well as knitting books.”

“Crocheters don’t spend as much money as knitters.”

“Crocheters don’t spend as much money on yarn.”

“Crocheters don’t want to spend money, period.”

Do you find any of these statements to be true, as a crocheter?

When I first started to get more into crocheting in 2005, I would hear things like, “Knitters are snobby toward crocheters,” or that local yarn shops cater to knitters more than crocheters (i.e. not carrying as many crochet hooks or crochet books). What at first seems like elitism or snobbery becomes more interesting when you talk to a store-owner about it. “In general, crocheting a scarf takes up more yarn than knitting a scarf, and the yarn-expense turns off crocheters from spending money on more high-end yarn.”

I have to remove myself from this equation because I LOVE YARN. I love to look at yarn and touch yarn and buy yarn and hoard yarn (obviously, if you have seen my yarn wall). There is some yarn that I consider a prize, or art, and I just like to possess it and look at it and be happy that I own it (creepy?). But I know not everyone is like that. A lot of people are more practical, and if they want to make a blanket for a newborn baby that a baby will probably barf all over, chew up, and get poop on, they don’t want it to cost $100+ in yarn only. I get that completely. As a crocheter who sells her crochet goods, I do have to try to keep the cost of my supplies down since the cost/time of labor is so high, and usually that means you can’t crochet with the fancy stuff.

In my journey to publish my second crochet book, my agent and I encountered a lot of the statements that I started this blog entry with: crocheters don’t spend money, i.e. nobody wants to buy your crochet book. Or, if a publisher is looking for crochet books, they want stuff that is less weird than my stuff, like “25 striped hats for your kids,” or “25 kinda okay scarves for the average 25 – 45 year old lady,” etc. Because, this is what people buy, and this is what makes money for publishers. I totally get it. Even though my audience had grown substantially since selling my first book, my numbers were not enough to sway many of the publishers we approached. It was an extreme uphill battle that I never blogged about.

Now, I’m really only talking about big/traditional publishing, and they are businesses, and they have a bottom line, and they want to make money, and they can’t really be bothered with much else, like, championing the unique or the underdog. That ain’t their problem.

So we have places like Etsy, or Ravelry, or Craftsy, to sell our patterns or e-books or self-pubbed books, and the books can be as weird and wacky as we want them to be. Having come from a career in traditional book publishing, I have to admit, I do think there is more cache’ to getting your book published by, say, Random House, than, say, yourself. There’s a certain filter for quality that is assumed with agents and traditional publishing that you don’t really get with self-publishing. However, the technology and accessibility is there for self-publishing, and the internet is at our disposal as far as marketing and outreach. It’s just, different. And it’s a decision I’m thinking about making in the future. But I’m not sure yet. The other assumed upshot of traditional publishing is that they already have some marketing machines in motion that could benefit you, and it can be easier to get into bookstores (cuz some still exist, right?), but if you are a marketing maven, you might not need them at all.

Another part of this conversation is when people tell me, “I’m in this crochet group on Facebook, and everyone in it says that they refuse to pay for any pattern, because they can always find an equivalent for free somewhere.” Okay, I like free stuff, too, but there is something about this philosophy that really bothers me as an artist/designer. Does that mean that there is no perceived value to my experience, creativity, and time, even amongst my own peers? How can we complain that people don’t want to pay for the cost of handmade, when we ourselves don’t want to pay $5 or less for a pattern?

Also, please be aware, that re-posting patterns in these groups or in forums, without permission, whether paid-for or free, is a violation of copyright, and is totally not cool, unless expressly indicated by the writer of that pattern.

My small biz rants don’t usually have a neat conclusion or a true thesis. They are just rants, after all. I guess my point is: if you have some spare cash and you love crocheting, buy crochet books. Buy patterns. If you want more cool crochet books, you should support the people who create them for you. I know there are TOOOOONS of cool free patterns that can keep a person busy until the end of time, but if you like the feel of a book in your hand, or you like the idea of your favorite crafters writing books and patterns for you, try to support them as much as you can. I realize that not everyone can afford to do so, and I’m not trying to be classist about it, but I also feel that our artists have worth at the end of the day, and we should support them if we can and if we love them. I don’t like to rant about money, and at the heart of it, this is not really a rant about money. It’s really about support for a craft that sometimes doesn’t seem as glamorous as the rest. Sometimes it has a bad rap for being out-dated, or ugly, or not having enough style. But you and I know that this doesn’t have to be true.

Posted at 10:20 PM in Crochet | Tagged | Comments (25)

Goodbye Christmas, Hello New Year, with Treetopia Tree Bags!

I used to live with someone who wasn’t at all into Christmas decorations and who hassled me to take the tree down on December 26th. Pardon me, but that is just not going to happen. I LOVE MY CHRISTMAS TREE(S). If it were up to me, I’d have the trees up all year round. Unfortunately, the big tree is blocking the doggies’ access to the window they love to bark at, sooooooooo, the trees must shed their ornaments and go to sleep.

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I’m lucky to be trying a Treetopia Tree Storage Bag. Normally, I just put my fake trees back in the boxes that they came in. It’s difficult to squish all their branches back together, so the boxes don’t really close back all the way, and all year, I just sort of accept that their little branches are peeking out somewhere, waiting for the next Christmas.

Tree_BagWhen Treetopia asked if I wanted to try out a storage bag, I was super excited! My big 7-foot purple tree is now all wrapped up and protected, plus, it stands UPRIGHT and is easier to store while saving more room in my garage. It does sort of look strange in my livingroom window, like, we’re hiding bodies or incubating an alien pupa, but I trust that it will all work out once Manda helps me carry it into the garage with the handy carrying straps! It looks like there’s a little bit of room left in there, so I might try storing some of my tabletop trees in there, too.

The big tree is still fully assembled inside the bag, so next year, all we have to do is peel this open like a banaynay and BOOM, our tree will be ready for its decorations again!

ALSO, Treetopia sent me a wreath storage bag! I was just going to shove it in a couple of garbage bags taped together, but this bag is way more protective and also has a convenient carrying loop.

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Okay the really cool thing about the carrying/hanging loop is that it’s attached to a ring on the inside that you clip directly to your wreath frame. This means, that if you hang your wreath in the bag, it won’t sag and warp against its own weight, which is exactly what my wreath has been doing.

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I honestly had no idea that storage options like this existed, so if you’ve been looking for something similar, check some of these out! Plus, Treetopia is having a big sale right now that ends January 17th!

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Posted at 03:40 PM in Blog | Comments (4)

Gumball Machine Doorstop in Crochet Now Magazine!

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Grab a copy of Issue 10 of Crochet Now magazine! There’s a lil chat in there with me, PLUS, a pattern for this really cute gumball machine doorstop!

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They approached me to write a pattern because Issue 10 is the Sweet Tooth issue. Perfect, right? When I asked them if they were looking for any particular kind of pattern, they suggested a doorstop. I don’t use them and would probably not think of making one on my own, so I was definitely excited to think of something cute, sweet, and fun for them. I love how it turned out.

Here’s more info on where to find Crochet Now!

Posted at 04:29 AM in Blog | Comments (7)

Free Crochet Pattern: English Cottage Cozy

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So…do you guys remember how last year I sketched a project for my Auntie Mary? This is highly representative of how I unfortunately prioritize my crafting work: my friends/family come dead last, and all my business stuff comes first. So poor Auntie Mary has waited over a year for this cozy she requested for her bathroom box of disposable hand towels! I’m the worst!!! I hope she still uses them? But I think it came out super cute!

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I was still in kind of a rush to finish. I was sewing on the grass just minutes before she arrived at my parents’ house on Christmas Day.  I probably would have put another window on the sides of the house and worked on those green shutters, but those are pretty easy additions for future projects. I also skipped the chimney due to time, but I don’t think the finished project really needed it.

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I am really NOT the world’s greatest or most experienced embroiderer, but I gave it a shot with these wee flowers. It was pretty fun! I am sure you could get wildly more creative here  if you’ve done more embroidery before. All I basically know is straight stitch, satin stitch, and the french knot!

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I’m not sure how many people buy these disposable hand towels, but if you do, now you can make a cute lil cover for it!

This reminds me a lot of fairy houses and gnome stories. I kind of want a little adorable village with different shapes and sizes of Kleenex cottages… would be a fun group project…!

Here is the box in a slightly different setting. I went a little crazy snapping photos really quickly before putting this in a gift bag!

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Unfortunately, I don’t have step-by-step photography for this one, so please rely on the photos to figure out what goes where. I think it should be pretty straightforward! Can’t wait to see your unique versions!

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Posted at 09:09 AM in Blog, Patterns & How-To's | Tagged | Comments (6)

My Guest Column in Simply Crochet Magazine Issue 52!

Oh hey, I nearly forgot to blog about my first published guest column, in Simply Crochet Magazine, Issue 52! Simply Crochet is based out of the UK, so I just downloaded my electronic copy via iTunes. Here’s a picture of the front cover and a lil peek at my column:

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Simply Crochet basically gave me free rein to write about whatever, so we decided I’d write about getting inspired in 2017. At the time of writing the article, I was in Japan with IggyStarpup, snapping photos of all the things I thought were cute and amazing. This was the perfect opportunity for me to personally gather some international inspiration while also gathering snaps for this article! I hope you check it out and enjoy it! I may be writing more guest columns for Simply Crochet soon, so if there are crochet topics you’d like me to talk about, just let me know!  Oh, don’t forget about my cute cupcake pencil-topper pattern from Issue 51!

Posted at 03:24 AM in Crochet | Comments (4)