Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Where has the time gone to?

I feel as if I haven't written in ages but know that isn't true.  Thanksgiving was more calm than I expected but my time off from the full time job went by way too quickly.  The yarn shop at the ranch has brought in a couple of sales and I got to use the "Square" last weekend for another sale.  I really do like that tool.

Last Sunday I networked with some Denver based craft owners.  It was co sponsored by Krrb and hosted by Idea Chic which creates handmade stationary items.  I picked up some gift tags for my sale order giveaways which are very nice.  It was nice to discuss production techniques with other artisans and learn I am not alone in the lack of desire to produce mass quantities of the same item.  I met a funny and nice lady named Megan who specializes in jewelry with crystals/beads.  We as a group are going to try to grow the Krrb site for Denver to gain more exposure for our products.

What else has been going on?  Well I have made 5 headbands thus far and am now moving onto the ruffle scarves.  My order of Rowan Kidsilk Creation yarn arrived and I completed the lime green one in a few hours.  It is very soft and pretty. 

I am trying out a new pattern with some dyed cotton yarn which will be my son's Christmas gift.  Although I should probably start to work on his soon as he comes home mid-December and I don't want him to see it.  My purple Flounce yarn which is a special order was a very bad batch of yarn as the dye job had spots of blue and they knotted two fragments together to obtain the correct yardage.  I was very happy that my LYS allowed me to swap the bad for a different skein which is also a high priority project.

On the spinning front I decided to back to my roots of thin yarn and am creating a lace weight Shetland skein (just needs to be plied).  I also spun up the black/white top from the Sheep Shed Studio which is probably more Sports weight but decent yardage.  I think the gray top is next on the list to spin as I have several ounces of it left.  Of course there are pounds of alpaca/milk roving to spin up too.  I made a skein of alpaca/bamboo yarn from the cria fleece batch - so much vegetable matter in it.  I have my work cut out for me in picking the veggies from the skein prior to selling it.  It is a pretty tan color and was easy to spin but you know how I am about veggie matter - this was actually more than the tussah silk roving.

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday really had no effect on my sales or shops :(!  My views totally tanked during the weekend and I have found myself checking the Etsy and EBay sites several times a day without much happy news.  I am going to try to limit myself to twice a day only for viewing Etsy.  It's not as if my checking the site will encourage sales - I wish.  Still trying to tweet a few times a day which is kinda fun.  So many interesting chatter on Twitter.

I will probably stop listing on EBay soon as there is virtually no traffic there.  As I haven't sold any hand spun yarn on Etsy I am thinking of shifting that product to the Wild Yarn store in Denver.  I'll keep ATAR's mill spun and the rovings on Etsy but unless things change I am not sure if it is worth having the merchandise age on that site.  My knitted items do well on Etsy but I'm thinking yarn is something people need to touch.  We shall see what happens in December.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Another sale this month

November is definitely turning into a profitable month for me.  I received my 3rd online sales order today plus my local yarn shop Wild Yarns sold a skein of my hand spun yarn this month.  Sales definitely keep the creative juices flowing and boost ones confidence.

It was a fairly crappy week for me but I stayed focus on finishing the headbands and actually spin up 3 different fibers this week.  Yesterday didn't see any sales for me at the ranch but word is getting out in the neighborhood so hopefully December will see sales for many of us.  I do love seeing the baby alpacas and llamas on the ranch every week.  We have been lucky to have nice weather (no snow) but sometimes windy thus far.  I definitely use my time wisely while there.   Be it taking product photos, completing projects or cataloging merchandise.

CVM Headband

BFL Shades of Brown

Working on more yarn to sell locally at Wild Yarns - thinking the BFL in shades of Brown, Alpaca/Milk protein and Shetland Gray yarn.  I left the alpaca and CVM headbands at the shop on the ranch and will be listing the purple wool one on Etsy today. 

I just discovered there is a yarn for ruffle scarfs made out of Mohair and Wool for sale which is similar to the Flounce yarn.  Need to find a local source for purchasing and listing in the shop.  The purple Flounce scarf I made for my sister she loves and actually wore for her birthday outings.  We both love purple!

I have ordered some unique gift tags that I want to include with sales so I am hoping they arrive by Tuesday so I can include a couple in today's sale.  The skeins have been sorted as to which ones need yarn labels and which ones I need to wash/finish/measure.  Still need to research patterns for fingerless mittens with a flap cover.  I am thinking of making them with the Llama/Soy Silk yarn or Merino wool red.  Need to find patterns and send them to my friend for final approval though.  Well I am off to clean yarn and post items on Etsy/EBay!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Busy Saturday

Eventhough I am not feeling 100% it has been a productive day.  I went to the store at the ranch to work my shift and we had our first sale using the "square" tool.  Very cool to take a credit card, capture a photo of the purchase items and email a receipt to the customer.

The lilac scarf is finished and being cleaned/blocked.  I actually listed it in the shop at Herie7 Natural Fiber Treasures and it was posted on FB and Twitter today.  I think I am starting to get the hang of this multi media advertising process. 

The head band made from CVM wool is coming along and I like the heart design of the pattern.  Headbands are the perfect projects for my handspun yarns.

After taking product photos, I posted a couple of yarns on the Ebay site and within Herie7 Natural Fiber Treasures on Etsy tonight too.

I did enjoy watching the male llamas and alpacas this afternoon.  They are such peaceful creatures.  We had good conversations with customers and have some ideas on what to stock the shop with to draw in the young customers (kids).

Definately will be creating small woven bags and headbands for the Renaissance Festival the summer of 2012.  Tomorrow I will be relaxing and hanging out with friends before another busy week in the office.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Newspaper article

One of my favorite alpaca ranches was written up in one of our local newspapers.  Ancient Treasures Alpaca Ranch article - most of my alpaca fleeces come from the ranch and I am now selling hand spun yarn and knitted items at their shop.  Cheryl introduced me to the world of alpacas and I have participated in shearing day there over the past few years.  They have several  new babies (crias) and a couple of llamas on the property too.

We have had our first sales of November.  Hand knit wool beret and Wool headband were sold at Herie7 Natural Fiber Treasures on Etsy.  This weekend we set up the shop at the ranch and had a few visitors looking to see what we carry and inquire on hours to come back and shop later.  I do believe that they may have sold an alpaca this weekend too.

My goal was to measure and label my hand spun yarns this weekend which I have accomplished.  I realized that I actually made a bulky weight yarn which was the merino/silk blend in shades of blue, white and red.  My second batch is looking to be more of DK/sports weight yarn.  It is nice to know that I can spin thickly if I don't concentrate very much on going thin.

ZigZag design on headband made from dyed wool yarn

New design for a headband. Motivated to create more using the stash of small yardage yarns. Should I have a button closure or just bind it together?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Starting to sell on Ebay

So tonight I took the plunge and listed items on EBay.  They are running a special which allows one to list up to 500 items auction style a month without an insertion fee.  They charge a 9% fee but I must admit it was quite easy to list items on their site since I had the pictures.  You can find items under "Herie7" as I am trying to keep things consistent from one outlet to another.

The green ruffled scarf has been finished - yeah!  I am going to sell it in the store on the ranch.  Need to block the alpaca neck warmer and redo the wooden buttons.  I put them on the wrong side of the neck warmer and didn't notice until a friend was modeling it for me.   I do have really supportive friends who provide encouragement and occasionally modeling photos for me.  Still need to find a male to model the hats so I can post them on sites.

The merino silk roving is 3/4 spun simply because it is on the thin side.  It looks beautiful and I will post pictures soon.  Off to bed and relaxation.