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Friday, December 23, 2011

Seller Beware...

It's universally accepted that "you get what you pay for", but for the seller it's important to consider that your value as an artist or crafter may be determined by the value (monetary) you put on your wares.  This can make selling your art, which you may become attached to, tricky.  There are plenty of blog posts and articles about the hazards of running a business and pricing but my focus here is business & personal...namely dealing with friends (& family).

It's an ugly beast, it really is, to have to deal with the professionality in a personal setting.  For me personally I've run across the issue several times when people who know me personally expect my good will to extend a bit too far, for them to get astronomical deals, or things to be free for them all the time.  Now don't get me wrong.  There are a number of things I'm fine with doing pro-bono or for charity.  And I appreciate what it means to get such gifts as well as I have had many of them this year alone.  But I understand limits, courtesy, and professionality.  The instances I am talking about exhibit those who either don't or aren't considering them.

Way back in early 2010 (maybe even super late 2009) I had someone talk to me about a custom order.  Now my policy typically is that I don't do any work without payment.  Usually it requires me doing something from scratch, to a certain custom size or design and is likely going to take at least two times the work as anything I have already finished.  I love custom orders because they can be a refreshing challenge, what I don't love about them is the explaining of the details to buyers who may have no idea what real skill and/or work is going into something.  It's a necessary evil for artists and crafters though.  People are used to mass manufactured items that are already made and were likely made by machines or mass labor forces.  These items may be cheaply made, either by companies paying the workforce little, or dividing the labor up so that no one person does much work, or by automatic it's production with machinery.  For the purposes of things that are best produced en masse or are generic this is perfectly fine.  I use many things derived from this method myself.  For example, I go to the store for jeans rather than going to a tailor.

This convenience has done the handcrafter and artist a bit of a disservice (while also helping them by allowing their supplies to be more conveniently and cheaply purchased in some cases) as the public wants it inexpensive and wants it now.  People, if they don't do the craft or art you're doing easily won't understand the effort or skill involved.  The particular piece in question do to it's fine detail work too 48 hours to do...Two full days straight worth of hours.  My asking price in general reflects what it should by, but I am cutting the person a deal because they are a friend and because the estimate I gave them at the outset wasn't anywhere near what it is now.  (However, I've had to revamp my pricing, start including labor, and rework some things.)  Still such a large discount should be appreciated rather than complained about.

But between me and you, it's not even that they couldn't pay the full amount it's worth.  I made an error and I won't penalize them for it.  My issue is that in the entire process I have received no direct communication from them about it.  I have had to bring it up each time - which gets sticky when they start off a conversation with "woe as me things are so tough here, I don't have money for this or that...etc".  I have had this person do me favors before and I've done the same.  But whenever I deal with someone and money is involved (or even just time) I make myself very clear what I can and can't do...and keep them updated.  Which is what it all boils down to.  I'm not getting the courtesy that I deserve as their friend, that I have given and then some and that I give to others.

So seller beware.  It's a tricky road when dealing with friends and family and professionality can easily go by the wayside... many things, sew little thyme for ewe and eye...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

This topic is of enough import that I'm sure I have spoken of it before but I felt the need to revisit it tonight as now I have a bit of a migraine from "too much thinking".

As an artist and crafter my project to do list is often full and seems to be ever growing.  This has to do with me wanting to maximize my business of course, but also because I have a hard time turning anything down.  While that's all well and good, there is a certain limit to my abilities - there are only so many hours in the day.

Recently I took on another custom order, having finally caught up on a back order from June (that's what having a baby will do to you evidently...), for a scarf.  Being that Winter looms closer this is no surprise.

Now generally scarves are easy, it's just a long rectangle right?  Sure, if you don't take into account anything else, like size, color, pattern, and the troubleshooting of all of these things....

So currently from thinking and rehashing and trying to work out the pattern (there are several arithmetic dependent points to this) to suit everything buyer's expectations my head is throbbing...dammit.

Don't get me wrong though, I love taking custom orders.  The fulfillment of them is both a challenge and a frustration though.  The challenge to create with my own hands what the buyer is looking for with at the least a vague idea or a detailed one.  To translate what my artform is capable of in my hands to what they want.  But the troubleshooting, and hours of explanation of what can/can't be done, how things must be done, and checking back can be a pain in the butt at first.

Ce La Vie many things, sew little thyme for ewe and eye...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Scrap Afghan

It's funny how as an artist I'm ever making things for my store with some pro-bono work on the side, and yet I never seem to find time to make anything for myself or even my family.  And for the latter, even when I do, I always offer it up for sale "just in case".  On one hand I see this as a little horrible, I mean...shouldn't they come first?  But I am an artist by trade and I need to make money so I do what I do.

One such exception seems to be my stash work.  Generally I use the leftovers of yarn I have for scrap projects.  If it looks particularly good I will add it for sale but at least half the time it's so-so.  I have been working on a scrap afghan for awhile now.  Originally I was making an unending granny square, at one point though it just looked absolutely hideous and I opted to frog it and start over.  The newer version is comprised of four round granny squares that are linked in the "join as you go" fashion that I love - thanks Lucy for your wonderful tutorial!

When I first started this project I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do with it but have since decided it will grace our queen size whenever I decide it's done.

Pictured below - squares at 6x6 stage many things, sew little thyme for ewe and eye...

Friday, September 9, 2011


Recently it came to my attention that I may have yarn stash problem.  While perusing LinkedIn I noted a question about having a stashohlism problem.  Of course I wouldn't admit to having the issue myself *chuckle* I cannot deny my love of adding to my stash.  Anytime I see a sale, clearance, or any discounted giveaway or donation my mouth waters at the prospect of new yarn.  Like a brain hungry zombie I find myself making a steady beeline towards the display or gleefully nodding as I accept my "new" yarn open armed.

However, even with my prolific amount of projects that seems ever growing I cannot actually use every skein that crosses over into my domain.  If nothing else there isn't enough time in the day given everything I do to use anything within a guaranteed amount of time.  Also I tend to stash indiscriminately, taking any and everything regardless of color, amount, or fiber type.  I will say that there have been a number of skeins that I in no way wanted to use - having some aversion to the color or fiber type.  But still neither fact stops me from adding to my stash whenever I can.

As I just the other day went to look at my stash and noted that my shelf had grown to two shelves, which had originally been a bag I decided that it would be time to start something new or part with some.  Enter a little bit of craftivism...a yarn care package.  Being an artist it's natural that I know others who enjoy my works on a personal level.  And it just so happens that both are like me and are SAHM.  Knowing how tight money is for one who doesn't personally work I decided to "spread the love" and gift a crocheter and knitter.

So do you have a large craft stash that you can't realistically use in a small amount of time?  Might clearing some cluttered supplies also clear the way for more creativity for you (or make your significant other happier)?  Consider how you can use your excess towards some craftivism and feel free to share! many things, sew little thyme for ewe and eye...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Vegan Yarn...

I haven't posted in awhile but I really feel the need to speak my mind on this subject.  I recently saw a mention of "vegan yarns" while browsing through some sharings on LinkedIn.  I thought at once to ask the person about it but decided instead to Google it.  As I supposed it is a non animal fiber.  Now I'm not saying that I have something against Vegans, but depending on why you are vegan I kind of do.

I'm all for the fair and proper treatment of everyone and everything.  I don't think you should willfully abuse anyone or anything.  That aside sometimes we do harm and don't mean it, but I'm disregarding that for now.  If you choose to be vegetarian or vegan, so be it I have no issue with that afterall it's your personal choice.  But if you're choosing it because you don't want to hurt that cute cuddly animal I can't say I think too highly of that.  First off (and this is likely a popular argument) if it came down to survival and you were evenly matched with an animal, were they starving they certain would eat you.  I'm not saying to eat Fluffy or Fido, but realize that it's natural to eat meat if you're a carnivore or omnivore.  And for point of fact if you look at your teeth you will see that you were biologically designed to eat that way.  If you don't want to eat it because you just don't want to fine whatever, as I feel that's another matter.  Also if you are choosing this path to get away from the chemicals and all that or because you disagree with the treatment of the animals okay, but that's still a little shaky.  There are farmers and such that do not mistreat their animals and allow them as much freedom as a kept animal will get, like free rangers.  There are also plenty of farmers who do not "zoop up" their meatstock.  So really if that is your only argument I suggest you look a little harder because it does exist.  Finally, if it's for health reasons that I won't fault.  There are a number of people who have specific dietary needs that suggest certain kinds of diet for their optimal health.

Now don't get me wrong, I eat meat as much as not.  In fact for myself I rarely buy it.  I'm not against eating meat, I just do so infrequently.  I have kept hens before just to have eggs, and as a gardener I love horse manure.  I believe if you keep such animals you should do so fairly and humanely.  Keep them as you would like to be treated.  Obviously when it comes to butchering, there are only so many "nice" (if you can call it that) ways to do that, but it is what it is.

My big problem with the whole vegan issue is that you are still harming something.  The fact that your banana doesn't have a face doesn't mean it wants to be eaten anymore than Bessie does.  As a gardener I have a much greater affinity for plants than animals or people.  And yes I love to eat fruit and vegetables, but just like animals were I to die they would take nutrients from the soil I was decomposing in.  To me the bottom line is that we're all connected, so there really is no way to truly never harm anything or anyone else.  In order for you to receive sometimes someone or something else doesn't get to.  Sometimes it's a drastic circumstance, other times not so much.  To try and thwart this natural order to me is wrong.  After all, you're not butchering the animals to use it's hair, you're not even hurting it.  So as long as you don't opt to shear them in a cruel fashion or when it's cold out (without adequately arranging for them to be warm otherwise) what does it really matter? many things, sew little thyme for ewe and eye...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Knit Wit - Part 1

Recently I received some donations of yarn and some other crafting supplies from a fellow artist.  She had been coming through my area for a funeral and received some leftover supplies from a relative who no longer had use for them.  The bulk of her donation was a lot of yarn - most of it not too much but ranging from half a skein to full skeins.  I made a collage (as she requested pictures of all the yarn) and posted it on my store's Facebook profile.  But as I went through the mass of yarn I came across a curious set of objects that I at first couldn't identify.  They were various squares and circles with a post sticking out from the middle on one side and a small top that turned.  When turned small metal pins spiraled out from the circle or square.  Not one to throw anything away I set the first aside and discovered more as I went along.  By the time I had finished sorting and winding yarn I had accumulated 3 square ones and 2 circle ones, as well as instructions (thankfully).

While I haven't tried it out yet it's on my to do list of projects.  There were a number of projects included with the instructions and I'm sure with a bit of practice I can get the hang of this odd object! many things, sew little thyme for ewe and eye...

Friday, May 20, 2011

Tradition VS Innovation...

As an artist I recognize the desire to innovate, to create something new and "never before seen" or at the very least unique.

For me while this is perfectly acceptable there is also an "issue" with it.  When an artist or other craftsperson does not take the time to understand the original art & technique and chooses to go their own way without regard for why something is done a certain way.  To me there is a reason why the technique is performed in a certain fashion and that should be honored and understood before one goes and "tears it all apart".  I feel that disregarding this is a bit of disrespect to the artform itself as well as those who brought it to be and various other people who may have contributed to the artform.

Am I 100% against paving a new way?  No, but I don't believe is disregarding something just because it's the way it's always been done.  This came out in a conversation with another artist while I was (much like now) working with a particular medium.  She commented on how she "never does things that way".  My reply was that that was, "how it's supposed to be done".  "Well I rarely do things like that, and I didn't learn that way."  So because you had incorrect instruction you choose to refuse to learn the correct way?  That seems like a bit of a copout to me and just plain lazy.

So if you innovate, good for you - but hear this artist's plea and take the time to educate yourself properly and see how things are done.  And if you always stick to "the way it's done" jump out of the box and experiment.

Thanks for tuning in! many things, sew little thyme for ewe and eye...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

What's up in May???

We decided some time ago that for our store we'd post a blog update every first of the month.  This would allow us to recap the previous month and lay out some things to come for the new month.  With this new blog we're opting to do something similar but directed at the main expression of this blog - all things *not* business...

Afterall, what's the purpose of a blog if no one reads it???

We've made a few posts here and there, but mostly this blog focuses on thoughts that occur to us spur of the moment without any real planning.  While we like it that way we will share with you some of the regular goings on with the artist.

As we mentioned in the other blog we've instituted a new schedule.  It is comprised of everything we have to do in a day (getting ready, chores, and other household duties).  While that particular schedule isn't too cluttered, we only have seven hours (from the hour of six am to midnight) to do any "work".  As we have two businesses we opted to separate the two time frames (which are separated by our "Afternoon Routine") between the two so we're not stuck working on one thing/genre allllll day.  So far so good!

We're proud to say that yesterday we *finally* got to the local yarn store to pick up the remainder of what we needed for two orders, and even got a little something just for us (you can check out the "Spring Me Armwarmers" post for more details)

Currently in our queue are...
  • Butterfly Mosaic Shawl (another just for us - made using Malabrigo's Merino Worsted):  it's been in our queue for awhile, but as a business owner it's our tendency to work on things we're getting paid for, or will be, first rather than "fun" or "personal" stuff.  We also lost the schematic we drew up for the LONGEST time and thankfully in some Spring cleaning last month found it.
  • "Itchystitches' " Photography Website:  While we aren't sharing the link we will tell you all about our photography friend.  She expressed an interest in photography which has grown into an "I want to do this for a living" endeavor and we've been doing our best to support another artist.  (Plus we really love her stuff anyhow!)  In an effort to assist her in networking we introduced her to LinkedIn and are helping her set up a free website to get her started and showcase more of her work.
  • Spring Me Armwarmers:  While these are for us, we're hoping that the sheer awesomeness of the design (thank you Coty) and the changes we're making will get some orders for these.  We even went so far as to prepare some color cards for the yarn we used (loads of fun there .... pffft).
While quite honestly there is more going on than those handful of projects we're also trying to keep an eye on our time and "not over do it" otherwise that lovely schedule we set up is useless now isn't it?

So here's to May and many things done!  See you soon, if not in June! :p many things, sew little thyme for ewe and eye...

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Something Nice for Me!

As an artist and crafter it's rare I make anything for myself.  Even when I begin to I usually mark it for sale in case someone else wants to buy it...generally that means I really will sell it if someone wants it (versus making another one), but I have had a piece of art or two that I couldn't part with when I later thought about it.  Thankfully this is rare, but not uncommon among artists.

This project is a variation of something I just recently made (and sold) - our Super Bright Orange Armwarmers.  Having completed them once we "get" the idea behind the pattern and are now ready to improvise and change them around.  Really make the pattern "ours".  Should this be successful (and we're determined for it to be) this will help us in designing another set of arm warmers we were trying to before (based on a lace panel pattern) we've made before.  Conceptually speaking making things in the round is our preference as it allows for a "cleaner" look we think and takes out a step in th finishing process. many things, sew little thyme for ewe and eye...

Friday, April 29, 2011

Mirror for Amaterasu - Part 2

I've finally progressed more on this piece having put it off for some time at this point.  Having recently opted to implement a schedule I put this on my list of things to do for today and taped all of the pieces to prepare them for  mounting on the mirror (which I haven't chosen yet).  I'm very close to do with this piece which is great since I am looking forward to showing off my handiwork!

(I'm also wanting to design a piece of art or devotional work for each goddess as we go through the workshop I'm in!) many things, sew little thyme for ewe and eye...

An Artist's Gripe...

Frankly I've had it happen to me a number of times, but it irritates me each time nonetheless.  I do what I would like to think of at least as good, if not exemplary (or great at least) work, so please don't bitch, complain, or moan about my work if you can't or won't do it yourself.

If I tell you that something cannot be done, it means I can't do it.  While that may change, and while I could be wrong, it's in your best interest to trust me as the professional that I know what I'm talking about because chances are you don't have a clue.

And yet...even as the professional, I've had to deal with this a number of times...woo sah....*twitch* many things, sew little thyme for ewe and eye...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Updates for April...

Since we put up an "update" post for the store's "official" blog, we might as well do something similar for it's "unofficial" one right?

As you've heard from me a few times during March some of my recent pieces have been rather frustrating, with several of them requiring me to start from scratch or be otherwise annoyed with my progress or lack thereof...

While I generally almost always have several pieces going on at once at the current moment I've got just under 20 in queue.  Some are for profit, others may be later, and a few here and there are not.

For the sake of not being repetitive I won't list my queue here again, but will recap some of our latest and greatest frustrations...

Been struggling with a shirt, altar cloth, and cross stitch logo.  The first dealt with major pattern/direction confusion, the second with things just not working out based on gauge (finally gave up and opted to just go with what I had), and the last revolves around the lengthiness of which such work takes and a little bit of design issues (trying to decide whether to experiment or not and having to take apart and re do a number of things...)  For the most part all of the issues have been resolved so things should all flow a bit smoother now.  We shall see though.

So happy crafting to you all out there, we'll see you soon! many things, sew little thyme for ewe and eye...

Friday, March 25, 2011

Bartering! (Shirt VS Bag) - Continued 2

Struggling with this pattern yet again, I'm really feeling something got left out of the directions, which is decidedly annoying.  My finished (so far) product has the correct bottom & top widths, but incorrect height.  What is left to add will not make up the 4 3/4" that is missing!!!  What the hell?!  I mean honestly people, if a pattern has been published you would think it would have been tested by more than just the designer.  *fumes*  I do not like looking inept at my art but this seriously makes me feel like I'm a dunce that I keep screwing this up.

Needless to say, the original estimate on yarn needed was 5 skeins.  However due to the severe amount of technical difficulties involved I will not be buying the remaining 4 at one time but rather get the remaining one at a time because I feel that that estimate will likely be off... many things, sew little thyme for ewe and eye...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bartering! (Shirt VS Bag) - Continued 1

Ever been working on a project and get the feeling that it doesn't look right?  Yea, I did and while staring at the meager 2 inches of fabric I'd produced thus far (I've been taking a lot of breaks on this and working on other things) I got the feeling that it wasn't quite right.  Frankly I think I misread the directions - which have areas of fuzziness in them to me - and that honestly might be the issue.  So I frogged the shirt down to the foundation chain.

Starting from scratch...*sigh*...but if it's better and more correct, it's well worth it. many things, sew little thyme for ewe and eye...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mirror for Amaterasu - Part 1

I once commented to a non-artist about art saying:  "Art isn't meant to be perfect, it's simply meant to be."  I liked the quote so much that I even went so far as to add it to my Facebook for awhile.

While working on a piece I felt as a devotee I should do I came across the issue of struggling with my desire for things to be "just so" and just letting them be.

At the moment I am participating in a Goddess Workshop and our first round was with Amaterasu - Japanese sun goddess.  One of Her symbols is the mirror and I thought that it would be neat to take sun/fire colors and make a mirror for Her.  At first I balked at the idea of doing it completely from scratch, wanting to have it "perfect".  So I intentionally put it off.  But as we've moved on from Her to the next session - with The Muses - I am reminded again of the endeavor.  I added it to my list of projects and opted to give it a test go today even to see if I could work it out.

Frustatedly did I consult my math whiz of a boyfriend about dimensions, originally wishing to make a bagua style mirror (which actually is a Feng Shui symbol and thereby originally Chinese) with equal sized triangles.  I was informed that all 8 of them would not be the same size.  At that point I threw that idea out the window - much to his chagrin as he'd been working calculations for a estimated size.  Then I opted to try a trapezoid believe it to be easier.

Boy was I fooled!

My first one, while not perfectly, in lines on the glass looked pretty good.  That all went to hell when I actually cut the glass and it skewed the original lines *argh!*  At that point I considered giving up the endeavor altogether before I took the time to attempt to measure and cut anymore glass.  Then my quote rang in my ears and I decided that as a personal devotional piece perfection was not a requirement.  It was the inspiration, the thought, the meaning behind it rather than the finished product that I should be concerned with.  So long as it conveyed the meaning to me that I wished it to the Goddess would be pleased.

With that thought in mind I went ahead and finished out my remaining 7 pieces, cutting deliberately willy nilly and not worrying about exact size, just so long as it was approximate (a 3" base for each trapezoid and about a 1" top, with the sides close to 2").

As for now I'm taking a break (no pun intended) as I have no mirror on which to mount the stained glass.  Nor have I decided exactly how I want it attached.  (I'm considering having the mirror as a top layer and the pieces set on the back and hanging it from the wall, but am unsure as I've never mounted stained glass to something else.)

Glass Choices many things, sew little thyme for ewe and eye...

Thoughts on Sewing by Hand...

When I was a little girl my mother instilled in me that I "could not use her sewing machine until I could sew like I wanted to by hand."  This was a source of frustration to me because of course as anyone knows who has sewn with a machine and by hand, the former is faster.  I also associated it with looking "more professional" and being sturdier.  Now while the latter may be true I was thinking about the former more closely as I sat on the couch working to finish my latest creation by hand (since my sewing machine is on strike again.)

The concept of it being "more professional" implies that it can only be done "right" if it's done with a machine.  Really though, that's a ridiculous notion as any artist or crafter who knows their art can be considered a professional at it and many, including myself, would rather resent the implication that because it was handmade it wasn't professional.

What really is the look you receive is "manufactured".  A machine isn't supposed to make errors, it's consistent, and so long as it's built/programmed correctly it remains that way.  Wear and tear after awhile can cause issues, but they are less fallible than people are.  Looking at my stitches I notice the line is not straight, and the space between stitches are uneven, but that's the human part of the equation coming through.  It doesn't mean it's poorly made, as that can happen with a machine just as easily.  It just doesn't look the same, and the "look" to duplicate what a machine does is highly inefficient when done solely by hand.  (That is the closeness and double-sidedness of the stitching, and other "complicated" techniques.)

But to defend all that is handmade, there is a certain quaintness to it.  An air that can never be duplicated by something the mass makes the same thing over and over again.  Things that are handmade are often "imperfect" and thereby unique.  There are little quirks in the design that came through it's construction.  For those who want to blend and be like everyone else mass manufactured has it's appeal.  Nowadays it's a status symbol to have stuff made like that.  But once long ago, pre-Industrial Revolution (eg before the 18th century), things were made by hand solely.  Tools, as with knitting and weaving, were used, but not the complex monstrosities that exist in factories today.  Things were expensive by even that times' standards because many things took large amount of effort and time on behalf of the artist or crafter.  Materials were much more limited in availability and design and took more effort and money to get.  There were also more limitations on what you could get - color and what something was made of - depending on your resources, area, and means.  But don't get me wrong, industrialization isn't all bad, it's afforded us a great many conveniences that most of us would be quite lost without.  However the trade up is that we seem to have lost appreciation for what we are buying and what it took to provide it.  I would certainly be curious to know the difference in cost between a silk shirt made pre-Industrial Revolution and one made nowadays; as well as the difference in construction/means of production and geographical availability. many things, sew little thyme for ewe and eye...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

More Bartering...Reiki Awakening Logo: Part 2

Like a good little artist we decided to start the project where cross stitch is supposed to be started, in the center (this ensures that your piece is centered which is important when you go to have it framed!)  That being the case we started with the lettering and we're quite pleased with it.  Although it's funny that the "text" looks much smaller in real life than on our program.

Altogether I'm personally not a fan of backstitching, and while I understand it's purpose I like a full cross stitched letter more.  Though in this case the purpose of the backstitching was to downplay the word so it didn't take away from the name that would be under it - which I feel was successful :D. 

I think this was a great color choice and am much more pleased with the look of her name than I'd been when first choosing the "font". many things, sew little thyme for ewe and eye...

More Bartering...Reiki Awakening Logo: Part 1

If you didn't know, as well as being an artist I'm also a healer and teacher.  A fellow Reiki Master who I consider both a friend and mentor had a class she was offering that I desperately wanted to take.  Working for myself from home funds are limited still (though I'm working on my positive thinking and manifestation and making progress).  I asked how she felt about a trade at the point that I found out I couldn't pay her - stoopid IRS eating my tax refund :( - and she was fine with it.

As I love doing my art in some cases I'm not overly attached to it, so long as it goes to a good home and to someone who appreciates it, parting with it isn't a big deal.  Granted I like to be paid, I tend towards covering my expenses and making a small fee (usually intuitively chosen) rather than charging for my time.  Besides I think if I added all of that together my prices would be ridiculous because what artist would want to work for minimum wage?!

So I offered her whatever she wanted, so long as the supplies didn't greatly exceed what she wanted for her class (which in most cases they don't) and we ended up talking about a logo for her Reiki business.  I'd been wanting to design one for her and had some inspiration so straight away got to work on it.  What I came up with was simple but I think classy.  I had a few orders come in via my main store and was able to purchase the supplies all in town (rather than ordering offline and waiting) and paid less than I could have otherwise, which was great.

I've been "diligently" working on it though it's all in cross stitch and you can imagine how long THAT is taking (though for all this effort I think it'll look great when I'm done)!

My Floss Choices
(so far so good with them, although I will likely try colors for the "red" hues that are closer together next time)

Aida Cloth
(not my original color choice but what was immediately available) many things, sew little thyme for ewe and eye...

Bartering! (Shirt VS Bag)

from March 17, 2011 - originally posted @ Faith Works' Blog

Recently I tasked my Sewing Goddess to make me a messenger bag. It's a case of, I would do it myself, but not really and well I love her work so much I'd much rather her do it! So being that we are both artists I offered a trade of one crafted piece for another and asked her what she wanted.

*dramatic pause*

A shirt...

I could have been daunted, as I've never made an actual "garment" (eg something you put on rather than an accessory), but I find the challenge interesting...

Being the pattern hoarder that I am (I will keep a copy of any pattern that seems even remotely interesting to me in design whether I have immediate plans for it or not) I had a number of "shirts" that could be made, all of them crocheted. I let her choose and that was an adventure in itself because I had at least 20 to choose from. She finally settled on this cute little crop top halter with a beaded fringe (although the beads are hard to see in the picture I sent).

Then came the hard part...choosing a color. After slaving away trying to find the yarn that the written pattern copy I'd seen called for and failing, I finally found something similar. However being the exacting type of artist, or rather artisan, I am I wanted to see the actual yarn used. Knowing from past experiences that substituting could be fun, but also "dangerous" to one's piece I figured for my first foray I would play it safe. I finally find it, again thanks to the internet and am appalled at the boring and otherwise *ew* colors. Almost all pastels and a few bright shades and totally about 15 choices. EW! I showed them to her, she chose one, but despite it being her choice from what I'd asked her about what color she wanted it didn't seem to fit. Consulting a foreign LYS to me I found another option (as well as a slew on Ravelry that "might" work because they were similar fiber & weight) I come across the lovely "Butterfly" by Kertzer. That's all fine and good if it weren't for the 12.50 + tax/skein price. (I wanted to keep our price ranges similar, so that neither of us was "breaking the bank".) I relented and decided to go with her choice of the original, but had yet to click the "buy now"...I wanted to try one more option - my own favorite LYS, The Yarn Lounge....

Going there yesterday for a day of yarning and what ended up being a "car picnic" I chanced to ask Melanie about substituting, giving her the weight, gauge, and fiber content. While there was no Egyptian Cotton, there was a lovely Peruvian Pima cotton and with much better shade selections - including a gorgeous dark blue called Caneel Bay. I was in love and knew that this should be what I used for her shirt and it wasn't so costly as to make it not worthwhile, even with having to buy 5 skeins instead of 3...

So we're excited to have started this shirt after doing a partial gauge swatch (we really do hate swatches and rebel at doing entire ones). The color is lovely and better suited we think to the person it's for, and it's also lovely to work with!

You can check out our piece on Facebook here. Feel free to friend us & "Like" the store! And if you see anything you like we take commissions! :D

Happy Crafting,
Aradia many things, sew little thyme for ewe and eye...

Derby's Crochet Hook Case

from March 18, 2011 - originally posted @ Faith Works' Blog

In honor of my other half and my return to the land of crafting I decided to try my hand again at making a crochet hook case. My initial case was made for yours truly and without regard to any directions, therefore it's not quite up to par. However, kudos to me, I actually paid attention this time and constructed it as directed. Needless to say it looks conceptually much better, although my fabric choice is odd so it is "full of character"! Perhaps now that I have made one more successfully some will pop up in the store....stay tuned! many things, sew little thyme for ewe and eye...

Sewing Machine Issues - Funny

from March 18, 2011 - originally posted @ Faith Works' Blog

So I have been struggling with my sewing machine for months. I've read back and forth through the booklet desperately trying to find out why it was malfunctioning...

Now I will admit I am not the best seamstress and quite honestly don't even consider myself any good - novice at best. But I do understand very basic things and yet I was completely stumped as to what was going on with my machine. It was working, everything was fine, then all the sudden it started snapping the thread, or it slipped out of the needle. As you can imagine I was quite frustrated.

I adjusted the tension, messed with the bobbin and top thread, even re-threaded the entire machine. I consulted my sewing goddess for her help and went through her suggestions as well as double checking everything from the manual (not noticing any improvement), and consulting the internet. There were several "main" suggestions that usually yielded this issue: bad thread, tension being wrong, needle being the wrong size, wrong type of thread. After that it got repetitive, till I noted a suggestion that the needle itself could have been faulty and a defect may have been cutting the thread. I noted another point, making sure the needle was properly installed in the machine but I disregarded that.

It's always the last thing you check (because even if it was the first thing you checked you'd have found it thereby making it also the last thing as well).

I tell you what having exhausted my brain, putting my machine away, being concerned about having to entirely replace it, etc and so on...

I went to check the needle for any imperfections and lo & was in backwards. Yes that's right I had installed my new needle (having broken the last one) backwards. How silly is that? All this trouble - even me going to the extent where I went out and bought new thread and nothing was wrong aside from me doing something backwards! many things, sew little thyme for ewe and eye...

Latest Sewn Creation: My New DPN Case!

from March 18, 2011 - originally posted @ Faith Works' Blog

Having fixed my sewing machine issues (see post before this one) and receiving my set of 15 DPN (double pointed needles) in the mail today I opted to make another case for my lovely new tools! While retail stores have them and they are quite nice, the sheer amount of hooks & needles I have is such that I'd have spent a fortune in cases!

Having collected and kept fabric from my quilting grandmother and mother and hoarding it as well as random other sewing materials over the years I opted to make my own.

Mind you having found a simple tutorial in a crochet book about it didn't hurt for basic instructions.

Of course if you visited our blog before you've seen our hook case we made (entirely by hand *shudder*) for our other half and you'll likely notice the "uniqueness" of the design (honestly kind of hideous). As you can note from the pictures of this one it's not much better in the color scheme but it definitely has character...

More to come later! :D many things, sew little thyme for ewe and eye...

My Sewing Machine Hates Me...

Really, I think it does.

For the past few months (as you'll notice from a post I'm going to import to here later) I've been having "issues" with my sewing machine.  Frankly it's not that old, so it shouldn't be "crapping out on me" as they say.  But now having fixed the other issue - which was totally my fault, I have another one AND in the middle of a project albeit a short one.

My top thread has decided to break again and furthermore tangle in the bobbin case.  I consulted the almighty internets and came across this thread (pardon the pun) concerning my specific issue and am about to fiddle with my machine yet again to see if I can solve this conundrum.

Otherwise I'm giving up and deciding that Faeries must have been using my sewing machine and that's why it hates me - perhaps I should feed it...

***indeterminate passage of time as a result of trying yet again to appease my machine***

It's official, I'm waving the white thread, er flag.  My back - from leaning forward - is killing me, my thread is still not cooperating and I've just decided that calling it quits is a much safer thing for all involved.  Me - 0, Sewing Machine - 1.  While it's not a permanent defeat it's enough to stop me in my tracks and listen to the Sewing Gods, who apparently have decreed that I shall not sew anymore today.  I suppose I shouldn't complain given the fact that I did complete a brand new project yesterday...then again it'd be great if I could do the same again.  But apparently that's asking too much, oops.  Perhaps tomorrow? many things, sew little thyme for ewe and eye...

Just arrived...

I'm a blogger, I like to blog, and it's just one of the things I do.  I guess part of it stems from being a writer and talkative in general (as I don't mind sharing my opinions here and there!)  But also I like to inspire and drive others to be creative and go beyond, "just what's there" and perhaps in my ramblings and daily/weekly goings on I can do this for someone every now and again, that would be nice :).

This blog is focused on things I'm doing of an artistic nature, hobby-like, but not for sale.  You'll notice that I'll be importing some posts from my other blog that is dedicated to my store - but this is for freebies and everything that's "not serious".

You'll also see a "realer" side of me I suppose.  For the sake of professionalism I try not to put anything negative on my business' blog.  I certainly don't want to hear about someone's troubles and complaints.  But then again as an artist accidents and mistakes do happen and while some are happy ones that result in wonderful innovation, many others are things that result in failure and complete frustration.

Here you'll find the real deal, the person behind the art...who at times has less than stellar days when creating or hits roadblocks.  She's a real person, someone you would live next to, or see at the supermarket who just like you has bad days sometimes! many things, sew little thyme for ewe and eye...