Monday, June 16, 2008

Change in Direction

I have decided to change direction of my shop. I am really not enjoying selling other companies yarns for various reasons: waiting to get my order only to not get the whole order, rude and unrelyable sales reps, colors not how I thought they would be etc. Also, when customers do come they comment that they only want to buy my hand dyes since everything else is available everywhere else.

I even brought in a ton of yarn from Garnstudio in Norway and that did not do well at all either, despite the low price points. Therefore, I have decided to go solo and only sell my own hand dyed yarns and patterns. I guess I just had to face the facts that I do not like working for anyone else period.

I also realize that I love doing shows and traveling the country meeting my customers in person! I will definitely be doing more of that again. I guess I am just not sedentary enough to stay in one place.

I am moving my shop to West Van Nuys for a location where my rent is almost $600 a month cheaper. I forsee a lot of difficult times ahead, so I am trying to be proactive by preparing myself early.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Skacel Yarn - Urban Silk

After much anticipation, I received the shipment of Skacel yarn, Urban Silk. I had heard so much about this yarn that I could not wait to order a sample pack for the shop.

It is an absolutely GORGEOUS yarn with limited but beautiful colors that are rich and vibrant. The yarn itself is luxuriously soft. The fibers are 80% Silk, 20% Cotton. You get 92 yards per 50 gram ball, and it knits up on a US7-9 knitting needle, yielding 4-5sts per inch. I will definitely add to this review after I have had a chance to either knit or crochet with it. But as of right now, it is incredible to touch and feel.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Garnstudio Yarn Finally In!

Well, I finally have my shipment of Garnstudio/Drops Yarn in, and boy did I have a hell of a time getting it. First the shipment seemed to be on its way from Norway, no problem. The Customs Broker called for some basic questions, and then said there should be no problem with me getting the yarn. Then 5 days later, all hell broke loose. First, the shipment was lost. Then part of the shipment was found. Then the other half was found. Then the delivery company tells me they don't have any drivers available to deliver it so I would have to go to the airport to pick it up myself. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper, but I was still excited to receive and inspect my inventory.

Once I got home from the airport, of course I couldn't wait to see what I was so willing to travel to the end of the earth to get (okay maybe not the end of the earth, but I was stuck on the 405 freeway at 4:45pm, for those of you in LA, you know it felt like I was traveling to the end of the earth). I was only able to pry open one box half way because I did not have my box cutter, and the Norwegians are very tape happy. I couldn't even use my car key to get those darn boxes open. Any hoo, I reached inside of the boxes of my world traveled yarn, and pulled out the first bag I could get. Cotton Viscose #27. This is the most gorgeous color I have ever seen. Not quite pink, not quite purple, but a beautiful in between with a silky sheen to boot. I was in heaven. I ran upstairs with my on bag anxious to get started working on a store sample, but then had the typical artist delima, I couldn't make up my mind what I wanted to make with it.

So after much back and forth, I decided to go with a broomstick lace design inspired by Stitch Diva Studios. I am not yet finished with it, but I will post it up as soon as I can.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Displays Finally Finished

Well, I finally finished an entire set of display cases for the shop, and I think that they are pretty nice if I do say so myself for a do-it-yourself with no experience type of thing. I didn't put 3 of these on wheels, but I should have and will do that later most definitely as it really make a difference when vacuming and mopping the floors. Now I only need about 6 more to be completely done. I even built in a peg board display with storage shelves underneath to be able to display nice hanks of yarn.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Broomstick Lace Crochet

Lately, along with the other millions of things I have been doing, and research with regard to my shop, I have also been working on some new crochet designs. For me, that means also researching techniques and scouring old bookstores for "vintage" books, which has uncovered a forgotten and super simple crochet technique: broomstick lace.
Broomstick lace is a crochet techniques that involves yarn, a crochet hook and a large dowel or knitting needle. After a foundation row of single crochet, a large loop is placed on the dowel or knitting needle and continued across. The work is never flipped in broomstick lace, it is worked back and forth as in Tunisian Crochet.
Broomstick lace is great for sweaters, shawls, scarves, hats everything. And once you get the hang of it, you will realize how quick it is. It provides a nice stretchy fabric with excellent drape which a lot of people don't expect with crochet. I prefer to use thin gauge like fingering weight or sock weight yarns for crochet, dk weight at the largest unless I am working on an afghan.
Above is a quick pictorial/tutorial.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Stitches West 2008 Friday

Its raining today but the energy is still up there. Instead of paying taxis to get around, I decided to experience San Jose/Santa Clara public transportation, and let me tell you, it was an experience. First, I had to walk to the train in the cold and rain, and if you can believe it, I was in such a hurry to get to Stitches West, I did not pack a scarf or hat, so I was freezing! However, I trekked on.

When I finally made it to the train, of course I got on the wrong train going in the opposite direction, so I had to get off and go back to where I started from, but all in all, it was a nice experience. San Jose is such an awesome town.

When I finally made onto the correct train going in the right direction, I was lucky enough to meet the most wonderful lady on the train who was on her way to the show as well. She mistakenly when to the San Jose Convention Center as opposed to the Santa Clara Convention center, so I wasn't the only one slightly challenged getting there. Unfortunately, she said she doesn't use the internet and isn't on Ravelry, but she is definitely in my thoughts. She had her tickets pre-purchased, her map in hand, her pop up bag on wheels and her list of must see booths. She was an absolute delight.

I got to see a couple of "family" members from the Harvest Festival Tour of shows that I do every year. Linda Sicard was there with her fabulous buttons, and way more than what she sells at the Harvest Festivals, she had 2 booth spaces and was very busy with them. Also, Damaris was there with her wonderful buttons and pins and such with her husband, she is also a mega talented jewelry designer who I adore.

Eveyone I bumped into asked where was my booth and my hand dyed yarns, and I had to tell them that I could not secure a space in time, but that everyone will definitely see me at Stitches Midwest 2008.

Since I didn't have any of my fabulous yarns there, I spent most of the day helping Dianne in her booth which had a nice steady flow of customers. Let me tell you, by the time I had to leave for my flight, I was exhausted. I didn't get to buy much at the show, but it was definitely a fun experience. I am glad I went as an attendee first, rather than as a vendor, but for Stitches Midwest, it will be business as usual and I can't wait.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Stitches West 2008 Thursday Night

Since I was not able to get my booth at Stitches West this year, I decided to go and check it out, and I am glad that I did. What a huge event! I got to meet a ton of people, including a lot of Ravelry friends at the Ravelry meeting and throughout the show.

I also met Tobias of Malabrigo yarns. He was so wonderfully nice, and I cannot wait to get my shipment of yarns in from him. I also met the awesome girls of Diva Stitch Studios who make incredible crochet and knitting patterns, all of which I absolutely adore! I will definitely be bringing in a lot of those.

Let me tell you guys, there were so many people there just waiting to get in it was unbelievable. I can't wait until Stitches Midwest if the energy is going to be anywhere near like it was at Stitches West.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Orders Comming In

Happy day! Today the orders I placed at the TNNA show in January are finally starting to come in. Today I received my first order from The Alpaca Yarn Co. I ordered all 10 of their new colors in the Alpaca sock line called Paca Peds. The colors are really fun and the Alpaca feels heavenly. I can't wait to knit up a pair knee high cables with these for a display piece.

Well I have lots of display space for them as I think I went a little cube crazy building display cubes.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Work Work Work

For those who don't know many, which is many, I own two businesses: an aromatherapy company and an online artisan supply company which sells yarns, fibers, jewelry making supplies, etc. Well I made the insane decision to combine the two companies and open up half of my warehouse as my store for customers to come and shop, and it is a tremendous amount of work.

The whole theme of the store is old world artisan, so therefore since I couldn't find unique shelving to display that them, I decided to build my own. I may be insane, and covered in splinters, however, I am really pleased with the outcome. I used 3/4" sheets of plywood that the guys at Home Depot cut for me, and went to work with my air nailers, Dewalt drill & self tapping screws. The design I went with is the traditional cube display, but instead of paying $300 per unit at Ikea, and risking it fall apart like other things I have purchased at Ikea, I paid $120 for enough materials to make 3 units. I also put my units on wheels so that they can be easily moved around for mopping the floors and incase something falls in back.

I topped each off with a dark walnut stain, and an amber shellac which gave to color a lot of warmth.I painted the walls a nice jute color, and added molding around the ceiling to give the room some old world character.

Since half of the inventory I manufacture & the other half I purchase for resale I am currently half stocked. My webhosting company of 12 years has officially gone out of business, so I am also having to rebuild all of my websites as well. Therefore my days and nights have been filled with nothing but work.