2018 Year In Review, Crocheting, Creating & Resolving

Its New Year’s Eve, and 2018 is almost gone. Where did the year go? It felt like it went out faster than I can recall it being 2018. The year ended with me getting a cold that just won’t go away. Day 6 and its still here. So while I am resting, I thought I would put to paper my year in review.

January started out fantastic for Lee. The temp job he had became a permanent job! YES, Lee working full time, getting benefits, vacation hours. That makes up for the past 4 years. His boss is so nice, the company feels like an extended family, they all get along.

2018 began with me crocheting tentacles for the octupuses I ship to my consignor. Usually the first 3 months are quiet, but with Lee’s new job, he started to bring in a few of my animals to show his co-workers.  All of a sudden, sales were happening, custom orders were being taken and I was busy crocheting new animals.

tentacles for octupuses

Between consignment and new co-workers, I crocheted 150 animals, 90 of them went to Buy Hand Laguna Beach, 30 went to Lee’s co-workers of Lee and the rest for arts & crafts shows.

2018 I resolved to keep my consignor in stock of crochet animals, kids hats, and crossbody bags. I shipped product to her 9 times this year. She kept me quite busy, especially during the summer, with emails asking for crochet animals, as they were selling quicker than expected. That made it easy for me to not do any spring craft shows, more time devoted to her.

octupuses, clams and mermaid oh my

2018 found me creating and designing more patterns than in previous years. This year accounted for 6 new patterns. There were scarves, a hat, new animals just to name a few. I hope to be able to create more in 2019.

We did have a few fun moments: we saw one of my all-time favorite bands this summer. The Brian Setzer Orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl. Great concert, well worth the price. I just wish we could see his Christmas concert, it usually falls on the same night as Lee’s company holiday party.

The one project I HAD to do was to make my brother the blanket he now has. He lost his home in the summer to a wildfire in Redding. He lost everything he and Kris had. They got out, with their kitty, that was the most important to get out alive. They will rebuild on the same site. The blanket took me 3 weeks to make, a lot of hard work went into making it, but they have a new heirloom to cherish, and to keep warm.

crochet blanket and toss pillows

Not only did Los Angeles have the Yarn Crawl in April, this past November, Stitches So Cal happened in Pasadena. Lee and I provided the fixtures for the knitting guild booth to display members knitted and crocheted items from classes we had taken. I knitted and crocheted 6 seat cushions for the booth.

2018 ended with just 1 craft show I participated in. I was able to clear out merchandise I had been crocheting and knitting this year. Even one of my favorite grocery checkers purchased scarves from me. She placed 2 custom orders, with a third order to be placed in the next few days.

There you go, 2018 was quite an eventful year. The kitties pouncing, playing with each other, getting along as the year went by. Lee working many hours every day, up at 4:30am, asleep by 9pm. Me, learning new skills, taking time to create new product, working on the blog.

Here’s to 2019, resolutions or not: Blogging, stay healthy & happy, take time for myself, relax and enjoy each day as it comes.

the possibilities are endless when it comes to kitties

Birds Chirping, Bees Searching, Crochet Animals Abound

Yes birds are chirping these days and it seems like our “winter” weather has taken a vacation from us here in So Cal. Bees are coming out of hibernation too. While bees are nice to see pollinating flowers, I do not care for them when they search out our fireplace and enter our apartment.

Gizmo kitty got an up-close introduction to several of them, getting stung on the face and cheek. A quick trip to the vet, a shot of Benadryl and he was back to his antics within 48 hours. Here’s hoping the exterminator’s spray is able to keep the bees at bay and not use our fireplace as a new home.

      

March went out like a lion, so to say, with lots of animal custom orders. Lee started taking a couple of my crochet animals to work with him, and within 2 weeks, 10 animals were sold. With more orders, came more work. While some of my favorites sold; i.e. piggy, party penguin, octupods, new animals were popular like the Happy Car, Big Ear Bunny and Teddy Bear made with Caron Sprinkle Cakes yarn. All in all, March had 22 sales.

April is for my consignor. Last weekend we drove down to her shop in Laguna Beach, about 90 minutes away, to deliver some animals. At that time, I inventoried her current stock and she placed her order for more ocean related animals: octopus, squid, mermaid, seal, walrus, hippo, you get it, water related critters.

Baggy and Gizmo are so thrilled to know my crochet animals are heading to their new homes. They will miss all the yarn tails, ball and strands that were play toys for their entertainment.

Until next time, when the 6th LA Yarn Crawl comes around April 19th thru April 22nd. 26 stores, lots of free knit and crochet patterns, trunk shows, giveaways and miles and miles of driving the freeways.

Finding my niche

R.B. Craft Show 2008

Last Saturday I participated in the El Segundo Hometown Fair. It’s an annual event for the city that brings out families. The kids get to play in the bounce houses, the adults chatting amongst themselves and the arts and crafts vendors get to make new customers.

Typical of beach living it was a cold, windy, damp day. I am often approached by customers asking some common questions about my knit and crochet items. Such as if I teach children and do I teach knitting.

The answer to both is yes.

 I do teach kids how to crochet, with minimum age of 10 years, and not more than 6 kids at a time. If there are more than 6 kids in a class, they lose the one on one teaching, with some catching on and others not at all.

I also teach knitting. Sometimes privately in my home and sometimes through other venues like yarn shops or through a city program.

Customers also ask how long I have been crocheting animals. This question always brings back memories of the first arts & crafts event I participated in. It has been 10 years now that I have been knitting and crocheting for fairs.

To be honest, I cannot remember exactly how I got into selling at craft fairs. My first show was at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center. My table had knit and crochet scarves and crochet beanies. The beanie hats were the first time I had ever crocheted in the round. People complimented me on how well I knitted scarves, and that I should have raised the price of the scarves. (Lessons of the newbie!)
I went online and spent many hours looking at patterns.

Turtle was my first animal.

 

My first animal I ever crochet was the turtle. Many mistakes were made but I had to try. Once I got the hang of it, I found it to be easy to crochet.

Some of my wares you can find at Buy Hand Laguna Beach.

In 2007, I participated in a show at a senior center, brought along 8 crochet animals, along with other items. The animals were a hit! I had found my niche and have been crocheting animals for 10 years. I create my own designs too which include the octopod, jellyfish, seal, teddy bear, ducky ball with more to come.

Five years after that beginning All of my ocean related animals are shipped to Buy Hand – Laguna Beach, where I consign them. Their customers love my crochet animals —they have even been photographed for a local newspaper article on the shop!

My Octopod gets featured in article about Buy Hand Laguna Beach.

How did you find your niche?

Baggy here: I love a good story. Tell me how you found your niche in the comments below.

Premier Yarns Sweet Roll Review

Primier Sweet Roll Mint Swirl and Scarf
Primier Sweet Roll Mint Swirl and Scarf

As a crocheter, I am usually making crochet animals for arts & crafts fairs, my website or my consignee, Buy Hand – Laguna Beach. Yesterday, I had to make a fiberfill run because I was running low on stuffing plus a 50% off coupon enticed me. I had heard that JoAnn’s Fabric and Craft Stores would be carrying Premier Yarns’ Sweet Roll, their version of Caron Yarns Cakes. I decided to purchase 2 skeins, because I can’t come home with only 1, right?

I chose Mint Swirl, a trio of green (husband’s fav color) and Black Pepper Swirl (black and gray, Raider Nation). Time to crochet a scarf with the Mint Swirl, and knit a scarf with Black Pepper.

I grabbed my Prym Ergonomic Size J (9mm) crochet hook, a longer and larger hook because I want the scarf to have a loose tension. Deciding how wide and long was not an issue for me, 245 yards is plenty for a crochet scarf. Half Double Crochet is my stitch of choice.

I like the Sweet Roll yarn. A nice worsted weight, acrylic yarn, that worked up quickly. Its soft to the touch, the color changes were smooth, with an exception where there was a knot, but I was able to hide that knot.  When I folded it in half, the blocks of color closely matched up.

The scarf measures 7 inches wide by 53 inches long. It is long enough to wrap around your neck.  It is machine washable, cold temp. Tumble dry. I plan to wash it with SOAK yarn wash to soften it even more.

(Baggy Here: As Kathy’s creative director, I’m thinking  the next one Kathy crochets will be longer and not as wide, so stay tuned.)

There are many color combinations to choose from and at $5.99 per cake, it is a good price for the 245 yards you get.

You will find the scarf HERE. (<—tap the link)

"Oh the indignity of my day job!"
“Oh the indignity of my day job!”

 

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