Tag Archive | indie makers

Pretty pretty yarn

Recently we spent a day in Columbia, MO. I knew of one yarn store there that we visit each time we’re in town, but on a whim I did a google search and found another one. I only had time to visit one LYS, so the new one won. It’s called True Blewe Yarns and it was marvelous! The selection wasn’t deep but it was delicious. They carried a few favorites, like Madelinetosh, Manos del Uruguay and some Cascade superwash but they also had some new (to me) lines like Holiday Yarns and Three Irish Girls, and I fell in love.

My husband found this yarn. It didn’t jump out at me at first because it’s not my usual combination of colors, but then I looked at the name:

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YES! It’s Wonder Woman yarn!! And I do adore Wonder Woman. So this was my first pick. It’s from Holiday Yarns and it will be either a long cowl, to wrap twice, or a shawl/scarf thing similar in size to a Hitchhiker. I had a hard time resisting the Twilight, Batman and Black Widow colors. You can check out all their yarns online here.

Then I had to pick a multicolor skein from Three Irish Girls because they were beautiful and felt good when I petted them. This was the winner.

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It’s Adorn Sock in a colorway called Piazza del San Marco and I have no idea what it will become.

I admired this color because…well, purple, but wasn’t going to pick it up until my husband pointed out how nicely it went with my dark purple winter coat. (Oh, yes, I know I’m very lucky to have a husband who helps me spend money on yarn!)

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It’s Holiday Yarns FlockSock, 400 yards of fingering weight. Definitely a scarfy-shawl thing.

Then my daughter found these scrumptious beauties and I loved them so much I had to have two! It’s like Malabrigo Rasta only SOFTER. AND you get 109 yards per skein!!

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The gray is going to become a big cowl (for ME) and the cream will become a hat with a BIG pompom (for…I don’t know who).

I had to quit after that but they liked me enough that they put my yarns in a nifty tote bag, and that’s happy because what knitter doesn’t need another tote bag??

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So if you’re in the Columbia area, I highly recommend you check out this jewel of a yarn store!

Being a Unicorn

It’s no secret that I sell my yarny things. You guys all know about my Etsy shop; heaven knows I talk about it enough. And I’ve talked about the struggles of making it successful, the struggles of pricing and marketing and what to make. I’m always trying to find the ONE THING that will make it click.

Yesterday I saw an Instagram post from a newer Etsy seller, photos of orders she was mailing out. Orders, plural. That rarely happens for me. Of course I went to her shop, and she has beautiful things and lovely photos. Her prices were a tiny bit lower than mine. I was immediately filled with an urge to do what she was doing. I needed to take new photos with a plain background, knit simple things in neutral colors, lower my prices, and I needed to do it NOW!

Then I took a deep breath and returned to normal. I looked at her descriptions, and discovered she’s using a wool/acrylic blend. That can be great yarn; I’ve used it too. But I primarily use high-end all-natural fibers when possible, and those are more expensive. I use patterns that have more detail to them, and those take more time. I often use yarns that aren’t super bulky, and it takes more yarn and more time.

I looked again: her pieces were ivory, gray, white, black, navy. My shop is full of color. Lots of color. Color in the yarn, color in the backgrounds. Rainbow, variegated, stripes–I use a lot of color. It makes me happy. It’s what attracts me to a yarn.

Please understand, none of this is to say that my things are superior in any way. Quite the opposite: most of the time I feel like I’m an amateur on a website full of professionals. Truly, her items were lovely and I’d love to make some similar ones. But it is to say that mine are DIFFERENT, and I have to realize that that’s OKAY. (I’m sorry, I’m capitalizing a lot because these are important ideas for me.)

I need to be a unicorn.

Recently, I was browsing through Etsy’s how-to articles for sellers, and one of them was about how to stand out, and the thing that jumped out at me was “Be a Unicorn”. Be the thing that you don’t see everywhere. Be something unusual and beautiful and interesting. Be yourself. You hear that a lot in a lot of different contexts, but it works well here too.

People buy handmade for a variety of reasons, and one of the biggest is the story. Customers like to be involved, they like the interaction to feel more personal than just a sale, they like to support interesting, passionate makers. If I try to do something just because it works for someone else, I will fail every time. It won’t be authentic. My pieces won’t stand out because they won’t be a product of passion. I cannot copy someone else.

I need to be a unicorn.

So I will continue to use bright, colorful yarns and make bright, colorful pieces that are typically one of a kind. I will continue to make things that spark my creativity rather than things that are “likely to sell” (although I will also continue to hope that someday those two things will be one and the same). I will continue to photograph them on my beautiful daughter outside where you can see a hint of the natural world.

My shop is little, but it’s growing. I’ve gotten glowing reviews and had return customers, and that has to mean something. It means a lot to me as a maker, that’s for sure. Maybe my Etsy shop will never bring me riches. That’s okay. If it allows me to do what I love, if it supports itself, surely that’s enough. After all, success isn’t money. Success is happiness. By that token, I’m successful already.

What about you? Have you embraced your unicorn self?