As Christmas approaches much faster than we are ready for, I would just like to put out a friendly reminder to those of you who are wanting handmade items for gifts this year.
Basically anytime after November 1st is too late to order a custom item. And here is why.
It takes time to get the materials. Most crafters do not have an endless supply of materials in different colors, textures, fibers, etc. We have to find what you want and then order it. We then have to hope it's in stock and can be delivered in a timely manner. Also, this means paying shipping costs for the materials. (Yes, you WILL be paying for this!)
After the materials arrive, we then have to still make your item(s)! This takes time! Almost all of us have families, jobs, lives that do not revolve around YOUR order. Most crafters I know give about a 4 week turn around for orders during the off season. This is why we quit taking Christmas orders at the beginning of November. We know that our turn around time is going to be longer due to more orders and a busier season in our own lives.
Once completed, we have to get the order delivered to you. Sometimes this involves shipping it, sometimes it just means trying to find a time that works for both of us to meet up and deliver it. Do not expect us to just drop everything to be able to meet you at your earliest convenience. As mentioned before, we do have other things going on in our lives. We do not just sit at home surrounded by yarn, glitter and scissors waiting to come running when you text us "can we meet in 10 minutes?" The answer to that most of the time is going to be "No. Just no." And if you do set up a time to meet and don't show up? Expect to pay to have the item shipped.
Please try to remember that you are not our only customer! We complete orders in the same order they are paid for. Just because you ordered 2 weeks ago, if you have not paid up yet, your order has not been started. Unless you have been specifically told that you can pay when we meet you to deliver, expect to pay up front before materials are even purchased. We cannot afford to pay for your materials out of our own pockets. If you are going to take forever to pay us, then your order is going to get pushed down the list. We will go to the next paying customer. What does this mean when you DO pay? No, we are not going to bump you up to the top of the list now. We are still going to make orders in the same order they are paid. It's only fair!
You say you need your items NOW! Like yesterday!? And can you just pay a rush fee? Eh....probably not. For lack of a nicer way of saying it, you are not any more important than my other customers. It is unfair to customers who thought ahead and ordered weeks ago. I'm not going to push their orders down the list because you are willing to pay extra. It's poor customer service to everyone else who has already paid.
You are ordering multiple items? GREAT! Can you get a discount? hahahhahaha. Uhm, no. This is probably one of the most insulting things you can say to some one. Do you go into your local Walmart and expect a discount if you are buying multiple items? Probably not. And if you do, good luck to you! Asking for a discount is like saying you do not value our time. We are not paying any less for your materials if you order multiple items. We are not spending any less time working on your items. We do not get a discount when purchasing the materials. We do not get a discount when shipping your items to you.
While some people may see this as rude, it's just the truth. We are not crafting machines. We are people, too. People with jobs, kids, social lives. People who still need to cook and clean, run kids to soccer practice, grocery shop, and SLEEP! So, if you try to place a custom order and get told "I'm sorry, I just don't have the time," don't get angry. Order earlier next year!
I am SO excited! One of my dear hooker friends found that one of my favorite patterns had been featured on a blog this week! And, a pretty awesome blog, at that! There are some AMAZING patterns on here, and I feel honored to have been chosen along with them!
Please go check out her blog, and check out all of the pattern featured this week!
So, this is peak ordering season for all of my fellow hookers. I would just like to put out a few friendly reminders to everyone.
1. No, we cannot put your order in front of others, even if you pay extra. It's not fair. You should have ordered with enough time to allow us to get it done.
2. No, it will NOT be cheaper if you buy the yarn yourself. No one I know "upcharges" for materials. We charge you what it costs for them, plus our time to make it. Not to mention, if you aren't a crocheter yourself, you have NO IDEA what yarn will work for certain patterns, the hook size, etc. Yes, I get that it's "pretty," but it's also a pain in the ass to work with it and isn't functional for the "warm and long lasting" hats you want for your kids.
3. No, we can't make it for you any cheaper. You want cheap, buy China made at Walmart. You want handmade and unique, then you pay for that. If you see ANYONE selling "crocheted" owl hats for $5 on Etsy. Guess what? Etsy changed their policies. They allow crap that's mass produced to be sold on there now. That "crocheted" hat is knitted by a machine run by an 8 year old kid in Indonesia. I can assure you that no one who crochets can make an owl hat for $5 and make even $1 for their time.
4. And never, EVER, EVER ask someone "if I buy the yarn, will you make this for me for free?" Uhm. HELL NO? That is a huge insult to any crafter. You are saying to them "I can't make this myself, and I don't value YOU OR YOUR TIME enough to pay you to do it for me." If you won't want to pay for the labor, then teach yourself to crochet. When you have, I can assure you that you will then understand exactly how insulting it is to suggest any of the above.
5. Above all, don't order something you have no intention of following through with. And, don't get offended if you are asked to pay up front. None of us makes enough money to be able to pay for materials up front all of the time, and then have people not pay for their items.
BE NICE TO YOUR HOOKER!
(And yes, that was being friendly! It will keep your from hurting someone's feelings, or REALLY PISSING THEM OFF!)
Before you complain about the cost of handmade items, take a little time to think about this.
That gorgeous afghan you want? The yarn alone is going to cost $50 or more. The amount of hours that go into a full sized afghan would blow your mind.
You want a custom hat made from wool yarn? Wool is expensive! (And itchy, but that is not the point.) Now, you want a really cool, unique button on it? Ok, great. Have you ever tried to buy just ONE button? Doesn't happen very often. The chances of your crafter using those buttons for someone else are pretty slim. So, you are going to have to pay the cost of the set of the buttons.
You say you only like 100% cotton items? GREAT! I'd be glad to do that for you! Standard acrylic yarn starts at about $.57 an ounce. 100% cotton yarn starts at about $1.30 an ounce. You just more than doubled the amount for the yarn only. This also goes for special fibers, hand dyed yarn, and the super fabulous color combos you see are usually a lot more expensive!
Crafters do what they do because they love it. But we still have to make money! There are some pretty standard formulas that we use to set prices so that we are getting paid for our time and work. Some do charge per hour of work they put in. But most use the standard formulas for figuring price.
So, you are friends with or related to the crafter you want to make you something, so you deserve a discount? Most of the time, we have already quoted you the discounted price because we love you. And, asking us to do it for you for cheaper is insulting. Maybe you don't see it that way. But how would you like to donate your time to your employer one day a week because they feel entitled to a discount on your work? You want to not get paid 1/5 of what YOU worked for?
You say you can get it WAY cheaper at Walmart? Yes, you probably can get something similar. The quality will be Walmart quality, not handmade. A crafter takes great pride in their work. They want it to last, and to stay beautiful. Often times it is bittersweet when we hand over something we have worked so hard on! Walmart doesn't care, they will just return it and let you get a new (poorly made) item.
You can't afford the high price we quoted you? Well, we can't afford to make it for you for free. Many crafters depend on that income to help their family out. Many are stay at home parents or single parents who use it as a second job. It allows us to make some extra money for our kids, without having to be away from them for 14 or more hours a day. If you genuinely cannot afford it, we get that. (I can't afford some of the items I make for other people!) But, please do not ask us to devalue our work and time because you feel entitled to a lower price.
There is a lot that goes into the making of an item that many people do not take into consideration. For me, being a hooker, here is what I need to make that gorgeous afghan you want! The yarn, which is figured into the cost of the item. But guess what else I need? A hook, that I purchased with my own money. And most of my hooks have special handles on them to help with the pain of carpal tunnel and general hand cramps, so they are not cheap. Scissors! And I mean GOOD scissors! Dull scissors can massacre yarn! You wouldn't believe how many scissors I go through. Tape measure. I need to make sure your afghan is the size you wanted! Yarn needles. And you can't buy just ONE needle. The pattern! If it's a special stitch or intricate pattern, I am going to need instructions. Crochet patterns usually start at $4 and go up in price, depending on the item and how much work go into them. (That's a totally different blog post in itself!) Not all crafters use these items, but as a hooker I go through wrist braces, I have compression gloves, tons of lotion to keep my hands from drying out, special bags and storage containers for my yarn and for your project while I am working on it. NONE of these items are factored into the cost of your item. Some crafters do this, but since I am using them over and over, I eat the cost of them myself. I am not getting rich off of anything I crochet, I can assure you of that. It is something that I love to do, and am thrilled beyond words when you see your finished item and you love it!
Next time you want a handmade item, expect to pay handmade prices. Making comments like "wow, that's a lot" is hurtful. Handmade is NOT cheap, and for good reason!
Found this adorable little FREE pattern! And there are so many more on this blog! Go check them out!!! Just click the link below the picture to go see Look What I Made's blog. I can't wait to make one of these!
I wrote this flower pattern for a dress I made. I thought I would share it on here as a freebie.
I made mine using worsted weight yarn and a 5.00 mm crochet hook.
Some of my testers used dk weight yarn, Caron Simply Soft (a light weight worsted) and smaller hooks. You can use any weight yarn you want with a hook that works well with that weight. Since gauge isn't really an issue for something like this, experiment and see what you get!
ROUND 1 With
color A, Ch 2, work 10 hdc into 2nd ch from hook, sl st to 1st
hdc. Do not turn. (10 hdc)
ROUND 2 Ch 3,
work 2 dc in each hdc around. Sl st to 1st
dc. Do not turn (20 dc)
ROUND 3 Join
color B (you can carry color B behind your work and not fasten off) Ch 1, work
*2 hdc in first st, 1 hdc in next* around. Sl st to first hdc. Do not turn. (30 hdc)
ROUND 4 Join
color A (fasten off Color B) *ch 3, sk 1, sc in next* around. Sl st to ch 1 of first ch 3. Do not turn. (15
ch 3 spaces)
ROUND 5 In each
ch 3 sp around work *hdc, dc, tr, dc, hdc*. Sl st into first hdc. Fasten off,
leaving a long tail for sewing on. (15 petals)
Weave in ends and you’re finished!
Here are a few different versions from my testers!
I am so excited about this newest pattern that I just released!!! The pattern uses worsted weight yarn. I prefer Caron One Pound for this project, but I did make one pair with Red Heart Super Saver in "carrot" and they turned out very nicely. This is an intermediate pattern that uses the celtic weave stitch. I have it listed on both Ravelry and Craftsy. Go check it out!
And, I've got one more pattern that was published today! The Joyce Infinity Scarf. I wrote this pattern when I was making a Christmas gift for my step mother. She also got matching gloves from my HDC glove pattern. She fell in love with some yarn of mine. It was discontinued, but I had more than enough to make both!
I then completely forgot to take pictures before gifting the items to her! So, I owe a HUGE thank you to my amazing testers who blind tested this pattern for me, and provided me with beautiful pictures to use in the pattern. The picture featured here is courtesy of Your Every Wish.
When I find new techniques that make crocheting easier or make the finished product look more "polished" I always get so excited. I've been using both of these for awhile, but thought I would share the links to the online tutorials for anyone else who would like to try them!
The Foundation Double Crochet is pretty much amazing, and I've become slightly obsessed with using it in most of my new hat patterns. When working a hat from the brim up, I always detested the lack of stretch caused by the beginning chain. And then I found a hat pattern that I just ADORED by Moogly. (Can I add right here that I've never found a Moogly pattern that I didn't LOVE!?) The hat pattern was the Ups and Downs Slouchy Beanie, I've made 4 of them! Included in that pattern was the FDC stitch and a link to the tutorial. It's so easy. I've had several of my testers who have never used it tell me they caught on quick and they LOVE how it looks. And, you no longer have that lack of stretch from the beginning chain! Here is a link to take you right to the tutorial. Look around her blog, there are ever so many amazing tutorials and free patterns! FDC Tutorial on Moogly
Now, for the other technique! I've been using this one for quite awhile, and I want to share it! Again, it makes your completed project look so much nicer. I find myself using it in place of the turning chain in almost all of my work now. There is a super easy to follow tutorial on Charmed by Ewe's blog. Her tutorials are all very easy to follow and understand. And, I do have to say that I adore every one of her patterns. She is the one who encouraged and inspired me to publish my own patterns. While mine never seem to be as AMAZING as hers, I'm learning! The alternate DC turning chain is super easy to learn, and is so much prettier than a chain 3 at the beginning of your row. I am starting to sound like I just don't care for those pesky chains! I honestly just don't care for how they look! And, I've also recently started using another technique to make my beginning chain and first row prettier. I will post a tutorial about that later!
Anyone who crochets, or crafts at all, knows that you are always learning new things. I am constantly learning new things, and want to share them with everyone!
Oh, and since Valentine's Day is coming up, here is a link to an adorable free pattern by Charmed by Ewe! I haven't had time to try this one out yet, but I'm hoping to get time soon! Sweetheart Wrist Warmer. Let me know what you think!