Sunday, November 29, 2015

Hats off to The Honest Dog

I don't need a pattern to sew a quilt. In fact, the less "patterny" they look the better, in my opinion. I'm not a fan of the type of rag quilts that look like a checkerboard, nor the ones that have a repeating diamond pattern. While I strive for my quilts to be balanced, the matchy matchy look isn't for me. This is probably a good thing, because working with upcycled fabrics - a little of this, a bit of that - means I go with the flow and many times the fabric decides how the quilt will turn out, not I.

But, do I ever need a pattern when it comes to crocheting. I can whip out a dish cloth on the fly, but something that must conform to a human body part? I need a really well written pattern, hopefully with good closeups and a video or two. And then I hope it doesn't turn out gargantuan. Through the years I have attempted countless baby booties to go with crocheted baby blankets. I have yet to give a pair as a gift, because these booties are large enough to grace the feet of a nine month old baby gorilla. On steroids. 

I've had great success with the hat patterns from Repeat Crafter Me though, if I use a size smaller crochet hook than the instructions call for. What can I say, I crochet big. I've made many hats from these designs by Sarah Zimmerman, and I tip my crochet hook to her greatness. They are all super adorable, and as soon as the cooler weather hits I start crocheting up a storm. My current project is a newborn size (OK maybe a bit bigger than newborn) little piggy hat to match one of my little piggy blankets on Etsy. I had to crochet four ears because they kept coming out different sizes, but I think I have two reasonably matching ears and the piggy hat will come together soon.

This little (OK not so little) dog hat has been sitting around for a while, and in my attempts to clear out my sewing closet from too much excess, I came up with a win win way to send the puppy hat on its way. One of my favorite stores in all of Sacramento, The Honest Dog (formerly Launder Dog) is putting on a raffle with all proceeds going to a dog rescue organization. A dog store in need of dog themed items to help dogs in need? So long puppy hat, you've got a new mission in life. 

For a grown up. With a large head. Preferably on steroids.

There are so many great hat patterns on Repeat Crafter Me, I've never had to resort to buying a pattern. But so far RCM only designs animal hats for humans, not hats for animals. Last winter I saw a photo of two really cute dogs in the snow, wearing crocheted hats. These were happy dogs. They were smiling and looked to enjoy their hats. They appreciated their warmth, and the love and care that their owners put into making them a personalized, just-to-their-size adorable hat that would make all the dogs in the neighborhood howl with jealousy. I was convinced that people would want to buy dog hats from me, not for themselves, but for their dogs. So I made my first and only purchase on Etsy. I bought the PDF pattern to crochet a dog hat. Because I love my dog. Because I love to make hats. Because our Molly is so photogenic. Because the photos would be so cute that strangers would beat down my door and shove money into my pockets, begging me to make their dog a crocheted dog hat too.

Granted it was a bit small, but honestly!
So much for the dog hat idea. Both hats are officially donated to the charity giveaway. Hats off to whoever wins them.

My new and improved, less is more, squaredup on Etsy supply closet.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Scrapping the craft faire

It turned out the Holiday Craft Faire was starting to look a bit too much like Christmas for my sensibilities, so I bowed out. And that meant I had to go into full-on Etsy posting mode.

Making quilts to sell in-person is like a real date. Person sees quilt. Person likes quilt. Person buys quilt. Everyone is happy.

Selling quilts on Etsy is like Internet dating, or so I imagine. An entire personna must be developed. Some grab-in-a-second first impression one-liners need to be tweaked. And photos, it's all about the photos. I'm still working on my Quilt Glamour Shot techniques. Morning light is good, it hides the wrinkles. Some props always help, takes the eyes off the imperfections. And then comes the uploading of photos, price decisions, measuring, figuring out worth verses effort. Then the sinking realization that you're competing with 13.7 million other Etsy sellers rears its ego-crushing head. Oh bother, give me a craft faire any day.

In addition to the quilts I had made, I decided to try to clean out my stock by posting some vintage fabric. A few short descriptions, some quick photos, a half-hearted paragraph or two. Bam! Two Disney vintage fabrics sold within an hour of posting. While my quilts were still getting ready for the ball, those bratty little pieces of vintage material were off to LA, tossing their hems with unbelievable self-confidence. Some fabric has all the fun!

Herb, the Decaf Tea Quilt is on his way to the East Coast.

Spot, the Dalmatian Quilt is wagging its tail

Autumn Rose, Pretty in Peach

The Hamlet Piggy Quilts are squealing to get off the farm

Dillon, Beachy Chic for Shore already jumped ship. He sold!

Pippa, the Apple a Day Quilt is ready to fall far from the tree.

Lady, the Bug Quilt hasn't made it past the cutting board. I may wait for spring with this one. I'll use this little break to clean out my fabric, sell some of the hot-to-trot vintage stuff and start hitting the Goodwill for some more fabric - the older the better.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Square by square

When I start a quilt, I'm in it to the finish. No half starts for me, or works-in-progress. I march into my fabric stash, pick out the material, cut it out, lay it out, start sewing, and don't come gasping up for air until my fingers look like eagle claws and my back is in the shape of the letter C. Balance is not one of my strong suits. 

In getting ready for my second craft faire, I tried a new approach. I cut out several quilts at once. It felt like I was cheating on the first one, but after that it got easier. I got on a roll. I only sliced my finger on the rotary cutter once, while cutting out four quilts in a short time span, while still having an unfinished project in my sewing closet. It was like I was running some sort of business or something. Unprecedented.

Dillon, Beachy Chic for Shore

A Futon Full of Future Fluff

Herb, the Decaf Tea Quilt

Spot, a Dalmatian Quilt

Pippen, the Apple a Day Quilt

Or some other apple name, I'm not sold on Pippen.

Lady, the Baby Buggy Quilt.

Cleaning up as I go along has never been one of my strong suits.