Friday, April 25, 2008

Time - How Do You Answer?

OK, first a picture, just because a blog post without any pictures is kind of boring...

It's spring! :) (Thanks so much to Tia Lexi and Tio Ernesto for sending along Conall's funny little ATV.)

So, my question is for the weavers/craftspeople out there who sell their work - when you sell in person and somebody asks you how long it took to make them, how do you answer?

I just know that people that don't know a lot about weaving will take my answer and think "Hmm, she's paying herself X per hour!" And that makes me really uncomfortable. Especially since it's taken me years and years of practice to get to the point where I am an efficient/relatively fast weaver. Oh - and an EtsyFAST person raised a good point - I definitely take *all* of the process into account when figuring out my time, including designing, dressing the loom, the actual weaving, twisting fringe, finishing, etc.

I often try to dodge the question by saying something like "Well, it depends on how complicated the weave structure is, whether I'm using two shuttles, the size of the yarn..." But some people are really persistent... I don't mind telling people that I give things to if they ask (but, understandably, I guess, they tend *not* to ask). But it bothers me in a business context.

Anybody else out there bothered by this? Am I being overly sensitive? Should I just lay it out there and then talk fast about how they're getting unique, high-quality item, blah-blah-blah? (I'm not one who loves to give a pushy sales pitch, either...)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wenesday Artist Profile - JeMSjewels

And now for something completely different... I love my fiber friends, but I thought it might be nice to feature a different kind of seller this week. Mindy's shop, JeMSjewels has really managed to catch my eye.

Isn't that a lovely necklace? It's a Made to Order Mother's Day Birthstone Necklace. You let Mindy know the birthstones that you want included (for your kids, hubby, yourself, whomever you wish), and she'll make you a lovely, custom necklace!

(Are you reading this Carlos? HINT HINT! January, April, February and another January...)

Next up, a bracelet that really appeals to me, too:

Jade and Pyrite bracelet. I'm a sucker for jade, for some reason, and circle motifs get me every time, too. I like that the clasp on this bracelet has a swirl design, too... Another piece I'd love to own!

Another necklace that I really like -

A really strikingly simple design. Love it! Buy it here before I do! :)

Well, I was going to stop there, but then I noticed this necklace:

Yup, more jade. Chunky carved jade and moonstone necklace (yes, I really am a sucker for jade...). It even comes with matching earrings! Beautiful!

Mindy, by the way, is a stay-at-home-mom like myself. As she puts it "But every piece of jewelry I make is my release from poopy diapers, snot noses and questions that start with "Why"! A big salute to all you mom's out there!!!"

LOL. I love a lady who tells it like it is. And I also really, really appreciate all the hard work that moms do, from when our children are small right on through to adulthood...

Having a creative outlet is so key to preserving sanity sometimes, in all stages of life - am I right?

Tune in next Wednesday for another profile! (And hopefully a post or two before them, I've been lax lately, and I have some good weaving stuff to talk about too, argh!)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Wednesday Artist Profile - Sand and Sky Creations

I have a real soft spot in my heart for Prince Edward Island, Canada. It's just such a lovely place, I'm dying to drag my family up there for a camping trip... We camped there when I was a little girl, and I still have clear memories of the ferry ride from Bar Harbor, Maine to Nova Scotia, and then another ferry out to PEI (before there was a bridge) and, of course, visiting Green Gables (of Anne fame), walking through the Haunted Wood, etc. A lovely trip on a beautiful island.

My featured Etsy artist this week, Simone of Sand and Sky Creations, is lucky enough to live there! Simone designs and creates really beautiful knit and crocheted clothing and accessories.

Am I right, or what? This is her Rose Red Cropped Cardigan that she created as part of the EtsyFAST (Fiber Arts Street Team) March Challenge. Gorgeous, isn't it? Buy it here before I do!!

I love her sweet little Le Minou hat, too:

She also offers patterns in her shop, too, if you're feeling the need to create. Her Earth Mama Babydoll top pattern, for example, really appeals to me:

Gorgeous! I purchased a pattern from her earlier this winter (her Yuletide Scarf pattern) and it was very well done. Clear instructions, and an interesting enough pattern to hold my attention (quite the accomplishment, I'm a very scatter-brained knitter).

And isn't her photography outstanding (love the Iris in the photo of her babydoll top, e.g.)? Somehow her photographs - and her work - really capture the ethereal feel of her shop name (Sand and Sky). She has done an excellent job, I think, in thinking out the presentation of her work, both through her etsy shop and her website. Very inspiring!

OK, one more item...

North Wind Snow Scarflette. And it is completely evocative of the North Wind, isn't it? Love it.
(And I adore her lipstick in this shot, too, lol! See what I mean about well-presented, though?)

And, to top it all off, she is donating 20% of her profits from sales made this month (and March, too), to Excellent.

Thanks for the inspiration, Simone, and keep up the great work!

Monday, April 14, 2008

This and That

Had a nice day in the studio on Saturday... The light was lovely!

I also set a new speed record (for me) for a sale. Listed this guy in my Etsy shop on Saturday:

And when I woke up Sunday morning, it was sold! It's off to Australia to live with a lovely repeat customer. I'm tickled. So, I wove it's sibling, and just posted it today:

They're both based on my scarf that is in the March/April issue of Handwoven Magazine. Huck lace panels run the length of them, with a little plain weave at each end, along the middle and along the borders. I used 8/2 tencel from Webs in lots of colors and sett these two at 24 epi (120 ends total, they wound up 4" wide once they were off the loom and washed).

I'm hoping to weave a little series of these, we'll see how it goes... I have some 8/2 Bamboo from Webs, too, that I'm going to try out, just to see if it behaves differently from the Tencel.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Wednesday Artist Profile - North Star Alpacas

For my Wednesday Artist Profile this week, I chose Ms. Maple of North Star Alpacas (Etsy) and Alpaca Granny blog fame.

Maple was one of the first people to welcome me to Etsy, and is one of nicest folks I've "met" through Etsy. She is unfailingly supportive as a member of EtsyFAST (the Fiber Arts Street Team) (the first time one of my items appeared on the front page of Etsy, it was thanks to one of Maple's many, many Treasuries), and is never the type to toot her own horn. So I thought I'd toot it for her - she sure deserves it!

Oh, man, what a handsome devil! This is Polaris, North Star Alpaca's herd sire. And this darling lady is Ariana:

Her fiber is Maple's favorite to spin! Because, yup, you guessed it, Maple creates fabulous handspun yarn (so, all you weavers/knitters out there, take note!).

Isn't that gorgeous? (Buy it here!) Or how about some hand-dyed, mill-spun yarn?

OK, one more, I just can't help myself, I love Maple's work...

Wow! A hand-spun, hand-dyed, hand-knit hat. I purchased one of Maple's gorgeous hats earlier this winter and it is lovely. Just beautifully constructed and even prettier than it was in the pictures, I was hugely impressed. And, as a lovely added touch, she includes a photo of the alpaca that the fleece/yarn came from with your purchase!

If you'd like to learn more about Maple and her lovely alpacas, please do check out her blog, Alpaca Granny. It's always an entertaining, informative, fun read.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Last Day at Pats Peak

So, yesterday was the official last day of skiing at Pats Peak in New Hampshire. We had to turn in Bella's seasonal rental skis and boots, so that's probably the end of the season for us, as well. (Wah!) (But, hey, we got up to Stowe for the first time in five years, I am so happy about that!)

Above - Bella (in pink) and Carlos (Mr. Skiingweaver - big guy in blue with orange boots) - waiting to get on the magic carpet for the little bunny hill (last week, actually, on a nice sunny Sunday).

The little pink kid in the middle of the frame (turning towards her left) is Ms. B (you can click on the photo to zoom in if you really want to, lol; I know my kids aren't nearly as interesting to you as they are to me!).

That's Carlos to her left, keeping an eye on her. This is the big bunny hill at Pats (have I mentioned what a nice little mountain it is for learning to ski?? pretty boring for Carlos and I, but really nice for her) - but she also conquered one of the green runs, off the Valley triple! The whole darn run, all by her self, a whole bunch of times. I'm so proud. LOL.

We'll worry about getting her to stand up straight, etc., next year. This year was all about learning how to control her speed and how to turn, and she does both gorgeously, connecting turns all the way down and stopping on a dime when somebody cuts in front of her/wipes out near her.

Can't wait until Conall is big enough to learn, too! We'll have him on cross country skis to tromp around in next year, just like we did with Bella. Gets them comfortable with the idea of having skis on their feet...

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Open Studios - A Success!

We had Open Studios from noon - 5pm today at Western Avenue Studios. I learned a lot - including getting a *lot* more comfortable talking about my work with people - and also made some newbie mistakes.

For example, when you sell things that people wear, it's a really good idea to have a mirror. DOH! (I had thought of that earlier, forgot to write it down, and then forgot it completely... I know what I'll be buying tomorrow to put in the studio...)

I sold this wrap! Gone before I even posted it on Etsy... I am liking having another venue to sell things through. Anywho, I'm glad I took some pictures of this wrap before it went to its new home. An absolutely *lovely* woman bought it as a present for a niece. What a excellent aunt!

Some really fun folks came through - a Cub Scout group among them! The little guys were just great, full of really intelligent questions about how looms work. I was completely tickled to have another wrap on my loom that I'm currently actively weaving (instead of threading), so I could show them how it works. Kids are awesome, they're so wonderfully curious about everything.

So, even though I didn't get much actual work done (though I did manage to work out a really complicated doubleweave draft for a custom guitar strap for fellow EtsyFast member Black Mustard), it was a really nice day.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Wednesday Artist Profile

So, I am attempting to start a new series here on my little blog... I thought I'd find an Etsy person to profile each week and do a little write-up.

First up, is the lovely Vicky, of The Jade Poppy. Check out this pendant (I really love it):

Isn't that lovely?

The neat thing is - Vicky is an Etsy newbie, but I know her because she has the studio next to mine at Western Avenue Studios in Lowell! She has been incredibly kind and helpful (including giving Carlos and I great advice on how to finish that floor...). She sells/creates gorgeous original paintings - abstract landscapes - in her WAS studio, and I'm hoping she'll post some of them in her Etsy shop. But in the meantime, I love the things she does have listed!

Really like her pendants, like this one, too:

It would go really nicely with a zippy pouch made of fabric with an Asian theme that I got from another Etsy seller (SmittenOriginals) ...

OK, last but not least, I *adore* these earrings:

I was seriously going to buy these. But somebody beat me to the punch - argh! Congrats to Vicky on the sale, but - argh! LOL!

Hmmm, maybe she'll have some more on Saturday - which is Open Studios day at Western Avenue Studios! If you're in the area (Lowell, Massachusetts, northwest of Boston), please stop by and meet Vicky (and me, lol, and 100+ other artists) in person.

Next week, I'm going to be profiling somebody from the EtsyFAST street team (Fiber Arts), assuming she gives me permission. :)