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Target Markets (+ stuff)


Miscellany

  • A (brand new) local knitting group met last Saturday, in Jonesborough (that's us up there, I'm the one on the far right). I considered not posting the photo, but I figured I'm swallowing my self-consciousness and saying Hello! That's me!
  • My Storque article is up: all about defining your Target Market.
  • Come chat about the target marketing in this thread.
  • Sara (of Etsy) has asked me to write an article about the weekly Fiber Friday threads, if you've taken part in the past, leave a comment about why you like it, what you've learned, etc.

Free Yarn

When I started to write this post, I had sold 95 items, now it's 97!
I am so very near 100 items, a number that I want to celebrate! So, to show my appreciation, the 100th item sold will be FREE, with NO shipping!
It doesn't matter how many you buy, if you purchase the 100th, I'll adjust your invoice and the 100th be
free and the entire order will have no shipping!

If you want to know if your item will be the 100th, just take a look at the shop, on the far right:

This prize is a big sloppy Thank You! kiss to my wonderfully supportive, slightly yarn-addicted customers! To ensure that you get the free yarn and shipping, leave me a note in the “Message to Seller” part of the transaction.

Have a great Wednesday!
(edited because I had a LOT of exclamation points)

Inspiration Monday #9: Surface Design



I fell into a craft vortex today. I'm suddenly obsessed with surface design, specifically stenciling and stamping. It happened innocently enough:

I've managed to resist this far, but I'm dreaming of carving my own stamp for my business cards and notepads….
As soon as I figure out which color ink to order…

Inspiration Monday #8: Creativity


I just started reading Twyla Tharp's The Creative Habit last night and stayed up much later than I should have, enthralled by the concept of a creative habit and preparation for creativity. More on this as I get through the book and have some time to process it all.
Creativity keeps popping up:

I'm also thinking a lot about knitting with my own handspun. I can't seem to get up the courage to dye and spin the 24 oz of Merino I received as a gift over 2 years ago! I've yet to settle on a project that would meet my demands that 1. It be a project that I can see/use a LOT, not just during the (short) winter months and not so bright and “homemade” that I just wear it around the house. Nothing sloppy 2. It be doable and finishable – no intricate lace shawl with cobweb weight 3-ply! I've been perusing the following links, in hope of inspiration:

After seeing see this sweater, it all clicked: I need to knit a comfy, wear-everywhere hoodie out of my handspun! Nothing too bright, just muted, slightly stripey handdyed, handspun hoodie!

It’s time to make the…

Donuts! The following is a photolog of the making of these donuts, last Saturday afternoon:

rolling the dough (after it's risen for an hour). Note the French Press coffee maker wearing it's handknit cozy!

Cutting out the donuts, using the only round thing I had available.
You can see that I also used some square cookie cutters.

Fresh out of the oven, doughy and puffed!

After their bath of cinnamon and brown sugar! Yum!

Other Domestic Pursuits


…well, they don't always turn out as well as the yarn.

This bread, following Amanda's WHO Bread recipe, ended up a bitflat. We fed it to the birds and went without bread this weekend. When my confidence picks back up, I'll try again. Any idea why it wouldn't rise and would stay so doughy on the inside?

Last week I got a yearning for flannel pants. In full disclosure, I live in flannel pants. Everyday, after work, I come home from the office and put on a pair of flannel pants. For the last 2 years, I have had 2 pairs, gifts from my in-laws that were BRIGHT orange plaid. Not attractive, but very comfortable. The last few months had been hard on the pants and they were holey in some, uh, unholy places. Last Thursday, while packing to go out of town, I decided to sew some new pants. Out came a pattern, old flannel sheets and my scissors.
I'm pretty happy with the pants, except for one thing, barely noticable in the picture: I laid the front pattern piece down upside down and so the wrong side of the fabric is showing on the front of my pants and the right side is showing on the back. Make sense?

Yeah, me neither. But no matter: they're comfortable!

More successfully, I covered a never-used throw pillow with some on-sale Amy Butler fabric. (I got the fabric from this shop, they have a huge pile of “bolt-ends for just a dollar or two)
Finally – Success!

Inspiration Monday #8: On the farm

As buds unfurl and sprouts start reminding us of tasty green things, the conversations around the Boutique (ie. my living room) are turning towards farmer's market, gardens and our future farm. Jay and I have long known we wanted to live rurally, on some land with a sheep or two. But lately, as he nears graduation and we both are closer to 30 than not, we've decided we'd rather have that farm sooner, rather than later. We'd like that self-sufficiency and simultaneous reliance on the local community to be a little more within reach. And so this Monday, I'm inspired by the books I'm reading, blogs and the Ravelry groups I've joined; all on the subject of sustainability and homesteading:

The Rural Life
You Grow Girl
Crave's 100 mile diet
Sustainable Table (Ravelry group)
Live Simply (Ravelry Group)

Merging


I started blogging in 2001, when it wasn't called a blog, but a “online journal”. All throughout college, I updated it with musings, lists and ideas. After I started knitting, I started a knitting blog, which also included bits of my life: pictures of family, grocery lists, etc. I maintained it until last fall, when I felt that it was important to have a separate business blog, one that didn't include too much personal information; a place to fully discuss my materials and methods. I didn't link to my old blog, but I feel that without that great big archive a big part of what BCB is and who I am as a knitter and dyer is lost.

To remedy the situation, I'm now importing some of my old posts into this blog, mostly the posts about finished knitted things. At each year's end, I've done a recap of all my knitting through the year. However, those year-end posts are mainly lists of links to other posts, so I also have to import the post that originally discussed the piece.
While I move things here, some links in those old posts won't work . Please bear with me until I can fix it all. Oh, and I think that every time I add a post, it'll generate an update in my feed. If you keep track of me via a feed reader, just ignore all those “new post” notifications! If you don't subscribe via a feed reader or you don't know what I'm talking about, read Sharon's excellent post on the subject. It makes blog reading SO much easier!
What prompted this was a search for banana bread: I remembered that my old blog linked to my favorite recipe. All of a sudden, I wanted to start merging all of this together TODAY!
As I look back over the old blog, I realized I started it the day I dyed my first skein of yarn. That day, I felt I finally had something to say. As I was typing this post, I thought I should go back and read my first knitting blog post and was shocked to discover that I started it exactly 3 years ago, on March 13!

So today is my (knitting) blog and dyeing anniversary!


The pictures in this post are the first I every blogged.

Photography

When admiring the photography of my yarn-photo heroes, I often wonder how they do it. I'm not so interested in the cameras and settings (I don't plan on buying a new one for quite some time), but want to know about when and where. Lolly has written a great post about making a lightbox and although I don't have one, I appreciate her generosity. In the same spirit, I'll share my “photo studio”.
It's located in the 2nd bedroom, in “the office”, in one corner. My “studio” is straightforward: a sheet, on a chair. When not in use, the sheet gets folded up (to avoid the inevitable snuggling by the pup and cats) and the chair goes back to being a chair.

I photograph a week's worth of products all at once, after I've spent the previous week making it. I love this schedule because it gives me free time to create during the week, with a deadline of when at least 5 skeins need to be dyed, spun and dried. During the photo shoot, I try to take at least 3 photos of each of the following “poses”:
Swirl:
Hot stuff

Pile:
Vegan delight

Nub:
Grass - Bananiere

side view of swirl:
Fire in the Sky - side

long view of skein
Plum tweed

I take pictures on the weekend, usually 1 or 2 in the afternoon on Saturday (if I have my act together that week) or Sunday (after spending the morning spinning to finish the last bit). The room has high windows that face West and at that time of day the sun is just coming through them, but not directly onto the chair. The best days are sunny, but if it's overcast, I take the pictures in my living room (which has East AND West facing windows and the light is more diffuse).
After taking the photos, I transfer them to my computer, crop the best 5 or 6 in Photoshop (I do NO other alteration of the picture color or clarity: just cropping for size!) and save in a ‘ready to list' folder.

If you have any photo tricks or questions, please comment!

Inspiration Monday #7: Recycled

After just an hour in the fabric store

I'm thinking a lot about spinning with ‘non-traditional fibers': plastic, newspaper, material. There are many cool options out there and so many people willing to share how to do it! Here are just a few of the tutorials, ideas and inspirations:

Now that we're in Daylight Savings, my evenings are full of sunshine and I plan on taking more pictures of the process and will share if I make anything with these odd fibers.

Have you spun or knitted with anything not intended to be yarn?

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