Cushions & Keeping the Fun

Hello my friends! ๐Ÿ˜€ It’s been a while. I’ve been enjoying IG a lot, there’s so much eye candy, so much inspiration & motivation to be had on there, it’s really addictive.

What I’ve learned is that you really have to mind your time or else you won’t get anything else done for the day! I always say to myself “create first, then consume” in an effort to pull me back from the slippery rabbit hole that is Instagram. It works …. but only ometimes ๐Ÿ˜‚

I (think I’ve) finally found my product!

So I’m checking in with you to let you know that I’ve (finally!) found my “product”. In the previous post I told you about my self-imposed challenge to turn my beloved hobbiesย  into money making activities, and the 1st order of the day was to identify what product to focus on.

At this point I think I’m going with throw-pillow/cushion covers because they’re not that hard to make and they’re relatively easy to style. I do still have a few other items at the back of my mind but I think I’ve wrestled long & hard enough with this question by now that I feel it’s time to just start already!

Meanwhile …

Taking on commission?

Just to have some quick features on my feed, I made a pair of dreamcatchers. A friend really liked them and placed an order for one with a few specifications she had in mind.

I was pretty stoked by her show of interest of course, and I so love her for it. But it also started me thinking … and eventually clarified something in my head: I don’t want to work on commission, or to go the bespoke route. At least not right away.

These 2 hobbies are my happiness boosters, and the true reason I wanted to earn money from them is only because I was starting to wonder what to do with the finished items. I was giving them away, but not everyone appreciates crochet/knitted items so I wasn’t 100% happy with that “solution”.ย  What I really want is put them somewhere on display until someone whoย  really likes crochet/knitted items comes along and is willing to exchange some money for it. Truth be told, I don’t even mind if I only get back my materials’ worth for each item.

I felt that if I were to take on requests, the fun would be off, and eventually it would start to feel like work.ย  I don’t want this to happen way before I’ve had enough time to get this experiment off the ground. My objective for now is to have fun creating deliberately and learning all about selling.

Cushions, ho!

That said, I’ve set my course for my first 10 cushion covers. 10 seems like a nice, round number to make as a first milestone. I’ll figure out the next step as I go along ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s 2019, what’s stitchin’?

In the final months of 2018 I experienced some sort of crafting crisis brought on by the fact that I challenged myself to -moving forward- make money from my creations. This challenge was so out there for me, so audacious that I got really excited about it – which all good goals should do, right? And considering that I’m basically a foreigner here who doesn’t even know the language well enough to do anything much outside the house, you could say that this bite is quite actually too big for me to chew.

But whatever. I needed a challenge and it was no longer enough for me to just learn new things. I needed to level up.

Agonizing

Making the mental shift from pure hobby & entertainment to something entrepreneurial however, was (and is still) proving to be really difficult. For starters, all my research suggests that I should decide on one, just one, item to make/sell. I can branch out later, but I need to pick one item that would be my flag-bearer, so to speak. And oh my goodness, this was so, SO dang hard! As a matter of fact I’m still not sure I’m decided!

Lessons

While agonizing over this I made several items as prototypes, most of them were dead-ends, but I did learn some very important lessons in the process. For one, I didn’t want to bother with sizing, so wearables were out. I also learned that you save yourself a lot of stress by choosing items that are easy to photograph. I’m still doing a lot of think work around this and there are times when I just want to give-up because it’s taken the spontaneity out of something that brings me joy.

Advantages

However, choosing what to make and focusing on it is actually also smart. I don’t waste money buying different types of materials and I can buy what I need in bulk. Focus also facilitates mastery, something that’s always a good thing in my book.

A long journey

My research also tells me it will still be quite some time before things really take off, so I’m not under any false expectations that good stuff will happen within the year. What matters to me is that I have a focus and I start the learning process now.

Something New

That said I also realized it would be a big advantage to learn how to sew. Fabric is cheap here in Indonesia and I’ve seen a lot that are so beautiful. Oh the things I can make once I know how to sew! ๐Ÿ˜€

So that’s where I’m at, craft-wise. I’m deliberately taking it slow on the crocheting and knitting this month so I can figure out how and when to learn how to use my mini sewing machine (not so easy when you’re taking care of a curious tiny human). I’ll be posting pictures of my progress on Instagram as I go along.

Happy New Year and, stitch awesome! ๐Ÿ’–

Quick-n-Easy Everyday Tunic

At home I am a carefree spirit and often walk around (the house, that is) sans brassiere ๐Ÿคญ The tropical weather is certainly good for it and there’s just me and my 1 year old anyways. So ….

Whenever I get an unexpected visit from the Postman or the DHL delivery guy (and it is always unexpected) I always grab my cooking apron to throw another layer of decency over myself. After a while I felt that this was an affront to my identity as a crafter. Am I not a crocheter who can definitely stitch up something with more class & pizzazz?

And so I finally did ๐Ÿ˜

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This was a very easy project to crochet. This is just rows upon rows of double crochet stitches done alternately in the front loop and back loop. I used a bigger sized hook to add even more drape. The 100% cotton yarn I used was heavy, which was a plus in this case because it gave the project volume. Normally using pure cotton would result in a heavy item, but in this case, it was off-set by the increased hook size and the front/back loop only stitching.

I also chose to do 2 separate panels for front and back instead of crocheting in the round because I wanted the shape that came from side seams. I find that crocheting in the round also tends to give the item sort of a rounded look which I didn’t want for this project.

And finally, finishing was just 3 rows of your ordinary double crochet.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy ๐Ÿ˜ Now where’s that postdude? ๐Ÿ˜‚

 

Yarn Shopping In Batam

venus button

I’m almost reluctant to use the term “yarn shopping” to refer to buying benang rajut (crochet/knitting thread or yarn) here in Batam. All I can say is, it’s a far cry from what I’m used to.

The store Venus Button is, according to Ibu Ika (the cleaner) and her daughter Mufa, the biggest/most comprehensive needle craft store in Batam. So after establishing its location in Google Maps, I asked my husband to drive me there for a check.

Although I was expecting something bigger based on the description, I wasn’t really surprised to see it’s a small store. This is what you see when you take a step inside the door:

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And when you swivel your torso this is what’s to your left:

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It is stocked to the rafters up until the back end of the store so I guess this small space can contain all the needle-crafting needs of Batam Island. I’m only here for the crochet thread though and, lucky me it was right under my nose (just a single step inside the door ๐Ÿ˜).

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Wait! Is that an English newspaper page I see on the counter? ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

They only had 2 types of thread available, I think the other one was polyester and felt & looked like string with a bit of mushiness in it. The saleslady said that was used for making bags & shoes. I went for the cottons and was delighted to find some in pretty colors ๐Ÿ˜ According to the sales attendant the cottons were used for making pieces of clothing. I had my doubts at first glance but I waited until I got home for closer scrutiny to make a decision.

I think that these threads would be great for motifs, appliques, doilies, bags & other items where strength & some stiffness are required. These threads are rough to the touch and I can’t imagine wearing something made out of it.

benang rajut

These are the colors I settled on for now. I’ll be back for more as the need arises, I’m definitely game for some bag making in 2019. And I guess I still need my online stores for a wider variety of yarn.ย  Glad I made this local discovery though ๐Ÿ˜Š

Stitch awesome! โค๏ธ๐Ÿ’›

Trying to Get Attention

A beach cover-up was not originally in my projects bucket list but I needed something to get their attention – “they” being the crafty inhabitants of Batam Island.

Being an expat SAHM with a 1 year old (in a place where English is not spoken) doesn’t give me a lot of options to socialize, so I opened an Instagram account instead, hoping to find fellow crafters.

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After putting up a few posts and diligently searching for crochet/knitting/handmade hashtags, I still have to find anything noteworthy. So I created new hashtags and included a few of the more popular community ones like #enjoyBatam and #travelBatam instead in a bid to cast a wider net. Hopefully this strategy will work eventually, but right now what I’m seeing is that I’m the only one so far who’s been posting crochet on there and I’m really sticking out like the proverbial sore thumb!

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Initially I felt excited at possibly being one of the first to part the crafty sea, but lately I’ve been feeling more awkward than anything.ย  Should I give up and try another medium?

Finally I noticed that travel and beach #s are popular so I decided to crochet something that was at least relevant so that I would not come across as too far out.ย  That’s where this beach cover-up comes in.ย  And as you can see I’ve made it in a bright, attention grabbing color too just for added shock value ๐Ÿคญ

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I think I’m going to give Insta a year. Maybe. Right now I’m the oddball but, hopefully I’ll gain some traction soon enough.

Meanwhile, if you want to crochet your own beach cover-ups (or sassy shawls), here’s a link with graphs to some really pretty ones.

 

P.S. Sorry for the prominent appearance of my blocking board in these photos. It’s been cloudy and rainy these past few days and I just had to make do so I could finally post this ๐Ÿ™‚

Turquoise Table Toppers for a Friend

I love crocheting doilies. They’re so easy to make once you get the hang of it and they’re a great place to start learning lace crochet. I find them sorta meditative too.

If I had my way, I’d make doilies for all my acquaintances, again and again. But the sad truth is that not everyone appreciates them (I can’t imagine why!). I have them around the house and in various colors.

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Not a big fan of blocking but I attempted to dry block anyways early yesterday morning

My new friend Faith was surprised and amazed to find out that I knew how to crochet. When she dropped by one day to see me in action (crocheting, that is), I showed her “Catherine“. She liked Cat a lot but wanted something smaller. Eager to please & share my craft, I immediately dropped all current WIPs and stitched up these two beauties.

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Looking a lot more decent after the blocking I must admit

She only asked for one, the Wish on a Star pattern on the left, but I stitched up another one still because I’m just a show-off like that ๐Ÿคญ