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’–

Mistress of Stitchjitsu

Over the weekend I finished my version of the Marsh Tee by Amy Palmer.ย  When I saw the pattern, it was love at first sight. I knew it was going to be a challenge, a real stretch of my current skill level, but when you’re in love ….

… all reason leaves you ๐Ÿ˜‚

So off I went in the direction of my dream. Quite boldly so, might I add ๐Ÿคฃ

It was a bit of a tense affair. Like I said, I’m still new to lace knitting, this is but my 3rd attempt at it (here’s the 1st, and the second).ย  I started over 3 times I believe, getting further up the top each time. I wish there was a way you can rip off just a few wrong stitches (or offending rows) and go back seamlessly to a preferred point in the pattern [as with crochet]. Whenever I make a mistake in lace knitting I just frog all the way to stitch zero because the lace pattern is too confusing for me to decipher in a way that I can go back in without botching up the pattern.

Also, what is up with only noticing that you’ve made an error in the pattern when you’ve seamed both sides together already?!! Was the universe conspiring against me?! ๐Ÿคจ (Could be that I’m just very excited to get this over with ๐Ÿค”).

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In any case, if you are interested in making this beauty I would suggest that you stitch the back panel first, then the front. I did the front panel first, according to instructions. But when both front & back panels were finished there was a discrepancy in length (which was a surprise) that I had to add some more rows to the back panel. But since all the detail is in the back, this was not a very bright idea. Maybe should’ve ripped a few rows off the front panel instead (now why do I think of this just now ๐Ÿ˜†).

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I’m definitely wiser now ๐Ÿ˜ and expect to do better next time. I learned how to make a V-neck this round too so, that’s a bonus. Having said this, methinks my next immediate projects will be crochet for the time being. I need to de-stress ๐Ÿ˜‚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.

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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’›

No Tears Left to Cry

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I finished knitting this beauty a while ago but had to take a long pause (prior to sewing in the elastic band for the waistline) because this baby sucked every last drop of creative stamina out of me.

Note: I didn’t block this skirt prior to taking these pictures because at this point I just really want this project to be finished. (I’m feeling lazy ๐Ÿคญ and I am kinda enjoying the quasi ruffled look of it at the moment).

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I seriously thought this skirt would never come to be. Lace knitting is still a challenge for me and this project definitely made me work. The design might look straightforward but I can assure you it is anything but. I must’ve frogged this baby 6, maybe even 7 times and it is only through sheer stubbornness (and hiding the project from a curious 10 month old) that I finally managed to finish. Ya ampun!

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I am proud as a peacock! After being nearly reduced to tears, thinking that this project was jinxed or something, and on the brink of giving up – I persevered because I wanted the lessons. No pain, no gain, honey. And definitely no sassy skirt ๐Ÿ˜‰

For novice knitters like me who want to take this project on, I recommend practicing with the lace pattern first (in the round, not flat because there’s a difference), before tackling the whole skirt. That and, definitely no distractions, but tonnes of patience & tenacity ๐Ÿ™‚

Get the free pattern here.

Knit Racerback Tee

I so love this project! As a neophyte knitter I often find myself wanting to take on more ambitious projects for the sake of furthering my skills. But I also have to be careful that they not be way beyond my current abilities that I give up in frustration.

Despite my expectations however, this pattern was quite easy to follow and execute. I give props to the writer who wrote clear & straightforward instructions – believe me, this matters a lot! And to have been able to make something like this, something I’m actually going to wear, feels uh-mazing!

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This tee was a great beginner exercise in shaping (I am still raving about how well the arm & neck shaping came out), as well as picking up stitches for finishing.

Shaping and finishing are skills that daunt me, and I want to understand them so they no longer scare me away from creating my masterpieces.