Tag Archive | Book

Success!

I am extremely excited! My sister-in-law and one of my best friends just finished making her very own doll using the techniques in my almost finished book. I gave her a rough copy of the book to try out so she could give me feedback. She is my target audience, namely someone who crochets but is intimidated about creating something off top of their head. My book is more of a tutorial than a pattern book. I wanted to pick her brain about whether said tutorial made any sense and how I could make the book better. I can’t describe how elated I felt to see her post on Facebook showing off her finished doll!

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“She’s wonky, she’s lanky, and just a little funky, but she’s done…made a ton of mistakes…like giving her so many curls her head flops about…but I’m smitten. Got get her decent…thank you Yolanda. I’m on to make her a sister!”

Based on her ideas and how I actually saw her using the book, I found some areas that I could definitely improve upon. Every time she had a question, it was an insight into how clearly I wrote that particular section. Her input was (and still is) invaluable but the best and most awesome part was seeing her get excited about making her doll. And she is even ready to make her next one 🙂

She has been there right along with me as I’ve been improving my skills on my dolls. She would often make comments about how she wished she could do it herself. I would explain the process to her but she would always say she wasn’t creative like me. She would argue she couldn’t just pick up a hook and make one without a pattern. I always shot back that she was creative and she already crocheted and knitted (which I can’t do so kudos to her) so she was already creative. I would start prattling on about how I created them and about how It was a process I followed and not necessarily a pattern and blah blah blah. That’s when her eyes would glaze over. I suspect she just wanted me to make them for her (giggle). The idea for the book was actually born and inspired by her because I absolutely knew she could just pick up a hook and make a doll (or whatever else she wanted).

My friend and I are both avid readers so instead of prattling on to her about how I make my dolls,  I decided to put it down on paper and surprise, surprise, she discovered she is creative! It didn’t work when I was throwing words at her but I’m so happy it worked in book form. I am so proud of her (and grateful she was willing to spend time on this whole project) and I love her doll!

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To Sell or Not to Sell

As a crafter, the topic of selling my finished pieces often comes up (as I’m sure it does with all crafters). I love creating crochet items, especially my dolls and often, well-meaning friends and family (and sometimes strangers) tell me I should sell what I make. I appreciate and love the sentiment because it means they really like what I make. It makes me feel great. And then I get nervous thinking about it.

I have sold a few of my items but it’s not a business. Every now and then someone asks me what I charge and I halfheartedly give an answer because I have no clue what to charge. I come up with something and sell them what they want. A terrible way to do business! I also do a craft fair every year around Christmas at the elementary school where I work. I’ve done it for about four years now and I’m finding that people tend to under value the work involved. I have a hard time sticking to a price because I tend to under value what I do as well (*head hung in shame*)! I tend to feel a lot of stress on how to price my items. I know there are formulas out there based on materials used and so forth but the truth is, I am a lousy sale’s person when it comes to my work.

I spend many hours and days creating a doll using yarn that I acquired from many different places. I have yarn that was given to me, yarn I bought at yard sales, and of course, yarn I bought at craft stores. I just grab what I have that matches what I want to make.  I have no idea what the costs are for the materials I used to make that individual doll. People always ask me how long it takes me to make something and I stare at them blankly. I can’t really answer because I don’t usually take note of it. I crochet when I can in fits and spurts so figuring out formulas isn’t that easy. Some dolls are more expensive to make than others but I couldn’t say by how much. But they all take time and effort.

My friends and family always tease me about my negotiating skills. Namely, that I don’t have any. 🙂

True story and usually where the teasing begins: About two years ago, I was doing one of those craft fairs I mentioned above and had a set price for a doll that I thought was fair. The hair alone had two skeins of expensive yarn. The doll was a large one so it took some time to make. It was priced at $60. I had another smaller one priced at $40. One of the little girls in the program I worked for wanted that $60 doll. Her sister wanted the $40 one. It was right before Christmas and their grandfather came to look at them. He looked at the price and must have made some noise to indicate they were pricey so I immediately offered it for $30. He bought it and then the sister chimed in that she wanted the other one so I lowered the price to $20. Did I mention that he didn’t even ask for a lower price…for either doll? He took them both and my family has been teasing me ever since.

Side note: the girls who ended up with those dolls (and are no longer in the after school program) still come up to me at work to tell me how much they still love their dolls. Well, I guess I can’t put a price on that :-).

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This is one of those dolls they bought.

front of doll

This is the other one.

I know I want to try my hand at making money with crochet. I’m finishing up a book on making dolls I started 4 years ago! This year, I finally put some real work into it. It’s almost done and I’m very proud of that. Now when people ask me how my book is coming along, I can honestly say it’s almost done with pride in my voice versus mumbling something about how I’ve been busy.

As for selling my pieces, I’m not sure if I want to sell but I AM thinking about it. I’m learning about online stores like Etsy and Stonenvy. I recently bought some books to help me learn about the process of selling my wares. I’m not sure which direction I’m going to take but I know I’m going somewhere 🙂

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I’m also in the process of strengthening my backbone 🙂

Loose Limbs

Mini Me’s Surprise Sister So, while I was working on finishing Mini Me, who was planned, thought out, and carefully created, her little sister accidentally sprang into creation right alongside her. My project bag was littered with loose body parts (doll parts!). These parts have been hanging around for quite some time just waiting to be joined to some finished project. There was a head that turned out smaller than I wanted so I threw it in the bag. There were some arms and legs that I made for illustrative purposes for my book. I threw them in the bag too. I eventually decided to make a body for the head and got about halfway through it  and started something else so that was rattling around in the bag too.

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Doll arm waving “hello”…why would anyone find this creepy!?

When I started working on Mini Me, I needed to use that skein of yarn that had that unfinished body attached to it. No problem, I thought. I could just use the other end of the skein to work on Mini Me. I’ve done this many times in the past so I pushed that half body to the side and created Mini Me. The more I pushed that half body to the side, the more it nagged me that it wasn’t finished. I blissfully ignored it when it was just hanging around in my bag but it could be ignored no more. Plus, my family was really getting creeped out seeing all those disembodied body parts floating around in my bag. Personally, I didn’t see the problem but I decided to try to finally make a home for all those parts. Once Mini Me was done, I finished the body attached to the other side of the skein. Turns out the body was thinner than I thought the head needed AND it was a different kind of yarn than I’d used tor the head (so the shade was slightly off). Wwwwellllll, I wasn’t about to make a new head for the new body – that would mean the “floating” head I had would still be cast off in the bag again – so I attached it anyway.

head and limbs

The head finally got her body. Those are her new legs next to her. Her ‘almost’ arms and legs are in the side bag at the bottom.

I pulled out the extra limbs I had, two arms and two legs, and realized the yarn for those matched the head but not the body and they were too short and fat for the accidentally-too-skinny body. I couldn’t do it. I could not bring myself to attach them to the body. I was already thinking the body was too skinny for the head and I just couldn’t add insult to injury by attaching short, stubby arms and legs too…I couldn’t do that to her (she might already have a complex). Instead, I made brand new arms and legs that fit better. Meanwhile, Mini Me was getting jealous because she was being ignored. She was still bald and naked and waiting for her clothes while I was tinkering with her unplanned sister. I have to admit that Mini Me is my favorite but I have hope for my “Frankendoll.” So now I have two dolls that have to be wigged and clothed and they don’t even like each other. I hope the rivalry ends once they realize I have room in my bag for both of them. I hope I can come to love my surprise doll as much as I love Mini Me but only project completion will tell.

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Now they are both indecent! But at least they’re pretending to love each other.

After all that, I still have disembodied body parts in my bag!

Work in Progress

I feel like I don’t have enough time to work on all the crochet projects I want to work on. I have two baby dolls I promised to make my mother in law, a doggie sweater for my daughter’s puppy and a doll that looks like me.

I also want to create a Frozen Elsa doll. I’ve had a lot of request for that so I definitely want to make one. I’m in the ‘imagining’ stage for that one. I’m picturing how big I want it to be, what yarns I might use, how to make the dress, which buttons I’ll pick for the eyes, which method I’ll use to shape the head and so on and so on 🙂

Today I’m working on my crochet doll look-alike. This is a doll I’m making so I can tighten up a pattern in a crochet book I’m writing. I want to make sure it works. It’s also going to have other uses to represent my book so it’s really important for this doll to come out right. I’m working on the head right now and I’m trying to select the perfect buttons for the eyes from my stash. I think I’ve narrowed it down to two sets. They are almost identical except for the size. One set is dark brown and the other black. I’ll decide which size is best when I finish the head so I can see which size works better. I’m leaning towards the dark brown ones so hopefully the finished piece can support the bigger eyes.

button eyes

I love the part where I get to go through my stash of buttons to select the prefect ‘eyes’ for the doll that’s about to be born.

Christmas Gift

My very creative daughter gave me a really cute notebook for Christmas. It has graph paper on the inside and love on the outside 🙂 She likes taking ordinary covers and turning them into something wonderful. In this case, she matched my personality perfectly. I love the crochet theme of the cover.

Graph Notebook

How cute is that!

She also made me a cute little bookmark to go with it.

Yarn bookmark

I love the colors she used. Purple is one of my favorite colors.

The notebook’s purpose is to house my crochet inspiration when it strikes. Sometimes I use graph paper to flesh out a project. If I’m going to create something new, I think about it for awhile. I wonder and think about what I need to do to get the results I want. Then the work starts to make the project a reality. I might draw a picture to help me flesh out what I want or I might use graph paper to give me scale and layout. I decided that my first use of the notebook was to help me remember what I did with the Minecraft doll I’m currently working on. I have most of the pieces done and will be ready to start sewing and stuffing soon. I found that the graph paper was perfect for recording what I did.

Minecraft sketch top Minecraft sketch

Each graph square represents a single crochet. Coloring the squares was extra fun but it also represented the different colors I used and the color changes. I had to split the design over two pages but it’s a nice record of what I did (am still doing since it’s not finished). Now I need to do the dimensions of the sides of the doll. My daughter gave me something so I could create and record my patterns but I bet she didn’t realize she also gave me a coloring book!