Tag Archive | Buttons

Limbs Everywhere!

I haven’t been crocheting at home lately. The bulk of my projects have been at work. By the time I get home, I make dinner, watch a little news, and fall asleep. Playing with kids all day is exhausting! Every now and then I feel guilty that I have abandoned all my projects and I pick up my crocodile stitch cloak I’ve been working on (forever) but that’s been about it.

Then, while I was working on my computer, out of the corner of my eye, I saw one of my craft bags. In my craft bag I saw crochet limbs through the mesh side pockets. I’ve been seeing those limbs for months now but they hadn’t caught my attention…until now. I had to make a body for those limbs asap! I don’t know why I become obsessed with certain crochet projects at certain times but when I do, I just go with it.

I had two sets if disembodied arms and legs. One leg was already stuffed. I couldn’t find the exact color of yarn to match the parts but I had something that was close enough. Instead of making the separate body parts like I usually do, I felt bold and decided to try something different.

I attached the new yarn to the opening of one of the legs and single crocheted around. Before finishing the round, I picked up the other leg and crocheted around that one and then single crocheted a tube for the body. A little shaping in the waist area with some decreases and I was on my way to finishing the body. After a few more decreases in the neck area, I had to decide if I wanted to keep going and make the rest in one piece or stop and make the head separately. I opted to keep going.

The arms seemed a little short so I added a few more rows with the yarn of almost the same color. It ended up looking like this:

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I can’t see anything! Where’s my face?

I’m not sure what I want this one to look like yet but she (my dolls tend to be girls) did get a face.

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Now I need some clothes!

Hopefully she won’t wait too long to grow some hair and get a wardrobe!

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.

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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 🙂

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.

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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.

Tools and Materials

Yarn! Hooks! Buttons! My tools of the trade. I love getting and playing with my tools and materials almost as much as crocheting. Sometimes I think I have a problem… but not very often! I have a nice assortment I’ve collected over the years.

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Part 1 of my yarn storage. It will never look this clean again!

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Part 2 of my yarn storage. Loosely organized by color.

 

My yarn collection is a nice size. I’ve gathered yarn from many places. I mainly buy it at the usual places like Joann’s or Michael’s but much of my collection has come from yard sales, gifts from others, and sometimes even craigslist. Sometimes, I pull it out and just dream of the things I might make some day. I know some fellow crocheters and knitters who only buy yarn for a specific project but I like being surrounded by possibilities!

My hooks are another source of joy. I have some that my mom gave me when I was young, some that I bought at craft stores, my long bamboo Tunisian crochet ones I bought online and my special ones that were given as gifts.

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All my hooks in all their glory 🙂

My button collection grew quite suddenly because of an obsession that caught me by surprise. When I first started making dolls, I used some buttons I had lying around for the eyes. I went to the craft store to find more buttons and they were so expensive, I wanted to find a different, more frugal way to get them. I was into ebay shopping at the time so I gave it a shot. and that’s when I became crazed with finding the perfect set of buttons that would make cute eyes. I discovered that some sellers gathered huge assortments of buttons and sold them in lots. I went crazy buying said lots. I ended up with a mountain of buttons I was then obsessed with sorting and organizing. I succumbed to this temptation a few times until I finally realized I had enough buttons to make thousands of dolls! Surprise! So now I am content (sort of) with my collection. Mainly because I came to my own conclusion that no one needs that many buttons but also because of the looks I got from friends and family who eyed me warily when I mentioned I might need more. 🙂

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This is one collection I bought on ebay. It was 2 lbs!