Category: Amigurumi

She sells she sheds….sometimes

My yarn stash and other amigurumi materials have finally done it – they have taken over about fifty percent of the usable space in my house. You can’t walk in my living room currently without stepping around a skein of yarn, or a bag of fluff, or seeing yarn remnants on the floor. I try to be organized and keep my materials in one location, but they seem to multiply (and we are not talking about my inability to say no to purchasing new yarn).

It is coming to the point where I have to make a decision about what to do with everything I use for business – especially during these times when I am frantically preparing for a con and there are projects half done (also known as PHd) left and right, and more that are completed packed in storage containers. My daughter thinks it is hilarious to see all the yarn and plushies all over the house; my husband is probably not as amused.

With all this as a consideration, my father and I have been talking about either adding on to my house – extending and finishing my basement to design a work room – or creating a true she-shed for me.

I had never heard the term “she shed” until I saw the State Farm commercial about a year ago with Sheryl calling State Farm because she thought someone burned down her she shed. Once I heard the term I just lost it; it became the funniest thing in the world to me. Men can have their man caves – we will have our she sheds thank you very much.

Although, as I mentioned, it is undeniable that my working materials for the business have taken over living space in my house and I need to find a better way to organize them, and there is something super appealing about having that personal sanctuary to call a she shed. My fear with this is if I would get a she shed, I would never see my family again.

That meme is so true that I cracked up for about half an hour after I first read it because it is me. The positive is all my work is in our living room, so I am present in the room with them and can watch TV and movies together as a family even while I am crocheting. If I would relocate to a she shed, that might become my permanent residence – especially if there would be a day bed out there. But to have a place of my own, there’s a great appeal to that, too.

I know no real decisions have to be made, and maybe this will just remain a pipe dream – for all I know the business could crash and burn and I would just crochet here and there in the future and a she shed would be useless. And if I did have a place of my own, I would end up separating myself more from my family, which I don’t want – that is one of the major benefits of crochet is that I can sit and talk with them while playing with my yarn.

Oh I just don’t know. I guess the only thing I can say at this point is – watch this space to see what happens.

Hugs and cuddles,

Elisha

When OCD Meets OCD

For years I have worked to come to terms with the fact that I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Sadly mine does not manifest in the need to clean (hence my disaster of a house), but mine causes me to fixate unrelentingly on something and think about it morning, noon, and night – to almost unhealthy levels. Sometimes the obsessive tendencies stay for many years, sometimes they go away in short order. But, even when a compulsion fades away, another is usually in the wings and swoops in to take its place. When I was growing up, my mother referred to these “episodes” as “phases” or “fads;” it was only when I got older and started to understand more that I realized that it wasn’t just a passing fad…people don’t get that obsessed over fads as much as I do – to the exclusion of almost everything else. However, it has struck this level of mania with crochet as it has at other points in my life.

The ironic thing is there is a term in the crochet community that people say they have OCD – “Obsessive Crochet Disorder,” where they have a desire to eat, talk, sleep, work crochet. When they aren’t practicing the art, they are thinking about it.

But what happens when Obsessive Compulsive Disorder meets Obsessive Crochet Disorder? In my case? Pretty much no focus for anything else.

I am feeling under the weather today, so I went through and organized my patterns that I save on my Google drive. I have so many patterns, it is impossible to believe I will be able to ever make one of every pattern. Yet, I find myself skulking on Etsy to see if there are any new patterns that have been released that I can use.

The same is true with my yarn stash. I have tons of yarn – more than I could use in a year….but, it always seems like there is a sale or something else that is going on that I need to get at least one more skein – maybe it is for a pattern that I need a specific color I don’t have, or maybe it is just that a sale is too good to pass up. I do worry that if this is a more manic episode with my compulsions that in a year or so I will stop crocheting altogether and then end up with tons of money poured into something that I now have no use for. I also worry that I will end up with raw materials that I won’t use because I have given up.

Even though I can identify with my rational mind that I don’t need something or that I don’t need it now or that I need to wait until I use some of what I already have – there’s that voice that niggles me from the back of my head that says – do it! You don’t know if you will be able to find this again. Sometimes I can quiet the voice and walk away and content myself with what I have. Other times there is no turning back and the voice won’t go away, no matter what I do, and it won’t be happy until I buy my new yarn, or new hook, or more safety eyes.

For the time being, the other OCD, obsessive crochet disorder, is moving at full steam ahead, too. I get so much joy and relaxation out of what I’m making – even if the project doesn’t turn out exactly the way that I want. But, the cynic in me – the one who is cognizant of the manias that I have gone through and what is left in the wake – worries. All is good now – almost 2 years in – but what happens in six months, a year? What happens if I wake up tomorrow and decide that I never want to crochet anything ever again? At this time I can’t imagine it, but I also know it is a real possibility and it is only the compulsion that keeps me moving.

It is definitely an interesting conundrum. It is one that keeps me up thinking at night – which I’m sure is not good for the obsessive in me.

For now, I am trying to just hang on and enjoy the ride and try to tamp down on the more obsessive moments of my compulsion; and, I’m also trying to learn to not be too hard on myself in those moments that my compulsion takes over and try to do better the next time. At the end of the day, I guess that is all we can do; work to be our best selves and to handle situations better than we have previously. It will be interesting to see the convergence of these two and see which, if either, comes out on top.

Hugs and cuddles,

Elisha

Happy New Year – A Look Ahead

It’s difficult to believe that another year has come – and gone. While 2018 wasn’t an easy year, it was a year filled with changes (some good, others not so good). And as with each year that passes, the changing of the calendar from Dec. 31 to Jan. 1 brings about a time of reflection.

I’m never a good one for making resolutions, usually those go by the wayside for me in about a week into the year. However, I do appreciate the chance to revisit the highs and lows from the previous year to see if there are ways that I can improve.

A year ago, I never would have imagined having a blog – I am not the most steadfast companion, and although I used to write for a living, I can’t always find the time to sit and choose the perfect phrase that I like to present when I know something is going to be published. I’ve tried blogs before and have lost interest in them, seeing them go to the great landfill of blogs that were started with the best of intentions. Yet, here I am, with a blog, and maintaining it (semi) regularly.

I also would not have expected a year ago to have a business. When I first started crocheting, as I have mentioned before, I did it as a way to reduce stress and to relax. The decision to try to make a go as a business was a more organic offshoot, as was the decision to go to cons as a way to get my Luvvies out there and to network.

One thing I can say for sure is I have a lot to learn. I have learned a lot about crochet and patterns and yarns and my preferences, but there is a wealth of information I still have to learn. I also have more to learn about the business side of things: Yes, I am an accountant, but I am not a business major – this just means I can balance the ledgers and file taxes, it doesn’t mean that I know about marketing and promotions or how best to approach things.

Something I need to consider seriously in 2019 is marketing – which includes promoting myself at conventions. In the three cons I did in 2018, I met a lot of wonderful people, and found some Luvvies some great homes, but I also lost money because of the price for tables, and the fact that I don’t like to charge a lot for my items. Whenever someone asks me how much something is, my gut reaction is to say $15 – even if it cost me $15 in yarn to make and took 20 hours of work. My one friend says it is because I try to price my items as though they are mass produced and not the limited number that they are. That probably is true. I don’t take into consideration the time and effort it takes me to make something – I think more about what I could buy a comparable item for at Wal*Mart, and it definitely is not an apples to apples comparison.

There are so many patterns I want to try for the new year, but the funny thing is for as many patterns as I have backlogged that I am dying to try, I keep stalking Etsy, Ravelry, and Amigurumi.net to try to find new patterns. If I would quit my day job tomorrow and just crochet my little heart out, I don’t think I could make one of every pattern that I have in a year’s time; however, I will still be on Etsy five minutes from now looking to see what I might have missed.

While I still navigate through some of the growing pains associated with starting a business and learning more skills in my chosen craft, I am so grateful that I get to share this journey with you. Thank you to all for the follows, for the likes, for the comments – sometimes when I wonder what the heck I am doing, these things can give me a much needed boost to get through the day.

I am sending love and warm wishes for an amazing 2019 to you and your families. I am so excited to see where we go on this winding path together.

Hugs and cuddles,

Elisha

Third Time Lucky?

There is a dream in my head that I am sitting at a convention working at my table for Lil’ Luvvies, and Brent Spiner (the actor who played Lt. Cmmdr Data on Star Trek the Next Generation) walks past, looks at my work, smiles brilliantly, and tells me to keep up the awesome work. That would be awesome…….

And then, I wake up and realize, it isn’t a dream – this actually happened at the December Steel City Con. There is no real context to this except that my husband was helping me man the table, I was working on something (maybe a Deadpool) and I looked up to see Brent Spiner walking down the aisle. I went to subtly nudge my husband so we could geek out together, and next thing I know, Brent is walking past my table, looking at my Luvvies, and telling me I’m doing a great job. It sounds like something I would write for a story.

Needless to say that was the absolute highlight of my time at the December 2018 Steel City Con.

This con was my third of 2018 (and second in as many months) and I was stressed beyond belief.

Read More…

What’s in the Box?

Recently I did a blog entry about holiday gifts for the crocheter in your life. One of the gifts that I referenced is the gift that keeps giving….a monthly subscription box.

Because I am a yarn addict/hoarder, and have no plans to cure myself any time soon, I myself was intrigued by the idea. I had done a monthly yarn subscription before through Happy Yarn Mail, which has been (sadly) discontinued, and I loved the idea of getting a little surprise present in the mail each month.

Since Happy Yarn Mail stopped, I really hadn’t found another subscription that I wanted to try, until Christmas came around the bend and new offers started appearing in my email. One of the most intriguing came from Knit Picks, which is a smaller company that promotes itself as selling luxury yarns at affordable prices. I have purchased yarn from them before and have always been super happy, and their customer service is incredible. So, I decided to treat myself to a three month subscription.

I came home after a long day at work on Monday and found my first box waiting for me. Yay! What a great surprise. It really was a ray of light on a gloomy day. What was inside? What goodies awaited me. So, I wanted to share with you what I got – especially if there is anyone still on the fence for a Christmas gift for the knitter or crocheter in their lives.

The package was inviting and just made me smile. Look at the cute little balls of yarn. I loved the alpaca joke, I’m still laughing about it.

As soon as I opened the box I was greeted with two patterns that I could use the enclosed yarn to make (for protection of copyright, I did not take pictures of the patterns).

In addition to the patterns, which seem perfect for beginner to intermediate, I had four skeins of yarn and two faux fur pompoms (to add to the hats).

So what are my thoughts? I am very happy overall. This type of subscription is exactly what I would hope for – a chance to sample some of the yarns available to see if I like them. These probably would not have been yarns I would have selected for myself – I usually avoid wool, but I am excited to try them.

The bigger question (for the accountant in me), did I get a good deal. Well let’s see….

I subscribed to the three month prepay plan, which is $75 – that breaks down to be $25 per month (which is a savings of $2 per month from the month to month plan).

For each of these balls of yarn, I would have spent $9.99 (so that is $19.98 right there). I usually don’t use wool when I am crocheting – just because I know there can be an allergy factor included with this, but these don’t feel like wool. I am sensitive to wool (have been since I was a kid), and this just feels like a super soft hug. There is a mixture of acrylic in with the wool, so that might make a difference. Either way, it will be nice to give this a try.

I also got two super soft and squishy Swish DK balls of yarn. I just want to cuddle up with this yarn as is, no toy required. Again, this is wool (100% fine superwashed Merino), but it feels nothing like wool. There is no scratchy, irritating texture. It is just light and wonderful. I don’t quite know what I’m going to make with this – but I may have an idea or two.

Each one of these skeins would be $4.99, so that is an additional $9.98 I would have spent had I just ordered this through the Web site. Already, just in the yarn I received I have almost $30 in products (not counting the value of the patterns themselves).

I also got these super fluffy fake fur pom poms that I can use if I want to make the hats included in my pattern. If I add the value of these to my box, my total of products comes to $36.44, which means I saved $11.44 by getting this through a subscription. That’s a pretty decent savings.

Some may wonder, isn’t it better to just order what you want – or to go to the store and be able to touch and see the colors? I was leery about online buying for a long time. I had some early horror stories with Amazon that I would care to not repeat. However, now that I feel comfortable with some sites (lovecrochet.com and knitpicks.com), I am confident in what I am ordering. And the thrill of the subscription box is that you don’t know what you are getting: Maybe it’s something that I’ve seen and decided to pass on – for me, as I’ve mentioned, I would never buy wool for myself, but now I get to try it. Or maybe one month there is a splurge – maybe they will provide an ultra luxe yarn that I would not buy for myself on price alone, but now I get to play with it. That’s the fun of the subscription box.

So, yes, in the end I am so happy with my first subscription box from Knit Picks and I am excited to see what the next month brings.

Hugs and cuddles,

Elisha