In Defense of Hand Crafted Prices

Hello my magical friends. Welcome back!

I hope you have all had a lovely holiday season and that we are all looking forward to a new year!

By now I’m sure everyone has resolved to go on a diet – and I don’t mean to lose weight (because screw that). You yarny people know what I’m talking about. It’s the “yarn diet.” The “I’m going to stop buying yarn just because its pretty and use what I already have in my stash.” Yep, sure you are.

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Gretel with Lemongrass

Now don’t get me wrong, if you’re on budget (like me) then a yarn diet is totally understandable. After all hand dyed and hand painted yarns are of a much higher price that what you can buy in a big box store. But if you have disposable income and enjoy being the curator of your own yarn installation (again, me), then I say buy the yarn!

When you buy the yarn, indie dyers and makers like me do a happy dance! We also immediately afterwards have a panic attack about whether or not you will love or hate the yarn, but that’s for another entry. What I want to focus on this time around is the why indie dyers do a happy dance – and why those hand dyed and hand painted prices are as high as they are.

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Deceivingly Delicate

Some of us can guess the basics of the costs that go into a yarn dyeing enterprise. Materials of course: yarn, dye powder, mordant, water (lots of water), pots and trays, towels and utensils specifically for dyeing, even expensive spin dryers and warping mills for those who have the budget for a more extensive operation. These things all add up and to start a yarn dyeing business you almost need a small business loan. Or if you’re me, you just slowly build over the course of a year or so. And I still don’t have the expensive spin dryer, although my aunt’s salad spinner works like a charm!

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The First Hard Freeze

Beyond the materials, naturally, is the time and effort to create your art. Dyeing yarn is labor intensive. At my best in dye mode, I’ve been able to dye 20 skeins in about 4.5 hours. Which really, that’s not a lot considering how much some bigger dyers are able to kick out at a time. But more than the time and effort for just creating your art, you have to market and sell it.

This is where I think some people don’t realize how involved it is to be an indie dyer, very especially when you want it to be a significant source of income (I’m not there yet, but I love each and every customer who helps me climb that ladder). If you want to sell your yarn art, Etsy is definitely a big place to do it – it’s where I do it! See my Sisteresque Fibers shop here.

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An Un-Love Spell

Now Etsy is a great tool for makers. They have a lot of tools and options available for listing, advertising and shipping your items. This is great, but remember, makers still need to create each listing for each item, which of itself is difficult. We need to include as much information for your customers as possible while still being appealing. We need to have exceptional photographs of our items, with good lighting and background. Most of us makers don’t have a copy writer to come up with brilliant descriptions, we don’t have an IT person to list our items and make sure it matches our inventory, we don’t have photographers to show off our art. And that’s not all we don’t have.

As indie dyers or makers, we do it all because we don’t have extra staff and people. We don’t have a warehouse full of workers who package and ship orders when they come in, we do it ourselves. We don’t have a team of customer service reps who field calls and questions when a customer has a request, a question or (heaven help us!) a complaint. We have to handle that ourselves. We don’t have Social Media gurus with SEO training (I still don’t know what that is) to keep up with Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and YouTube. We have to do all that, too.

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Whispers On the Vine

It’s difficult to explain fully the effort and energy put into being a hand maker without getting long winded (or a bit discouraged). But I felt the need to defend the price of hand dyed yarns and of all hand made things. Because behind that lovely, unique item is a real person, who does do a real happy dance when you buy our item. We have real dreams and aspirations, real worries and desperate hopes, real life bills to pay that we often need a regular day to support because making a go of our passion is rough as hell.

I don’t write this little entry to lecture, not at all. What I want buyers to know is that you can trust we indie dyers and indie makers have given our all to that item you buy. We have labored to create it, to put our art into the world, and have been the one person show that gets it from our brain to your mailbox. And above all, you can trust that we love that art we have created. That more than wanting to make a living from our art, we so badly want is for you to love our art. For you to feel joy when you have that art in your hands. The dream is to make a living at it. The purpose is spread our passion to the world.

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Aphrodite, Of Love and Beauty

So from the bottom of my enlarged heart, I thank all of you who support indie dyers and makers! We so appreciate your support, you understanding of our efforts and your sharing of our passions. You truly do make our dreams come true!

So thank you for joining me for this entry. And if you made it all the way thru this behemoth of a post, gold star to you!

Until next circle my magical friends.

 

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Mini Rabbit Hole

Hello October Lovers and Fiber Friends!

Thank you for joining my little circle! Today our topic is the rabbit hole of mini skeins that I have fallen down, and I’m not trying to get up. It started with my Double Double Mini Kit, available now in the Sisteresque Fibers Etsy Shop. I had a sudden need to crochet something simple – I hadn’t crocheted in ages! So I thought, well why not a blanket for the cooler weather that’s coming. And while I’m at it, why not use my own minis to start so I can better show off how they work up.

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Double Double Mini Kit crocheted into my granny stripe blanket. Colorways from bottom to top: Cauldron Bubble, Toe of Frog, Eye of Newt, Toil and Trouble, Scale of Dragon.

I bought myself a new set of crochet hooks from Knit Picks just for the project. I wanted some hooks with grips for less hand soreness, and thus far they have been great. I started chaining with my Cauldron Bubble colorway until I thought it looked about as wide as I liked and started a simple granny stripe blanket. Just simple double crochet, chain space, double crochet base; then each row has 2 double crochets in each chain space and one chain space between them. I fell in love! Using my own colorways was so much fun, and the Plump Sock base I use is just perfectly squishy for a blanket!

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Black Magic Woman Mini Kit added to my granny stripe blanket. Colorways from bottom up: Double Blind, The Poison You Picked, The Evil Eye, Casting a Curse, Blood Binding.

I was running out of minis from my first kit and wanted to continue in my own Plump Sock Base. What else could I do? I had to create another mini kit! Further down the mini rabbit hole I fell. I created a second kit meant to be a darker version of my Double Double kit and this one I called Black Magic Woman. For those of you who have seen my Instagram feed or previous posts, I loved my green and purple (The Poison You Picked and The Evil Eye) colorways so much, I had to dye up yarn for a sweater! But I was also going to need another kit, so I went to my colorways for inspiration.

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Praise Poseidon Mini and my own little beaded ghost progress keeper. 

I found a few colorways in various blues that I had in my inventory and decided to dye a few more and put together a kit of blues. However, I also thought I needed a nice transition from the solid mini Blood Binding into my new In The Ether Mini Kit. So just for the sake of my granny stripe blanket, I dyed up Praise Poseidon, a mostly solid blue tonal with just a few little blue speckles. Further down the rabbit hole. Then I started in on my In the Ether Mini Kit.

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In The Ether Mini Kit crocheted into my blanket. Colorways from bottom to top: Spell in a Bottle, Phantasm, Speak to Me Spirits, Witching for Water, Patience Like a River

I’m now fully into the mini rabbit hole with In The Ether, loving all my minis and the Plump Sock squishy goodness of the crochet fabric I was creating! But just as with the other kits, once I got to the my 3rd or 4th colorway and knew I would run out of minis, I had to plan another kit. This time with some glamour!

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Monster Minis Kit inspired by Monster High Characters. Colorways from bottom to top: Spektra, Casta Fierce, She Wolf, Miss Cleo, Daughter of the Yeti. 

For my next mini kit trick, may I present: Monster Minis on Magic Sock! That’s right, its sparkle!! I was especially proud of how these colorways came out. I took inspiration from Monster High characters – not that I watch the show, but I’m fascinated with the concept of second generation classic monsters.

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Monster Minis matched to their inspiration characters. 

I’ve gotten to the end of my Monster Minis kit, and so off to the dye pots I went! What is the newest set of mini kit colorways? You’ll have to follow me on Instagram and my Etsy shop and right here on my blog to find out! They are drying as I type, and soon they will be available as full skein colorways or in another marvelous mini kit! I can’t wait to add them into my granny stripe masterpiece of my own hand dyed yarns!

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Current granny stripe blanket progress. 

Well, that’s all for this week Fiber Sisters and Brethren. Thank you all for joining my circle and sitting a spell! Stay tuned for my Not Rhinebeck Sweater and check me on Instagram @sisteresquefibers for an upcoming giveaway and coupon code during Rhinebeck weekend!

Also, if you’re interested in full skeins of any of my colorways and don’t see it in my shop, feel free to contact me! I’m happy to dye up special orders for any of my special fiber friends!

Wishing you a magical October!

 

DTK Pop Up Makers June Market

Hello Fiber Sisters and Brethren!

I am late to the game getting this post up. For shame! Life does happen, tho, and part of my self love right now is not to be mad at myself. So here it goes!

In June I had an opportunity to go back to Downtown Knits in Apex to take part in the Indie Dyer and Makers Pop Up Market! It was lovely to meet some new makers and of course, meet all the lovely fiber friends who came see and support us!

Even if you are not local to Raleigh, NC, you should definitely check out these lovely human beings and their goods!

First up, Oak City Soap, Kevin and Brenda! They are a husband and wife team creating, as their awesome tag line says, “Luxury soaps for dirty people.” Don’t you love them already?!

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I got to sit next to Kevin and Brenda and chat them up during down time, they are charming and friendly and everything you want in small business owners! Their products are gorgeous and smell even better!

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I bought some guest soaps for my aunt and my sisters for our trip to New York (blog later), a bath bomb for myself that smells like Fruit Loops cereal (incredible!), and some bath bomb sprinkle as a gift for my aunt. They were a hit!

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If you are in the market for pampering yourself, you much check out Oak City Soap, even if they aren’t local to you. I will say, too, they have items for men like beard oil and shaving soap. I think men are often left out when it comes to luxury soap and shower sundries, so I appreciate that I can get gifts for everyone from Oak City Soap!

Across from me at the market was the very sweet Michelle of Full Bloom Coffee Roasters in Dowtown Garner, NC. She shares my taste for buffalo chicken and also for delicious coffee!

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Full Bloom Coffee Roasters has a brick and mortar location in Garner where they serve their hand crafted coffee drinks, breakfast and lunch grilled panini sandwiches as well as locally brewed beers- what else could you want?! Besides to bring your knitting!

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I couldn’t resist trying their Honey Brew, a cold brew coffee in a very cool brown glass bottle that makes me feel like I’m drinking an old timey magical elixir from one of those traveling apothecary carts. I don’t know about you, but I enjoy that feeling! And the coffee was spectacular! What I love about their coffee is that it has coffee flavor and does not have that burned bitter taste that big commercial chains (you know who they are) tend to have.

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If you are in the Garner area, do stop in and see them! Have some coffee and panini, maybe stay long enough to enjoy a beer and some knitting! If you aren’t able to stop in, then check out their website for Full Bloom Coffee Roasters and order online! You won’t be sorry and you’ll be supporting the kind of small business that cares about creating a quality product that also happens to be Organic, Fair Trade, and Rainforest Alliance Certified. So you can feel even better about that glorious caffeine kick!

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You know the last maker that joined me at Downtown Knits for the Pop Up Market: it’s Miss Barbara from Super Stitchy!

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As per usual, Miss Barbara had a beautiful booth full of all the knitting and yarny goodies you could want! Here always amazing self striping colorways, her yummy variegated skeins, all the progress keepers and stitch markers you could need to bling out your projects and fabulous fun project bags to house it all!

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All in all, it was another fun and rewarding experience to hang with some hand makers and meet new fiber friends! Thank you again to Michele of Downtown Knits for putting it on in her wonderful shop! Stay tuned for the next Pop Up Market!

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As I have rebranded, I will have to rethink my booth set up to fit my new magical, mystical theme. I’m excited to relable my yarns and think up how to work my new mystical mojo to create a more cohesive brand! Wish me luck!

Thank you all for stopping, reading, and maybe even clicking to shop these lovely makers!

See you for the next installment in the Sisteresque Fibers saga!

So Cute, We’re Dyeing Podcast, Episode 2

Hello yarniacs! I hope your long weekend has been relaxing and full of craft time! Don’t fret that its ending, watch the new episode of the So Cute We’re Dyeing Podcast! I have my friend Barbara, Super Stitchy, back on the scene in her future dye studios for Episode 2: Stuffed Lambs – you’ll have to watch to find out why the title!

Watch on my YouTube Channel here:

Here are all the things you saw this episode!

Yarns:

HalesBee Handmade

Wool and the Gang

Biscotte Yarns

Desert Vista Dye Works

Carillon Fiber Studios

Craftsy Cloudborn

Hey Lady Hey

Wollen Boon

DebbieDuckYarns

Unplanned Peacock Studios

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Patterns:

Gull Beach Shawl (working title) by Barbara of Super Stitchy

Touchstone Shawl by Laura Aylor

Serenity Now Shawl by Jenny Faifel (Craftsy Kit)

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Bags and Notions:

Shop Sew Flo

Truffle Shuffle on Etsy (@truffleshuffle on IG)

Molly Klein Design on Etsy

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Other Stuff:

The Cute Plushie Rams are from Sorbet Jungle

My ‘Wine Goblet’ is from Full Lotus Pottery

Support Spindle and Fiber from FolkTalesPl on Etsy

Bowl is from Spinerosity on Etsy

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Thanks for watching everyone! I will also include some affiliate links for the needles we were using (yes, I do get a commission if you click and buy, thank you in advance).

Don’t forget to check out the sale I’m running in my shop!

30% Off DK Yarn  10% Off Minis, Mini Kits and Stitch Markers

Go to HalesBee Handmade to shop the sale thru June 2nd, 2018!

Have a great week everyone!!

Needles we were using:

Signature Arts Needles

Knit Pro Zings Melodies of Life Set

ChiaoGoo 9 Inch Circs

Hiya Hiya Sharps 

Addi Turbo Sock Rockets

DTK Pop Up Market Makers

Hello Fiber Friends and Fellow Yarniacs! HalesBee is back with some fellow makers and pals for you to meet! This past Saturday I took part in the first ever Indie Dyer Pop Up Market at Downtown Knits in Apex, NC. I was joined by a few fellow dyers and makers and we had a wonderful day!

I have a little video introducing my friends, you can see it here on Youtube:

To find everyone you see on the video:

DebbieDuckYarns

Shop: www.etsy.com/shop/debbieduckyarns 

Instagram: @debbieduckyarns

Facebook: www.facebook.com/debbieduckyarns

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Handmade by Zan

Shop: www.etsy.com/shop/handmadebyzan

Instagram: @handmadebyzan

Facebook: www.facebook.com/handmadebyzan

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Full Lotus Pottery

Shop: www.fulllotuspottery.com

Instagram: @fulllotuspottery

Facebook: www.facebook.com/fulllotuspottery

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Super Stitchy

Shop:  www.superstitchy.com

Instagram: @super_stitchy

Facebook: www.facebook.com/superstitchy

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Hey Lady Hey

Shop: www.heyladyhey.com

Instagram: @heyladyhey

YouTube: Hey Lady Hey

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Thank you so much to everyone that came out to support us! It was awesome meeting everyone! Thank you to Michele at Downtown Knits and her helpers, Nikki and Rachel – you ladies are awesome! And thank you to Debbie’s daughter, Rachel, for going on a coffee fun for us 🙂

I hope you enjoy meeting these lovely makers! Do come knit with us at Downtown Knits in Apex on Tuesday nights from 6 to 9! We always have a good time and we’re happy to make new friends!

Have a wonderful week, y’all yarniacs!

Love from HalesBee

 

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