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.

 

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

 

Podcast Episode 2: Short and Sweet

Hello again, friends! I have recorded another podcast episode! Yes, it is short and sweet, like me! Here are my notes on the patterns, yarns and whatever else I talked about.

You can watch the episode here on YouTube:

My Elphaba Shawl is in the test knitting stage! Stay tuned for it being published on Ravelry.

The yarn I used for my Elphaba Shawl is from Dragon Hoard Yarn Co. on Etsy. 

Other Patterns for my WIPs:

Flax Sweater by TinCanKnits

Serenity Now Shawl by Jenny Faifel, a Craftsy Kit

Touchstone Shawl by Laura Aylor

Pavement Sweater by Vera Valimaki

Breezy Wrap by Kristin Omdahl – from my March KnitCrate

Yarns:

My own hand dyed yarn from HalesBee Handmade

Haute Knit Yarn on Etsy

Iria Yarn Company on Etsy

KO Yarn from my KnitCrate Artisan Crate

Bag Makers Mentioned:

Knit For Brains Designs on Etsy

Crochetoneknit2 on Etsy (and Instagram)

The Fiber Festival I mentioned is the annual Carolina Fiber Fest, so you can mark your calendars for next year!

If I have missed anything, feel free to comment below! Or just comment below for fun! I hope you have enjoyed this episode. If you have clicked some of the links above and made purchases, I do get a small commisson from affiliate links. This means you are supporting my content, and for that, I thank you!

Watch for a full write up on the Carolina Fiber Fest and also on my Elphaba Shawl when it comes out!

Have a wonderful week!

Love from HalesBee

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Boxy Off The Needles!

Welcome to the weekend my crafty friends! And this weekend I am happy to have a big project of the knitting needles, my Worsted Boxy by Joji Locatelli. Now I just need to mail it off to mom and hope that it fits well 🙂

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Finished Worsted Boxy

For this pattern I used my own hand dyed Jack Frost colorway, which I do have available in my HalesBee Handmade shop on Etsy. I used my new Knitter’s Pride Zing Needles that I bought on eBay The pattern does call for US Size 9 needles, but I did go down a needle size to US Size 8. No, I did not swatch, I’m naughty knitter! But I know I have loose gauge, and the change of needles seems to have come out well.

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My Jack Frost colorway 

The pattern itself is very simple. I did the seamless version, as I prefer to knit in the round. I did choose the smallest size, but be warned – this pattern has a massive amount of stitches! There were times I felt I was endlessly knitting, but I think part of my impatience was over the fact that this was not for me. Overall, it was a very enjoyable knit.

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Backside of the Worsted Boxy

I am hoping to have some photos of mom wearing her sweater soon. I also hope it fits, as I really do not want to re-do this! I did enjoy this sweater, but as I wrote in my last blog post, I am desperate to do some selfish shawl knitting and work on my own shawl design.

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I hope you have enjoyed this brief update on the crafty world of HalesBee! If you have clicked the affiliate links above and made a purchase, I do get a small commission, which means you are supporting my content. For that, I thank you!

May your weekend be full of knitting and crafty goodness!

Love from HalesBee

Shawl Season All Season

Hello my merry crafting friends! HalesBee is back this weekend with some dream knitting, and this time it’s all about the shawls! I do love knitting shawls, partly because there are so many different construction methods and so many opportunities to play with color. This week I have been working on my Touchstone Shawl by Laura Aylor, available on Ravelry.

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Touchstone Shawl knit with my own hand dyed yarn. Colors shown are Coffee and Pie Oh My! and Remnants.

Touchstone is a simple shawl pattern, with just enough changes in stitch pattern to keep me interested, but not so complicated that I can’t listen to my favorite podcasts. I am using my own hand dyed yarns, available in my Etsy shop, HalesBee Handmade. This shawl is in a DK weight, so it may be a bit heavy for the warm spring weather here in NC. Though, I must say there are times I feel the need for a bit of air conditioning protection, so I’m excited to have this off the needles at the ready!

To add to my dream shawl knitting, today I received my February Artisan Crate delivery from KnitCrate! The yarn and patterns are from Toby Roxane Designs. The yarns are a light sport weight, super gorgeous and soft! The patterns are for a simple garter stitch triangular shawl, and a triangular shawl with lace work for intermediate knitters.

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Artisan Crate yarns, pattern, and extra little buttons.

The last bit of dream shawl knitting I have is a kit I purchased from Craftsy for the Serenity Now Shawl. The kit comes with Craftsy’s Cloudborn Merino Superwash Sock Twist, one full skein and a set of five mini skeins. The kit I chose is the Superb Starling mini set and a full skein of Grey Heather.

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As they often do, Craftsy had a sale going at the time I bought the kit. So I chose a second Cloudborn skein, Oatmeal Heather, that I may use instead of the Grey Heather. Feel free to comment if you have an opinion on which one goes best with the mini kit!

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I have been busy dying self striping yarn for my shop, so for now most of my knitting is dream knitting. I also am still desperately trying to finish mom’s Worsted Boxy so I can do some selfish knitting. Hopefully you will have an update on these fun projects soon!

That’s all for this brief entry into the diary of HalesBee Handmade adventures! If you have clicked any of the links above and made a purchase, they are affiliate links that give me a small commission. This means you are supporting my content, and for that, I thank you!

Wishing you a crafty weekend!

Love from HalesBee

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