Wednesday, November 30, 2011

And Now For Something Completely Different

Meet Scarf 55: The Yeti Scarf. This fuzzy little number, in case you can't tell, is an entirely different animal. Knit, not woven, from thick and fuzzy white yarn, Scarf 55 is an homage to the yeti.

According to my husband, who blogs about trends in yeti imagery in popular culture, Yeti - aka Abominable Snowman - has become a beloved mascot of the holiday season. When chatting about scarf ideas he asked if I could make a yeti scarf and I just couldn't resist.

Knowing that weaving would crush the spirit of this furry yarn, I knit this little guy up in a traditional length with gently ruffled ends for a dash of interest and added weight.

Watch for it soon in my Etsy shop.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Styling scarves for their photographs can be a slippery enterprise. Scarves don't always like to lie flat against the background, they don't usually agree to stay in the shape I carefully arrange them in, and they generally enjoy flipping and flopping and sliding out of place.

After taking about a dozen photos of each scarf (sometimes more if they're being especially truculent) I come back to the computer, where I quickly sift through them and toss out the duds. I was just flipping through my recent shoot and noticed these two, below. I immediately deleted the photo on the left, then thought you might enjoy seeing the comparison.
Can't you just picture me cajoling Scarf 49? "Now be a good little scarf and stay put!" If only scarves liked lollipops.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Defining Success: More Thoughts on My First Craft Show

Happy Monday, dear Readers! I'm back with a little follow up on my first craft fair last Friday. I had so many kind words and good wishes from all of you - I'm sure it made it more of a success! Which brings me to my point - how do you define success? I didn't sell out or make a fortune, but I still consider Friday's fair experience to be a successful one. Here's why:

1. I put my best foot forward.
In the weeks leading up the fair, I did lots of research on successful fair setup and behavior. I put in the hours and made everything I needed to look professional and appealing, including banners, receipts, a catalog and order forms, and of course my trademark tags. I spent time designing my table for maximum appeal, using my grandmother's high chair for added height.
Both of my neighbors (the booths to the right and left of me) have been selling at craft shows for a few years and were impressed with my setup, so I felt good about the time that went into perfecting it.
I used Square to accept credit cards, which I got set up a few weeks in advance. This impressed my buyers, made payments easy, and helped me look and feel more professional.
I followed the advice of experienced craft show sellers and maintained a friendly-but-not-pushy banter with shoppers, engaging people as they walked by without being phony. This sounds straightforward, but was a surprisingly difficult line to toe.
In the end I felt good about how I'd presented myself and my shop (especially compared to other sellers who - understandably - sat around looking bored). I was able to come away knowing that I couldn't have done anything better to increase sales.

2. I had fun.
In all honesty, I'm usually a bundle of nerves about this sort of thing. I'm not a big fan of adrenaline, but boy does it get pumping when I have to make a public appearance. Not this time! I managed to feel pretty cool and collected and unworried, perhaps because I knew I'd set everything up as best I could. This was a huge triumph for me, and helped me to feel like I could do this again.
(I also wonder if my newfound relaxed-ness comes from all the lessons I've been learning this year about letting go. Hmmm.)

I had lovely visits from my parents-in-law and close friends whom we rarely get to see. While Henry was off exploring with them, I chatted with my booth neighbor, Julie, who makes the most charming line of wine accessories. I'm especially fond of these owl wine charms. She was so warm and friendly and happy to share her experience..
On my other side was a huge booth of handsewn things for babies and tots. My favorite was a placemat with chalkboard fabric - it was so fun to watch all the kids come right up and start drawing - they knew exactly who and what it was for!

I also really enjoyed chatting with shoppers. Because I wasn't stressed about whether or not I'd sell much, I was able to be present and have fun engaging with people inan honest way.

Oh, and did I mention I got to pet a reindeer? So fun. The one with littler horns is only an eight-month-old baby!

3. I learned a lot.
I took the time to chat with craft show veterans, noticed what sold and what didn't, and approached the whole day as a learning opportunity. It was interesting and often surprising to see which scarves people were attracted to - in short, pom poms and ruffles!
The biggest lessons I learned were to offer a few cheap items and to choose the fair carefully. Which brings me to . . .

4. I recognized the factors that were out of my control.
As swanky as the set up was, this fair did not attract shoppers. What few shoppers we got were there in the first hour or so - and those were sparse. The rest of the day was packed with families going to and from all the activities the resort was hosting - reindeer,owls,RadioDisney, parade, etc. They all had tiny tots in tow and were not in a shopping mood at all. The hotel had encouraged us to stay late to take advantage of all the traffic, but it was easy to see that not all traffic is created equal. They zipped right by on their way to see Santa.
If I had had lots of cheap things for kids I might have done a little better, but even then that's just not what the people were there for.
It was also a warm, sunny day - not the kind of weather that makes people think, "I need a scarf!"

5. I chose my goals and expectations carefully.
Henry and I had lots of conversations when I started this project and carefully considered its implications. I did not want to take on another project that could end in failure. And while I did want to make money, we decided not to include a financial goal. Instead, we stated the goal as "To make and market one hundred scarves."
I went into this craft show with the expectation of learning something - not with the expectation of selling a lot. I gave it my all - making tons of scarves in the weeks leading up to it and marketing the heck out of it - so I met my goal.

6. I felt really good about the scarves that did sell and the people who bought them.
Because I wasn't stressed about not selling more, I was able to really appreciate the positive selling experience I did have.
My first sale was a surprise gift for a niece.The aunt and her nieces came shopping and the niece fell in love with Scarf 38.
She spent a long time trying it on, comparing it to the others, explaining that it's already cold where she lives in North Carolina, and admiring the colors ("her colors," according to her aunt). As they moved along down the hallway, the aunt darted back and said, "Put this aside - I want to get it for her." Well, you should know me well enough by now to understand that that just made my heart sing! I just love sweet people.

My second sale was to my mother-in-law, who fell for one of my newest favorites - the soft and heathery Scarf 49. (Considering that she gave me the loom and a fair amount of yarn, it was awfully nice of her to buy a scarf, don't you think?)

And the third and last sale was to our friend as a gift for his mom. Henry has known him since middle school and he and his wife are just the sweetest, funniest people with the sweetest, cutest kids. It was a treat to see them and an honor to provide this gift for his mom.
He described his mom as "elegant," so we picked the shimmery, shiny, go-with-everything Scarf 30.

Thanks for all your support and good wishes! I'll be flexing my craft fair muscles again this Saturday at the Iguana Grill from 12-5. See more about the Lake Travis Christmas Bazaar on Facebook!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Cyber Monday Sale!

In case you missed it on Facebook or Etsy, I'm offering a 25% off coupon valid through Monday night. The coupon code is CyberMonday2011 - feel free to share!

30! New! Scarves!

Here's how I'd planned it - I'd wait to list any new scarves until after the craft fair so that I'd be sure to have a full booth. Then after the show I'd list everything that was left to kick off the holiday shopping season. Even this morning when I got up I thought I'd be parked on the couch with my laptop for about three hours of uploading new listings.

The reality was a little different. It took 10 hours (yes, for real) minus two 15 minute breaks for breakfast and lunch to post the 30 remaining unlisted, unsold scarves. Whew! Many thanks go to Henry for regularly bringing me coffee (which I don't even normally drink!). And nope, that's not even all of them pictured above. Click on the picture or the link on the right to go to the shop and browse them all.

As I went along I kept tabs on how many of my scarves were being seen. Etsy has a handy Shop Stats page, where you can see your number of Views (how many times someone looks at your page), Favorites, and Sales in any given day, week, month. I could even see how many views I had per hour throughout the day.

I snapped this screenshot when I hit 100 Views from just today - certainly the highest number I've ever had!
Views don't necessarily translate to sales, but when you're sitting at the computer for eight straight hours it's nice to know someone is noticing. :)

I promise to be back soon with more updates from the San Antonio Craft Show - I only sold three scarves, but I learned a lot, made new friends, and got to pet a reindeer. Hope you're having a great holiday weekend!

Friday, November 25, 2011


Reindeer have nothing to do with my scarves, except that they are here at the resort where I am selling today. But aren't they amazing?! Check out those antlers!

In more relevant news, I've sold one scarf to a stranger and one to a family member who stopped by. I hope you're having a good Black Friday or Buy Nothing Day (whichever way you lean)!

Hyatt Hill Country Resort Craft Show

We're here! All my prep paid off and setup was pretty straightforward. We have such nice neighbors and a lot of people drifting through have complimented the scarves.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers! I feel so incredibly thankful to have so much support for this little project that has made such a big difference in my life. Thanks for reading, thanks for buying, and most of all thanks for cheering me on.

Wishing you a wonderful, warm, and relaxed holiday filled with much to be thankful for!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Packed and Ready to Go

The studio is quiet, my work table is empty, and all my scarves are packed into two boxes. A third box holds gift wrap, catalog and order forms, and all the little support materials needed at the fair. Even the gum has its own little place in the fair tray. For once, every item on my to do list is checked off. All I have to do now is pack some clothes and enjoy the holiday!

Waiting for Their Close-Ups


Today is my last day to prepare for my first fair. Tomorrow my partner and I will be celebrating Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday!) with our families, and on Friday we'll be at the Hyatt Hill Country Resort's Holiday Craft Show, hopefully selling some scarves.
Today I have to reluctantly put down the loom - with Scarf 56 half warped on it - and pick up the camera, the circle cutter, the gift wrap, the credit card program, the sales tax info, the suitcases, and the almighty to do list.
Already this week I've made banners, designed a catalog/order forms/coupons/receipts, picked up all my scarves from Flock Gifts and Mind Body Yoga, cut and stamped gift tags and fair signs, and - oh yes - made four more scarves.
If my to do list is telling the truth, it will all come together in time. I'd ask you to wish me luck but I'm beginning to realize I ask that of you quite often. Maybe it's time to set luck aside, roll up my sleeves, and get to work, eh?

I have the last 10 or so scarves to photograph this morning, and fortunately the sun is cooperating. I may be back with updates if I have time to edit the photos today. If not, here are a few snaps from the studio this week.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Let's Not Forget Our Long-Legged Friends

As much as I love the new infinity scarves, we can't overlook the tried-and-true long and flat scarves for men and women. Oh, how I wish I had time to sing each of their virtues to you! But I have a date with a loom, so pictures will have to suffice. Happy Friday!

(You may have noticed that I'm not posting Etsy links lately. My Etsy shop is alive and well, but I'm saving new scarves for my upcoming Black Friday Craft Fair at the Hyatt Hill Country Resort in San Antonio. Since it takes a while to create each Etsy listing, I'll wait to share what's left after the fair.)

Fuzzy & (Slightly) Felted: Scarf 35 & Scarf 36

Scarf 33: Experimenting with Infinity

I'd seen a lot of infinity scarves popping up on Etsy, so I thought I'd give it a go. Having never knitted or worn an infinity scarf I wasn't really sure what to expect. Scarf 33 was my brave trailblazer and I'm so pleased with the territory it has opened up for me.

Right after making it, I took it for a test drive out to coffee with a math teacher friend. I showed her how it worked and she exclaimed, "It's a Math Scarf!" This made me laugh, and I can't help think of this as my Math Scarf. It's true - it's a lovely example of a mobius strip - but that's not why I love it. It's just so cozy and soft and every time I put it on it looks different.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

To Infinity and Beyond!

Meet the infinity scarf. Twisted and tied together like a mobius strip, the infinity scarf is easy to wear a variety of different ways. What makes my infinity scarves extra fun is the little bit of fringe, where the warp ends have been tied together and trimmed. This fringe can be tucked behind the neck so they're out of sight (above and below left) or used to add an extra bit of flourish (below right and far below).

Infinity scarves can be thin, light, and decorative, like this lovely green number:

Infinity scarves can be thick and warm and wintery plush, like this gray beauty:

Worn long or short, wrapped once or twice, showing off fringe or hiding it or simply pulling the fringe through the loop - I'm having lots of fun with infinity scarves!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Revisiting Ruffles: Scarf 40 & Scarf 45

Meet two new ruffle scarves with dashingly different personalities.

Scarf 40 is a confection in wool & acrylic - ruffles in gray, blue, and teal on either side of a charcoal gray stripe. Soft and snuggly, with the same versatile properties of earlier ruffle scarves and slightly thicker for extra warmth.

Scarf 45 is an entirely different animal - vertical felted stripes in burnt orange with soft ruffled stripes in speckled greens & reds. Scarf 45 is wide and thick but not too long, perfect for wrapping around the neck twice and tucking into a coat.

Afternoon in the Studio

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