1/29/2015

Little Penguin Amigurumi

I volunteer at my daughter's school library about twice a month and love hearing about what the children are reading. I remember going to the same school library as a child (it seemed so much bigger back then!) and poking through the shelves with all the treasured titles. It was one of my favorite times each week.

The current school librarian is an amazing lady. A former music therapist and experienced children's librarian, Mrs D. always has fun activities to go along with the week's titles and great challenges on deck to get the kids into sections of the library they wouldn't otherwise discover. If it were up to me, Mrs D. would have an unlimited account to buy stuff for the school library. But I guess the school does need things like textbooks and physical education supplies too.

"Penguin and Pinecone" -- seriously... go buy this book!
This week's volunteer time introduced me a to a new title, "Penguin and Pinecone" by Salina Yoon. It was love at first sight. I mean come on... a penguin who knits a scarf for his pine cone friend? What's not to love?

Mrs D. had me cutting and assembling penguin paper dolls for the kindergarteners and first graders to use during imaginative play. They were adorable, but flimsy. We were both a little sad that they probably wouldn't hold up for one class -- let alone six.

I headed home and pulled out the hook. In next to no time, I had my first draft. I showed it to my daughter and asked what she thought -- and boy, did I get some constructive feedback! In fact, this design represents the FIRST collaborative pattern I've ever done with my daughter. I'm pretty excited about it!





After delivering a batch of penguins to the school library (if you're anywhere 50 miles from our school, you probably heard the librarian's squee), I got busy on a penguin pattern to share with the world. You can get the new pattern in my usual outlets. Download it here or from Ravelry and you'll pay only $2 for the pattern. Or you can get it from Etsy for 99 cents more*.

Want the full pattern details? You can find out what stitches, hook, and yarn you'll need here. And happy crocheting!

1/04/2015

Changes for European Union Customers and Reduced Pattern Pricing

Kimchi gets his "mouse on" to help out
I'm lucky to be able to offer my patterns through several different venues, including Etsy, Ravelry, and KnitPicks. With the new European Union (EU) value-added tax (VAT) going into effect, I've had to make some changes to the way I do business on these sites -- but I think that in the end, it's going to make for a more consistent experience for most of you.

So, what's changing?

Well, for starters, I can't afford to use instant downloads for my EU customers anymore and I'm terribly sorry about that fact. According to what I've read, the only way to avoid collecting the VAT for EU member countries is for me to manually email my pattern files. And, unfortunately, the only site that currently supports this is Etsy.

What will happen to EU customers?

My Ravelry pattern shop and the "buy now" links from my web site are now set up to redirect all EU customers to Etsy. This is going to be a good-news, bad-news situation for you guys, but bear with me.

My policy for selling through different venues has always been to add the fees on to the base pattern price. So, if my base pattern price is $2.75 and PayPal takes 25 cents, I charge $3.00. Ravelry and KnitPicks charge me next to nothing in fees, so the prices you see in those venues are base price + PayPal fees. Etsy, unfortunately, charges quite a bit more.

Previously, I considered Etsy a luxury and tried to divert as much traffic through my web site and Ravelry as possible. My Etsy prices were a reflection of that. But now that I'm forcing EU traffic through Etsy, I understand the need to offer a fair pricing scheme. To help with that, I've decided to reduce pattern prices across Etsy to be more reflective of the Ravelry and KnitPicks pricing.

Yes, unfortunately, my Etsy prices are still a bit more than if you were to purchase on Ravelry or KnitPicks, BUT after reviewing the models for adding VAT to digital items, I think that you will see that the pricing is consistent with what you would pay once the VAT is added anyhow.

Why not sell on LoveKnitting?

Many pattern sellers are making the jump to LoveKnitting, a UK-based pattern and supply site that has offered to collect VAT for sellers like me. I did evaluate the site, but determined that the addition of VAT along with the fees LoveKnitting charges (they actually charge MORE than Etsy) would make it impossible to price my patterns fairly. Simply put, even with the extra fees on Etsy, I can give you a far better price there than I would be able to give you with LoveKnitting.

What happened to Craftsy?

While Etsy and Ravelry are both offering some kind of solution to help sellers process the VAT changes, Craftsy has done absolutely nothing. As a result, I have removed all my "paid" patterns from this site and am leaving only the free downloads. Hopefully, they will come up with a solution in the coming months that will allow me to use them again.

Ok... you said there was good news... what is it?

Lower prices on Etsy
As I went through my patterns and looked at sales, I noticed several that weren't selling well. I have either reduced the price on those patterns or made them free downloads. Likewise, I have reduced many of my Etsy pattern prices -- so if Etsy is your preferred place to shop, you'll notice some significant discounts.

I'll be highlighting some of the new free patterns in the next few days.







I hope this clears up the changes you have been seeing with my sales and I will be working hard to see if I can come up with a more seamless solution that doesn't involve forcing customers to purchase at certain sites. Hopefully, I'll have more news to report soon!

12/19/2014

Can't Help but Love Kimchi

He was kind of an accident and I never really expected to fall in love, but fall in love I have with a little guy who calls himself Kimchi.

The yeti pattern sat in my book for almost a year before I got around to publishing it and when I finally did write it up, I was so convinced no one would buy it that I quietly self-published the pattern (I originally intended it for a call for submissions for a yarn catalog).

Since then, Kimchi has been at my side, a little partner in crochet crime and a reflection of my inner mischief maker. Those things I wish I could do but don't (because, well, I have kids and have to set an example)? Kimchi does them.

He also shares my delight for kimchi. It's funny -- I used to hate the stuff, but now I can't get enough of it! Yum!

Anyhow, as the holidays near and Kimchi and I finish up the gifts, we wanted to let you know that we're thinking about all of you in bloggy land and wish you the brightest of holidays. We also wish you much health and happiness in 2015.

Cheers!

P.S. If you'd like o make up your own little yeti friend, you can get the pattern here. Please share your photos with us too -- Kimchi would love to have a few pen pals! You can find us on Facebook and on Instagram.



10/03/2014

No-Sew Halloween Patterns!

You only need to look at my pattern collection to realize that Halloween is my favorite holiday. There's just something about having a blank check to eat as much candy as you want AND play tricks on those who don't comply -- it speaks to me.

Unfortunately, having a child with significant food allergies puts a pretty big damper on the holiday. We still love dressing up and going out to trick-or-treat, but when she gets home, with her loot, we end up having to "trade" 90 percent of her haul for soy and dairy-free alternatives.

The classroom is no better. The class Halloween party ALWAYS focuses on food, and there are so many treats that my Little Miss has to miss out on. Since she started kindergarten last year, I've been trying to make that different for her: we give tiny amigurumi instead of cupcakes.

Of course, with a class of 20+ kids, who has time to sew all the little arms and wings? To answer that question, I've come up with some new, no-sew patterns. In fact, the only sewing on ANY of these three patterns is the optional embroidered faces (you could also paint or glue faces if you prefer).

You can find all three patterns through my usual sales outlets (Ravelry, Etsy and Craftsy) -- or download them right here on my website. The ghost and bat are $1 each and the pumpkin is free.

Happy Halloween!


8/12/2014

The Little Yeti

My friends on Instagram have seen a lot of activity lately over one new little friend... a fuzzy little yeti named "Kimchi." Kimchi was one of those creations you whip up "just cause," but he quickly got lots of love from fellow Instagrammers. The Little Miss (who quickly yeti-napped Kimchi) thought that everyone should be able to have their own little yetis if they want one, so I set to work on a pattern.

And... after quite a bit of trial and error -- the pattern is finally ready! My new yeti pattern is designed for sport weight yarn and an E hook. It also uses a pet slicker brush to get that fluffy fur look (don't worry, I walk you through how to do it in the pattern.

Kimchi the yeti with -- you guessed it --
kimchi pancakes!
You can get your own copy of the yeti pattern through all the usual sources (Ravelry, Etsy, and Craftsy) or get all the details right here on my web site -- and start hooking on your own fuzzy little abominable monster today. In fact, you might want to make two -- these little guys are so cute, they have a way of being yeti-napped right out from under your nose!

The yeti-napper!

7/23/2014

Rosie Roly Poly

This summer has been the summer of bugs... OK, maybe the summer of isopod crustaceans to be more precise. My daughter (the Little Miss) has been obsessed with finding all sorts of critters -- from daddy long legs to lightning bugs to the perennial favorite, roly poly bugs. Of course, we've had more than one discussion about why her new friends are NOT allowed to sleep in the house and more than one pout about having to return her newly-captured critters to the outside. I figured it was time to take mercy on her plight and give her a critter that was truly cuddle-worthy, and Rosie was born.

Despite her huggable size, Rosie is just a baby roly poly (or "pill bug," as we used to call 'em when I was a kid). The pattern is relatively short and works up in a couple of hours. You can choose to add the optional bow, or leave it off to make a boy roly poly -- even spice up the world of isopod crustaceans by making a one-of-a-kind colord roly poly -- the options are limitless!

As usual, the pattern file is available on Ravelry, Craftsy, and Etsy (please bear in mind that you'll pay a little more on Etsy to offset the cost of selling in that venue -- but you can take advantage of the instant download and credit card processing [no PayPal] there). Find out all about the new pattern here, or head to one of my shop sites to get started hooking your own "Rosie" now!

7/09/2014

Sewn!

That's it. The last piece is sewn... the ends are woven in... and my massive undertaking of a granny blanket is FINALLY in one piece!

What started out as a year-long undertaking, became the worst WIP anxiety I've ever had, and resulted in 360 individually-pieced, 4-inch granny squares is finally a blanket.

Now to decide how to edge it........

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