What does it take to get from an idea in my head to a finished product, ready for sale? It is not as simple as just creating something out of the blue. Planning, drawing and making samples, patterns, creating the actual item, and the finishing of the item are all part of the process. Sometimes, after a lot of time and effort, you decide that the idea is a complete flop. Other times—you have something that fits with your company’s image and brand.
When I decided to try to create a version of the Katniss Cowl, I started with a pattern from Lion Brand. The pattern did not work even though I crocheted to gauge—I checked it—both before and after blocking.
Then I changed the pattern, I actually prefer to make things my own. After 4 different attempts, I decided to scrap the project. This was a time critical project. Once the Hunger Games movie ran its course, there would be no reason to sell this particular cowl. Chalk this up to experience.
That left me with multiple skeins of expensive yarn. I needed to create something else with it. Again, this took me a while. Finally I decided to use the yarn to make scarves. Right now, this is what I am working on. Two different scarf patterns emerged from the Katniss Cowl flop. One design is a cabled scarf that is being created in purple wool. The second is a lattice pattern in Tunisian Crochet that uses the yarn set aside for the Katniss project. Both pieces will be on Etsy shortly.
After I swatch, block, design and create an item, there are still other steps in the process. The item has to go through a finishing process. This is done by blocking the item to size. I hand wash the crocheted piece, then I block it to the correct size. I am lucky to have an amazing husband who made a blocking board for me—it is lightweight and somewhat portable. Blocking is done either by steam or washing. I always wash first, just to remove any oils from my hands and other stuff that may have accumulated anywhere from creating the yarn to being in a warehouse to shipping it to me, and finally ending up as a finished piece.
After I wash and block the item, it has to dry. Then I have to photograph it—this is not one of my strengths. Having a good camera helps. Finally, it is ready for sale.
I hope that this gives you an idea of what it takes to make and sell a handcrafted, crochet item.