2018 Reading & Project Challenges

I’m not good at setting New Year’s resolutions, but I love participating in challenges. Maybe it’s because most of the challenges I join are public and everyone can view my progress. Outside accountability helps me meet my goals.

Every year I challenge myself to read at least fifty books, and I use Goodreads to track that challenge. After I failed miserably by only reading fourteen books in 2014, I decided to focus my efforts and never let that happen again. Since then I’ve surpassed my goal every year, setting a record of 108 books in 2017.

This year Ravelry is starting a project challenge, which I’m pretty excited about. I’ve always been good at keeping track of the books I read, but when it comes to tracking what I create, I tend to drop the ball. Participating in this challenge should help me keep track of and document everything I make. I set my goal for twenty-four projects, since I have no idea how many things I create in a year, and two a month seems reasonable. I have a lot of projects lined up because now that the holidays are over and I have no craft shows in the near future, I can finally make things for myself and share some of my own patterns. This challenge should also help me blog more because I’ll be sharing everything here!

Spring Craft Show: Lessons Learned

My first craft show didn’t go as well as I had hoped it would, but I definitely learned a lot that will help me be more successful next time.

Lesson #1: The time of year matters . . . a lot.

I will probably stick to fall and holiday craft shows from now on. People didn’t seem to be interested in buying crocheted accessories in the spring. I got so many compliments on my headbands, and the friend I was sharing a stand with received tons of compliments on his scarves and fingerless gloves, but no one bought any. Most people were walking around with lawn ornaments and other spring-esque purchases. The only things that sold well were my friend’s amugurami octopi (he sold all five!) and flax-filled heating pads. The other problem is that no one is buying gifts right now, which is probably why I overheard a lot of other crafters commenting on lower sales.

Lesson #2: It’s impossible to predict what people will like and/or buy.

I put some things out on the table that I didn’t think were that impressive, just because we had more room than we anticipated. I got some nice compliments on them, but none on some things that I thought were really cool. I think the key is to have a variety of items, and rotate them to see what sells. You never know what will end up drawing someone in.

Lesson #3: Don’t undervalue your items.

I didn’t get to wander around much, but I saw some crocheted items being sold REALLY cheap. I don’t price my items high. In fact, I’ve been told I should up my prices sometimes, but I’d never sell something at or below cost unless I was desperate to get rid of it. When I was researching craft shows and pricing, I found some great posts about this problem with some good advice on how to price items fairly and make a profit.

There are plenty more posts out there, but I’ve found these to be most helpful. I think my biggest failing was not really knowing my audience, which is going to be an issue since I’m just getting started.

Lesson #4: Don’t give up!

I think I’d be more discouraged if my goal was to make money. My motivation for doing craft shows and selling my creations is to support my yarn-related obsession, make things that make people happy, and keep my house from being overrun by everything I’ve made. This is my hobby and I never want it to feel like a job, because I’ve talked to so many people who’ve had to take a break from something they used to love for that reason. I’m to the point now that I’ve already made pretty much everything I need or want for myself (except this. I NEED THIS!), but I’m not going to stop crocheting. I just need to keep working at making my future craft show endeavors more successful. I’m the kind of person who learns best from experience, so the fact that my first craft show did not live up to my expectations is probably a good thing, because now I’ll be more focused on improving. I already have a lot of cool ideas to share!


Getting Started

I’m slowly, but surely, getting this site under control. I was about to give up on WordPress, but I think I’ll stick it out and see if I can make this work. I may need to try out different themes to see if there’s one that suits me better. For now, I’m going to take the advice I’ve been given and abandon my perfectionism and just get started. Sometimes I feel a little overwhelmed, because it’s been so long since I’ve tried something creative and new, but taking risks is important, and I have very little to lose with this one. Truthfully, just the act of starting this blog, setting up an Etsy store, and creating a Facebook page for everything I’ve crocheted, has made me ridiculously happy, which is more than worth it!

Everything is a learning experience in the end, and sometimes things that don’t turn out the way we planned still have the ability to make us smile.