Micro Macrame Jewlery, Tutorials, and KIts

Friday, June 22, 2007

Yes, I Am Raising My Prices

I have mentioned in the past that I receive quite a bit of feedback from friends, family, and other concerned persons that my prices are too low. Now I expect my friends and family to tell me this. They love me and may be a bit biased. However, they are not the only ones telling me this.

I have mentioned (in previous posts) that I agreed. I believe that the skill, and creativity I put into my work is definitely worth more than I have been charging. And I have told you about my strategy to start low; let people get to know me and my work before charging more.

For me, pricing is one of the hardest parts of this business. I have been on forums where many other artists seem to have the same problem. My conclusion is that one must try the formulas, and a bit of trial and error.

I have given this a lot of thought. I am officially raising my prices. Not a whole lot in most cases, but yes, I am doing it. I have decided to leave items previously listed at My Etsy Shop at their old prices. As I list new items, however, I will price them according to a new higher scale (in my formula). Postal costs have recently risen, and I have lost money on shipping, so some of my shipping charges have also gone up a bit.

So, it may be that you will find (in my shop) an item priced higher than one that is very similar. I hope this announcement will help prevent confusion.

Monday, June 18, 2007

KnotGypsy News

I know, I know...It has been too long since I posted. What? About 10 days? I do have an excuse. I actually have a few excuses.

First, Etsy has been having some technical difficulties for the last several days. Alas, when I checked this morning, the problems were still being worked on. People can still buy and sell, but there are problems with page loading times, newly listed items not showing up in search categories, view count stalled, and a few other glitches. I decided to stay away from Etsy (except to check in to see if there were any orders to fill). I probably should have blogged about it to warn you, but at the time my reasoning was to let things slow down and stay quiet. (I have noticed that after a new blog post, I get more traffic at Etsy.) By avoiding attention, I reasoned that I would not add extra strain to Etsy. My reasoning was affected by:

Bead Fever. Yes, I have been in a Bead Fever. Scarlet (my muse) has had a tight grip on me. Perhaps in anticipation of all the new beads I had ordered. My recent patterns and kits have stirred up some interest, and I have sold several of each. This depleted my bead stock and any excuse will do to buy new beads!

So while waiting for the beads, and for Etsy to stabilize...

I have been playing. Having fun with some design ideas I got while trying to fall asleep. I sketched them out at the time, and put them in my notebook. Now seemed the perfect time to see what they could do...

Photo at top is of a necklace that took hours and hours to make. Over the course of 3 days, I worked on it. Some of the time was spent working out the design, and some time was spent solving technical issues with it. Much time was spent stringing each tiny bead, and tying each tiny knot, I learned a lot, and feel quite satisfied with the finished piece. It is almost finished; awaiting only the clasp...

Same with this bracelet below. It awaits the clasp.

The clasps arrived to day in my bead order. I had ordered some sterling silver, and some vermeil (14kt gold over sterling silver) clasps just for these more intricate pieces. So I know what I will be doing soon, but not until after I play with the new beads!

The things I learned from these two projects and a few samplers I made have given me ideas on how to use the new beads. One thing just leads to another. As I beaded, more ideas would come to me. I have been sketching furiously to capture them.

And here are the new beads. Sorry the lighting is a bit yellow in spite of the daylight bulbs I use. There are too many reds in the bead pile. I could take everything outside, but I really just want to play with them. It is an effort to sit here writing when the beads are in the TV area calling to me. calling...

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

New Beaded Micro MacrameTutorial

I have finished "Waves Bracelet"! See photo. I included instructions on expanding this bracelet into a choker, and on how to make matching earrings. So, this tutorial is more than a pattern! I am listing it in electronic copy or paper copy.

This elegant design is a fairly easy one to make and would be good for beginners. The only 2 knots used are the Square Knot and the Overhand Knot. The trickiest part is the finish, but even that is not that difficult. It just requires a little practice and dexterity. Don't worry, I show you how in the tutorial.

As with all my basic designs, there is lots of room for creativity. Just vary the colors, the focal beads, the number of seed beads, etc and get a different look.

As always, I provide continued support in case you have questions regarding the pattern instructions. I have a website Knotgypsy Designs Workshop specifically set up for this purpose. I have opened a small forum for questions and answers, as well as general discussion of beading and micro macrame. There is also a contact form you may use to contact me directly. This will be my third published tutorial, and therefore the forum is not yet very active. Maybe you will be the one to break the ice!

I am also listing a couple of kits of supplies for those who just want to try one out before going out and buying everything in quantity. The kits will probably be listed tomorrow, as I have been working on this tutorial all day, it's late and I am tired. Find the tutorials tonight in My Etsy Shop. Look for the kits after tomorrow evening. Happy Beading.

Speaking of beading, I have a project I want to get started on...Scarlet calls.

I've Been Thinking...

Yes, I know it is dangerous, but I've been thinking.

First, I have been thinking of my eCrater Shop. I have only gotten some views; and not many at that. I had hoped to get better exposure from it, but alas, it has to be promoted itself. Well, eCrater is fine, but I love Etsy. So, I will keep my Etsy shop, and phase out my eCrater shop. After all, I only need one shop to promote.

Second, I have been thinking of my website. It is near time to sign up for paid hosting. (I want to get rid of those ads.) Now, Bravenet, my current host is great in a lot of ways, but I found something I think is better for me and my needs. NearlyFreeSpeech.net seems to have what I am looking for. They are a no frills host, so I have a lot to learn about them and ...

...I found WordPress. They host free blogs using their blogging software. I love their software! It not only has the normal blogging functions, you can also create static pages. You don't have to use their hosting service, the software is downloadable.

I really want to create one website with my blog, and some static pages for my ShowCase, WorkShop, Materials, etc. I have loved Blogger, and will keep it for my personal blog. I just want to consolidate my KnotGypsy blog and website, and this seems the best plan for me.

This will take some time, as I have a lot to learn about installing it on a hosting service, etc. I am hoping within the next couple of months, I will get this accomplished. I know, I have undergone rebuilding before. It must seem that I am fickle. Please remember that when I started this in January, I knew practically nothing of the internet. I had no idea of what is out here. It has all been a learning experience. I really think this will be the one I stick with. Really.

Third, I continue to receive feedback that my prices are too low. Actually I agree. My strategy has been to price low until people get to know me and the quality work I do. Perhaps this strategy was good, perhaps not. I have been told that when people see prices too low, they do not value the item. That they think it is no good. Well, I take pains to design my jewelry to be durable as well as beautiful. Maybe it is time to raise the prices. I have begun inching some of them up already.

News: I have completed the photography on "Waves" and should have the tutorial done by the weekend. As long as Murphy does not notice me and cause something to go wrong.

I better get back to work on the tutorial for now...

Monday, June 4, 2007

Beaded Crochet Ponytail Holders

A great way to cool off for summer! Get that hair up off your neck with one of these. You can find some at My Etsy Shop later today, or read on to find out how to make your own.

A good cure for burn-out is something new to play with! I had gone out to lunch with a friend of mine last week. She was wearing a cute ponytail holder. It was crocheted, so I thought "I could do this". Well, when I got home, I started right on it. This yellow one is one of my end results.

The next photo is of the first one I actually made. Except for the color of course, it looks very much like the one my friend wore. I chose a Scunci brand elastic ponytail holder with no metal parts. Then I strung about 60 to 80 size 6 seed beads on a ball of crochet cotton. I then crocheted about 60 to 80 single crochet stitches around the ponytail holder for the first row. The second row is 1 double crochet stitch into each single crochet with 1 chain stitch between each double crochet. On the third row, 1 double crochet on the chain stitches with: 1 chain stitch without a bead and 1 chain stitch with a bead in between each double crochet.

Then I just played around with the number of rows, and the number of single crochet stitches to start with, etc. These next two are what I came up with.

Then, I wondered how it would look with fuzzy yarn. Something to keep your ponytail warm in the winter!
I then decided to try some of my Omega Brand nylon crochet thread, and went for a frillier look. I achieved it by crocheting at least 80 single crochet stitches to the first row. Then for the second (and final) row, I stitched a single crochet stitch into each single crochet (of the first row) with 3 chains in between (the second one having the bead slipped in).

Feel free to try this yourself, I reserve no copyright on this pattern. If you are a crocheter, you should find it fairly easy to figure out. I encourage you to experiment to get the look you want. They were a lot of fun, as it takes just about a half hour to make one (once you get your pattern down). Part of that half hour is stringing all those beads in the beginning!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Celebrate Summer by Showing Off Your Ankles

My cure for burnout was to make some "Spirals Anklets". They are easy and quick to make; giving me immediate gratification. No, I didn't buy new beads yet. I am waiting until I can afford to make it a big order. So I just went into my bead stash and began using up some beads I have had lying around.

I have made 14 anklets so far. I made them in a variety of colors and sizes. I am out of buttons as I put them all in the kits for the tutorials. So, as you can see, I just used lobster claw clasps.

I just listed 4 of them in My Etsy Shop, and will be listing the rest over the weekend. Gotta take advantage of "The Time Machine". (The Etsy "Buy" page has several ways to search for items. "The Time Machine" shows recently listed items.)

Sorry, I have not yet finished the newest tutorial "Waves". I have selected the materials and cut the cords. I should be able to get the photography done on Monday or Tuesday. Hopefully I will have it all done by next weekend.

Copyright 2007 Donna Littlewood