The Crochet Wars

by Alison Stapleton

The war between knitters and crocheters continues unabated.

If you are not a knitter or a crocheter you may not be aware of the subtle war that rages on in parlours and coffee shops across the land. I was chatting with my friend Nicole the other day about this very issue.

I was chatting with my friend Nicole at Canadian Frost Apparel the other day about this very issue.

Like most wars there is a pointless tension between the knitters and the crocheters. No one knows when the animosity began but it crept in and is seemingly here to stay.

Let’s get straight to the point.

 

Knitters

Knitters use two needles with points. They may use a circular needle with points at both ends and a wire joining them, or, just to get tricky, they could use four double pointed needles for socks and tube-like things.

They have many stitches on their needles at once and sometimes hundreds for a large piece.

If they drop a stitch and it runs it takes serious effort to retrieve it. Yes, knitted stitches will run away from their mistresses.

Knitters often feel superior to crocheters as though to knit is to be better in some way. Crocheters never look down on knitters but they see them as their crafty cousins. Both use the same yarns and buy their supplies at the same store.

You can have a “knitting bag” but who has heard of a “crocheting bag” I mean really.

Crocheters

Crocheters use one hook and yarn. The hook can have a thicker handle to aid tired hands and make the act of crocheting easier for extended periods of crafting. This feature on hooks makes crocheters calmer and relaxed.

Crocheters have one stitch on the go at once.

Crocheters can easily make a circle, square or any three-dimensional shape. In fact, crocheting has been used to demonstrate the Möbius strip-like in the March Möbius cowl, hyperbolic crochet and other spatial concepts.

If you can knit and crochet be careful in which camp you pitch you tent.

Myths surrounding Crocheters and Knitters

  • Knitters are better looking than crocheters. False
  • Crocheters only use one hand. False
  • All knitters can crochet but not all crocheters can knit. False
  • All crocheter are old ladies and that’s why they have “granny” squares. False
  • All knitters are young and hip. False

Craft Groups

I once joined a knitting and crochet meetup group. When I arrived the eight women there were all knitting. As I took out my crocheting there were gasps of horror from the assembly.

Who was this woman? What was she doing here and with a hook?

One pleasant looking woman turned and said to me, “Oh, can’t you knit?”

I replied, “Yes, but not tonight. I’m enjoying my crocheting time.” Gulp.

I can knit and crochet. But, these days I prefer crocheting. It is easy and quick. I can do small squares everywhere I go and take them home to create a beautiful blanket or lapghan.

Out and About

I can crochet in the car or trapped in an aeroplane seat at 35000 feet. Here I have to use bamboo hooks as they get twitchy these days. But you can’t knit in a plane even with bamboo needles. It’s the point of the needle that annoys the authorities.

In the end you have to do what you like. Don’t be knitting because your mother did. If you prefer crocheting then forsake knitting for a while.

If you prefer the rhythm of knitting and can do it without looking then let that be your therapy.

Do what you love and love what you do.  It will permeate into your items and the love will shine through you completed items whether you used a hook or needles. 💛


Your Crochet Business in the New Year

by Alison Stapleton

If you have a micro crochet business the New Year is always a good time to plan your growth and direction for your venture.

It is at the turning points each year, and for most of us that is the start in January, that you can assess what you hope to achieve in your crochet business for the next twelve months.

You can also do a review of how things went during the past year before you start the plan for your new year in crochet.


Questions for You

Ask yourself the following questions and they will help you find your path in the New Year.

These can be answered towards the end of December each year as your business naturally slows down after Christmas.

Personally I do this in the week between Christmas and New Year. I take these seven days off from the main business of selling and interacting with my clients.

I spend this time with my family and friends. But there are now hours in front of the TV and this is when I consider what I’m doing and where I’m going.

With your crochet journal in hand consider the next 365 days of your crocheting life.


In the New Year

What will you do more of?

What will you do less of?

Who will you partner and collaborate with?

Which yarns will you choose?

Which items will you continue to make?

Which items will you never make again?

Do you need a better hook?

Do you want to do more designing?

Will you start a square-a-day blanket?


Honesty

Be honest. Write it down you can always go back and change things later.

You can use your crochet journal to capture your thoughts and plans for each new Year.




Square-a-Day Crochet Blankets – 3 Options

by Alison Stapleton

Square-a-Day Crochet Blankets

A crocheted square-a-day blanket is easy, quick and it almost grows when you are not looking.

You make one square each day of the year to reflect what was happening every day. At the end of twelve months you have a crochet record of how the year was for you.

Skills required

Because the effort you have to expend is only one square a day it can easily be done by beginners and experienced crocheters in a few moments each day.

If you are a beginner this project will help you get better at a simple granny square that will stand you in good stead for all of your crocheting life.

if you are an experienced crocheter you can add this little square to you repertoire of other crochet work that you have on the hook.

The square-a-day blanket is a perfect complement to other crochet work in progress (WIP) which you may have. The square-a-day blanket is a big project and will take you all year to finish. This means that you can also do other crochet work in-between.

Small, medium and large

It is always a good idea to have more than one project on the go, a big one (like this blanket), a medium one like a hat or shawl and a small one like a bookmark.

It is advisable to have large and small pieces and this blanket falls into the small pieces section because you can take it with you.

Basic square

The squares you do are a basic two-row granny square motif. The two rows can be one colour or in some cases (see below) with two different colours in each square.

You can do one, two or three square-a-day blankets and we have three suggestions of blankets that you can make this year.

 


3 Types of Square-a-Day Blankets

Three types of daily square blankets that you can make and are explained here are:

  • A daily rising planet blanket (astrology related)
  • A daily high temperature blanket
  • A daily mood blanket (your feelings)

Your life – your blanket

Clearly you can think up other ways to do the square-a-day blanket depending on interests in your own life.

If you are a gardener you can do one for planting, seedlings, flowers and fruits in your garden. The first rose bloom or the first apple on your trees. This is a good one as the seasons change and the garden lives a dies off over the year.

If you live in a rainy area you could do a square-a-day rainfall blanket.

Let the blanket reflect your life and the things that are important to you.


1) Daily Rising Planet Crochet Blanket.

For this blanket you will make one square for each day of the year.

The colour for each square is chosen depending on which planet rises before the Sun every day for 365 days.

Your blanket can be either 14 x 27 squares and this will make a long oblong blanket or it can be 18 x 21 squares which will make an almost square blanket.

Either way there is no simple way to make a rectangle that is 365 days so there will always be a few squares over and the left over squares can be where you write, or embroider, the date and year for the blanket.

Sunrise and the Pre-dawn Rising Planet

The pre-dawn rising planet (in fact this is also known as the Oriental Plane)t is the planet that rises on the eastern horizon every morning before the Sun at dawn.

This rising planet will change over the course of a year as the Sun and the planets move through the zodiac.

Choosing the Colours

You will use one colour for each planet. In astrology the Moon is considered a planet as well.

Moon – white

Mercury – taupe

Venus – pink

Mars – red

jupiter – blue

Saturn – grey

Uranus – turquoise

Neptune – mint green

Pluto – maroon


The Make-a-Square-a-Day method

Because we do in fact know which planet will rise before the Sun this blanket can be started and you can push forward with the daily squares if you choose.

But the best way to create this type of daily blanket is by making one-square-per-day which is the main idea.

This is a big project and it can be done alongside other smaller or medium sized projects that you have on the hook.

To make one small granny square and crochet it together will take you less than thirty minutes every morning or evening.


2) Temperature Blankets

There are two ways to do the squares in the temperature blankets. You can simply do the daily high temperatures or the high/low temperatures.

Daily high temperatures

In the high temperature blanket you take the daily high for the day where you live and crochet the square in the pre-determined colours you choose.

So for example in Vancouver the highs are about 26C in summer and 4C in winter.

So each degree on the thermometer can be one colour or you can designate one colour to cover two degrees because there are only so many colours of yarn in one make.

Daily high/low temperature blanket

The other option is the high/low temperature blanket.

In this blanket you do a granny square with two rows where the first row is the low temperature and the second row is the high for the day. This makes a more colourful combination of squares in the blanket.

The only thing is that you need a wider range of colours to cover the low temperatures as well.

Example colours for a temperature blanket

Zero and below white

1C to 2C cream

3C to 4C grey/taupe

5Cto 6C light blue

7C to 8C teal

9C to 10C green

11C to 12C lemon

13C to 14C yellow gold

15C to 16C orange

17C to 18C pink

19C to 20C hot pink

21C to 22C red

23C to 24C magenta

25C to 26C violet

27C to 28C purple

29C and above black


3) Daily Mood Blanket

A mood blanket can be done by crocheting a square in the mood you wake up in each morning.

We all like to think we are upbeat and happy each and every day and that is the goal of most people but reality is different. The only problem with this blanket is that you may be in a sad mood for many days and the blanket will bear witness to this.

Also if you get halfway through the year and your cat dies you will be is a sad mood for weeks and this will show in the blanket.

The mood blanket will reflect life as it really is. If you feel comfortable with making a mood blanket here are some suggested colours that you can use for each mood.

Example colours for a mood blanket

Anger – red

Joy – orange

Happiness – yellow

Envious – green

Sadness – blue

Optimistic – indigo

Inspired – violet

Bored – white

Tired – black

You can choose the colours beforehand and hopefully you will have a happy and cheerful year.



 

Crochet Pattern Refresh

by Alison Stapleton

We have a reputation for top quality, technically correct original crochet designs and we will not let you down.

We want you to find our patterns to be as relevant in ten years time as they are today and as such we have set in place many desirable features that we think you will appreciate.

There has been much thinking, planning and talking between myself and Lynn that has gone into our new strategy.

To make it easier for you this year we have streamlined the design of our downloadable patterns.


What We Did

Crochet Pattern Layout and Design

Before this year all of our patterns were in landscape orientation and condensed so all the information was printed on two page,s or on both side of the sheet, with a centerfold. In this way the patterns opened out like a book and they were handy and could be taken with you in your crochet bag.

But you have told us that this is not how you use our patterns.

Today you read the patterns from your smartphones and iPads and so we have formatted our patterns in portrait style. We have increased the color (as previously we were thinking of saving your printer ink), image sizes and we have refreshed the images and layout.

Color is a creative medium and we are happier with the clarity that has come to the patterns simply from better layout practices.

Now there is a clearer image on the cover and we have standardized our branding across the media websites and patterns with a fresh color palette and header fonts.

These details are cosmetic and do not in any way change the actual pattern instructions, but they do add value to your purchase of our patterns and the license you have to produce garments and a items from our patterns.

Your Favorite Crochet Patterns

The actual pattern instructions themselves stay the same. If you bought one of our patterns before the instructions are the same. If you buy a pattern now it will be in the new format and easier to use on mobile devices which is where you use them.

These changes are a process which we are working on and they will all be done eventually as we go through all the patterns.

Crochet Pattern Updates Available

If you bought our patterns from Ravelry you will get a new update of the pattern automatically. If you bought one of our patterns from this website, or from Craftsy or our Etsy shop you can email us for an update.

Please use the contact page at the bottom of the page.

You tell us you enjoy our up-to-date and on-trend patterns and we have responded with a new selection in the sections for the coming year.

Pattern Categories and New Yarns

This year we are tightening our niche and doing what we love and do well. This means we have let go of areas that aren’t working for us and focused on a new batch of high detailed pattern selections.

As we change our living style we seek ways to live a happy life with creativity and family and friends nearby.

This way of living can be supported by a lovely home with modern accessories in the kitchen and bathroom (or as our daughters now call it their “spa-rooms”).

So we are preparing to share with you beautiful and stylish items in our kitchen and dining pattern section, and the bath and spa pattern section.

Building on the need for fresh local cooking and rejuvenating soaks in the tub Lynn and I are focusing on our pattern areas as laid out below for 2016.

We will be Offering more Lifestyle Crochet Patterns for:

  • Women’s casual: Shawls, ponchos and wraps
  • Headwear: Ear warmers and headbands
  • Neckwear: Scarves, cowls and snoods
  • Bath and Spa: Candle covers, washcloths, shower balls, vanity mats and baskets
  • Kitchen: Tea towels, wash-up and floor mats
  • Dining: Table runners, placemats and napkin rings (or as we love to call it napery)

Local Sources for Natural Yarns

We will be bringing in more 100% natural yarns like wool from sheep, alpacas and cashmere, and cotton (raw and mercerized), but probably not silk (as there are challenges in the silk manufacturing process), and also yarns that are natural and manmade blends.

We are going to feature more yarns from our local area in Vancouver and British Columbia and surrounds, and using Canadian wools and crochet products more.

We will redefine what it is to be considered a local yarn, and we will evaluate the benefit of imported yarns when they support rural communities in developing countries. This is an area that needs more understanding.

The idea is to use less acrylic and more natural fiber because natural yarns save the environment and are biodegradable. This is a complex process and I will be telling you more on our yarn choices later.

Change is not easy. We are creatures of habit and like to do things the same way as before, but there is a time for change and if we take it one step (or stitch) at a time you are welcome to come along with us.

Alison and Lynn


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Know Your Dream Customer

by Alison Stapleton

You start to crochet the day you pick up your first hook (the day before that you had never held a hook and knew not of this captivating craft).

From that day onwards (we shall call it Hook Day) you can say you are a crocheter to some degree.

Although it may take weeks, months, years (or never) for you to turn your crocheting into a micro-business.

When you decide to set up in a crochet business there are many things to think about before you get-going and start to sell, because selling something is what being in business is all about.

You may produce crocheted goodies, designs or your skills or a combination of these options. It depends on you and what interests you enough to keep you going through the early tough days of your business.

Your Dream Customer

I used to think that my dream customer was anyone who bought my stuff. Maybe you think this too, but take that thought another step forward and tune into who exactly your dream customer is and could be.

If you know who your dream customer is, it is one way to decide on the thrust of your creative and promotional effort. This is important as we, as crocheters, only have so much creative effort each day and it is best not to waste it.

They say you can make more money but not more time and this is very true for creative types which I’m sure you are as you are reading this article.

You need to work out whether you will sell:

  • Crochet supplies bought wholesale
  • Your handmade crochet goods
  • Your own crochet patterns 
  • Crochet classes that you teach
  • Crochet books and videos
  • Kits for beginners with a hook, yarn and pattern
  • Other – because you never know

If you are going to sell your hand-made crochet goods like hats and scarves you can sell them:

  • By word of mouth and thus in your local neighbourhood only.
  • At a local shop (kids shop or kitchen store for example) – locally
  • At craft fairs – locally and regionally
  • Through an online shop like Etsy – globally
  • On an auction site like eBay – internationally
  • Other ways you can think of

If you are going to sell digital goods like patterns, eBooks or videos there is no choice, like above with your actual physical crochet hats and scarves, you will sell your digital products online and globally to an international market.

This means all of these types of items need to be very clear and use standard crochet terminology and easily understood by all.

Your Dream Customer has two facets

The thing is, who is your customer and more importantly where is your customer.

There are four areas in where your customers are found:

  • Locally – In your neighbourhood where you can walk, cycle, bus or take a cab to reach them and you sell face-to-face
  • Regionally – In your area around 200km tops and it takes a bus or car ride to get there and you sell face-to-face
  • Nationally – in your country – you send the goods by post in the mail
  • Internationally – Anywhere in the world and you send the goods by post in the mail

It depends again who they are:

  • Individuals
  • Businesses (shops and retailers)
  • Wholesalers (who buy in bulk and sell to retailers)

Examples of who is, and where to find, your dream customer

Your dream customer may:

  • Live in your neighbourhood
  • Live near regional craft shows where you have a stall
  • Live in your country and buys one item for personal use and to give to friends.
  • Live anywhere.  Likes your style, your goodies and your message.

It may take some time for you to decide who your dream customer is. But the benefits to you of this simple exercise are immense in saving time, money and effort. Not to mention the agonising over why things are not working if you are pitching to the wrong people or madly crocheting things that they don’t want.

“When you know who your customer is it tells you where to expend your creative and promotional effort.”

If you have an online store

There is no point making twenty winter hats if you live in a warm place unless you have an online store selling to cold areas like, north America, Canada or northern Europe and you sell winter hats all year round.

If you have an online store you can sell all items both physical and digital all the time.

If you sell locally or regionally

There is no point in stockpiling multiples of the same item if they are not selling.

Be aware of seasonal changes (summer and winter) and adjust your stock of made-up items to suit. Don’t carry winter hats through the summer if they sit on your shelves waiting to be bought and don’t carry summer lacy vests through the winter.

Rather have a sale in the spring (and move your winter hats) and a sale in the autumn (and move your summer tops)  and reduce them to a lower price. This will free up your cash so you can buy more yarn and make what is in demand in the next three months or so of summer. This is known as cashflow.

Some crocheters like to have made-up items of whatever their speciality is neatly folded and in plastic bags ready for shipping. Whilst this is good (to be organised so you can find thing when they do sell) it does not make sense to carry stock over the wrong season because you have money invested in these items.

These are some ideas to think about as you craft your next project. they are points I wish someone had told me way back when I started selling my crochet goods.

I hope you find them of use as you grow your own crochet micro-business by knowing your dream customer.


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