Happy Valentine’s Day ❤️


I’ve never been very fond of Valentine’s Day…er…singles awareness day? Even though I’ve been very happily married for almost ten years now, Valentine’s Day is probably one of my least favorite holidays. I mean, I like chocolate just as much as the next girl, but I don’t want a special day set aside just for all of the yummy romanticism. It is cliche and overdone. I don’t do cliches. But anyways, there ARE some really cute valentine’s themed crochet patterns out there, and I just have to Feature some of my favorites for this month’s featured Friday!

Crochet Patterns To Purchase

I mean, these heart dolls from MakeItEasy Classroom are just stinking adorable! Those are some very well-made Hearts, and the addition of facial features, limbs, and the other details are just perfect. It is important to consider that she uses UK crochet terms and not US ones…there IS a difference.

This crochet heart beanie pattern has been making the rounds on Pinterest. I’m actually tempted to get this one from CAABCrochet and make up a few for my daughters. It’s the color combinations that make it so adorable. I particularly like the confetti look up at the top near the Pom Pom. Just a little bit of detail that is easy to overlook, but makes a big difference!

If you’ve got some gifts to give this Valentine’s Day, I can highly recommend these precious tapestry tags. I imagine that they look just as good on the back as they do in the front. HighlandHickoryDsgns has done an excellent job with the shape of these, too. Just think of the color combinations you could play with…scrap buster!

Happy Patty Crochet has several flower patterns that are just lovely. Not only are these just gorgeous creations, but the look pretty simple to duplicate. If I had the time, I would make these up and display them in my house all year long. Everlasting flowers that don’t require water or sunlight…a simple shaking could remove dust, or you could probably wash them on a gentle cycle in the washer machine depending on the yarn you use. Delightful.

Free Crochet Patterns To Enjoy!

I knew there just had to be a perfectly adorable love bug pattern available somewhere! Laura Kaltman has managed to fir that bill with this tiny little thing. Available on one of my favorite pattern sites: Ravelry! Heart-shaped wings, heart-shaped antenna and the Valentine’s Day traditional colors of pink, red, and white make this a perfect toy for small children 😊

I’m not a huge fan of wreaths in general. Most of them feel too 80’s for my preference. But, for those or you that are so inclined, RepeatCrafterMe has a really cute love wreath that is prefect for Valentine’s Day. Those tiny crochet hearts could have a lot of applications, too.

Not to be left out, I have to include my own emoji hearts pattern! I had a lot of fun working up this quick little pattern. The free version only includes the heart pattern, but you can purchase it for just a few dollars (discounted for Valentine’s Day) and get the addition of how to make several different Kawaii-styled emoji facial expressions.

And because she’s just such a wonderful designer, I also have to Feature this table runner also from RepeatCrafterMe. If you are hosting a Valentine’s Day party, this would be just perfect to set the mood. It’s sure to get a tone of compliments, too!

How To Personalize Your Crochet


Personalization is a VERY popular right now. The baby quilts with the names on them are stinking adorable! Vinyl stickers with the monogramed-style initials are showing up EVERYWHERE-computers, lunch boxes, yeti tumblers. Children’s clothes with the cute, unique phrases sewn onto them are making appearances in high end boutique stores across the country. And I am constantly coming back to the thought: how can I make my crochet personalized like that? It certainly is a challenge, and one I have considered a played around with for almost three years now. I’ve had some botched projects that weren’t worth the time and effort that I put into them. I’ve also had some wonderful projects that I probably could sell for $50, $60, even $70!! And who doesn’t dream of earning $70 for a two-hour crochet project? There are actually several different ways that you can personalize your crochet. And good news for you, I’m going to share them with you today!

The Bobble Stitch

Bobble Stitch BlanketProbably the best way to personalize a blanket is with strategically placed bobble stitches. You can do whole quotes, names, infant stats, subway art, and probably anything else that you can think of. I simply adore these blankets that say “you are my sunshine, my only sunshine”. The biggest downfall, I think, would be the amount of yarn needed to make all of those bobbles. Not a difficult stitch, but definitely a yarn-hungry and time-consuming kind of stitch.

Appliqué

Harry Potter Appliqué I’ve only seen these in two ways. Either someone cuts out the desired shape in felt and hand-sews or attaches it to the crochet fabric, or someone crochets a flat shape and adds it to some more crochet, or a different type of fabric. Like these Harry Potter scarf appliqués that I made recently (you can get the free pattern HERE), where I hand-sewed the crocheted neckties onto cotton onesies. So, you can crochet a flat image and attach it to an article of clothing, like what I have done with the neckties. Or, you can cut shapes out of felt and attach them to a crochet project, like these pumpkin hats.

Tapestry Crochet

This method of adding personalization can be very intimidating to beginner and intermediate crocheters alike. Usually done in single crochet stitches with several colors in smaller hook sizes. You are suppose to carry each color along with you, crocheting around them and the stitch you are working in. It sounds complicated, but as someone who has completed several pretty amazing tapestry crochet projects, it isn’t as difficult as it might sound. As long as you know how to change colors, you should be ok to complete something like this. There’s a ton of CUTE tapestry crochet projects, and as long as you can create or read a graph, you can make absolutely anything that you want to…You can check out a bunch of tapestry crochet styled projects on THIS blog post that I wrote earlier last week. This is a great way to do the monogrammed initials. Make dish-cloths, trivets, baby blankets, hats, bags, purses…anything that you can make in single crochet stitches, you can use tapestry crochet with.

Surface Crochet

Surface CrochetA fairly newer method of creating some beautiful details would be through surface crochet. I like how you don’t have to use single crochet stitches for this method to be effective (although it does work best). So, create your garment, and then go back and add slip stitches, or single crochet, or some other stitches will also result in unique patterns.

Cross Stitch

My least favorite method of personalizing crochet has to be cross stitching. So, how this works, is you create a garment from single crochet stitches, and then stitch your embroidery with a series of x’s sewn right into the fabric. While I may not be very fond of the finished look, this is a great way to add very precise edges on your work and can include a bunch of different embroidery techniques. Sewella has an excellent video tutorial about how to accomplish some beautiful projects with this method.

Tunisian Crochet

Personalized CrochetAnother method of personalization is a very unique form of crochet called Tunisian crochet. This is kind of a mix between crocheting and knitting. So, you know how knitting is done with two needles and you go back and forth between the two needles casting on one while casting off the other? Well, Tunisian Crochet is done with one hook, it’s still considered crochet more than knitting, but you do cast on the hook, and then cast off the hook. Once you figure out what you are doing, this is a fun way to add personalization to crochet. I like using this method for hat brims. Like tapestry crochet, each stitch can represent one square in a graph pattern. Here is a picture of some hats that I made several years ago for some dear friends.

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I love how versatile crochet is! With all of these different ways to personalize your crochet, you are bound to be at the top of your industry in no time. How adorable would it be to mix different methods into one product, to? I sure would love to see your finished personalized projects…share your pictures with me below

Princess Leia *FREE* Crochet Pattern (part 1)


I love returning customers! They know how to work with me, and not only do they know what I am capable of creating, but they appreciate the time and effort that I put into something. When a previous customer comes to me, I will put them top of my list and fulfill their requests first, every time. Not to mention the 15% discount that these returning customers get to enjoy time and time again! There are perks to being a loyal Family Bugs fan for sure.

I might adore custom requests even more! So many times I have very many ideas of what to crochet next floating in my head. So many ideas, in fact, that I struggle to narrow it down to just one, or find difficulty in focusing on just one through to completion. I cannot even number how many works in progress I have going on right now, and I just purged my closet, throwing away several of these wips! So, when someone make a specific request, saying “can you please make me something?” I put it at thetop of my “to design” list, and then I have a deadline, and the motivation to get it done! Because I know a very specific person is just waiting for me!

So, when a returning customer asked me earlier this month to make a Princess Leia Crochet Costume for her 3-mo daughter for Halloween, I knew I just had to do it. And I also knew that the pattern had to be available for all of my wonderful fans as well! It fits right in with my disney princess collection, too! Because there are so many parts involved in this costume, however, I’ve broken it down into two parts. This is the first part consisting of the dress pattern, and in a couple of days I will be publishing the second part which will contain the crochet patterns for the light saber and Princess Leia’s iconic braided hair/hat/wig.

You will need a size h crochet hook, and worsted weight yarn in white and grey. That’s it. As far as materials go, this is a pretty simple pattern. I have also tried to stick with basic crochet stitches: ch, ss, sc, dc, dc2tog, and increases. As with all of my crochet patterns, my goal is to keep the directions as simple as possible. So if you have any questions, feel free to shoot me an email 😊

SKIRT

Designer notes: Dress is worked from the bottom up. Using white Ch 78
RND 1: Sc in second ch from hook and all the way across. (77) Being careful not to twist, Ss to first sc to join into a large circle
RND 2: ch 2, dc all the way around (77), ss to first to join
Designer’s note: If you want to add length to the skirt, for an exceptionally long infant, or just because you want it longer, this is where you should add in. Just repeat RND 2.
RNDs 3-10 Work 3 dc2tog somewhere in each RND. Ss to first to join, ch 2. Final stitch count after RND 10 should be 54

BODICE

RND 11: dc all the way around (54) color change to grey, ss to first to join, ch 1
RND 12: sc all the way around (54), ss to first to join, ch 1
RND 13: sc all the way around (54), color change back to white, ss to first to join, ch 2

RNDs 14-19: dc all the way around (54), ss to first to join, ch 2. Finish off after RND 19

STRAPS

Make two: Ch 17. Dc in third ch from hook, Dc in each stitch across (15). Finish off. Attach both Dc chains into the bodice with 13 stitches in between in front and back; 9 stitches in the underarm.
Insert white anywhere along the neckline and repeat the following all the way around: Ch 3, skip next stitch and ss in the second for a total of 24 ruffles.

SLEEVES

RND 1: Insert hook in the back corner where the strap meets the bodice. Sc all the way around the arm hole (25), ss to first to join and ch 2
RNDs 2-13: dc all the way around (25), ss to first to join, ch 2. Finish off after RND 13.

EMBELLISHMENTS

Princess Leia’s dress has these three grey circles right along the belt of her dress. Make two of the smaller ones, and one of the larger circles.

RND 1: ch 2, work 7 sc stitches all into the second ch from hook (7), ss to first to join and ch 1

RND 2: inc all the way around (14), ss to first to join. Finish off to form the smaller circle, ch 1 and continue to RND 3 for the larger circle

RND 3: *inc, sc 1* all the way around (21), ss to first to join and finish off.

Attach the larger circle in front center of the grey waist band. Attach the two smaller circles on either side.

How To Handle Project Overload


HAve you ever been here? Where there’s just too much in your mind all at the same time and you don’t know where to start, or what to work on next. I am there right now. Project overload. My brain is overwhelmed. My house is a disaster, I’m behind on blog posts, I’ve got three crochet projects in mid-completion, with another 3 that need to get done sooner rather than later, there are school programs, PTO duties, we are going out of town in a couple of weeks, Mr. Lovely’s birthday party which is also doubling as a halloween party, and I am so behind on laundry it is ridiculous. And this doesn’t even take into account the normal every day activities, like helping the kids with homework, daily bible readings, weekly bible lessons (I teach Wednesday evening bible classes, and participate in a Monday morning lady’s study), cleaning the kitchen at least twice a day, preparing food for all of my Little’s to eat…yeah, they need to eat too,. And I’ve been in such an artistic rut the last two weeks that I’ve literally been flitting from one crochet project to the next without really accomplishing much on any of them. So, I am sitting down and I am making a plan, and you get to be privy to my plan, because I guarantee you this is a universal plan that will get you through your project overload as well!

  1. Write it all out. Get a planner, use a calendar, or just grab some notebook paper, and write out your to-do list. Don’t use a digital app, or editable download…I know it’s “easy” and tempting, but you need to write it down on physical paper with a pen (or I like to use crayola markers, lots of colors make me happy). A digital copy of your to-do list is way too easy to close out of and forget. Yeah, your calendar app is able to send you notifications, but be honest with yourself here, how often do you just click on it to make it go away without every accomplishing what you were suppose to? I do that way more often than I care to admit. Write it down on paper.
  2. Include daily tasks and calendar events. I don’t like to do it, but if I don’t then it is all to easy for me to forget entirely. Parent-teacher conferences are scheduled for Monday morning, and that is time that I will not have to work on something else. Write it down on the list, plan around it accordingly.
  3. Prioritize. Some projects are going to be time-sensitive, and others are not. For example, I’ve got a Halloween costume for a customer that is right smack at the top of my list. It needs to get done as soon as possible, so that I can mail it off, and make sure that she is going to get it in plenty of time for her precious little trick-or-treater. Making a Harry Potter themed baby gift for my dear friend is not a huge priority right now, he only JUST announced that he is expecting twins. But, it is a quick project that will take an afternoon, maybe two, and those kind of projects can be a nice break, and rewarding to cross off the to-do list. Crocheting some fingerless gloves for myself, though, that can get put way at the bottom of the list…I don’t NEED fingerless gloves. I’ve survived the past 7 years in the bitter winters of West Texas without them, one more isn’t going to cause frostbite so severe that I lose my fingers. Laundry is only sort of important, BUT, it can get accomplished in between the other tasks, I can throw a load of laundry in, and while it’s washing I can get the floor ready for my Roomba, or work on a project, or any other item on my to-do list.
  4. Get dressed. Very seldom do I go through my day in my yoga pants (I.e. my pajamas). Getting dressed will create a productive mentality, and you will be ready to get done what you need to. Even on those days when I don’t “get dressed”, I do still put on appropriate undergarments and my shoes. It makes a noticeable difference.
  5. Keep to your daily schedule and routine as much as possible. I have a very predictable routine now that all of my kids are in school: wake up at 6:00, eat breakfast, help the kids get ready, take them to school, get myself dressed, clean the house and run errands, fix lunch for me and Mr. Lovely, sit down to work on my business, pick them up from school, help them with homework while working on dinner, eat dinner, spend some time with my family (or other evening event), get the kids ready for bed, and then I get a few hours to work on my business some more, before I start crashing at 9:30. When I am feeling overwhelmed by everything that needs to get accomplished, it is important that I keep to this routine as much as I possibly can. This helps so much with the overall stress of my life (and in direct correlation, the rest of my family can run smoothly and stress-free as well). Sometimes, the urge to just sit down and crochet the day away is very strong, but it require self-discipline to keep on task and get life situated properly. I can work on my Crochet much more efficiently if my surroundings are clean, organized, and fresh-smelling.
  6. Mark things off of your list. As you are able to, “get ‘er done!” Start at the top of your list, because you already prioritized what was most important, and start crossing them off as you get them accomplished. It is so very satisfying to be able to visually see what you have gotten done in the course of the day, or week. And maybe you need to add some stuff to the list, or change the order around, and that’s ok. Draw arrows, change numbers, scratch it up however you need to. There’s an art-form in there, as well. If it becomes too illegible, rewrite another clean and fresh one. No shame in that.
  7. Unwind. This point cannot be stressed enough (pun unintended). In order to keep your stress levels under control, and optimize your own efficiency, it is important for you to take some time to decompress. Twenty minutes. Take a walk outside, draw up a hot bubble bath, enjoy a nap, journal. Spend twenty minutes doing something therapeutic for yourself. When it’s done, take a deep breath, and get back to work feeling rejuvenated and refreshed!
  8. Feel accomplished and unstressed. You got it all done. Looking back, you may not be sure HOW you got it all done, but you did. Take a deep breath, pat yourself on the back, and take the next day or two “off”.

This is how I have handled “project overload” in the past, and I’ve been very successful at keeping my productivity high and my stress levels low. A question that I pose to my children often (that they’ve grown to hate) is, “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer is “one bite at a time”. You can only be in one place at a time, Do one thing at a time…so, make the most of the time that you have available. What sort of routine do you use to manage those feelings of overwhelm?

Family Bugs’s 5 Secrets To Being The Top Crochet Artist


I started selling my crochet a month before my youngest daughter was born. In retrospect, that was probably the most stupid decision I have ever made. I had a 2-yr-old, a 1-yr-old, and a however-many-months-old and trying to crochet for a profit. There were weeks when the housework just did not get done, and the meals did not get planned, and the kids watched way too much Netflix. But, I became very good at crocheting and at selling. I never gave up, and seldom slacked off, doing the research, and developing the skills. Now, almost six years later, my children are all in school and I am a very successful and professional pattern designer. So, what are my secrets? How did I manage a creative business while also raising three children? In retrospect, there are five key ingredients that I implemented from the beginning to get me where I am today.

  1. Prayer. While that may seem irrelevant to a business, and I’m sure several entrepreneurs try to keep religion and work separate, I am a strong believer that God is carefully intertwined in every aspect of our lives. I found a very direct and obviously noticeable correlation to my prayer life and the success of my crochet business. When I was more zealous in praying and studying the Bible on a daily basis, my business was much more successful. And when I say much, I mean immensely. I don’t mean that you should read the Bible and pray every day for the soul purpose of growing your business, that is not how it works. Putting God first, however, puts everything else in perspective, and I like to think that He was blessing me accordingly.
  2. Patience. I’ve spent almost six years working to get where I am today. It didn’t happen in a week, a month, or even two months. My etsy shop was open for three months before I got my first sale. And it was a very LONG three months. I did get sales through Facebook much quicker, and I remember rushing to fulfill Christmas orders in the hospital just hours after giving birth to my ladybug baby.
  3. Tools. Well, duh! But more than just having the right tools for the job, use quality tools. It may be tempting to create with red heart super saver, but your product is not going to be very high quality. Yes, it will last forever, and never unravel, and be washable, but the end result is just not very pretty or comfortable. Besides, everyone and their dog has access to red heart super saver, using that common yarn will not make you a top crochet artist no matter what you make with it. Invest in some good fiber, and then mark up your prices accordingly. It will be so very worth it! While you’re at it, don’t forget to use smaller hooks. I have seen so many Amigurumi dolls that were made with too big of hooks, and after they’ve been stuffed, there are white gaping holes throughout where the stuffing can easily squeeze out.
  4. Change. Of course there is changing trends that you need to keep up with. It is ok to make “yet another owl hat”, I promise. Just make sure that you are making the best owl hat that you can. Also, change according to what you are selling. When I first started making dolls, they were big, floppy, and did not sell well at all. But I LOVE making them, so I adapted, changed, used better yarn and a smaller hook, used safety eyes instead of button eyes, gave them names and a personality (read THIS post), and now they sell like hot cakes. If you’ve got a product that you just really enjoy making but it isn’t doing as well as you would like, change it up. Maybe try different marketing methods, or advertise differently. Don’t give up just because one thing isn’t working.
  5. Perseverance. When I first started, my husband spouted off a whole bunch of business related statistics. Like, how 50% of businesses don’t make it past the first year. Well, I was determined to make it. And that is the joy of a crochet business – as long as you are creating and selling, you are still “in business”. If you keep going, you’ll have to get better, and make more sales, and earn more income…it’s a spiraling up effect that is so much fun. It takes 100,000 hours of experience or practice to become a professional. Keep on swimming 😊

It doesn’t require a business degree or an artsy education to be the best. Do the work, stay on top of trends, update and adapt as needed, and use your common sense. Have you discovered any amazing secret to being the best? Please, share the wealth, and we will all succeed together!

How to Nurture a Blog After It’s Been Created


Maintaining a crochet blogThere are hundreds upon thousands of blog posts written about how to start a blog. You can do it in under 20 minutes. There is definitely not a shortage in helpful people who want to add even more noise to the blogosphere. But, what do you do after you’ve started your blog? How do you get your voice to be heard above the millions of blogs that already exist? THIS blog post from Impact branding & design has some shocking statistics on business blogs. I was especially shocked to read the blogs have become the 5th most trusted source for accurate online information. Whatever kind of blog you are creating and wish to run, let’s make sure that you aren’t lost in the chaos and overwhelming information available to you.

Post consistently. Maybe one of the most challenging parts of anything that you ever do is the need to be consistent with it. Blogging is no different. You don’t have to post every single day…I think that’s a mighty tall order, and many would agree with me. But definitely more than once monthly. I aim to post 2-3 times a week. I don’t always make it happen (I do have kids that like to throw life to the dogs every occasionally), but that’s why I also have drafts and scheduled posts. Which brings me straight to my second point.

Utilize Scheduling. I don’t have much experience with other blogging platforms, but I do know that WordPress will allow you to write and schedule blog posts for future date and times. On the first of every month, I take the time to write out 4-5 of my “Telling Tuesdays” posts…I Feature other artists and crafters, and can knock these out for the whole month within a few short hours. If I know life is gonna be exceptionally busy ahead of time, I will go ahead and write and schedule posts accordingly. For example, this post is being written on March 11, but I’m scheduling it for March 16, because it’s spring break and we will be busy.

Add Elements as you Go. Wanna create videos? Great! Shoot it, edit it, post it. Wanna add a weekly or monthly feature? Awesome! Title it, write it, keep up with it. How about interviews or testimonies? Yes! Call them, record them, post them. My point being, feel free to add to or remove different blogging elements as you go. You don’t have to have everything figured out and ready to go from the day you start. If you get an idea that you think will be great, figure out how to make it work for you. And if that idea isn’t generating the interest you need it to, or if it’s sucking too much of your time, it is ok to drop it like a bad habit. Maybe come back to it at a later time when you have more experience and knowledge to tweak it better.

Go Slowly. I’ve been blogging and creating for over five years. I have an aresenal already under my belt. If you are just starting off, you’ve got nothing. But your excitement and enthusiasm is high and you are eager to jump right in and spend all of your time building. I want to encourage you to slow down. It takes time and effort to build an audience and create a profitable blog. Don’t get burned out the very first month.

Save Those Drafts. Just because it is a terrible idea right now, or it wrote up badly the first time, doesn’t mean that you should just trash it. Oftentimes, you can come back to old ideas with a different perspective and make it amazing! These will create an arsenal for yourself that will beat writers block in the best way. Keep track of all of your ideas as they come up, and then expand on them later.

Be Willing to Change. Adapt as necessary. My crochet business started off as hats…terrible hats. Then it morphed into photo props, which changed further into costumes, and then became dolls, and finally has settled with Crochet patterns. I love designing new crochet Patterns. If I wasn’t willing to change and adapt, I would probably still be stuck making hats and feeling frustrated and stressed because I can’t keep,up with production right now, and the competition for crochet hats is so high! Have the same attitude with your blog. Be trendy and original and then adapt as your ability, interest, and society continues to change. I mean, last year when PokémonGo first came out it was huge! But after just a few weeks, it had died down dramatically and didn’t have nearly the interest. Yes, Pokémon is still popular, about like it always has been, but not nearly as much as it was.

Develop Your Niche. Sometimes you have to focus this in a very purposeful and conscious way, sometimes it just happens. As an example of an unintentional niche narrowing, I started this blog because I wanted to help hand-crafty-salesmen succeed. I thought that was a great niche to write about. And it was…but it was still way too broad. As I’ve continued blogging, I have noticed that my posts tend to focus on the crochet-artist. It’s what I do, it’s what I know, it’s what I am best equipped to write about. As my business has morphed into creating patterns, my blog posts have continued to narrow even further to focus on the crochet blogger and fellow pattern-designer. If you are blogging about writing Crochet patterns, it’s probably not a good idea to throw in a life story about how your precious 3-yo finally mastered toilet useage. Exciting? To the mom-audience, yes. Relavent to your particular readers? Probably not.

BONUS: Blog Post Ideas for the Crochet Blogger. And because I know how hard it can be to come up with such specific blogging ideas, I’m including a list of great topics for you to start with. I’m going to close with this, and say that I’m proud of you for starting a blog, and I hope you will be successful. In fact, I know you came be successful if you are willing to continue with the world ☺

  1. Review a pattern
  2. Write your own pattern
  3. Talk about your recent project – go into detail
  4. Favorite tools of the trade
  5. Luxury yarn
  6. Funny memes or comics about crochet
  7. Round-up of patterns and ideas
  8. Interview a customer
  9. Appreciate your customers
  10. Interview one of your hooks – be humorous
  11. Narrate the creation of one of your products
  12. Tutorial a complicated stitch
  13. How did you learn to crochet
  14. Why are you blogging?
  15. Talk about the title of your blog/business (if it is obscure like mine is)
  16. Common frustrations of crocheting/blogging
  17. Learn a new skill and then blog about your experience (Tunisian Crochet, crocheting in the round, etc.)
  18. Feature other crochet artists – share the love!
  19. Donate to your favorite charity and write about why.
  20. Appreciate the artists of the craft.

Owl Always Love You


Family BugsA couple weeks ago I posted about one of my newest patterns: Fauxy the Fox. Isn’t she just adorable? You can find the pattern in my Etsy shop if you are interested. But, I wanted to make a whole collection of woodland-y animals. I’ve heard that collections sell really well. When my mother-in-law requested an owl to gift to someone else, I knew what creature was coming next!

As always, the first thing I did was basic research. What does a real owl look like, and how can I cutesify it to be a similar style to match my fox? I found my inspiration pretty quickly and then set off to make my own. Four times. That’s how long it took before I realized I wasn’t gonna be able to make my own. The first one was *special*. No matter how many times I redid the eyes, they always looked off somehow. The second one was top-heavy. I just could not figure out how to fix it. The third one was lumpy and awkward, and not even worth trying to fix. I just didn’t like the fourth one…it might’ve been fine, Just not what I was aiming for. Ho hum. Oh well. Back to do more research.

Family BugsI came across this gorgeous pattern from Skopa Och Inreda, which I guess is Swedish for Create and Decoration. It was a bit challenging for me to figure out, since the whole blog is written in not English, but straight-forward enough that I could figure it out ok with some google translate.

For example…V 7: at the beginning of each row skip understood the mesh so that the work reduces a mesh width of each row 15, 14, 13 and so on until there are only three stitches. (Each row ends as usual with an air mesh). Of course, that makes no sense. But my smartie brain was able to figure out that she is talking about ROW 7: at the beginning of each row, skip one stitch (or sc2tog, which is what I did) so that the width reduces by one stitch for each row until there are only three stitches left. Each row ends with a ch 1.
FamilyBugs So, if you can get past the linguistics and peculiar word translations, it is a beautiful pattern and well-worth your time. My other complaint, though, is how large the owl ended up being. It is hard to tell from the pictures provided on the blog, but it is HUGE! There are some instructions for making the owl smaller (which I will be following when I make this again), but it was an unfamiliar pattern so I didn’t want to further confuse and frustrate myself. Overall, I think this owl pattern is adorable, I just wouldn’t recommend it to the American beginner crochet artist.

How To Manage Bulk Orders


Rabbit&Fox BoxCrochet is not a quick craft. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been doing it, or how fast you can work. It’s still gonna require a sizeable investment of time to crochet something. Sure there are “mile a minute” blankets, and “hour long” scarf patterns, and several projects that brag about the limited time to complete them. But if you are ever in a situation where you are asked to make just 10 of these, it’s going to take up the better part of two days, and maybe even a couple of weeks depending on your schedule.

A couple of months ago, I started working with a dear friend making her these cute little woodland animals. She purchases them from me at the absolute lowest price possible and adds them to similarly themed products from other artisans. She then sells these collections at a marked-up price for a profit. Rabbit and Fox box. Absolutely adorable stuff, definitely worth your attention! I do not offer these patterns for sale, and I do not allow the animals to be purchased from me. They are exclusives!

So, I’ve got to work up about 12 of these tiny creatures, owls this time, and I want to do it as fast as I can (mostly so I don’t get bored and can keep moving forward). Each individual animal may take me an hour, maybe two to complete from start to finish. While you might expect me to spend an entire week working on these (the math comes out to approximately 30 hours of work), I can usually finish them in 3 days, or about 10 hours. There is one secret and only one for how I manage this magic: assembly line!

  Alright, are you listening? This is how I made twelve little owls in three days:

  1. Purchase the desired colors
  2. Gather ALL of my materials in a box (for easy clean-up, and to keep them all together)
  3. Make 20 tiny wings
  4. Make 20 white circles
  5. Whip stitch the circles together, embroider the eyes
  6. Make an owl head
  7. Add on the eyes and embroider the beak
  8. Finish the owl’s body attaching the wings as I go
  9. Repeat steps 6-8 until they are all completed

If I were making one owl at a time I would be repeating steps 3-8. Six steps is a lot more time consuming than three (by more than twice). Especially when you take into account the putting down of one color in order to pick up the next color, and locating the yarn end, and finding the needle, and re-threading every single color for the embroidery, and all of those tiny in between actions. By creating each part at a time, I can better utilize my time and complete this bulk order at a faster pace. I can embroider all of the eyes at the same time, thus eliminating the painful re-threading of the needle. I can establish a rhythm for making all of the wings and shave even more time off of my creation process (I noticed, especially while I was making the wings, that each one took 3-4 seconds faster than the previous one). Tiny parts of creating one owl can be lessened or even eliminated altogether by using the assembly line process.

The Calculations

Crocheting in BulkSo that there cannot be any arguments or confusion, I even used a stop watch to calculate it all out for you. To make one owl all the way to completion took me 57 minutes. Multiply that by 12, and we can round it up to 12 hours. Whereas by using my assembly line method, I could crank out 12 eyes in 52 minutes, 24 wings in 31 minutes, and finish up 12 owls in about 6.5 hours. Meaning 12 owls took a total of 8 hours! By using the assembly line method, I was able to knock 4 hours off of the creation time. Now, I can spend that time on my packaging, or on writing a blog post about it, or on more crochet projects ☺

It did take me a little bit longer than 8 hours to make these, because of distractions, and a badly wound skein of yarn that kept tangling, and having to stop and hit the “lap” button on my stop watch, and having to make a few extras to get accurate calculations. But, I think I’ve made my point!

So, the next time you have someone ask for a whole bunch of one crochet item, don’t forget to “assembly line” it where you can. Your brain will thank you for it!

What Should Creatives Be Blogging About?


I’ve had this blog for about 5.5 years. The first two years I was very dillegent to post 3-5 times a week and my blog’s stats slowly and steadily increased. However, I never could figure out how to monetized this blog, and without that extra motivation, I sort of fizzled out. Especially when my crochet business started taking off. Quite frankly, I just didn’t have to time to exert energy into something that wasn’t going to profit much. Sure, the blog brought extra customers to my Etsy store, but not enough to make it valuable to me.

However, I’m now in a position where I can come back to the blog, with high hopes of monetizing soon! That simply means I am working on earning some money from this blog. It can definitely be done, and I’ve read several articles from blartists (blog artists – can we make that a thing?) who not only earn money from their crafty blogs, but can make a living solely on their crochet blogs! I have the need to be one of those blartists. So, I appreciate your patience as I work on rebranding, and I promise that little space to the left will soon have a shiny new logo in it! And if you also want to glean from their expertise, I’ve listed a few of them below ☺️

Sewrella

Cre8tioncrochet

ThePennyHoarder

During the past years of blogging, I have paid attention to the stats, and what people are looking at, and liking, and linking back to, and commenting on. It’s a very specific kind of post that people are interested in. To be successful, it’s important to focus on creating this kind of content.

Tutorials

People love to read how to do something. Even better is if it’s simple enough that your readers can do it themselves! I have a few tutorials that I wrote a couple years ago, and still have frequent visitors to those posts. It is also important to realize what to include in a tutorial:

  • Tools. Always, always, always include a list of materials needed to accomplish the finished product exactly as you have created it. List specific colors, brand names, and sizes. This is where affiliate marketing makes an impact!
  • Pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. Good quality pictures. Show your reader how theirs should be looking every step of the way.
  • Directions. Step-by-step directions of what needs to be done and how to do it. Did you know, that there are so many many people who cannot craft? They can look at a very simple craft project and have no clue how those results were achieved. Write for these people! Precise, clear, to the point.
  • Video. Now, I’m not a video-person. I don’t appreciate my appearance on screen, and I detest the sound of my voice. But there is a great amount of value to be had with videos. Whenever you can, make and use one!
  • Resources. Books, other blogs, additional information. Make it easy for your reader to further explore the kind of craft that you are tutorialing (yeah, that’s a thing). While it’s ok to direct them off sight, try to send them to other blog posts that you wrote when you can.

Freebies

People LOVE freebies. Like, gobble them up as fast as they can. They love to benefit from your hard work without having to do anything themselves. Sometimes that’s ok, but don’t get so carried away that you suffer at a loss.

  • Printables
  • Lists
  • Information
  • Giveaways
  • Cheat sheets

Inspiration

It’s so easy to get discouraged, overwhelmed, bogged down, and just plain wanna quit. If you’ve been living for longer than a year, you’ve definitely felt “the burn-out”. So, include some inspiration and motivation for your readers. Whether that means bible verses to get through life in general, or encouraging quotes from famous people, readers love to be inspired!

Beginner’s guides

So many people are getting the idea that they want to give it a try. After all, if you can be successful, why can’t they? But they don’t even know where to start. More importantly they don’t know how to start. So, create a step-by-step guide for them. Don’t be afraid of sharing your experiences of what worked for you.

Guest Posts

This is an exciting prospect! To have enough of a following to merit the attention and time of someone else. Especially if you are able to bring in an expert who backs up your information. Adds to your credibility. And boosts your stats.

Giveaways

There is much debate on the validity of blog contests. Maybe you can run a successful sweepstakes, but are you bringing in freeloaders or an authentic following? Personally, I find giveaways to be too much work with not enough benefit. But there are some creative bloggers out there who will attest to their usefulness in moderation. I suggest experimenting and find out if it will work for you. I’ll include a few resources for you just because I’m nice like that ☺️

How to Create Social Media Contests That Convert

How to Run a Social Media Promotion and Not Go to Jail

12 Brilliant Contest Ideas

Blogging Giveaway Rules

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There are lots of different kind of blog posts that you can write: memes, narratives, FAQs, works in progress, infographics. While these are useful posts and can add to the validity of your blog, they are not as likely to bring a huge following in a short amount of time. Balance it out and you will be on your way!