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431  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Crafty Business Discussion / Re: Help ! should i sell my soul to the man ? on: January 20, 2007 09:06:20 AM
Wow!  Congratulations!  Unfortunately I think your concern isn't unfounded--the 800 pound gorilla company vs. the single designer dynamic can get pretty hairy.  Plus, the large company can walk away from negotiations and find another designer if the contract terms aren't what the company likes, while the same isn't the case for the artist.

There seem to be two parts to your question--should you "sell your soul" and if so (joke!), on what terms?  The first one, only you can answer.

I am not a lawyer, but I am in the financial sector and with attorneys' assistance, I negotiate large-scale investments as my day job (that darn thing I do when I'm not crafting). 

I'm not sure what your production set up and processes look like, so if you have already done what I'm about to advise, I apologize for the repetition.  I suggest you go sketch out a business plan for your enterprise, taking a look at how many projects do can do in a month, how complex those projects are going to be, how much time they will take, the cost of materials/shipping/tools/storage, etc.  For the record, "production set up and processes" is a formal term, but it could be your garage for all the company cares.

For the contract negotiation, you must have a lawyer on your side--I cannot emphasize this enough.  Don't sign anything without having him/her review it first, nor negotiate without your attorney there.  A lawyer will be able to walk you through setting you up as a formal business entity (if you have not incorporated already), will help you negotiate fair terms for you, etc.  When you are reviewing your contracts, ask yourself questions like: How long do you want to sell for this company?  How will I get paid?  Are the store's production demands realistic?  How does this fit in with my business plan?

As for where you can get folks to help you out with forming a business plan and getting a lawyer, contact your local Small Business Administration office (federal government agency), local chamber of commerce, craft guild/professional association (e.g., is there a National Association of Independent Jewelry Makers or something?), or ask your fellow artists for references.  In addition, there are lots of books for sale about forming a business plan as well.

Good luck!
432  CROCHET / Crochet: Discussion and Questions / Re: Frustrated and ready to give up crochet on: December 31, 2006 01:54:47 PM
Everyone, thanks for your kind words.  The photos actually make the blanket look better than it actually is.  Truly, the edges are warped--the width is 60" in some places, 65" in others.  It's not just the natural scalloping occurring in the pattern.  I was using an N nook, so it wasn't small by any means. 

I'm going to finish this ball of yarn and try to see if at least the bottom can be evened out, and maybe do a few test runs of the pattern border around the edges.  If that doesn't work, I'll have to unwind the whole thing and go with granny squares, which are small enough for me to keep consistent. 

Yes, if that happens, all my work so far is for naught, but I'd rather have to do it over and have a decent looking project rather than give someone a project with an "aggressively homemade" look.  Thanks again.
433  CROCHET / Crochet: Discussion and Questions / Frustrated and ready to give up crochet on: December 29, 2006 05:28:09 AM
I guess there are two parts to this posta vent about my frustration with crochet and a request for an objective poster assessment of a project in progress.

Vent: I do everything rightI make a swatch, count stitches with nearly every row and mark with safety pins, measure every couple of rows, triple check my math when I alter a pattern, mentally try to keep track of consistent tension, and frog with regularity.  Everything will seem to be fine and then one day Ill look down and see warped edges and uneven stitches.   

Project: I have started working on a variation of Lion Brands 4 Hour Afghan at the suggestion of another poster, using Carons Simply Soft.  Using a different yarn and increasing the size of the finished project, I knew going in that it would take more than 4.5 hours.  Ive spent over 20 hours over the past month on this project and have completed only a 5 x 20 portion.  And believe me, those measurements arent consistent throughout the work.  Needless to say, this is not the fault of the poster who suggested the project, but my own ineptitude.

Vent part 2:  Well, this should go away as I get more experienced, right?  But Ive been crocheting on a semi-regular basis for SIX YEARS.  Im not a beginner and 99% of my projects still look like crap.  In that time, all I have to show for my efforts in terms of acceptable projects are three scarves and two single crochet neck pillowsand a significantly lighter wallet.  Will this ever get better?  What the heck am I doing wrong?

Project part 2: Is this project salvageable with adjustments of tension through the rest of the work?  I took photos from each end of the project (notice the placement of the yarn ball and hook) and overhead shots of the edges.  (Please disregard the mess in the photosits post-holiday chaos at my place.)

Any words of wisdom on either subject are most welcome. Thanks for listening.

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/158/337121788_06d15d55fd.jpg?v=0

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/156/337121790_d396ad9aa2.jpg?v=0

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/127/337121792_4469a5a70a.jpg?v=0

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/133/337121794_ff3eac870d.jpg?v=0
434  CROCHET / Crochet: Discussion and Questions / Afghans as bridesmaid gifts? on: December 01, 2006 06:46:53 PM
Hi, everyone.  I'm new a new member to this board, though I've lurked before.  I am getting married in six months and would like to make afghans for each of my five bridesmaids.  Skill-wise, I'd say I'm an advanced beginner (I've made scarves and pillows before).

I'm doing single-color granny square afghans, with each square bordered in white.  Each bridesmaid will be getting a different color. Im doing the granny square route b/c theyre more easily portable than a row-by-row afghan. Plus, one of my biggest challenges as a crocheter is keeping the tension consistent to keep the piece even, and it is easier for me to do this with granny squares.


Has anyone done this before? Is this feasible? Is it even a good idea? Any tips or tricks?


Some more info:


1. To provide variety, I am also including store bought gifts. Ill probably giving the bridesmaids with ye olde canvas tote bag with the afghan, spa gift sets, and probably something else TBD. Itll be a good mix, for those who aren't really down with getting only a homemade gift.


2. Which granny square should I make? Which looks better, will make a warmer blanket, etc.?


Basic square: http://www.jpfun.com/patterns/free/101/f101
101basicgranny.shtm l


Harvest square: http://www.jpfun.com/patterns/01granny/harv
estsquare.shtml



TIA!

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