Thursday, April 15, 2010

the mid-week update...

Yesterday I missed my usual blog post day. That's because I got the chance to give a talk about Knit Green: 20 Projects and Ideas for Sustainability for the Manitoba Eco-Network! The talk went very well and I enjoyed myself. However, between getting downtown on time and my usual pre-talk jitters, it exhausted me for anything else! Had to have a quiet afternoon and a large cup of tea to recover.

However, continuing with the green Earth Day theme, here is my new summer dress. Yesterday was also the warmest day this year so far in Manitoba. It hit a high of 21 C! (above 70F.) Although many people stripped down to shorts and sandals, there was a stiff wind, so my dress will wait for another day. In the meanwhile, here's what a little green dye can do for a buttercup yellow dress. The dye was probably a buck or so, and then there's my time to dye it, but all in all, I'm enjoying good value here with this recycled outfit!

Lately I have been pondering how much my time is worth, and what I should spend that time on. As a freelancer, I manage my work schedule and I decide how to allot my work hours. For instance--I figure --aside from knitting--that I spent about 8 hours getting The Winnipegger scarf ready for sale. That included things like formatting the pattern, proofreading it, getting outside tech editing support, doing the photo-shoot, etc. I was lucky that the professor could shoot the photos, as then I didn't have to pay a photographer as well-another expense. Anyhow, I was so pleased to post the pattern for sale on Ravelry.

So far? Not one single purchase. Nada. Nothing.

I know as a designer and writer that a portion of my work is just a business risk. This appears to be part of that risk. Whether my work is calculated at $9 (minimum wage in Manitoba) or $20-30+ (teaching rates) or $35 (editing rates)---well, I just have to hope someone is interested in buying a pattern I post or I lose 8 hours of that income. Never mind the knitting time! For now, it's just available via Ravelry as I don't want to waste the time of my webmaster (another small business owner) in terms of posting it on my site too. We'll see how things go. I remain hopeful that someone will like the pattern enough to consider purchasing it.

The books I wrote are another kind of risk--and this morning, I heard of this kind review! Hurray!

I haven't had a lot of time for spinning lately. However, when I've spun, it's been exclusively on spindles. Here's a shot of my SpindleWood spindle, complete with a rich brown alpaca/silk blend yarn. This blend of fiber is slick and I had little luck using my Great Wheel to spin some of it up when I got it--nearly a year and a half ago. I'm not sure if it was my inexperience with my new Great Wheel or the tendency of this fiber to drift apart. It lacks the "grab" that wool fibers have. With the control of a fine spindle, it's speedily becoming yarn! I hope these singles will become a luxury sport to dk weight 2 ply in the weeks to come.

Oh, one more neat bit of local news. Check out this article--soon the Muslims of Inuvik (that's in the Arctic) will have a place to worship, thanks to those here on the prairies! What a wonderful way to reach out to others. In a place so cold, it is an amazing gift to get an indoor location to gather.
That's the news from here!

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Blogger Jody said...

Here in Ontario the minimum wage just went up to $10.25 an hour. I thought it was the same across the board.
Your scarf is very pretty Joanne but I have to admit that I have seen a few scarves that are a similar style so maybe that's why it's slow to sell right now.
I think it's a tough business...I am selling alpaca yarns and rovings and now we have Gotland Finns to add to the mix. Funny what you said about the alpaca spinning....I have found that it's not so easy spinning wool because it's sooooo stretchy :))

April 16, 2010 at 8:59 AM  
Blogger Joanne said...

Hi Jody:
Actually, the minimum wage is determined by province or state. It is not federally mandated.

Regarding my designs, I think they are just fair to middling, but--there really is nothing new under the sun. I find that some designers (of various skill sets) sell great gobs of patterns, and it is perhaps in large part because of their great publicity campaigns. Originality is only part of the package--good writing, photos, tech editing, pattern support etc. helps make a good pattern.

Wool has natural elasticity but that varies by breed--coarser and long wools have less elasticity. At the microscopic level,all wool has little barbs like fish hooks that help it grab and hold together. Alpaca doesn't have those barbs, so it is more "slippery" to knit than wool. That said, it's all about what you're used to spinning!

April 16, 2010 at 9:59 AM  
Blogger simply_complicated said...

hi there, i've just recently found your blog and i have to say that i really am enjoying reading so far. it's too bad that your pattern hasn't sold... i'm not on ravelry myself, but know that the huge number of patterns available online make it hard to decide where to put your cash (and time!)

i like that drop spindle... haven't run across a square one before. i have been only spinning for a few years, as part of a Living history group, and have finally decided to make my own spindles.... it's quite a learning process!

April 16, 2010 at 10:29 AM  
Blogger Alison said...

Muslims near the North Pole! I had no idea. It's a small world after all, and a good one when people step forward for others like that.

Love the green dress--perfect for a northern California summer day sometime should you feel touristy.


April 18, 2010 at 1:15 PM  
Blogger Nina said...

Thanks for posting the link to the article on the Muslim community in the Arctic. Very interesting and uplifting to read about folks reaching out to each other. I am sorry, however, to have read some of the comments to the article. It is distressing to read something so positive and then to see such venomous reaction. A little at a time, I guess.

I also love your designs but have not time at the moment for any more projects! I have seen a lot of ordinary things get great sales due to PR and hype. I find that I can't self-promote like that, but more power to the folks who can!

April 28, 2010 at 10:14 AM  

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