Few can make a living at making crafted gifts, yet there is a lot of talent out there that is seldom seen. A successful artisan has difficulty keeping up with demand and faces the possibility of becoming a mass producer rather than the creative craft person that he or she wants to be. Artisans that show their work in stores, must cover the store’s markup (50%), their material cost and a decent profit. This often conflicts with what the public is willing to spend. There are people looking for quality, handmade and hand crafted gifts and, if you need ideas, look no further than your local craft show or retailers that cater to local artists.
If you are from Colorado or visiting here in the fall, there is a website that lists local craft shows with addresses. It is called Mile High on the Cheap. Look for Holiday Craft Shows in their menu. It is one of the best Colorado listings of craft shows that I’ve seen. Now you don’t have any excuses for not finding Colorado-made, one-of-a-kind, hand crafted gifts.
If you saw a crafter or artisan on my blog or remembered a photo of a hand crafted gift, describe it in the search button at the top of the BLOG (home) page or look for it under the category of Crafty Coloradans on the same page. There should be a link to their website or Facebook page if they have one.
How I Got Started Crocheting Again
I first did crocheting in my teens with mostly thick cotton yarn. I got started again about five years ago and began by putting edgings on purses and tote bags using number 10 doily thread. I found some great patterns from the 1920s, and I was hooked. I started doing some doilies and Christmas cards with small crocheted wreaths, trees and candy canes. I made patterns with filet crochet, and crocheted the names of friends into small table runners. Later I made more generic ones, like sisters, family, and peace. I found that I liked the quicker turn around times of small projects and wanted to get out of the mold of what people thought crocheting was: an old lady making afghans, scarves, blankets or doilies. I do get tired of people telling me doilies are a dying art. Perhaps, if these same people purchased them, they would not decline so.
In 2010 I discovered amigurumi, the Japanese art of crocheting or knitting small animals and figures. I looked for patterns and my sister sent me some old ones that she had that we made when we were kids. I like to design my own like the ladybug. Mostly I make lifelike animals from alligators to dinosaurs, and from butterflies to penguins. I try to keep them in the 3-4 inch size and pick animals that have an appealing look to them. I now have over 70 animal patterns and can’t seem to make them fast enough. You can see more samples by looking at the top banner of this website. The newest member of my little zoo is from a lion pattern I got on the internet designed by Sharon Ojala of Amigurumi to Go. I especially like the mane. It takes a lot of thread, but it is worth it for the overall look. If you do enough patterns, you find ways to incorporate pieces of the design into different animals. A popular one is the eagle, where I used a parot pattern and adapted it. I used the claw pattern from a chicken and invented my own tail feather and eyes. I may have changed the beak also. I do toys, aliens, a tuxedo bib, hats and small purses and bags. The small bags are popular for those who are into dolls. I am always looking for something new to try and you can find newer items on my BLOG under What I’m Crafting. If you just cannot resist, you can try your skills using some of my patterns here. When you consider that each leg, arm, head and body part is crocheted, stuffed and sewn individually, you can imagine how much time goes into these little critters. But the beauty is in seeing a little child with something that they can easily hold in their small hands.