Friday, August 22, 2014

Selling on Etsy: Some Key Points for Setting Up Shop

I opened my first Etsy shop in 2008 and have since added two more so that I can target specific markets/customers for different types of products.

ASpinnerWeaver sells general handwoven items which change but can include: scarves, shoelaces, guitar straps, camera straps, shoulder straps, guitar strap kits, belts and more.

iWeaveSashes caters to folks who do historic reenactments as well as those who might need a sash for their Native American regalia. 

WeaverGuitarStraps is linked to my website of the same name and only carries my one-of-a-kind guitar straps.

Over the years, I've made more than 600 sales combined in these shops. I've learned a few things and there is much more to learn. Since I have also been employed full-time during these years, I feel like I am not doing as much as I could to promote my shops and fine tune the content. But, when asked by someone new to Etsy if I have any advice or can I help them to figure out how to get started, the answer is YES!

While Etsy does a great job of providing information for sellers here in the Etsy Sellers Handbook , reading the whole thing can be a challenge. Where do you start? I've targeted some key points that I think are important to figure out before you are ready to set up shop.

The links next to them will take you to helpful articles on Etsy's site. 
Shop name: 
Banner art: 
5 Photos for each item:       AND
Item descriptions: 
13 tags (keywords, search words) for each item: 
 Shipping costs and policies: 
Shop policies:
About page:

And finally, I'd like to tell you why I think selling on Etsy is a good idea.
1) They have got Search Engine Optimization figured out. Anyone searching the web for anything, especially  "handmade" is likely to find referrals to Etsy right off.
2) You can network with other sellers, make friends and help each other to promote.
3) If you want to have a website, but don't want to the expense and complication of setting up a shopping cart on your site, you can create an "Etsy Mini" like I did to give customers access to buy your products.

Etsy has begun a new program which is spreading around the country (and in the UK) one city at a time. It is designed to offer help to people who would like to become sellers. It is called the Etsy Craft Entrepreneurship Program" and more info can be found here:

Footnote: If you are already an Etsy seller, but want some tips on how to make your shop better, are you signed up to get e-mails from Etsy? On your Account Settings page, click on the E-mails tab and sign up to get one or several regular messages from Etsy including tips, education and inspiration.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Design Elements - Chains

A chain happens when two single lines undulating in opposite directions collide. Because they add a more interesting element than simple lines, I use chains in many of my designs.

A chain can make a great focal point in the center of a pattern.

Here are a few different placements.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Teaching Fun!

On Sunday, July 13th, I had 8 students in my class at Yarns by the Sea in Aptos, CA.
Most were new to inkle weaving, and one just needed a refresher.
The shop carries some good yarns for inkle weaving and students selected various different ones.

Carole, who was just taking the class as a refresher, chose this cotton yarn with a bit of sparkle.
It is enough sparkle to add a fun element, but not enough to overwhelm.

Stella chose this "Ty-Dy" yarn from Knit One, Crochet Too. Because of the variegated yarn, she didn't have to be bothered with charting the pattern, so while the rest of the students were doing this, she warped and started weaving.

At the end of the class, she cut her piece off the loom and wrapped it on! 

Stella took the class along with her mom, Sandy. They borrowed a loom and when I went to pick it up 5 days later, I found that Stella had woven a few more pieces. I think she likes it!

The "Sassy Skein" yarn was popular with the class. It comes in fantastic bright colors.

Sara, a shop employee, was happy to learn a new craft. She studied a bit on the internet the night before. Her first piece went very well.

By the time I saw her 5 days later, she was working on this pickup pattern, her second piece.

Michelle showed up at class with a pattern she liked, chosen from one of my blog posts
She showed me that she had saved it on her phone. She chose a nice cotton and it will become trim on a Medieval tunic for her son who is involved in the SCA

It was great to work with Yarns by the Sea and  they like the idea of adding weaving to their repertoire. Next up: a rigid heddle class with Deborah Jarchow. See details here:

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Plain Weave Color Strategy - Analogous Designs

When choosing colors that look good together consider using those found next to
 each other on the color wheel, or analogous colors. 
These are often seen together in nature and tend to be pleasing to the eye. 
In the strap below, I used a burgundy red for the background and a progression of light to dark colors for the pattern. These started with light yellow in the center, 
then golden yellow, orange and red. 

This is one of my very rare asymmetrical designs. It also starts with light yellow in the center and moves through golden yellow, orange, hot pink and burgundy red. Then I framed it all up with  very unequal border stripes of black on both sides.  

Black is a color that I often use for borders as it just seems to give the 
right effect for framing many designs.
Here I've chosen red-violet, blue-violet and purple for the pattern. There is one single stripe of rayon along both edges just inside the black border. The rayon, while very similar in color to the lighter violet used in the center, reflects light in a totally different way
 than the other cotton yarns, providing a neat shimmery effect.

In the strap below, dark blue provides the background for a light to dark progression of blue and violet stripes. I found this one very soothing and satisfying. 

 This website is very concise with it's descriptions of the color wheel, color terms, and description of basic color schemes.
I find it very helpful to have something like this to refer to.