Rargh, so I acknowledge I have already gotten lazy with this blog in the few months since I started it… Something to do with a very long break during the summer, and having a bizarre, never resolved neck/head problem which is still irking me even now. But time has passed for me to be sufficiently annoyed enough with myself for a general lack of output of anything. Thus I am writing this post, but I shall forewarn you that it may not have a happy outcome, as it is about how annoying stuff is when it doesn’t got to plan…
So, what with it being September, and thus nearly Christmas (ha ha), I thought it may be nice to apply my crocheting ‘skills’ into decorations and small stocking filler type gifts that could be sold via my Etsy shop (click the link if you want a look, don’t expect much crochet though). My first idea was for Christmas themed lavender bags (or sachets), as these make nice presents, and anything that smells like lavender is lovely in my opinion.
I expect a few challenges when I am making anything new, and this little project didn’t disappoint. First up, finding dried lavender for a price you would be happy to experiment with is quite tricky. I ended up paying way more than I thought I should for a small sprig of dried lavender. My Mum helpfully pointed out that I could have had some of the lavender out of the garden for free, although I don’t know how she thought this would be useful to me when her garden is in England and I’m in Ireland. Anyway, I accepted the price of the lavender, and vowed that I would use it carefully to make sure it paid for itself (I’m not working at the moment, so I can’t be careless with my money).
The next challenge was making the lavender sachet. My plan was to crochet some shapes, and put a little hand sewn lavender bag on the inside. At this stage, making the crochet bags wasn’t a problem. The trickiest part was making the sachet to go inside. I’m not much good at general sewing, and don’t have a sewing machine to aid me. Also, I kind of hate doing conventional sewing. I can sew for hours on something which has no functionality such as a greetings card! But when it comes to anything involving sewing bits of fabric together… well, I’m usually already bored by the time I have cut my fabric down to size. But I gritted my teeth and got on with it for a change. Annoyingly however, almost every sachet I made seemed to be either too big, or too small for the crocheted shapes it was to be put inside. Countless times, I unravelled a completed crocheted bag, and re-made the lavender bag only to find it was the wrong size, or poking out between a space in the crochet in an ugly fashion.
This experimenting went on a while, with me coming to the conclusion that I would have to change the design of the crochet to sufficiently hide the lavender bag which went inside. Unfortunately, by this stage, I had started to doubt my own level of crocheting. Having had a good look around the Etsy site, I saw the other meticulous standards of crochet for sale, by people who had probably been doing it most of their lives rather than just over a year as in my case. I came to the conclusion that perhaps I really couldn’t expect people to pay for something which was rather substandard and a little sloppy.
So, I have ended up putting the lavender bag idea aside for a while. In the meantime, I have been experimenting with making crocheted garlands with mini-hearts, which whilst less challenging than the lavender bags, are naturally presenting their own problems. Whilst I am far from a perfectionist in most areas of life, seeing the high standard of crocheted goods for sale on Etsy has made me question what sort of standards I should be achieving with my own work before I consider selling it. On the one hand, I would be disappointed myself if I paid for something that was poorly made as would most people. On the other however, with handmade goods, isn’t part of the charm that they have little imperfections, that they don’t look mass produced and machine-made? Isn’t this an indication that they were made with thought, time, and care despite their flaws?
Maybe I need more time and practice before I start to sell crochet to people. Or perhaps I should put that idea aside completely. I don’t like quitting, but maybe there are instances when concentrating time and effort into a lost cause is counterproductive. At least in this instance I would have tried in order to fail, which is more satisfying than never having taken the risk.