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Crochet Pattern: Pink Sands Pocket Purse

Free Crochet Pattern: Pink Sands Pocket Purse to carry just the essentials (wallet, keys, phone) when you are on the go.If you've been following along on the blog, you know that I have happily downsized my purse. It used to be called my "Big Bag of Everything" but these days I am quite pleased that it has become my "Little Bag of Necessities".

About a month ago I shared a knitting pattern for my Lifeline Pocket Purse. Today I have a crochet pattern for another micro purse. It's approximately 5 inches wide x 7 ½ inches deep and perfect for those days you want to travel light.

Many thanks to Endless Leather for providing the fantastic silk cord and jewelry findings to complete this purse.

Materials

Abbreviations 

ch - chain
sc - single crochet

Directions


This bag is worked from the bottom up, in a continuous spiral with the right side facing so there is no need to turn the piece over as you work or join the last stitch of the round to the first with a slip stitch.

Bag

Ch 30

Rnd 1: 3 sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in next 27 ch, 2 sc in next ch, sc in the bottom of next 27 ch. (59 sc)

Rnd 2: [sc in next sc, sc in the stich below the next sc] repeat these two stitches until the piece measures 7 ½ inches from the beginning ch.

Use a ruler to find the center stitch of the bag. The center stitch should be a sc (NOT a sc in the stitch below the next sc). continue working in the pattern to 5 sts before the center mark. Your last stitch should be a sc in the stitch below the next sc.


Closure Flap

This section is worked in rows.

Row 1: [sc in next sc, sc in the stitch below the next sc] 5 times, ch 1, turn.

Repeat Row 1 until the flap measures 2 inches.

Row 2 (buttonhole row): sc in next sc, sc in the stitch below the next sc, sc in next sc, ch 4, skip 4 sts, sc in the stitch below the next sc, sc in next sc, sc in the stitch below the next sc, ch 1, turn.

Row 3: sc in next sc, sc in the stitch below the next sc, sc in next sc, 1 sc in each of the next 4 ch, sc in the stitch below the next sc, sc in next sc, sc in the stitch below the next sc.

Repeat Row 1 until the flap measures 1 inch from the button hole omitting the last ch 1 of the final row. Fasten off.

Use a needle and thread to attach a button.

Assembling the Strap

Attach the circle clasps to either side of the bag.
Cut the silk cord to the desired strap length minus ¾-inch. (If you plan to carry your purse over one shoulder, you will need 28-36 inches of cord. For a cross-body strap, plan on using 48-54 inches of cord. As shown, the silk cord was cut to 28 inches.) Be careful so the cord does not fray after it's cut.

Place a generous dot of G-S Hypo Cement into one end cup. You can even add a little glue around the tip of the silk cord.

Tip: If you don't use enough glue, the cord will slide out of the end cup the first time you use your purse.
Insert one end of the cord into the end cup. It is helpful to slightly twist the cord in the direction that it tightens as you push it into the end cup.

It's ok if some glue oozes out. Simply use a damp cloth to clean the outside of the end cup and the silk cord before the glue starts to dry.
Attach the second end cup to the other end of the cord in the same way.

LET THE GLUE DRY COMPLETELY FOR 24 HOURS.

Use pliers to open the jump rings and attach them to the looped sides of the end cups.

Open the circle clasps and slide them through the jump rings.
Fill your bag with a small wallet, phone and maybe some lip gloss and you are ready to go.

Free Crochet Pattern: Pink Sands Pocket Purse to carry just the essentials (wallet, keys, phone) when you are on the go.

Happy crocheting!


10 eCommerce Alternatives to Selling on Etsy

10 eCommerce alternatives to selling handmade arts and crafts on Etsy.

Creating a profitable business based on your artistic skill and crafty prowess is no easy task. When launched in 2005, Etsy gave many artists and crafters a revolutionary new outlet for selling their handmade creations as well as hope that they could turn their creative passion into a successful business.

However, since Etsy went public in April of 2015, many longtime sellers have become dissatisfied. Artisans complain of decreased sales and visibility as the marketplace expands. Some feel that selling their handmade wares has become an expensive hobby rather than a flourishing business.

The good news is there are plenty of alternatives to selling on Etsy. Each require different levels of technical skill and social media saavy and of course the cost of setting up shop varies from site to site. The platforms charge different combinations of monthly fees, listing fees and commissions and of course there are always transaction fees paid to your payment processor.

For comparison's sake, let's start with some basic info about selling on Etsy.

Etsy (Marketplace with eCommerce Store Option)

  • no monthly fee
  • $0.20/item listing fee
  • listings expire after 4 months
  • 3.5% commission fee on sales
  • 3% + $0.25 transaction fee for payments processed via Etsy or 2.9% + $0.30 for payments processed via PayPal
  • Option to create a shop website for $15 per month (listing fees, commission fees and transaction fees still apply to sales made through your shop website)
For more information visit selling on Etsy.

And now, let's explore some other options.

Amazon Handmade (Marketplace)

  • Professional selling plan is $39.99/month (the current $39.99 monthly Professional selling plan subscription fee is waived through December 31, 2017 for Handmade at Amazon artisans listing fewer than 40 items)
  • no listing fee
  • 15% referral fee on each sale
For more info visit Handmade at Amazon.

ArtFire (Marketplace)

  • $20/month for up to 1000 items
  • no listing fee
  • 3% commission fee
  • 2.9% + $0.30 transaction fee for payments processed via PayPal
ArtFire offers two additional selling plans. For more information visit Selling on ArtFire.

Big Cartel (eCommerce Store)

  • technical skills recommended but not required
  • 4 price plans that range from free to $29.99/month based on the number of products you sell
  • no listing fee
  • no commission fees
  • 2.9% + $0.30 transaction fee for payments processed via PayPal
For more information visit BigCartel.

PrestaShop (eCommerce Store)

  • technical skills required (however, there is a comprehensive user guide available for free)
  • no monthly fee
  • no listing fee
  • no comission
  • 2.9% + $0.30 transaction fee for payments processed via PayPal
For more information visit PrestaShop-Free eCommerce software.

Shopify (eCommerce Store with Social Media Selling)

  • technical skills recommended but not required
  • 3 price plans starting at $29/month
  • no listing fees
  • no commission fees
  • 2.9% + $0.30 credit card processing fees
  • ShopifyLite is available for $9/month and offers social media selling without an eCommerce Store.
Fore more information visit Shopify.

Spreesy (Social Media Selling with eCommerce Store)

  • no monthly fee
  • no listing fee
  • 3% commission fee
  • 2.9% + $0.30 transaction fee for payments processed via PayPal
Fore more information visit Spreesy Features.

Storenvy (Marketplace with eCommerce Store Option)

  • no monthly fee
  • no listing fee
  • free to set up a custom store (a free template is available, but it is helpful if you have basic html coding skills)
  • 10% commission fee on sales made through the Storenvy Marketplace (no commission fee is charged for sales generated through your custom store)
  • 2.9% + $0.30 transaction fee for payments processed via PayPal or Stripe
For more information visit Open a Store on Storenvy.

Zibbet

  • 3 price plans ($4/month for up to 50 items, $8/month for unlimited items, $16/month for unlimited items with no Zibbet branding)
  • no listing fee
  • no commission fee
  • 2.9% + $0.30 transaction fee for payments processed via PayPal
For more information visit Selling on Zibbet.

My final two selling alternatives won't work for all handmade businesses. These two sites are geared towards artists that want to put their artwork or photography onto every day items like tote bags, pillows, cell phone cases, tshirts, etc.

Artists provide images of their work to be placed on items that are manufactured elsewhere.

Redbubble

  • no listing fees
  • no commissions
  • no transaction fees
  • earn a self-set margin or royalty on each item sold (typically 10-30% of the item price)
For more information visit Selling on Redbuuble.

Zazzle

  • no listing fees
  • no commissions
  • no transaction fees
  • earn a self-set margin or royalty on each item sold (typically 10-30% of the item price)
For more information visit Selling on Zazzle.

Where have you set up shop? Are you making regular sales? You are welcome to share your tips for selling handmade goodies in the comments below.

Crafter Thoughts: Simple Yarn Winding

A low tech method for winding hanks of yarn into balls without a yarn winding machine.

I love yarn! Yes, I purchase a fair amount of mass produced, mainstream brands from major craft retailers, but I also appreciate a nice skein from my local yarn shop or even from indie yarn dyers online.

Since I don't own a fancy yarn winder, I am always grateful when someone offers to wind a skein for me. However, there are times that's not an option leaving me with the task of transforming a beautiful hank into something besides a tangled mass.

Luckily, I stumbled across a very low-tech method to ball up a skein of yarn without creating a knotted frenzy of fiber. I discovered this little secret when my daughter went to college and her vacant bedroom became my craft studio. She left a panel of large hooks behind her bedroom door.

 Here's what I do:

A low tech method for winding hanks of yarn into balls without a yarn winding machine.

1 - Remove the yarn label, untwist the yarn and drape it across three large hooks.
2 - Remove any of the small strands that secured the hank of yarn and locate the ends of the yarn.
3 - Start rolling a loose ball of yarn.
4 - Continue loosely rolling your yarn. Gravity is on your side and draping the hank over the three hooks helps keep it from tangling as you work.
5 - Finish loosely rolling your yarn. Even when you get to the last few strands of the hank there are no tangles.

This method of yarn winding isn't exactly rocket science, but it's effective. As an added bonus, I don't have to endure the funny looks from my hubby when I ask him to hold an untwisted hank of yarn over his hands so I can roll my yarn into a ball. Win! Win!

Crochet Pattern: Dryer Balls

Free Crochet Pattern: DIY a set of wool dryer balls for softer, fresher smelling wrinkle free laundry.For years I have tried to convince my husband that there is absolutely no need to use dryer sheets. He claims that they make his clothes noticeably softer, less wrinkly and fresher smelling. I think they are a waste of money and not very eco-friendly.

Please don't leave comments that if I really wanted to be eco-friendly I would just hang my clothes outside to air dry. We live in a desert and everything that's outside for more than a minute is covered in a fine layer of dust. So, I'm doing my best here and I dug through my yarn stash to find some half used skeins of wool to make dryer balls.

In case you haven't heard of them before, folks across the interwebs claim that dryer balls can reduce the time your laundry needs in the dryer and  reduce wrinkles in your clothes. Also, if you add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the dryer balls you can even make your laundry smell fresher. I'll let you judge for yourself if the claims are true.

I think using three dryer balls in the laundry works nicely, but you can use more or less if you like.

Materials



Abbreviations


ch - chain
sl st - slip stitch
sc - single crochet
dec - decrease by inserting the hook in the next st and draw up a loop, insert the hook in the next st and draw up a loop, yarn over and draw through all three loops

Directions


There's no need to work a gauge swatch for this project, however you will need to use a hook that is a few sizes smaller than what the yarn label recommends in order to make the top and bottom of the balls curve slightly.

Also, it doesn't really matter which side of your work is the right side because the stitches become much less noticeable after felting. The pattern is worked in continuous rounds. so no need to turn your work at the end of each round.

Ch 3, sl st in first ch to form a loop (or you can use the magic loop method), ch 1.

Rnd 1: 6 sc in loop.
Rnd 2: [2 sc in next sc] 6 times. (12 sts)
Rnd 3: [2 sc in next sc, sc in next sc] 6 times. (18 sts)
Rnd 4: [2 sc in next sc, sc in next 2 sc] 6 times. (24 sts)
Rnd 5: [2 sc in next sc, sc in next 3 sc] 6 times. (30 sts)

If your work isn't slightly curved, you'll need to try again with a smaller crochet hook.
Rnd 6-11: sc in each sc around. (30 sc per round for 6 rounds is 180 sc total)
Roll a tight ball of wool yarn to fill your work.

Pro Tip: If you are making multiple dryer balls, it's helpful to use a food scale to measure the weight of the rolled yarn balls to make sure they are all the same size.
Place the rolled yarn ball into your work.

Rnd 12: [dec, sc in next 3 sc] 6 times. (24 sts)
Rnd 13: [dec, sc in next 2 sc] 6 times. (18 sts)
Rnd 14: [dec, sc in next sc] 6 times. (12 sts)
Rnd 15: [dec] until no more sts can be worked.
Fasten off and pull the yarn tail into the ball.
Next, you will machine felt your dryer balls. This makes them fuzzier and more dense.

Machine wash and dry your dryer balls 3-5 times with the rest of your laundry. Don't use any fabric softener in the laundry when you are felting.
Your dryer balls will get smaller and smaller each time you wash and dry them.

After you have competed the felting process, you do not need to wash your dryer balls again.
If you want them to smell extra nice, add 3-5 drops of your favorite essential oil to each ball. I like jasmine best. Let the oil soak in over night. You can add a few more drops of oil any time the dryer balls start to lose their scent.

Now, just toss in your dryer balls when you are drying clean laundry for fluffier, fresher smelling laundry with less wrinkles. At least that's what my skeptical hubby believes. ;)

Free Crochet Pattern: DIY a set of wool dryer balls for softer, fresher smelling wrinkle free laundry.


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