It all started when my favorite yarn shop went out of business. Well, it actually started before that, but this last round of knitting addiction began with the bags of yarn I brought home from BB's Knits in July. I had been knitting scarves for gifts and to wear for a long time. It's a much more creative and rewarding project for me than sweaters or afghans - you submit to the lure of some luxury yarn or luscious color, buy a few skeins, pick out a design you love, and start the project. It will be done in a short time and you can wear it or give it as a gift. Instant gratification! Longer projects are too boring and expensive.
When BB's marked down all the yarns I'd been lusting after, I went a little nuts. I bought two shopping bags full of merino and cashmere, silk ribbon, multi-stranded yarn.....you name it, I probably had some. I began to create wonderful scarves in patterns I loved, but by Fall, I realized that I had more than 30 scarves. Too many to wear, too many to give away. They were overflowing the bags I used to store them. I began to think about selling them.
When I carried them with me to Portland in October to sell them to some stores which sell handmade clothing, I found out that I was too late. They had already purchased everything they were planning to sell for the season. If I still wanted to sell some of my designs next year, I should talk to the proprietresses again in March or April.
A friend who sells collectibles at swap meets and vintage fairs, offered to let me display my inventory at some of the Fall shows for which she was registered. So I have been spreading out my handknits among wooden bowls and crystal candlesticks for the last few weekends. People loved my stuff, picked it up, tryed it on, fingered it lovingly. But they were not buyers. They were looking for bargains, for household chochkes and willing to spend two to five dollars for their prizes. Handmade cashmere neckware was not on their shopping list, nor was a $150 price tag. It was fun to hang out and show off my wares, and helping my friend pack up all her fragile merchandise cemented a friendship. But it didn't move any of my inventory.
She suggested the Holiday Craft Fair that was an annual event in the tiny town just south of Santa Barbara. People come looking for gifts and beautiful things, she suggested, and that was the customer base I was looking for. So I signed up, offering to share a space with another friend of hers - a sculptor of whimsical constructions of stainless steel serveware. It did sound like a good idea, but as it turns out, my scarves got less attention from the holiday craft shoppers than the collectibles customers. The only scarf I sold was to a friend, who wouldn't let me give it to her as a gift. So all my inventory came home with me again.
Everyone I know will be getting a scarf from me for Christmas. I guess I'll have to start wearing them, too, because there's still more yarn in those bags. I can't stop knitting now, I am just hitting my stride. I'll probably have created enough new inventory to show up at those Portland boutiques in the Spring. If you are in need of warm neckware, give me a call.