If anyone had told me that I might end up selling handmade products online, I would not have believed that person. Yet, here I am in my Larchmont home, selling a variety of hand-crocheted items on Etsy — and enjoying it.
Crocheting was a craft my grandma taught me as a child. I was left-handed and couldn’t seem to pick up knitting. I liked handiwork because of my love of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Louisa May Alcott and LM Montgomery (ie, “Little” House on the Prairie, ”“ Little Women, ”“ Anne of Green Gables ”). I wasn’t especially skilled at it, but I loved the braiding and texture of the yarn. It was a skill I would exercise occasionally over the years. ..
Fast forward to the summer of 2020. Pandemic numbers were on the rise, and I was looking for something both creative and productive to do while “sheltering in place.” My regular creative activity had been writing fiction and poetry, but while clearing out craft and sewing supplies, I rediscovered my old crochet hooks.
Getting into fiber art
At first, I was crocheting with a sense of playing around with fiber, texture and colorways. (Many yarn hanks are dyed in a variety of colors, called colorways.) Soon, I was immersed in learning about natural fibers — like cotton, linen , silk and merino wool — to create projects such as infinity scarves, blankets, baskets and simple handbags.
I set myself tasks to create new items and learn new stitches. I also added touches such as personalized labels, buttons and beads.
By the holiday season of 2020, I had crafted enough items to donate two totes of crocheted items to Alexandria House, as well as make gifts for family and friends.
I had friends who kept asking if I would sell my crafty goods. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do that. I enjoyed my crocheting as a meditative practice and a way to work with texture and color. Not only had I worked in retail in the past, but my father had owned and operated a handbag repair shop in San Francisco. I had worked for him and seen what it was like first hand.
Setting up an Etsy shop
Eventually, I realized I needed to fund my fiber art practice. So, I decided to look into setting up an Etsy shop.
Etsy.com is a marketplace specifically for unique, handmade and vintage goods and materials. I knew that in such a marketplace, I could set my own rules, craft my items and sell what I wanted to sell.
Setting up an Etsy shop is simple. There is a template for establishing a store name and banner, in my case “Raebob’s Crafty Goods.” After uploading photos (they don’t need to be fancy) and filling in the description, the seller There is a fee for listing items and when items are sold. There is also help with shipping labels, calculating shipping costs both domestically and globally, sales tax, establishing handling costs and even tax forms. My Etsy shop was easy to set up and has been easy to operate.
Ultimately, however, it is the old-fashioned and mindful craft of crochet that I enjoy. To see my items for sale, visit http://etsy.com/shop/Raebobs-CraftyGoods.
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