What it takes to make.

I may seem like a lucky jerk for being able to work from home. Sure, I know that I am very fortunate to be there for my kids, day in and day out. I’m raising them while working, and I’m so thankful for that. But I really don’t see ‘makers’ talk about the ugly side of this ‘industry’, the sometimes depressing side of it: the roadblocks, the cynicism, the doubts, the time invested, the rip-offs.  You see our nicely finished, hand-made item being held by a freshly-bathed babe on a beautiful antique quilt and you think “their life is so perfect, I hate them.”
Am I wrong? I don’t think I am because I am guilty of thinking the same about other makers.

But it’s far from perfect. Maybe in always putting our best foot forward, we kind of lost that personal connection with others. Maybe we’ve become un-relatable, though we are probably the most laid back, easy-to-get-along-with people.

So yeah, this line of work can be a big bummer at times. Have you ever worked for two years on a design, shown a sneak peek and said “coming soon!” as if you were going to have a stinking parade for yourself, then you find out a few days later that you are finally pregnant and you get sick? Like dead almost. I mean the kind where you lose 30 lbs in a month and are in and out of the hospital to get your fluids replenished because everything made you sick—crackers, water, air, Kleenex, you name it. And then that new pattern you should’ve had done before Valentine’s day is still in limbo come April because you haven’t been able to eat food for two months, much less count stitches.

When you are a ‘maker’ for a living, life can really put a hiatus on things.

And, when you’re finally able to eat, you demolish half a bag of tortilla chips with salsa and stare at a half-knitted doll dress and think “What am I doing with my life? I’m thirty-one, I should be knitting trendy chunky blankets or neon pink speckled shawls or something.” But the truth is, I don’t want to make either of those. I want to make dolls and knit sweet little baby sweaters and bonnets. But, I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times I have questioned what I’m doing. Ask my mom, she has about 1,743 text from me of half-finished projects and I’m asking, “is this stupid??”

Then, when you decide that the dolls you spent months making actually look stupid, and ‘who is gonna want that rabbit/grasshopper hybrid…’ (don’t even judge the fabric pile in the corner and the paint-swatch walls. That wall has since been painted and all that fabric has since been hidden from my husband)…


…and you toss that junk into a basket full of others, destined for the Island of Misfit Toys along with those dolls that only have hair stitched on half of their head; the ones who look like they should be named Olga and have a face that only your child will love:


And as if I wasn’t enough of a hindrance to myself, I get the ridiculous emails. You wouldn’t believe the kind of emails from people wanting us to make a whole pattern from an item we made 11 years ago so that they too can make it. Like we can just pull all that from memory… Or people who request a complimentary 1” bear for their blind aunt, I kid you not. Would she tell the difference from the bear and a piece of lint?? Or the emails from people that don’t even care about the product you made but instead ask where they can buy the tea set in the background of your photo. The constant emails alone are enough to make me grey—you don’t earn a dime for your time dealing with that stuff.

I wish that was the worst of it. I think the worst is creating something from nothing, not earning nearly enough for your time, then seeing your design duplicated by someone who is making money off your idea, hand-over-fist.

You may see the perfection of the finished item, but boy does it take a long path to get there. I’m sure more venting will come.

Just know that if you’re a maker enduring these things, hang in there. You’re not alone.

Hugs,

Rhonda

November Light

I don’t know about there, but it has been unseasonably warm here in our neck of the woods. Today, finally today, the weather dipped a little bit. Our noses were numb on this morning’s walk, but it was good. I was beginning to grow tired of the perfect temps as odd as it is to say. But we are knitters and crocheters. We live for the cold.  Those unbearable 70-80 degree days have had their highlights, though. For about a week there, I would look out my front windows to see dozens, if not a hundred little butterflies floating around all of my Perky Sues, Petunias and Alyssum. The kids would go outside and just twirl around in the butterflies. It was awesome. And even for about a week after Halloween, we had still enjoyed ‘spooky sprinkles’ on our cocoa. A certain little someone even wore her costume day and night for a while there (below she can be seen delighting in a yogurt breakfast and walking brother to the bus stop dressed as a butterfly).

The days are more noticeably shorter, the stretched out shadows outside begin at about 4pm now. And there’s just something about November’s light around here. Especially at the beginning and end of the day. Everything seems more golden.

But we are bundling up today–hooray! And so are our creations. I mean, look at my mom’s most recent bear below. Is he not the sweetest little guy you’ve ever seen. With his little hand knitted overalls and cowl… He is available here for a very short time! This little guy is unlike any other artist bear–he was crocheted out of 100% wool then put through a vigorous process to shrink him up, making him more plush and fleece-like. Impressive work from that woman! She also has a pattern just released for her Knot Head bears which is for sale on Etsy and will be offered at other venues soon. We’ve also got some warm wooly knitted designs coming up, so look out! Thanks for stopping by!

Hugs, Rhonda

 

 

Whimsical!

As you may have seen sneak peeks on our Etsy and Instagram–we will now be incorporating some more kid-friendly items! The new Out of the Thistle® Whimsicals include rattles and dolls! These items are still 100% handmade, crocheted from 100% wool.  They are created with the intent of being passed down for many generations. Their unique design allow for young children to easily hold and play with the new dolls and rattles. These toys have heirloom-quality, yet they are durable enough for everyday play. they are also visually appealing to fit perfectly into any child bedroom décor.

These dolls and rattles were put through a vigorous washing technique to shrink them, making them firm and durable. Their soft exterior makes them safer to play with, as well!

You may view all new items in our Etsy shop while our website is under construction. Be on the lookout for more whimsical designs!

 

Holly Jolly

Sometimes, it’s easy to get bogged down this time of year, especially if you’ve had to recently deal with anything like we have such as deaths of close family members and of pets, or having dealt with thieves stealing your Christmas decorations off of your lawn! However, in spite of all of that, I am going to choose to dwell on the good this season has to offer. I thought some of you may need a few photographical pick-me-ups as well, maybe you just need your inspiration sparked or your interest piqued. So, here are a few festive photos as of recently.

We’ve been busy making a few fiber goodies.

christmas1

Winter knits and crochets Out of the Thistle  christmas2

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And, I spent a weekend with my family in one of my favorite places, Prescott, dubbed “Arizona’s Christmas Town,” and for good reason. We saw dozens of the most intricate gingerbread houses. We went to the town square for the Christmas parade where my kids waved to everyone and made new friends. We participated in the lighting of the Courthouse where they read the story of Jesus’ birth and we all sang Christmas carols and ate too many sweets. A little reindeer sat outside a local bakery and sang about the coffee, cookies, and hot chocolate inside. Every corner was decked-out. Everyone was jolly. It was perfect.

Out of the Thistle® Blog, dwell on the good this holiday.

Out of the Thistle® Blog, dwell on the good this holiday.

Out of the Thistle® Blog, dwell on the good this holiday.

Out of the Thistle, dwell on the good this holiday.

Out of the Thistle® Blog, dwell on the good this holiday.

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So, just dwell on the good, share it with others, and just look to all the joyous moments to be found this season, no matter how small they may seem.

 

Pattern prices reduced!

First thing we’d like to report: all knitters and crocheters can purchase any Out of the Thistle pattern for just $4.99!! We have patterns available on our website, on Etsy, and on Ravlery! {links to the right}

Second announcement: We have a new pattern available! It is for this adorable, unusual bear–this bear was crocheted from 100% wool, then shrunken for a fuzzier/denser fur! It is called “Tea for Ted,” and the finished bear looks perfectly poised inside a tea cup.

Tea for Ted Thread Teds by Thread Bears® for Out of the Thistle® crochet pdf pattern

{Ted also doesn’t mind joining in on tea parties}

Tea for Ted PDF crochet pattern Out of the Thistle® felting

This pattern gives the instructions on crocheting the bear, then on how to felt it (if desired).

tea for ted PDF crochet pattern then felted Out of the Thistle®

We’ve also made a few additions to our website, if you’d like to have a look!

Signed, the Out of the Thistle® Team.

 

 

A Shrunken Wool Trio.

Like many of you, we have been enjoying being outdoors in the warm sunshine. In the (less) amount of time we’ve spent indoors, we have continued to keep our creating hands busy. We’ve had inquiries as to when we are going to be offering some new items, so we are here to announce to everyone that our target date for launching the new website will be July 1st! Mark your calendar!

In the meantime, here’s a couple of items you can keep an eye out for ahead of time–created by the hands of Sue Aucoin! And be sure to check back soon for some fun blog posts as well!

Shrunken wool trio crocheted artist dolls and bears Out of the Thistle Blog outofthethistle

Shrunken wool duo crocheted artist dolls and bears Out of the Thistle Blog outofthethistle