- Choose your patterns from the internet or library books. With so many free patterns are available, it doesn’t make sense to pay for one.
- Pick pattern that emphasize your skill, not a beautiful yarn. It’s tempting to go with a quick, simple pattern that gets its glamour from the yarn that is used, but it is also a lot more expensive.
- Make mainly knit and crochet things you really need and would have bought anyway. If you know you will need to give a baby gift or buy a new sweater for December, choose these as your projects. Crocheting another scarf when you already have 6 in your closet, is a waste of time and money.
- Buy your supplies at yard sales, thrift stores, sales or ebay.
- Reuse yarn from garments you no longer enjoy or those bought second hand. There are some great instructions on how to do this available on the internet.
- Feel free to substitute a cheaper type of yarn for a more expensive one. Some free patterns from yarn companies feature their most costly yarns. Often a cheaper yarn will also work with the pattern.
- Knit or crochet with rags and/or plastic bags. A search on Google will provide plenty of patterns for both materials.
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Ready to shake things up a little? Take your next project to a whole new level by experimenting with fun alternatives to store bought yarn. Each of the fibers I list can be used for both knit and crochet projects, and as an accent or for the entire piece.
Here are some of my favorites
1. Plarn – Popular for the last few years, Plarn is an acronym for plastic yarn. Grocery bags and trash bags are recycled into placemats, tote bags and wash clothes.
2. Pet Hair Yarn – Spin yarn from cat hair, dog hair and even rabbit fur. The resulting fiber makes sweaters and hats with a novel story to tell.
3. Recycled Newspaper Yarn – At 20 yards of yarn from a single sheet, newspaper yarn enables you to do a lot, with little. Turn recycled newspapers into floor mats, wall hangings and other decorative objects.
4. T-Shirt Yarn – Since t-shirt yarn is both durable and bulky, it makes great trivets, rugs, washcloths. If “country” is not your style you may want to dye the t-shirts before using them.
5. Wire – Working with wire is not too different than working with yarn….just a bit harder on your hands. Combine the wire with beads for some seriously wonderful jewelry designs.
6. Raffia – These fibers will all be a lot more difficult to use than yarn, but the interesting texture will make the extra effort worthwhile.
7. Denim – Denim is extremely hardy, so it’s perfect for rug making, shopping bags, trivets and pot holders.
8. VCR VHF Tapes – When I first heard about crafters using VCR VHF tapes for knitting and crocheting, I thought the results would appear juvenile and unattractive. Not any more. You’ll be surprised at how nice tape projects turn out.
9. Polymer Clay - Create amazingly beautiful jewelry using an easy- to- master faux knitting technique…Not real knitting, but so wonderful, it was impossible to resist!
10. Repurposed Sweaters – With today’s emphasis on economy and reuse, it’s not surprising if we look back to our frugal ancestors for some “new” ways of recycling. Unravel your own out-of-style garments or thrift store garments when your yarn collection gets low.
How about string, thread, ribbon, discarded silk clothes, sheets, narrow rope, curtains and pantyhose. Virtually anything goes.
Just remember the saying…. If you can think it, you can do it!
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I found this Amigurumi Pears Pattern over at Planet June. Planet June requests a donation of any size for the pattern, however, also offers it free to those readers who choose not to donate.
I like that idea.
Thanks to Sister Diane, over at Crafty Pod, I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately as to how craft sites can be profitable, without creating a burden for their readers.
Some of the ideas I’ve heard over the last few months have been to…
1. charge for specific content
2. use donationware
3. create a premium area
4. offer a free project but send an upgraded version for pay
5. set up a micro-payment system (a few cents for each click)
Of all the ideas that have been bounced around, I think I like Planet June’s technique the best.
These pears are being offered with the clear expectation that a payment will be sent. And yet, the size of the payment is being left to the reader. In fact, even if the reader doesn’t make a payment, she still has access to the pattern.
In that way, theoretically, the designer will receive a small reward for her efforts, without placing an undue burden on her readers.
The only question is, will some readers actually send in money for something they can get for free?
I think the answer is yes. A certain group of crafters will.
Not those crafters who just save the pattern to their hard drive, to be forgotten forever. They won’t send a penny.
But the crafters who actually create a useful and attractive project using this pattern probably will send a payment. Every time they get a compliment on the project or copy over the pattern for a friend, they will remember that they were supposed to make a payment. Eventually, a decent size number of them will go ahead and do it.
The payments probably won’t come gushing in during the first few weeks, but over a couple of months they will start to trickle in slowly.
What do you think?
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