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I promised my 16 Polar Sock class participants last night that I would post these links to simplify their searches for high quality fleece. We used the Green Pepper – 504 Polar Sock pattern and had a lot of fun! Thank you all for participating!

Green Pepper Polar Socks pattern

 

Some places to buy 200 wt Polartec (Polar fleece by Malden Mills, LLC) online:

http://www.milldirecttextiles.com/ (Malden Mills/Polartec LLC)

http://www.seattlefabrics.com/fleece.html (Seattle Fabrics)

http://www.rosecitytextiles.com/ (Pacific Fabrics)

http://www.therainshed.com/ (Rain Shed)

http://www.owfinc.com/Fabrics/Fleece/fleece.htm (Outdoor Wilderness Fabrics)

http://www.fabricmartfabrics.com/xcart/Fleece/ (Fabric Mart, Sinking Springs, PA)

 

 

 

 

 

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Last year at this time I was considering whether or not to maintain my web site goodworks1.com

and how (or if) this blog might relate to the family business websites I own. I’m beginning to see that one of the reasons I love online commerce is the connections I’ve made with people all over the world!

The back story: Maybe 6 years ago my sister carefully salvaged discarded choral music and sold the sets on her website, gw4music.com. When her inventory got lower, we combined our stores into one shopping cart site under my url, goodworks1.com.

Last week I got an email request that was fairly unusual: Would I be willing to email a copy of the music to the customer if they purchased the hard copies of the music? They wanted to sing this piece for Easter, but had only a few days left to practice.

My brain came up with it’s usual list of reasons why I should say no:
–can I hold the camera still enough to take good photos?
–will the photos be too gray for them to be read easily?
–how much time will it take to photograph 9 pages and edit and color-correct the photos?
–will I lose money on the transaction?
–is the requester likely to follow through?

But then I remembered that we do have a multi-function machine that supposedly scans as one of it’s functions. I decided to try it before sending a reply.

Huh! It was so easy it was ridiculous! I even noticed I could scan the file to the shared folder on dh’s computer so that I could access it from my own office without using a flash drive.

So I could quickly attach the page 2 file of the music to my response email. Hurrah! Page one is already available on the site and I figured sending page two would give the potential buyer a chance to double-check that it really was the right song and also test whether it was realistic for the file to be sent as an attachment. (I’ve found that sometimes people can’t receive large files on their email accounts. Other people don’t know how to, or maybe refuse to, open attachments.)

Almost immediately I received a notice of sale, along with the notification that payment had been received at PayPal. All my concerns had been addressed!

You can read Kathie’s side of the transaction at her blog, Kathie’s Kabin; scroll down past the yummy-looking Easter rolls to the Three Empty Crosses sheet music photo….

I had no idea that this music had Amish roots. It’s another reminder of the many connections we have in this world! When my parent’s greatgrandfathers walked north from the port in New Orleans to central Illinois in the 1860s the church they established was Amish Mennonite; that church is now part of Mennonite Church USA, of which I am a member.

Parting note:
Tuesday afternoon I cut the rest of the skirt pieces, including cut-on pockets for Mom’s rayon skirt. We’re hosting family from CO next week, so my sewing hours will be few this week and next….

I finally learned to use the scanner that’s hooked up to my dh’s computer…and figured out how to share the files on our network to simplify getting them to my computer! I need and want to continually learn things, but somehow can’t learn them faster than a certain rate! Maybe it’s a matter of ‘you learn it when you need it’.

Today I’m sharing scans of the dishcloths my MIL sent home with her son this week. They are so cheerful and colorful!

About 8 years ago my MIL had a stroke that meant she had to relearn how to use the left side of her body. While in the hospital doing intensive physical therapy she started crocheting scrubbies. The nursing staff noticed and started buying them from her as fast as she could produce them! Once home from the hospital, however, her sales outlet was gone, so I offered to put them on my website for her.

Literally thousands of scrubbies later, she has decided to add cotton dishcloths to her offerings. She loves using the cotton yarn, as it is much easier on her hands than the nylon netting.

We’re introducing them to you at a reduced price on the website, because she’s making them faster than our family can wear them out washing dishes! Some of us have picked colors that match our bathrooms and use them for face washing cloths. Others stubbornly call them dish rags, although ‘rag’ doesn’t really seem appropriate for something so pretty!

If you have a preference in color/style, be sure to mention the names under the photos of the cotton dish cloths above when you are checking out! If you are using a blog reader you may have to click through to be able to see the captions. Or just mention the photo file name, if you prefer.

And even if you’re not in the market for some right now, we’d love feedback on colors you’d like to see, both for the dishcloths and for scrubbies. Click comment below…

Serious back problems in the past 15 years or so have helped me to the conclusion that my life-long weaving dreams need to be expressed in some other way. The supplies and equipment that I purchased in the 1980s need to go to persons who will use them. I sold my Jack floor loom locally. I still have a few older shuttles of various styles, some yarns and threads, and this warp winding mill.

Here’s the LeClerc standing warping reel. I think it’s the 30 (or 40) yard model. My guess is that it was originally constructed of hardwoods in the 1960s. After I first learned to wind a warp along a series of very long tables, I was amazed to find that a person could actually stand in one place and let a warping reel do the walking for you.

loomreelleclerclabela1

Not such great photos…but you can see how this can be stored flat near a wall. I’ve even used it as a room divider and/or to display wall hangings and rugs in the past. This photo was taken in bright sunlight during our yard sale last summer; sadly, no weavers showed up that weekend…

warping reel

The reel is easily dismantled down to a bunch of wooden pieces and poles about 5 feet long for shipping. If you aren’t in a huge hurry it could probably also be delivered in person. (Our family also owns a small commercial trucking business and we might be able to coordinate your delivery with other work or maybe even an August road trip would be fun for dh and me! I’m thinking $100 for the reel and $70 for standard shipping, assuming you live in the contiguous US states.)

If you want more info on how this reel works, the LeClerc website has a pretty good schematic of the assembly and parts numbers of a similar older model. You’ll need a pdf reader.

PDF file of LeClerc vertical warping mill

or go to this page of the LeClerc site and scroll down to the bottom section, looking for the ‘vertical warping mill, floor model’

EDITED TO ADD, Nov 2009: The reel has found a new home in Texas! I’ll leave this post up for the photos and the link to the assembly and parts numbers for the LeClerc reels.

This is a third post in a series on my thoughts on integrating this blog with my web site.

There are some good reasons NOT to promote my web sales here on this blog. For one thing, I’ve never considered my readers to be likely buyers of the items I sell. Secondly, I’ve heard that WordPress doesn’t allow commercial sites; now I’m not sure exactly what that means, but it worries me some. I definitely would not be selling things on this blog, but where is the line drawn on promotion?

I’ve seen people mentioning their online classes. And links to books they’ve written. I’ve spent some time looking through a bunch of pages and help files for WordPress but haven’t found specific guidelines yet. I’m not even sure what I’m looking for. Or what sort of promotions I’m likely to do.

My sister also sells on the goodworks1.com website under the gw4music.com URL. She’s one of the biggest fans of my sewing hobby, but she doesn’t do too much sewing beyond mending and making / designing costumes for her son. She does do very nice hand needlework – crewel and crazy quilting embellishment / embroidery.

I have sold a few used textile-related books on the goodworks1 site, but most of my books are listed elsewhere and I don’t really see any particular benefit of linking to those sites as the books are quite a hodge-podge of subjects and origins.

I could promote a few of the products that sell well on the site, like the beginner quilt kits, the scrubbies and dishcloths, precut quilt fabric squares, and the back issues of weaving magazines, etc. However, I guess I still wonder if that’s a good idea.

Some of the stories behind the development of the products might make interesting blog posts, though. Hmmm.

What do YOU think?

Yesterday I talked some about the ‘late’ textiles group at OTWA. Today I’m continuing the discussion of integrating a sales site and a blog based on some things I’ve read recently. I’m also thinking through a bit more about why I originally started this blog.

I’ve been reading at the PatternReview.com thread: Web site Talk – Building Blog Readership about some of the issues of combining blogging and online income production. I’m starting to think that there may be a legitimate place for a blog along side a store or other things like Kathleen‘s book sales.

On the other hand, when I started this blog it was mostly because I needed to share my sewing and love of textiles in the worst way and didn’t have a good way to do that otherwise. I also figured that if I committed to posting about what I was working on I’d be more likely to work at it more consistently. I’ve never been very good at keeping a record of the stuff I design or make – I tend to keep the scraps and the notes I’ve taken and the other bits and pieces all in a box or something, but never really ‘recorded’ anywhere. Friends and family members keep showing up with stories of me making stuff for them that I can barely remember working on. In addition I figured I might keep some of my memory more accurate if I record things as they happen – Even in 4 months I can barely remember where I purchased some of the fabrics I’ve used or which pattern I used to make a specific garment. I spent a full afternoon last month fixing factual errors and inconsistencies in the few posts I’ve made since I started the blog. That was eye-opening!

But I didn’t start this blog to advertise. I have posted a link to the store, but that was so people who know me from years past can find where I’m currently spending time. I also maintain a couple other online sites that aren’t textile related at all – my used book sales and my dh’s site where he sells a few pieces of used farm equipment.

I’ve been wondering for several months how (or IF) to integrate my web sales with my blog. I finally decided to write about it here.

Some background: For about 8 years I co hosted a textiles forum at OTWA (Online Traders Web Alliance) until the site closed down about a year ago in July 2007. Mapledr and I hosted an online group for folks who loved textiles and also sold on eBay or on their own websites or on group collectibles sites like Ruby Lane.

In addition we helped many people track down IDs of their textile related items, helping date older fabrics, helping come up with good titles/search words for ebay auctions, etc. We didn’t project ourselves as experts, but there were enough of us with widely varying interests and backgrounds that we often were able to be a big help to folks looking for ID help, etc.

It was a lot of fun and I made many good friends. When the site closed with fairly short notice we didn’t quite know what to do with the group and the information we’d amassed and consequently didn’t pursue setting up another one somewhere else.

At OTWA it was assumed that everyone who participated either sold stuff online or was a buyer. Because of that we did some buying from each other and got some exposure to other online buyers without doing direct marketing there other than signature links on our forum posts.

Since OTWA closed I’ve noticed some big gaps. For instance, I’ve barely maintained my online store (and a move to a different host left me with degraded photos and loads of work to redo it all.) It feels as though I lost a lot of the connections and some friendly pushes to improve things in my online businesses, yes even some healthy competition.