Maker Spotlight: Introducing Scarves for Justice by Louzilla Lovegood

Guest Post Spotlight: Scarves for Justice

This guest post first appeared on Louzilla Lovegood Letters. This maker is turning despair into action by creating Scarves for Justice to sell, and donating the proceeds to social justice causes!

When America elected Trump as president, I knew I had to take action to protect the marginalized groups he’s repeatedly promised to disenfranchise.

I also have a yarn stash that’s accumulated over the years from gifts, unfinished projects, and unstarted projects.

So I’m crocheting my way through my yarn stash for a good cause. I spent a large part of November making scarves that I’m now selling on Etsy. 100% of the proceeds from every scarf I sell will go to an organization that fights to protect our civil liberties. I am not making any profit off this.

Blue and white crochet scarf by Louzilla Lovegood

When you buy a scarf from my Etsy shop, include a note letting me know which organization you’d like the money to go to. If you don’t, I’ll choose for you, on a rotating basis.

Protect your neck and protect civil liberties at the same time.

I’m partnered with this current list of organizations, which should grow as I hear back from more of them:

Raging Chicken Press
Women’s Law Project
Thomas Merton Center

Visit Louzilla Lovegood on Etsy

How To Sell Crafts… at Starvation Wages!

How Not To Sell Your Crafts

So, I had sixteen-some odd hours to burn (haha, no I didn’t, what is wrong with me) and three balls of cotton bedspread thread and a book of vintage lace patterns and I thought, you know what I don’t have? A doily over a foot in diameter. So, now I do. See above.

I finished this piece one hour before I was supposed to be meeting a woman who owned a local gift shop to talk about the possibility of taking some of my pieces on consignment to sell for me, so I blocked it on our mattress and got dressed while Chris ran over it with a hair dryer. (Love that man.)

Trying to Sell Your Crafts at the Gift Shop

I lovingly unpinned it, photographed it for posterity, attempted to get it to delicately fold flat in my bag, gave up and squashed it into a weird pizza slice shape and I was off.

When I finally met the owner, she was sitting behind the counter buried under a pile of sticky two-year-old armed only with a portable DVD player blasting Winnie the Pooh and a glass of red zinfandel, and I smiled, because I’ve been there. Oh, have I been there.

(Except for the Red Zin. My niece is like a grabby little ferret and she’d immediately sense that the red stuff in the glass is the only thing in the whole kitchen that she can’t drink. She would immediately make it her life’s mission to attempt to consume it, and I’d have to explain to her irate mother why her baby smells like she’s been knocking back cocktails at a country club social. That, and I’m more of a Moscato kind of girl. Actually, if they could just make apple juice alcoholic, I’d probably drink that. I’m more of a fan of the idea of booze than the taste of it.)

red zinfandel pouring into a glass
Admittedly, I have a hard time explaining to her why it’s any different from her sippy cup grape juice. “Uh, it’s pretty much grape juice but… older? They let it go bad in a barrel first or something? Listen, you’re two years old and I have a bachelor’s degree, so sit down and watch your Dora the Explorer DVD.”

The Offer

I laid out my precious wares (on a pile of old receipts and DVD cases,) told her a bit about the three-day-long stint that went into making it, and stood back, smiling hopefully. The kid responded by grabbing the new doily and chewing on it. Ah, a lesser woman than I may have protested, but this is not the first time my lacework has had its seams tested between the gums of a toddler. Chew away, kid, I wove those ends in like a stitch wizard. Instead, I say, “Oh, look, he already likes them!”

She smiles, ponders them a moment, and offers $40. That’s a decent chunk of money, but remember the thing I said at the beginning about the doily taking me sixteen hours to complete? That price would net me about $2 an hour.

…………………………

Ouch.

Calculate Dollar per Hour When You Sell Your Crafts

Afterwards, the store owner told me that “crafters never, ever get paid the amount of time that they put into it.” She’s not lying. I count as one of the lowest points of my life the time that I got haggled down from $2 to $1 on a beautiful hand made lace wash cloth set. I found myself hoping that my dried-up, over-mascara’ed bargain hunter managed to choke on it as I gave that dollar to the hot dog guy so I could have something to chew on while I wept over the mustard and re-thought my life plan.

Les Mesirables getting her hair cut
My new life plan looked something like this.

So, just so we’re clear, I can make more money rolling silverware or delivering pizzas than I can making doilies and sell crafts to that particular gift shop.

At first I thought I just had a PR problem, and that people didn’t think my doilies were as cool as I did.

Doily wearing a YOLO chain and smoking a cigarette
Presto.

I thought that I was a relic of a forgotten age, without having actually been born in that forgotten age. But there are still people who thinks my doilies are really cool. I ended up mounting it on a matte board and displaying it on my wall. I get compliments on that piece all the time. But who has $160 to spend on a doily? If you sell your crafts, you may know of markets where there are folks who do have that type of money, and would be willing to spend it on this. At the time this happened, I did not have access to those markets. I didn’t know how to find them, I didn’t live near them, and I didn’t have time to create enough stock to appeal to them.

The Real Problem

I didn’t know my market before I started making product. I was never going to get an amount of money that would make selling that doily worth it. The reason was twofold, by the way. Even if she had offered me that kind of money, I would likely have hesitated to take it. I was too attached to the project, because I had spent too much time with it. I created it in colors that I loved, and I secretly wanted to keep it. There’s no shame in loving your own crafts. It’s really natural to get attached to something you spend so much time with. That’s why, when I make things to sell now, I make things that take little time. I make things that I can duplicate easily, not one-in-a-million pieces of art. That’s the key to sell your crafts.

Job Searching Blows

Job Searching Blows When You Have Trouble With Relevancy.

I’m a young lady with a B.A. in English. My main hobby has been unnecessary since the advent of industrialized society. Therefore, I sometimes have trouble marketing my skills as “relevant” to this century. Job searching really blows.

job searching comic

job searching comic

job searching comic

job searching comic

job searching comic

job searching comic

job searching comic

Easter Baby Crochet is Why I Don’t Sleep

Easter Baby Crochet Accessories Consume My Waking Thoughts

This actually happened. So, if anyone’s wondering, that’s what I’ll be doing from now till Sunday. And if my baby nephew consents to being photographed while wearing Easter baby crochet accessories that make him look like a baby chicken, there will be pictures. (Although, if he has any self respect, he won’t.)

P.S.: My hair actually looks like that most mornings when I wake up. It doesn’t help with my overall madwoman appearance when I bolt awake to proclaim things like this in the middle of the night.

I tried knitting again.

 

I tried knitting comic
I shouldn’t have.

Mistakes Were Made-The Knitting Comic

I’ll level with you–it was a shit day. It was so shit that I tried knitting again, because even crocheting was making me feel shit. I ended up throwing the knitting and flipping it off, and I’m pretty sure it flipped me off back. Then I drew a knitting comic, and that made me feel better.

I woke up ready to fight, and I decided to fight my yarn. Maybe I was overcome with hubris? Maybe I hate myself? Who knows why I thought I should try to do goddamn anything with a pair of chopsticks instead of a hook. Hooks make sense. A hook is a thing I can use to make a loop and pull that loop through another loop. Why would anyone try to do this with sticks? 

Why would these two sticks need to hold all of the stitches at the same time? How come it make holes when a stitch falls off? Why do I need to do different stitches in different rows to make it look like knitting? DOES ANYONE KNOW? WHY DOES ANYONE DO THIS AS A HOBBY???

There Were Signs

I knew today was going to be a fight. My cat threw up on my nativity set. Who does that? Did my cat mean it to be a gift for the baby Jesus? Oh Glory Hallelujah, the three wise men have brought for the newborn Lord Frankincense, Myrrh, and half-digested Friskies.

Then my insurance company decided to kick me in the ovaries by de-credentialing my doctor. Thanks for that. I still wasn’t ready to throw in the towel–I heated up some chili and put on some Christmas music and was ready to drag my holly jolly ass into the Christmas spirit if it killed me. And I thought, why not pick up some knitting needles and try to make a tiny scarf? What the fuck is more Christmas-y than knitting in a rocking chair and sipping cocoa? Nothing, that’s what, except for maybe swearing like a trucker who stubbed his toe and cursing out the sheep that provided the godforsaken wool I was trying to wrangle.

Screw the cocoa, I’m making a vodka tonic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crochet for Baby? Are You Out of Your Damn Mind?

Crochet for Baby = Masochism

I’m an aunt. Which means, I make a whole lotta projects for babies and kids. I don’t know what it is about my siblings breeding that compels me to crochet for baby. Do you guys get that same tic? The one where the sight of any exposed baby skin seems to biologically obligate you to find the nearest hook and skein of yarn to cover it?

crochet for baby
THERE’S WORK TO BE DONE

Have you ever looked at your calendar, realized it’s only a week until Christmas/Easter/child’s birthday/forecast predicting aggressive breezes and thought, Oh My God, I’ve got to crochet for baby?? And have you ever found yourself Christmas Eve/Easter Eve/anniversary of your sister in law’s water breaking/sign of first breeze and been tangled in a ball of yarn, project half finished, coming off a six hour red-bull-and-aran-worsted bender and having lost your will to live?

Because I’ve been there. I’ve been there a lot. You get it into your head that [insert any gift giving occasion] simply cannot be allowed to pass you by without some type of homemade gift. After all, I’m The Crafty One. I’m the one who shows up to every birthday party with something soft and cuddly and awkwardly wrapped. They’ve come to expect it of me. And I love to crochet for baby things! The soft yarn, the pastels, the fluff.

crochet for baby
I’m also cute and cuddly and awkwardly wrapped

Pride Goeth Before the Fall

Plus, there’s more than a little ego involved. I imagine the child’s delight when they open their special, handmade, one of a kind gift. They give it a big squeeze and skip off with their new best friend, cementing my status as Coolest Aunt Ever. I can just see their parent’s appreciative nod, no doubt understanding the hours of work and love that went into that project. Imagining the admiring clucks of onlookers, I think about how they are clearly impressed with my skill and expertise.

“I need to use up some of this pink yarn anyway”, I inevitably tell myself, “and surely it won’t take more than a few hours.” I’ll bang the project out in a weekend, piece of cake, and I’ll be the hero of the baby shower. 32 hours later, I’ve had two pattern corrections, three disappearing hooks, many many swear words, and the sinking realization that I’ve yet again vastly underestimated the amount of time it’ll take to finish this nightmarish half finished monkey toy that definitely looks more like an alien in the cold, harsh light of day.

It’s a sickness. So what’s the cure?

 

The Cure album art
Besides an English 80’s alternative rock band?

Here’s some tips from a reformed addict  pro:

  1. Babies grow insanely fast. When their mothers buy them clothes, they understand that it will probably only be worn about a half dozen times. That’s all there’s time for before the season changes and the baby has outgrown them. If you crochet for baby, try to predict what size they will be when they’ll wear it, and know in your heart that this is purely a product of your own masochism.
  2. Take materials into consideration. Think about how hot or cold it is outside, and whether or not an extra pound and a half of yarn is something you should put on a baby. I ignored this rule, which lead to the unfortunate decision to crochet a cute lacy summer dress in a scratchy worsted weight acrylic yarn. The dress weighed about three pounds and was worn for maybe seven minutes total.
  3. Will this project be as attractive under several layers of spit up, ice cream, marker, dirt and/or slime? Will it survive the subsequent washings required to remove them?
  4. Is this project difficult to put on the baby or maintain in any way? Would it be difficult to put onto a child who is screaming? Squirming? Flailing all four limbs or auditioning for the 2025 remake of the Exorcist? Does your garment have multiple snaps or delicate/complicated closures? If the answer to any of these is yes, your heartfelt gift will never be worn. Period.
  5. Are you prepared for the excellent possibility that the child receiving your gift will spend less time wearing/playing with it than you spent making it?

If you still have any desire to knit for your loved ones’ offspring, seek help. And stay away from wool.

image

Does Crocheting Make Me Undateable?

 Does Crocheting Make Me Undateable?

So, I’m married now, but I wasn’t always, and I used to wonder quite a lot: does crocheting make me undateable? When I was first living with my then-boyfriend/now-husband, I had my rusting death bucket car towed away by the scrap yard fairies. Problem was, that’s where all of my yarn had living. This is a problem because the apartment that we shared was only slightly larger than a breadbox. Our apartment was so small that our pet fish felt cramped. Our apartment was so small we had to buy singles instead of six packs of beer. It was so small we had to keep our houseplant trimmed. You get the idea. So, you can see the problem we had trying to accommodate the volume equivalent of three fifty-gallon tubs worth of yarn. Having six full-to-bursting black hefty bags lying around really clashed with the “horror vacui” décor style, too.

Sacrifices Were Made

And yet, my man took it all like a champ. He didn’t complain when I moved in and his two full closets and a dresser shrunk to two drawers to keep his clothes in. Then he still didn’t complain when we had to stick all of his shoes in a bookcase to make room for my shoes, and then they got kicked out of the bookcase again to make room for my books. He didn’t complain when I covered the apartment in an inch thick coating of glitter as part of my holiday crafting. And then, bless his soul, when I drag in these six huge bags (and a laundry hamper and a duffel and a picnic basket and a few Shoprite bags with stray bits of stuffing and some afghan squares) full of yarn, he didn’t even bat an eye.

However, it occurred to me that, not only am I a damn lucky girl, but that there probably aren’t that many guys out there as willing as he is to put up with my constant fiber hobby-related crap. So now, I’m curious. Are crocheters undateable? Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of dating someone who crochets.

Pro: You get a warm, fuzzy handmade gift for Christmas every year.

Con: You get a warm, fuzzy handmade gift for Christmas every year.

Pro: If you ever get attacked by a rampaging alpaca, your partner, the “yarn whisperer”, will undoubtedly be able to soothe the beast.

Con: You will have to explain to your beloved crafter, again, why you can’t keep an alpaca in your apartment. Even though they promised to take it for walks in the park every day.

Pro: Buying her gifts is really, really easy.

Con: You are part of the problem.

Pro: She is capable of keeping herself busy happily for hours if you want to play X-Box with your friends. She also understands the need for elbow space and won’t try to cuddle you during activity time.

Con: That doesn’t mean her many afghans won’t want to cuddle.

Does crocheting make me undateable?The jury’s out. For better or worse, he’s got me, and he’ll never ever be cold.

You’re a Millennial Crocheter? Come Back in 30 Years.

Nobody Likes You If You’re 23, and Especially Not if You’re a Millennial Crocheter.

Remember how I complained last time about how I’m hanging around in the wrong demographic? Yeah, not only do I crochet instead of knit, but I’m a Millennial crocheter, which means according to Google I don’t exist, which means I don’t exist.

I usually don’t notice these things until I start getting hit with advertising that’s laughably irrelevant to me. (Which is actually a nice change of pace from Google’s depressingly accurate advertising).

There I am, browsing for patterns for a baby piece I wanted to make, when I get an offer for one free issue of a crochet pattern magazine. Why not? I don’t know what to do with all this yarn anyway. When it arrives in the mail, the cover features an adorable colored thread doily. Into my lap falls some tear out advertisements for… a tiffany-style stained glass Eeyore hurricane lamp. And a porcelain wind-up musical baby deer that assures me will make “an en-deer-ing gift for your granddaughter!” From somewhere within this phantasmagoria of nick-knack hell, some indignant part of my subconscious not disabled by horror said, “Granddaughter? Why do they think I have a granddaughter??” Below, see the actual lamp:

Millenial crocheter
gaze into your nightmares.

This is the first time I realized that my favorite hobby may not be marketed to my age group. This had somehow not occurred to me at any point prior to this, up to and including all the time I spent in my church’s knitting ministry every week. We ate cookies and made prayer shawls and I was the only member who had any hair pigment left.

  There Were Signs.

I really should have noticed sooner. Like how, every time I walk into Michael’s, I walk out crying about how no one but those living off a comfortable retirement pension could possibly afford anything other than acrylic. And how they keep trying to sell me crochet hooks that are ergonomically padded to ease arthritis symptoms, light up in the dark, magnify the working stitches, and attach with a clip to my macrame reading spectacle’s lanyard. And in hindsight, perhaps my college roommate was calling me a loser not because I declined the invitation to go do body shots with the guys from Alpha Chi Ro, but because of the oversized shawl I was wrapped in and the granny square afghan I was working on at the moment I declined it.

 

Sudden Clarity Clarence
o.o

So, I guess I should just crawl under my maroon worsted ripple stitch afghan with my four cats and an oversized mug of chamomile tea while I wait for retirement age so that I can crochet when I’m no longer considered an anachronism…

BUT WAIT A MINUTE.

A survey released in 2011 by the Craft Yarn Council (yes, that’s a thing) indicates that the statistical age breakdown of knitters and crocheters is much younger than my grinning porcelain baby deer from hell would seem to suggest. In fact, a full 18% of yarncrafters were between the ages of 18 and 34. “Wait a minute!“ shouts that small but hopeful part of my brain. “That’s me!”

That’s right. Furthermore, 37% of the survey group was below the age of 45, and only 34% was above 55. The 45-54 year olds garnered 29%, the single largest age group sampled. That means that most crocheters are moms, not grandmas.

Furthermore, 89% of survey takers said that the internet was their first source for knit and crochet patterns, and that this was consistent across all age groups.

Therefore, Conclusion:

A.) I’ve been dealt a raw deal, and the distributors who are dealing selling me my fix supply of yarn should actually be marketing to me, and not making me feel any dorkier or socially irrelevant than I already do.

and,

B.) All the crocheting bitchez be online, and I can therefore expect this blog to go viral any day now. Come on guys, lets get hoppin’ with those shares! I’m not getting any younger over here and I’m still not famous!!

I’ll work on this potholder while I wait.

Millennial Crocheter

Oh, you crochet? Screw you.

Knitting vs. Crochet

Am I just a bitter, jaded harpy or does the world hate crocheters? Because when I look at patterns for knitting vs. crochet, I can’t help but feel like the world is giving me the finger.

I get the fact that I’m loitering in the wrong demographic, and therefore I can’t really expect all of the material aimed at crocheters to be useful or relevant to me. I mean, if you’re a four foot tall granny and you want to join Hell’s Angels, go ahead, just don’t expect them to make any leather jackets in your size. Amiright? So, I’m a twentysomething who’s taken up a hobby normally dominated by crotchety old biddies who have nothing else to do but spend their pension on yarn, churn out baby hats and wait for death. So, I don’t really have any business complaining about anything.

But here’s the thing. I keep seeing things like this:

Lion Brand Yarn's Fair Isle iPad Sweater

That’s Lionbrand Yarn’s Knitted iPad Fair isle Tech Vest. Isn’t it clever and pretty and adorable??

Here’s their crochet offering.

Lion Brand Yarn Crochet iPad Cover
Aww! Isn’t it, uh, lame?

Ummm what?

What the hell?? And before you ask, this isn’t one isolated incident of one publisher releasing two patterns and making the knitting one a little cooler. I get this kind of knitting vs. crochet smackdown in my inbox Every. Damn. Week. My Lion Brand newsletters look like this:

12 New Patterns out this week! Knit yourself a delicate lacy hat, a trendy cabled scarf, or a cool entrelac afghan!! :D!!

Oh, and you crocheters? Here’s another cowl. Go hang yourselves with it. 

Same story, every time. Craft store shelves are lined with knitting books filled with gorgeous, on-fashion pieces and pretty accessories. Crochet pattern books are full of amigurumi and baby blankets. Well, if I make one more google-eyed crocheted toy I’m gonna puke, and my friends aren’t breeding fast enough to justify all these tiny pastel afghans. If you crochet, odds are you gave the hell up and just learned to write your own patterns a long time ago, like I did.

Why Do You Hate Us?

I have a hard enough time just getting people to acknowledge that crocheting is a thing. I once dated a boy for nine years, and not once did he ever use the word “crochet”.

“Hey, how’s your knitting coming?”

“Oh, you know, I’m still crocheting, as I was yesterday and will still be doing tomorrow, since that’s what I do, but yeah, it’s going great.”

“Cool.”

You know who else calls it my knitting? My mother. And she taught me to crochet.

I get that knitting is more popular and more widely practiced and that a great deal of our fabrics and textile manufacturing is still knitted. But I don’t know why. In my opinion and experience, crocheting is easier to learn, easier to master and much more versatile than knitting. You can teach a little kid to crochet. You can learn to change colors, direction and stitch pattern mid-row without ever wanting to kill yourself. Can you say the same about knitting? And, oh yeah, crocheting in a spiral is just as easy as crocheting rows, and doesn’t require any extra or different tools. Which is useful, since, ya know, humans tend to be roundish.

I actually did try to teach myself to knit, just to end the pain. It actually just brought a whole lot more pain. I am confident, quick and downright goddamn graceful with a hook in my hand. That’s not a word that can otherwise ever be applied to me. But as soon as you add another stick, everything goes to shit, fast.

knitting vs. crochet
This is what it looks like when I try to knit.

Come on, crocheters. It’s not like I’m the only one out here. Am I right, or am I right? Helloooo? Anybody?

Great.