I should have gone to Hogwarts

My mom sent me this image today, and while I’ve seen it before, it hasn’t ever been quite as true as this past week. I know that those who can knit or crochet (which are not the same thing, by the way) are in the minority, so I don’t expect my customers to know the difference or to know how crocheting works. However, I’ve been amazed at some of the things I’ve been asked to make over the past few days. Great horned owls (for which there seem to be no patterns online), centipedes (which I refuse to make because “if I build it, they will come”), and a variety of strangely exotic birds, to name a few.

Now, I don’t have a problem when potential customers bring me a picture of a particular animal and ask if I can make it. I’m flattered, actually, that they have so much assumed faith in my abilities. However, it does start to be a problem when said customer refuses to accept that something just isn’t going to work. Either a pattern doesn’t exist (I can freehand somewhat but I need at least a basic starting shape.), I don’t have the materials and they aren’t willing to wait (we live in a third-world country, people. I don’t exactly have a Hobby Lobby.), or the animal doesn’t look EXACTLY like the real thing.

That’s been an issue lately – people seeming to think their products are going to be exact replicas rather than toys. It’s a stuffed animal! Not a die-cast mold of your beloved pet. I try to find a basic body shape that fits the pet’s breed and then match the color scheme as close to a picture as I can. That’s the best I can do. If you have some exotic breed of parrot with multicolored iridescent wings, and the best I can do is a basic parrot, that’s the best I can do. I am not going to use hundreds of brain cells to make one stitch at a time in different colors just to mimic this species’ wings. No amount of money that a student is willing to pay could cover that kind of stress.

(And another thing, if you think the price I quoted you is too high, just say no thanks and walk away. Don’t stand by my table for 20 minutes and complain loudly about how you can’t BELIEVE I would make it so expensive. I charge in local EC prices, which means I’m actually only making a third of that in US dollars. I do this for my own entertainment and hardly make any profit at all. So if you want to complain about it [and be the only person, I might add, because nobody else seems to think I charge too much], that’s your own cheap problem.)

Sometimes color schemes just aren’t feasible with a customer’s deadline. For example, 7th semester students have to have their orders done before finals because they leave the island for good after that, and I work with them as much as I can to finish everything they order before they leave. Sometimes a 7th semester student wants something that is possible, but not with the supplies I currently have. I would have to get the special supplies when I go home in August, at which point the customer will have already moved away. Therefore, that order isn’t possible for that particular person. People refuse to accept this. One customer asked if her family could bring the special yarn when they come to help her move…. the week before she leaves. I’m sorry, but it’s just not going to happen. I have suitcases to pack too, you know.

I really should have gone to Hogwarts, because people seem to think I can just wave my little crochet stick around and POOF! life-like yarn animals appear. I’m not complaining, per say, because I enjoy making all sorts of animals and I’m glad to be making a little bit of money; I’m more just voicing my amazement at some of the orders and questions that have come in. For the most part, however, my customer-base has been very excited and supportive of my products and I’ve gotten lots of good reviews and referrals. This month I’ve done a donkey, a pomeranian, a blanket with a monkey head, a regular baby blanket, six baby sea turtles and a giraffe, and I still have another donkey and a red panda to work on this week. Business is keeping my busy, so I always have that to be thankful for.

What magic have you been asked to perform lately?

Momma Hen, Hard at Work

And I actually mean that more literally than you might think. I’m hatching chicks faster than a barnyard hen house!

crochet animals

Five chicks and (now three) bunnies ready to go to their new homes!

I posted a notice on the Ross Students’ Facebook page last Tuesday asking how many people might be interested if I decided to make Easter chicks to sell on campus before the April break – just as a feeler for the idea. I was amazed when I had to shut down the post after 18 hours because I had 13 chicks and 12 bunnies ordered in less than a day!

So, needless to say, I’ve been pretty busy ever since. I’m averaging two animals a day, so I hope to have this first batch of orders done by the middle of March. And I already have people wanting to jump in on another batch to be done by the end of finals in April! I am both amazed and honored.

I know I’m not charging enough for them, but it was a special Easter thing, so I can call this first go-round a “sale item.” This morning a launched a Facebook page where people can keep track of their order’s progress and ask about special items (which of course depend on my yarn supply at the moment).

Even though the page says in three different places that I’m working on Easter orders and not accepting new requests at this time, I’ve had three different people ask for specialized animals in the last three hours. Two of them I should be able to fill sometime this year – but one student wanted three green vervet monkeys with the Veterinary Staff of Asclepius on their bellies by the end of the semester. Good grief! I’m not even sure you can do that with crochet stitches! Cross stitch, probably, but I’ve never learned to do that. And by the end of the semester!? No way in the world am I that good, even if I could figure out how to make one by then. Unfortunately, I had to tell the young lady no. Hopefully she’ll find something else equally as special for her departing friends.

green vervet monkey on a face

This is a green vervet, in my backyard actually! So cool that I didn’t have to steal a picture from Google!

Anyway, looks like I may have found a source of income after all! Which is good, since the school PR office has never gotten back to me about freelancing and Thing 1 and Thing 2’s parents are adding Thing 3 soon and won’t be needing me for many months.

Check out the Chesnut Crochet Creations Facebook page through the link above and let me know what you think! Sorry, island orders only.