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In Praise of Twinkie Chan

If you don’t know who Twinkie Chan is, you’re missing out. She makes these incredibly cute and weird crochet items based on food. Need a toast scarf? She’s got you covered. Ever desired crochet bento? Look no further. Bacon and eggs fingerless gloves? Why not?

 

 

 

 

 

Let me say this now, I don’t know Twinkie Chan, I have just been spending a lot of time on her blog the last couple days. I mean, I don’t know if I will ever have the need to wear a toast scarf, but I have my eye on those bacon and egg fingerless gloves. One of the annoying things that go along with fibromyalgia is something called Raynaud’s Syndrome (this site calls it a phenomenon, my rheumatoid still calls it a syndrome)  and I spend so much time with cold hands and feet. My collection of fingerless gloves because of this is incredible. Anyway, even if you aren’t into what she does, you can still learn a lot from her, especially about running your own craft business.

She is her brand. She’s embraced what makes her unique and has run with it, turning it into a phenomenal business. I was listening to the Pimp Your Brilliance podcast that she was a guest on. It really got me thinking about what I want to do with my crochet business and where I wanted to go. I am pretty sure that I have than answer now. I say pretty sure because I haven’t had proper sleep in two days and this could very well be like the time I decided that used AOL CDs could be recycled into a solar collector (after some research I determined it can be done sucessfully).

Mad Scientist merit badge, anyone? 
I think I earned it.

The thing is, when I came up with the name Stitching Yarns, it was supposed to be a play on words. I was thinking “yarns” as in things like tall tales and fantastic stories and “stitching” as in putting together those tales. Every crochet piece tells a story, no matter how big or small, and I felt like it fit.

I got to thinking about what that name meant to me and why I chose it and what I want to do with it. As I said, I think I have the answer, and it’s more than just duplicating items from patterns that other people make. Yes, I want to make all the things, and there is a market for finished items. A lot of people sell patterns but not finished items, and not everyone knows how to crochet. Nothing like saying “I want that” only to find a pattern and not be a crafty person. While I don’t mind doing this kind of thing, as long as it’s something fun and original like microbes, chicken purses (everyone needs a chicken purse), or making fibromyalgia awareness stuff (seriously, good luck if you want something that isn’t breast cancer awareness), this really isn’t what I want to do. I want to do my own thing. I want to make my own weird.

I’m not going to unveil what that weird is going to be yet, let me get moved and settled and then we’ll talk about it (you may even see a website redesign). I do want to say that I do find it really hard coming up with original ideas. If you look around at crochet patterns it feels like everything has been done, sometimes more than once. I don’t want to be the 587,325th person doing zombie teddy bears. I want to do something that is uniquely me. I also run into the problem of not knowing what I want to make. I think that’s the biggest reason that I like other people’s patterns. I can say “Hey, that’s cute, let’s make that” or “That reminds me of my friend, I think I’ll make it for them”. There is less thought involved. Believe me, when dealing with fibro brain fog, the less thought involved the better sometimes.

The thing about all this is, back in high school I was a member of the FFA (Future Farmers of America) and I had to learn how to run a business for this state skills competition thing. I had to design a print ready advert for a pet store and I was tested on all the aspects of running a business such as the book keeping involved, how to determine mark up, and stuff like that. I took home first place (first time a Junior ever did that). What we were never taught was how to decide what to sell, and that is a big part of running a business where you sell anything. It applies to pet stores (do you carry live pets or just pet supplies?) to a craft business (is there a market for toast scarves?).

I also tend to forget that the things I can do are considered art. I rarely see them that way, but I have a friend who always reminds me. He draws this awesome doodle art that would be awesome for adult colouring books. I look at his art work and always say, “I wish I could art.” He then promptly gives me a stern talking to. I have another friend that makes peanut sculptures that I have known most of my life. He also reminds me that I am creative. Another friend writes children’s books and one of my machinima projects gave him an idea for a book and he messaged me asking all kinds of questions.

We are our biggest critics and we don’t always see ourselves the way other people see us and we don’t see our talents as talents. It’s just this thing we do. During the Pimp Your Brilliance podcast with Twinkie Chan she was talking about how people basically thinks she morphs to her brand when she’s at craft fairs or teaching or whatever, and that they don’t realize she is just being herself and that her brand is an extension of who she is. And that is what I have taken away from Twinkie Chan, and this is just something I need to be reminded of, do what you love and be yourself, no matter what that is. When you are running your own business you aren’t just marketing your product, you are marketing you.

Thank you, Twinkie! ♥

In case you are interested in buying her books…

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