Thursday, June 28, 2012

Not Your Grandma's Baby Blanket

Unless your Grandma is extremely hip.  +wink+ Following closely on the heels of my newly redesigned bibs (flannel, chenille with blingy pearl snaps) I received a request from one of my favorite shops ~ Could you make baby blankets, too?

Baby blankets have been on my project list forever, but I just never seemed to get around to them.  So when this special request came in I decided there must be a market for handmade baby blankets.  Why not give it a whirl?

I made my first blankets today.  I decided to start with the smallest size - what has been called "receiving blankets" in the past and, depending on the size of the baby, may work as swaddling blankets as well. These are the kind you would use to bring a newborn home from the hospital and bundle up in their first few weeks of life.  These are all 30" x 30" double-sided coordinating pre-washed, pre-shrunk flannel.  I am a huge fan of anything polka dot, so plan to make the coordinating flannel always polka dot.

I also plan to make some larger blankets.  They will probably be flannel and chenille or minky dot (a kind of close-cropped very soft chenille).  

They look easy to make, but I was surprised how careful I had to be to measure correctly and sew slowly to be sure everything lined up.  Even then they aren't perfect ~ but I tell myself I hope customers will appreciate the fact that they are handmade and no two will be alike.  I am sure - as with anything - the more I make the easier it will be and the more detail I will enjoy adding.

I've fallen in love with flannel fabrics.  The designs are endless and run the gambit from soft pastels for the more traditional to crazy skulls for the more adventurous.  My tastes in choosing fabrics for my blankets, bibs and burpies (burp cloths) also runs the gambit.  I'm drawn to some of the traditional soft and sweet baby designs and colors.  But I also get a real kick out of the loud and crazy designs and colors you wouldn't expect to see in a baby product.  I am finding that a majority of my customers seem to be young, hipster Mommies and they go for the unusual and unexpected.  But I will carry some traditional fabrics as well.  For you know, the traditional Mommies and Grandmommies.  I love 'em all!  

What fun I have designing new things!  I haven't abandoned my Whee Ones - there will be many coming soon for the next holiday season; but my imagination runs rampant with ideas for new products, new fabrics, new designs.  It keeps my products - and my work days - fresh and fun.

Speaking of ~ since my product line is expanding I'm thinking of doing some subtle changes to my logo, colors, taglines, etc.  Once I've made those decisions, I'll slowly roll out the new image.  
And I just realized - as I often do - I'm making future plans in my head by writing /speaking them as I do it.  My apologies.  Now carry on.  +wink+ 

Long live flannel.

And babies.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Slowly but Surely...

I had forgotten how difficult it is to get back into the routine after a little time off.  Probably because since I started my business 3 1/2 years ago I haven't taken time off.

But there is nothing like celebrating the marriage of a child that will remedy that in a heartbeat. So my husband and I spent a few fun-filled days in San Francisco last week.

And now I'm really working on getting that motivation thing going again.  I made my to do lists - for the rest of the year - today.  I emailed all 10 of my brick 'n mortars with my schedule.

Then I browsed thru a few vacation photos.  I called my Mom and brought her up to speed on the trip.  I spent a little time on Facebook (legitimately - staying in touch with friends who have been evacuated from their homes because of these wicked wild fires in my home state).  Ok, I stumbled on to Pinterest for a little while, too.  And now it's time to come up with something for dinner.

But I will be pulling out my knitting after dinner.  I'm thinking of adding some knit caps - baby, child and adult sizes - to my line in the fall.  What do you think?  (Cat not included - she's the quietest one in my house!)

Tomorrow it's back to the sewing machine.  Seriously.  I mean it.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Know Yourself.

I go in spurts when it comes to creative projects and I will [sometimes literally] get hooked on something and will obsess with it until the next tempting project comes along.  (Do you ever do that?)  Lately it has been a return to my knitting looms.

I had a request from one of the fabulous galleries I partner with for baby blankets.  That's all I need to set the wheels in motion.  I'll do the flannel/chenille and fleece blankets, of course; but I also wanted to try my hand at a knit blanket. (I knit on knitting looms.)

I found some super soft chenille yarn and started with the only two skeins my craft store had.  I fell in love with the yarn immediately and ~ of course ~ needed at least two more skeins to finish it and couldn't find more anywhere!  So I turned to the trusty ol' Internet and YAY - found some.  The yarn arrived today in some beautiful colors.  So now I can finish my blanket and start another.  :)  And another.  And another.

{See what I mean about the slight obsession problem?}

But while waiting for the yarn to arrive I needed to feed my knitting loom obsession in some other way.  So I brought out another smaller loom and decided to make a scarf.  I started one with ordinary yarn and it was fine, but it wasn't really anything special.  I felt like experimenting ~ I wanted to work with something unique.

Then I remembered I had picked up two skeins of what I can only think to call "ribbon yarn" on sale at Hobby Lobby a couple of years ago.  I remember thinking ~ I have no idea what (if anything) I will do with these, but I like them.  They are funky and different.  So I popped them into a storage bin and promptly forgot about them. (Do you ever do that?)

What possessed me to remember them the other night ~ and even more surprisingly ~ remember where I had stashed them, I will never know.  I was pretty excited to find them and dove right in making a scarf.  It kind of looks like one hot mess, but that's the idea.  I stayed up till midnight last night knitting and I'm having a blast.

I am (of course) already thinking two things:
*1 - This would  look so funky and cute with a black outfit.  (Spoken as someone who's primary wardrobe color is black.)  I've got a special occasion coming up soon and thank you to Pinterest for the pin I found on 40 ways to tie/wear a scarf, this may just be the accent I'm looking for!

*2 - I wonder if I could sell these...
I am always looking for something fun and different to add to my product line and if I perfect these funky scarves and my fabulous shops show an interest, I may give it a whirl.
And I'm already scouring the Internet for more ribbon yarn....

I am reminded once more why when thinking and thinking of what to name my business, I kept coming back to something simple and somewhat generic ~ because I know me.  And I knew that my little business would be ever-changing, ever-evolving.  I thrive on new ideas so I didn't want to limit myself.

So cmh design was born.  And it continues to grow and change and - at times - look like one funky, hot mess.  But that is the fun part.  My advice to anyone starting a business?

Know yourself.