Monday, January 16, 2012

Dyeing Again

I've gotta say, 2012 is proving to be an interesting year so far. Much, MUCH different from depressing, dark, hopeless 2011. So Yarndeavors was hacked; it wasn't malicious, just annoying—the result of someone with too much time and knowledge on their hands, and nothing better to do. Though they did dismantle my yarn shop.

This led to some serious thought about what I wanted to do with Yarndeavors, as well as my life. I mulled it over, did a little research, and opted to make the commitment to Yarndeavors—for real. Will I become a sock yarn maven like Lorna('s Laces) or Tina (Blue Moon Fiber Arts)? I don't know. Maybe! It would be cool if I did.

It would also be cool if I could sell enough hand-dyed yarn to supplement other forms of income and ease the need to have a Real J-O-B™.

That said, after scouring the ZenCart forums, I realized that's not the way to go (my GOD does that app get hacked into! It was jolting to read the hundreds of accounts similar to mine).

So I opened up an Etsy shop.

And I revamped the website (to reflect the link changes, and tweak the template slightly).

And I set up a Facebook Page (which you can go "Like").

And then I sold a bunch of yarn. (!)

So now I'm dyeing again.

Of course, now would be the time my camera decides not to like batteries anymore, since I have a few items that need photos before they can be listed. (Tech support said newer 1.5-volt AA batteries are—get this—too powerful to work in my camera, which is maybe six years old; that newer 1.5-volts benchtest at 1.8 volts, so I need to get really cheap or older somewhat discharged batteries and by the way they no longer sell the AC adapter for it but it's available on Amazon for fifty bucks...) Well, the el cheapo Ray-O-Vacs I had on hand didn't work...

BIG sigh.

OK. So I might not be documenting by still camera for now. I have a mini-DV camcorder that takes stills, and as of last month it still worked. And I have a Friend With Cameras I might be able to bribe to help out (she shoots NASCAR races and co-produces a nationally syndicated NASCAR talk radio show "On Pit Row"—I know, you wouldn't think it to look at her) but I digress.

So I did all of this, and then doors started opening. Small ones, but they're definitely leading me down a path related to fibers. I mean, this one door that opened, there is really no other explanation for it except it's definitely a DOOR. And I had the courage, for once, to walk through it. As soon as things gel, I'll blog about it. There is still a lot of work to be done, but it's not a path I've walked before though it's one I've pondered in the past.

It really is true, that when you make a commitment to something, doors open. Of course, part of it is being able to SEE the door when it appears (which I did for once), and having the COURAGE to walk up to it and through it.

I'm not the least bit surprised that this stuff is opening up, either—the Word of the Year that I chose is "Self-Reliant"—and the doors that are opening are definitely designed to make me so.

If the year keeps moving like this (minus camera challenges), I might be somewhere pretty amazing by the end of it. :-)

Sunday, January 08, 2012

The State of Yarndeavors

I'll admit it. I got lazy, and distracted, and a bunch of other things. The result was that my online yarn shop, Yarndeavors, was ignored for awhile. I realized this when I got the notice about the domain expiring soon, so I went to the site to remind myself why I did this in the first place.

Imagine my horror, upon typing in my URL, to be greeted not by my beautiful yarn image, but instead by a hideous image of a hooded red-eyed evil-looking figure and the words:

"You have been hacked by SaYmAn!!! Sorry your securty [sic] is 0%!!"


I bypassed the hacker's front page by typing in the URLs to each page individually and found everything was fine—until I clicked on "Shop".

404 Error not found.

What the—?!?!?

After a few calls back and forth with GoDaddy, I learned:
  • the approximate date of intrusion
  • which files of "his" to delete
  • that my shop database no longer existed
  • that I'd have to reinstall Zencart software
  • that I'd have to rebuild it from the ground up
  • oh, and I might want to add a $3.99/month Site Scanner to my hosting plan to prevent hackers from gaining access
I said "I'll think about it", and promptly went over to research Etsy.

True, it costs to list each item (20 whopping CENTS, but the listing period is four months long), and Etsy receives 3.5% of each sale (but only when it sells). A few quick calculations showed that my money was better spent setting up shop on Etsy with everyone else than giving it to GoDaddy and their "state-of-the-art" security (which did nothing to protect me).

Of course, then came the question of commitment. It's one thing to create a shopping cart using free add-ons and cheap hosting, toss a couple skeins up there and see if they fly. It's another to invest in listing items with the actual intent to sell, and then allowing a third party to take a percentage. That's almost like... like really running a BUSINESS.

I had to ask myself, is this something I really want to do? Or just a hobby I was hoping to squeeze a few bucks out of? Can I imagine doing this five years from now?


In fact, I can't imagine NOT doing it (unlike some other things). I can imagine dyeing yarn AND fabric AND making art quilts AND weaving things AND hand-painting items AND... the list is quite large.

It turns out the only thing standing between me and my fibrous fantasies was my limiting belief that out of all the things I could do for a living, the gap between passion and income was the WIDEST when it came to fibers. I couldn't see how it would ever support me. Then I look at the number of fiber artists who are living just fine from their art in various forms, and I wonder, how am I really all that different?

Sure, it'll be a lot of work to get this going and maintain it, but I love it. I love dyeing the yarn. My only wish is for a vertical "bullet" steamer and a couple of stretcher kits (from Dharma Trading) so I can add my silk scarves to the mix (did them at the University's now-defunct fiber arts program facilities). I suppose I could try the stovetop steamer, if it'll work on my stove... first I need to sell a LOT of yarn, or get a day job, or win the lottery, or find a fiber angel...

The website is being overhauled. I have a dedicated Page over on Facebook y'all can "Like" (see link in sidebar), and my Etsy shop is up and running.

Now, all I gotta do is dye some more yarn and unfold the loom. Considering it's 2:28 AM, maybe a nap needs to come first...