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Author: Amanda Hansen

Evolution of a Ball Band

Evolution of a Ball Band

If you’ve been a customer of Critical Sheep over the years, you’ll notice the ball band has changed a few times. Obviously, this is because we learn as we go through the motions of building the business and we learn what works best and what’s going to be most cost-effective for us so we don’t have to drive costs up just so you can get a skein of yarn and we don’t go bankrupt.

Our first ball bands were simple cardstock that hung from the skein with a cute punch. That puncher is still in my collection, but we won’t use it again because man it hurt to punch those things! We attached the tag to the skeins with a length of crochet cotton. Needless to say, this was one of my least-favorite things about the dyeing process.

 

 

 

Second, we considered our options with wrappers. Do we wrap around the entire skein or do we wrap just in the top of the loop? We decided on both: D4 would have the full wrap, and D10 would have the loop wrap. The paper quality was the same, but cutting those tags was such a pain and I hated the way it printed that I found it hard to stay in love with the ideas.

 

 

Third, we tightened up the crochet cotton and bought some cute cardboard tags, some vinyl stickers and labels to create our labels. This works, but it adds a lot of steps to the process. We bought over 1k tags, so we’re using them until they’re gone, but we love the newest iteration.

 

 

 

Today’s tags are now on business cardstock with a hole punched in the corner. The information on the card is legible and clear, with space for the color name. Our tags are now affixed with a simple pear pin, so you get a free stitch marker with a purchase of any skein of yarn. The cards are of strong stock so you don’t have to worry about ripping them as soon as you get them in your hands, and it looks clean and professional; something we’ve worked hard to maintain throughout all these iterations.

Have You Seen Our Yarn?

Have You Seen Our Yarn?

A bit of sad news to share with all of you this week:

On Friday night of last weekend, Tim and I decided to pull our inventory from Burlap and Lace Marketplace in Waukesha. Decisions like this are never easy and we would love to be able to keep our yarn in a store in the heart of Waukesha, but unfortunately some things were out of our control. After what amounted to a terrible communication and veiled threats of additional commissions on sales of the yarn which cuts deeply into our profit margin and that were not outlined in the contract, we decided to remove our inventory and sever ties with this shop. As much as we wanted to keep yarn in a store locally, it doesn’t make logical sense to support a shop whose owner is unable to stick to the contract she put together, and that’s all I’ll say on it. We will be working on getting into another shop and I’m really looking forward to that day happening.

 

In the meantime, our web shop is open and all of our inventory is up to date! Your orders made today will ship out in the coming weeks as we receive more base from the supplier. The skeins shipped from the warehouse earlier this week and we expect yarn on our doorstep soon!

Operation Chemo Comfort At Yarn Con

Operation Chemo Comfort At Yarn Con

We are honored to partner with Operation Chemo Comfort this April at Yarn Con to offer a custom colorway Warrior in both D4 (100g skeins) and D10! 30% of all sales of Warrior will go to benefit Operation Chemo Comfort’s amazing efforts. We can’t wait to see you all at Yarn Con April 7th and 8th! Not going to be able to make it in person? No worries! Pre-order your skeins until April 6 and they’ll ship the weeks of April 9 and 16! Shop our Etsy page for more details!

The Warrior woman is someone we strive to help each day with every hat, scarf and headdress to protect smooth and delicate skin from harm. We serve the chemo patient and their family through Operation Chemo Comfort. Each skein of Warrior sold will benefit OCC and the constant efforts to make chemo a little easier to manage.

 

Trunk Show at Unwound Artisan Yarn Shop

Trunk Show at Unwound Artisan Yarn Shop

This was such an amazing a fun weekend! Tim and Amanda got to hang out with Tim’s eldest sister and goddaughter and also got to hang out with Carolyn and Kate of Unwound Artisan Yarn Shop in LaCrosse WI. This great and up and coming yarn shop features only local yarns and vendors to showcase the thriving maker market in Wisconsin.

Maker Faire MKE 2017!

Maker Faire MKE 2017!

We had a bit of a quiet 2017 to be sure. Amanda ran out of freelance work and got a full-time gig which took up all her time, Amanda focused a lot on her health and losing a fair amount of weight, Tim and Amanda bought a house, and overall things just got very crazed and the yarn-selling-in-person thing took a back seat. We went into Maker Faire MKE very excited to share the knit love with you all and especially to introduce our D4 blanks! We had a blast showing off these beautiful marbled yarns.

Trunk Show at Cream City Yarn

Trunk Show at Cream City Yarn

Oh what a delight this day was! We showed up bright and early on Sunday and unloaded a whopping 200 skeins of yarn! We dyed up 5s and 6s of all the colors and were totally ready to share the knit love with everyone around us and the entire Cream City Yarn community! We can’t thank the family at Cream City Yarn enough for opening their doors to us this year and welcoming us into their lives and their community. We look forward to many more opportunities to work together in the future! In the meantime, you can find Amanda working behind the counter at CCY, just like she has for 5 years now!

Sheep in the City 2017

Sheep in the City 2017

We had a wonderful time at Sheep in the City 2017, and can’t wait to give it a shot in 2019 for Midwest Fibre Frolic! Unfortunately we didn’t make it in time for 2018, but we’ll do our very best to continue bringing you the D10 and D4 in 2019!

 

Milwaukee Maker Faire Afterthoughts!

Milwaukee Maker Faire Afterthoughts!

It’s been a month since Milwaukee Maker Faire! I still remember it like it was yesterday!

1I was mildly terrified day one of Maker Faire, especially since it was the first time anyone had seen our yarns in real life! It was loud and crazy busy and so much fun! We offered 50 skeins of D4 and had the entire color sampling available for pre-orders. We met tons of people and learned that anywhere you go, you can always find knitters!

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We were starving at the end of day one, but luckily no one’s feet hurt and no was was ready to quit! We made back the fees to get our booth and we made some amazing connections. Needless to say we slept well that night. We also ordered more yarn!

3Day 2 was comfortable- I realized we could do this thing! We wanted to make back the money spent on yarn last night and, while the day was slower than Saturday, it was still a fun one and we ended the weekend with huge smiles on our faces! I didn’t get much of a chance to wander around the booths, but luckily the husband pushed me away and told me to go check things out. We saw the TESLA Coil in action, we made LED Atoms by soldering and we had tons of fun talking to other makers and nerding out over the Dalek parade.

Lessons learned?

Get a credit card swiper: This we’ve already achieved thanks to Etsy. We have an amazing relationship with them and we are now the proud owners of the Etsy Card Reader. That orange fob is going to be so nice to have at our next event!

Moar Snacks! We had some popcorn, but could have really used some fruit leathers and soda- a classic coke was the best thing in the world by the end of the day when the flourescent lights have been beating on you for 10 hours.

More yarn weights! This is another thing we’ve remedied! After Maker Faire, we decided to bring another yarn to the family! Meet D10

d10worsted100-superwash-merino218-yards%2fskein18%2f

Are you as excited as we are? We thought so! D10 comes in the same amazing color palette of D4 and we’re so stoked over this bouncy and luscious yarn!

What’s next?

WELL! We are still selling on Etsy and have sent out applications for some more local events, such as Sheep in the City! We’ll keep you updated as soon as we have more info! Until then, check us out online!

Just a Few Weeks Away!

Just a Few Weeks Away!

In a few short weeks, Critical Sheep will have a booth at Maker Faire Milwaukee!

mfmke-2016-round

How great is this! Critical Sheep’s first foray into the real world and it’s going to be so much fun!

So what are we doing to prepare you ask?

WHELL!

  • We have nearly 50 skeins dyed up and packaged away for sale exclusively at the Faire.
  • Neon-colored bags complete with the Critical Sheep logo in sticker form.
  • Coupons for future purchases! Oh boy do we have coupons!
  • A big banner has been made to really showcase our stuff!
  • Projects have been knit- samples are ready for display!
  • Lists have been made, people have been recruited and yarn is prepped for sale. In all, we’re well-ahead of schedule and ready for the fun to begin!

Not doing anything the weekend of the 24/25? Come on down! It’s free to enter the faire and there’s so much going on! We’re told there will be upwards of 300 exhibitors and vendors! Think of the fun you and the kids could have!

See you all there!

Did You Know?

Did You Know?

Critical Sheep is on Ravelry! 

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 8.08.28 PMNow when you want to start a project with D4 Fingering, you can add the yarn and colorway to your project page! When you upload a picture of your skeins, you might just make it to the featured photos!

We’re working on new colorways!

Including speckles! You’ve already seen BloodRaven and Phantasm, but there are more combinations of beautiful speckled yarns to come. Naming these beautiful yarns is the hard part!

More Memes!

AEther1If you follow us on social media, you’ll see these fun one-liners posted on the regular. Our Social Media guru is working on these right now and we’ll have a fun new batch for you very soon! Don’t follow us on social media yet? What are you waiting for? Check us out! FacebookTwitterInstagram.

That’s all for this weeks’ Yarn Clippings! See you next week when we’ll be talking about patterns and kits coming soon to a mailbox and queue near you!