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Submitted on
February 17, 2013


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Frequently Asked Questions!

Journal Entry: Sun Feb 17, 2013, 12:27 PM
  • Mood: Adoration
I highly recommend using "ctrl + f" to find questions. Just type up what you have in mind and see if it's already answered. :D If you can't find it, you should ask me in a comment. :3

As promised from a long time back, here are the frequently asked questions that I get. :3 If you have any other questions that are not asked on here, feel free to post them in the comments and I'll update the journal with my answer.

I hope these help!

Getting to know me questions
:star: What got you into crochet?
I grew up watching my mom and grandma crochet things from doilies to blankets and always wanted to learn, so I eventually did when I was 10 or 11 from my grandma. My mom tried teaching me a little, but it didn't work too well. XD

:star: How long have you been crocheting?
I've been crocheting since I was around 10, shall we say? I didn't get around to crocheting most of my days away till the last year or so. Before that, I only crocheted when I felt like it, which was pretty sparse. If you don't count that, then you could say I've only been crocheting seriously (amigurumi) for around two years now. X3

:star: What motivated you to try making little plushes?
I think I saw some creations by a crafter going by Amigurumi Kingdom on Martha Stewart a few years ago and wanted to give it a try. Sadly, I didn't have the materials nor the drive till just around a year ago to make plushies.

:star: How long does it take you to design an amigurumi on average?
Well, it depends on the piece itself. If it's a custom order of something already out there, then I don't have to come up with a design. If it's of my own creation, it can either be fully fleshed instantly as I think of it, or I only have a base design and flesh it out as I go along.

:star: Where and how do you get inspiration for new designs and patterns?
Anywhere, anyone, anything. :3 I can be talking to people and our conversations create something I want to make, people might suggest it (that's when I dedicate the plush with their name), and they may show me cute pictures/videos/drawings/whatever that make me want to make something.
Patterns are on the fly. It's reminescent to how I used to sew cosplay outfits: I don't use a template. I create my own as I go and even if I write the pattern down, the second will not look like the first.
Also, as for more inspiration, blame Peva. XD He keeps linking to cute things on his facebook.

Concerning Patterns and Learning Crochet
:star: Can I get the pattern of <insert whatever piece>?
No, sadly you can't. The main reason is that the way I crochet is pretty odd. I use the basic stitches everyone uses, but how I crochet them and sew pieces together makes no sense in text. ^^;

:star:Do you sell patterns/are you going to sell patterns?
No and I might in the future when my crochet would make sense as a pattern. :P

:star: How do/did you make a pattern?
Trial and error really. w@ It's also the same way I made cosplay outfits back in the day. Sometimes drawing it down helps, but usually I already have an image in my mind so I wouldn't need to.
But yes, unless I say otherwise, I make a pattern of sorts for myself. :3

:star: Can you show me how to make so-and-so?
Nope. 'Cause what you see here are words on a screen. ^^; They can't show you how to crochet unless it's a pattern and you know my answer for that.

:star: Can you teach me to crochet? :D
Sadly, unless you're living near me, I can't teach you properly and in person. :( The best I can do is describe stitches, give advice, and link to videos and sites that I personally used to learn some techniques.
I've had an account on Crochet Me for the longest time, but never  looked at their free ebooks till now. They have some pretty good ones that can teach how to crochet simple things to covering copyright laws. :3
You can see them here:…
NOTE: You will need to make an account to download the ebooks.

:star: What inspires you most?
I guess what inspires me most is my uncle's paintings. They're amazing and I wish I was able to get the ones with the cranes. :3

:star: How can you make them so beautifully since they are so small and it seems hard to do?
I honestly don't know. I've always loved art in any form. I grew up in a family of artists and have toddled around with my uncle's paintings hanging on the walls of my grandma's old duplex as well as my dad's paintings around our old apartment. As a little kid I wanted to become an artist and practiced drawing in secret from my parents' disapproving looks.
I started drawing from a young age (4 or 5) and had a better grasp on human anatomy and proportion than my peers (no giant head and no creepy bloated fingers). In the last three years or so before I started crocheting instead of drawing, I drew a lot of chibi and less anime based full pictures, taking inspiration from Hellobaby and the art of Final Fantasy.
So, I guess a past interest in drawing helped me with creating and designing how the pieces look. I also strive to replicate what I draw as best as I can if I design that way (as you can see with the sketches of my dragons).
Hopefully that somewhat made sense. I have no idea if it did.
In any case, the answer is probably "I don't know, I've always had the will and sight to make and appreciate amazing art and perfection"? I dunno, it's hard to explain.

:star: How long does it take you to make an amigurumi piece?
It can take me from an hour to weeks to make a piece depending on the difficulty and how much of the design and planning I have already. For example, my new Button Bunnies took a long time to design. My first attempt at making a bunny didn't have arms and legs mainly 'cause I wasn't comfortable enough to make limbs. The current design is based on my latest creations from the tiger to the dragons.
So, it probably just takes average of 48 hours on a stopwatch for me to make a piece which includes planning, designing, patterning, creating, and marketing.

Materials Section
:star: What type of yarn do you normally use?
I normally use either KnitPicks' Palette Fingering yarn or Caron Simply Soft Light and Regular yarn.

:star: What hook size?
I use various hook sizes for whatever size of the piece I want to achieve.
I also use double pointed knitting needles, mainly size 0 or 1.

:star: Do you have a specific favorite hook? Not just a type of hook, but one, single hook you favor over your others?
I favor my steel 2.25mm and 2.10mm hooks the most. XD

:star: What do you use for eyes?
I use crafting safety doll eyes.

:star: Where do yo get them/where are a few places people could get them?
I used to get them at Joanns, but after a while, I realized that they were much too expensive to buy a ton, so I started buying them in bulk from a Singaporean shop on etsy. I still do. :3
If you want to get a lot of the eyes (like 200 or more) buy them in bulk. You can always google to see what's available, but be sure to see what the reviews are first before buying.

:star: How do you use safety eyes?
I use them weirdly, actually. You're supposed to use a washer to snap them on, but I push the eyes on my mousepad on my desk till they snap on. ^^;
Also, I didn't know for the longest time that you were supposed to snip  off the back of the safety eyes.

:star: What's your favorite color to work with?
I think my favorite color to work with is white or light blue. They have a calming affect for me. :3
Least favorite is Black. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY too hard to see the stitches. :(

More "Getting to know you"
:star: Do you get "crochet/craft obsessions"? (like granny squares)
Yes. XD Oddly enough mine are of little critters. I don't know why, but that's a big reason why I keep churning out creatures in the middle of commissions. ^^; They just pop into my head going "hiiiiii I wanna be in 3D! :D" and won't let up till I have them made. ^^;

:star: Do you have a list of anything you would NEVER make?
Yep. At this moment, they're robots. I'm not THERE yet with my abilities. Also, I refuse to replicate another crochter's style unless it's from their pattern that they gave out for free.
I HATE replicating others' art styles. :/

:star: Have you ever finished a project and decided not to replicate it because the result was not worth the effort? What was it?
Definitely. It was Gumi of the Vocaloid. It was for an order and it ended up so badly, I threw her away though I was sad I had to tell my bud I couldn't make it. :( Not going to make another Vocaloid any time soon.

:star: Are you the type that has to have several projects going on at once or do you see something through start to finish before taking on something else?
I'm definitely the type to have several projects going at once. I get bored if it's just one thing I'm working on. The only time I would work on one thing only is if it's got a due date, but even then I find a way to add a side project so I don't go insane. XD

:star: What is your favorite creation to date?
It would be the Lil Princess/Earth Dragon. :3 Dragon of Earth - The Lil Princess by altearithe

Selling pieces
:star: Do you ever do craft shows?
I only just started crocheting seriously for a year so no craft shows yet. XD I'm just working on my skills and speed right now.

:star: Are you ever going to sell your creations at a convention?
Eventually if I have enough money to go and if I can spin them out fast enough. XD
Sadly, the cons around here these days are a bit picky with fanart, so I'll have to stay away from them. :(

:star: Do you prefer to sell in person or online?
I honestly prefer online. Mainly because I don't get a lot of orders in person nor are there enough nice people in person as there are online. ^w^
Also, people in person tend to "promise" to pay for an item I make and never get around to it. I will be auctioning those items soon.

:star: Do you feel that you under-price or over-price your work?
Oh, I KNOW I under-price my work. It's a constant battle for me, but I'm pretty set on pricing my work so that people can afford them and yet give them the message that my work is of a good quality.

:star: Why do you charge so much for what you make? It looks so easy and art should be free/cheap/not that expensive.

Well, I'm glad you asked that. :D

You see, asking me this is akin to asking a sweatshop worker why they are so overpaid. :3 I would never ask this to another crafter or artist since I know how much time and effort goes into making something.
It's VERY different from drawing and writing and yet pretty similar.

Now, why would you think art is free? With that thought process, farmers should be handing out food for free, manufacturers should be giving products to you for free, and chefs at restaurants should be making food for you for free.
Sadly, that world that you think of that art is free is not real. It never has been and never will be.
Michelangelo himself was COMMISSIONED by Cardinals, Ambassadors, and a Pope or two for his work. He never made any of his art for free. He was PAID 3000 ducats to paint the Sistine Chapel for example.

Now, what we crafters do is something called "Skilled Labor". Skilled labor usually means average pay, not minimum wage. This will be at 20 dollars an hour. This is not much seeing a yearly wage would be $40,000 or so before taxes, which is lower middle class in the US.
Skilled pay is different from entry level jobs. Minimum wage is for unskilled labor, like making popcorn at a theater.
My craft has been in the making since I was 10; in other words, my skill is at 14 years now. Skilled labor. I should be charging upwards of 30 to 40 an hour instead, but I want my pieces to be affordable.

To answer this in an organized fashion, I'm going to make a few steps in how I work on commissions or my original creations:

:bulletred: Step One: The Order or the Idea
In this step I get an order from a customer for whatever they would like or an idea I have for my original piece. I normally instantaneously create a mental image of what I want the result to look like. It normally doesn't take too long.
Time: 1-5 minutes

:bulletred: Step Two: The Design and Pattern creation
This step is a tricky one. If the customer provides the pattern, then the only time it takes me is to go over it and approve of it. Otherwise, the pattern is made as I go along with crocheting the piece out of yarn.
This can take 5 minutes or up to and more than 48 hours if I'm making it up as I go along. Let's average it to 24 hours.
Time: 24 hours

:bulletred: Step Three: Choosing the right colors and size
This usually doesn't take longer than 2 minutes unless I don't have the right color. If I don't have the right color, I have to order the yarn out of MY OWN money and it will take at least three days for the order to get here if I decide to go with three day rush shipping for fedex, which is normally an added 10 bucks if I buy 50 dollars worth of yarn.
Time: 2 minutes normally

:bulletred: Step Four: Crocheting and adding Extra Stuff
This is the fun part that people don't understand. Drawing can take a person maybe a few hours and they're done ya? Well for me, crocheting takes a VERY long time. It can be half an hour to weeks or months.
I could be making something and be pleased with it and be about halfway done only to realize that it's not satisfactory and I would have to throw it away or undo it all. This could set me back a week or more and it has. It's a major reason why my commissions have been taking a while to make. Another is that people order a large number of them or a large size, which both take a lot of time to create properly.
Now, I'm not blaming the customer, I'm blaming the lack of time and the wrong pattern and pressure for perfection. With each set back, I have to tack on time to the work. So, for a commission, on average the time spent on making the piece or pieces is around 48 hours. If there are extra things to the piece, it takes an extra hour or more.
Time: 48 hours

:bulletred: Step Five: Inspection
This doesn't take too long, about 15 minutes to make sure that the piece is sturdy and sits right.
Time: 15 minutes

:bulletred: Step 6: Photos and Fixing it on
This can take a while, taking multiple photos, but usually not more than 30 minutes total from taking the pictures after setting up my lightbox to increasing the lighting if needed on so you can see them.
Time: 30 minutes

:bulletred: Step 7: Listing and advertising
Listing takes me around an hour to post to my etsy (if it's for etsy), dA, notifying the customer if it's an order, spreading the announcement on facebook and twitter, and editing everything that I put in the description of the item.
Time: 1 hour

:bulletred: Step 8: Shipping
This is a fun one. Did you know that I physically go to the post office and stand in a long line to ship out the packages? It can take up to an hour. Minus the drive there. I used to go to my school's post office where it takes, I kid you not, an hour and a half to drive and walk there.
Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 74 hours and 52 minutes = over $1000 dollars if we're going by the 20 dollar wage thing (which I normally don't)

So, let's say it's a dragon I made, the Little Princess:
Idea: 1 minute
Design and Pattern: 15 minutes
Color and size: 1 minute
Crocheting and extras: 5 hours on a stop watch
Inspection: 30 minutes
Photos: 20 minutes
Listing: 15 minutes
Possible shipping: 1 hour
Total time: 7 hours and 22 minutes approximately

Now, if my hourly wage is $20 an hour, which it is now, this piece should be around $147. If I used the standard market pricing thing where I double the wholsale price to the retail price, it would be $294!
Luckily, I'm not using that price model.
I'm charging this dragon at $50 or so currently, which means I will be losing $97 dollars. At the price of $50 divided into the time I spent on this piece, I would be making around $6.78 an hour. That's $0.47 less than the Federal Minimum Wage here in the US. And it's $0.87 less than a waitress would supposedly make in Rochester, MN. (Just south of where I live.)

Starving artist, I kid you not.

So, that is why handmade items cost so much. We crafters are starving ourselves because customers think that everything should have Walmart prices, even if it's one of a kind.
To quote another crafter: "My stuff isn't marked up at all, and neither are most handmade artisan goods. Even so, our time is more expensive than a sweatshop worker. But when you buy handmade instead of buying from a corporate giant, you're getting a lot of things from us that they can't offer. Handmade means we care about quality and attention to detail. Sweatshop workers care about one thing: make it as fast as possible. Handmade means we care about customer service. All corporations care about is that green stuff in your wallet. Handmade means you're helping the local economy. Corporations mean you're helping some rich greedy jerk get even richer."

So, before you ask me why your order is taking so long, remember, I work 7 days a week with no vacations, no health insurance (yet), no sick pay, no retirement funds, for less than minimum wage, and making sure the quality of what I make is top notch.
Just give me and my fellow other crafters some slack. We're doing you all a big favor by starving ourselves and taking on entry level jobs so that we can buy dinner and so that you can afford handmade items for cheap. For now.

:star: Is my commission done yet? 8D
Ok, I'm just going to assume that you didn't take a look at the widget on my profile that states how far I am on a certain custom order, so I'll just say this:
Also, refer to the previous question's answer if you want to know exactly why it's taking me so long.

:star: When are commissions going to open again?
Refer to the last paragraph about my creating process at the least.
If you hate reading a wall of text: IT'S OPEN

Skin by Hinachuu (modified by altearithe)
Add a Comment:
muffinthehamster11 Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I have a question, do you do trades?
altearithe Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2014  Professional Artisan Crafter
Sorry, no I don't currently. I may open them in the future again if I have money to spare to ship things. :3
muffinthehamster11 Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Aww, you're so talented! You'd be a great trade partner :)
Ok! If you ever do and want to trade with me, just shoot me a note!
Catz95 Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2013  Student General Artist
:O you're so well spoken, thank you for writing all this out. I'm looking into starting to sell my pieces too but my anxiety is through the roof about getting started. This inspired me a lot!
legacyskye Featured By Owner May 20, 2013
hey do u have to be a watcher to enter the contest? please reply i must know!
altearithe Featured By Owner May 20, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
Yes, and you have to have been the day BEFORE the giveaway started. A lot of people ignored that so I'm going to go through later and disqualify them
legacyskye Featured By Owner May 20, 2013
lol crap i really like that owl XD
altearithe Featured By Owner May 20, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
:huggle: It's ok ^w^ If it helps, with the crazy high demand for it, I'll be making a few and selling on etsy.
legacyskye Featured By Owner May 21, 2013
awesome! :D thanks so much
altearithe Featured By Owner May 21, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
No problem. XD I'm actually making one right now. >w<
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