The return of Teddy Pig

Teddy Pig is fifteen years old and I still have never gotten around to finishing its eyes or clothes.

I was contacted on Etsy by someone who’d found the Teddy Pig pattern on a Russian Facebook site and wanted to pay me for it. It’s always been a free pattern so, as long as folks adhere to either CC-BY-SA or CC-BY-NC, it’s legal to share around, use to make and sell stuff, etc.

It hasn’t been on the site for awhile (the Queen of Unfinished Projects has been planning to revise it, add instructions, etc. etc.) but since any availability is better than none, I finally tracked down my old site mirror and copied the text and pictures in.

In theory, my task for today has been stocking new colors of beanie dragons. You can see a couple of new blues there, and UPS is bringing me French blue today which I’ll run along with the purples. Pumpkin and canary are cut and will happen sooner or later. I’ve also been working on the shop software and getting all the minky colors into it. If you’re curious, you can see all the potential dragon colors here, though as I write this nothing is “in stock” – they’re all still sold through the Etsy shop.

Scaling up dragons

When I first posted the test dragon to Mastodon, I got some requests for the pattern. Now that I have some minky fat quarters in the shop, I need an excuse for people to buy them and so I remembered the pattern requests. This sounds kinda mercenary, but now that I have gone over the numbers I have a clearer picture of where I need to focus on things.

The current plan is for the printable dragon pattern to be open source, and for the in-the-hoop files to be sold in the shop. So I haven’t completely sold out to The Man. At least, not until I find out how big (or perhaps how small) the market for in-the-hoop plushie designs is.

Doing the boring part

I’ve had a pile of receipts accumulating on my desk, and I don’t really have the excuse of needing to restock anything urgently. It was time to get everything entered into my spreadsheets and GnuCash.

GnuCash is not great for inventory control, so I do some stuff in a pretty basic spreadsheet. It’s a little bit duplicated, and someday I’ll write a little utility to keep everything synchronized, but so far neither my sales nor purchases are too overwhelming.

The business is going pretty well, though I have to admit I didn’t really expect to be mostly a beanie dragon factory, and especially not an almost-exclusively-Pernese dragon factory. I find myself wondering what other fandoms are underserved.

I passed a milestone on Etsy, and my husband asked how that compared to my costs, and I blithely said “oh, I haven’t checked that lately…” So now I have, and the answer is: sales minus costs plus currently-listed items all balances out. Which is not a particularly GAAP way of measuring things, but I think it’s a good sign.

It’s about time to give the business its own bank account and credit card and so forth, which will help in keeping things separate… and in keeping me from getting too carried away with new dragon colors.

On which note: midnight blue and french blue beanie dragons are coming soon!

Woo! Commerce.

I took a break from sewing and set up a new server at https://shop.silverseams.com/. It’s mostly so I can post my fabric stash without cluttering the Etsy shop, but until I get the fabrics out and take some measurements and pictures, it’s just occupied with a couple of things that have expired unsold from Etsy, a snap tab, and a temporary listing for the new plush dragon. (Those will get moved to Etsy when I finish the other colors, but if they sell out of the local shop that’s fine.)

Cataloging the dragons

I added a page cataloging the one-of-a-kinds so you can see the evolution of them, and also see what’s getting listed next in the shop. The silver sparkle and silver shield dragon are currently listed; sparkle’s been there long enough that I put her on sale. The prices have been inching up, and I suspect I might have found (and slightly exceeded) their proper level.

Next in line, but not yet on its own page because it’s still in-progress, is this extremely purple dragon. I’ve been working on it in between other projects so as not to overdo. I realized partway through trimming All. Those. Spines that the duckbills really needed sharpening, and that actually the Fiskars snips 📦 were a much better choice other than having to be more careful about the points snagging. (Amazon calls those garden snips, and will only let me link to the non-stick version, but mine are an older non-non-stick version and I’m pretty sure fabric stores carry them too.)

I used to hate those, and in fact gave my pair away to someone in the Wichita bear-making guild who had more serious RSI than I have. I inherited the current ones from Mom, gave them a try, and I like them fine – possibly because I’m not trying to use them on mohair. I still hate the little slider clip, which doesn’t keep the tips closed and randomly lets them pop completely open, but this is an older model and maybe the newer ones are better.

The other projects have included a trial run of hybrid dragon mass-production, which is going well.

Hybrid dragons

As promised, I tried out a hybrid between the beanie dragons and the art dolls. It’s pretty hard to optimize these for mass production; the beanies I can at least group heads to minimize thread change overhead. I can fit two wing pieces at the same time for this one but that’s it. I’ll try assembly-lining them and see how efficient I can get.

After battling with a longhorn version (like the Stargazer) and getting the minky bound up in one horn such that I can neither turn nor un-turn it (the perils of stretchy fabric), I decided to do a Pernese “headknobs” version.

“Y’know,” N’ton began, frowning slightly as he folded his arms across his damp-spattered tunic, “Ruth isn’t really white.” Jaxom stared incredulously at his dragon. “He’s not?” “No. See how his hide has shadows of brown and gold, and ripples of blue or green on the near flank.”

Anne McCaffrey, The White Dragon

I tried out a couple of variegated metallic threads for the wing stitching. I should do that on some beanies too.

New colors of beanie dragons are going into the shop

I’m not adding any new listings, but I’m adding a half-dozen new colors for a total of fifteen. Or seventeen, if you count the original “bronze” and blues, which I could always make again (though that bronze is pretty close to the new brown, and is in less-fluffy and now discontinued JoAnn minky).

Now that Etsy allows specific pictures to be matched with variations, I’m going to put the four new hatchling colors in with the mint-green ones (the white dragon gets to keep his own listing), and there’s a new “mocha” brown and new “mallard” green in the 6″ listings.

Aside from finishing up the rest of these batches, that pretty much catches me up for awhile on beanie dragons, and the art dragons sell more slowly so those *should* be caught up for a little while. I’m going to make a few hybrid dragons and see if I can’t streamline the process of making minky standing dragons enough to make them profitable. I’m thinking something like this test dragon I made, but with wings like the beanies.

Heraldic dragon snap tabs (and design scaling)

Aldi has $5 letter boards this week so I finally joined the trend and got one. I will not use it for every blog title, I promise.

These dragons aren’t going in the Embroidery Patterns for a change. The dragon is from an Urban Threads design – I imported it into Inkscape, borrowed just the top outline path, rescaled it and let Ink/Stitch choose its own stitch points on the path. You can’t rescale everything that way but it worked fine for this. It didn’t stitch the same points coming and going (it’s a continuous-line design) like it did in the original design, but it’s a slightly sketch-style design anyway.

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Pokeball Snap Tab

Mostly resting my wrists after completing the dragons, but I whipped up another little freebie snap tab design. Apparently my lavender dragon was close enough to an Aerodactyl for someone, so one of these will get tucked in with that.