I have been enjoying greatly the toys that I have been making for the window display and have found the reaction very encouraging. One that really surprised me was my friend who, when I showed a group the Gecko immediately asked if she could commission me to make some for her nephews and nieces, and others echoed her sentiments. In the 15 years of me knitting I have never had a reaction like that from anyone, none of that group of friends has ever asked me to make them anything, let alone to buy it.
I was also incredibly surprised and stunned by an incredibly generous donation given to me for the yarn with one of the drawings. I think it may be equal to all the money I had ever previously made myself from knitting, though I have not sold many things.
I think that I really would like to go forward with making the children’s drawings into toys. I have done cursory searches, though more is required, and think that there is a market, and one that is not overly saturated.
I know that there are changes that will be required if I want to sell them, especially with the stuffing, but also possibly the backing.
With the toys I am making at the moment for the window display I am using felt as the backing.
I initially did it as it is much faster that to crochet both sides and I though worked well with the 2D element of the toys.
I did try and crochet the back of one of the toys as well when I initially started but, in the end, decided to leave it, as it took so much longer than sewing and was very confusing. As I have greatly improved in my crocheting ability since I started I do not doubt that I would be able to crochet the back for the toys without too much issue, but I wonder about how much people would desire for the sides to be crocheted, or whether the felt backing would still be okay.
It was suggested that I use material sent in by the client, as then they can send in aa sentimental piece, like a grandad’s jumper or an old baby grow. I really like the concept of this idea; it adds a very personal feeling to the toy. I had a look at memory pillows, which are already created by using a client chosen garment. I was looking at here website and realised that this may possibly not actually be an option that I would be able to do. The first thing that shook me was the idea of being sent a wedding dress, that would be so terrifying to cut up, which then made me go down that slippery slope of every item being sent in will be precious, and what if it gets damaged or lost? Whilst I would have to pay for postage with insurance it would still be irreplaceable.
I then was thinking that maybe I should test it, which lead me to my realise that this would not be possible. The felt is quite sturdy and does not fray, it gives the toy structure. The few bits of materials that I have got at home where all completely unsuitable, and I doubt that any who send them in would send something that was. I know that with a laser cutter it automatically seals the edges and stops them fraying with manmade materials, so once able to use that to cut more options would be suitable, but it is still a very complex element to add in.
It made me realise though that one solution could be to use material from Sue Ryder on the back. This is such a great solution. I would be able to pick the material and make sure that it is suitable, and it would also help with what my other worry was. Which was that the toys are not exactly retro. And whilst using retro yarn and vintage techniques is an okay justification, actually having visible vintage materials used makes it solid and not shoe horned in.