Thursday, January 19, 2017

Shuttle test printing interruption....

We finally received the new extruder for our 3d printer. Even though this now gives us the consistence and the desired extrusion thread we are wanting, there are still problems showing up. Seems we may now have to replace the entire printer since the heat sensor on the extruder is fluxuating wildly giving an inconsistent draw. I am looking for the best extrusion process to produce some good shuttles to offer my customers. With that being said, we will have at least two sizes that we are offering once I can get a good production going. The large size will be approximately 3.5 inches long with or without a hook on the end. The regular size will be approximately 2.5 inches long also with or without a hook on the end. I have not yet decided if I will continue to attach my Apophysis graphics to the shuttles or try to do something else. I love having a unique design for my shuttles and the idea of the all being made on computer. This really does fit in with my background as a computer programmer by training. 

We have continued to work on the printer with no further luck in getting the extrusion process to produce a consistent product. In the picture below, you will see an attempt at repairing the edge of the shuttle where the supports are broken off after printing. It seems that the inconsistency of the heat has left weak spots in the material which leave it weak and easily broken. Since I know that there will be those who are very picky about this, I am choosing not to accept this in the manufacturing process. I am hoping that the replacement printer will arrive soon and we will be back to printing once again. 

I am pleased with the overall look to the new shuttle design as they are all one piece construction and do not require gluing together as other designs do. It is also apparent that I can adjust the size of the shuttle without any structural changes. I will be able to expand my offerings down the road to include flat shape shuttles, thread winders and different printing colors. The files will have to be built for me to be able to make the different shapes on the printer but that will be down the road. The colors will be run in batches as they come off of very long reels. Our first offering will most likely be from the current reel of purple filament that we have on hand. The designs attached may or may not be repeats of the Apophysis files I have already made up or something new. I can look into making images similar to what is available in other shuttles. I will just have to consider how to make these unique to me. I have already been approached to make them exclusive to a certain shop. Not sure how that will work and if I can still sell them on my own. I could create some special stuff  that would only be available through any event that I attend. If this ever gets up and running, I am hoping that this will fund my travel expenses to any of the workshops and events coming up later this year.

Let me know in the comments below.

Happy tatting!

Arial - the Tattered Faerie

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy 2017!

This poor blog has been neglected for the last year. I did not realize just how long it has been since I sat down to write anything on here. My wish for this next year is to set up good blogging habits and try for at least one post a week. I have bought myself a planner so that I can plan out the things I want to post about this year. 

To begin with my Etsy shop has been on hiatus for the last year as I began exploration of new projects on our 3D printer. Hubby and I have finally come up with a new one piece construction. I am hopeful we will have at least two sizes available. There are plans down the road to develop some flat shuttles as well. Here is just a peek at the new shuttles coming out this year:

I still need to smooth out the edges where the support attaches and then figure out the images to attach to the finished shuttle. I hope to have both a plain shuttle and the shuttle with a pick as shown above. I really love playing with new technology. With my formal background training in computer information systems, what do you expect?

There were a lot of things going on over the last year. I did manage to keep up with my associated Facebook page and post pictures of what I had been working on. I am going to try better to keep up with this blog and post more often.

Question for you: What shape would you love to see in a flat shuttle? Do you like the idea of thread winders to go along with the shuttles? If and when I can get more colors, what other colors would you like to see the shuttles available in?

Let me know in the comments below.

Happy tatting!

Arial - the Tattered Faerie

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Interesting Directions.....

Really gotta love it when a topic of discussion on social media gets you thinking in certain directions to design something new.

I have had a Fitbit Flex now since last January and while I love the technology, I really hate the limited options of bands to use with it. A girl just needs to have options when you wear one all day long, no matter where you go. A plain band is okay when you are sweating and working out but it is sorely lacking when it comes to dressing up. It's not like I dress in designer fashion but a girl does like to look her best when out on the town. Flex just has too few options in that department and none of them come in a leather or lace style.

So, I've been thinking (yeah, I know that can be a dangerous thing). Why not come up with a few design ideas and see what people will want to wear. The first hurdle is dealing with the 1 inch long device that has to be recharged every 5 to 7 days. Lace itself is just too light to keep it on the back of the wrist. It would always travel around to the bottom of the wrist and always get in the way. Further examination of just the lace option, you would need to build in a compartment feature that would allow you to remove the piece every few days for the recharging process. This will actually put added stresses on the threads causing them to wear out faster.

Now having eliminated a just lace piece, you may need to think about a combination piece. Leather and lace or cloth and lace, or even netting and lace. These hold great possiblities and then there is adding beadwork to the piece. I have even considered a lace piece that encompasses the Flex band itself. So, short of recreating the band in leather or beadwork, I have decided to develop a cover for the Flex involving a "tape lace" base that will encompass the original band. I am going to try two options: 1) tape lace on top and bottom that allows the band to slide in and out, 2) tape lace on top with pieces of tape lace for either side of the underside of the band which still allows the insertion and removal of the Flex itself.

This will allow me the space to create something using various motifs on top to make each band cover unique. The idea of this came from a lovely image of a lace bracelet done by Ms Corina Meyfeldt. She gave us the clue that her bracelet had a base piece that was a simple tape lace. From there it was a combination of various motifs and beads to create a unique look.

Since I am currently not in the testing process and am waiting for a little calmer weather to continue my shuttles, I will be working out the Flex covering. I will most likely be working on this in the coming weeks while we are on vacation as well. My shop will be closed during vacation time. There are still 5 shuttles remaining from the first batch. They are completely hardened now and ready for immediate shipping. I am actually closing the shop on Etsy for vacation from August 1 to August 8. As soon as the weather changes again, I will be back at creating the next round of shuttles with the new images posted on my Facebook page. While waiting on the weather change, I will also begin to generate some new fractals to use on more shuttles. I have one hundred shuttle blanks prepped and ready for images but will release them 20 at a time because of the time involved in creating the new images. One fractal image can take 3 or more hours for the computer to generate.

Well, this is all for now. Need to go look through my threads and pull out the right beads to create something pretty for a Fitbit Flex cover.

Happy tatting!

Arial - the Tattered Faerie

Friday, July 24, 2015

Printer Woes.....

Well, now I have issues. I decided to spend time today prepping my blade sheets for the next round of shuttles. I managed to get the first sheet printed but while printing the second sheet, I ran into a problem. 

My Problem

Now the issue becomes why did the color cartridge just stop working? At first hubby thought that the cartridge was just empty and I had used too much. But on further inspection of the printer, the screen came up with a message: "Incompatible Tri-Color Cartridge". Never had that issue before. So a call to HP customer service and they were helpful (not). Stating the obvious that we now had a defective cartridge. Good thing he had another cartridge on hand. And now he is back to the store to see what they have to say. I guess they will replace the cartridge as it still has a good date on it.

Well, guess I can now get back to sealing the blades to preserve the images. I can't do it out back as the sun is fully on the deck. Guess that there is always the front porch as it only gets the morning sun. Yes, it is warm outside but at least there is no rain out right now. I really enjoy the sun after all the recent rain we have had.

Hope you all have a good tatting day.

Happy tatting

Arial - the Tattered Faerie

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

New Ideas....

So, today is really, really hot. Can't work on the shuttles outside until after sundown. The dust from the sanding is too much for working inside. Then there is sealing the images so they remain defined rather than run when I apply the adhesive. Because of the smell, I can't work on that inside. While I wait for some cooler temps to come along, I have been thinking about some other ideas that I had. 

I was out doing my regular weekly shopping, there was a stop by Hobby Lobby to look at their clay collection. I was thinking about the charms I wanted to make to go into my tatting. Yeah, I want to make some faeries, butterflies and dragons along with the usual beads and cabochons for use in my tatted pieces. While thinking about all of this, I wondered if this same material would also work for thread winders and flat shuttles. I found some translucent material which I could apply  over my images to seal them to the surfaces and still be seen.

I was wondering if those of you who play with polymer clay thought that making things like shuttles from this material was worth it. I would be moving into flat shuttles for a future round. I have seen all sorts of shapes of flat shuttles. There are tricks for using the "Lady Hoare" shuttles successfully. But what other shapes would you like to see. I will stay away from the "duck" shuttles because there is already someone quite proficiently working on those. :D While I make the shuttles, there would be a pair of matching thread winders along with this. I feel that I may want to go this route just to control the quality of my product.

For now I will continue with the current shuttle selection until I get these perfected and in production. And then I have another idea or two about a unique presentation for these shuttles for storage when not in use. But with so many ideas running through my head, I just don't always know which direction to go. The ideas are plenty but my time is involved in just getting one from the brain to the oven or sewing machine. What do you do when you have just too many ideas and not enough time to get them down before they flit off into the neather regions of the brain.

Oh, should I offer the new shuttles in two sizes or maybe three? See, there was another idea that just popped into the brain. *sigh* I could go on all day with the ideas swimming in my brain but I have things to do tonight in order to get myself back into the tatting stream. Shout out to Barbara Gordon for giving me some ideas on "froggers". There may be some with some hand-made charms coming down the road that will be used on tatted chains. Would I sell them with or without the "frogger" needle? 

Hum, there goes the brain again.

Better go before things get out of hand and tangents come along.

Happy tatting

Arial - the Tattered Faerie

Thursday, July 9, 2015

A tale of two.....

(I have pondered this entry as to whether or not I should be even be talking about this. But once I wrote it, I was able to gain focus and move forward.)

This is a tale of two customers. Which are you?

All in all my first set of shuttles went to very good homes. Most of my customers were happy inspite of this being my first set of shuttles. It really makes me want to work harder at getting the formulation correct the next time round. I will work harder to get the adhesives and the finishes smooth and dry before listing them again. I have learned a few tricks that will make the next ones better.

Through all of this I had one customer who chose to encourage and forgave the imperfections that came with this first batch. Well, most of my customers fit in this category. But there was that other one, who chose a public forum for her complaints instead of going the route of courtesy. She wanted to set the conditions for which I would  "make it right" rather than allowing me to come to my own remedy. Then when I took the conversation private, she chose to continue her attitude of it would be remedied her way or else. Sorry but this is so wrong. I tried to offer a different solution but she decided a refund would be better. I am disappointed that what I offered was not good enough.

Please be the courteous customer and contact the seller privately first. This really allows for a better attitude from the seller. To automatically jump in and publicly comment about the poor condition of a product without providing the seller an attempt to make proper rememdy is just plain rude. To also tell the seller flat out the conditions you will accept is also plain rude. It is up to the seller and not the buyer what remedies that they will provide. There may be reasons behind their reluctance to provide an immediate remedy. You might find that the only thing they will provide with that sort of attitude is a refund because it is far easier than trying to please a picky customer.

The other brave customer in this whole situation was very understanding and caught in the middle of this whole situation. I am really sorry that things were in such poor condition. This poor soul was put in the middle because of her friend. She understood that this was my first set and I really have some things to learn. She is willing to let things go because of this but was put in a very awkward situation. For this customer I will go above and beyond to make it right. Not only did she put up with me but also with the actions of her "friend" in this situation. I would have dealt directly with only the one customer but she was drug into this  because she was the poor soul who ordered both items. For her I will go above and beyond. I have plans for my previous customers who order again. However, because she was put in a difficult situation, I will go above and beyond to make it right.

In short, you should always contact the seller in private when you are dissatisfied with a purchase. Allow the seller to come up with solutions and pick the best one offered. Don't demand a solution as taking your situation directly to a public situation will only alienate the seller and put yourself in a very bad light as a future customer. It is appropriate to take things publically only after going through a private conversation with the seller and not receiving a good and fair solution. Allow the seller the dignity to learn from an issue in private and be grownup about the solutions offered. It is better for good will to happen on the part of both the seller and buyer as this is an encouragement for growth. Whereas, being demanding only produces hard feelings in the seller who then becomes reluctant to produce anything else from a bad first time experience.

I did not name any names because I do not want to stoop to the level of being vendictive. I just want to educate both sides on the proper way to handle a situation. It was a learning experience for me as well but a very hard lesson that I had to go through because I now know that there are those people who are not forgiving and demanding perfection the first time out. I want the specifics private to give some dignity to someone who may not deserve it. Just be aware that people like this are out there. The first makes me not want to cooperate or attempt to work it out, where the second actually deserves better than she got. 

What type of customer or seller are you?

Sorry for no pics right now as I am just trying to work through this situation to clear the air. Hopefully that once this is over I will be able to get back to tatting and producing more shuttles. This whole thing has been very unsettling and almost made me quit altogether. I appreciate everyone who had ordered and overlooked my mess up. I also appreciate those who chose to encourage rather than discourage. Now to clear myself and focus on getting it better with the next batch and expanding to something I have in mind for the future.

Happy tatting

Arial - the Tattered Faerie

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy 4th!

Happy 4th of July to my American readers. I have been busy these last few days with my eldest son being in town with his family. He is currently stationed overseas and attempts to visit during the summer here. I am getting some play time with my little granddaughter but not much as she is sick. Travelling is so hard on little ones and they sometimes do not do well. Oh well, we just attempt to accommodate her as much as possible to make her more comfortable.

I want to thank everyone who commented on my last blog post. If you are a customer, please always remember to contact the seller in private before stating your dissatisfaction in public. This not only allows the seller to make it right but also saves some hurt feelings that you are only out to get free product and not allow the seller to make a remedy that they think is fit. My major upset was over the idea that I needed to just replace everyone's order without regard to the work I put into the products. While I understand that the first round did not arrive in "perfect" condition, the remedy should have been my decision rather than that of the customer for all the others as well. I already had something in mind for those customers but this I felt was trying to take that option out of my hands. I really appreciate those customers who had a kind word about the shuttles and were willing to work with me in this matter. Their bonus for putting up with me and having patience will be rewarded after my visit with my son is over. 

I have most of the shuttles prepped for the first round of the upgrade. The next round of images has also been selected and posted on the shop FB page. I will take my time in posting the next round of shuttles for sale so that they both have time enough to harden and are better in general. Yes, the shuttle base is a factory second but I have in mind something to fix the gaps and issues that come with the classification. I just have to find the right material to fix the problem.

Well, I need to get back to the family and prepare for the fireworks tonight. I may even post some of the pictures I will be taking tonight on my regular FB page.

Happy tatting

Arial - The Tattered Faerie