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With the decline in popularity of handicrafts, Brother stopped producing their knitting machines. Much to our horror. Now, of course, some 10 years later the trend is going in the other direction & crafts are back in fashion. You only need the hint of a recession for us to bring out all our gear from the closet.

The first thing I thought of was to alter my clothes to fit rather than to continually throw them out - then I had second thoughts. Far simpler to throw them out to the Oxfam charity shop & buy something that someone else has thrown out which also benefits the poor wretches who have absolutely nothing & are living in environments we wouldnít dream of visiting.

But - back to the knitting machine

So I brought it out, polished it up & looked out my favourite patterns.

Then I went to have a look around a car boot sale and found a BRAND NEW machine - given away for ONLY £8 - that is EIGHT POUNDS ONLY (less than $15).

I was SO-O HAPPY that as I carried it away I tripped up over an old bucket and broke 2 toes - at the time I just thought I had bruised my foot so kept on tramping around the field looking for more bargains but during the next hour I have to admit my foot was aching something rotten.

Well - I've never broken a bone before so for the next week I carried on as before, went to work (standup sales person in a petrol station 8 hours a day) and suffered this quite odd pain. A week later on my day off while I was looking at my foot, I pointed out to my daughter that the two middle toes had a darker than dark stripe going around the base of them & were definitely not feeling happy & that I had a strange (at last) idea that maybe I had actually broken them. So off to the hospital where an X-ray confirmed it & also confirmed, lucky me, that the bones were healing and were also dead straight.

The doc strapped both toes together & told me to keep the bandage on for a week.

So when I went back to work the next day I wore my slippers, pink fluffy mules, which were all that would allow for the bandage. The British are always prepared for strange sightings such as petrol pump attendants wearing pink slippers & not one single person made a remark - which made me wonder if I could always get away with wearing something cosy and comfortable at work. But for the boss, I suppose I could.

The pain in my foot went after a month or so, which is more than I can say for my finger which the cat bit into & put me into hospital with blood poisoning for 7 days and which hurts every time the weather changes.

In the meantime - back to the machine knitting. Anyway - the machine I got for virtually nothing was an Empisal Knitmaster 360 with ribber & lace carriage still in all its glorious wrapping straight from the manufacturer. The problem there is that I already own 4 Brother machines, 3 of which are electronics & the 4th is a convertible. Iíve never owned a punchcard machine before and wasnít inclined to bother with it either, had thought I would make a fast buck selling it on Ebay.  But, I have 3 adult daughters (and 4 grandchildren so far) and before I knew it, one of them said she wanted it.

Well - if you are a true machine knitter you will understand exactly why I was all too willing to let her have a whole load of my pattern books - BUT SURE AS HECK NOT THE ORIGINALS!

I scanned the whole lot for her. As she doesn't live locally and uses the internet, I put the books as pdf files on my website for her to download them when she needed them.

Then , I thought to myself - surely there are lots of other machine knitters who want pattern books - so I wrote to Brother & wrote to Silver and asked them for permission to reproduce their books in pdf format to preserve and sell them. They said yes. Hooray!

And that is how I came about having a website which has lots of pattern books for sale - punchcard pattern books. electronic pattern books, Brother Fashion books, Modern Knitting books and of course, instruction books.

I am now busy trying to advertise it in as many places as possible - spread the Word if you can. I found www.Folksy.com where I have a shop named Scanthecat (of course).  All they want from me is to have a Paypal account - so that makes it easy.  And - already I have enquiries & made some friends there within 3 days.

Somebody did suggest I put stuff for sale on Etsy - though when I browsed through the Etsy site I soon realised that a HUGE amount of people donít sell anything and one reason for that is because whatever you write in the Search box, Etsy pulls up thousands of listings at a time but only have around 10 per page.  That means that your listing has very little chance of being seen because people donít hang around much after the third page, especially if each page loads slowly. The odds against good sales is too great and the people looking through Etsy are the same people who have made stuff and who want to sell their own, so what are they doing but browsing through the other listings wondering how to undercut them - but not buying. And Etsy does this thing, when youíre placing an ad, of allowing the seller to click on to a huge amount of key-words - which is painfully useless and annoying if you are actually looking for something.  At least Ebay sticks to categories.

I suppose Ebay is good but it does seem to have had itís day because hardly anyone turns up to have a look at anything nowdays. There used to be a time, not so long ago, when it was particularly popular but now it is losing itís appeal to both buyers and sellers.  They keep on changing things - like the search format and brought in new rules & regulations and upped their fees & commissions.  ok - so every now and again someone ripped someone off & all of this is to try to bring some order - but why penalise everyone? And since Ebay & Paypal have joined ranks they believe they have totally cornered the market & can do what they like.

Etsy, Folksy, eCrater, and lots of the other up and coming websites for crafty people are taking sellers from Ebay - it wonít be too long before somone gets the website software (which must cost the very earth to set up) to compete with Ebay to take more sellers away for selling their used home decor & clothes & collectibles etc. I had a look at Ebid and see that there are very few ads for machine knitting.

On that note I am going to feed my cat, Knuckles.

Ok - update here - Ebay has been going downhill so rapidly that I am now listing virtually everything I have in the house for .99p which is free.  At least Iím getting rid of the junk. I list every book & dvd I have on Amazon which is free to list, and within 4 days had sold 7 books and 2 weeks later Amazon automatically send the cash to my bank.  How convenient is that?

I have accounts with loads of the other new auction sites and nothing happens. Etsy has 4 of my adverts & I owe them $.80 for listing. Hardly anyone has viewed my listings there - just as I said, most listings get lost in the crowd.

I get far more visitors to my website each day - and from all corners of the earth!

Thanks to you all.


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