Monday, February 15, 2010

Handmade Shop of the Week: The High Plains Knitter

Dianne Gray, The High Plains Knitter, has been selling hand-knitted and crocheted accessories and gifts in her shop since September of 2008. Her colorful designs will add interest to even the dullest of ensambles.

Why did you decide to open your handmade shop?
Having been diagnosed with primary pulmonary hypertension, my activities were greatly decreased. I hadn't had time to pursue my lifelong love of knitting and crocheting while raising boys, and felt that, besides looking for a way to help pay for expensive medications, then would be a good time to take up my old love and sell it.

Has your inventory changed much since you first opened?
Yes, When I first opened my shop, I had only a few scarves and scarflettes with dark pictures. Since then, I have added crocheted jewelry and flower appliques, knitting patterns, hairpins, headbands, wrist cuffs, and gift certificates. I have also developed a couple of scarf designs that have done fairly well for me.

Who are the majority of your customers? How did they find you?
Lol, well obviously, women, but beyond that most of them are inside the U.S. My very first order came from Canada, and I've had one from the U.K. Almost have of my flower ring orders came from Australia. Yay Aussies! Since they all had Asian names, I kind of think they were friends that decided to have rings together.

What inspires you to create?
So many things. I get inspired by the textures of different yarns and how they might look, work and feel together. The fact that I hate struggling with keeping a scarf in place on a cold day while trying to do other things like carry something or getting in and out of the car, inspired the creation of the auto-lock scarf. I just really wanted a scarf that I could wrap around my neck and forget about it. I thought others might feel the same way, and it appears that they do.

What is your favorite item in your shop currently? Your most popular item?
My favorite item would be my Golden Twilight Scarf of Many Colors. It was originally a custom order from a jewelry maker on Etsy that wanted a scarf that would match some jewelry she had made. She told me what colors and she wanted and requested a couple of types of yarns. I took what she had asked for out my stash, and it was a real winner.

What has been your greatest resource to make your shop successful?
Boy, that's a hard one. I've done so many things, and they've been a steady progression to improve my shop. I hate to say it, but I think Christmas and cold weather have the greatest impact on my sales. I developed my jewelry and light scarves to sell in the spring and summer, but nothing seems to make much difference. Sales dropped off dramatically in the middle of April, and didn't pick up again until November, which is exactly what happened the year before.

Any changes coming to your shop in the future?
I am always looking for new things for my shop. I am thinking that when sales drop again, I will concentrate on my patterns. Maybe other knitters will take a liking to them.

How else can we find you online? Any team affiliations?
I have a shop on 1000 Markets which has only had one sale, a shops on Artfire and Zibbet that have had none. I've had the Artfire shop for an amazingly low rate since January, but this month I downgraded to a basic account. An amazing rate isn't so amazing if you have no sales. The Zibbet account is basic. 1000 Markets on charges when you sell something. The y teams I am a member of are Etsy Knitters Street Team, Etsy Texas Crafters, and Awe Team.

A Great Deal! The High Plains Knitter is happy to give away a pattern of your choice with any purchase from her shop to anyone that mentions Tracey Knits at time of purchase.

Interested in being Handmade Shop of the Week? Email me for more information.


  1. What a talented woman! I love the chocolate and cream scarflette!

  2. Great interview! Love the idea of the auto-lock scarf - and it looks great too! (Readers: click on the link so you can see a pretty example!)

  3. Beautiful scarves. Can't choose a favorite because they are all great.

  4. Beautiful work! I looked at your pink and purple creation pictured here and immediately thought, I could never make that in a million years!

  5. I understand her pain in trying to attract a year-round clientele to knitted items. I think the little flower would look great in the hair of a bohemian bride!

  6. Beautiful things and such a range of items! And I agree the auto-lock scarf is a fabulous idea!

  7. Great interview. I love the golden twilight scarf of many colors, and the floral embellishments on some of the others. I see you are also a Texan, and a very talented one at that!