Author Archives: Cindy Sorley

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Listing on the Go the eBay Mobile Way Webinar 30 July 2014

Join me Wednesday July 30th for a webinar with Top Rated Seller Webinars with Eric Nash and Kat Simpson

https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/503882594

 

http://www.ecommerceweekly.com/webinars/


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Sunday Musings by Special Guest Marcia Glenn

In Cindy’s Online Selling Tips I have been honored to have Marcia Glenn write a Sunday Musing for us for a long time. I wake up every Sunday to these wonderful posts.  

Sunday Morning Musing with Coffee: What Does Ebay REALLY Want From ME?

I have thought long and hard these last few months on how to do my Ebay business better. From getting faster at listing to buying only things that I know will generate me a good if not great profit, there are a bazillion things to learn to do my job faster, better with more profit. I am using some great APPS like KiQuantity and KiPhoenix to streamline my process but one thing keeps cropping up in my daydreams and my dreams at night….

What Does Ebay REALLY Want From ME?

They won’t tell me.

Well they won’t tell me in a definitive statement. Or even 10 statements. They will never come out and say, Marcia (fill in your name), THIS is what we want you to do!! Follow this and that and the other thing and we almost guarantee we will love you forever and a day and show your listings to EVERYONE!!

But they hint at it and it is these hints that I have started to listen to and do for them. When I do these things that they hint at telling me my sales go up. So I continue to do them. I believe that they “rate” me somehow, no idea what that “rating” is but if I do what they have told me to do in newsletters and policy changes I will get higher rankings, my listings will be shown to more qualified people (people who are searching for what I have to sell) and I will have more sales.

Here is what I have heard from them over the last year, thought about and implemented.

1. They want me to use 12 pictures. They expanded the pictures to 12, thus I believe they want me to use 12. So pretty much I do now. I do my very best to fill up all 12 spots, sometimes it is easier than other times but try I do.

2. They want my pictures to be bigger. They made the picture requirements bigger and will actually kick off my listing if it is not to their requirements picture size so now my pictures are the size they want. I make them cleaner, bigger, clearer, more details. I want my pictures to rock not only because of MY pride but because Ebay wants my pictures to ROCK. So I do my best to get the very best pictures I can.

3. They encourage me to put Free Shipping in my listing and while there is no such thing as Free Shipping as we add the shipping price to the listing price, what I think they are saying is that with Free Shipping the buyer has no surprises as to the final price. People search for FREE SHIPPING listings ONLY and never ever do I think someone searches for “no free shipping please” so I add the shipping value to my listing price and have 99% of my listings as Free Shipping.

4. They want me to have short and simple, non HTML filled listings. Whether this is a software issue or not, Ebay says no HTML so now I am in the process of dumping my Auctiva templates on Glass Confusion and reworking those listings to a simpler, cleaner line format. Surprise surprise that these new listings are selling and the old HTML are not.

5. They want me to be Top Rated Seller, Power Seller and have a Store. All three of these things they encourage for me to do or achieve so do and achieve them I did. With this Ebay gave me the option of having a cleaner looking store front with new store look and I changed over to that as well. My store looks clean and pretty (especially with my new store banner from Scott Henshaw).

6. Ebay wants me to ship FAST. 1 Day shipping is what I say I will do thus this is what I do.

7. Ebay wants me to sell Internationally so I do. It makes me money, I have no issues with it and in a global economy it only makes sense. I ship Internationally.

8. Ebay wants me to have a very larger than necessary return policy so I do. I get so little returns that it means nothing to me. I have had 2 pieces of clothing returned in the past, one was too small and we both knew it would not fit him, he paid shipping both ways and apologized profusely for it not fitting…I sold it to another with a higher price and my first buyer bought a bigger shirt…win/win.

My second one was a mistake on my part…learned that you really cannot rely on the Levi butt tag as the real size, those jeans shrunk an amazing 4 inches from what the tag said. Taught me to measure. Again I sold them only this time with the right measurements and even paying double the shipping made a profit. Since I was polite and apologized to the seller and paid the shipping to her, from her and gave her an extra bit of money for her “trouble” she bought the correct size from me the next week.

9. Ebay wants me to promote the listing with Pinterest. They spend a bunch of dollars to put the Pinterest link on all listings thus it is important to them. So it is important to me and I have found that it works for me. I pin, I sell. Ebay just makes it easier for me to do it.

10. Ebay wants me to be the best seller possible, give the customer the best that I can be so that they will rate me the highest rating if I earn it. The rating system could use some work and this stupid, idiotic defect thing will go the way of leg warmers but for now I just make sure I do the best I can in listing, photographing and shipping so that I get the best feedback that I deserve.

This is my top 10 list of what Ebay wants from me. Now what does that REALLY mean?

To me and remember this is only MY opinion, Ebay will promote me if I do what they ask me to do. With all the data that companies gather on me in the world, I cannot imagine that Ebay does not have the software or the programmers to pick apart…well ME. I believe they take every single thing about me on Ebay and put it into a computer somewhere and come up with something that they use to determine if they really really really like ME.

I think they even look at all the WORDS that are typed in my feedback from others. Why not? The information is there, why not use it. So when 10 out of 10 or 100 out of 100 of my feedback says FAST Shipping, I gotta think that means another notch in my virtual profile towards love from Ebay. When people say positive things about me I know Ebay is taking notes. As well as how much I list, when I list, what I list, how much I sell, when I sell, what I pinned, what I purchased, what I said in Feedback and on and on and on.

Then they use this information to compare to others who are selling the exact thing that I am selling and put me just a tad higher in the ranking or the showing or something so that mine will sell before the others.

All this information they gather about me and YOU is called BIG DATA by the computer geeks who name things like this. Ebay “Wants” you to evolve along with e- commerce which is shaped by what buyers want and expect. Also, I think the reason for any wants are based on a this new thing called, “Big Data” which is a means of collecting mass quantities of pieces of data and in the end their data shows that what I have mentioned above are things that “Buyers want”. So in the end eBay wants me and you to provide this.

Let’s use an example. I have a yellow rubber duck. Mass produced and sold by many other people. Lets compare me to one that Mike has (if you are a Mike, please think about your middle name as this is not to compare to YOU).

Mike and I have the same Rubber Duckie. My pictures rock, his do not. I have a store, positive feedback, top rated seller, all the bells and whistles. Mikey does not…his pictures are lousy, his feedback is borderline, he has no store, no top rated seller. I offer free shipping, he does not. On and on and on. He will lose out overall I feel.

Mine will show up more in searches, higher in searches, Ebay will promote it with things that they do to promote it online. They send out emails, they show my listings when you log on, I will feel the love more than poor Mike.

Algorithms. Kinda like Calculus that it is part of the universe but does anyone really understand it? I don’t and don’t have to. All I have to understand is that Ebay understands it and applies it to me and you and everyone and I want to be top page, above the fold (newpaper term), highest of the high.

So I play the game. But playing the game instead of fighting it, well that gives me money. In the end that is all that I care about.

What DO I Have to do to make Ebay happy? Pretty much play their game.

If I don’t like the game I can go to Etsy, Bonanza, Craigs List, Amazon and the others that provide me a selling platform to sell my wares. I do sell on multiple platforms but Ebay is tied with Amazon for income stream and I pay both games with different rules because when it is all said and done, that is what I want to do.

When Ebay comes out with changes, I listen and implement them. They are subtly telling me to do this without forcing it down my throat (normally) but I don’t care, they tell me this is what they want, I will do it. I won’t cross the road without holding their hand as we are partners in this business, the more I sell the more money we both make. I have to think they are trying to make me a better seller which will make their goals for their investors happy and their bank account numbers higher.

I don’t think they made up these new things like bigger, clearer pictures just because they were sitting around a board table and wondering what they could do this month to make my job harder (changing 2000 listings with pictures that are too small for example). I think this is what they have determined that buyers want so they have told me this is what buyers want.

Gotta listen to what my buyers want. Fast story. I created and sold my own jewelry when I had the storefront. Glass pendants mostly. Had them in a large jewelry display, each in an individual box for gift giving. Over the course of a year I heard over and over again “Do you have a chain for sale in the store to go with the pendant”. My answer was always “I’m sorry, no we don’t”.

Took me a year to “listen” to what my customers were asking me to stock so they could buy it along with the chain. A YEAR! Finally, finally, finally it dawned on me to start stocking chains…duh! Which sold. With the jewelry and without. Just because I own a bizzillion chains does not mean others did not.

So I listen to Ebay when they whisper and I listen to them when they scream and I watch my bank account grow.

Summer sales everywhere, are you stocking up on discontinued items in the stores? Are you thinking Christmas yet? I am. I am selling Christmas Icicles, fall glass pumpkins. It will really get into the “shoppers” mindset within the next 30 days so I am tweeking all my pumpkin and Christmas items to make sure they are what Ebay likes in all regards.

Great week for all…summer vegetables, warm temps and safe lives for all.


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Being Part of the eBay and PayPal Community

Being part of the eBay and PayPal community has benefited me as a seller and a buyer.  A couple of years ago I was asked to make a video for PayPal about being a seller in the eBay and PayPal Community.  You can see it here. I run a Facebook group for online sellers to become better sellers and the fulfillment I get from heading this forum has been so rewarding. I have wonderful members in this group (CO$T) and I cannot thank them enough for believing in me.  Another video was done of me in 2008 eBay at my home. We have since expanded to a warehouse but you get a feel for who we are.  Watch the video here. I find great joy when a seller who had problems a few months ago and was ready to give up comes to me and says… Thank you for your help. I think I am getting it.   Remember we don’t always get all the rules and all the concepts of selling online but if you can remember as a seller to treat the customer the way you would want to be treated you can be successful.   If someone makes a best offer on an item you have and you are offended.. Don’t take it personally… this is a business.. realize that.   If you don’t like the best offers.. remove them.   I got a bit off track here about the community idea… I encourage all sellers to find other sellers in their area or on facebook and work together on helping each other, giving ideas.  You don’t need to give your sources on where your get stuff to sell but help them out. These sellers are in the same boat as you… Join a local seller’s meet up group.  I have been privileged to be a speaker at a number of these and it is a great experience for local sellers to get to know other sellers. Be a voice … eBay and PayPal listens.. if you have a suggestion to eBay write them here.  eBay and PayPal listens.   

Suggestions

Suggestions and feedback


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Buying Completed Needlework for Resale

I get asked by many sellers about buying completed and stitched and sometimes framed needlework that is already stitched for resale.  There are a few factors to take in mind when purchasing.  

1.The quality of the work.  If you are buying counted cross stitch you want the stitches to go all in one direction on the top stitch and the bottom should go in the opposite direction.   There might be half and quarter stitches that will be different directions due to the detail.  But all full stitches should lay in one direction.   You also don’t want to see holes. This means the stitching is too tight.  On crewel work (yarn embroidery) you want to make sure the stitching is nice and tight but not Puckered and that the yarn covers the line work underneath (the stitching lines). For needlepoint, you want to make sure that you see even cover and not big holes. 

2. The theme.  Theme is very important on any piece of needlework.   I recently sold two pieces of artwork that I knew would have a very limited buyer market and was shocked when they sold in Ten minutes. I thought I would be sitting on them for months.  What were they?   Completed and Framed Guns… They both went to Australia to the same buyer for over $125.o0.   If you think something is ugly.. others may think it is awesome.  If you think something is just gorgeous others may find it awful… so keep that is mind.. if the theme and workmanship are good… think about it.   Great themes are: samplers, animals, scenes, children, etc. 

3. Price. I usually don’t buy items that cost more then $5.00 unless they are going to make me at least $50.00!  Why.. I have to ship the framed picture and that is a pain.  I have to have a box to fit and prepare the glass to not break… lots of time considerations here.   

4. You have to have excellent photos of the finished item and the closeup of the stitching.  People want to see the workmanship.. 

5. The Technique –  I have found counted cross stitch does much better than most of my stamped or crewel embroidery.  I also do much better with items stitched on linen over aida. (you will see the little squares on aida).  Needlepoint, if stitched correctly can do incredible and if a pillow or picture that is geometric or dogs and cats will do really well and can bring in hundreds.   

6. How you market it.   You have to know the technique before you start so get to know what needlepoint is to cross stitch etc.  Make sure you have size in your title and also if you know the designer and title.  

7. I seem to get better money on eBay over Etsy on completed cross stitch and needlework which many find hard to believe. I think it is because of the international audience.  

8. Pricing Make sure you are not throwing money away. Just because you purchased something for a few dollars does not mean you have to sell it to make a few dollars profit.  Research completed and sold needlework on eBay 

http://www.ebay.com/sch/Needle-Arts-Crafts-/160659/i.html?_sop=16&LH_Complete=1&LH_Sold=1

Good Luck and if you have any questions please feel free to post here and I will help. 

Let Research become your best friend.   


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Thoughts eBay 2014 Spring Seller Release

I am going to post my opinion on the spring seller release. 2014 for eBay and what I take from it and what we can all do.

I will say this.  Every time eBay has made a change I might complain to them and they listen and sometimes have fixed it or I have worked around it.  Every change has affected my business and has been better for my business.

1. The parameters set with the new rule of 5 (for eTRs) and 8 (for other sellers) is to protect small sellers from being kicked off of eBay by one, two, three, or four buyers.  This is huge.  You need five (or 8) unique buyers to lose status. You could fall below 2% defect rate but the 5/8 rule is taken into account and you won’t lose it without both.

2. Percentages vs number of cases.  It is 2% of your evaluation period and the 5/8 rule combined.  So if you are a medium seller like I consider myself I have 1500 transactions in my 3 month evaluation period I need to have 30 defects to lose top rated (2% of 1500).  If I have 30 defects I should not be a top rated seller in my opinion.  For those with 12 month evaluation you have to have under 2 percent for eTRs but keep in mind it has to be from five buyers.  So say you sold 100 items and got 4 defects you would be at 4 percent but you only had 4 unique buyers and would not lose eTRs.

3. I like that a negative or a neutral revision counts as a defect. There was still something wrong with the transaction.  Last year cs was given more leeway to remove feedback.  If your customer writes and said I messed up that is removable.  So revised feedback is a defect.  Removed feedback is not a defect.   I left a negative and was offered money to change it.  The seller had 775 revised feedback at the time.  This is a great Policy for me as a buyer who had a bad buying experience.

4. Cancelled orders by seller.   This will be great for buyers who has had Christmas and holidays ruined because a seller was out of stock and cancelled my order.   Keep good control of your inventory and now make it a priority to check your listed and to organize it and fix listings while you are at it.   If a buyer writes and says my cat bid you can 1. Cancel and chose buyer changed mind or bid by mistake or 2. Let it go to UPI.  UPI will refund your fees.  Griff is saying if a cancellation closes without buyer canceling then you won’t get back your fees.  UPI is my path.

5.  Item not received.  This is my ONLY issue and feel there is a really good resolution.  The times eBay gives to get a package to a customer is many time unrealistic and needs to be reevaluated.  A buyer can now open a case one day after the item is supposed to arrive. First of all most buyer have no clue they opened a case they just want to check tracking and since eBay tracking is not in real time they don’t see the most current information. If the item arrives the next day and is closed by the buyer the seller gets a defect.  If a seller calls and takes time away from listing and work to call cs and say hey it arrived then it is not a defect.   I can’t track 30 to 50 packages a day on a daily basis x 6 days a week as suggested, especially when eBay is behind on tracking.  My suggestion for a solution is to have real time tracking (current) and when a buyer opens the where is my item eBay shows the updated current info to the buyer and then says. Do you still want to open a case?   Case has to be used since most buyers think they are just asking a question and not opening a case.  This will make opened cases go down immediately if eBay will provide current tracking and not two days ago.

I feel I can show my item was scanned at my post office within my one day handling time I should not get a defect.  If the buyer gets the item, is happy and closes the case that should not be a defect.

6.  We have about a month to get our seller standards views and I suggest waiting to see where we each stand.  We can then have the time to go through and analyze what is up

7.  This is good and very thought out but I do see some pain points. This is great for small sellers and I encourage you to not worry about it until you see the real numbers.  Kim said it well about the emails sellers got that said projected past shows you would not be in compliance.  Projected is the key word here.  You have some time.   Work on those.

8. eBay changed my life. I love what I do.  I have the freedom to voice my opinion and I have to say I truly 100 % believe that eBay listens to buyers and sellers in these cases.

Visit the eBay site here on the update to be current  eBay Seller Update Spring 2014


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Recap of my Week in New England and Thrifting Finds

I was able to spend seven full days in New Hampshire with Robbin Levin and we had such a marvelous time.  I flew into Logan in Boston and had a delightful dinner with Linda Bryant and her friend Paula and Robbin at the Salty Dog in Boston.  (Parking was $35.00 ouch).  

Tuesday Robbin and I drove in a snow storm to visit with our friend Sunita and Kristine. Sunita sells a ton of yarn on eBay and esty and it was fun to see her place.  On the way back from her house we decided to thrift but apparently NH has other ideas and closed the stores due to the storm… We were die hards and got a couple in but others did not understand how we wanted to shop. 

Wednesday we met up with local eBay and Amazon sellers to take them thrifting and show them the ropes on what we look for.  We met at Goodwill and spent 3 hours.. yes three hours.. We went through every part of the store.  The look on Jim’s face when I said buy this cup you will get 24.99 for it… It sold six days after he listed it.. Always look for flower mugs with Marjolein Bastin.  Good investment.  We found some fun finds. There was not a lot of needlework.. I am not sure that New Englanders do it anymore.   We then moved to Savers for two hours and had to leave for the Meet Up where I was the speaker.   We found some fun items such as Tattoo Thigh high tights that will not make a bunch of money but hey 7.00 in my pocket with a multiple variation listing… I think I bought 25 packages ($7.00 profit x 25) I am on it.  Look for vintage Pantyhose and Large cup bras.. they sell and are consistent sellers.  

The Meet up was a blast as we talked customer service and about the eBay of 2014 not being the eBay of 2013.  Changes are not fun but I will tell you every one of the changes that eBay has made has been helpful and has increased my business.  

Thursday morning we drove to Massachusetts and made a stop on the way at Alpha Cars to see Dmitri and Olga who sell Ural Sidecar Motorcycles.  My husband Jim not only dreams of one but covets it every minute.. with eBay sales staying steady I hope to have him one by the end of summer.   We then drove to meet up with one of our favorite CO$T (Cindy’s Online Selling Tips) members, Ron.  Ron showed us his eBay and Amazon business and shared with us his lovely antique home he shares with Phillip and their three incredible children.  We went to Savers where we met up with another favorite, Raymond Smith, who drove from New Jersey to spend time with us.    Ron had a cart full of stuff. Big hint is to look for odd shaped Christmas Plates and Platters.. Good money.  Raymond found a really cool mold that he paid under $5.00 for and will make at least $70.00 on. I will post some photos later.  

We went to Connecticut for the Meet Up in Avon and had a full house.  I spiced up the talk but had the same type of talk to the sellers.  It was really well received.  We were also able to have a great cake to celebrate Maida’s birthday. It was great to meet so many CO$T members who drove so far to come here me speak. 

Friday morning found us thrifting with a large number of the attendees from the Meet Up.  Some marvelous finds for everyone. I was tickled to find some Pendleton Scarves in Tartans but they are not going to be sold.  They will go to my sons.  We went to two stores, a Goodwill and a Savers.  I love to eat and drink locally so they suggested George’s and it was incredible. Thanks Kim and Jason for buying my dinner.   

We drove back to New Hampshire after dinner and stopped at a couple of stores where Robbin and I scored a few good finds.   

Saturday we spent at a gymnastics meet for Robbin’s son where he took second overall and the team first place. That was fun. We stopped and hit the goldmine in Goodwill. My $30.00 purchases will bring in over $400.  Saturday evening we met up with Jeremy for Lobster. That was the best… we were able to watch #Thrifthunters on the TV at Petey’s.   A great time on the beach.  

Sunday we had a marvelous time thrifting time with Jeremy and Robbin.. we all scored and Robbin his the Cross Stitch Gold Mine.  (we stayed up til 3:30 Listing some of her finds and he cha ching went off early the next morning from a sale).  Dinner at the Old Salt was a wonderful last meal with great friends in New Hampshire as I had to get ready to leave the next afternoon. 

After packing and catching up and spending the morning going over some eBay tips and hints Robbin and I headed to Boston. Just past Seabrook the car engine seized up and stopped.  Cassi, a friend of Robbins came to the rescue and brought her car for us to take to the airport and she stayed with the broken down car and waited for the tow truck.  I made it to Boston on time and was through security in seconds as I was picked for the new TSA quick screen.. no shoe removal, no jacket removal, no computer removal etc.  After an uneventful flight on an exit row, Thank you Delta. I arrived home late Monday and had to fix some shipping problems that Jim and Steven encountered while I was gone.  

It was a marvelous trip and I met some amazing people   Thank you… I will post some of my finds on the next blog to you.  

 


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The purpose of this blog….

I would like everyone who reads this blog to know that I don’t charge, make a cent of money and that this blog is for informational purposes only.  I share the knowledge I have gained from being in the Needlework business off and on for 33 years and by being an eBay, Etsy and Amazon seller for a long time.  That being said.  I get NO profit from this blog.  This is where you get to know me and where I can offer help to you, an online seller, to better your business practices and become a better seller.   My advice this week… Align yourself with those that you want to be like.   Are you going to follow and get help from someone that shows no measurement?  There are a lot of Mentors, Coaches, Experts who sell a few items a month but charge monthly fees to join their “support” group.  Most, if not all of theses “gurus” sell a few items a month and travel the world on YOUR money that you gave them.   Most are not current with the new changes on the platforms and are giving bad advice.   Follow Best Practices and you will succeed.   I will follow up more on Best Practices next week.   Facebook and other forums are rich with “FREE” information.   Find the best groups to join. Don’t get caught up in the drama and the negativity.  If you see it, leave those groups and find others.   There are lots of them out there.   Today was a really trying day for me as I had an issue to deal with from one of the rudest and most whacked persons I have ever encountered in 33 years in the needlework business and let’s just say the other half of me you never see came out…..  I realized that she took too much of my time and that I need to align myself with those that are positive.  I am changing gears in 2014 with building my business more, leaving Facebook groups that do not benefit me. (I will be staying in Thrifting with the Boys, Shipping with the Boys, Cindy’s Online Selling Tips CO$T (I better huh?) Scanpower though I have pretty much left Amazon but I like Chris Green.   So think Positive and don’t let the jerks of the world get you down… Don’t spend time thinking about them and their obvious problems in life.  


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Cleaning & Washing Needlework and removing Stains from Fabrics

Cleaning Needlework including washing Cross Stitch 

The method you use to clean needlework depends on the type of dirt or stain to be removed, and on the fabrics and threads used.

Before you clean any type of needlework, be sure that it really does need cleaning. If you were careful when you stitched, it might be fine as it is.

CAUTION: Needlepoint should NOT be washed in soap and water. Much of this page is for cross stitch, not needlepoint. If you have a needlepoint that needs to be cleaned, commercial dry cleaning may be your best choice. Needlepoint canvas has a water soluble sizing that gives it body; washing in soap and water will remove the sizing. A needlework store in your area can probably recommend a good dry cleaner to take your piece to. I would suggest asking the dry cleaner to clean the piece, but not press it. The needlepoint will come back wrinkled, but this will come out when the piece is finished. Again, be sure you really need to have it cleaned.

Cross stitch can usually be hand washed in soap and water.  I highly recommend Dawn dish washing soap and it has to be Dawn, not an off brand.  Others recommend Orvus, a Procter and gamble product.  I find the dawn works well for me so I have not needed Orvus. 

Before you use water to clean your cross stitch, make sure that 100% of the materials you used are water safe. The fabric and cotton floss are probably fine, although bright red floss can sometimes bleed (see below). Be sure to check things like embellishments, unusual threads, and so on.

Color bleeding when washing. Color ‘bleeding’ or ‘running’ is when the dye moves off of where it should be, and attaches itself onto another area. It is usually red dye bleeding onto light colored fabric. Fortunately, it does not happen often, but you have to watch for it. The cause is usually excess dye that was not completely washed out of the threads in the dying process. This is why it is recommended that you prewash red threads before you stitch, but in practice very few people do this. What you do want to do is watch carefully for any signs of bleeding when you are hand washing. If you see any signs of bleeding, stop washing, and start rinsing under running cold water right away. Rinse for several minutes and then let it soak in cold water while you decide how to proceed. Do not let the stain dry.

Before you do anything, make sure that what you see is really color bleeding. Often it is not bleeding, it is just the thread on the back of the fabric. When the fabric is wet, it becomes more transparent and any loose threads on the back can make it look like the colors have run.

The longer a stain remains, the harder it is to remove; so if you do have colors bleeding, it is better to decide how you want to proceed soon. Still, take a few minutes to think about what you want to do. You have two choices. First, is there any way to cover the area that the the red dye bled into? This sounds funny, but give it some thought. Maybe it was a red flower that ran; maybe all you need to do is stitch some more leaves and cover it up. Maybe add a charm or embellishment. If you can do it, covering up the stain is the best choice. If this isn’t an option, you need to try washing the red out. Usually this requires some pretty aggressive scrubbing and you need to balance removing the stain with damaging the fabric.

How to wash cross stitch

 Use only cold water for the wash and rinse. Tap water is fine unless you have very hard water, then you will want to use distilled water. Make sure the sink and any containers you will use are clean.

 Pre-rinse the piece under cold, running water.

 Place in a soapy cold water and gently wash. I only use DAWN Dishwashing Soap. Nothing else. Do not scrub.  Avoid soaps that have additives such as fragrances, softeners, etc. Use only a small amount of detergent.

 If needed, rinse and wash a second time. DO NOT WRING the water out; this is not necessary and can pull the stitches.

 Rinse three times in cold water.

 As you work, check carefully for any sign of color bleeding, ‘hoop marks’ or other stains.

 Remove the piece from the final rinse. Let the water drain out of the fabric, but DO NOT WRING.

 Place the cross stitch on a dry bath towel, and roll up the towel (with the cross stitch still on the towel).

 Unroll the towel and repeat on a dry section of the towel (or another towel). Gently pressing on the rolled up towel will remove all the water you need to remove. Repeat as necessary.

 Unroll the towel. Lay the cross stitch face up on a dry section of the towel. If necessary, let the piece air dry until it is just damp but not dripping wet.

 Once again, check for any stains or marks. Once you iron the piece, it will be even more difficult to remove any stains.

 Place the cross stitch FACE DOWN on a DRY BATH TOWEL. Use an iron set to a low or medium temperature and lightly press the BACK of the cross stitch. If you have beads, special threads, etc. you want to be extra careful with this step. Keep the iron constantly moving. If you have not used that iron in a while, practice on a scrap piece of cross stitch fabric. Make sure the steam setting is ‘off’, and the iron is not ‘spitting’ steam.  For the temperature setting, keep in mind the types of materials you used in the cross stitch; if there is any question, use a lower temperature.

 The cross stitch will still be slightly damp. Lay it face up on the towel and allow to air dry.

Stain Removal

Below is a reprint of an article from the Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute. It has some very good information on removing tough stains from needlework and textiles. This information is for spot removal of stains, not general cleaning.

Stains disfigure clothes and home furnishings, and it is desirable to remove them, especially if the stains stiffen or corrode the fabric beneath them. However, the removal of stains can be hazardous to the fabric – and to the person attempting to get the stain off. To be successful, care and caution must be exercised.

Old Stains
There is often the effect of time upon a stain: the older the stain, the harder it is to remove. Drycleaners who are trained in stain removal prefer to work on fresh stains which have not had time to “set” or react with the fabric, dyes, finish, or atmosphere. Generally, a stain less than two months old can be treated; a stain one-day-old is easier than one that is two-weeks-old, etc.

Perhaps the most distressing example of ageing is the soda or cola beverage stain which does not appear to stain but left untreated turns brown because the sugar syrup caramelizes (oxidizes) with time or heat.

Type of Stain
There are two fundamental types of stains: those that are water-based and those that are oil-based. Coffee or tea exemplify water-based stains. Paint, lipstick, adhesive stains are classified as solvent-based stains, so are latex type paints or Elmer’s glue, which contain water initially, and harden to a different, non-aqueous compound. Water-based stains, including most food stains, are acidic and will require an acid mixture to remove them. Oil type stains will need non-aqueous or “dry” chemicals (hence the term “dry-cleaning”) in most instances. Many stains, like sebum (“ring around the collar”), and smoke damage, are complex mixtures of oily-type components with water-based salts, acids or bases and particulate matter (carbon, dirt). Inks, especially ball-point and felt-tip pens, contain complex mixtures, along with pigments (colored particles) and dyes (water soluble, fiber absorbed colorants). Perspiration may be acidic or basic depending on the person. The residue is complicated by the composition of the deodorant or perfume used. Pet stains are also variable and complex. Vomit mixes bile from the digestive process with the foodstuffs themselves. Cat urine is not comparable to human urea, as it contains a sulfur molecule. Each is broken down and removed by enzymatic actions specific to the molecular structures. Other types of stains that require special chemical reagents are: dried aged blood, and food colorings like Kool-Aid�.


To remove rust spots left by needles try a little hydrogen peroxide on a Q-tip, stronger solutions up to 100 volume can be bought at Beauty Supply outlets but be very careful and wear rubber gloves it is a very strong bleach,. Test an inconspicuous corner first. 

Condition of the Fabric

Water swells natural fibers but not polyester or acrylic, so a water-based stain will go deeper into a natural fiber unless a special hydrophobic (water repellent) finish has been recently applied. Polyester or acrylic, in contrast, will repel water-based stains but absorb oily ones unless a special finish has been fixed on those fibers. Consequently, the success of a stain removal method depends upon the fiber type and finish.

Some dyes and finishes are set on the fibers in the same manner the stain is: with salts, with acids, with warm temperatures, and with time. The chemical compounds that give color to food can be very similar – even identical – to those colors found in shirts, blouses, or oriental carpets. Older fabrics loose their resistance to tearing, to stretching, and to rubbing. Removing a fresh stain from an old textile may require too much stress on the fabric and leave a rip where there was only discoloration before. Thus, many drycleaners and conservators are reluctant to risk this additional damage to an old textile.

Stain Removal Supplies
100% cotton swabs, absorbent paper or cloth toweling, a clean non-porous working surface (a formica or glass table top), deionized water (for steaming iron), bright lighting, peace and quiet, patience.

Stain removal requires an appropriate work area and appropriate supplies. Generally, it is better to set aside a problem for a quiet morning than to attempt to correct it in the midst of a party or dinner, beyond soaking up excess liquid or dabbing up excess solids (in the case of ketchup, mustard, vomit, mud).

Any treatment should be applied by tamping (up and down) with a small cube of sponge or cotton ball or by rolling with a cotton swab across the stained area. The stain should never be rubbed because this can abrade or rip the fabric. Stain removal is sequential and repetitive, because removal involves taking off a percentage of a stain with each application. It is important to confirm the stain or discoloration by limiting the amount of reagent liquid to a small area, flushing that small area clean onto a disposable, absorbent toweling, and then reapplying the reaction liquid. To remove 100% of the stain, even with an effective reaction liquid, five to seven reapplications of the same sequence may be needed because of the chemical reactions to the stain in the fiber can be complex and time dependent. As long as a portion of the stain is being removed, the reaction sequence should be repeated. If you haven’t the knack for such work, lack the space, time or quiet, you can ask a dry-cleaner to treat the stain without his washing or dry-cleaning the entire textile afterwards.

Stain removal can involve solvency (dissolving the stain), detergency (putting the stain into suspension), saponification (using the stain to make a water soluble soap), bleaching reaction (oxidizing or reducing the stain to decolorize it), breaking the molecule apart with specific enzymes.

Water-based Stains (Coffee, Tea, Fruit Juice, Fruit)
If the condition of the fabric – fiber, weave, dyes, finish – is good, then these water-based stains can be removed, if the stain is fresh. These liquids contain tannin and other acids. A small amount of diluted shampoo (no conditioner, no perfume) or dishwashing liquid can be alternated with applications of white vinegar, a mild acid. Here you are using “like to dissolve like” and detergency to carry away an acidic foodstuff. Be sure to rinse well with the deionized water, to blot and to dry the area.

Cola, Wine, Beer, Liquors
…contain alcohol, sugars, tannins, in water. Glycerine (a water soluble glycol) can lubricate (solvent action) the stain, especially red wines like Burgundies. Glycerine should be rinsed out with water and the tannin/acid portion of the stain removed with application of white vinegar and dilute shampoo (see water-based stains above).

Egg, Ice Cream, Milk, Vomit
… contain proteins and complex chemical compounds. Allow the stain to dry and then brush the solids gently off as much as possible. This will reduce the amount to be treated. Generally, enzymatic action is used to break down this type of stain. Some success may be found by using a dilute shampoo followed by dilute ammonia (an alkali). Silk and wool themselves are protein fibers and can be damaged by protein enzymes or alkali.

Salad Dressing, Gravy, Grease
The oily part can be dissolved by dry-cleaning solvent (perchloroethylene; 1,1,1 trichloroethane).  After these solvents have evaporated, the residue can be removed with mild shampoo (detergent action), followed if necessary by dilute shampoo with dilute ammonia. Alternatively, the oil can be reacted with a poultice of washing soda (sodium carbonate) and warm water. This poultice saponifies the oil into a soluble soap which can be rinsed off. If the oily stain has oxidized (turned yellow), this method will not work.

Inks
… are best treated first with solvents and then with water-based reagents. Effective solvents may be acetone, ethanol, or dry-cleaning spotting agents. When these have each been used separately and sequentially, (i.e. each evaporated off before the next is employed), then water-based treatment can follow, using a mild shampoo and white vinegar lubricated with a little glycerine. Because of the amount of work time involved and the number of reagents, it may be wise to consult a dry-cleaner.

Paint, Plastic Resins
… require dry-cleaning solvents preceded by reagents soluble in these solvents. because of the special ventilation and safety requirements, it is preferable to consult a drycleaner.

Cat Urine
Do not use ammonia. Porous absorbent surfaces like fabrics can be treated with enzymes available at the veterinary; dyes or finishes of the fabrics may be affected by either the urine or by its removal agents.

CAUTION
Acetone and amyl acetate (nail polish remover) are effective in removing lipstick, nail polish, by dissolving the lubricant carrying the pigmented color. However, these will dissolve cellulose triacetate fabrics (including the linings of ties) into a plastic pulp.

Ammonia or Alkali will react with acidic foods to make a permanent salt (i.e. a permanent stain).

Chlorine Bleach (“Clorox�”) will dissolve silk or wool – these fabrics will disappear. Cotton or linen will be bleached initially; with time, the fabrics will yellow slightly, weaken. More damaging than hydrogen peroxide.

Hot Water will set stain, but has been used to “push out” a stain by swelling the fiber by pouring boiling water from a height onto fruit stained cotton fabric (not a recommended method).

Club soda contains salt and carbonic acid (Seltzer water); the salt may set the stain (see below).

Hydrogen Peroxide is an oxidizing bleach with a limited action time. Used with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) as a poultice; may decolorize some dyes; will slightly weaken fibers.

Lemon Juice is acidic but cannot be left in. Remove it with white vinegar.

Oxalic Acid (rhubarb leaves, etc.) will act slowly on oxidized iron stains (rust) but can damage cotton, linen. More effective but more hazardous (to people) methods are used by dry-cleaners in controlled circumstances.

Perborate (“Clorox II�”) becomes activated at higher temperatures and releases hydrogen peroxide (see above).

Salt is sodium chloride; it will set tannin stains (wine, coffee, juice).

Water will weaken silk or wool. These fibers will stretch more easily, tear more readily in water. Cotton or linen will be stronger in water, but if they are aged or already damaged, they can be torn also.


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eBay Mobile App is the Way to List

I have been singing the praises of the eBay mobile apps for years and tonight I set my 64 year old husband up on the IPad Mini (okay it was for me to get him to like it so I can justify getting a new one with retina and data for me) and he listed 10 items in a half an hour.  I am not joking.. 

He listed LIKE items so he didn’t have to change a lot of categories and such and he copied and pasted the title to the description. 

Bam… he is liking it and I see Stitchery XPress growing big time in 2014 with two of us listing now.  You can download the eBay app at the Itunes store.  

Thanks eBay mobile.

 

 


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