A common complaint about handcrafted items is that we don't give consumer's enough information. There are many reasons to do this.

First of all, when you have people who buy or receive hand spun items, then they are more likely to have the items last a goodly amount of time. Many individuals are shockingly un-informed about how to care for a wool garment. Either they've just purchased synthetics that can be washed at will, they only buy the 'machine-washable' wools, or they send everything to the dry cleaners. For the amount of effort you've put into the work, it is reasonable that it last a reasonable amount of time. My husband, for instance, has wool socks that he's owned for many years. Personally, I'm hoping he enjoys them for many more. So how to take care of an item is important.

Many people are, or believe they are, allergic to various fibers. It is important to label the fiber content so that there won't be a negative reaction to your sweater or scarf. Let me digress a bit (okay, a lot) here.

I personally have had some people tell me that they're allergic to wool sweaters they buy -- but not my wool garments. I think that there might be a couple of issues here. I think that the commercial processing may be a factor. I am fairly certain that using inappropriate wools is an issue. But in any case, knowing the fiber content is also important.

I've also heard stories about people selling at craft shows and being cited by various officials for not meeting the federal legal requirements. Now, in thinking about this, I couldn't come up with a single name of anyone I knew who had run into this problem. So the stories might qualify as an 'urban legend' like those stories you hear about children putting kittens into microwaves or someone delivering a baby with horrible problems. These stories are often not anyone the storyteller knows -- they just know of. In any case, I would hate to run into problems with the Feds. For that reason, I would also state that meeting the Federal labeling requirements is also important.

And finally, I think a common mistake for people selling craft items is to not present professionally. Printing up some classy labels makes your items seem more professional. It will help you to be treated more like a business and hopefully garner some additional money.

If you look at FabricLink's site on labels, you will see that there's some general information you should have.

Now, having put you right off labeling, let me say that the one of the nicest labels I've ever seen for a 100%, non-machine-washable wool baby blanket said:

You've just acquired a 100%, natural-colored, Merino wool blanket for your baby. This fiber is naturally-fire retardant, and should provide years of use. Please treat it like you would your baby:

Wash it carefully by hand with a gentle soap in warm-to-the-touch water. Rinse it in the same temperature water.

And PLEASE don't throw it in the dryer!

If you have comments, please send email to: Rosemary Brock.

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