Dan Sattler-Reimer and his wife Virginia have always been keen crafters. “There’s something very appealing and fulfilling about the act of creating from scratch, be it food, clothing, crafting and fun,” says Dan. So when Dan decided to launch an Etsy shop in 2008, ScratchCraft was the perfect name.
“When my wife started to knit in earnest, my interest in the process was from a materials perspective, so I learned how to spin yarn before I learned how to knit,” Dan explains.
Before long he felt confident enough to dip in and out while travelling to his day job. “Knitting on the bus was the perfect way to make the commute more bearable,” he says. “About eight years ago Virginia thought that, in addition to knitting and spinning, I might enjoy needle felting little critters. She was right – as usual! So she hooked me up with some tools, and I took to it immediately.”
The needle-felted mini beasts soon had a firm following, partly thanks to the amount of personality Dan manages to squeeze into them. “I’ve always referred to my needle- felted critters as ‘my guys’.” he says. “Sometimes it seems like they’re looking for something to do to pass the time. Obviously, the ways that we relax in our house can spark ideas. Having the owls, penguins and bears do their own knitting seemed like a no-brainer.”
“Every once in a while an idea will, seemingly, pop into my head and I will take some time to work it out,” says Dan. “Not all of the ideas are doable nor successful. However, there are quite a few creations in the shop that were originally special requests from customers.” Popular ones include an owl holding a camera and a bear on a swing.
SETTING UP SHOP
Etsy has proven to be a brilliant platform for Dan’s creations. “Once I started to amass a collection of guys, it seemed like there should be a place to market and sell them,” Dan says. “I’d dabbled with setting up my own website and shop, but the big advantage of a site like Etsy is the sheer volume of users.”
Challenges for this busy crafter include balancing his time. “Fortunately, the ScratchCraft workshop is my home, so I can be around and be with my wife while working,” says Dan.
He aims to keep creating his quirky animals, and encouraging them to carry on knitting too. “If I can continue to grow, or at least maintain the current level of interest in the shop, I’ll be satisfied,” he says. “I do sometimes dream of quitting my day job and working on my shop, as well as devoting more time to spinning and knitting again, but a strong desire for stability in our lives means I’ll keep working on balancing my job with ScratchCraft and my home life.”
Dan loves to hear from customers who have given his guys as gifts. “I’m happy that a little thing like this can be a spark of joy or a symbol of love for someone,” he says. “It motivates me to keep finding ways of creating those small sparks!”
Find more of Dan’s needle-felted creations in his online shop at www.scratchcraft.etsy.com.
If you liked reading about Dan and his needle felting, click here to read about Marie Mayhew's felted creations.