Friday, July 15, 2016

Trial and Error to Chalk Ball Designs


  
 
A few years ago I designed and sewed a mouse chalk ball as a fun way to contain chalk inside a chalk bag.  In the first series I tried loose chalk and it was finer than block chalk.  I did not realize the material was barely porous enough for that specific type of loose chalk to filter through.  Without customer feedback, I had a difficult time figuring out what I needed to improve on my design.  I had sent chalk balls to a climbing blog who feature items on their site and did not hear back from them.  I figured the balls must have not worked very well or they were just busy.  This is when I thought, I should just test out the materials myself and see what works.

The images below is a comparison of 3 different type of materials.  The first material I bought from the local fabric store, was the best porous option I could find, where holes were not visible.  The second material had visible holes, where the weave of the material is evenly distributed with a pattern and stretches out.  The third material had larger visible holes than the second, and the weave was spread out randomly.  I assumed, like most people naturally do, the larger visible holes in the third material would be the better of the three options.  Check this out, material 1, 2, 3 goes left to right.

The first step I used chalk and a hair band with NO polyester stuffing.
 


The second step I used chalk, polyester stuffing, and a hair band.

The second material in the picture is the best option.  Not what I assumed.  I will be changing my chalk ball designs to the most porous material.

All the old ones I made are on now on sale at AllBeta.Etsy.com.  The hand sewn chalk balls are a good cat toy alternative as well.  Insert catnip instead of chalk.   


Dear All Beta Customers,

Constructive criticism is extremely helpful to improving my designs.  I love hearing from my customers even though it can be a challenge for me to hear negative feedback.  Nonetheless, I would consider them and understand the different preferences and needs that climbers have.  Please feel free to message me through Etsy convo for any defective or flawed designs.  Overall, this will help my small handmade business and encourage myself to create better designs.

Side Note on Chalk:  I thought block chalk would to be the most affordable climbing chalk.  It seemed like a safe assumption to make.  For example, a block cheese must be less expensive than shredded cheese.  It takes time for the business to shred the cheese so it’s got to be more expensive to buy shredded.  Surprisingly enough, if you pay attention to unit cost, it could go either way.  Once in a while, REI has a sale for block chalk knocking down a $2 item and making it the most cost effective type to buy.  The Bison competition chalk is actually loose chalk and sells at the same retail price as block chalk.  My advice is to check unit price.  Do the math and save a bit of money and time for you frugal climbers.

Happy Climbing!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

What is your favorite chalk bag?

POCKET chalk bag!  I love this design.  It's practical and simple.  Who doesn't like dual functions?  With my experience there are two things I always forget to bring with me to the climbing gym: climbing tape and a little brush to clean holds.  It is not crucial to have for climbing but useful never the less which makes it easy to forget.  Anyone ever wished you had chap stick while you were climbing outdoors?  This little pocket is perfect storage for it!  Leave it in there and you'll always have it while climbing.  Got Burt's Bees or Climb On hand salve?  Need to put your keys somewhere but you don't have pockets.  This chalk bag does!

I hope I "sold" you on this pocket chalk bag.  It comes in 4 colors: black, burgundy, ever green, and blue.  I use a black one.  Comment and/or share your favorite chalk bag.  I would love to hear about it!



Thursday, March 7, 2013

Furry Chalk Bags


One of the best feelings for your rough climbing hands is grabbing chalk from a soft furry chalk bag.  Even if it's not a furry chalk bag, the inner lining of All Beta chalk bags are made out of minky fleece.  The super soft fleece typically used to make baby blankets.  This is not polar fleece like material on the zip pull over sweaters.  It feels so great that you'll want to reach in for more chalk!  Check them out at AllBeta.etsy.com.

 

 

Special Thanks to All Beta customers, Rob Wilkey and Susan Rogers, for sharing their photos!


Location:  Atlanta, Georgia






















Rob Wilkey and Chris Sharma















 

 

 Location:  Cambridge, Massachusetts


Susan Roger's Furry Orange Chalk Bag, Boulder Crash Pad, and Climbing Shoes



More furry chalk bags at AllBeta.etsy.com!







Saturday, December 22, 2012

Happy One Year Anniversary to All Beta!


2012 Recap on All Beta

I created the Etsy shop account name on December 3rd, 2011.  I'm late on announcing the celebration but I like to think of December as the anniversary month.  Thank you to all my wonderful Etsy customers, climbing and sailing enthusiast, friends, and family!  I could not have done it without you.

First person I have to thank is a climber from Mission Cliffs San Francisco, DocPop (Etsy alias name), for posting my Chinese Take Out Chalk Bag on Reddit.com/r/climbing.  It landed my shop over a thousand views very early on, followed by many custom chalk bag request.  Thank you Rohan Balakrishnan for keeping it interesting for me by requesting Game of Thrones, Zelda, and Nyan Cat designs.  All of which were made successfully and these were just a few of his ideas.

The top selling chalk bag of the year is the Great White Shark Attack Chalk Bag. I sold 32.  Many sold during Shark Week.  Thank you Discovery Channel!  Other successful creature chalk bags from 2012 are Fox, Piranha, Whale, Fox Tail, Dino Tail, and AHH screaming monsters!



Thank you Etsy Climbers and leaders for promoting All Beta on Pinterest, Facebook, and their new blog.  It is very nice to know there is a small climbing community on Etsy willing and able to help.  Thanks for keeping it real.

Thank you to customers who supported All Beta rope bracelets.  Majority of All Beta transactions are in fact jewelry.  Without the jewelry market, I would have probably stopped sewing chalk bags a long time ago.  Now that I'm getting into sailing, nautical rope jewelry and designs will definitely continue to emerge.

I really enjoy what I do and hope to continue this in 2013 full time.  Expect new and exciting products for the upcoming year!

25% off coupon code - HAPPYONEYEAR
(limited to the first 10 customers)

Happy Holidays!


P.S.  Sorry but I have to discontinue all the comic hero, super hero, star wars, hello kitty, paul frank chalk bags due to trademark reasons.  Message me if you really really really want one.  ;)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Chalk Bag Drawstring Cord Came OUT!

All Beta chalk bags are made so that the drawstring cord can be replaced.  At any point the cord is pulled out completely, you can fix this.  Follow these steps.  



 
 Step 1) Pull out the inner fleece fabric.
 Step 2)  Grab the loop end (also the center point of the cord) and feed it through the metal hole.




 Step 3)  With both hands, use your fingers and thumbs to feel the cord pieces inside the bag. Push the fleece lining back inside the chalk bag between the cords.  (This is the tricky part)









Ta-Daa!

If you can not fix it yourself, please send it back.  I'll be happy to fix it for you and ship it free of charge.  Hope that helps!

Friday, October 19, 2012

How to make a rock climbing chalk bag?

Chalk Bag Beta!
Want this one?  Find it here.
Materials and Supplies
*Must have a sewing machine to assemble.   


Inner Lining (Recommended Fabric:  White Minky Fleece/ Polar Fleece)
- Rectangular Piece 15" by 6.5"
- Circular Piece about 5.5" diameter

Outer Lining (Recommended Fabric:  Cotton Print/ Twill/ Canvas)
- Rectangular Piece 15" by 6.5"
- Circular Piece about 5.5" diameter

White and Black Thread (I like to use black heavy duty upholstery thread, but not required)s

Eyelet 1/4" or 6mm (Make sure you buy the one with a little tool to use to close the eyelet and have a hammer available)

2 pieces of Black Webbing (1" thick) - 15" piece and 4.5" piece
1 Black Plastic Cord Stopper




Instructions


 1)  Fold the long piece of webbing in half and use it to sew the inner and outer fabric pieces together.  (This is a great way to keep the top rigid)
 2)  Start by sewing about 2 inches away from the edge as shown in the picture.  Make sure you are sewing all three pieces at the same time.  (this is a little tricky so sew carefully and slowly)
 3)  You want to stop sewing at the same distance on the other side which is about 2 inches away from the edge.  The edges of the webbing will be sewn after the fabric edges are sewn together.





 
4)  Sew the edges of the fabric pieces with the under side out shown in the bottom left.
5)  Flip the right side out and start sewing down the webbing again, one side at a time shown in the bottom right.



6)  Use the other piece of webbing to cover the webbing edges.  Sew it down with the zig-zig pattern seam for a better hold.

 


  7)  Flip to the other side and finish sewing the small webbing piece.  This will be a loop to hold the chalk bag on a belt or carabiner.  Make sure you are sewing the webbing to the outer fabric and no the inner fleece.
 8)  Find a good spot for your eyelet and make a little hole.  Use eyelet tool and hammer to close the eyelet.  The cord will go through this after the chalk bag is completed.
 


 
 9)  Flip it inside out and sew the bottom outer fabric piece.  


Sewing a perfect circle is sometimes difficult if you don't have the right circle piece and fabric length.  A tip:  Sew it like the picture shown.  Start with the rounded edges and then the straight edge.





 
10)  Sew the bottom inner lining.  (I took as many pictures as I can to clarify how this works)
The fleece is pretty easy to work with.  Just sew around the edges as much as possible.  Flip the right side out and close it off.
11)  Keep the inner lining outside the bag.  Tie a knot at the end of the cord and feed the loop end through the eyelet hole.












12)  You can feel the cord inside the bag.  Using both hands, push the inner lining fleece between the cord.


  




 Voila!  Want this simple chalk bag and don't want to make it?  Buy it in my shop for only $20 at AllBeta.Etsy.com.  Check out my other designs and styles!  Thanks!














Don't have a sewing machine but you can crochet?
Try this! Crochet a Chalk Bag!