Selling Craft: Time for change. And a new project…

Last week I was busy preparing items for my stall at a local village show. I had realistic expectations with regard to sales as I’ve been to the Show for the previous two years. The weather was sunny and warm, Mary and I were glad of the shade provided by our little gazebo.

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Part of my stall and Mary’s table of silver jewelery and charms.

My one and only sale came before the show actually opened – Mary bought one of my little quilted tidy baskets the colours of which matched the cloth on her table (extreme right on the above photo). *Sigh* Yes! that was the only purchase made at my stall. My quilts, table runners, baskets, bags and cushions received plenty of compliments and generated lots of conversations mostly along the lines of: ‘I’ve got a sewing machine at home, I’d love to have the time to do patchwork’, or ‘When I retire I’d love to learn how to do that’, or ‘You must have a lot of patience’ or ‘Did you make all of these?’ etc, etc.

‘Disappointed’ didn’t cover my feelings on Saturday evening, it was a deflating experience as I considered my failure to achieve my main objective – sell some of my handmade wares.I wasn’t feeling sorry for myself so much as having to regroup and find the energy to have a rethink. I reflected that I’d pushed the maxim ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again’ as far as I could with regard to having a craft stall at local fetes and fayres – working on presentation, widening the range of items and price brackets. Hum! That quote attributed to Einstein seemed to be fitting the bill now:

The definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result.

Time to look at pursuing other ways to raise funds through my patchwork and quilting. Following on from Saturday’s experience and last week’s discussion re. patchwork & quilting reaching the peak of popularity, I conclude raised awareness of the craft and it’s accessibility have contributed to many people with a handicraft bent believing they can give it a go. I know it’s far from a revolutionary thought but I’ve realised that I need to pursue designing, pattern creating and teaching rather than just making items that I hope people will buy. Of course, there is already masses of competition in these areas but maybe I’ll be able to cut a little niche locally? I’ve always been a bit reluctant to take on commission work too but perhaps I need to get over myself and enjoy the interesting challenges working to someone elses tastes can bring?

Talking of taking commissions, I have this week begun in earnest an order I accepted back in late June from a customer in the pop up craft shop in town. This is not too much of a challenge to my tastes as I’m making traditional blocks using my favourite Autumnal palette. I’m basing this quilt on a much bigger one made by Marianne Bennett, featured in Lynne Edwards’ book, ‘Stash-Buster Quilts’.  And I’ve already learned a new technique :-): Making a pair of nine-patch blocks by starting with two large squares of fabric, then sewing and cutting to produce the nine-patch – very clever ;-). If you don’t have access to the book try this picture tutorial or this super quick video tutorial.

I get the impression from her books that Lynn Edwards is a precision queen and the first pair of blocks I made were a little too small – I’ve got used to the wiggle room provided by cutting HSTs just an 1/8th too big and then trimming. I managed to tease out the blocks by using my hot iron and, cue gasps of horror, a bit of steam! I know! I wouldn’t use steam on bias edges but all the seams on these grain-cut blocks were sewn before I applied the steam. The blocks obliged and came within reach of the prescribed 9½ inches.  The subsequent blocks I’ve made with more care and so far so good.

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I am very grateful for my 12½” square ruler: so useful for squaring-up and trimming blocks as well as cutting fabric.Once the nine patch blocks are made I’ll turn my attention to the Ohio Star blocks. I’ll add a little extra to the size recommended in the cutting instructions to ensure I do have some wiggle room when trimming the completed quarter square triangles.

The nights are starting to get longer here in the Northern Hemisphere so it’s not so difficult to wake up in time for a sunrise. This was the view from my sewing room window on Monday morning.

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This view brought to mind Lamentations 3 v22-23 and the chorus of a hymn we sang on Sunday morning:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.
Your mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning,
new every morning:
great is your faithfulness, O Lord,
great is your faithfulness!

I’ve taken fresh encouragement from being reminded that I named this blog and my patchwork and quilting ventures after those Bible verses. They tell us of God’s faithful love and promise that with the dawning of each new day we can experience afresh the assurance of His unfailing mercies.

I’ll be linking for the first time with Myra at Busy Hands Quilts for Finished Or Not Friday.

Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts

Allison

Do take a look at my ‘Pins of the Week’ board on Pinterest – I add new pictures and links from the internet through the week and refresh it every Tuesday evening 🙂

 

 

 

12 thoughts on “Selling Craft: Time for change. And a new project…

  1. I’ve been in the same boat a few times in the past, so I understand how disheartening it can be! But your stall looks lovely, bright, and professional so be proud of achieving that impression and such an inviting space. I’m sure things will look up closer to Christmas!

  2. Sorry to hear your booth didn’t generate any sales. It certainly looked good and inviting. I can imagine your disappointment. I do feel that lots of people look and admire and then think they can go home and do the same thing but in reality rarely get it done.
    Your nine patch blocks look great ! I look forward to seeing them all sewn up !

  3. I’m sorry for the disappointment in lack of sales. I do love how wonderfully set up your booth looks! I hope the pattern making and selling goes well for you. Thank you for the link to that method of making a 9-patch. That is awesome!

  4. I’m so sorry for your no-sales day, Allison. I would be discouraged, disheartened, and disappointed, especially after all the time and effort to create and then make such a beautiful presentation. I’m sure you’ll be blessed with other opportunities.

  5. Oh how disappointing that your pretty booth didn’t generate sales! I agree with someone else who said that people see things and think they can do them themselves, but in truth they almost never do. So it’s hard for them to see the value in your craftsmanship. It’s like thinking that tennis looks easy, that I could play like that. NO! 🙂 But it’s good to think in other directions. Teaching locally may be just your thing, and commission work, if you can enjoy it, would be good, too.

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