2021 Goals – Another Update

A while back, I posted about my goals for this year. I figured I’d do another check in since the one from May. Three weeks from now I’ll be at the first of three craft fairs, so this is it. What I’ve accomplished is set, and everything else will have to wait until another time.

  1. I want to use some second-hand folding shelves I bought online to make a checkout booth. I was thinking about myself as a customer and realized that I really liked it more when the sales person was at a checkout stand. I felt freer to walk around and look. So I’m taking a cue from myself and working on making one of those. Done!

2. I’d also like to get some padded roof pads, so I can place my grid walls there instead of scraping up the inside of my husband’s Explorer again. It would be nice to drive to shows without having grid walls blocking one side of my car. Done!

3. I also need to get a new phone – if I’m being completely honest with myself here. Mine is old, but I’m stubborn when it comes to replacements. Done!

4. Participate in some new shows for the fall 2021. Registered and Ready!

From an artist standpoint, I have a LOT of quilts I want to make and have on hand for shows. Here’s a short list of some of my more creative ambitions.

  1. Star Wars quilts – lightsaber duels, they just sell too well to not have one on hand. Not yet

2. Mandalorian wall quilt – I had the one I made get claimed before it was even finished! Yes – I made four and have 1 left. I want to make 1 more before the shows begin.

3. Sloth quilt – that fabric is too cute to have gone this long without being made in to something. Done!

4. Hocus Pocus quilt – the last one sold fairly quickly, and it was fun to make something in the “crazy quilt” style. I made 2 – one was claimed before they were finished. I’d like to have 2 on hand before hitting the Yellow Daisy Festival.

5. More doll quilts – they are really fun, and I like the satisfaction of experimenting within a smaller size.  Done! I’ll have about 15 on hand, yay!

6. Christmas snow globe quilt – I saw some designs online and am wanting to try my own spin. Not yet

7. Potty Mouth Quilts – I wanted to make a small line of quilts with grown-up words on them. I like the contrast of a wholesome, traditional craft and a vulgar phrase. Maybe something is wrong with me here, but I won’t be happy until I’ve tried it at least once. Not yet

8. Bargello quilts – I made the rainbow and northern lights ones a while back, and I’m geared up to make more. Not yet

9. Mariner’s Compass – I just really like making these. They’re so satisfying. I have one on hand that I made at the beginning of quarantine.

10. I Spy quilt – I have been sorting little 2″ squares for a planned pattern for an I spy quilt with a geometric twist. It’s all bagged and sorted and ready to make.

11. Zombie girl Pin Up quilt – the first one I made was so much fun!  Done! In fact, I made 2.

12. Baseball girl Pin Up quilt – the other pin up girl quilt was so fun, I wanted to keep a good thing going. I have the fabric, but that’s it.

13. Crayon quilt – this was such a cute quilt, and I really want to make another one. They are also good scrap-busters. I have scraps pre-cut to the sizes I need, so it won’t take too long.

14. I’m also wanting to possibly make some adult bibs since there seems to be a need for them. I’d make some pretty, but I’d probably focus on making them silly. A little humor goes a long way. Can’t stop making quilts long enough to try, ha!

Other stuff I HAVE managed to do since the May update – Flower Panel Wall Quilts, wine quilts, ASL wall quilts, Lantern Corps wall quilt, African fabric quilt, and The Last Unicorn wall quilt.

2021 Goals – Checking in

A while back, I posted about my goals for this year. I figured I’d do a check in.

  1. I want to use some second-hand folding shelves I bought online to make a checkout booth. I was thinking about myself as a customer and realized that I really liked it more when the sales person was at a checkout stand. I felt freer to walk around and look. So I’m taking a cue from myself and working on making one of those. Haven’t started this yet, but I AM looking at more steel grids for the booth. I love the triangle stand and want to put them around the legs of the canopy to also hide the tent weights.

2. I’d also like to get some padded roof pads, so I can place my grid walls there instead of scraping up the inside of my husband’s Explorer again. It would be nice to drive to shows without having grid walls blocking one side of my car. Done! This has also allowed me to look in to getting more.

3. I also need to get a new phone – if I’m being completely honest with myself here. Mine is old, but I’m stubborn when it comes to replacements. Not yet – I’m almost ready to cave.

4. Participate in some new shows for the fall 2021. Working on this. I’ve applied to one new one and am already registered for another new one. Will be returning to a third where I always do well.

From an artist standpoint, I have a LOT of quilts I want to make and have on hand for shows. Here’s a short list of some of my more creative ambitions.

  1. Star Wars quilts – lightsaber duels, they just sell too well to not have one on hand. Not yet

2. Mandalorian wall quilt – I had the one I made get claimed before it was even finished! Not yet

3. Sloth quilt – that fabric is too cute to have gone this long without being made in to something. Yes! I’ve made 2 and a matching doll quilt.

4. Hocus Pocus quilt – the last one sold fairly quickly, and it was fun to make something in the “crazy quilt” style. I made 2 – one was claimed before they were finished. I’d like to have 2 on hand before hitting the Yellow Daisy Festival.

5. More doll quilts – they are really fun, and I like the satisfaction of experimenting within a smaller size. I’ve made some matching ones for bigger quilts, but I haven’t made any others besides those.

6. Christmas snow globe quilt – I saw some designs online and am wanting to try my own spin. Not yet

7. Potty Mouth Quilts – I wanted to make a small line of quilts with grown-up words on them. I like the contrast of a wholesome, traditional craft and a vulgar phrase. Maybe something is wrong with me here, but I won’t be happy until I’ve tried it at least once. Not yet

8. Bargello quilts – I made the rainbow and northern lights ones a while back, and I’m geared up to make more. Not yet

9. Mariner’s Compass – I just really like making these. They’re so satisfying. I have one on hand that I made at the beginning of quarantine.

10. I Spy quilt – I have been sorting little 2″ squares for a planned pattern for an I spy quilt with a geometric twist. It’s all bagged and sorted and ready to make.

11. Zombie girl Pin Up quilt – the first one I made was so much fun! I have the fabric, but that’s all.

12. Baseball girl Pin Up quilt – the other pin up girl quilt was so fun, I wanted to keep a good thing going. I have the fabric, but that’s it.

13. Crayon quilt – this was such a cute quilt, and I really want to make another one. They are also good scrap-busters. I have scraps pre-cut to the sizes I need, so it won’t take too long.

14. I’m also wanting to possibly make some adult bibs since there seems to be a need for them. I’d make some pretty, but I’d probably focus on making them silly. A little humor goes a long way. Can’t stop making quilts long enough to try, ha!

Other stuff I HAVE managed to do – Star Trek Quilt, I’m almost done with some Ruth Bader Ginsberg quilts, NASA quilts, mermaid quilt with matching doll quilt. I’ve also been focusing on several commissions.

Goals for 2021

I started to write a reflection of this past year, but, honestly, I’m ready to just start looking ahead.

My hopes for this upcoming year have a couple of layers.

From a business standpoint, I have a couple of things left I want to get for my booth.

  1. I want to use some second-hand folding shelves I bought online to make a checkout booth. I was thinking about myself as a customer and realized that I really liked it more when the sales person was at a checkout stand. I felt freer to walk around and look. So I’m taking a cue from myself and working on making one of those.

2. I’d also like to get some padded roof pads, so I can place my grid walls there instead of scraping up the inside of my husband’s Explorer again. It would be nice to drive to shows without having grid walls blocking one side of my car.

3. I also need to get a new phone – if I’m being completely honest with myself here. Mine is old, but I’m stubborn when it comes to replacements.

4. Participate in some new shows for the fall 2021.

From an artist standpoint, I have a LOT of quilts I want to make and have on hand for shows. Here’s a short list of some of my more creative ambitions.

  1. Star Wars quilts – lightsaber duels, they just sell too well to not have one on hand.

2. Mandalorian wall quilt – I had the one I made get claimed before it was even finished!

3. Sloth quilt – that fabric is too cute to have gone this long without being made in to something.

4. Hocus Pocus quilt – the last one sold fairly quickly, and it was fun to make something in the “crazy quilt” style.

5. More doll quilts – they are really fun, and I like the satisfaction of experimenting within a smaller size.

6. Christmas snow globe quilt – I saw some designs online and am wanting to try my own spin.

7. Potty Mouth Quilts – I wanted to make a small line of quilts with grown-up words on them. I like the contrast of a wholesome, traditional craft and a vulgar phrase. Maybe something is wrong with me here, but I won’t be happy until I’ve tried it at least once.

8. Bargello quilts – I made the rainbow and northern lights ones a while back, and I’m geared up to make more.

9. Mariner’s Compass – I just really like making these. They’re so satisfying.

10. I Spy quilt – I have been sorting little 2″ squares for a planned pattern for an I spy quilt with a geometric twist.

11. Zombie girl Pin Up quilt – the first one I made was so much fun!

12. Baseball girl Pin Up quilt – the other pin up girl quilt was so fun, I wanted to keep a good thing going.

13. Crayon quilt – this was such a cute quilt, and I really want to make another one. They are also good scrap-busters.

14. I’m also wanting to possibly make some adult bibs since there seems to be a need for them. I’d make some pretty, but I’d probably focus on making them silly. A little humor goes a long way.

Yellow Daisy Festival – Online

Ok, so yes, all of the craft fairs I was exited about were canceled. However the biggest one, the Yellow Daisy Festival in Stone Mountain, GA, decided to help out their vendors as best they could and is going to offer an online market for folks, Sept 8 (starting at 9am) through Sept. 13(ending at 9pm). It won’t be nearly the same experience, but I am excited nonetheless.

In anticipation for that, I will be posting showcase posts throughout the week. Come back throughout the week to see more features.

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Take a look at the new items in the shop!

Grieving the 2020 Fall Festival Season

Well I suppose it was bound to happen. All three of the craft fairs I was hoping to do this fall have been canceled. To say it’s a bummer is putting it nicely. I absolutely LOVE craft fairs. I love curating my little 10’x 10′ booth for maximum appeal. I love checking off items in my checklist app as I load my car. I love the adrenaline rush of leaving early in the morning,and I love the set up time when all the vendors are quiet and focused on perfecting their little plots. I love hearing people ohh and ahh over my products. And of course, I love the thrill that comes with the phrase,”Okay, I’ll take it.”

So now this fall is looking a lot more open and a lot more dismal at the same time. I still have my commissions, of course, and they are doing very well. But there’s something about the excitement of a craft fair that cannot be duplicated.

As organizers announce the cancellations and closures, their pain and regret is evident. But what is worse than canceling the craft fair you’ve spent months organizing? I’d say it is the vitriol that these good people have been met with as they make their sad announcements. I mean,seriously,people are being really mean towards event organizers over this. As said before, I love being a vendor at craft fairs, and I’ll miss them this fall dreadfully. But the choice to cancel them wasn’t easy, and it hurt the organizers a lot. I promise.

This is one of the craft fairs I was hoping to participate in. This is their announcement.

So as the announcements come in, please take a moment to thank your local event organizers for their work. They’re pretty heartbroken right now, too. They’re trying to look out for everyone, and people are going to be grumpy either way. If you’re really upset, please wear a mask and social distance to help ensure we can pick up where we left off as soon as may be.

Be these people!

Do NOT be these people!

And most certainly,do NOT be the random angry person in the comments yelling at everyone.

New adventures

I love the craft fairs and being a vendor at them.  They’re fun, and I get to meet lots of different people.  But one issue I run in to is that I don’t sell many smaller items.  Much of my inventory is higher priced, so I’m learning what shows work for me.

Lots of folks will come by and oohhh and aaaahhh, but if they aren’t bothering to look at price tags, they didn’t come prepared to shop.  And if you’re selling larger priced items, you need to find shows where people are prepared to shop.  Shows that are focused on something else and have thrown vendors in as an aside don’t often do well for larger-priced items.

So I’ve found that Spring shows haven’t done well for me in the past.  Let’s face it – quilts don’t sell well in warm weather.  I’d sworn I wasn’t going to do anymore Spring shows, but two came up that I just couldn’t resist giving a try.

One is the Riley Day event, April 27th, hosted by the fine people over at the Amanda Riley Foundation. All proceeds from that show go to support families as they deal with childhood cancer, and the more I learn about the Riley family the more I want to support them.  So I figure it’s a win no matter what, and the fact that it would reach my niche client group is a major bonus.

The other event is my biggest event yet – the Vintage Market Days of Greater Atlanta, May 31-June 2.  Vintage Market Days specializes in antiques, recycled and up-cycled art and decor, and they have shows all over the USA.  My daughter and I went on a reconnaissance visit to the Christmas one, and I thought I might do alright at it.  My daughter gave her 8 year’s wisdom and agreed that it was worth a shot.  Again, the people attending looked like they might be in my niche client group – folks who liked sentimental items, especially re-purposed ones.  So I don’t know how my ready-made items will do, but I’m thinking my t-shirt quilt commissions will fair well.

Since the big event is also inside, I’m trying something new with my booth layout, and I’ll use the Riley Day event to test it out.  So here’s hoping the new layout pays off.

So if you’re in the area, come on by and say hi!

 

Craft Fair Season Fall ’18 – done!

Alrighty, so I’m all finished with my craft fairs as of last weekend.  I decided that no one was going to buy quilts during the spring, so I shifted all my focus to fall shows, undertaking four shows in six weeks.  This wouldn’t sound like much to someone who does shows all the time, but as a teacher with two small kids – it’s a lot.  My kids were begging me not to go by the  3rd show.

I’ve placed any quilts that haven’t sold up on my Etsy store, so feel free to take a look.

Quest Quilts Etsy Shop

Here’s what I learned as a seller of quilts at shows.

  1. You can tell within the first two hours what kind of a day you’re going to have.  Plenty of people will stop and “oooh” and “ahhh”, but if they aren’t actually looking at the price tags then don’t get your hopes up.
  2. Gender-neutral or “boy” quilts sell faster.  Not sure why.  Maybe because many quilts look decidedly “girly”?
  3. When you sell one quilt the entire show, it’ll be both good and bad.  You’ll think, “Yay, I made my booth fee back and then some!”  You’ll also realize, “Well, after my booth fee I basically made $40.  I sat there for 8+ hours for $40?”
  4. Commissions are a delayed gratification for doing these shows.  So while you may not sell the ready-made stuff, the commissions later on do add up and make it worthwhile.
  5. People love to share stories of how their family members were also quilters.  They’ll tell you all about them while standing in the middle of your booth, blocking other people from seeing in.
  6. Be sweet to your booth neighbor, especially if you’re in your booth alone.  You may need that person to stand between booths so you can run to the bathroom.
  7. Outside craft fairs are havoc for crafts that involve fabric.  I was downwind from a BBQ vendor one show.  My quilts smelled like BBQ afterwards.  This could be cool for a bit, but in the end it involved me tumbling them in the dryer with dryer sheets in an attempt to get rid of the smell.  I’ve heard of other vendors experiencing the same thing with kettle corn booths nearby as well.
  8. There was also the issue of smokers at outdoor shows.  I had folks smoke near my stuff, and one cigarette came within an inch of my personal t-shirt quilt that I use at shows.  I panicked.  I also had one show begin a fire pit a few feet from my booth, and I finally agreed to move my booth mid-show to another spot.  It still didn’t work, and I had to, once again, air out and tumble my product in an attempt to get the smell out.
  9. Some people can be quite passive aggressive about prices, and it isn’t cute.
  10. It’s a special feeling when you meet someone who has the same sense of humor and/or interest as you.  I loved talking about Dr. Who and Star Wars with folks.
  11. People seem more inclined to come in and shop around if you’re reading a magazine or book.  Maybe there’s less pressure?  They don’t feel like they’re being scrutinized?
  12. There is such a feeling of accomplishment when someone says your quilt is “perfect” for someone they know as they buy it.  Gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling.

There was also the issue of my role as vendor vs artist, but that’s for another post.  Stay tuned.

 

Related blogs and posts:

Craft Fairs, Bookmarks, & Squirrels in my Van…

Craft Fair Season is Here!

Craft fair fun

The Craft Booth – a blog

 

So. Many. Projects.

Hey everyone, I’ve been busy on my other pages, but this one has been still for a bit because I haven’t finished any projects.  That doesn’t mean I’m not working on them because…boy oh boy…I am swamped!

I was able to finish my t-shirt quilt commission and baby Flash quilt commission right when school started.  Now, I’m on to another undisclosed project, a bookshelf quilt for a church retreat, a Star Wars quilt (or two) for the upcoming craft fairs, finishing my comic book quilt and second guitar quilt.  I also have a partially begun other undisclosed project as well as a promised project that hasn’t even been started.  Oh, and there’s another t-shirt quilt waiting to be started, but the timeline is very generous, so it’ll be a while before I start it.

Whew!  Stay tuned folks.

img_3323
Flash quilt detail

Newest roll
Star Wars quilts jelly roll

Bookshelf scraps
Scraps for a bookshelf quilt

comic book quilt
comic book quilt top

Guitar quilt
guitar quilt in progress

Quilt Costs – are you crazy?!

One thing I love about the  quilting community is that we love to “talk shop”.  When I’m at my booth at craft fairs, I always have at least a couple of quilters come up.  It feels good when they admire my work, and we chat about patterns, etc.

This past weekend I had a quilter walk up and say hi.  She commented to me that I was under-priced.  The truth is…she’s right.  And I know it.  I looked at her and nodded.  All I could say was, “You know, those who don’t know about quilts think I’m over-priced.  Those who understand quilts know that I’m under-priced.  What can you do?” I’ve been lucky for the most part in that most folks will quietly look at a price tag and walk off if it’s too high for their expectations.  I’ve only had one person gasp and comment about how high it was.  I didn’t even argue.  I’ve become very good at shrugging.

Basic economics provides an understanding of price points.  You have to find the lowest you can go without sacrificing profits while also going as high as your customer is willing to pay.  It’s get tough, though, when store quilts come into the picture.  A quick search for “quilts” at Target.com turned up exactly what I mean.  Take a look.  Some pretty quilts…not a single one above $150 in price.  This is the starting price for a t-shirt lap quilt for me.  That same lap quilt that other quilters have commented was under-priced.  So you see my struggle.

So I’d like to take a moment and let you in on the world of store-bought quilts.  I’d like to start off by saying that I have absolutely no issue with owning them.  I have one my grandmother gave me for college, and it is precious to me.  What I DO have a problem with is folks who expect store prices for handmade quilts.  I’ve seen charts and stuff floating around the internet, but I decided to go upstairs to my own store quilt and show you what I mean.

Firstly – quilts are supposed to have 1/4 inch seams.  That is standard.  And at first glance, you’ll notice that this seam is 1/4 inch.  This is a double-wedding ring style quilt, and the 1/4 inch seams were where the multi-colored fabric was joined to the white fabric.

1/4 inch seam

However, if I looked a little closer at other parts, I noticed something different.  My ruler is set to 1/4 inch for reference.

1/8 seam - no good!

Yup, you’re seeing correctly.  That is about a 1/8 inch seam.  I love this quilt, but I did notice certain parts of it came apart rather quickly.  This is one of the biggest differences between the store quilts and the handmade ones.  You can see in this picture where my pretty store quilt has come apart at the seams in a couple of places.

img_2523
1/8 seams don’t hold long – as is evidenced by the gaps you see here.

Another difference is the batting.  For those who don’t speak “quilt”, the batting is the inside of the quilt.  It’s sandwiched between the top and bottom fabric.  It’s what helps to give the quilt its weight and warmth.  Now some folks are picky about their quilts in specific areas.  Some only use the highest quality fabric and would most certainly give me the stink-eye for shopping at JoAnn’s fabric store.  Some are picky about their binding (the sides of the quilt) and only hand-sew it, disdaining anything done by machines for finishing elements.  For me, I’m picky about my batting.  I’ve seen some mighty pretty quilts that I felt weren’t quite “right” because they had polyester batting in them.  That being said, it’s the quilter’s choice, and I would never criticize someone else’s quilting choices, mine being up for scrutiny in return.  It’s simply my personal preference to use cotton batting.  In store-bought quilts, you’re almost always getting sub-par batting.  My store quilt is nowhere near as heavy or warm as the ones I’ve made for my family or to sell.

img_2524
Polyester batting – not my personal preference.

For those playing along at home, my preference is the Warm and Natural Company 100% Cotton Batting.  It’s warm without being bulky (aka low “loft”).  I like my quilts thinner but warm, so cotton batting is ideal.  Polyester batting is what you want when you’re going for a puffy look.

As for the process, I documented my steps in making a t-shirt quilt for my cousin.  Here’s the link to my Facebook page photo album.  In it, you’ll see all of the steps.  Here it is.

So if you’re new to the whole quilting deal or are looking to buy one and are getting overwhelmed by the prices, then consider what I’ve told you.  If you would like even more insight, take a look at this article.  It is a goldmine of information on pricing, etc.

*Side note: the featured image quilt costs chart is not my design. I do not know the original creator of it. I do think it’s a bit of a hyperbole, but I like it as an example of the differing costs that many don’t consider.

Related blogs and posts:
How Long Does it Take?

Why Hand Made Quilts Cost so Much

A Case for Buying Only High Quality Quilting Fabric

Getting Show Ready