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.
Here’s what I learned as a seller of quilts at shows.
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.
Gender-neutral or “boy” quilts sell faster. Not sure why. Maybe because many quilts look decidedly “girly”?
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?”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Some people can be quite passive aggressive about prices, and it isn’t cute.
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.
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?
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.
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.
I was given an unusual task recently of taking a t-shirt blanket and turning it into a t-shirt quilt. Unfortunately it involved taking the whole thing apart. So I sat down with a movie and a seam ripper last night and got to work. I was surprised when I finished taking that entire blanket apart right as Dazed and Confused finished up, and it got me to thinking.
A blanket and a quilt really are two very different things. Don’t let anyone tell you they are the same. A blanket is one or two pieces of fabric connected at the outside edges. A quilt is a “sandwich” with a top layer, usually pieced or highly decorative, a back, and a thin middle layer of some type of stuffing – polyester, cotton, wool, or any blend therein. Those three layers are then quilted together with thread. They can also be tied together using yarn or embroidery floss. The effect is two layers of design playing off one another. The layers blend and create an overall effect.
If someone sat down with a seam ripper to pick apart a well-made quilt with appropriate quilting throughout, there is no way that they will finish picking it apart by the end of a single movie.
Well today was quiet and more productive than I’ve been in a while. I finished two tops and added a border to one that I wasn’t quite happy with. I also prepped backing for all three of these quilts as well. My goal is to pin all three tonight and begin quilting them tomorrow.
I’m at the beginning stages of a sloth t-shirt quilt and thought I’d share. This one isn’t a surprise, so I can post along the way.
I’ve seen some online tutorials and such on t-shirt quilts, but unless the person is an actual quilter they all forget one thing: stabilizer. T-shirts are made of jersey knit fabric, and that stuff likes to curl, shift, and stretch. So you NEED stabilizer to make your shirts look properly flat and keep the picture straight.
I’m cutting these blocks in a smaller one than usual. They’ll be 12″x12″.
I am happy when shirts are such as I don’t have to re-center them or add on fabric at the neck and shoulders so that everything is squared properly. It makes for a quick evening’s work!
I decided to participate in my first craft show in November of 2016. It was a school show, and I enjoyed myself. That being said, I didn’t have any ready-made items, and I never did receive any orders. I was already full on Christmas orders, and I didn’t have time to take on any more. I figured I would get my orders from that school once graduation season came around.
But it was so much fun I decided to try again in the Spring at a craft fair that was much closer to home. I did have ready-made items this time – the stadium quilts. Well, it turns out folks don’t want to buy flannel-backed quilts in weather that is in the upper 80’s F. I ended up getting only one order from that show – many months later.
But the fairs themselves were awesome! It’s an ego boost because I get to hear people gush over my work and talk about my love of quilting for a whole day! This in mind, I decided to give it one more go. There was a huge show in the fall, and I decided to try it. I would use this show as the gauge on whether or not I would keep on doing these. As fun as they were, they weren’t paying off.
Well the fall one was a completely different experience. People bought stuff! I sold three quilts along with wallets and casserole carriers! I. Was. Stoked. I’d also squeezed in another smaller show that fall, and I managed to sell the Braves quilt! So yeah, I was pretty jazzed that the fall ones had paid off after all. And the BEST part was that for both of the fall shows I had a t-shirt quilt order placed within 24 hours of the show.
This past weekend I tried another spring show, and I was floored at how well I did, especially considering the crowd was mostly my fellow church members. I wanted to cry I was so happy and honored and flattered.
Next weekend I’m going to give a craft fair another try – the same one that was so hot the year before. I have new items and am hoping that I do well. Wish me luck!