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.
- 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.
Related blogs and posts:
Craft Fairs, Bookmarks, & Squirrels in my Van…
Craft Fair Season is Here!
Craft fair fun
The Craft Booth – a blog
This quilt was for a friend as a surprise at her baby shower. I knew we wanted to tie in to her overall theme of woodland creatures, and I did several searches for different images. In the end, I went with the images on her actual shower invitation. (She loves sloths, so we snuck in one of those as well!)
I traced the images onto basic copy paper and then retraced them backwards onto fusible interfacing.
From there, the layering process began. I had to trace each layer backwards onto the fusible interfacing as well and then iron them on top of one another. I’ll admit there were several times here where I thought of different ways to simplify, but in the end it just wouldn’t do. The fox was simplified accidentally, but that was about it.
From there, I ironed them into place and used a large mushroom top to hide their bottoms behind because the original images were cropped as well. It look some rearranging before I finally hit this layout.
Going back and adding in the white “light spots” on the eyes was one of the best moves I did. Before that, they looked cute but kind of flat. They had a deadpan look that kept them lifeless. The sloth, especially, looked somewhat stoned.
And one again, I added a close-set zigzag stitch to finish off the applique elements.
The reason everything was right at the bottom was because we intended for people to be able to sign the quilt with well-wishes for the new family.
Here’s a video of the sweet soon-to-be parents receiving their surprise!
Related Blogs and Posts
Nursery Panel Baby Quilt
Custom Designed Fabrics for a Nature Quilt
Thicket Critter Baby Quilt Pattern
A Couple Special Baby Quilts
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!
Here’s the layout design.