Friday, December 28, 2012

Party in the garden...

I have been in love with Anna Maria Horner's Garden Party fabric for an age. First there was this quilt that I couldn't stop staring at and then this one by Megan of Lucy & Norman fame. I loved the boldness of the Garden Party prints and the vibrancy of the saturated colours. And from each of these quilt's points of view, the BIG patchwork choices. I started collecting my fabric years ago...the range was well and truly finished by the time I discovered it and then in typical style it lay folded in my cupboard. Occasionally I would bring it out and worship its brightness and then argue with myself as to what I was going to do with it.
Then back in September I decided that the best course of action was to use it to make a quilt for my sister for Christmas. How clever and organised was I?
I cut the fabric into the biggest squares I could out of my mostly fat 1/4 collection. I then joined them into giant sized 9 patches and sliced them up to create a quilt top of very large disappearing 9 patches. And there it sat, pushed to the end of the line due to all the other sewing activity that surfaced. Then as Christmas rolled around I talked myself out of finishing it until I couldn't decide what to buy her as an alternative. So with 4 days to go I made a dash for Spotlight with my VIP 15% discount card for backing, binding and pins (due to the fact that all of my basting pins are currently sitting in other quilts ready for quilting but that's another story!).
Quilters will know how the rest of this story goes, moving all the lounge furniture to baste....not easy with a thumping big Christmas tree in the way!.....quilt through the night so you can hardly move the next day after the wrestling of  the 'anaconda' through the machine and to top it off......hand sewing on binding throughout a 35 degree day! But having said all that....we do it because we love it and we love an appreciative reaction even more! Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Selling out....

Earlier this year, Clare and I participated in a twilight guerrilla craft market. We'd spent a few months whipping up baby quilts and getting ourselves organised. Our strategy was that baby quilts were quicker to produce and cheaper to sell. We were excited and our little spot looked lovely on the banks of a row boat lake in the parklands.
But guerrilla markets are based on the 'pop up' theory and rely on very fast word of mouth to drive the buyers. Sadly, the evening timeslot was an experiment and the people just didn't arrive. And this was further compounded with Adelaide's Mad March of events, so there was just too much competition for everyone's dollar and time. So after 2 hours of just one sale to Clare we packed up and spent our float money at the artists bar at the Fringe Festival.
Over the months some of my quilts had been given away for fundraisers or given to friends and family in need of a quick baby present. But most of the stock remained.
Then Clare was invited back to the next market but this time there was no secret location and lots of effort was put in by the organisers to promote the affair. I loved the idea because the location was right at the end of my street!
Clare and I decided to use the opportunity to quit the stock we had but I supplemented mine with these little Scandinavian birdies by Syko.
I spent two weeks rifling through the scrap bin determined to use only scraps of fabric and stuffing and ribbon from the stash. I ended up with 48 little birdies and as many butterflies in my stomach, worried we'd be rejected like the last market.
But I needn't have worried....(that's hindsight for you!). Those little birdies flew off the branches and all but two of my quilts remain. Clare did alright too with all of her quilts selling on the day. Admittedly we put very reasonable prices on them and were prepared to drop them a little further to secure a sale but all round, we're happy.
What did we learn? Timing is good. Pre-Christmas and buyers are looking for gifts. So this is the one to participate in. Promotion is good. Little is good. Small things go well. Bundling is very good. Offer a price for 1 and then a discounted price for four. Buyers love value for money! I did this with my birds and every sale was a batch of four.
So where am I at now? Well I anticipated that I'd have some birds left over for the kids friend's Christmas gifts....but I don't. So I'm back in the scrap bin and at the machine to turn out a few more. 'Tis the season!