As you may have gathered from my last post, I have been mad-crazy-busy recently sewing up items for a Christmas Gift Fair. And now it’s all over I finally have time to relax and reflect on the experience.
In the end, I took part in two different Gift Fairs. The first one took place at the International Women’s Club of Lausanne, on a Monday morning between 9 and 12, and the second one was held at La Chatagnière, an international school near Geneva, on a Saturday between 11.30 and 4pm, where I shared a table with my lovely and extremely talented friend Chris of MalleyCat Designs.
To be honest, I didn’t have desperately high hopes of the first gift fair. I mean, a Monday morning in early December?! But as it happens it was jam-packed from start to finish, and I was so busy I didn’t have time to take a proper photo of my table, to look at anyone else’s stall or even to have a cup of tea. In the end, I sold more than I ever dreamed possible, including 3 quilts(!), had some fantastic feedback about my work, and, all in all, had an utterly wonderful time.
Not the best photos, but you get the idea!
As for the second fair, Chris and I were reasonably optimistic of making some sales; there were going to be plenty of vendors and it seemed like a large number of people were planning to attend. But despite us both having had such a successful sale the previous Monday, this one really didn’t go that well. It seemed that most people were coming to socialise and have a drink with friends rather than to make a purchase. As it turned out, I only just broke even on the day. The two fairs couldn’t have been more different!
Some of my products…
… and some of Chris’ products
A selection of quilts for sale
Well, you live and learn, as they say, and here is what I learnt.
First and foremost, I absolutely loved making everything – I got to try out new patterns and new ideas, and, more importantly, to get re-acquainted with my stash! There have been times over the last couple of months where the floor of my sewing room was nowhere to be seen as it was liberally strewn with fabric I’d pulled out of boxes and cupboards to try and find that perfect match. Lots of old favourites were rediscovered and plenty of scraps and leftover pieces of quilt backing were put to good use.
Secondly, I really enjoyed selling my stuff, and chatting to people. I think I will be tempted to do some more fairs next year, but I also think I will do some more research before committing to any.
And finally, there seemed to be enough interest in what I made for me to take the plunge and open up a little Etsy store to sell my creations. Like these, for example 🙂
My Etsy store is called Pusscat Handmade, and you can find more fabric loveliness at
Please do go and take a look, and let me know what you think!
Well, there seems to have been a bit of radio silence chez LPC recently. And for a very good reason! Not only have I been travelling – visiting Mum, weekend in Bath, day trip to Lyon – I’ve also been sewing away like a crazy woman.
Mais pourquoi I hear you cry! Well, a local group I belong to – the International Women’s Club of Lausanne – is holding a Holiday Gift Fair in early December. And I’ve decided to take a table to try and sell my wares.
This is a bit of a departure for me, as, until now, I’ve never seriously considered selling what I create. Most of it is made for the sheer pleasure of creating something beautiful, and ends up as gifts for people close to me. What’s more, I’ve never actually been convinced that anything I make is good enough to sell. But a couple of things have recently helped changed my mind.
First off, I successfully completed my Fabric Fast earlier this year, during which I committed to not buying any new fabric for 6 whole months. And so, from January to June, everything I made came my stash. This not only made me feel Deeply Virtuous, it also made me really take stock of the yards and yards of beautiful fabric I already have and which I’ve been hoarding for Some Special Project Or Other. But I’ve come to realise that such a Special Project may never materialise. Or, if it does, I’m much more likely to buy something yummy and new. And this is because of another revelation from my Fabric Fast – over the years my tastes have evolved. Fabric that I bought, say, 5 years ago, whilst still very beautiful, just doesn’t inspire me like it used to. It’s just sitting forlornly in my cupboard, waiting to be used. And that makes me a little sad. Fabric should be enjoyed, not hidden away in a cupboard!
And so I resolved to use up some of these former favourites to make beautiful and useful items – not just quilts, but things like various-sized fabric baskets, tissue holders, bookmarks, bags – and whatever else I can think of! And seeing as I can only use so many of these, and only have so many friends that would appreciate them as a gift, the logical conclusion is that I should try to sell them, so that they can be used and enjoyed as the fabric gods intended.
Secondly, I recently attended Patchwork in the Peaks – a twice yearly quilt retreat, held by the lovely Ms E in the glorious French Alps. And when I was there, I made a new friend, Ms S. Now Ms S, like me, loves modern quilting fabric, and was, like me, hugely frustrated by the lack of said modern quilting fabric available in the local area. And so she opened an Etsy store to sell fabric that she loves (she currently has some beautiful Jeni Baker Art Gallery fabric for sale…) One of the evenings we got chatting about fabric in general, and fabrics we’ve grown out of in particular, and she suggested I look into selling off some of my stash on Etsy, which, she assured me, is nowhere near as complicated or expensive as I’d previously assumed. And so a seed was planted…
Finally, I heard about the Holiday Gift Fair, and it occurred to me that this would be the ideal opportunity to maybe try and sell some of my creations, and then, if it goes well, possibly open up a little Etsy store myself as well.
And so I’ve been creating… And here is a little snapshot of some of my Works in Progress.
Noodlehead Divided Baskets
Pocket Tissue Holders
Reversible Twisted Fabric Baskets
And last, but by no means least, Kitty Cat Tissue Box Holders, just like this little guy – but in waaaay cooler fabrics 🙂
Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday...
In 2 weeks time, it’s Mum’s birthday. And I am making her a quilt. A long-awaited quilt, I might add. And it looks like this…
Now, Mum really wants a quilt. She started dropping subtle hints about 4 years ago, then over time the hints became increasingly pointed, until finally she got Mad Aunty Jean to call and casually mention Just How Much Mum Would Love A Quilt Made By Me.
But for one reason or another, I just kept on putting it off. I made her a lap quilt to use in her conservatory on chilly winter mornings, and she was over the moon with it. But I know that what she really, really wants is a bed quilt. And that project has been in the pipeline for quite some time…
Mum knows that a quilt will appear at some point. I think she’s secretly hoping it’ll be ready in time for Christmas (she thinks I’m making her a new knitting bag and knitting needle holder for her birthday). But as I shall be going back to the UK to see her for her birthday, I thought it would be a lovely surprise if I could finish it off and take it with me.
Nothing like piling the pressure on myself, eh?!
I kind of started work on it over the summer (well, I got as far as cutting the fabric out), but it wasn’t until quite recently that I actually started sewing. This involved piecing 42 blocks and 3 borders. Phew!
22 of these blocks in pink and red, and 6 in cream and red…
… and 14 blocks like this
Over the past few weeks I’ve been working flat out to try and get it finished, and – finally – I’m nearly there. The top is pieced, quilting designs have been marked, and it’s all ready to be basted and quilted. Now all I have to do is get my backside in gear and get started…
I think I’ll be right up to the wire with this one, so wish me luck!
Linking up with Lee over at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.
Well I never, I’ve only gone and finished a project! My Alaska lap quilt is now sewn together, quilted and bound, and ready for use, just in time for the cooler autumn and winter months.
I know, it’s hard to believe, isn’t it? Especially when you consider that I actually started this particular quilt quite early on in my sewing life. It dates back to 2009, when I was living in the US, and I signed up for a Mystery Quilt class, billed as a “Mystery Tour to Alaska”. There were 2 different colour ways on offer, and I choose this palette of icy, watery blues.
I eventually finished putting the quilt top together about 18 months ago, and, until very recently, it had been languishing in my Cupboard of Unfinished Quilt Tops. I know exactly why, too – and for once it’s not just a case of laziness and Quilter’s ADD!
First off, the quilt’s pretty enough, but my tastes have certainly changed over the past 5 years since I started it. Now I liked this quilt, sure, but I didn’t love it. Looking at it now I find the colours to be a bit ‘meh’, and it’s all rather, well, uninspiring and triangular, really.
Secondly, I was totally lacking inspiration about how to quilt the blasted thing. I knew that it needed some carefully-chosen quilting to turn it from somewhat bland into something special, but I didn’t have the first clue about what that quilting should be.
And so in the cupboard it went, and in the cupboard it stayed, until I decided to tackle it as part of my Q3 Finish-Along list.
Unquilted top – bland, dull and meh…
It was my lovely friend Ms E, who first suggested that it needed feathers. Now, I’ve never been a massive fan of feather quilting, I’d always thought of it as rather dull and old-fashioned. But I had to agree that the idea of feathers, with their flowing curves, would give the quilt the illusion of movement. And once the idea was in my head, that’s where it stayed. And grew. Until one day I went out and bought some feather stencils. And the rest, as they say, is history…
Loving all the curves in those feathers!
Quilted circles to complement the curves in the feathers
Close-up of quilted block
The design in the dark blue triangle is a smaller version of the one in the pale blue triangle
Feather quilting in the outer border, too…
Close up of border quilting
The best thing about doing this was it was so liberating! I wasn’t totally in love with the quilt top. It wasn’t intended as a gift, it wasn’t going to break my heart if I totally screwed it up. I didn’t let myself get hung up about ‘perfect’ quilting. I was brave and chose a dark colour thread, which would show up prominently against the mainly pale background fabric. I just went with the flow.
And do you know what? I actually really like this quilt now!
What’s more, it looks like Mr. Boy agrees with me 🙂
Linking up with Audrey over at Glory Be Quilter for TGIFF – why not pop over and check out some more lovely finishes this week?