Friday, November 30, 2012

It's All Relative

I'm so used to beaming 'long' warps (10+ yards) that these relatively short warps (5.6 meters) seem to zip onto the beam in no time at all.

Since I've worked a lot with variegated yarns I decided to submit an article to Handwoven about how I use them.  The challenge, of course, is that they prefer readily available yarns so that their readers can source the yarns profiled in their projects.  With so many of Handwoven readers being somewhat inexperienced, I felt I ought to use a yarn that is reasonably friendly to work with, not the rick rack and bamboo yarns in these particular scarves.  So I will work on that article in December and hope to submit early in January.  The deadline is mid-February, and since I don't get home until after the deadline, it's either do it now or not at all.

However, as I was winding this yarn onto a cone I thought of a little hint that some people may not know about.  A skein of variegated yarn can be a bit 'tricky' - this particular yarn has several shades of red, gold and purple in it.  Sometimes it is hard to know which yarn to pair with a variegated.

Now the photo here makes the warp look very red.  Part of that is because I paired the rick rack with a red bamboo.  But the reason I used the red is because as the cone winder was winding the yarn from the skein onto the cone, the motion of the yarn travelling round and round blurred into a predominantly red colour.

I could have used other colours instead of the red, but for this first warp I had the right shade of red on hand for both warp and weft and went the easy route.

So if you aren't sure what yarn colour will go with your variegated yarn, try winding it onto a cone or ball winder and see what colour it looks as it is being wound.....

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Intimations of Things to Come

Today the first harbinger of my latest yarn order arrived.  I got a commission for not one, not two, but three table cloths from a customer in Calgary.  He was so sweet - when we were discussing designs he said "Just make what you like...what's ugly in this booth?  I have a sense of your design esthetic, I know you'll make me something nice."  I'm paraphrasing, but that's the gist.  (blush)

How could I not take the order???? (Especially when he offered to pre-pay.  I won't take payment until I'm ready to start weaving.  If the money is being dangled in front of me, I work much better - something about carrots?)

He wants mostly neutrals with a little green, a little peach, so there is more yarn yet to come, in one of Maurice Brassard's bunny eared bags of goodness.

I am going to have to warp the loom up to it's full width (60") and cross fingers that the cloth will be the 54" I promised.  Needless to say, there is going to have to be a component of plain weave to whatever I do to minimize draw in and it will probably mean using a temple as well, just to keep things co-operative, but for 3 tablecloths it is well worthwhile putting the warp on.  I will no doubt put extra on and do a couple of 'tea cloth' type squares as well.  The warp will be nearly 2000 ends - that's a lot of threading, even if I am fast at it.  ;)  Besides, extra is good in case of some sort of disaster on the loom.....

The red warp for samples is almost finished.  I'm hoping to get to the end of it today yet.  It took me a while to generate an alternate tie up, hoping to increase the stability of the cloth and still have the chevrons she requested.  But bobbins are wound and I'm ready to go.....aaaaaand, she's off!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


work table and inukshuk of foam for packing the van still to be put away....

My to-be-done list is completely overwhelming right now.  I think it's a combination of fatigue and so many things to do that I just don't know where to start!

However we have made a little progress.  Doug delivered most of the empty boxes etc., to the annex this afternoon and is loading all the fibre and yarn for the sale at the guild room this weekend.  We'll take everything up there on Friday, when hopefully the emergency exit door will be unalarmed and we don't have to walk so far to drag everything up there.

I still have to sort through the workshop handouts and see what I need to order in for yarns, plus the yarns for sampling the new scarf line.  I still have not heard anything from Silk City - if I don't hear by tomorrow I will place the order again in case it just got lost in the holiday.  I really need that yarn very soon if I'm going to get a leg up on production of the new scarf line using the rick rack rayon.  With my travel schedule as full and busy as it is, there won't be a day to 'waste'.

Today I've fired up the AVL.  I will do two more samples for the designer as the last one was too 'stretchy'. I rather suspect that I am not going to be able to meet her requirements in terms of cloth stability and if neither of these two samples is good enough for her I will have to cut my losses and move on to something else.  I still have two more samples to weave for A Good Yarn:  Rayon, and I'd really like to get them done before my first trip in the new year.  Not impossible....IF I get the yarn order from Silk City by Christmas....I can always get Doug stapling samples while I am away.  :)  But they have to be woven and wet finishing first....

Next week I will contact everyone involved in the Jan/Feb trip as I need to find out if they are all a 'go' or not.  Three of the workshops require that I mail out the warp yarns and drafts and I'd really like to do that by Dec. 20 - after the rush of Christmas mail.  That won't leave a lot of time for people to dress their looms, but 6 weeks should be ok for most of them.  Besides, sometimes the longer people have, the longer they wait to do things.  I know that's how I operate!!!

And now, after much too long, I am going to go throw a shuttle!  Yay!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Donation Scarves

stack o' scarves....

I needed more body maintenance today which meant a trip to the building where my doctor has his office.  His receptionist started a 'toy' drive a few years ago with all the donated things going to St. Vincent de Paul. Last night I sewed in all the tails and this afternoon got them through the washer and dryer so that I was able to deliver them today.  I hope that some kids will enjoy a new scarf for Christmas.  I am happy because that stack of scarves is now off the back of my sofa (where I pile them as I finish knitting them).  Of course I've already started another one so there will soon be another stack abuilding....

Today was mostly administrivia again but I've got the labels ready for the hand painted bamboo skeins.  Tonight I'll drag the suitcase up to the guild room, snap them out, twist them and tie on the labels.  Hopefully I can get them all done but if not, the rest can wait until Saturday morning.  Boxed up the yarn that is here and asked Doug to pick up the rest from the annex when he delivers the empty boxes from the shows and the display equipment that gets stored up there.  We will deliver everything to the room on Friday and get set up, ready for sales on Saturday.

Little by little.

The rest of the afternoon I decided to take 'off' and have been working on a jigsaw puzzle.  I'm hoping to get a couple more done so I can take a bag of them up to my mom's later this week.  I've been collecting puzzles for a few years - a couple here, a couple there - and now have a huge stack of them because there has been no time to make any of them.

Since I'm the boss, I'm giving my best employee a few days 'grace'.....  :^)

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Little Room

Today Doug unloaded the van and I unpacked the boxes of inventory.  Tomorrow I will sort through everything and choose those textiles that will go on 'sale' in hopes of moving them on to a new home.

There are several scarf lines that only have a few scarves left, there are just 9 placemats, a few table runners and some tea towels that are 'orphans' - only one or two of a colour/design.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with them - they just make setting up a cohesive display difficult.  And they take up room on the shelves in my storage area.

With the exploration of some new designs - sampling will begin shortly - as well as needing to do more placemats, I need to clear some space on my shelves so getting rid of some stuff will be very welcome.

I need to order in more yarn (yes, more!) for a new scarf design and will do that in the next day or two.  I'll make up sample warps and hope to get them woven when I get home from the tour to NC/GA/TN.  Bringing a brand new scarf design to the shows means I have to start doing the weaving by June at the latest in order to get sufficient stock made.  In the meantime I will carry on with the new design I barely got ready for the shows this season because they seemed to be well received.  I ordered yarn from Silk City last week, and hope it didn't get lost in the Thanksgiving holiday.  I forgot that they would be closed.  If I don't hear anything from them in a few days, I'll place the order again and ask for confirmation they got it.

Tomorrow I will weave one more sample for the designer in Vancouver.  If she isn't happy with the quality of cloth after that sample, I don't think I can meet her needs and will move on.

Next week I will contact the tour people for Jan/Feb and hope to find out if everyone thinks they are a 'go' or not.  I need to pull warp yarns and drafts for the workshops, which means.....ordering more yarn!  :D  Best to do that before Christmas mail gets too heavy.  January will be here very soon.

The rest of this week I will spend getting ready for the sale here in PG on Sat/Sun and maybe winding a scarf or placemat warp.  Or both.  It's been far too long since I've done any weaving.  Who knows, maybe I'll have some new scarves or something in time for the pop up sale on the 15th?

Just finished reading Bones are Forever by Kathy Reichs and about to start another Donna Leon - Suffer the Little Children.  For Barbara Holloway fans - there is a new book out now, but it is only audio or ebook format.  I may be forced to buy the ebook version and put it onto my iPad for reading while on the tour?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Two More

Today I had the sixth of eight Rituximab treatments, in the new cancer clinic facility.  I brought a small hanging that I hope will help brighten the treatment room up as, being brand new, it is still a little sterile in terms of atmosphere.  I suggested it would look best hung in front of a window and the nurse said she would bring a suction cup 'sky hook' from home to put it up.  If I can find a photo I will post, but I will have to dig deep into the bowels of my photo library.  Or take a photo of it in situ at a later date.

My veins were not co-operating today and they finally got the iv into a vein right where the wrist bends.  Which would have been ok except it won't stop bleeding.  Therefore throwing a shuttle or doing much at all with my left hand seems like a bad idea.  :(

The good news is that the oncologist said yesterday that they expect me to be around for a good long time to come and urged me to continue to monitor and deal with the hypertension, which is still an issue.

I told him that I expect to be around for a good long time, too.  :)

Now if I can figure out the bp stuff and lose some weight I will be a very happy camper!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Dreaming Textile Dreams

In addition to the last two shows being successful enough that inventory is getting low in certain items, I also have the sample warp for the designer in Vancouver to weave and a special order for 3 table cloths for a customer in Calgary.

One thing about doing shows in person is that you get all sorts of validation.  Weaving - like most traditional crafts - is done pretty much in isolation, making your best guess as to what people might like enough to actually purchase but never really knowing until the hall doors open and the people start walking by.  Or in to your booth.

While compliments are great and provide food for the ego, it is the actual purchases that pay the bills.

Yesterday was spent trying to clear up critical things - like bank deposit, paying bills, dealing with questions via email and phone regarding upcoming classes.

Today I had cleared enough little grey cells that I could begin to think about the yarn I needed to order.  I also realized that my iPad has become an actual tool not just a toy as I was able to spread out on the dining room table (which hardly ever gets used for dining) and still have access to the internet via my iPad in order to check emails, websites and so on.  Once I get the 'remote' email situation sorted out, I think I am going to become very enamoured of the iPad!

One of the challenges in working with the designer is that she knows what she wants and will recognize it when she sees it.  She doesn't have a grasp of how colour interactions happen in a woven structure, which means some angst in terms of choosing the actual colours for the sample warp.  So I have agreed to do some extra work and use both of the greens in the warp so that she can see exactly how they will work in the cloth.  I'm gambling hard that this relationship is going to mature into something that will benefit both of us, and that she will come to trust my colour choices in terms of what she is telling me she wants.  But it's a gamble and a risk for her, too, to work with the weaver and not just buy something already made that she likes.  Working with the thread, she doesn't have the foundation of knowledge in terms of weaving to be really confident that she is going to get what she wants.  So, I am making the sample warp in such a way that she will be able to see the colours as they will look once they are woven.

I also need to place an order with Silk City for more Bambu 7 and 12.  They were out of stock of some of the fine #12 colours on my last order so I'm hoping they are in inventory now.  The new 'scarves' went over quite well - I sold about half of what I'd managed to get made in time for the shows.  In terms of price points, that is huge acceptance and I'm going to go ahead and make more for next year.  But I need a better, larger, colour selection as I only managed to get 5 different colours made up - and no blue as such.  But the dyer doesn't seem to have dyed any actual blue, just the teal blue/green that I started with.  However, I can get around that by using the really dark navy blue as the base for the variegated yarns.

But I really want to get the orders in today and hope that the yarns don't get too bogged down in the Christmas mail rush.....

Currently reading Cold Case by Kate Wilhelm.  I just found out that her new Barbara Holloway title is only available in audio or ebook formats.  I may be forced to buy the ebook version for my iPad.  Then I'll have it to read on my trip in Jan/Feb....

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Last Day

Fluffed this morning because we had a good day yesterday and some lines are getting thin.

The colours in this photo are not true to life so eveything looks kind of washed out and more yellow than in real life. You will have to take my word that my stuff looks nicer than the photo!

I am very low on blue scarves and nearly out of chenille so it is quite obvious what I need to concentrate on as soon as I can fit scarves into my schedule.

Doug has been talking to other vendors about other shows but I am going to need convincing to book a show far away in December due to weather concerns and such short days.....
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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Defining Success

I am currently finishing up Waging Heavy Peace by Neil Young and came across a passage I will paraphrase (mainly because I can't find the page to make a proper quote).

If you have a lot of money that doesn't make you a success.  That just makes you rich.

Since most North Americans define how successful you are by how much money you have, this observation may need some reflection.

I had to come to grips with how I defined success a number of years ago.  People would comment to me that I must be successful.  My gut reaction was generally - and privately - to wonder why, if I was so successful, so poor.  As in lacking money.

I went through quite a bad patch for a while until I finally realized that money, having it or not, was just one way to measure success.

Being at craft shows in the company of other like minded people got me thinking about why I do what I do.  Ultimately the answer is that I can't NOT weave.  Today I mentioned to someone that I had bought a Margaret lever loom as my 'retirement' loom and she laughed and said something along the line that when I retired from weaving I was going to be weaving?  I said that when your life is all about doing something you love, why would you stop?  She agreed that that made perfectly good sense....

When they write my epithet, if they say I loved to weave and pursued my love with passion, then I think I will consider that my life was lived well and that I was a success.

Friday, November 16, 2012


There are many decisions to be made when you begin to try to sell your hand made items.

The first one is which show(s) to do.  I was very lucky as I chose weaving during the 70's when a whole lot of my generation were actively pursuing sustainable living and hand crafted items.  Many of the now established and respected craft fairs were just starting out, too.  Now the flavour of craft fairs is changing and it is harder, I think, for new craftspeople to get started.  The division between bazaar type shows and high quality shows is much greater in terms of space costs, making the leap into the 'big' time a much greater financial risk.

It also seems to me that younger people are not pursuing the older crafts such as weaving or pottery and the type of product is changing.  What I am seeing more of at shows are consumables - food and personal care products.

This change makes perfect sense because a great deal of the feedback I have been receiving the past few years is "I am not buying more 'stuff'; I am only buying consumables."

What this means for the 'traditional' crafts person (IMHO) is a market that is going to be harder and harder in which to earn an income.  And it was hard enough already!

Craftspeople are going to have to get very creative about bringing new products to the market.  It is going to be very interesting to see if the new generation can be enticed into considering unique traditionally produced products or if they will only be interested in the consumables and mass produced technology.

We are also pondering whether or not the greater visibility of a corner booth would actually improve sales enough to justify the additional expenses....

Currently reading Waging Heavy Peace by Neil Young

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Art Market

Well the doors are open and customers are looking. Hopefully they will buy. :)

Not sure I am happy with my display so will likely continue to fluff for the rest of the show.
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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Road Trips

One thing about travelling to do these two craft fairs is that Doug is doing the majority of the driving so I have lots of time to doze....and think.

While I try to stay in the now as much as possible, there is no denying that life requires a certain amount of forward planning.   And optimism.

The week we get home from Calgary is packed with appointments and commitments, including my next Rituximab treatment, which effectively wipes out two mornings.  Friday we head south to Williams Lake for another craft fair, one I've not done before.  I only got in because one of their local weavers had to cancel at nearly the last minute.  I am not sure the people will buy because my prices are on the higher side, but the show fees are not too high so overall costs are lower.  And this past week gasoline prices have dropped so that helps, too.

The following weekend is the local sale where I will discount any orphans (discontinued lines) and have yarns and rovings, as well.  Last night I learned about a pop up sale on the 15th of December, so I've emailed asking about participating in that, too.  I may just do yarns for that, but since there is a yarn shop in the building, perhaps textiles would be best.  I could just bring the two scarf racks and maybe some tea towels as they are selling 'tables' not booth spaces.

In between all that I have to clear the last of the red warp off the AVL, order in more yarn for the designer and weave fabric for approval before the new year, getting the first 'sample' cloth to her before I leave for North Carolina.

Not to mention finalize trip plans, ship yarns and workshop instructions for three, possibly four workshops (I allow one day per workshop).  One more guild inquired about filling in part of the week between Nashville and Memphis.

Do you see anywhere in that list a week to crash and regenerate?

Ah, the busy life of the itinerant weaver!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Calgary Bound

Just approaching the Rockies the low cloud cover (fog) lifted and we got a good look at the mountains.

The drive wasn't horrible given the time of year although it was full dark by the time we got to Calgary.  The days are so short and getting shorter.

It looked like we got a pale display of northern lights as we approached the city.

Tomorrow we have a few things to take care of, such as getting the van washed.  The slushy roads have left it filthy with dirt and we will get filthy trying to unload it.  I will also do some hand laundry.  We have a late loading dock time so it is going to be a late night with an early morning Thursday.

Canada Hwy 1

Just leaving Kamloops where we stayed over night.

Kamloops is located in a very arid part of the province and has a kind of stark beauty in the winter. Not sure if the twill lines in the hills show very well in this photo.

We will soon be into the Rocky Mountains.
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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Another Year, Another Sale

Circle Craft is over for another year.  In the end it went well enough that we will likely return next year.  The show, which encompasses Remembrance Day, will run Thursday to Monday next year.  I don't know if that is A Good Thing or not.  Guess we will find out.

Today I joined the shoppers.  With it being Sunday and Remembrance Day I knew the first two hours would be slow and it was.  When the crafts person gets bored, she goes shopping!

I got a small gift for Doug and some lavender personal care products for my mom.  I don't think she can do her long luxurious baths anymore, but some nice hand made soaps and a bottle of body lotion should be a bit of a treat, I hope.

A vendor wanted to trade so I wound up with a new ring.  A couple of years ago I forced my wedding band off before it had to be cut off.  It was a ring made by my father from a fifty cent piece and the jeweller Doug took it to about resizing said he could not do it.  So, now I have a new wedding band.  I probably won't wear it except for 'good' as it has some texture and I worry about it catching on the threads.  :/

Another vendor also asked to trade so I got a big handful of notecards.

Lastly I bought a new coat.  The gal was from Montreal and it was her first time at Circle Craft.  It is technically a rain coat but it also has some ability to cut the wind as well as rain so should make a good spring/autumn coat.  It is reversible, so really I got two coats for the price of one.  :). And I can retire the polar fleece coat I don't like.

The show ended at five and by 8:30 or so we were driving out of the hall...into the Vancouver November rain.

Next stop...somewhere on Hwy 1, en route to Calgary.   Well, we will stop and visit with one of Doug's nieces on the way out of the Lower Mainland.  We have two and a half days to get to Calgary and we are in no particular rush.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Elastic Time

I know that time is elastic...all the time that is lacking in the weeks leading up to a show snap back during the show....

This morning was painfully slow.  Depressingly slow.  The crowds did not materialize, no doubt due to the crisp but sunny day.  Who wants to be cooped up inside on what might be the last glorious day of autumn?

Finally sales started to pick up and in the end, partly due to other vendors shopping, partly due to some serious Christmas shopping going on, the day is ending on a good note.

But those hours until the ice broke and sales started happening were extremely difficult.  It is essential to keep smiling and keep the faith.  Easier said than done at times but absolutely necessary!

Currently reading Into the Woods by Kim Harrison

Friday, November 9, 2012

Display thoughts

Learning what works in terms of display is a process. This is what works for me....

Textiles should be displayed hanging and where ever possble, draped.

I colour group but try to have points of contrast. The eye should flow but also be encouraged to stop and rest here and there.

I don't like my textiles to look like the bargain bin but neither do I want them too regimented. People should feel able to touch and try on.

A mirror is essential for things meant to be worn.

Everything is priced. (If you have to ask you probably can't afford it.)

Good lights are essential or my colours look dull and dead.
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Hump Day

Tomorrow is hump day - the middle of the five day show here in Vancouver.   We are tired already with three more days to go, but Saturday and Sunday are shorter hours.  Well, shorter public hours.  Sunday we will tear down at 5 pm, load the van and hope for a good nights sleep before we hit the highway Monday.  The good thing is that we have two days in which to travel so we don't have to hit the highway at the crack of dawn.  While the weather has been great the last couple of days, it won't last much longer.  It is, after all, November.

Today was busier than yesterday and the compliments have been nice.  One thing about doing a show of this calibre, if there is sticker shock it is generally not voiced.  :}  Or at least, not directly to the artist.

But this is the most expensive of the shows that we do.  By the time we add up the booth fee, gas, wear and tear on the vehicle, hotel room and eating out, we are hoping hump day will also finish covering the show expenses.

The designer came today and we were able to sort out a few things.  She has placed a small sample order and indicated that she has three more designs that she would like woven up.  I won't make a whole lot of money on these sample warps as the stripe sequences are complex and not likely to fit comfortably into the one inch sectional, requiring some fancy footwork, so to speak, to wind the warp.  I will work on the number crunching as best I can during the show and hope to be able to order the yarn as soon as I get home.  She will need the cloth very soon, so I have to get it done before I start travelling in January.   Once the details are worked out, future warps can be beamed using the notes and should go on smoothly.   One hopes.

What I have learned is that the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry....

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A view of the booth

A view of the booth. We may move the mirror in front of thw walk through.
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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Circle Craft

I had hoped to post photos of my new booth set up but I can't figure out how to get them onto my blog.  If I can work it out I will do that at some point.

Normally I prefer a corner booth but the booth fees at this show are quite steep and I am leery about spending the extra money.  So we are in the middle of an aisle.  Since we need access to the storage behind our booth we rearranged the usual format.  Unfortunately that means we have less linear feet.  But I think it worked well anyway.

By having a walk through at the back of the booth, we have a physical separation between the two different types of textiles - scarves and shawls on one side, the table textiles on the other.

It took longer to set up because we are also using under the shelf lighting and it takes longer to install.  But especially with the aisle position, it is really necessary.

We will adjust the overhead lights tomorrow when the hall lights are off and we can see more clearly where the dark spots are.

If you are on Facebook, I was able to post a couple of photos to my timeline.

Currently reading Beautiful Mystery by Louis Penny.  It sounds like her next one is nearing completion. :)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Trimmed and Tidy

red scarf ready for tagging; blue scarf to be trimmed and then tagged

Doug has been manning the booth to let me come home and work on fringe twisting some of the last rayon chenille scarves that needed to be finished.

It's a good idea to fringe twist rayon chenille because if you don't the loose threads can disintegrate.  When I first started making rayon chenille scarves, I really didn't like the way the wispy bits hung on to the end of the fringe below the knots so I started trimming those off.

It's personal preference, but I feel that trimming that bit of fluff off the ends make the scarves look tidier.  The colours of these scarves are pretty dark so you might not be able to see them clearly....

Of course you don't have to protect the fringes in any way at all but leaving an unprotected fringe on a rayon textile will allow the yarn to gradually melt away.

I also don't like loose fringe because the individual threads tend to tangle and look messy - not an attractive look for an expensive scarf, imho....

Studio Fair is a higher end fair than the one at the University, at which there was a certain amount of sticker shock (shock at my prices, I mean).  There may be the same level of shock at this show, but fewer people voice their dismay.  :)  What I am hearing though, is that people are only buying consumables - they have enough 'stuff' and don't want to add to it.  Buying food or personal care products they can justify.  Of course lots of people here already have one or more of my scarves, placemats, etc - market saturation at work.

On Friday I had both the flu and the pneumonia jabs - with my being out of town/busy for the next 3 weeks, there wasn't time to space them out.  The pneumonia jab is actually giving me more trouble than the flu shot - my arm is aching something fierce (they put one jab in each arm).  I tried weaving a bit and it just wasn't comfortable - but I did get one more sample ready for the designer to see next week.  I'm still out by 1/4 of an inch in terms of the targeted width, but that will be easy to fix.

Tomorrow is the last day of Studio Fair so we'll tear down and eat dinner out (we've been cleaning out the fridge and there's almost nothing left!) then come home to pack, ready to hit the highway Monday morning as soon as we possibly can get ourselves into the van.  And hope for good driving conditions.  Historically it rains/snows the week following this craft fair.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Studio Fair Opens!

A very quick peek via my cell phone camera at the booth just before the doors opened.  I always ask for a corner booth at this show as I feel it gives people a much better look at my stuff but bigger shows are so expensive I only get an aisle booth there.  I much prefer the openness of the corner booth but my budget is limited so we make do with the closed in (so to speak) U shape.

Shows of this calibre in large cities can be very spendy (as a friend says) and travelling long distances, staying in big city hotels with big city rates, the cost of gas and meals while travelling - well, belts get tightened and 'sacrifices' have to be made.

In Vancouver we will have a room with a kitchenette and will therefore make and bring bag lunches.  I can't remember if Doug said we have the same in Calgary.  With my food allergies, making and bringing my own food just makes sense, anyway.

The good news?  I got a sale first thing.  Now keeping fingers crossed that trend continues!

(scarves and shawls on the one wall, tea towels, table runners and placemats along the other wall, along with the cash/sales area)

Judith MacKenzie

What does A Good Yarn: Cotton have to do with Judith MacKenzie?   It's a bit of a long story, so grab a cuppa and listen....

I have known about Judith MacKenzie almost since I began weaving in 1975.  She was already well known in the weaving world and highly respected for her knowledge and giving nature but it was many years before I actually met her.

Judith is known the (textile) world over as an expert in spinning, weaving and dyeing.  She has devoted her life to the study and practice of the textile arts.  She generously gives of her time and expertise, teaching all over North America and beyond.

On Monday Oct. 29, the arts studio where Judith was resident artist burned to the ground with all of the studio contents.  Needless to say, there is a great deal that cannot be replaced - a lifetime of collecting textiles cannot be counted in terms of a dollar value.

Friends of Judith's have begun a fund raising campaign to try to replace what can be.  You can find out more information here.

To try to help just a tiny bit I have donated a copy of A Good Yarn: Cotton to the fund raising auction which will begin later this month.  There is also a donation button so that people can give directly.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Ready or Not

I intended to take a quick photo of the booth with my cell phone before leaving the hall today, but I forgot.  I've got a really good booth placement - it's practically the first booth one sees as you enter the room.  Well, it can be good - it can be 'bad' depending on how clogged the door gets.  If the attendance is really high, there can be a real log jam at the door and then people clump up and tend to fill the booths right at the door just because there are so many bodies.  So, we'll see.

But ready or not, the show opens at 10 am tomorrow.  We have to be in our booths by 9 as there is an hour of 'big wig' schmoozing before the public hours begin.  In all the years I've done this show I have only ever once sold anything during this first hour so generally I use the time to primp and fluff.

I still have two more scarves to press, trim, tag and a small stack of rayon chenille scarves to fringe twist and wet finish/tag before Sunday.  The good news is that the info I sent to Handwoven already was sufficient - I didn't have to fill out the 2nd form after all.  Whew!

As for inventory - I've got lots.  Where on earth did all those tea towels come from?  Surely I didn't make that many this year?  Well, no I didn't.  Some of them came back from Seattle with us, some had been stuck in a corner in a bin and forgotten until we started rooting through the store room.  One thing about destashing as much as I have done the last couple of years is that I don't have anywhere near as many boxes stacked up and I can actually find stuff now.

At any rate, no worries about having sufficient inventory for the 4 shows.

I took a look at the calendar and rather than having 10 days between Calgary and Williams Lake, they are back to back weekends with all sorts of appointments and committments during that week in between.  So, no rest for the weary.  By the time I get back from Williams Lake I will have to contact the organizers of the Jan/Feb trip and nail down details, send out drafts and warp yarns for those that need them.  Fortunately there are only 3 - Magic in the Water at John C. Campbell Folkschool, Nashville and Memphis, TN.

My week to 'crash' may not materialize as the designer in Vancouver seems quite pleased with the quality of cloth I sent and if she places an order I am going to be scrambling.  I still have to weave one more small sample, hopefully tonight or tomorrow, wet finish and pack it to show her next week.

Which is somewhat reassuring because the first 3 shows of the season have not been great for income and having some guaranteed income from a wholesale order will help in the new year.

So - ready or not, here we go!