Free Motion Quilting

Ooh it was an exciting day yesterday!  Of course it was the Dr Who 50th Birthday show but I was also on a free motion quilting course!  I had a lovely day learning how to free motion quilt (it’s not easy!).  Basically it sounds great – no keeping to straight lines – you can just wibbly wobbly all over the place – but actually that’s quite hard to do evenly!  Anyway I am now a lot better than before I went and so hope to be doing lots of quilted items with this free motion style of quilting in the future.  Here is one thing we did learning how to do different types of stippling!  – some loose threads there as this was just a first practice!

cream fabric with self coloured stippling



As well as the course I was also getting ready for my first big fair in 3 weeks!  The passes came on Friday!  I was so excited!

exhibitor pass for Handmade Christmas at the 02

exhibitor passes

And lastly, I have been working with my ‘hippy’ fabric – I have loved every minute of it as I  really am just an old hippy!!  These would be great for free motion quilting I think – swirly hippy psychedelic patterns!! (more loose threads as these are not finished off yet).

tablet covers in psychedelic hippy fabric

hippy fabric bags and tablet covers

And now over to Handmade Monday!  I love my Sunday evening stroll round the blogs!





Labelling Handmade Goods

Well I’m on countdown to chrimbo now!  The Handmade fair that is, not the actual feast day on the 25th!  I have table runners, lap quilts, bunting etc all over the craft room and woolly granny squares all round the living room!  I am really looking forward now to seeing what sells and what may not,  as several Handmade Monday people have said before, you can get a good idea of what people think about your stuff when you are selling in person.

Next week I have to attend to label making and pricing!  All the traders have recently been contacted by Trading Standards in London to alert us to what we need to have in place on our stall and on our paperwork and on our goods.  If anyone isn’t aware of what complying with Trading Standards entails in terms of labelling handmade goods and documentation needed etc I would suggest you research the TS website or contact your local branch as you may be surprised to find all you need to do!  For my  items I have to label them with the type and % used of every textile included unless it’s a decoration amounting to 7% or less of the finished item.  Any jewellery sold has to have proof that the parts you bought were sold (and had been tested) in line with nickel regulations – this means asking the supplier for a statement of compliance.  I wonder how many jewellery sellers at the forthcoming 02 fair have all the supporting evidence in place already?  I suppose all sellers  should already know these things but if you only occasionally trade at little craft fairs this is never brought up when booking a stall and I have never traded at a large event before.  Even our table cover must be made from flame retardant material, so no use getting out the big sheet I have used at smaller events!

So that’s my work next week – labelling my handmade goods and also preparing receipts in advance as these have to be issued to every customer and need my name and address printed on them. This has been a big undertaking for me  –  I wonder if I will find it all worth it?  – I will let you know in December!

Making Beanies (and too many other things!)

Like so many of you, I suffer from TMPOTG!  (Too Many Projects On The Go!!)  Trouble is, the more blogs I find and tutorials I read, the more I want to do!  Now I’m investigating cross stitch as well as too many other things!

I am making lots of things for the O2 Handmade Market I really am, and this should be enough – what with sorting out labelling, pricing, and the display as well.  But no, I’ve only got to go and get some Aida and embroidery threads and plan out a nice little xmas crosstitch as well! Oh and then that led to thinking about machine embroidery which I used on the advent calendar I showed last week – where else could I use this new found stitch??  And so on it goes – mind a whirl with possibilities, dreaming of new things to  learn about and make.

At least I have managed to finish two Beanies this week – one with Sirdar Crofter which is Acrylic/Cotton/Wool mix and one with Knitcol 100% pure wool.  The Sirdar is quite lightweight to use and ideal for a lightweight hat.  I love the Knitcol wool – it feels nice to work with and the variegated colours go very well together once it’s knitted up.

beanie using Crofter doubleknit varigated wool

Beanie with Crofter Wool

Beanie using variagated Knitcol wool

Crochet Beanie with fluted edge


I bought this knitcol wool whilst on a visit to Wells but somehow lost the label after taking the wool out to feel/stroke/admire long before I planned to use it.  Once it was knitted up I really wanted some more but had no idea what it was and how to get it.  However I hit upon the idea of a virtual travel and shopping trip round Wells using google maps.  It actually worked!  I went up and down roads I remembered us walking along till I found the little well stocked vintage style shop in a courtyard.  Amazingly I was able to enter the shop – something you can’t do in lots of other places – and I ‘walked’ up to the counter and spotted the same wool!  It’s a fantastic and  weird  experience going into the shop again but sitting in my chair 100s miles away!

So the end result is I found the name of the wool and researched it online to get the best price 🙂  and am now stocked up again!  Tonight I will be comfortably curled up on the couch with a glass of wine, the next Beanie on the hook and a little virtual stroll round the blogs of the friendly peeps at the Handmade Harbour! Cheers! 🙂


Christmas Market Makes

Managed to make a few more things towards the Handmade Christmas Market at the 02 this week.  It’s getting near now and I am very excited!

Patchwork Tote in Scrappy fabrics with matching fabric handles

Patchwork Tote Bag

Christmas Table Runner using Joy and Peace fabric

Christmas Table Runner!

Christmas Countdown Calendar - the little present pockets

Alternative Advent Calendar!

This patchwork bag was based on the tutorial at Sew Mama Sew.  I used much tinier scrap pieces in mine and made the fabric handles instead of using webbing.  However I have now managed to get some and so the next ones will have cream cotton handles.










This is a Christmas table runner in lovely thick white fabric with ‘Joy’ and ‘Peace’ and ‘Love’ printed on it as well as snowflakes and reindeer!  It’s padded and backed in red but not quilted.










This is the start of an alternative type of advent calendar.  I am cutting up Christmas fabric into little squares and sewing them onto a plain cream background to make 7 little pockets which can hold 7 little presents for the 7 days leading up to Christmas.  My mum did something similar for us as children and I have continued it with my grandchildren too so I thought it might make a good sell at the Christmas market!


The next task now is pricing!  I hate this part – I have read loads of articles and books on the ‘art (science?) of pricing’ and yet the main feeling I have is – all this is no good if items don’t sell – the pricing needs to fit the situation as well.  Shop prices are somewhat higher in London than the provinces – but does this apply to handmade craft fairs or has the boom in online sales evened out the regional differences?    Another quandary is, I imagine over a 3 day event sellers are expected to hold back stock to ensure enough is for sale on the last day, but how to do this without ending up with unsold items at the end?  I would appreciate some advice on what others have done if anyone has exhibited at an event longer than one day.

Maybe the Handmade Mondayers can help?  I’m linking up at Handmade Harbour again for a lovely evening’s blog reading and maybe some helpful advice?!!