That song, rendered in Bob Dylan’s nasally tone, has been running through my head lately. Before I get to explaining that statement, I’m going to tell a backstory. That’s my way. My stories don’t start at their natural beginning, there’s almost always something preceding them.
Every Wednesday morning I run with a small group of friends. In the interest of undoing all the good our running has done, we finish off the run by meeting for coffee and pastries at a local bakery. One morning someone noticed that the bakery, along with selling cinnamon rolls and lattes had set out a rack of handmade dresses, crafted by a local artisan sewer. Knowing that sewing is my business and my jam, one of my friends asked if I’d ever thought about doing something similar. I responded by boldly stating, “ There’s no money in finished items.”
I added that folks are reluctant to pay what a handmade item is worth and that our culture of cheap things both in terms of quality and cost was the impetus behind my decision to focus my business on supplies and design work.
That was a few years ago and, at the time, that was a financially sound decision for me. But, like the title and Bob say, “The times they are a changing.”
I don’t know if they are changing in the direction of more demand for hand made finished goods, but I do know that the magazine I did a lot of my design work for, Modern Patchwork, closed its doors along with several other sewing/quilting publications. I know that the market is saturated with commercial fabric and, despite that, new collections are coming out ALL THE TIME.
I know that the quilting industry is pretty small so venturing into other arenas is probably a good idea.
Also, having been in this business for many years, I know the value of having multiple streams of income, some not even related to crafting, coming in.
So, over the past few weeks I’ve been working on a small collection of quilts, ranging in sizes from 22” square to about 40” square, most featuring commercial solids, though one has a few prints and even a few of my hand dyes. They’re all my designs, pieced and quilted by me. Most, if not all, will be the basis for future iterations as well as patterns and possibly workshops too.
They’ve all been added to my Etsy store and will be available in my website store on Monday. This being the holiday season, any quilt purchased between today and Thursday will be sent via USPS Priority Mail to ensures its arrival by Christmas.
I’ll still design, craft, and sell hand dyed and patterned fabric, partly because I really enjoy doing it and partly because it’s totally one-of-a-kind and enough people see the value in paying extra to create with truly special materials.
What I’m adding to my crafting practice and my store are beautiful (hopefully) finished pieces ready to be hung or otherwise enjoyed by others.