Sunday, March 11, 2012

71:365 Ramblings of a Fabric Shop Owner

Gosh, you guys, please excuse for the uber funky photos. Back when Sarah was pregnant with G., all of us who attended her baby shower made blocks for G. Sarah chose the bird fabric found in the center of each block. She also chose a few pieces of fabric, mainly from the Prince Charming collection, to create a sense of cohesion, though everyone was asked to add a few of their own fabrics if they wished to add a little zing. Then, I pieced the blocks together. Sarah's Mom and Sister made blocks a bit larger, so instead of cutting them down, I put them on the other side of the quilt - making it reversible. I then quilted the fabric with a zigzag pattern. 
Now comes the part when G. is born. Do you think the quilt was complete? Nope. So as I was focusing on it, and really wanted to complete it for him, I didn't spend a lot of time on the photos. I hope you can make out the pattern. I think it turned out quite nicely. 
Today, I am posting these photos because my day got away from me, my camera in the car, and my phone dead, so, no photos. Though if you can imagine, I spent the entire day at the cutting table, cutting fat quarters for next weekend's show, Voices in Cloth. I also dyed wool flannel. It is so pretty and so refreshingly different from dyeing yarn. 

In other news, I am on the lookout for independent quilt designers. If you have one (or more) you'd like to share, please do! 
As I've been getting ready for the upcoming fabric show, it dawned on me that I would really like to bundle fabrics, similar to my Pressed Seam Club.  Oh, and better yet, I would like to offer a pattern, or a collection of patterns, for customers to choose from, to go with their bundles.
I really don't buy fabric within a collection / colorway. Many times, as I sit with a rep, I choose the color which a print looks best in. So, we could have 2 bolts of this, and 2 bolts of that. I have wondered if this can of buying is going to bite me in the a**. Though, when trying to purchase an entire collection in a single colorway, it just doesn't sit well with me. So, I've decided screw it. Point being, when we look at bundling fabrics to sell with a pattern (typically by a fabric designer: Tula Pink, Denyse Schmidt, etc), we wouldn't have all of the fabrics in the collection and would need to sub. Plus, I would really like to encourage clients to think outside of the box and to find confidence in their own choices of fabric. While I love many designers who do design fabric, I would like to create fabric bundles from our collection of fabric (v. a line of fabric), and feel odd doing it with a pattern specifically made to go with a single collection of fabric. Instead, I thought it a good opportunity to work with independent designers, who may use an eclectic collection of fabrics. And those whose main interest perhaps is selling patterns rather than raw materials. 
It's amazing in the knitting world, how the shift from knitting designers working for a yarn company to publishing independently has influenced knitting trends. More times than not, when I came across patterns made for yarn companies, they were created to sell yarn, which makes sense, though sometimes, you just want to use a single skein. And now there are quite a few independent knitwear designers, knowing that the public is searching for such patterns, offering single skein projects. I've noticed when quilting patterns are released in conjunction with a line of fabric, the number of fabrics called for in a pattern can be extraordinary, for example Single Girl by Denyse Schmidt. Don't get me wrong, there is an aesthetic here, scrappy, flea market finds, takes a lot of different fabrics to make up that style. I guess it's just the fact that I really like to support people who have a vision or a perspective, and would like to see more quilting designers, design independently for profit. I think to cultivate more perspectives, creates a more interesting environment, and a clientele with greater diversity.

Here's another idea. Maybe you make quilts, maybe you would like to make a pattern. I would happily donate fabric support (read free fabric) if you would like to make a pattern, and sell it in our shop. Oh, and allow us to display your sample in our shop. What about this, if you wanted to teach, you could also teach a class on how to make your quilt. Please let me know if you are interested, or pass this along to anyone you might think would be interested.

Though prepping for shows is super stressful, I love how it makes me notice how things can be better or more thorough. It helps me to refine my own voice and perspective.

1 comment:

Lisa E said...

While I don't think she designs patterns for others, one of the most inspirational quilters I know is Elaine Poplin from You really should take a look at her gorgeous work.