Over the years I've tried out various crafts and have amassed a huge stash of fabric, buttons, beads and the like, so I thought I'd spend some time over the Christmas holiday period experimenting with new designs and using my sewing skills to produce some items using applique, patchwork and embroidery techniques.
As a bit of a change from the usual Bliss Knits range of knitted and crocheted accessories, I was really keen to see if anyone would be interested in these new textile products. I even designed some new display props to show the brooches and fridge magnets off, which I think worked very well.
Crocheted corsages sold really well prior to Christmas so I made a few more for this fair; they are all one-of-a-kind items using differently textured yarns, buttons and beads. Great on bags, coats, scarves, hats, etc. for an individual, hand-crafted look.
These fabric brooches are part of my new range. Again, they are all unique - using padded layers of patterned and plain fabrics, with button and beads embellishments. This photo doesn't do them justice really - they look gorgeous in real life!
For a more fun and funky look, check out these brooches. The various shapes were cut out from fabric that I had previously dyed using marbling paints; they were then attached to the backing fabric using various embroidery stitches, with beads and extra stitching for added detail.
I also made some fridge magnets using the same designs.
As the fair was very quiet it gave us the chance to have longer chats with our fellow stall holders. They're a really nice bunch of people, always ready with advice and encouragement. This is Alan from Twisted Nature, modelling one of my cowls that he bought at the fair - even though we were under cover it was absolutely freezing cold. So, not only did Alan acquire a cosy and warm cowl, but he also received the honour of being my next 'model customer'!
Alan is an artist/illustrator who is inspired by the natural world. Check out his beautiful bird portraits and his humorous take on British wildlife at his website, Twisted Nature. Alan also undertakes private commissions for pet and people portraits, and corporate work for his wildlife images. Alan has exhibited his paintings all over the region, and his work has been featured in various publications including a monthly cartoon in the BBC Wildlife magazine. His prints, keyrings, bookmarks, etc. are sold in various local venues as well as through his website, and you can find him at the Grainger Market fair each month.
I really enjoy attending the craft fairs. It's great to get sales online but at the fairs you get to meet and chat with your customers. It's interesting to hear what the public has to say about what I sell - whether it's good or bad, it's all constructive and useful to know. And of course it's lovely to chat with the other stallholders too; finding out about their experiences with making and selling. In December I was lucky enough to meet a fellow Folksy seller, Natalie, aka Lissi. She bought one of my corsages and then commissioned me to do three more for Christmas gifts. It was lovely to chat to her about her work and life in general. Natalie produces gorgeous silk scarves, unusual necklaces and greetings cards, dyed using natural plant-based materials and recycled objects; each one is truly unique. Have a look at her website here to find out more.
Right, well, I'm off to do some knitting now - red cabled mittens, I think. After all the crochet and embroidery work that I've been doing lately I'm starting to get withdrawal symptoms!