RESOURCES FOR MAKERS

MAKING ITEMS FOR BB&B

One of the responsibilities of the handcraft committee is to maximize the efforts of the hand crafters.  Each year we evaluate what sold and what might potentially be a best seller for the next sale.  Custodians always take home a bit of inventory every year.  Some handcrafters retrieve unsold items (arrange this in advance with your custodian)  and the remaining  items are sorted, counted and stored for the next sale.  As a rule, items will appear in two sales. If an item remains unsold after the second appearance it is offered back to the maker or is donated to local charities. It is a privilege to also have a positive impact on our own community through local donations in kind.

GUIDELINES FOR TAGGING ITEMS

Product Custodians love it when items arrive with tags attached and filled in. It has to be done and who better to provide useful information than the creator?  Seems like a simple thing to put a tag on a handmade item but, as with most things, there is an element of art to it as well. So what makes a tag worth reading? Please, if you use a designer’s pattern, credit them somewhere on the tag.

Product tags are available at Ujamaa Grandma meetings and drop off days June through September. If you have a large number of items to be tagged, email us at handcrafts@ujamaagrandmas.com and we’ll get tags to you.

NAME THAT THING


It can be a load of fun to get together with a friend to make up names for those baby dolls, dinosaurs, hats, bracelets or felted slippers. We’ve heard customers at BB&B comment about a quirky name that added that little extra attraction.

WHO DUNNIT ?


Please add your initials, name or pseudonym (some of you have such cool alter egos). It is helpful if questions arise about the item. There is a perfect spot for your name in the space between HAND MADE BY and UJAMAA GRANDMAS.

HOW MUCH $


Don’t worry about pricing. Pricing committees will take care of this part just before the sale. However, if you have a bottom line for an item, include that in soft pencil and custodians will honour that price as a minimum. If the item does not sell at that price, you can take it back or custodians will store it and may adjust the price for the next sale.

WHATS IN IT?


Content and care for items such as wearables and Home Decor are very valuable to the customer. For knits, include the yarn label if you have it.

DOES SIZE REALLY MATTER?


Well, yes, sometimes it does. So, when it does, please be sure to include that info.

And finally, ATTACH IT (Gesundheit!) Use crochet cotton to make a string and thread the string through the tag and loop this through the item or use a small safety pin through the string. Please, no straight pins; they stick the custodians and the customers or they fall out and the tag is lost. Tags pinned directly to the item can sometimes cause a tear or pulled stitch so string is always better. Crochet cotton works best of all. Ribbon tends to undo itself. Sadly, have been a small number of incidents where tags have been switched so be sure to secure that tag well to discourage this practice.

WHAT SOLD in 2023 and WHAT to MAKE for 2024

Custodians keep inventory of items donated and analyze the results of BB&B. They provide this feedback so makers can know how best to divert your talents.  Let this information guide what you make but, whatever you make, be certain that it is something that you enjoy making.

Shawls and Scarves

WHAT SELLS:

Please continue to knit what makes you happy. Customers seem to prefer the happy, brighter colours as these sell well.

THINGS TO CONSIDER:
Use good quality yarn.
List the fibre content as well as care instructions.
We need items knit with very good quality acrylic yarns, and that are labeled as acrylic fibre. Some customers prefer non-wool. Some of these alternative yarns can be very nice.

Heads, Fingers, Knees and Toes

Mittens Warmth (dense gauge, natural fibre, lined) and attractiveness (colourwork, cables, unique construction) are looked for by customers. There were requests for non wool mittens – lined acrylic mittens might be an option. Thirty pairs of mittens sold the first day and demand on the second day was high. The potential to sell mittens continues to be high.

Socks consistently sell at an average of 30 pair per sale and contribute significantly to the total sales. Customers are often looking for smaller or larger sizes – most of our inventory is in the middle shoe size – 7.5-9.5.  There is some demand for non-wool socks as well.

Hats  Warmth, colour and uniqueness are factors in hat sales. Well-made, unique or warm hats sell regardless of fibre content but luxury fibres may warrant a higher price. Beanies that do not cover the ears are generally poor sellers and unfortunately are not best charity offerings.

Home Decor

WHAT SELLS:
Microwave bowl cosies, including   sets. For instance, two sizes in matching fabrics, or a bowl cosy with coordinating place mat.
Mug rugs, coasters. Consider paper pieced, strong contrast, and interesting themes.
Rope bowls
Small items that will sell for $5-$10 are often purchased as hostess gifts.
Home decor items that coordinate with other home decor items. Purchasers like things that coordinate with other items. They may not purchase an entire set’ but they seem to be influenced by the possibility.

SLOWER SELLERS:
Items that featured obviously older fabrics-dull colours, pastels etc. are hard to sell.
Items that don’t have adequate quilting  and won’t  hold up to laundering. See notes below.

CUSTOMER REQUESTS:
Wine bottle gift bags which will typically sell for $8-12.
Sun glass cases made with batting, and appealing, current fabrics. Consider some oversized cases.
Small ‘gift size’ items such as zipped pouches, pincushion, coasters, pet-themed items.

THINGS TO CONSIDER:
As many of the items in this category may be expected to be washable/machine washable, we really must stress that items with batting in them, have sufficient quilting to ensure they survive that process in very good condition, or be labelled as ‘hand wash, dry clean’ etc.

Elaine Peek

Seasonal

WHAT SELLS:
Gnomes
Placemats
Stockings
Halloween Items
Decorations
Mug mats
Cloth books

SLOWER SELLERS:
Vests
Tree skirts
Advent Calendars
Wreaths
Cloth figures
Gift Tags

THINGS TO CONSIDER:
We had a tremendous number of gift bags in all sizes. Although we sold a lot of them there are quite a few left for next year.
Knitted gnomes are popular – cloth figures do not sell as well.
Small Halloween items sell well but large quilts and wall hangings are harder to sell.
Seasonally-themed placemats are always popular.

Children

WHAT SELLS:
Small knitted animals
Finger puppets
Knitted/crocheted toys
Sewn underwear
Leggings
T-shirts
Tooth fairy pillows
Quilts
Aprons

SLOW SELLERS:
Toques
Knitted children’s sweaters
Changing pads
PJ bottoms
Baby blankets

CUSTOMER REQUESTS:
Baby blankets in neutral colours
Crayon rolls
Letter and number bags
More underwear
More smaller toys

Judy McCrea, Sandra Burgess, Joyce Duncan

UJAMAA GRANDMAS CHILDREN’S ITEMS SAFETY GUIDELINES

This is a brief, unofficial summary of some of the safety requirements put out by Health Canada – Consumer Product Safety. These guidelines are intended as an aid to keep our creations as safe as possible for children.

  • Avoid cords, drawstrings, ribbons, etc. on children’s clothing and toys. Belts and ties must be securely stitched at the back of the garment.
  • No children’s scarves.
  • Eyes, noses, and decorations on children’s toys must be made with yarn, fabric, or non-toxic pen, and not with buttons or beads. (Even ‘safety eyes’ have been known to break.)
  • Toys must not contain plant seed (eg. beans, rice) as a stuffing material.
  • Any kind of fastener must be securely attached, with no sharp points exposed.
  • Avoid detachable small parts that could be swallowed.
  • Make sure crayons and other art materials are ‘non-toxic’.
  • Slippers should be leather-soled/non skid.
  • Always indicate on your label the type of textiles used, and if possible, include a yarn wrapper with knitted garments. This can be fastened to the Ujamaa Grandma tag.
  • Blankets should not have openings that small fingers can get into and tangled.

Purses and Bags

WHAT SELLS:
Crossbody bags
Projects bags for handcrafts
Backpacks of all sizes
All sizes of pouches for organizing

SLOWER SELLERS:
Clutches are not as popular with our buyers even when they have wrist straps.

CUSTOMER REQUESTS:
Eyeglass cases
Stitching project bags with vinyl front
Pouches for kids with washable lining for crayons, toys, travel

THINGS TO CONSIDER:
Straps and tabs need to be strong and securely attached
.
Choose fabrics that are durable or coat them with waterproofing.
Interface to give bags structure.
Use adhesive to ensure hardware stays in place.
Check to see that zippers work smoothly and adjustable straps adjust as they should.
Ensure that all pocket bottoms have been sewed shut.

Jewelry

This year we had less jewelry than in prior years. We got a lot of Halloween earrings, and they sold well, due to the proximity to Halloween. There were also many pairs with animals which also sold well.

We packaged some grab bags of previous inventory and they sold well.

Gift ware sold well. The turned mushrooms for sock darning were all purchased by the UG knitters so how they would have gone to the public is unknown. Would like to have 4 or so next year.

The mushrooms that had gnomes on them sold well (Just one left) and the Gnomes sold out.

Knitting bowls sold out. Things sold better if customers had a choice so  four or five of one item in different colours was always a good thing.

Next year, more gift items would be great. The wood worked items are always a hit.

Jean Drury

SEWING AND KNITTING PATTERNS and TIPS

Many workshops and demos have detailed handouts for reference. These notes can help you to hone old skills or pick up new. Files will open in a separate window and can be dowloaded.

April 2024 ideas. April Makers Magic

SEWING PATTERNS


MACHINE APPLIQUE DEMO DAY 2017 – Janet Barker
MICROWAVE BOWL COZY – Dawn Bolger NEW VERSION 2017
FREE MOTION QUILTING – Janet Barker, 2016 Demo Day
BUTCHER STYLE APRON – Dawn Bolger
CASSEROLE CARRIER 1 – bound version – Patty Cucman
CASSEROLE CARRIER 2 – sew and turn version – Dawn Bolger
CAFTAN TEMPLATES and MAKING CAFTANS– Minnie Joldersma
CUTE FABRIC BOX – With thanks to Seaside Stitches, modifications by Dawn Bolger
GIFT BAGS – Joyce Goddard
LITTLE GIRL’S CHARM SKIRT – Joyce Goddard
PLACEMATS MINI DEMO – Joyce Goddard, Dawn Bolger
QUICK CASSEROLE CARRIER (Or Baby Change Pad) – Janice Meeking
QUICK JACKET WORKSHOP NOTES – Patty Cucman

KNITTING PATTERNS AND TIPS


TAATTU DEMO DAY 2017 – Alice Campbell
RAVELRY SEARCH– Janice Meeking
BINDING OFF– Glenda Sweetland, Demo Day 2016
BLOCKING NOTES – Mary-Anna Louise Kovar, Demo Day 2016
BUTTON BOOT TOPPERS – Janice Meeking for UJAMAA GRANDMAS
CUTE LITTLE BABY HAT – Kelly Brittain
KNIT SCRUBBIES – Joyce Goddard
ORIGINAL SCRUBBIES – Barb Langois

ARCHIVED NEWSLETTERS

These newsletters contain patterns, pattern suggestions, links to resources, and other interesting reading,


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