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. Our partnership with Magic of Christmas enable us to reach even farther into our local community. In exchange for storage space for our sale props, unsold inventory is donated to be distributed as part of their annual Christmas campaign. This is a perfect partnership. It is a privilege to also have a positive impact on our own community.
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 email@example.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 2022 and WHAT to MAKE for 2023
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
Standard rectangular scarves
Medium to large shawls
Fashion cowls knit with fine, soft yarn
Less expensive items
Items that did not list the fibre content
Spring and summer colours, pastels, and beige items
THINGS TO CONSIDER:
Use good quality yarn
List the fibre content as well as care instructions
A purple shawl for a Red Hatter. If you like to knit purple (or red) we could have a Red Hat section at the October 2023 sale.
Heads, Fingers, Knees and Toes
Sewn mittens: 100% sold. These were sewn mittens made with up-cycled felted fabric from sweaters etc — known to us as Maggie’s Mittens and skillfully sewn by many makers. All were well made and the only limiting factor was size and color.
Fingerless Mitts: 90% (17 pairs) sold. Colorwork, textured stitches and unusual or attractive design elements sold for $25-$35 and sold out early in the sale. The tube type with a hole for thumb and unstructured styles were not as popular with buyers and did not sell as well.
Knitted mittens 64% sold. Warmth and attractiveness were factors in what sold. Stranded colorwork (eg Saltwater or Selbu type), felted, thrummed, and lined mittens sell for higher prices. Well-made plain mittens with natural fibers and tight gauge also sold well at slightly lower prices. Mittens made from unidentified or acrylic content and those with fitting issues or very loose gauge did not attract the buyers.
Socks: 51% sold. Sales benefit from having a variety of styles and sizes. Most of our socks were in the middle range of size and customers were looking for both smaller and larger sizes. Color and design elements attract buyers—unsold socks are generally because of size, style, or color. If you love making socks, they are an important part of the inventory and are a welcome donation.
Slippers: Fit can be more of an issue with slippers. Dorm boot or sock slippers which have ribbed cuffs are attractive to buyers because they stay on even when the fit is a bit loose. Felted and thrummed slippers will sell but may take longer to find the right customer through no fault of their own.
Hats: 37% sold. Hats were the top money maker as the majority of sold for $30 – $60. Interestingly, 50% of inventory was priced under $30 and 50% was priced between $30 and $60. The highest priced hats included Shetland tammies, brioche, colorwork, newsboy caps, cloches, tams, berets, entrelac etc. Although natural fiber content was a factor, it was less important than it is for mittens and socks. Stylish hats made with quality acrylic or wool acrylic blends also sold well at the higher prices. Hats made from acrylic or unidentified fiber content or with fitting issues, did not attract the buyers. These were among the large number of simple hats that did not find a buyer. A simple suggestion regarding hats is to make hats that you, your family, or your friends would be excited to wear and that you are excited to knit.
Clothing Items: 40% sold. This section included vests, shrugs, cardigans and tunic tops. Clothing that has a wider sizing range (one size fits many) has a better chance of finding a buyer. But other items are welcome as this is a category that is more likely to have items held back for another sale in order to find a buyer. We have sold quite a few items that skipped a year, re-entered the sale and found a buyer.
If you just love to knit/crochet all things and want to know what will benefit the most in terms of proceeds the ranking order experienced previously would be:
2. Mittens (full and fingerless)
On the whole, a very good result, with a lot of product sold!
We found that microwave bowl cosies, ‘rope bowls’, mug rugs, place mats and similar items continue to sell pretty readily, and especially when made with more current (or timeless/classic) fabrics.
Slow sellers tend to be items that are meant to be more decorative than functional. (Tea cup pincushions, etc).
No particular customer requests come to mind, but items in short supply were oven mitts, yoga mat bags, and small items (tissue pouches, mask pouches, jar grippers, etc, that sell readily for $5 and under).
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.
Consider creating sets of things that coordinate (microwave bowl with matching placemat for example ) present very well to our customers.
large felted trees
aprons – adults and children
All of the Hallowe’en items
THINGS TO CONSIDER:
Items with colourful fabrics sell best.
Don’t make more than 5 or 6 of an item unless they have sold well in the past.
Please use small tags if you are making Christmas decorations.
Small knitted animals
Knitted bowling sets
Books in a bag
Small baby blankets with attached knitted animals
Kids stretch knit yoga pants
Stretch knit t-shirts
Knitted children sweaters
Tooth fairy pillows
Letter and number bags
Medium size receiving blankets
THINGS TO CONSIDER:
More sewn articles of clothing than knitted ones
Sandra Burgess Judy McCrea
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
Shoulder bags and crossbody bags
Projects bags for handcrafts
Small pouches with machine embroidery – golf, first aid, notions
All sizes of pouches for organizing
Clutches (bags with wrist strap)
Stitching project bags with vinyl front
Pouches for kids with washable lining for crayons, toys, travel
SLIPs in solid black
THINGS TO CONSIDER:
Straps and tabs need to be strong and securely attached
Choose fabrics that are durable
Use adhesive to ensure hardware stays in place
Check to see that zippers work smoothly and adjustable straps adjust
Ensure that all pocket bottoms have been sewed shut
Jewelry sold well this year – nearly all the new product sold as well as a lot from last year
The hot items this year were crocheted beaded necklaces and bracelets.
People ask for coordinating items such as earring, necklace and bracelets but do not seem to purchase them if they are in a set. They seem to prefer picking out coordinates. Better to label them separately.
THINGS TO CONSIDER:
If our makers know what the metal in earrings is, please label them accordingly. That is one of our most asked questions.
Earring could include a few that are clip on as that is not being filled
If makers can make 2 or three of each, then our customers like to choose between them. Not all identical but various lengths that can mix and match.
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.
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
These newsletters contain patterns, pattern suggestions, links to resources, and other interesting reading,