Saturday, November 21, 2009

Weaving & selling

Here's the one and only photo of me & my booth at the Downtown Arts Market last month. You can clearly see two things: it was very windy, and I didn't have much to sell. The only reason I had such a big space was that I couldn't figure out how to display the scarves except by hanging them from the canopy, which we already had. Dunno if you can tell, but in the back two corners I had skeins of handspun yarn hanging from poles; I didn't really want to sell it but I needed it to beef up my display! So I priced it very high & no one bought it.

The two scarves that sold are actually on the same hanger, in the right corner of the photo. One is a tiny pale blue undulating twill in wool & silk, and the other is a longer one in jade green & pale blue, wool & alpaca in a tiny zigzagging twill. Unfortunately this is the only picture I seem to have taken of it. But here are a couple of the undulating twill:

This is it on the loom -- you can see how open the fabric was.

This is the fabric after wet finishing. It closed up a lot, much more than I expected, in fact. The warp was a stretchy wool knitting yarn, and the weft was a handspun silk single. The finished scarf was only 4.5 inches wide, and curved due to tension problems. I really didn't expect it to sell. But it was so soft & the colors so pearly, I really liked it.

This is an unflattering picture on my nondescript carpet. I need to work on presentation, huh? I managed to convince myself that the curvature made it more organically shaped, more suited to a human body! The woman who bought it wrapped it around her neck a couple of times with no tails left to hang down; it looked great.

The scarf that got the most attention was the odd bumpy caramel & jade one just to my left.

Lots & lots of people looked at it, talked about it, even took pictures of it. But no one bought it -- probably because the colors are so odd & also it's a little short. I intend to make more like it, but better, before the next art fair.

Yes, the next one. I decided I might as well do the December fair. But I also realized that instead of weaving as many scarves as possible, I needed to diversify. The market was very slow, but the things that sold were mostly smaller items. I had no smaller items, which was a problem.

So I cast around for things I might like to weave & hope to sell. So far I have made two batches of inkle bookmarks, and am working on some funky little Christmas trees for ornaments, based on a description I found in one of Harriet Tidball's old monographs (Merry Christmas, Handweavers). I am hoping they will be charming and retro instead of kitschy and weird. Of course I warped up enough to make about 150 before I will actually get to see a finished one off the loom, so I hope I am right! There's a lot more figuring-out during the weaving process than I expected, but it's still going pretty fast. My biggest problem right now is finding enough scrap fabric to weave into the fringe between the rows of trees. Oh, and I would have been a lot better off if I hadn't insisted on warping the full width of the loom. My baby wolf is so narrow that I always want to get as close to the full width as I can, but everything seems to work so much better at 22 inches wide than at 24 inches wide. Supposedly you can weave 26 inches wide on one but I am not capable of that, at least not yet.

There are three more weeks before the next fair, which is also the last of the year. Those weeks do include Thanksgiving, with out of town company, and a potluck which we host the first week of December, and the ongoing remodeling and of course regular old daily life. But I think I can get some these little trees woven, and some more inkle bookmarks, and some overshot for lavender sachets, and maybe even a few more scarves. Wish me luck!


Caroline M said...

Mug rugs? I saw a stall recently with sheer silk scarves, she'd bought them undyed and dyed them. Fast and pretty which might be what you need.

Have you thought about a clothes airer? They are freestanding (although probably would have blown over in that wind) and lower.

taueret said...

I'm going to make some kanzashi with small bits of handwoven. They make really nice brooches/hair things... but they probably take more time and fuss to make than actually weaving something. They are small tho. Good on you for doing the market!

Anonymous said...

I love the caramel and jade color combination! I would never have thought to put the two together and now it's tickling my brain with new projects! Brilliant!