Last Thursday morning, I loaded my car and took the ferry to Whidbey Island to start the 3 day adventure that is Uncommon Threads, our annual sale of hand crafted items. As in years past, we held the sale at Greenbank Farms in the barn.
Finished items have to have at least 50% "interlacement" or applied surface design and be of high quality to pass our Standards Board. We also accept raw materials that have been altered, like prepared roving. Vendors have to be a Guild member to sell. Other than that, the playing field is wide open!
So what do we make and sell at this wonderful event? The majority of the items are handwoven, knitted, crocheted, felted, commercial cloth that has dyed, overdyed, shiboried. There is handspun yarn, roving for spinner and felters. We had scarves, hats, handwarmers, rugs, towels, table runners, tree ornaments, finished garments, ruanas, shawls, placemats, napkins, felted sheep and gnomes, jewelry, woven yardage, greeting cards, temari balls and more. There were over 3000 items brought in for the sale, and the variety was staggering!
I was the Inventory Chair for this year's sale. I had no idea how much work it entailed but very much loved it so I will be next year's Chair as well. While it was a lot of work, it also afforded me an early peek at what people would be bringing in beforehand, and that was fun.
Thursday morning was check-in. All of the vendors brought in their inventory and our team checked them in and passed them on to Set Up and Display. That team worked tirelessly for the next several hours to create the sales floor.
The doors opened at 10 am Friday, and by close at 7 pm, we were bushed! We reopened on Saturday at 10am and the last customer left the building at 3:10pm. Our team had a station in the barn loft and were tasked with updating vendor's inventory as their items sold. This was totally dependent on our terrific cashiering team removing inventory tags and routing to us for processing. There are bound to be misses in a manual system, but yesterday morning, the Cashier Chair and I resolved the last of the mismatches, sent our files off to the Treasurer, and checks can now be sent out to our vendors. The books are CLOSED!
I sold all of my blue and white pinwheel towels, but not the boucle scarf :(
However, I got feedback from one of our master weavers regarding my fringe. I'm going to rework that and give the scarf to my daughter. She really liked it.
Now to start planning for next year! Since the pinwheel towels sell so well, I am thinking of sticking with that, changing up the colors, maybe using borders, and trying the trick I read about that carries color changes through the interior of the towel. That still hurts my brain, but I have 11 months to figure it out and weave some lovely things to sell.