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6″ (15.2 cm) strips of the full width of fabrics for quilting, versus fat quarters?

copied from julzcrafts.com

I started selling Art Gallery Fabrics, and other specialist designs, a couple of years ago, because they are so beautiful.  I don’t manage to get around to doing a lot of dressmaking these days, although at one time, I used to make most of my own clothes and hand sewn gifts for other people.  Some of the patterns I used are still in my sewing box, and occasionally I go thro’ them to sell on etsy, although finding them has got more difficult since I have moved!

Below are some of the more recent 100% cotton fabrics I have in stock, and there are some really lovely ones on back order, which I hope will arrive soon, and will put them up when they do.  I list some of these on etsy but I usually only show a small selection there.   To find the whole range of fabrics I currently stock, it’s best to come here to my new website – this link will take you to the fabric category page.

I also plan to make some quilts one of these days, and have been collecting equipment and instructions, but altho’ I brought my old sewing machine with me, I never seem to have the time!  Things are rather chaotic here, as there is so little space to work in – until I can finally make a few changes to the layout of the cottage.

The width of these fabrics are usually 45″ (114 cm), but some of them are wider, and I always offer a per metre price, AND a price for a 6″ (15 cm) strip of the full width of the fabric.  This is a useful and cheap way to get a sample of the fabric – priced at around £2.50 – and is big enough to use for adding contrast fabrics to clothes, AND, to be used as squares, triangles etc, for quilting projects.

Oddly enough, I don’t get many orders for these 6″ strips!  Quilters are familiar with fat quarters of fabric – ie: a square quarter of a metre – or whatever shape folding a metre into 4 gives you.  I find this an uneconomical way to sell fabric, as you have to cut into the length of the fabric to provide the fat quarter, and may not sell the other 3 pieces, whereas, if you order a 6″ strip, I can cut the whole piece off from the whatever length of fabric I have, and we both get a good deal.

So I would be interested to know, from those of you that make quilts, or do general sewing and dressmaking, whether you think the 6″ strip is a good idea or not?

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Sheep Shearing in the UK

Following on from my previous post – the video of shearing a shetland sheep in USA – I thought I’d add a couple of my old photos of sheep shearing, taken about 30 years ago!  I can’t remember where I took them – somewhere in South Wales.

These are scans of the A6 sepia postcards I published of the original photos – which is why they aren’t very sharp.  The sheep were being sheared in a field, and they were penned to make it easier to do the shearing as quickly as possible.

I did a search for shearing in the UK, to get a bit more info on when shearing is done here, and found this useful piece, oddly enough, published under the name of Sheep Shearing in the UK by Indie Farmer.

These are a couple of colour photos from that site.

And this is the first part of the blog – written in July 2014

The sheep shearing season in the UK (roughly mid May to mid July) is pretty much finished now, so farmers will be pleased that one difficult and time consuming job is over for another year, and the sheep will be happy to have got rid of their thick fleeces in this hot weather.

Shearing requires both skill and a lot of hard, physical work in hot summer conditions.  Some farmers shear their own sheep but many, especially those with large flocks (anything over a few hundred sheep) hire specialist shearing gangs to do the work for them.  Shearing gangs typically have three to eight members, and travel the country going from farm to farm, shearing every day during the season.  It is a hard life but pay can be good, about £2 a sheep and a good shearer can shear 200 sheep per day.  When the UK shearing season is over, the shearing gangs often travel to other countries where the shearing season is at a different time of year, in what is known as ‘the shearing circuit’, travelling from the UK to Norway, the USA, the Falklands, New Zealand, Australia, and pretty much anywhere that you can find plenty of sheep!  It is a very tough, hard working and hard drinking lifestyle, but it’s a good way to see the world, have fun and make some money.

Wool used to be where the main profit was in sheep farming, with meat as a useful sideline.  Many of the great Cathedrals and castles of the middle ages were built using the profits from the wool trade.  The Lord Speaker in the House of Lords still sits on a ceremonial Woolsack to represent the importance of wool to the economy in former times.  Now, however, sheep farmers make their main profit from meat, with wool being a very minor sideline.

It’s always useful to know a bit more about where your wool comes from!  Especially for spinners who are carding and spinning the raw fleeces!

PS. PLUG!

wingham-carders-standard-pair_Fotor

I sell hand carders that can deal with raw fleeces and all types of wool fibres – and also are quite useful as brushes for sheep and other animals if you are tidying up your stock for Agricultural Shows.  The current listings can be found if you click on the links below.

Listed on julzcraftstore.com here

USE THE COUPON CODE  customer10%off  at the checkout to get 10% off your order.

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Where did the lanterns go?

This post is copied over from my blog on julzcrafts.com.  The search results are obviously on this site HERE.

LANT52_001You may remember my original attempts to sell this lantern direct on this blog – see these posts!  My first attempt –   and the result!   Well – it didn’t work!  For a time I did list this one on etsy, and sold a couple of them before someone reported me to the administrators, who took the listings down.  It was a fair cop – smile – because I sell craft supplies in my etsy shop,and whilst they allow some of my gift items to be listed, they are really there to promote people who make craft items – and these are obviously not made by me!

It was another reason for me to create my own site – which by now many of you will know is JULZ CRAFT STORE.  The link is actually to the search results for lantern (it doesn’t work if you put ‘lanterns’ in the search box, because I didn’t use that word as a tag), and if you go there, you will find all the details you need, including the prices.  They range from £19.99 to £44.99.

These are the one’s I’ve listed, and I hope you might like to have a look and maybe even buy one!  They can be used indoors and outdoors!

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The birth of julzcraftstore.com – Part 2

This is a copy of the post on julzcrafts.com I published on 14 February.

julzcraftstore.com – a quick update…                                                     

blackshopcardFor those of you who seem to be checking this blog out on a regular basis, to see when the new website will be live – I can only apologise!

Well, I did say it would take some time to get THE STORE up and running!  And its certainly taking a lot of time!  I never realised it was going to be so complicated, and as I am not a ‘techie’, its been a slow learning curve.

I just thought I could follow the instructions and then it would take some time to enter the 100+ listings for the stock I have in my living room!  However – its not quite that easy, and it turns out that I have been spoilt by the large selling sites that I have been using up to now.

Ebay and Etsy have a very comprehensive system for costing reasonably accurate postal rates – or shipping costs – as others call them, and I thought I could do better than them!

iu

It turns out to be a very complicated matter, because there are 4 shipping zones to cover, all of which have different tariffs for weight and size, and even if I put in the weight and dimensions of each item, it still wouldn’t give me an accurate price per parcel!  I have done a lot of research on this, even spoken to Royal Mail themselves – and nowhere in their repertoire is there any help for websites to set up their pricing system.  The Business Section, which will happily link in with ebay to offer you cheaper postage – had never heard of a ‘plug-in’ for small businesses, and were utterly unhelpful!

When I contacted various other UK businesses and asked them how they had sorted out the problem, most of them said, they didn’t know, because they had employed a specialist to do their website – I’D NEVER EVEN CONSIDERED DOING THAT!

Having bought from various sites over the years, it seemed the best compromise would be to set flat rates for each shipping zone for the moment, and I even had trouble working out how to do that!  There are some +ve’s and -ve’s about using flat rates, and it would certainly put some of you off if I charged you parcel rate for an item that can be posted in letter form – so – head’s up for my readers – if you contact me before you put in your order for a small, flat item – like a badge or small signs etc – I will agree to refund you the extra postage that the system will charge – because I can’t find a way to be able to offer TWO FLAT RATES at the moment, and nor can the ‘Happiness Engineers’ at WordPress!

iuI aim to post WORLDWIDE, on the same basis, until I can come up with a better solution!

That said – there are a few more things I need to iron out before julzcraftstore.com – julz craft supplies – THE STORE – will go live – but it shouldn’t take too long now – cross fingers!

I hope some of you will come and visit when it does!

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