This is the first time we’ve done the Markets at Kandos. On Sunday the Heritage Train arrived from Sydney and the town turned on a great display. As the train rolled in, it seemed like the whole town (plus some) were there to cheer on and welcome the travellers.
Once they had left the train they headed for their luncheon venues with the choices of visiting the market stalls at the Railway Green or boarding a local bus for a tour of the town and stop off at the Kandos Museum which was holding a special railway exhibition in honour of the train’s annual visit. It is years since public trains have regularly run to Kandos, so this special tourist train means a great deal to the town.
We had a great time at our bright yellow marquee, chatting to other stall holders, locals and the train-trippers. It was a good opportunity to promote our new shop and show off a few of our wares. Whilst rains threatened (which are much wanted), they have still held off and it ended up being A Great Day Out for all. Now a bit tired and grubby, but happy with our day.
The Heritage Train is arriving on Sunday at Kandos. At least I hope so. It was scheduled to arrive last far but unfortunately the shocking bush fires intervened and it was cancelled.
Anyway, this year the town is ready and we plant be at the markets at the Railway Green. For those who don’t understand the significance, the train doesn’t usually come to Kandos. The public train line stops at Lithgow and the line is kept open for industrial use only – not passengers. Train lines were once a major linkage between towns, but sadly no more. The lines through to Mudgee and other towns not maintained and we drive over bitchumened tracks all the time. Public transport to country towns is often non-existent. So the heritage train coming to town this year is a really big deal. Tickets sell out very quickly and we’s love to see it more often as it is important not just for commerce but also for the morale of the town.
We plan to be there with our yellow marquee and knitting goods welcoming visitors – we just hope the weather is a little kinder than the last week which has been blisteringly hot. Possibly not the best time for knitted goods, but we’ve found that we provide great presents for overseas friends and relatives who are in Winter and also have a range of cotton scarves for the locals.
Anyway, it’s more being part of the local action and we’re excited to see the train arrive and encourage it to continue.
Since discovering the Kandos/Rylstone area just over two years ago, we have been ‘tourists’ at Rylstone StreetFeast and bought tickets to the sumptuous local spread which is seated along the main street.
This year we are ‘locals’ and had our own stall at the markets that flanked the Feast or ‘Long Lunch’. The bright yellow marquee made its first appearance and earned its money on a hot and gusty day that also saw storms with rain. We had a great day, being particularly busy in the morning before the food was served, yet had to pack up a trifle early as rain threatened later in the afternoon.
As usual, we met lots of knitters – locals, Sydney-siders and neighbours from Mudgee and the Blue Mountains, all of whom were pleased to hear about our shop opening shortly. The samples of Noro and Zauberball were much admired, so we think the shop stock will be appreciated.
Sales were pretty constant – the mohair/silk lace scarves are always popular and mitts and beanies were still purchased despite hot and gusty weather.
Next week we will concentrate on shop stuff and hope to open Friday week. So many people pressed us on an opening date that it was time to draw a line in the sand and commit, so that will now be our target!
Having a dose of the flu has meant inside down time. Could be worse – it’s been pretty cold, anyway. The upside for a knitter means more knitting.
I’ve been thinking through stock for my market stall now that warmer weather is approaching. I’ve committed to a few bigger one-off markets and am making a few adjustments. Up until now, I’ve kept away from baby stuff – mainly as so many others do this and it’s just not what I usually knit. However I had a decent collection of Sirdar Baby Bamboo in striking strong colours (and it takes up so much space with those ridiculous large cardboard inserts) so I thought I’d add a set of brightly coloured beanies. I’m happy with this lot so will knit up the rest of the stash.
I’ve also had so many queries about the lace shawls that I thought I’d see how a few fare. This also helps me indulge my first love of lace knitting and encourage others to have a try. I have one shawl blocking at present and another about to go under the wires.
The markets will be a good test ground and I’m expecting lots of out-of-towners for the Rylstone StreetFeast and the Heritage Train in Kandos. I’m also now working on an extended version of my knitting enterprise, which is very exciting.
Easter is one of the bigger market days for Rylstone Artisan Markets. I’ve only held my stall there since Christmas and we are just beginning to hit the time when woollies are becoming more of a priority.
The markets this weekend were highly successful. It seemed like lots of visitors each time I looked around and this translated into my best sales to date by far. The lacy light scarves were again highly popular and have proved to be a mainstay – now requiring serious replenishing. The new linen stitch scarves were also a hit with men and women alike. Beanies and mitts also easily found new homes.
I thought I was really well stocked but now face another solid month of knitting to replace stock. Hopefully I’m recognising the trends and can focus on what seems to be selling well. I’ve been careful not to overprice and it’s refreshing to hear people say what good value the knits are and that perhaps they are underpriced.
People appear to appreciate the use of fine yarns and a sense of individuality and the quality of the knits. No doubt the identification with the Convent is an element of interest and some self-promotion with my prize ribbons doesn’t go unnoticed. My customers appear to be a healthy mix of visitors and locals and I now have a number of return customers. The kits are also proving popular with knitters, with the chance to complete an item with quality yarns.
I’m now looking forward to the cooler market months and may fit in a couple of different local markets as well. In the meantime, those needles won’t have much downtime.
The Easter markets are supposed to be pretty big ones for Rylstone Artisan Markets and I’ve been stocking up. My very first market was the pre Christmas one and whilst it was also one of the “big” market days, December is not exactly a great month for knits. Although I’ve been happy with the reception to date, I’m hoping that I’ll now start hitting my straps as the weather cools off.
The featherweight lace scarves have done well in the warmer weather but I’m now thinking that mitts, beanies and scarves will now be in more demand. Each month I try and add a new knit – this month it’s the variegated self-patterning sock yarn knits. I’m pretty well stocked up this market and am looking forward to seeing my fellow stall holders and having more chats with the locals and visitors over the long weekend.
“If you create it, bake it, grow it or make it, and you live locally, you can sell it at our markets”, which is strictly adhered to.
Accompanied by my daughter and good friend, we started off allowing for plenty of time to be shown the ropes and set ourselves up. The organisers and fellow stall holders were all very helpful and friendly and we were raring to go by 9am when the markets opened. For the first hour and a half it seemed like we’d be lucky to make a sale but a flux of people a little later meant we ended up more than happy with the outcome. We even managed to get some orders in advance for next markets.
December in Australia is not exactly “knit” weather and it was a really hot day. We had also be warned that it may take over three markets before locals would come up for a chat. However I think that our knitting display was very accessible and it was clear we were from the Convent, which made it really easy for people to start a conversation. We also met plenty of other knitters, spinners and weavers. Gemma with her drop spindle was a good conversation-starter.
A few items sold very well and we managed to sell both kits as well as knitted items – the lace scarves were a real hit and attracted lots of attention. I know that this market had the benefit of people buying for Christmas presents and the next few markets might be a bit slower, but I’m also pretty sure come the colder months we will do very well. Also the markets sometimes co-incide with tourist buses and I think my knits should be a hit with visitors.
Anyway, for the first foray into knitting at the markets, I ended up really pleased and am keen to become a regular. Whilst it’s great to sell things, it is even more rewarding being part of the community, speaking to locals and joining in with the other stall holders.
In the meantime, I’m back knitting the more popular items and getting my entry ready for the Rylstone Kandos Show on 22 February.