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.
Today was my fourth market stall at Rylstone Artisan Markets and I’m starting to feel like a regular. Given I started my knitting stall in early Summer, it’s given me time to get a feel prior to Winter approaching and I’m confident that I’ll hit my stride in the next few months. Each month I more than stock up on sold items, whilst always adding one new range. This month I’ve added Linen Stitch Scarves for which in the next month or two I’ll also put the pattern and kit together. I’m also stocking up on Winter items, with the plan to incorporate locally grown and spun Alpaca.
A bit of self promotion is on the cards, given the success at local Shows, with me displaying the ribbons at my stall. I know many of my purchases are gifts, so it provides a talking point for the giver. It’s also a great conversation-starter with other knitters.
I’m meeting heaps of locals – knitters, crafters, farmers and chatterers, which is great given I’m still so new to the area. I also hope it provides a point of interest and an attraction to visitors to the area.
The kits are also proving to be popular – both with knitters and as gifts, which is highly rewarding as I hope to inspire and encourage others to create something special with lovely yarns and textures.
After this market, I’ll be moving more into Winter stock – mitts, beanies and scarves. I noticed the change this time as people were more interested in the mitts and beanies than the feather-weight lace scarves. It’s also time to tackle a few more challenging knits which may at one point also go into some of the Shows. Whilst I knit the occasional garment, my preference remains epic lace shawls (in lace weight yarns) and pragmatic but textured blankets. These can provide quite a contrast which is reflected in two very different recent yarn orders – the reliable and cost-effective Bendigo Woollen Mills, and the seductive, luxurious and indulgent Sundara Yarn (silk lace, of course).
This weekend was my third consecutive appearance as a stall holder at the monthly Rylstone Artisan Markets and I’m beginning to feel like a regular. Whilst a little slow for knits in incredibly hot and dry weather, I still feel like I’m doing well, although I seem to spend most of my time chatting to people and spend far too much of my takings on other stalls.
There is a wonderful collection of stalls – all locally produced – and is well supported by locals as well as a popular attraction for visitors. A few new stalls have opened along with me, keeping the markets fresh. The party planner this month was such a treat for the kids – with balloon sausage dogs and a fairy floss machine.
It’s been rewarding that people are now buying kits and knitting themselves. I was thrilled to see at least four other stallholders knitting whilst waiting for customers – and they weren’t from handcraft stalls!
I think there will be a greatly increased demand as the weather starts to cool down, so I’m focussed on building up stock in the lead up to Winter. Anyway, it’s great to get sales but it’s so much fun just being there and being part of the market community.
Yesterday was my second foray into the Rylstone Artisan Markets with my Convent and Chapel knitting stall. I had slightly adjusted stock by removing some of the more Wintry beanies and adding a loose knit cotton blend scarf pattern and a new vibrant set of mitts, plus a few other random knitted items.
As expected, it was a much smaller and quieter market, with fewer stall holders and visitors given the holiday break. I was more than happy just to be there and chat with my fellow stall holders with no expectations of sales. Fortunately, I still did quite well – not as much as last time, but definitely worthwhile and confidence-building.
I sell both finished items and kits – complete with my own patterns as well as the yarn and any other items needed to finish the garment. I’m keen to encourage others to practice the craft. At both markets so far I’ve sold both, although the knitted items sell much faster, meaning that I have lots of knitting to do inbetween markets to restock. The plan is to keep the items fresh with regular new additions that adjust with the seasons.
I’m really pleased with how my stall looks and it attracts lots of comments. We even made it into The Weekly local paper! It’s good even if people just stop for a look and comment on items – it’s quite different to anything else at the markets. The other stall holders are incredibly friendly and encouraging and I’m meeting so many new locals and catching up with familiar faces.
Anyway, I’m already looking forward to February markets – I’m planning a rustic Autumn suitable shawl and topping up the featherweight mohair lace scarves that are so popular.
Participating in the local markets with a knitting stall has had somewhat of an effect on my “regular” knitting. In fact, renovations, establishing the garden and relocating permanently whilst working may have also contributed a little over the last year as well.
Anyway, I’m back – forced by the impending Rylstone Kandos Show in February where I have a reputation to maintain, particularly now I am also knitting at the markets.
The markets and my normal knitting provide a good contrast. For the markets, I focus on creating my own patterns which rely on interesting but simple stitches and beautiful and unique yarns or combinations to provide a good result. My main aim is for people to buy the kits with the patterns based on my samples, but finished items are also for sale. A good example is the Drop Stitch Scarf which is a simple stitch pattern combined with striking Noro yarn.
On the other hand, my normal knitting tends to be a little more epic in nature. I favour laceweight shawls or big blankets – no short term projects here.
For the Show I am using Fluidity (or here) as a base. I’m familiar with this pattern, which started life as an 8 ply/DK equivalent but this time I’m using a barely 2ply lace weight silk/merino combination undyed, to give it a natural/antique finish. It’s square but knitted in the round. At some point I will cast off and finish off with a Shetland lace border. I’m also incorporating tiny seed pearl beads into the pattern, so I have high hopes. So far I have a rather modest 1,200 stitches on the needles and anticipate many more before I am done.
Lace (particularly bunched up on circular needles) always looks a bit like steel wool. For now it’s heads down and needles clicking as I head towards the Show.
It’s been pretty busy the last week or so, with my daughter here, settling in Popcorn and a good friend visiting.
It’s been even more busy given I’m planning my first foray into the local markets tomorrow. I have a feeling my guests think I’m running a sweat shop as they have been helping me prepare and will be there for support on the day as well.
My stall will be selling my knits and knitting kits. I know the weather isn’t all that appropriate for knitting, so for my first appearance I have prepared lace bookmarks and featherweight lace scarves. I also have simple kits for knits for those who would prefer to do it themselves.
A friend is selling pet products at the neighbouring market and I’m trialling dog treats at that stall. Hopefully they should be popular with the locals given Kandos is also known as ‘Dog Town’, with the dog population rumoured to outnumber children.
I’m looking forward to the markets as something new and a great way to meet more locals – both customers and stall holders. There’s always great camaraderie.