Today I have given over my blog to the wonderful Sue from Lynwoodcrafts. I consider her to be the “embroidery queen” on folksy because she makes the most beautiful items using wool and thread. I hope you will enjoy looking at the photos of her items which she has chosen herself, and if you click on them they will take you directly to her shop.
This is what she says:
“I have been selling on Folksy for a little over three years. I’m not sure that there is a ‘typical background’ for a folksy maker and seller. If there is, I’m pretty sure it’s not the same as mine. Textile crafts were quite abundant in my family when I was a child. Out of financial necessity mainly, my mum made our clothes and all soft furnishings etc. – not uncommon then! My Auntie knitted. A very elderly distant relative crocheted and her sister loved fine embroidery – I have her collection of ‘1940’s and ‘1950s needlework magazines and a tiny antique needle box of hers. They all attempted to pass their skills on to me. In addition, I was given a table top loom for Christmas when I was about 10. I knitted a pair of fairisle gloves when I was 9 years old – drove my mum mad ‘cos my knitting skills were OK, but I kept getting lost in the pattern – I never knew which row I was on!”
“I didn’t consider a related ‘career’. I was just accumulating the skills my family had and none of them used needlework to make a living. My degree is in science, mainly physics and maths.”
“When my children were young, my parents, and my in-laws, were in poor health. My husband worked very long hours in his family business and there were too many pressures on us for me to work for someone else. I needed flexibility. I managed to attend a few adult education evening classes, in paper crafts. Talking to my tutor, I found out about local craft fair opportunities. For about 5 years I made and sold cards, calendars and notebooks. I joined the local association of craft workers and had the opportunity to be part of a cooperative sales venture, attached to a small local ‘tourist attraction’. It worked well for me, but our lease expired. This was at a time when the children were older and my mum was in residential care. I explored some opportunities for re-entering the labour market. I didn’t have any school holiday care options for the kids, couldn’t afford re-training and needed work locally – at a time when it was in short supply.”
“I started to explore selling on-line – Folksy hadn’t been launched then. I knew that I would need to achieve high volumes of card sales – due to the relatively low unit value, and I wasn’t sure that I could make that work for me, particularly with the time taken for packing and post per sale.
I realised that all the needlework materials and tools which I had accumulated gave me an advantage – although I wasn’t at all sure that people would value my skills.”
“I found Folksy and opened my shop with a mixture of bags, scarves, gloves - some patchwork and knitting - but not really embroidery. Being short of space I have always tended to miniaturise new ideas. Whilst playing around with some tiny scraps of fabric, I stitched an appliqué landscape. It was about brooch size and I quite liked it. On a whim, I tried several ways of finishing it as a brooch – found one that worked, offered it for sale, was encouraged by the lovely comments I received - it sold and I had found the confidence to try more! Since then the emphasis of my shop has been embroidery, particularly embroidered jewellery. I have sold more brooches than any other item.”
“I love to walk and try to remember to carry a camera. Design ideas come from my photos, from searching through my stash of fabric, from museums (I love the heritage of needlework), from experiments with new techniques, or new combinations of media, for example, fabric painting, felting, use of my peg loom, a new lucet... I am a dreadful magpie! I am not very good at looking at my shop(s) with a clear commercial head and asking myself what stock I need to ‘fill gaps’ or replace popular items.”
“My favourite ‘tool’, at the moment, is my embellisher machine – bought earlier this year after some months of trying to ‘be good’ and not spend more money on yet more ‘craft stuff’. ‘Meadow’ designs (produced by felting with fibre onto a background of kunin felt, then felting yarn snippets on top – all using the embellisher, then finishing with hand embroidery) are proving very popular and lend themselves to a variety of small accessories from brooches to bookmarks and needle cases.”
Thanks Sue. One of my favourite items from Sue’s shop is this bookmark:
“I love the way that many of the items from Handmade by Edwina have a vintage theme to them. I particularly like the combination of materials and the soft, muted colours of her recent journals:”
“This purse is just so pretty:”
“This notebook is my absolute favourite – so intricately pretty – I’m not surprised it sold so quickly:”
For more information about Lynwoodcrafts check out these links:
Shop name: Lynwoodcrafts (http://folksy.com/shops/LynwoodCrafts)
I hope you have enjoyed reading about Sue from Lynwoodcrafts and if you would like to appear on my blog in a special feature, then please message me via folksy.