livelihood decisions :: Okan Arts
livelihood decisions

livelihood decisions

Bounteous Baskets raffle quilt by EverGreen Quilters in BellinghamBy Patricia Belyea 

BELLINGHAM WA  Making good choices with my cottage business challenges me. Should I vend at a local quilt show? Is it worth my while? How should I measure my success?

This past weekend I set up shop at EverGreen Quilters’ biennial show in Bellingham. The lovely ladies from the guild promised me that lots of Canadians would come. As it’s hard for northern neighbors to get access to my yukata cottons, I said “yes.”

EverGreen Quilters, with its 50 members, produced an impressive show of 100 quilts. They named the event after their group raffle quilt “Bountiful Baskets.”

Tea Room at EverGreen Quilters 2013 show in Bellingham

The show included a White Elephant sale with lots of finds for bargain shoppers, a Boutique with goods made by members, and a Tea Room with hot drinks and cookies. I loved the tea pots filled dahlia bouquets on quilted table runners brightening up the Tea Room.

Did I make any sales? Yes, a respectable amount, mostly to local guild members from EverGreen and Moonlighters. They’d heard me speak in the last year so they really appreciated my hand-dyed Japanese cottons.

I met three people who really made it worth my while to be at the show. On one side of me was Dani Fisk (left), a long arm quilter selling an abundance of quilts and antique hand-crank sewing machines from her late husband’s collection. I bought a bold, big patterned quilt from her.

On my other side was Jan Sabin (right), better known as Mr. Sew Dandy, also with old sewing machines—Featherweights, Child’s and more. Jan has a sewing machine museum in Anacortes that I will visit soon!

Dani Fisk, Judy Robertson and Jan Sabin at the EverGreen Quilters 2013 quilt show in Bellingham

Down a side aisle I met Judy Robertson (center), a dyer of fabrics who I’ve heard about for years. As Judy reaches 70 years old, she’s finishing up her career of vending at shows. She’ll be concentrating on her yard-of-the-month club and home sales. I really connected with Judy and look forward to spending more time with her.

The Hanson’s Japanese Garden in BellinghamThe highlight of my time in Bellingham was staying with the lovely and gracious Hansons. After beginning quilting ten years ago, Carolyn Hanson has become an an accomplished quilt maker. Her husband Larry is just as handy with woodworking and metal crafts. Their Japanese Garden, replete with koi pond and waterfall, delighted me.



Hanson Japanese Garden in Bellingham

Would I do it again? Right now I’d say “yes.” Ask me in two years as things can change.




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