Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Bluebell Garden Kit Ta-Dah

Today is an exciting day as I have just listed my new Bluebell Garden Stitchscape kit in Etsy! You might remember my posting about the first option of the Bluebell kit a couple of weeks ago and at some point between then and now (the days are all blurring into one in lockdown and I'm struggling to keep track of the weeks) I finished the second option.
I'm not sure if I explained it in the last post but the reason for there being two options is that I was pondering over which trimming to add to this kit, and photographed my musings for Instagram and Facebook. I had an immediate response to this with lots of people adding in their opinions - which was a complete 50/50 split over whether to use the navy guipure lace, or the turquoise jute tape.
It intrigued me to see what the difference actually would be and I decided to make one of each, keeping everything but the trimming the same.

Interestingly the opinion has shifted slightly now I've finished both, with the jute tape being the clear winner between the two. I personally prefer the boldness of the navy lace and so to please everyone, I've made both an option.
I love using this tape though, it's great to work with and fun for beginners to use as you can pull it out and stretch it, many people think that it's actually all stitch work and are amazed when you explain that it's a pre-made trimming! The colour for me, in comparison to the lace, is a bit washed out, although I can see the side of those who love it as it does make the Bluebells stand out more. I really enjoy contrasts in light and dark and, the darker Bluebells at the back which stand so proudly against this tape, recede into shadow in the lace version. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this though, which one do you prefer?

I've tried to keep everything exactly the same, but doing two versions does also highlight the fact that every hoop in these kits is going to be different. Somehow in this second version I've managed to move the trees slightly so I had more room for Bluebells on the right hand side of the front tree, and because the Bluebells themselves are based off the pattern of the blue batik - where this differs in each cut strip, the flowers will be in different positions. The branches have also slightly been affected by my moving the trees slightly and the patterns in the other batiks mean that each person will see a slightly different feature.

So it's all now done!! This is the longest kit booklet I've ever written, it has a dedicated diagrams page to help explain certain ways of stitching that I've done so hopefully that makes sense. I've managed to make it so that the book itself is the same for each version (lots of use of the word 'trimming') but it has a different front cover, and one of the two pull out template pages is different for each as I've put the helpful diagrams for attaching each type of trim on there.

The Mother very kindly put together all 50 thread cards (I've made 25 of each type to start and I'll see which one goes first so I can make each type independently) and I ended up counting 40 of each coloured bead into little bags by hand whilst watching old episodes of Time Team! My original plan had been to weigh out what 40 beads was and then just weigh every bag rather than count but my scales ran out of battery just when I needed it. I suppose it's lucky we're still on lockdown and I have time to do things like that!

So, they're both ready to go. The kits themselves don't include the hoop (15cm/6" required) for two reasons; firstly, it doesn't fit into my packaging and, secondly, many people have hoops at home or prefer a different type of hoop.
Thanks to it randomly being a super popular product in my shop after I posted it to help out in the initial lockdown, I do now stock this particular hoop size in my Etsy shop as well so you can buy both at the same time. (Having checked today though they have just sold out but I do have more on order due early next week at the latest.)

I've spent a long time mulling over the pricing for these kits so I hope you'll agree that I've come to a fair price. Figuring out the costs for these things is a nightmare and actually quite scary as I do get some rather scathing comments about the kit not being worth the price I've charged. If you're interested, I'll pop a list of all of the physical items that I have paid for to make one kit down at the bottom. On top of these items I've also had to factor in the time it's taken me to stitch the two examples, to write and design the booklet and templates themselves, the time cutting everything up and compiling it, The Mother's work cutting threads and assembling the thread cards, my time counting out the beads and the electricity used to watch Time Team and boil the kettle for several cups of coffee throughout!
I'll also have to spend more time on each kit as you order it with the packaging (tissue paper, sellotape, logo sticker, compliment slip, padded envelope, address label) and the postage, which is now all typed up, printed and taped onto the envelope at home to reduce contact at the Post Office. Once it's posted I have go through my proof of postage receipts and send a dispatch note to everyone which can also take a while as my notes vary depending on whether it's a UK or International order, and whether there are any special extras required.
These are the major behind-the-scenes things that are often overlooked and not considered and it makes my heart sink into my toes when I get an email saying what a customer has purchased isn't worth the money they've paid. Thankfully it's not often!

If you would like to have a go at creating your very own Bluebell Garden then click on this link here and it'll take you to my shop!! And as always, I love seeing what you guys make from my kits so please do send in your photos of before, during and after! You can tag me on Instagram @power.beth, or follow Dotty Textiles on Facebook - maybe even join the Dotty Textiles Stitchscape Group so that you can join our community of 'scapers for encouragement, advice and lots of appreciation.

List of things included in the kit (including photographed packaging):
Calico Square (24cm approx)
Fabric Pieces x7 (Including special Batik fabrics, various sized strips)
Jute Trim or Guipure Lace (21/20cm)
Beads (2 colours, approx 40 of each)
Cellophane sleeve for beads (+ staple)
Anchor Stranded Threads x 10 colours = 24.6 metres in total
Anchor Tapestry Yarn x 2 colours = 6 metres in total
Thread Card + Printed sticker label
Printed Booklet (16 pages as counted by the printing company used)
2 Page Template Pull Out
Cellophane sleeve to hold everything

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