Calicozy Questions

comments: 42

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Aw, thank you for all of your comments on the tantrum post. Andy and I laughed so hard at some of them. I love all of these stories so much. Already our seems funny and the stuff of family legend. I know I'll never forget it, and will tell her about it someday. We spent several days sort of acting out how our next play-yard departure was going to go, occasionally reversing roles where she was the mom and I was the kid. When she told me it was time to go (and always with the calmest, most patient voice, which cracked me up) I pitched a whopper fit, stomping and howling and yelling, "No! I WON'T! Wahhhhh! I don't want to!!!!!" which made her laugh sheepishly and left her standing helplessly with her hand out, unable to find a way to convince me. But then I scratched my head thoughtfully, remembered out loud about my "privileges" I would be so sad to lose, and happily took her hand and skipped over to the "car." She sputtered. I asked her if she wanted to praise my good decision. "Oh! What a good decision, little kid!" Ahhhhh, I love four-year-olds. Many moments of reason spiced with a few moments of utter irrationality to keep things interesting. Next week it will be something else, I'm sure, but I'm happy to report that all of our leave-takings since Epic Melt have been peaceful, and even one has included her patting another melting-down kid on the head and saying, knowingly, "I hope you feel better." Pfffft! Oh, love.

I am crocheting myself a sweater. It is very exciting. Such is the life of a crocheter — these are our excitements: four skeins of O-Wool finger-weight washable wool and a very nice pattern! Hurrah!

Quilt-kit bundles are being assembled, so let's talk about this. . . .

It looks like this batch will have enough fabric for 120 toddler quilt kits. That means we will have between 15-25 toddler kits in each of 6 colorways. Each toddler kit has 15 print strips and 7 solid strips. Last time I offered these, I took the total number of cut strips I had for each colorway and split them up between sizes. So if there were 20 toddler kits available for the Meadowsweet colorway, for example, that was 300 total strips I had for that colorway. Then I split those and offered some in each size, going all the way up to king size. I think that, in my mind, the sale would happen at a leisurely pace, and I would be able to sit there and recalculate the total number of strips left as things sold and add more into inventory as necessary, all while drinking some coffee. But in reality it didn't go like that at all; things went in a whoosh, and some things got sold out from under people who had them in their carts but were slower to enter their ordering information than others, or were shopping for other things, too, or . . .

I seriously, honestly can understand how frustrating that must have been. I tried to write to a few people who were upset but my emails to them bounced. (If you think you might have been one of those people, please feel free to write me again, maybe with a different email address, and I'll try to respond again.) Unfortunately, there just isn't a shopping cart system in existence that can pull an item out of inventory when it is only in your cart, and hasn't yet been paid for. Even though it's in your cart, it could also be in someone else's cart, and if they pay faster, they get it. . . . I really do hate that there has to be this frantic element to buying something that has been created in so much relative peace. But, short of auctioning them or maintaining some kind of private preview/purchase system (I'll never be able to manage that), this is the sales channel I have. But I really do want to respond to your feedback and make it a better experience if I can.

So, here are some questions I have for you if you have time to answer.

  • The algorithm I have means that it doesn't matter to me what size kits sell. It's all the same amount of fabric, the same amount of work, and the same relative amount of money for you and me no matter how it shakes out. That said, would you rather have more toddler-sized kits available to purchase, and then supplement with your own fabric if you would like to make a bigger size? Or would you rather have fewer total kits available in general if it meant that you could have the chance to purchase a throw, twin, full/queen, and king-sized kit?
  • I have generally started sales at the time that it is most convenient for me, personally — around 9 or 10 a.m. Pacific Standard Time. When we have much greater quantities of stuff like embroidery kits or, in the past, animal kits or ornament kits, the time the sale starts hasn't mattered so much, as we generally don't sell out of stuff so quickly. But with these limited quantities, timing can be frustrating. I could split the offerings in half, and offer them at two different times. So, question for you: What other time?
  • Lastly, and this isn't really a question but more of a statement, I do plan on continuing to do these, even after this next round. I have fabric coming in constantly now, and it is always different and always quite wonderful. So, really, if it doesn't work out this time for you, there will be more coming.

Let me know what you think about these things and I will come back on Monday with a preview of new kits, and some information for you based on the feedback I receive from you. Thank you, as always, for your interest and enthusiasm. It means so much to me and I appreciate it more than I can say. XO

*** For some backstory on these quilt kits, see the beginnings of them, my inspiration for them, this info post, this preview post, and this sale post, and Picking Patchwork.

42 comments

PatriciaW says: April 21, 2017 at 10:43 AM

Have you considered allowing people to pre-order kits? You could offer kits of different sizes with fabric selections and then order the fabric from the supplier.

PatriciaW's idea of allowing pre-orders is a very good one -- it gives people a chance to get the kit they want, and gives you the advantage of knowing exactly what to pull together. It might take longer for some to get their kits, but I think most of us would be ok with that.

I was disappointed that the original kits sold out so quickly; I had to work that day, but I assumed I could still place an order when I got home. On the bright side, your quilt inspired me. I had the fabrics (mostly calicos in burgundies, pinks, and browns) for a sunshine and shadow quilt that I had put off for years because the two-inch size of the squares complicated matters for a bunch of reasons I won't go into. Seeing your quilt got me thinking about using 4-inch squares for mine, which I realized would fix a lot of the problems I had with the pattern. The top is now done, and I basted the quilt earlier today. So thank you!

I was favoring the toddler size with the add-your-own-fabric to increase to your desired size. But the about comments of a pre-order are excellent. You could even add 'wait-list' function after the pre-orders sell out, with a note that "if demand is great enough, I will offer kits to those of the wait-list" Then you can weigh the pros/cons of making more and what that number would be to make it worth your time/effort/sanity...

I think 2 different times would be good, maybe 10 or even 12 hours apart for folks who work or live in different time zones. Don't hate me, other Posie readers, but I think the pre-orders could get just as dicey as what happened last time with cart jumping and quick sellouts. What would happen if you simply sold strips instead of kits? Or smaller bundles with print and solid pairings? I find from your pictures that there are usually particular fabrics that make me giddy, so if they didn't make into a kit I purchased I'd be disappointed. By the way, these fabrics are gorgeous - you have such a great eye, Alicia! Have a great weekend!

Will you be doing any more Softie animal kits anytime soon?

I do like the idea of experimenting with pre-ordering. If that isn't feasible, I'd favor offering the toddler size and I'll add my own fabric for a larger size. But would it be possible to tell us the names of the solids that work with the prints? Unfortunately, my local fabric stores have closed and I have to order fabric online. It's difficult to tell precise colors on the computer screen. Your fabric choices are wonderful!

Your pictures are so beautiful (plus your sewing, beautiful daughter, etc etc). I so look forward to your blog, I hope you post forever!

On the quilt kits. I prefer not having to add anything of my own. Your kits are so special being all from you. If you would keep this up each year, eventually things would calm down. Since I check on your blog a lot, I'd prefer you not announcing the sale. Sometimes that creates the crazed rush...as we all know from things like Iphones, etc. Andrea

Love all the colorways! Hope I can catch one this round! Beautiful.

Susie in Minnesota says: April 21, 2017 at 01:29 PM

I think the toddler size is the best! I guess I say that because it is the size I want and if you do them all that size, there is a better chance of getting one ;)

I feel like I am going against everyone else here but the reason I would like one of these kits is because I *love* your fabric choices and how you combine unlikely prints. I wouldn't want to add my own fabroc because then it would lose its authenticity as a Posie quilt (for me). I really *really* want a queen size and I would be happy to pre-order rather than get in a fluster online at x o'clock because I can't pay quickly enough! Xx

Ditto with what Nicki said (above) - my thoughts too.
A beautiful post - love the sweater! And thank you for your kindness in trying to be so accommodating - you're the best!

I am in love with these kits (and every quilt you've ever posted)! We were camping last time and had a horrible wifi connection and I couldn't even get to your site, let alone get a kit in my cart. So glad you're doing another round and excited to try and be part of it. I would prefer a king-sized quilt kit rather than trying to "fill-in" fabric with a toddler size. I have 4 kids and precious little time these days....as much as I love fabric shopping for vintage and new (and I DO love it), I'd rather spend my time on the actual quilt (in fingers-crossed hopes of actually getting it done). Offering two different times is an interesting idea... You're amazing for trying to make this work for everyone!

Oh my goodness. I am so laughing. You were talking about toddler tantrums and then follow with trying to deal with adult tantrums. A tug of war over carts. This is indeed a beautiful kit but its not life or death and we should not complaining about "fairness". These kits are a lot of work for you so do what works for you and your family. Thank you for all your effort and I am sorry people have complained. I mean really people...

I would be fine with the idea of toddler quilt kits and with tips and instructions for adding my own fabric to make a larger quilt size like that you gave in the picking patchwork post. Or as was previously suggested in the comments above a pre-order option as I do find your eye for fabric to be stunning. But I am just so thrilled that you offer such beautifully crafted kits in the first place and are so thoughtful in organizing them.

The 9 or 10am Pacific Time works perfectly well for me.

Thank you Alicia for all your hard work and for sharing your bit of the world with us. (Those crabapple blossoms photographs are swoon worthy!)

Oh, boy, I can only imagine how that day went for you. I know I was extremely frustrated because I had three kits in my cart but by the time I got through PayPal, everything was gone. I was luckier than most in that I did get a Toddler but not in the colorway I wanted. And I had to postpone a long trip from California to Arizona where I live to get online at the time the sale started. I loved Linda's comment above about toddler tantrums and the adult tantrums -- I didn't have a tantrum at all, just selfish frustration. And it is just a quilt. But an Alicia quilt is so special. Anyway, I love the idea of preorders and have a card sitting on my desk here that I had planned on sending you lovingly suggesting that very thing. I wouldn't mind preordering what I wanted and paying and getting it months down the road if that's what it took. (After all, I have 5 Maggie Rabbit kits and several cross-stitch kits of yours that I have not started yet!) I just am not sure that you want to be THAT busy, Alicia, with all that would entail, and how it would impact your family. A small business can easily get totally out of hand with a product that everybody wants! And then people burn out and they can't do other creative projects, etc.... oh, I think I'm overthinking this whole thing. Sorry. Preordering is my suggestion too. All the best to you. Deb H.

I read the description of the tantrum and this description of your role playing to my husband and we both cracked up. We just found out this week we're expecting a winter baby, if all goes well, and it's nice to read funny kid stories to take the edge off the early stage nerves.

Beritbunny says: April 21, 2017 at 11:29 PM

I like being able to choose the various sizes of quilt kit, and I think 9-10 Pacific is a very sensible time to make the sale begin. It works for you (a most important, really a MUST), and even works for me here on the East coast of the US, too. As for people with other issues/living in other countries, it just is what it is. This is a very limited-batch local product. It is limited by the vintage-nature (I think some commenters have misunderstood, and think you are just ordering these from a warehouse, producer who manufactures them to your spec.)

it is awesome that so many people care, and even from far away! It is awesome that they are able and willing to spend a boutique price on your wonderful vision in a fast fashion world. And it is wonderful that you care about their needs and experiences, but it is really down to what an over-blunt friend called "sounds like a personal problem". I have friends who want to watch foreign F1 races or the yearly Eurovision singing contest from the states, so they have to wake up at 3 AM and/or pay lots of money for strange TV packages. People could take a vacation for the release. Or recruit a friend, perhaps? Their life to arrange.

Things I really like: Colorway Previews! I think I bought enough last time (for now! Maybe!...), but their names and the inspiration of gazing st them has me really looking forward to it.

MAYBE a solution, but PERHAPS a limited qty. of reservations could be possible each time (like say 5, but the reservers can only choose size, not colorway. No returns. Final sale. I feel that would really separate the wheat from the chaff on the "truly-want-but-can't meet the conditions" from "The Self-Actualizing by Complaining".)

I just did a ticket checkout online tonight that reserves your selection for x minutes while you are in checkout before releasing them again to the General pool for purchase. Yet, I think just keeping them coming is the best solution. New cart institution is too troublesome. Long live calicozy quilts! I'm so glad you are able to bring us more! I hope everyone gets one!

Sheryl Collier says: April 22, 2017 at 12:36 AM

I'm so glad you are offering these kits again, and will continue to do so, which means eventually most people will have a chance to buy one of the kits. For me, a throw size would be best because then if I wanted to make it bigger I could do with my own bits and pieces of fabric. The fact that I have a colour palette in front of me (if I managed to get one of the kits) would help me choose other colours to go with if needs be. Also it means that there would be more kits available I guess? The timing of the sale is fine for me (I'm in the U.K.) but if you offered two times then you may be able to give other customers a chance too. My only other thought was that you could maybe limit it to one kit per customer? I'm not sure but I think that some customers may have purchased more than one and with the fabric being limited then it only seems fair to buy just one. I am sorry that you have a few emails from disgruntled customers though. I was disappointed sure, but that's life isn't it? I know this is long winded but I hope this helps! X

Denise Sirk says: April 22, 2017 at 02:50 AM

Alicia, I cannot even imagine all of the back-breaking hard work you have put into this quilt project. I have a mixture of opinions (as we all do) about the quilts. I'm in Michigan (EST) & the day of the first sale I was ready to "act quick" to get my quilt kit. This is my funny quilt story. I work in a professional environment and was ready to run to the restroom, sit in the bathroom stall and get my quilt! My office doesn't have good wifi for my phone & I didn't even think about ordering from my desk. It did put a bit of a frenzy in my head about "I've got to get a quilt kit from Alicia, I just HAVE to!" I was one of the sad ones who did not get a quilt the first time too, but as sad as I was, it didn't ruin my life. I love your creations and would love to get a kit someday, but if I don't it surely won't upset me to the point that I complain to you. I love that you share your life with us and that we can see your little corner of the world. I love reading your blog each time you post. Don't change who you are or what your home-based business is all about because of our laziness. Sorry fellow Poseys...I want more than just quilts.

So here's my two cents on the whole dilemma: I like the pre-ordering idea too with the toddler size at two different times. That way I can add from my own stash. I am a grandmother and have some extra time every now and again, so I have some time but not much. I work full-time outside of my home and envy that you get to spend your time with your daughter & your home. This is a bittersweet decision for you since financially it would benefit your family; however all of the extra time cutting strips of fabric (forever) seems daunting and takes away from the life you've built. I'm sure one day, maybe not, everyone will be tired of you offering a quilt and wish you would revert back to who you were before this crazy quilt craze, maybe not. The choice is really up to you. I will still love you and long for the emails with your new inspirations. Like another person said above, I still have a Maggie softie & the Christmas ornaments to work on and if I never get a quilt, I can cut my own.

Enjoy your life and stay who you are. We will all be fine if we don't all get a quilt kit, but with that being said. I also like the idea of limiting the purchase to one per person. Yes, I like a fair game and I won't be sitting on a toilet somewhere feeling stress like that again, but I do have funny story to tell.

Happy Spring & may you continue to be blessed! I hope you keep posting forever too and I already envision your daughter graduating high school and college & getting married & continuing on in your foot prints. What a life you are giving her full of memories. I love that she is interested in everything you are doing!

Cheers!

Laura smartt says: April 22, 2017 at 04:28 AM

I am quite happy with a toddler kit and then make my own larger quilt myself. It is like everybody says, "we love Alicia's fabric" and want just a piece of her art work for keepsake. 9 pacific is a good time. oh and I love to play the naughty child who throws a big fit. I think my kiddos understand then how I feel when they pitch a fit.

I don't think pre-orders are good really. People often voice an interest and then back out. I remember a blogger ordering lots of calenders on the basis of all the readers saying they would buy one. Well, they simply didn't. I think it could give a confusing or inaccurate measure of how much fabric to buy in.

In any case aren't your fabrics carefully sourced and hunted down and not necessarily in quantities that you would need/want but that are available? This could lead to a customer services/admin nightmare where you might not be able to supply what was pre-ordered. Of course you could replace fabrics with different fabrics but some people are very particular and know exactly what they want and no surprises.

I know there are people who have sold using a waiting list system. I think Little Cotton rabbits was one such seller. That way, the next on the list has an option to buy. However, you have hundreds of kits so that might simply be too much administration here.

Don't feel bad about the cart jacking, there is nothing that can be done about it. It is exactly the same as someone getting to the last piece of fabric in the store because they are just a tad faster than you. Only difference is you can't see it happening online. People just need to accept that nothing is yours on line until you have paid for it. Disappointing perhaps, but well life is sometimes....

It happens to popular sellers, and people will moan at them but I don't see how it can be otherwise. You can't have people with things held in their carts, removing them from the sales arena. Sometimes people put things in their carts (if system allows) instead of favouriting and keep them there until they purchase or change their minds, which can be over days or even weeks. Fortunately it doesn't remove them from the public though and they can still be sold. How frustrating that would be for everyone though if ultimately, they were seen as 'sold' when in your cart as they could simply languish there without anyone purchasing them. Probably why no one has a system that operates like that.

As I understood it, your system of selling strips to make different kit sizes until they were all sold was the most flexible for everyone. So I don't have any suggestions there.

Oh my gosh - it must be soooo much work for you and you are very sweet to think of other solutions. I, say yes to toddler size and yes to 2 different times people can purchase due to many of us that work and are unable to purchase during the day. Perhaps, you could sell "fat quarters or layer cake" sizes although, I'm not sure if that is a pain in the butt for you. I hope people are not too mad - it's the luck of the draw and you will never please everyone! I did not purchase a kit in enough time and I understand that happens! I say don't make yourself crazy! In the meantime, I can't wait for more cute little animals or cross stitch for you to create!

You are so sweet for asking us what our preferences are. I, personally, would like a kit larger than toddler size and agree with the other comments about not wanting to have to add to it. I just can't pick fabrics like you do and the magic in these kits is that you have selected the fabrics. Offering two times is a good idea, but the times have to be convenient for you. I also like the idea of limiting the number of kits each person can purchase. Telling us the solids that match would be so helpful. I've been trying to find a rosy mauve like in Amelia's quilt but have yet to find that perfect color. Thank you again for all you do for us!

Just curious if a pre-order model would make sense here. Leave orders open for a day or two, people pay up front, then you leisurely put together the kits at your own pace. Cap the number of preorders at (whatever number) so you don't up with, like, millions. Added bonus, you have the capital up front.

It's really so sweet and considerate of you to try to accommodate everyone! I think likely the best thing you can do is just to continue to make more kits as long as it is a pleasure for you. It's a beautiful thought to think of the world being peppered with beautiful calicozy quilts and I hope to see pictures shared of them! I purchased the pattern and the original disappointment of missing a quilt kit was replaced with inspiration to create my own and it's been an absolute delight I've never known! Thank you for sharing all of the beauty that you do with us!

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About Alicia Paulson

About

My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com

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Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.