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Our motto: Make what you like. Make what you like to make. Like what you make.

This is a resource page for Handcrafters where you will find:
  • Workshop & Demos Calendar
  • Handcrafts Monthly Newsletter - Password required.
  • Access to Workshop Notes & Patterns - Password required.
  • Feedback for Handcrafters on what sells at BB&B.
The Handcrafts Committee is the support group for UJAMAA GRANDMAS Handcrafters; organizing workshops and demos, providing kits and ideas for products. The committee is represented at every Gathering. Product Custodians collect and store items until the sale and organize pricing committees, display and clean up for the sale itself. Materials Custodians (Yarn and Fabric) provide raw materials and kits for products destined to be in the sale. If you take raw materials or kits but find you are unable to complete products for the sale, no worries please do return them so another member can use to support the sale.

OUR MISSION: The Handcrafts Committee supports and manages the production and sale of products crafted by UJAMAA GRANDMAS Members while fostering a supportive community amongst the contributing handcrafters.

Read our governing document HERE.


Chair - Dawn Bolger
Secretary - Donna Chambers
Workshops and Demos - Patty Cucman
BB&B Co-ordination - Janice McDonald
MEMBER AT LARGE - Cheryl Mills


FABRIC - Dawn Bolger
YARN - Janice McDonald


ACCESSORIES, neck and shoulders - scarves, cowls, shawls)Glenda Sweetland
ACCESSORIES, heads and fingers, knees and toes - Sharon Kimmel
BOOK BAGS - Ellen Monaghan
CHILDREN - Mieke Van Dijk, Sandy Burgess, Susan Johnston
HOME DECOR - Barb Doll, Rose Besler, Donna Russel
JEWELRY - Karen McManus
PETS - Carol Spring
PURSES & BAGS- Leslie Buckle

Many workshops and demos have detailed handouts for reference. Even if you were unable to attend, these notes can help you to hone old skills or pick up new. Members can access Handcrafts Monthly, workshop notes and patterns by clicking on the link above, entering the password and then clicking OK.

If you forget the password, email

In addition to our workshop notes and patterns, there are patterns that we have permission to use from outside designers. These designers have allowed us to use their patterns to make items for sale. Please support them in return by purchasing their patterns for your use. Check Patterns and Workshop Notes for any restrictions.


Our annual Fall Sale takes place each year in the middle of October at the Marda Loop Communities Association, 3130 16th Street SW, Calgary, and is our largest single fundraising event. All year long our Members, and sometimes their fiends and family, work on handcrafted items for this sale. This section is intended to provide feedback and guidance to our handcrafters.

Let this info be a guide but remember that the diversity of our handcrafted items is one of our strengths so if you have ideas for new items, come to a gathering to share or contact us at
Despite the continuing economic downturn in our fair city, the 2016 BB&B sale was a great success. We can’t help but think our new layout and the extra buzz around the $1,000,000 goal helped us to realize the wonderful results. Both days saw a steady stream of customers who were more than willing to open up their wallets.

One of the main responsibilities of the handcraft committee is to maximize the efforts of the hand crafters and to maximize the value of the products that are created for the sale. In order to do this, each year we evaluate what sold in the sale and what might potentially be a best seller for the next sale. Custodians take home a bit of inventor every year; 2016 was no exception but many items sold out and we are starting from a fresh perspective for 2017. All custodians took home very little unsold product. In some cases, makers retrieve unsold items and the rest is sorted and counted and stashed for the next sale. Some of the unsold items were donated to local charities. It is a privilege to also have a positive impact on our own community.

Scarves 187 carried over out of total 302 = 40% sold
Cowls 32 carried over out of total 82 = 61% sold
Shawls 28 carried over out of total 86 = 67% sold
Shawlettes 6 carried over out of total 50 = 88% sold
Ponchos 0 carried over out of total 4 = 100% sold
Knotty girls 0 carried over out of total 9 = 100% sold
Crochet scarves and cowls 13 carried over out of total 24 = 45% sold

As in previous years, the shawls and shawlettes are the biggest sellers.
The percentage of scarves sold is low, however, there was a higher inventory of scarves to begin with. The asymmetrical scarves sold well again this year with only 12 being carried over.
Fabric infinity scarves are still a good seller but there are a large number in our inventory each year and not all will sell. The fabric bandanas do not sell well and we had most carried over from last year.

Cowls still sell well, a mix of chunky and soft drape-y ones with an interesting stitch sell best.

Crocheted items, unfortunately, do not sell as well as knitted ones.

Because accessories are fashion driven it is hard to predict what will sell and what won’t. Colour and fibre content are important factors when customers are selecting scarves and cowls and shawls. Our customers tend to shy away from pastels and scratchy fibres.

Overall, 2016 was a successful year. Any items that were carried over and had been in 2-3 sales with price reductions in the 2nd and 3rd year, were donated.


ADULT WEARABLES (exclucing Scarves, Shawls, Shawlettes and Cowls) - Janice Meeking

The total pre-sale inventory count in this very diverse product line was 307, down from last year but the inventory was of very high quality and were priced accordingly.

It is always exciting and sometimes surprising to see what the trendy items will be each year. This year was a surprise.

There were many, many hats to carry over from last year and several were donated to local charities. The new hat inventory was of very good quality and variety and an unprecedented 130 hats were sold. This is about 77% of the inventory on hand. By the end of the sale, there were many bare heads. There are lonely 32 hats to carry over.

Usually headbands are harder to sell than hats but this years was a notable exception. There are only 6 headbands to carry over - 6!

These are popular sellers and 93% of the inventory was sold. In past years it has been hard to price socks the way they deserve to be priced and sell them, but hand knit socks are now definitely in. If you are a sock knitter, know that multi colored socks will sell.

Felted slippers continue to sell though the demand has dropped off for this product. Unbelted slippers are a bit harder to sell but a few pair were sold.

Fingerless gloves and mittens were a signature product for many years but popularity of these items also seems to have dropped off. About 50 pairs of mittens, one-third fingerless and two-thirds full, were sold and this represents about 75% of the inventory. Double knit gloves in luxury yarns were top priced and top sellers. Check the yarn inventory if you are interested in knitting these items.

Because size is so important for these items selling depends on the right customer coming through the door. There were some lovely sweaters on offer, mostly chunky yarns and most of these did sell. So if sweaters are your thing we can sell a few. Smaller items that do not need sizing are easier to sell and often realize better returns for the effort.

Vests were not as popular as sweaters but we did sell about 15.

There were about 20 sets and these are gone, gone, gone; all of them gone. Hint, hint.

Please read these guidelines and the important ‘Children’s Safety Guidelines’ before embarking on your projects. It is equally important, when you submit work from anyone outside the group, that they, too, have read and followed the guidelines.

  • 2016 update coming soon.

  • 2016 update coming soon.


This is a brief, unofficial summary of some of the safety requirements put out by Health Canada – Consumer Product Safety and its links - that could apply to products we make. It is intended as an aid to keeping our creations as safe as possible for children.

1. Avoid cords, drawstrings, ribbons, etc. on children’s clothing and toys. Belts and ties must be securely stitched at the back of the garment.
2. No children’s scarves please.
3. Eyes, noses and decorations on children’s toys must be made with yarn, fabric or non-toxic pen and not with buttons or beads (Even safety eyes have been known to break!)
4. Toys must not contain plant seeds (e.g. beans) as stuffing material.
5. Any kind of fastener must be securely attached, with no sharp points exposed.
6. Avoid: Detachable small parts that could be swallowed; toxic substances (e.g. crayons should be marked ‘non-toxic’); sharp edges and points; magnets.
7. Slippers should be leather-sole / non-skid.
8. Always indicate on your label the type of textile(s) used, and if possible, include a yarn wrapper with knitted garments. This can be fastened to the UJAMAA GRANDMAS tag.

If you have further questions or require more information, call Roz Cooper-Key, Children’s Product Custodian (403) 286 9239. More information can be found at the General Enquiry Line 1 866 662 0666. You will be put in touch with the closest Regional Product Safety Office.

HOME DECOR - Barb Doll
We had a very successful turnover of our inventory. Items that were not being sold after several years were donated to several charities that benefit women locally.


Coasters - 25 singles sold for $2.00, 8 sets of 4 for $8.00 and 1 set of 2 for $4.00. Several sets of more detailed coasters sold easily.

Wine bags - 46 wine bags from furniture fabric samples from the fabric sale, wine bags made from the pattern on our web site from heavier upholstery fabric or denim, wine bags with matching coasters, or very unique wine bags all sold very well. Wine related products generally sell well.

Casserole Carriers - These sell well if made from good quality, interesting fabric. Add pot holders or a matching table mat that fits inside.

Afghans and Lap Covers - When made form soft yarn in modern colors and easily washed, these sell well. Knitted items sell better than crocheted.

Shoe Bags - Make these in beautiful, heavier fabric. The ones with shoe appliqués were popular.

Placemats - These are a great seller. Sets of 4 sell better than sets of 2. There were requests for sets of 6. Five sets of 2, 22 sets of 4 and 1 set of 6 were offered tat the sale this year very few are left; these are in colors that didn't seem to work as well such as bright pink and orange with a lot fabric busy-ness.

Tea-themed Items - The clay teabag holders with an attached tea bag all sold. This was a new product and would be welcome for the 2017 sale. Tea related products usually sell well. There were also some tiny clay dishes that would hold ear rings and these all sold. We didn't have many tea cozies and all but one sold. We also sold a lot of tea-themed teapot mats.

There were a lot of beautiful, quilted table runners/ wall hangings in a variety of sizes that used beautiful fabric colors and were well quilted. 29/40 of these runner were sold.

Although small bags aren't used in home decor, lot of change purse size bags and 4 detailed cosmetic bags in beautiful fabric with zipper pockets inside sold in this section.

Mug Mats - 130 mug mats made from fun fabric and themed fabric were sold. There are only 21 left to carry over. There are a lot of good ideas for this product on the internet.

Table Mats - Made in small, medium and large sizes, insulated with insulbrite and non- insulated, these sold well. There are 36 left out of 83 insulated and 11 out of 36 of non- insulated.

Pillows - This product is generally a hard sell but we did sell 5 exceptional pillows and 2 plain ones.

Felted bowls are a good seller They sell as singles or as sets of 2, 3 or 4. There are very few left.


Pillowcases - Pillowcases once sold very well but have NOT been selling well the last two years. We gave quite a few away to charity so they will be enjoyed.

Bowls made from records didn't sell but these will be offered again next year.

All occasion gift bags have been cleared out. They only sell for a very low price which is not worth the effort put in them so let's give them a rest. However see the Christmas section for gift bags.

Please keep up your great work. If you have a new product you would like to try. please consult someone on the Handcrafts Committee to discuss feasibility and for any suggestions. The African Grannies know that they make us tired but through our efforts they have projects that improve their lives and those of their grandchildren.

In 2016 the following Christmas-themed items sold very well. There is very little inventory to carry over although we do have quite a few Canada Maple Leaf Ornaments, and Halloween bags.

Felted and knitted animals and ornaments
Tee ornaments
Glass plant stakes and notes
Tree skirts, Christmas trees
Advent calendars
Runners, placemats, table mats, pot holders.
Gift tags, small and medium gift bags, wine bags and coasters.
The Halloween cat with house was very popular.


About 55 microwave bowls sold out as did the 22 potatoes bags.
Dryer balls were a new products and all 18 were sold.
All 283! scrubbies left the building.
Only a few pot holders. are left to carry over and the insulated ones sold best.
Although there was an abundance of dishcloths, close to a 100 were sold.
Kitchen towels to fit over the oven door sell well.
Aprons are a harder sell requiring just the right buyer. That being said, however, most of our new and old stock were sold.
JEWELRY - Karen McManus

The Jewelry Booth received 692 items for the sale, with only 148 of those carried over from last year’s sale, so there was a good inventory of 544 new items.

Total sales results were: 302 items sold, producing $4110 in sales. These are wonderful results.

Nineteen people were identified as contributors of the 494 items and 198 items were donated anonymously. Some items were returned to their creators, and 255 items will be carried forward to the next sale.

Best sellers were:
earrings (59%)
buttons, (52%)
brooches (45%)
necklaces (40%)
and bracelets (40%).

Some things that didn’t sell as well as expected were button bracelets, knit necklaces, necklace and bracelet sets, and key chains. Next year will be an opportunity to find new ways to market these items, and to find new items to make for the sale.

Purse charms have been suggested as one possible returning item. I hope the jewelers who have contributed will be excited by the challenge of creating new products.

I want to thank everyone who helped me in my first year as jewelry custodian. It was amazing to see how many people offered such kind and generous assistance and advice, and made this a wonderful experience for me.
PETS - Carol Spring

The pet section sold about 80% of its product this year. Pets was in an excellent location and the product sold consistently over the two days. Many of the product lines sold out so unlike last year there is very little carryover. Most of the product that did not sell has been around for two years and will be donated. Therefore lots of new product ideas for next year. Kits can be put together for anyone who would like to make some products since there is still lots of suitable material available and lots more will be obtained from the Fabric Sale. Let Carol know via if you are interested in making kits or have any ideas for new Pet products

Cat pumpkin beds and the rectangular dog bed sold for a reasonable price.
People want large rectangular dog begs and 2 or 3 would sell.
Watch for a pumpkin cat bed work bee again next year. Five or six of these beds will certainly sell.
Only one of the brightly coloured pillows sold so none should be made next year.

These were a new product that used up themed, donated fleece. Approximately 10 dog and cat blankets in various sizes would sell next year.

The Catnip mice were the best seller and all 60 of them sold.
The non-felted, mice with no catnip did not sell as well.
Pull toys were popular. Long straight ones were favoured. Some buyers liked the tight ones while others preferred the loose ones. These are easy to make from long strips of left over fleece in bright colours. They sell.
Brightly coloured cat Pom-Poms sold out. These are also easy and quick to put together. Half of them had a bell attached
The Jean dog bones sold out so a new jeans toy should be considered if this interests you.
Catnip blankies were a bit slow to sell but did sell out so 10 again next year would be worthwhile.
Some sock snakes were repurposed from children’s toys by adding a bell to them and they sold very quickly.

Very few sold, no more should be made.

Both cat placemats and the larger dog placemats did well. The regular sized placemats are being bought both for the table and for the pets. Approximately 20 placemats would sell next year.

The dispensers sold out this year and 10 of them would be a good target for next year.
The dog walker bags sold early so more of this product would sell.

Halloween and Christmas bandanas sold best as well as other themed bandanas. 10 - 15 each of Christmas and Halloween in Large and Medium sizes would be sure to sell.
Approximately 5 each of Valentine, St. Pat, Canada Day and pretty ones would be a good.
PURSES & BAGS - Leslie Buckle
  • 2016 update coming soon.

BOOK BAGS - Ellen Monaghan
This year Ellen had 112 of her famous bags on hand and took none of them home. Bravo!
Despite the economic conditions in our fair city, the 2015 BB&B sale was a great success. We appeared to have a few less customers than in previous years, but those who came, spent money.

One of the main responsibilities of the handcraft committee is to maximize the efforts of the hand crafters and to maximize the value of the products that are created for the sale. In order to do this, each year we evaluate what sold in the last sale and what might potentially be a best seller for the next sale. Custodians took home a bit of inventory. In some cases, makers retrieved unsold items and the rest has been sorted and counted and stashed for 2016. Some times were donated to local charities. It is a privilege to also have a positive impact on our own community.
Product Custodians love it when items arrive with tags attached and filled in. It has to be done and who better to provide useful information than the creator?

Seems like a simple thing to put a tag on a handmade item but, as with most things, there is an element of art to it as well. So what makes a tag worth reading?

NAME THAT THING - It can be a load of fun to get together with a friend to make up names for those baby dolls, dinosaurs, hats, bracelets or felted slippers. We’ve heard customers at BB&B comment about a quirky name that added that little extra attraction.
WHO DUNNIT ? - Please add your initials, name or pseudonym (some of you have such cool alter egos). It is helpful if questions arise about the item.
WHATS IN IT? - Content and care for items such as wearables and Home Decor are very valuable to the customer. For knits, include the yarn label if you have it.
DOES SIZE REALLY MATTER? - Well, sometimes it does so, when it does, please be sure to include that info too.
HOW MUCH $ - Don’t worry about pricing. Pricing committees will take care of this part just before the sale.

And finally, ATTACH IT (Gesundheit!) Use crochet cotton to make a string and thread the string through the tag and loop through the item or use a small safety pin through the string. Please, no straight pins; they stick the custodians and the customers or they fall out and the tag is lost. Tags pinned directly to the item can sometimes cause a tear or pulled stitch to string or ribbon is always better. String invariably stays tied better.
Presentation and packaging does make a different. If you have a small item that would benefit from being on a card, files are available below for you to download and print on white card stock. Items should be firmly attached to these cards and please remember do not use straight pins.



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Throughout the year UJAMAA GRANDMAS offers a variety of workshops and demos for Members and Friends. Workshops are hands-on and intended to be working bees to complete products for Bags, Babies & Beyond. Demos are intended to provide a venue for new ideas and skills enhancement.




Check PATTERNS page for details - access link at top of this page.