Friday, November 15, 2019

Does the World Need Another Quilt Designer? / Beauties Pageant 57


Quilting serves me in a variety of ways. Sometimes, it helps me find peace as I listen to the hum of my sewing machine and guide fabric under the needle. Other times, it’s an opportunity to challenge myself technically, proving that I can master applique, partial seams, or Y-seams. And then there are other situations when it’s my chance to unleash my creativity and feed my soul in a way nothing else does by designing something from scratch.

Publishing my original designs—either independently or in a magazine—has always been a possibility, but for many reasons I haven’t made the leap. First of all, in a world where everyone has access to a word-processing program, if not full-out design and layout programs, there are tons of quilt designers. And some of those designers are producing really beautifully written and well tested patterns. Plus, I am not kidding myself: I know publishing my patterns for public consumption is a big time commitment with little potential for financial gain. If anything, any income I would make would do little more than support my habit hobby.

Then there’s the issue of my style and the way I construct my quilts. Would people want to re-create my original designs?

Take, for example, three original designs and the quandary each poses when I consider marketing the pattern to the quilting community ...

1. Near Wild Heaven


I designed and made Near Wild Heaven as a submission to American Patchwork and Quilting’s two-color challenge for QuiltCon 2019. It didn’t make the cut, which was fine, because I really love this quilt and wouldn’t have designed it outside the context of the challenge. But is it a good candidate for a quilt pattern? I designed it to be a monochromatic piece. Would it work pieced in multiple colors? And wouldn’t potential purchasers want that kind of versatility?

2. Circa 1870


The next design of mine, Circa 1870, showed at QuiltCon 2019. I think it’s a fresh take on a hexagon quilt, and it’s been well received by other quilters. I can’t help but wonder, though: Would other people actually want to make it?! I pieced it all by machine, which means I sewed Y-seam after Y-seam. From my experience, most quilters hear “Y-seams” and run the other way.

3. Modern Warm and Cool Coin Quilt

I’m not ready to reveal the next potential pattern in its entirety, but here’s a sneak peek...


It’s a layer-cake variation of the quilt at the top of this post without the improv piecing. It’s an easy sew. My question is, Do quilters want easy sews? I think in some people’s minds easy patterns should be free patterns.

You all are a biased lot. After all, you’re here. You’ve seen my projects, and if you’ve come back, I presume you’ve liked what you have seen. Would giving this publishing idea a shot make sense? I covet your thoughts!

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Friday, November 8, 2019

Confession: I Don't Mind Y-Seams / Beauties Pageant 56


Coming clean last week on my recent procrastination problems has had a positive effect on my sewjo and focus. Just knowing that I’m not the only one dragging her feet to the December 2nd QuiltCon submission deadline helps. So thanks for reading and thanks for sharing words of encouragement, offers of accountability, and similar stories of procrastination woe.

In a moment of clarity, I’ve realized that, although completing two new submissions for QuiltCon would require a herculean effort I cannot muster (and grumpiness and stress from me that my family cannot endure), I can complete one project. In fact, in the past 24 hours, I’ve managed to piece a backing and baste a large throw quilt toward this goal. I’m not ready to share that project with you—it’s kind of nice to have a secret from the quilty social media world. I will, however, share snippets of the quilt that won’t be quilted and bound (perhaps even pieced!) in time to submit this year ...


I’m sure you can see why this quilt will not be finished by early December. I’m machine-piecing hexagons. Actually, I’m paper-piecing the majority of those hexagons and then machine-piecing them from there. What can I say? I don’t mind Y-seams, and piecing this project is a process I enjoy. (I know I’m in the minority here.)

I have never sewn with—let alone designed with—any of V and Co.’s ombré fabrics, but I couldn’t imagine using anything else in this quilt. The subtle color variations in the fabric give the hexagonal gems dimension, mimicking the effect of light reflecting off the facets.

I have yet to decide how to quilt this, although a plea for help at a recent guild meeting garnered some interesting ideas. Any thoughts from you on that front? Since I no longer expect to finish this in time for QuiltCon 2020 submissions, I could really go crazy with the quilting, either tackling some fancy quilting design myself or hiring someone to do custom work.

A design wall was a necessity for this project, so I made one with foam board and batting.

For more from me on machine-pieced hexagons, check out these posts:
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Friday, November 1, 2019

The Pit of Procrastination / Beauties Pageant 55


Friends, I’ve fallen into a pit of procrastination. Facing the December 2nd QuiltCon deadline, I’ve been working on anything and everything other than the two quilts I designed and started specifically for submitting this year.

Deciding to decimate my Amy Butler and Denyse Schmidt stash has proved to be an especially effective procrastination technique. It has led to no fewer than five new items on my to-do list. I already cut a few of these projects and, in need of some mindless sewing before yesterday’s Halloween festivities, started sewing blocks (see picture above) for one of them, a version of this quilt from Cluck Cluck Sew.

You’ll find bits of DS’s Eastham and New Bedford lines in these blocks. There’s also an early print from Rifle Paper Co. I snatched up tons of that sweet floral, all in scrap form, from a guild mate. Once I noticed that the peaches and greens in that fabric pair well with DS’s gray-toned palette, I quickly concluded I had enough to build a quilt around.


I can’t find anyone else in the procrastination pit I’ve cut and sewn myself into, but I’m sure I’m in good company. Who else is down here, working on one project when they should be working on another?!

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