Friday, December 6, 2019

Ho, Ho, Snow / Beauties Pageant 59

For some of us in New England, last weekend’s Thanksgiving break was extended two days due to the arrival of 18-plus inches of snow. We were given ample time to prepare for this storm both logistically and emotionally, but I was not ready. Usually the snow season starts with a few inches here and there, which can often melt with a warm day or two. That way, we ease into winter. But there’s no turning back from a foot and a half of snow. Farewell, lawn! I’ll see you in April!

Luckily, I had a project that was easily worked on in the short spurts of sewing my family affords me on snow days.

This project is Sterling Sewn’s new Log Cabin Home for the Holidays pattern, which I tested back in October. I plan to make a few mini-quilts with this pattern and gift them at Christmas. I especially like the one I’ve completed in its entirety over those snowy days (see the picture at the top of the post). The palette has a vintage quality to it—with a red and green that’s not the typical holiday red and green and the introduction of a pale blue. I continued this effect in the scrappy background with off-whites, bits of Grunge in paper white, and cream.

It’s a treat to work on smaller projects. Mini-quilts and table runners allow me more opportunities to develop palettes and fabric pulls, which is the most enjoyable part of sewing for me. (WHAT?! I never would have said that five years ago. I definitely need to delve deeper into that in a future post.)

I don’t know how many of these minis I’ll be able to wrap up in time for gift giving. A second mini, already quilted and ready to be bound (see pics above and below), is in more traditional holiday colors. I hope to start a third this weekend in a yet-to-be developed color combination.

Who else has a finish to share for the past two weeks? Please upload it to this week’s Beauties Pageant!

By the way, my apologies for being a no-show last Friday. I reserve the right to flake out every so often, and instead of posting something then, I worked on submitting projects to QuiltCon and Paducah. It was annoying and I would have rather spent the time writing a post, but the submissions are done, done, done!

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Friday, November 22, 2019

The Sobering WIP Count / Beauties Pageant 58

In a moment of self-imposed accountability this past week, I made a list of my WIPs. Anything that I had pulled fabric and chosen a pattern for counted. The exercise was a sobering one ... I have 21 WIPs. For some quilters, that number is laughable. For me, someone whose sweet spot is 5 or 6 WIPs at any given time, that number is overwhelming.

But I’ve got five weeks left in 2019, and I’m going to make the most of them. I want to finish as many quilts as I can, so I’m focusing on the low-hanging fruit: Anything that already exists as a quilt top is a high priority. I just bound my QuiltCon challenge submission (pictures to come), and I’m moving on to these two large baby quilts. I’m planning on quilting a simple two-inch grid on point. The binding for both is sewn and pressed, ready to go.

These two quilts have their own palette, but both are built around Seaside Carnival
 by Rae Ritchie for Dear Stella.

Ritchie’s illustrations run the gamut, from whimsical carousels to tattooed mermaids.

The lighter peach version and this orchid one are for two sisters. I love how
both projects are the same design and use the same fabric collection but are very different.

Once these two baby quilts are completed, I’ll be down to 18 WIPs. I think I could potentially finish an additional 4 before December 31st, which would be awesome. Fourteen WIPs is a respectable point to start the new year, right?

Feel free to start a pool betting on whether or not I can accomplish this in the comments—HA!

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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!

* * *

The pageant rules are simple:
  • Post your finish in the linky tool. (No links to your own giveaway or linky, please!)
  • Point your readers back here with a text link or use the button above.
  • Visit and comment on other participants’ finishes.

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