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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  1. there are so many quilters trying to sell their patterns that I personally have not been interested in giving it a shot. Yes some offer free patterns on their blogs and most times they appear to be easy quilts. I would say if you want to see if you can sell one just give it a shot and offer it for whatever price you see has been considered fair. I personally rarely do easy patterns as I like a challenge, but sometimes easy is what you need after you do some challenging work.

  2. Hi Michelle! I may have a slightly different view about pattern design and whether you should jump in the fray. Other than all the work of actually writing the pattern - not to diminish that one bit - but what do you have to lose? Near Wild Heaven in your mind is monochromatic but someone else may view it as the perfect vehicle to showcase multiple colors. You can't know what patterns you have in your head that would appeal to others unless you put them out there. Perhaps the magazine route would be easier because there is an established path and support personnel for assistance. So my vote is to just jump in and see how it goes. You can always change your mind and no one will think less of you. It's a win/win whichever decision you make. {{Hugs}} . What does your heart tell you to do? Do that. ~smile~ Roseanne

  3. I love all the quilts you've shown. You can't create patterns to please all quilters. The easy ones may appeal to some but the challenging ones may appeal to others. I think you should jump in and try publishing a few patterns and see how you like it. Pattern writing/publishing to me is making the quilts I love and just writing down the steps as I go. If others don't like it as much, that's fine. I still made a quilt I love. I've written and published a grand total of ONE pattern so far in a magazine - just saying :-)

  4. Imagine this Near Wild Heaven: Dark yellow-black, light yellow-mid grey, flower yellow-light grey, each star a different ombre confetti fabric. (It looks block-based to me, with the individual stars each their own block and a border added around them. Not much quilt math for me here depending on how you write the pattern.) How stunning would that be?

    If you build it, they will come.

  5. If you're really interested in trying to publish quilts, go for it and good luck!

  6. Go for it!! Give it a try and see what happens. I like all the quilts.

  7. I agree with the others - if you'd really like to give it a go, do it! As to how Near Wild Heaven would look in a different color way, once you send your pattern out to your testers, ask them to do either monochromatic or a different color way. You may be surprised how much you like what they come up with. I like each one of your quilts. I'd like to do that hexie in black and white. The Y-seams would be good for me :-) I do think quilters look for easy quilts too and no, the easy quilt does not have to be free. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  8. It is better to have tried and failed than not tried at all. Go for it.

  9. I went to a Business Boutique seminar and learned that there is always room for you in the market. The quilting market isn't too saturated with quilt pattern designers; there is room for you. There doesn't seem to be any prediction if a pattern will sell well or not; some do and some don't. Jump in!

  10. I love your quilts, and it could be a great idea to publish them. Give it a try ;)

  11. I'm dipping my toe into the quilt design market. It does take a long time to write a pattern but each one adds to your 'library'of techniques that can be cut and pasted into future patterns ;-)
    I think many patchwork quilters they might be able to figure out how to make the different elements of a design (without really needing the pattern) but don't want to spend time working out fabric requirements. So even relatively simple patterns using traditional blocks are bought for the convenience of having the fabric requirements.
    For the first time I'm having a design published in a magazine. It doesn't pay a great amount but I do feel really excited and having my design accepted has given me confidence to design more :-) I'd say give it a go!

  12. I have been cautious about pattern writing as well. It does seem like a large pool to jump into and I have only dipped my big toe into it. But what can it hurt to try. Even if it is a small local guild or customers at a LQS that may purchase the pattern, you can say you have been published. I personally feel that if the expectation of offering a new pattern every month or so it would take away some of the fun of creating. Good luck!

  13. If you have people asking if you have a pattern for that, then do it!


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