Category Archives: Journey

Book Journey {an update}

Back in December, I started letting you all know about the my goals and timelines for my book. Well, let me tell you I am really impressed by those that can get a book together in 6-12 months. Let me say with full-time job commitments, family life, other quilt project deadlines and teaching events, giving the book the priority it needs has not been easy.

As I am writing this, I am telling myself constantly that it is ok. As my lovely editor says “Your book will be ready in August”. August when, who knows. Obviously not 2018. I hope it is definitely 2019.

The biggest discoveries I made:

  1. That to have a book the projects really need to be finished, before you can finalize content.
  2. Support from your circle is important. In June, I was able to share more of my ideas and direction with my inner circle helping on the book. It was good to get feedback and reinforce the direction is going the right way…..no matter how slowly.
  3. This touch point was fantastic, and I feel it helped clear my mind somewhat and refocus.
  4. Capturing good notes now as I develop each quilt, has been extremely important in telling the story for each project.

Where am I at, you might ask….

The Introduction – Notes and Outline are complete, photography concepts included.

Tools chapter – Notes and Outline are complete, photography concepts included.

Project 1 – Manicured Gardens quilt is complete, I’ll post about it shortly. Graphic Design/layout rough draft reviewed.

Project 2 – Group quilt binding is underway. This will be for a side bar; group activity segment.

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Project 3 – Rotating Spokes Quilt is being quilted.

Project 4 – Art Deco Medallion quilt is being pieced. Friends are helping out with some of the hand work based blocks.

Project 5 – Broken Trellis Quilt is being pieced. Friends are helping out with some of the  block piecing.

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Project 6 – Coliseum quilt top is complete.

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Project 7 – Cairns quilt design is complete. This was a major break through this past weekend and inspiration from Leon Polk Smith’s work helped this go in the right direction.

Project 8 – 12 are still percolating and evolving.

A list of photo shoot places is underway (though some maybe wishful thinking ;-)):

  • Downtown Apex at the white brick wall
  • Biltmore Estate Gardens (visiting in May next year)
  • Yates Mill Historic Park
  • Rome (Coliseum) / back up location would be the ruins in Beaufort, SC
  • NC Old Barns both wood and corrugated iron backgrounds
  • Lisbon, Portugal (just b/c its my favorite place)

To keep this project moving forward I need to set a couple of goals for the rest of the year. So, I want to do the following and have these goals done by the end of the Christmas break:

  1. Finish first draft for introduction chapter
  2. Finish first draft tools chapter
  3. Touch base with my editor and graphic designer.
  4. Complete Project 2 (1 3/4 sides of binding to go).
  5. Complete Project 3 (Quilting and binding)
  6. Complete current border for  Project 4.
  7. Complete Project 6 (basting, quilting and binding)
  8. Project 7, trying out the design concepts on a test project.

 

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Why take a break from Social Media??

This year, I have felt like I’m in some kind of funk.  I have been lacking motivation and ideas. I get in front of my sewing machine, sew a couple of lines and then take a break. As the year progressed, I noticed the time spent on social media (especially Instagram) increased and by the beginning of June it was at least 2 hours a day. The constant visual stimuli of Instagram, and watching what others were producing (which felt like over productivity) was feeding the inadequacy I was feeling. I was feeling anxiety about not making progress around my own work.

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With my birthday being around the corner, I decided to take a break from social media for the month of June. My hopes were to take time to find me again. My goals for this month were:

  • Take some me time
  • Take an Instagram break
  • Work on my book for 1 hour each day
  • Spend a minimum of 1 hour sewing every day

Everyone was so supportive about taking a break. I lost only 2 followers on Instagram after the announcement. Those that might be wondering about how it all turned out, I got some mixed results. The biggest lesson I learnt was I need to expand it to all electronic use, unless I need to use it to accomplish the tasks I sent forth. Why? Well, you might all of a sudden binge watch all episodes of House and Dawsons Creek. 😉

Some of the positives, I was more present and more focused. I found I was more open to some design inspiration and did collect more of my book thoughts. I got some quilt this done but not as much as I would have liked (due to the binge watching).

Being Present

I did manage to add a new cubby to my solid fabric storage and its all stored based on color card order.

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I was more present in my life. I visited Saxapahaw, NC for my birthday …

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…and my little one graduated elementary school. So proud of him, as he was awarded the technology award for his track and grade.
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Quilt Design

I did find that my mind is more open, so designs came fast and hang around in my head until I got them down on paper. I found my expressing some of my feelings in some of these. Captions are provided to explain some of the inspiration.

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Crack of Light – inspired by hope of light that shines through when times are dark.

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Pressure – pressure on an object causes it to give, become divided or split.

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Road markings inspired by temporary lines that were drawn due to road closures.

Grate

Inspired by a image of a vintage tractor grate.

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Playing with lines, inspired by volume sound bars.

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What my minimalist Log Cabin design would look like.

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Improvisation lines and frames inspired by ladders steps

Quilts

 

I did make some progress on a few quilts. I have multiple projects in different stages.

I worked on some binding projects. Two of which are book quilt finishes.
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…finished a couple of quilt tops.

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Coliseum Quilt – A book project

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Correlation Matrix – work on my 100 days of colored angles.

… worked on some straight line quilting for my rotating spokes book project.

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…and finished of one quilt that was shipped off to a magazine. It should be published in November, when I will have a big reveal.

So, all in all pretty productive. I will definitely be considering another one this year. I am thinking that it should be something I do at least once every six months.

Have you tried a social media break? What worked and what didn’t work?

Submitting to a Magazine

I have now been submitting patterns to quilting magazines/publications going on 3 years, with at least 4-6 publications a year. I have been very lucky and have had great experiences with those I have worked with. Have you every thought about submitting to a magazine but not sure how to do it? Here are some pointers based on my experiences.

Submission process

  1. First step pick up a couple of issues of the magazines that you want to submit to. Check out layout, content, aesthetic. Make sure your project falls into their aesthetic.
  2. Start by checking the submission guidelines for the magazine you want to submit to. If you can’t find them, reach out via email requesting them.
  3. Depending on the submission guidelines, you may be required to submit a finished quilt or just design/ideas. I like submitting a couple of designs and offer to change size and color to make it easier to fit with an upcoming issue.
  4. It is important to submit the designs/or quilts to only one magazine/publication at a time. Don’t submit the same design to multiple magazines.
  5. The submission response varies for each magazine. I have had everything from 1-4 weeks. Communication maybe across multiple emails deciding on dates, and aspects of the pattern.
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Quilt used for Best in Show, QuiltCon Magazine 2017

Contract process

  1. Once they say yes, they should send you a contract. Don’t agree to doing anything without a contract (I learned this lesson the hard way).
  2. If you can afford it, have a lawyer read through the contract and explain it to you.
  3. If you can’t afford a lawyer some of the key things you need to read are;
    • When do your rights get returned to you? It is common that this is 6-12 months for most magazines/publications.
    • What gets returned to you? Do you have the rights to re-publish? I like to get me rights back to then publish as my own pattern to sell. Rarely, but sometimes magazines will give you the rights to the images as well.
  4. Most magazines do not allow you to share on social media until the magazine//publication is on sale. When they are about to release, several publications will provide you with images to use. If they don’t ask if they can. You can ask if you can have the rights to those photos for your future use as well.
  5. Validate payments language and stipulations
    • Check when you receive the money, and the process of payment. Many will require you to submit invoice or purchase order. Others will need to receive the delivery before they pay. The other option I have seen is that payment will be made once the issue starts to ship.
    • How much are you being paid? This is typically negotiable, but if its your first publication you may want to balance experience and worth.
  6. Do they have terms in there for re-use? If yes, how much will they pay for re-use across other media and forms. Ask yourself if this is something you want. You may want to negotiate this.
  7. Terms and conditions are typically included on what happens if they choose not to use your project.
  8. Contracts may include and should include expectations on deliverables, timing and possibly shipping details.
  9. Shipping costs to the magazine, most will pay for the returning of the quilt, others may repay your shipping costs, you may need to pay it yourself. You will need to submit receipts for repayment.
  10. Some magazines have partnerships with fabric manufacturers and may be able to provide you fabric. I typically will use my own fabric for a submission but if this is something you are interested in, there is no harm in asking.
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Image Provided by Love Patchwork & Quilting

Delivery Process

  1. Make sure you understand what you need to deliver and when. It is important that you are on time with your deliverables. Life happens though, just communicate as early as you can and let them know the situation and most will work with you on any issues/delays etc. Communication is key.
  2. Most magazines will convey how they want the content delivered. They may provide you with templates and specific instructions. Make sure you follow the instructions.
  3. Mostly, I have written most of the patterns as part of the submission (see expectations for print) which is one of the deliverables. Some magazines may prefer to write it themselves. Check what your responsibilities are.
  4. I have seen that typically word is the preferred file format for the actual pattern  – if there is no template check out previous releases to get an understanding of what they are expecting.  You may want to include:
    • An introduction, quick blurb about your project.
    • Materials
    • Cutting instructions
    • Step-by-step pattern directions
    • Notes, Tips and acronym dictionary (if you used any, like WOF, RST etc. )
  5. For the instructional aspects, you may be asked for photos to illustrate your instructions. Make sure you check with the publishing body what backgrounds are OK, size of the file and make sure they are sharp and well lit.
  6. If you are asked to provide diagrams it maybe best to use illustrator and save the .ai files. Most magazines will have designers who are savvy in illustrator. They may require specific size work areas, file types and/or layers within illustrator.
  7. I will store all my soft copy deliverables in a google drive and share that link with the contact person to pick up. Keep an eye on your email in case something is incorrect or wrong with the delivery of the files.
  8. For the quilt, if you have agreed on techniques, color and size; if you decide to change any aspect you agreed upon communicate with your contact point and get mutual agreement on the change before moving forward with it.
  9. Make sure you know who is responsible for the photography of your quilt. Know when you have to ship it to get it there on time.  Understand how the quilt will be returned and ask for a tracking number so you know your quilt arrives on time.
  10. Ship your quilts following their instructions (if any are provided). Pack it in a plastic bag, include the invoice for the project, so they know which project it is for.
  11. You will likely need to also provide a headshot photo, and additional information about you like Instagram name, and blog.
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Image Provided by Love Patchwork & Quilting

Expectations for Print

  1. The publishing company will edit your pattern, both from a formatting perspective and actual content. They need to fit it within their allocated space for the design, don’t be shocked if they have made major changes to the document you sent them. It is likely that you will not have a chance to review it.
  2. The publishing company will also use a graphic designer/ illustrator to modify your diagrams etc to ensure it matches their formatting and may combine or separate them into one or more diagrams. They may add to your diagrams.
  3. Until the quilt is scheduled to be released you may not hear again from the publishing body. You may not know if your quilt lands up on the cover until they send you a social media package….its all a very exciting.
  4. To promote your quilt ask for the photos you want, if you would like additional pictures…sometimes they don’t send all of them to you. I always ask for the staged quilt photo and the full front view of the quilt.
  5. The company will typically ship back your quilt once issue if released and most will provide you with a copy of the issue.

If this is something you want to do, don’t be afraid. The worse case is they say no. Now this shouldn’t be taken poorly, your quilt just might not be right for that magazine/publication. Try it with another magazine that may fit better. Best case you will have a quilt in an upcoming publication.

Please note, that these tips are based my experiences, and others may have had different experiences. Feel free to leave a comment if you have experienced something different so others can learn, or if you have other questions and I will do my best to answer it.

March {Plan}

Wow, it is March already. Where did February go?? Let’s get down to business, and plan out the rest of the month….lots to do on this end. I am happy with the progress I have made over the last two months….though not necessarily in all aspects (ie. the book is still moving but slowly). Some of the highlights include:

  • Business: Complete Teaching Plan and submitted to LQS + Classes are scheduled for Q1 + Q2, Supply lists sent
  • Book: Finished Project Plan
  • Book: Finished Border 2 for Art Deco Medallion
  • Deadline: Send finish quilt and pattern for magazine
  • Deadline: Wrote and sent article for MQG
  • Deadline: Sent quilt to Quiltcon
  • Deadline: Finish #mqgswap item
  • Attended QuiltCon

So, the latter 1/2 of this month I would like to focus on my book. Here are some of the key activities I would like or must accomplish.

Category Project/Activity Target Date (day/month) Action
Business Quickbooks  3/6  Purchase + add financials
Business Submit Taxes + Annual report 3/11 Pay someone to do this
Business Phased Circles Pattern for Class in April 3/16 Send to Graphic Designer for layout
Business Teach Improvisation Class 3/17 Preparation Complete
Deadline Interview|Article 3/5 Complete
Book Group Quilt  3/5 Sent for quilting – Complete
Book Manicured Garden Quilt 3/18 Send for quilting
Book Chapter: “Art Deco
Medallion”
3/31 Finalize Content for Chapter
Book Art Deco Medallion
Quilt
 3/31 Finish Border 3+4
Book Chapter: “Manicured Gardens” 3/31 Finalize Content for book
Fun Monthly “Favorite
Things” Giveaway
 3/5 Complete
Fun Traveling Stitches Blocks  3/5 Complete
Blog Month Plan  3/5 Complete
Blog Book Update  3/8 Planning your book
Blog Blog hop post 3/12 Complete
Blog MQGMiniSwap 3/17 Complete
Blog How to Submit to a Magazine 3/24 Write Post
Blog Traveling Stitches 2018 3/31 Write Post
Balance Health 3/31 Loose between 10 pounds. Increase vegetables; 8 glasses of water and exercise 3x a week by March end.

I am interested in those that are running a business or growing your quilting hobby, what do you plan out or do to keep track of everything?

January {Plan}

To stay on goal, I thought I would start a monthly plan to help keep things moving forward in various areas of my world. Each month should include any business activities, deadlines, book activities, and fun quilty projects (WiPs).

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Book Group Quilt Top

 

Category Project/Activity Target Date (day/month) Action
Business Quickbooks  6/1 Investigating for
purchase
Business Yearly Calendar
View
 7/1 In Process of
creating a yearly
view of main activities
Business Classes | Teaching  12/1 Updating Calendar
+ Classes ready for promotion
Book Planning  3/1 In progress – need to
move dates to fit 2018 new deadlines
Book Group Quilt  6/1 Complete Top &
send for quilting
Book Art Deco Medallion
Quilt
 8/1 Finish Border 2
Book Chapter: “Art Deco
Medallion” Project
31/1 Work on 2nd
Review + Graphics
Deadline San Francisco
Bustle
4/1 Add Sleeve, Label,
Send to QuiltCon
Deadline Article 31/1 Write and Submit
Content
Fun Monthly “Favorite
Things” Giveaway
 5/1 Photography + Post
to Instagram
Fun Hexie EPP Project  31/1 Finish Top
Fun Orange Creamsicle  31/1 Finish matchstick
quilting
Education InDesign  31/1 Take a few lessons
on InDesign.
Practice with
writing Phased
Circles Pattern
Blog Park Lamps Quilt  5/1 Finishing post about Park Lamps in LPQ #56
Blog Book Update  26/1 Decide on topic – Planning (??)
Blog A weekly Post  31/1 Work on having a weekly post of some relevant information
Balance Health 31/1 Loose between 5-10 pounds. 5 servings of vegetables; 8 glasses of water and exercise 3x a week by January end.

Sounds like a busy month, but nothing like starting off the year committed. Please note,  that this is my “guided” plan. Sometimes, life gets in the way, or something just takes longer…that’s ok, I will adjust and move on. I’ll share with you next month how things went.

What are your monthly goals? How are you working towards those?

Quilted Postcards

I had a goal for September to make 30 postcards in 30 days (#30daysofpostcards) and have been sharing over on Instagram. Well, I will have 30 but it will take me more like 60 days. It has been the greatest experiment to play with 4 x 6″ quilts. I love it as I get these ideas all the time, and this size allows me to play but not invest too much time, to see if it works or not.

Right now, I am at 29 postcards. I am sending around 17 of them off, as postcards, to people who wanted to receive one. They in turn will send one postcard to someone else. I love the idea of sending a traditional note, a piece of mail, with a little quilty inspiration.

The first postcard that kicked it off was inspired by my effort in finding balance. The line representing balance and the quilting about finding the positives. I had to use my wonder women stamps in this pic., it seemed fitting.

Balance_Postcard

I have a couple of other book project ideas rolling around in my head. I experimented with both ideas and will likely move forward with these as book projects.

The first is a project based on the plastic construction fences.
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The second an improvisational triangle idea that is based on airplanes. ImprovTriangles_Postcard

With these next two postcard, I had vivid shapes pop into my head that I could not shake. The first being a Square with a cream border on one side, and one half made up of two triangles at various heights and dimensions. I played with the white and cream solids, stripes and black linen for interest.

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The second shape was split across 4 postcards, where each had a corner of a square. One of the corners was a 1/4 circle instead. In my head this 1/4 circle was also the opposite in color combination. I had not envisioned a color combination but decided when making it to do it in a navy and bright yellow. This is my favorite combination and will likely become a much larger quilt at some stage.
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For the longest time, I have admired Erin Wilson’s work (@erinwilsonquilts) who does amazing line work in her quilts. These last postcards were my study of lines. I still need to quilt these two.

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I have loved playing with this size that I think I might do another round, but this next one will be a cohesive collection vs. random experiments. I am thinking of playing with minimalism or just with lines in a specific color-way. The idea is still forming.

PS. If you are living in the US, I was very surprised with some of the great stamp collections the USPS (US Postal Service) has at the moment. I went a little crazy in purchasing a few, so I am thinking my son can now collect stamps ;-).

PPS. In a couple of days, I will post a tutorial so that you too can make your own quilted postcards. I am just finishing editing the photos.

 

June project tracking

This is a little late, but I have finally got over my sewing mojo funk. Happy dance happening here!! I have come to realize that January through May are difficult months for me in terms of producing final products. I tend to get stuck on one project.  Great news, I rock the last 7 months though, and usually achieve my goal of 1 quilt a month by the end of the year (12 quilts).

The progress has been great so far this month!! I am super excited about moving forward. I finished a contract project a week early  (pictured, folded above), which was my second finished quilt of the year. I have another old WiP at the long-armer this month, it just needed a back. Lastly, the project that should have been finished in February will be done tonight – more on that one in another post.

Project Dates Current Status
 NY High Line  May June  TOP, BACK, BASTE, QUILT, BIND
 Project 1 (Secret)  June  TOP, BACK, BASTE, QUILT, BIND COMPLETED!!
Medallion July TOP (Underway), BACK, BASTE, QUILT, BIND
 Project 2 (Secret)  July  TOP, BACK, BASTE, QUILT, BIND
 Project 3 (Secret)  August TOP, BACK, BASTE, QUILT, BIND
Graveyard  August TOP, BACK, BASTE, QUILT, BIND
 Trellis  September  TOP, BACK, BASTE, QUILT, BIND
 Manicured Garden  September TOP (Underway), BACK, BASTE, QUILT, BIND
 Triangle Quilt September Pattern Release
 Square Dance September  Pattern Release
Abstract Triangles II & III October Pattern Release
Phased Circles & Lunar Lines  October Pattern Release

What I have learned about myself, is I am much more productive with a fuller plate and deadlines that are not my own. Don’t get me wrong but I will still procrastinate until the last-minute.  So, how do you all get over quilters block?