Friday, December 11, 2015

Where have I been? Busy (is that good?)

This is a "business" blog.
Being a creative person, my business is creativity.
I feel lucky that there are people that will pay for my creative ideas.
I pay someone else to do my taxes, my car repairs, and getting food for my sustenance.

If you like what you read, then you'll be back. If you don't, you won't. I won't know either way, unless you comment. But right now, I'm just recording my thoughts.
I've read blogs with no comments, and blogs with so many comments that there is no way one person could read them all unless they stopped writing the blog.

Anyway, I'm rambling.

I've been told in no uncertain terms, that people like to sit next to me when I sew. Mainly because I tend to talk out loud, answer mumbled questions from across the room, and generally share my knowledge unabashedly. (that must be a word because my spell check didn't flag it)

Since I haven't posted since last January (or February with the update) I figure that something is better than nothing.

It's not that I don't have anything to do.
Just the opposite, I have too much to do. Or rather my curiosity, imagination, and interests are such that a lot of things attract my attention. (That's why my Attention Deficit Disorder seems mis-named, unless my attention is supposed to be on something BORING. Then I have no attention.

A friend asked me to help her find some templates. The local quilt shop was hesitant to order some for her. Curious, I researched where she was using them.
Farmer's Wife 1930's Sampler Quilt.
Here's a link to the blog that got her (and yes, us) started.

A bit of background, then, the rest of the story.
Upon clearing off a horizontal surface in my quilt studio (see Jan 2015 post) I determined that I have too many UFOs. UnFinished Objects. Not like this is a new revelation, just that interior space is finite. (More on that in a future post, just remind me to tell you about it)
I will never finish all of my projects, even if I do nothing else, including fix dinner, and we know most husbands will not last that long without dinner.

Applying what my late father's wife said about stuff in their motor home, Every item must have more than one use.
I didn't quite understand the application, but I did understand that a motor home is small. Even the big ones. I guess my dad did more than just drive. He fixed stuff.

(What does that have to do with UFOs you ask?) Getting there.

Any new project worth my time must satisfy more than one need.

For example. I have been in the BBBee for several years now. (names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent.)  Most of them are current or former schoolteachers. That means they have no problem getting up early on a perfectly nice Saturday morning and meeting at 7AM. In. the. morning. I'm usually there by 8, but I digress.
We meet for free in a commercial building with the agreement that we do charity work. So we make quilts. Lots of quilts. 36" x 36" is a great size for hospital wheelchairs. There is always someone that can use a good hug with a quilt.
The Bee knew me before I started my accidental pattern business. They have watched with pride as I blossomed from learning how to quilt, to re-designing "incorrectly sewn" mystery blocks, to sharing my knowledge and good fortune. But I get kinda busy.
For next year, they wanted to challenge each of us to make (and finish) more quilts than last year. Yea, I said, one is more than half of one. I'm in.
Then someone else offered to do a fun mystery quilt, and who wants to participate? (Another quilt, hmm maybe sit out on that one)
In a flash of inspiration, I said "Me, so long as it's 36" x 36 inches."
Yea! One quilt satisfying two objectives!! Fun mystery, and a charity quilt to donate!

Back to the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt.
I tend to immerse myself in projects. It's called hyperfocus. My business has been quite a project. I felt that if I am not working on it, no one will. But there is a limit. I wore myself out last year. Missed lots of my quilting friends.  Figuring out what I want to do with my business and my life.
When my friend asked me to help her find the templates, she said that several of our friends, and some new ones were meeting at our favorite quilt shop to sew.
Hmm, new project.
Paper piecing, or templates.
Quilt-along. (More on Quilt-along as a spectator sport later, remind me)
Meeting with friends, social outlet.
Sharing myself, teaching foundation piecing and templates
The first template directions I looked at had a technique that I had figured out myself for one of my patterns. This was a sign that I needed to investigate more.
What fabrics would I use?
I have plenty of stash. Sometimes too much. Too many choices can take too much time.
Hmm. 30s quilt. I can use 30s fabrics. Too obvious? Well, no one else is using them in the group. What else will I use them for now that my other 30s quilt is done (well, at least the top is done. Still needs quilting. . . . What's new.)
Perfect. Use Stash. Get out. Socialize. Sew. Share knowledge.
Turns out I shared fabric, too.
One friend, new quilter, no stash to speak of, needs fabric. Doesn't know where to start. Likes my 30s prints. Favorite quilt shop we are in doesn't have 30s prints.
I have > 40 fat quarters. (If I get up to count them right now, I won't finish this blog post)
I say, have some of mine.
Let's go to the cutting board, open my fat quarters, cut them in half, we can each have fat eighths.  You can buy me (us) some solids and we're good!
She shows her hesitation at picking colors. I start grabbing my fat quarters, and say, do these go together?
I don't know, she says.
Do they look bad?
More colors, all 30s look fine together. You can't make a mistake! I already made sure they go together in my 30s FQ stash.
Pick some more, I said. See, You can do it! those look great.
She says timidly, I need more of the purple/lavender.
Great! Go for it.
She is pleased she picked some fabric for herself.
Then we walk over to the wall of solids and she freezes.
No problem, I say. and throw a bunch of (carefully selected) bolts on the cutting table. See any that stick out? Hope I'm not to obvious in my "sticks out like a sore thumb" bolt.
The orangey tan one? She says.
Good Eye! White works better with 30s.

Enough for tonight. Gotta get ready to scrapbook tomorrow.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Help us name the first Triangle Frenzy quilt pattern!

UPDATE: Contest is closed.
It's a Triangle Frenzy Whirlwind!!

Hello, fellow quilters! We hope you all are staying warm and cozy out there, particularly those of you in the northern hemisphere. Hey, at least we have lots of quilts lying around to keep us warm, right?

 First off, we would like to extend a big thank you to those of you who checked out and commented on our last blog post, showcasing our studio space. And congrats to Anna G. for winning our contest!
If you missed the Studio Spotlight Blog hop, you can view the post here.

Now, on to business. We received such great feedback from you all on our studio space, so much so that we would like to invite you to help us come up with a name for our new pattern that is nearly ready for publication!

We understand that it isn't the easiest thing to try and find nice, contrasting border prints to use when making our patterns. Thus, we have decided to come up with a variation of the Triangle Frenzy Hexagon pattern where you can use multiple strips of fabric, sewn together, to achieve the same stunning visual effect. And to sweeten the deal, it will include instructions on how to make the Hexagon into a quilt!

This is the original border print version of the Triangle Frenzy Hexagon pattern.

You can see a sneak peek of the strip version in the photo at the top of this blog. The working name is the Triangle Frenzy Strip Quilt, but we think that's a rather unexciting name. Ideally, we are looking for a name that implies motion. The Triangle Frenzy Runner and the Triangle Frenzy Swirl are both names that reinforce the visual motion of the patterns. We'd love to keep that same theme going!

We are keeping this contest open for one week, after which we will select a winner. The winner will receive the pattern, hot off the press, autographed by the designer! The winner will also receive a gift bag of quilting goodies.
Deadline for this contest is Sunday, February 8th at 11:59 PM eastern time.

You may submit your suggestion by either commenting on this blog post or commenting on the Facebook post. Remember, this is not a random drawing- we are actually going to read all the names and decide which one we like best. Therefore, you may submit as many suggestions as you'd like, but the content is what is the most important.

If you don't happen to win this contest, don't worry! Everyone can get excited about this new pattern, scheduled for release at the end of February.

UPDATE 2/2/2015
Just in case you were wondering, yes, this is a photograph of real fabric, from Cherrywood
Tropicana Gradations bundle
There will be more of these quilts in fabrics from Cherrywood.

Thanks for reading, and have a Frenzy day!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Studio Spotlight Blog Hop

Welcome to my Quilt Studio!

I read somewhere that it is rude to clean your house before your friends come over, because it leaves a false impression- you don’t really live like that! So, welcome, friends, and see how my sewing “hobby” and year-old Triangle Frenzy business has grown to take over half of my house.

This is my sewing room, er, Quilt Studio.

My Baby Lock Quilter’s Dream sewing machine lives in an old Montgomery Ward cabinet, though I never put the machine away anymore. (Our daughter has the old Montgomery Ward sewing machine that she learned to sew on- she still refuses to get a new machine.)
My reference books and idea binders are on the blue shelves, stacked with papers to add to my idea notebooks.
To the right of my machine is my ironing board/horizontal organizing surface. (Yes, I do clear off a space before I turn on the iron.) The iron is plugged into a power strip under the left side of the board. When the power strip is on, a ceramic house on the bookshelf lights up, so from the hallway, my husband can see if I left my iron on, or if I remembered to turn it off!
Above the ironing board, on the wall, is my inspiration board. I post my favorite sayings, pieces of stuff, pictures, and other things to inspire me here.
On the right in the photo, you can see a half of a Triangle Frenzy Hexagon sewn with watermelon fabric. Under THAT is my cutting table, which is a drafting table with a cutting mat atop it. I like this setup because I can usually get to three sides of the table, meaning I don’t have to constantly flip around fabric to cut from another direction. (Too bad you can’t see the pile of stuff that is on the floor in front of the closet you consequently can’t open.)

One wall of my Quilt Studio is covered in floor to ceiling shelves, and my quilting fabric has slowly displaced my craft supplies from my days working at Michael’s Arts and Crafts. Our son has remarked that there’s no way I could possibly use all of this fabric in my lifetime. I’m sure I’m not the only quilter out there with this predicament!
The translucent boxes hold my fat quarters. Unfortunately, Bed Bath & Beyond doesn’t carry those anymore, so I have decided to limit my fat quarter collection to what fits inside the boxes. Well, except for those ribbon bound sets on the higher shelf. Oh, and the sets waiting for that one specific project, and . . .
The books are sort of arranged by title, except for the new ones across the top. Rulers go right back into the ruler rack on the shelf, though I have too many to fit the slots nicely. Yardage is rolled around my 8 ½” ruler, then folded in half to stack on the shelves so I can see it all, except the stuff that’s stacked in front of it, waiting to be folded the same.
Fabrics are, for the most part, sorted by style: batiks, backgrounds, entire fabric lines, etc. The stripes and border prints are all in my Design Studio (read on below for more info on my Design Studio). Bolts of backing fabric bought on clearance sit along the top shelf next to the interfacing.
See those teal and purple Craftstor totes on the very top shelf? They’re all that’s left of my “craft supplies”.


I consider myself a beginning quilter... I begin a lot of quilts! I tend to move onto another project when I have learned the techniques of the current one. Each UFO (UnFinished Object) is in a 12 ½” square scrapbook box, and this usually includes all the fabric, directions and a big note inside the top of what rulers I may need. The crate on the right also has 2 ½ gallon zipper bags with individual UFOs. Too bad you can’t see all the other projects filling the space under my ironing board. . .

Our home-based business has been shoehorned into our life and space. Shown here is the office, which used to be a sitting room with one computer for household use. It has now expanded into a full-blown bookkeeping, customer service, order fulfillment, and shipping office. It’s gotten a little cramped, but we’ll be moving it to the larger dining room across the hallway soon!

         Here’s a closer view of our shipping department. Most of the stock for the three Triangle Frenzy patterns live in the photo boxes on these shelves, which share the space with a bunch of reference books. Too bad the shipping desk often ends up as another horizontal collection surface for stuff!

My Quilting Room (formerly our son’s room) is transitioning to my Design Studio. It is currently being used as a storage room for holding shipping boxes and furniture from the dining room-to-office space conversion.

The closet doors had to be removed when the mid-arm quilting frame moved in. This closet is where the aforementioned stripes and border print fabrics for my Triangle Frenzy designs and kits reside. There are also even more UFOs in this closet that have the tops done, just waiting to be quilted.

FYI, These were supposed to be the BEFORE photos in a future before and after series, but Dear Daughter convinced me that these are more realistic than if I cleared off and cleaned up. Seems like the first few commenters agree. Maybe those that think this is an embarrassing mess have politely kept quiet. What do you think?

          You know how I mentioned that our daughter still has my old Montgomery Ward sewing machine? Well, here it is, in her Richmond, Virginia office! I recently hired Amanda as a virtual assistant to help me with customer service, pattern design, troubleshooting, and simply just to help keep me focused and organized in my day-to-day activities. Here, you can see me Skype chatting with her on her laptop screen! The project on her workspace is a 2 ½” strip set version of my newest Triangle Frenzy pattern that she’s currently helping me design.
Thank you for joining me on the Studio Spotlight tour today. This may not be the most organized studio you’ve seen this week, but it’s usually functional for me! Feel free to leave a comment below- I’d love to hear your thoughts on my workspace and ideas from your own.
I will be selecting one random commenter to win all 3 Triangle Frenzy patterns and a Creative Grids 60 degree ruler.
For a second entry to win, you can also sign up for our newsletter at the top right of our page here.
EDIT 1/27/15: Congrats to Anna G. for winning our contest!
Don’t forget to check out all the other designers’ studios at the Studio Spotlight Blog Hop here!

Thanks for reading, and have a Frenzy day!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Blog hop?

Hello, all.
My fellow designers are encouraging me to start a blog. If you know me, you know that first I had to learn what "blog" actually meant:

Blog, short for Web log -  a regularly updated website or web page . . .  that is written in an informal or conversational style.

Once a month is regularly updated, right?

Now I've been encouraged to share my Studio. I have only recently started calling it a Quilt Studio. It used to be called my craft room. I've always done crafts, but with our last move, I actually claimed an entire room. Floor to ceiling shelves on one wall. Space to leave the sewing cabinet open with my sewing machine. An ironing board on call to one side. A chair for a friend to sit and chat, or for me to watch television in my rare spare moments.
Then send a child off to college, and presto! another room. Now I have a "Design Studio" also. But wait, we are installing a wood floor in the dining room, so guess where all the STUFF is! Hopefully, I will have something decent to share by the time the spotlight comes to me.
Till later!