Friday, March 30, 2012

Do {over}

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very tired & very worried...

This has been one of those weeks that I would love a do over for.  It started off great with the arrival of my sewing machine and it ended with last night and the picture you see above.

Softball has started for Chaney and I'm coaching {again}.  Our first game is this coming Tuesday.  We have a great team with lots of returning players.  Last night was our final practice before Tuesday and it was going great until Chaney ran down an errant throw and somehow stepped on the ball and rolled her ankle forward.  Ouch! 

She fell awkwardly and even though she's pretty tough, she fell apart.  And that's when I stopped being "coach" and became "mom".  However, I continually surprise myself because I don't fall apart in these moments that she gets hurt, sick, etc...  But then there's Steve, the former paramedic, and he's just downright methodical and calm... unless it involves puke but that's a whole 'nother post!

We spent the rest of the evening getting x-rays and trying to keep Chaney calm about the possibility of missing her first game.  Poor kid.  But finally the doctor came back in and told us that there were no breaks and no real bruising to indicate a sprain so that she was in pretty good shape.  Phew!

So the kid who had to be carried off the field... to the car... into the ER... into a room to get x-rays... upon being pronounced in good shape, hopped off the table with a smile and walked to the car after getting her sticker for being brave.  What the heck??

Steve and I just shook our heads and laughed.  He also might have mentioned getting that doctor's phone number for the next time so we can just call him and have him assure her that she's probably OK. ;)

The good things of the week:
  • Chaney is happy, healthy, and ready to start a new softball season
  • I did get my new sewing machine and have high hopes for more sewing this weekend
  • I didn't tear off any more parts of my car
  • Chaney is looking like quite the little slugger this season... this is coming from the proud coach and mom
  • and at least there were no lasers involved in this week's happenings ;)
Have a great weekend and I'll be back on Monday with an awesome giveaway from Fabricworm!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


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My sewing machine is amazing!  Everyone who kept commenting and telling me that I would love it... they were SO right.

I didn't get to pull it out of the box until after 8pm.  First impression: it's solid.  Like no plastic kind of solid.  My old Singer was a heavy duty model and it stitched 1100 stitches per minute but the machine was primarily plastic and I felt every bit of that when sewed at full speed.

The set up was easy.  Someone reminded me to oil the machine before sewing and I am very grateful for that reminder!  I am determined to take very good care of this machine.

{those are not my hairy arms!}

The threading of the machine.  Ummm... it's a little different than what I'm used to.  It's not a drop-in bobbin like my Singer so I'm going to have to get used to using a bobbin case again.  Steve helped me set up the machine because he's cool like that.  We thought we did threading correctly but then I started sewing rat nests.  That's when Steve wisely exited the room for me to stew and figure it out on my own.  I re-threaded it again and realized that I missed few crucial steps.  Once it was threaded correctly, I was off!  The tension was even perfect right out of the box.

I started piecing my quilt using the Cosmic Burst swatches I received.  Joan mentioned when she started sewing on her Juki how surprised she was to realize how hard she was working to get a 1/4" seam and precise points.  I totally get what she means now.  The foot that comes on the machine pieces a perfect scant 1/4" seam and it's as straight as can be.  And quiet... I didn't even have to turn the TV up once I started sewing.  And even at full speed, there's no vibration or feeling like the machine might zip out from under you.

And now for the miraculous!  The knee lift.  It makes it feel like it's hands-free sewing.  And then there's the automatic thread cutter.  Ummm... wow.  Talk about efficient and next to no thread waste.  There's a button on the machine or you can just rock back on the foot pedal which again leaves your hands free.  And last but not least, there's the auto-needle down or up position.  That alone is going to change how I quilt!

I've always wondered how so many quilters seemed to be so efficient and quick.  I just thought I was slow but now that I am totalling the amount of time it took me to fight my machine... manually lower and raise both the needle and the presser foot.. snip threads... fight seam allowances, etc...  I can see why piecing and quilting felt slow.  It's because it was!

I'll finish up my Cosmic Burst quilt top tonight and then I'm off to quilt my Whimsy quilt.  I'm so impressed with just the piecing of this machine; I can't even imagine how amazed I'm going to be with how it quilts.

All in all, I'm just so thankful to get a machine like this!  And even after a few hours of sewing it was still hard to believe that it's actually mine. :)  Thanks for being so excited with me!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Big Day!

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My friendly UPS guy will be out in my neighborhood today.  My new Juki will be waiting for me when I get home!

I did some last minute sewing this weekend.  I figured it wouldn't be a good idea to switch machines in the middle of piecing and putting together a quilt top.  So my Whimsy quilt top is done and ready to be quilted.  I'm so excited! 

I have two other quilt tops waiting to be quilted.  I also have two quilts cut out and ready to be pieced.  It's out of control!

Chaney helped me pin all those blocks and I must say, she did a great job.  All the points matched perfectly.

Gus helped too in his own way.  He strategically held the fabric and scraps down.  And you're welcome for the modesty patchwork.  No one needs to get in trouble at work and I certainly don't need my blog getting blocked for inappropriate content... that would be terrible for traffic. ;)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pinterest {Polite}

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What an interesting discussion we had around Pinterest!  If you missed it I would encourage you to go back and read the post and all the intelligent and thoughtful comments.

This blog is Pinterest Polite.  That means that, as a blogger, I like Pinterest as long as proper credit is given for the images pinned.  Not everything on this blog is fair game, though.  Here are my guidelines:

  • You do not have to ask for permission to pin from this blog as long as you follow the other guidelines below.
  • You may pin most pictures from this blog {see below for exceptions}
  • Please give proper credit back to this blog via linking or in the text of the pin.
  • Please do not pin a tutorial and give the complete instructions of the tutorial in the pin.  Tutorials are hard work and a little credit would be nice!
  • Please do not alter my photos before or after you pin them.
  • I occasionally have guests or images on my blog that are not my own and they will clearly give credit to the creator/owner.  Please do not pin these images from my blog as they are not mine and are used on my blog only with proper permission.
  • Please do not ever pin pictures of my family without my permission.  And please know that even if you ask, the answer will most likely be "no". 
Thanks for reading and playing nice!  If you have any questions, please let me know.

If you would like to use my Pinterest Polite badge and/or guidelines shown above for your own blog or website you are welcome to use them without linking back or giving credit.  You are also welcome to pin this!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wednesday Words {Pinterest}

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I know I'm not the first or the last to comment on the whole Pinterest issue.  If you have missed it, there are some really good {balanced} posts that can fill you in. 

Last week I caught up on my blog reading and here's the short version of what I understood:

Pinterest users might be violating copyright/intellectual property laws.  When we all signed up for Pinterest we agreed and said that we would only pin pictures that we had permission to pin and share.  Pinterest has covered themselves by their terms so in the end, the owner of the image could come back against the user who pinned it without permission in the first place.  And that's a huge problem because I'm pretty sure that I didn't obtain permission to pin, oh... almost all the pictures that I pinned.  It's a little confusing to say the least.

Where do I stand as a blogger?  Pinterest has quickly become one of my top traffic referrers.  So how do I say no to traffic when that's what pretty much all bloggers want?  I blog to share my quilts, tutorials, and other creations.  I'm posting in a public forum and we all know that most of what you post on the internet becomes fair game.  I'm also not ready to be paranoid enough to think that everyone who pins my pictures is out to steal my work, copy it or take credit for it.

As a blogger and creative person, I love Pinterest.

What do I not like about Pinterest?   That they reserve specific rights to photos pinned on their site.  A lot of rights.  I suppose it's the industry that I work in but I often wonder how businesses, websites, etc make money.  Pinterest is one of them.  They don't have ads, the accounts are free, the amount of pins you can do is unlimited, and there is no cost to the user {us}. 

So what gives?  Aside from investors, how do they run a very hip, successful company without earning revenue from their users?  Part of that answer is that they can sell, license, copy, edit, alter any images pinned on their site.  The slippery slope to that is that we gave them that right the second we pinned a photo that we supposedly had permission to pin.  In the end it seems to be the artist, photographer, blogger, etc who pays the price.  Ugh.

To me, having my photos pinned isn't a big deal if they link back to me.  But what would be a big deal would be seeing one of my pattern covers pop up in some magazine because Pinterest sold a collage of "inspiration".  And BTW, there are magazines on Pinterest who are pinning their favorite "ideas".  My fabric mini-bolts showed up on their board and the pin did not link back to me or my tutorial.

As a blogger who gets excited when I see my quilts pinned and as a person who enjoys pinning creative things that I find online, I don't know what I'm going to do with my boards yet.  Perhaps I'll clean out a lot of my pins that don't come from Pinterest friendly blogs and make sure that the ones I keep clearly give credit back to the creator but that's a big task.

What I wish is that Pinterest would allow users to make their boards private until all of these issues can be clarified.  But I bet they won't do that because private boards would take away from the flow of photos and information that Pinterest can sell.

So I'll go ahead and say that I'm a Pinterest friendly Polite blog. :)  BUT, I do ask that proper credit be given and part of that is my job and why you will being seeing watermarks on my pictures from now on.  The other part can be helped by us bloggers setting a good example on Pinterest.

How do you do that?  When you pin something from a Pinterest friendly blog, take a minute and instead of just pinning or re-pinning what the last person wrote, note where the pin originally came from.  On our blogs we do that when we give credit to inspiration, other blogs, links, etc... so it makes good sense to do the same when we pin as well.

Here are my official Pinterest guidelines:
  • You may pin most pictures from this blog. {see below}
  • Please give proper credit back to this blog.
  • Please don't pin a tutorial and then give all the instructions for the tutorial in your pin.  That's not cool!
  • Please don't alter my photos before or after you pin them.
  • Please do not ever pin pictures of my family without my permission... which will most likely be "NO" even if you ask me.
If you have a blog or content online, I'd love to hear what you think about Pinterest and what you are going to do about your pictures and your own boards.

And BTW, I wrote this post yesterday and then yesterday evening I stumbled upon an actual pattern page from Modern Log Cabin Quilts pinned for anyone to see and use without purchasing the book.  This is exactly what bothers me about Pinterest; someone's hard work being ripped off and distributed for free.  Plus now Pinterest {according to their terms & conditions} reserves all rights to sell or license what just happens to be previously copyrighted material.  I reported the pin but nothing has been done as of this morning.  It's a very slippery slope...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Can't. Sleep.

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We had loud thunderstorms all night long that kept us up.  But that's really not why I couldn't sleep.

I told Steve this past weekend that I was really wanting to buy a new sewing machine so that's what I was saving my pattern money for.  I told him it would be pricey so it would be awhile.  I was hoping for sometime in the next few months and I definitely thought that "awhile" meant more than 48 hours!

I have a great Singer but as I've grown as a quilter, I've learned that it's not a true quilting sewing machine.  It's fast, it sews through layers with ease and it isn't temperamental in the least.  It's a good quality machine that I will still continue to use.

But it has a big downfall: the feed dogs don't drop.  It comes with a cover for them but that makes the space between the foot and the quilt very narrow.  Plus, the height of the presser foot isn't adjustable so I have to wrestle my quilts to free motion quilt them.  My favorite part of quilting is actually quilting a quilt so this has been a growing frustration over the past several years as I have wanted to branch out as a quilter.

I made my list of wants and I started doing some research yesterday.  I found the Juki 2000 Qi and it had almost my entire list of wants plus a few things that I didn't even think to want... like a knee lever.  And then I found A DEAL HERE that I couldn't pass up.  60% savings = hello, shopping cart!

The best part; after I placed my order I was reading a few blogs and saw that one of my favorites had just purchased a new machine too.  I was thrilled to read that she just bought the same machine and absolutely loves it so I was even more excited after reading a "real" review. :)

I will have my new machine in 3 or so days. I can't wait!!  I will admit, though, this is a big leap for me.  I've always loved the Singer brand so changing makes me a little nervous.

Do you have a Juki or have you sewn on one in the past?  And tips or suggestions?  If you have one, what kind of thread do you prefer??

Monday, March 19, 2012

Plenty of Whimsy

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I finally took the leap and purchased EQ7 last week.  I'm calling it an investment in this hobby of mine.  I think I will also start calling fabric an investment as well... :)

I didn't have much time to play around with it until this weekend and WOW, I love it!  It's easy to learn and use and this is coming from a technology-challenged individual.

Remember this stack of Laurie Wisbrun's Modern Whimsy line?  I have known how I've wanted to work with it and I've even had the design in my head for awhile.  But sometimes designs have a hard time working their way out into the real world... you know how that goes.

So I made a mock-up and I even figured out how to import the actual fabric swatches; both the prints and the Kona solid.  It's pretty cool to get a good idea of how your finished quilt will actually look!

I'm a HUGE college basketball fan and if you are too then you know that it's March Madness... the best sports time of the year!   I was able to cut all the triangles and squares while I watched the games this past weekend.  And then Steve said that he was sick of watching basketball.  Shame on him!  So he changed the channel and I decided to go play with EQ7 some more...

There's no more basketball until Thursday so this quilt should come together fast.  I'm hoping to be able to share it later this week.

Happy Monday!

Friday, March 16, 2012

So you want to write a pattern {part 2}

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 You've finished your quilt top, you know your process and design work, and now you're ready to put your design into words.  This may feel tedious at times but this is the most important part of the process.  If your instructions are clear, your pattern will be a success.

Pattern steps tend to come in one form or another.  You can either provide step-by-step pictures with instructions or you can use diagrams {computer drafted or well drawn illustrations} with step-by-step instructions.  A lot of this will depend on the type of quilt you are making. 

A more traditional quilt that is made up of blocks is probably best explained using step-by-step pictures showing how to make one block.  Show your reader how to make one block and then tell them how many more blocks to make using the same instructions.  This is the process I used for my Serendipity pattern.

A more modern quilt that consists of varying blocks and techniques is probably best explained using diagrams with step by step instructions.  Break the quilt down into parts, i.e. make 200 HST's.  Complete that part and move on to the next part of the quilt, i.e. cut 50 individual 5" solid squares.  Finish the quilt with a diagram showing how to construct each row and then instructions for completing the quilt top.  This is the process I used for my Chasing Chevrons quilt along as well as my Intersection{s} pattern.

Other things to include in your pattern:

-A list of supplies needed... make this as basic as you can imagine.  For example, a rotary cutter and mat may seem like an automatic to you and me but keep in mind that a lot of beginning quilters buy patterns and may not know that tools like these are needed or even exist.

-Abbreviations... I like to define common terms used throughout the pattern.  Quilting lingo like RST, HSTs, WOF, seam allowances, etc. are all terms that an experienced quilter knows but would lose a beginner in a second.  If there is a technique used throughout a pattern like making half square triangles {HSTs} go ahead and show how to make them.  A beginner would really appreciate this!  Same thing goes for a scant 1/4" seam allowance... this term frustrated me so much as a beginner because I had no idea what the heck a "scant" was.

-Fabric requirements... This is a big one!  You can calculate the yardage needed with a yardage calculator but I haven't found this to be completely accurate.  There's also the old fashioned way using pencil, paper and a calculator which is my preferred method.  Overestimate a little but tell your reader that you are overestimating just in case they are trying to get by on scraps or bare minimum yardage.  Give a disclaimer that your requirements do not account for large cutting or sewing mistakes; overestimating will probably cover some small mistakes but not the big ones.

-One last thing about fabric requirements... make them available without having to purchase the pattern.  A lot of quilters, myself included, will shy away from buying a pattern if they don't know how much fabric will be needed.  This is especially true if someone is making a quilt from their stash or they are shopping online and want to buy fabric along with the pattern.

-Writing... definitely don't forget about the actual writing.  Make sure to use spell check and double check your grammar too!

I hope all this makes sense.  If you have any questions please let me know!

PS: I know I was planning on making this a three part series but I'm thinking that four parts will be better.  I didn't want to cram writing your pattern and technology into one post.  So {part 3} will cover pictures, making a PDF, and finishing up your pattern.  {Part 4} will cover publishing, protecting your design, copyrights, etc.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Introducing Green Fairy Quilts

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It's time for another one of my enabling empowering posts!

I first discovered Judi of Green Fairy Quilts because of her amazing quilting skills.  I don't even remember how I stumbled on her blog but her quilts were the first that I had ever seen quilted in such intricate detail.

But then it gets even better.  Judi and her husband sell fabric too!  Their customer service is top notch and when they say that they have the best prices on pre-cuts, they aren't kidding. 

They run sales each week and they are always good ones.  The current sale is free shipping {US only}.    Their everyday prices are also great... I snagged that Pezzy Print layer cake a few weeks ago for $29.00.  I hope you will go check them out!

*Green Fairy Quilts is a sponsor of That Girl... That Quilt*

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

So you want to write a pattern {part 1}

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After my last post about selling patterns on Craftsy, I got a lot of questions about writing and selling patterns.  I'm no expert but I thought I'd answer some of the questions here.  I'm sure there are lots of ways to go about this... this is just how I do it. :)

How do I get my design and thoughts from my head onto paper?

Carry a sketchbook with you all the time.  My favorite is this kind of Moleskine sketchbooks.  I know that some like the plain paper but I really like the squared pages.  It makes drawing out blocks a lot easier for me. 

If you see a design or something that inspires a design stop and take a picture of it.  Even better, if you have the time stop and sketch a simple design.

Once you have a block or overall design, make a mock-up of the quilt.  I have always used paper and pencils but I finally invested in EQ7 that should be on my doorstep any day.  I'm excited to learn to use this program but I don't think that I will ever completely move away from sketching designs on paper.

Don't be afraid to sketch a mistake!  If you don't draw it {on paper or on computer} you won't ever have the chance to see what something looks like or know if you have a great quilt idea.

How do I get my design from paper and into quilt/pattern form?

First, a side note... I know that some patterns are designed without ever actually making the quilt.  Some of these pattern writers can probably get away with it but some of the most frustrating patterns I've worked with are those that never show an actual quilt; just a mock up.  For me, I need to make the quilt to know that my process and instructions are accurate.

With that being said, once you have your design... try it out!  Make a block with scraps.  Fine tune your process so you can show your reader the most efficient way to make the block and in turn, the quilt.  I always write down each step as I go so that it's easier to write the pattern after the quilt top is done.

The next step after completing at least the quilt top is the technology part of all of this... pictures, PDFs, etc.  I'll include all of that in {part 2} after I consult Steve, my tech support.  And last but not least, {part 3} will include protecting your designs and the fun part, selling them.

I hope this has been helpful so far and answers a few questions!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


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Have you seen Craftsy?

On a whim I uploaded my patterns to their beta pattern page last week.  They store the PDF and it's linked to my PayPal account.  Someone buys a pattern, they download it themselves, and the designer gets paid.

So this morning around 2 AM my phone starts going crazy.  I ignored the first few alerts but I finally got up to look and see what was going on and I saw a list of PayPal transactions.

My first thought was that my PayPal account had been hacked.  But then I saw that they were payments.  My second thought was that the account had been hacked by money launderers and they were putting funds into my account...

Can you tell that I work in investment banking??  Money laundering via quilt patterns!  Ummm no, more like it was 3 AM and I was groggy... ;)

Anyways.  For all my pattern writing friends, you might want to check Craftsy out.  They don't charge a fee so all your money is your money to keep.  That's pretty cool.  And for all of you that love patterns, there are tons of them for embroidery, knitting, crochet, clothing, etc. 

I've sold 31 44 patterns since 2 AM when Craftsy sent an email out that mentioned my Serendipity pattern.  That's definitely a record for me and not a bad day's "work" either.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


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Me:  Chaney, pick a number. 

Chaney:  One billion

Me:  That's a lot of numbers... try one a little smaller.

Chaney:  One million

Me:  My blog would explode if it got a million comments!  Let's stick with numbers that you can add in your head.

Chaney:  158

Me:  That's perfect.  Thank you!

Chaney:  You know why I picked that number?  Because my softball number is 7, I'm 8 years old and my carpool number is 80.  78+80=158

I don't think you can get much more random than that.

So the winner is #158, MarveLes Art Studios!  Congrats to you!  And BTW, her work is just beautiful... :)

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