Yearly Archives: 2017

Kennel Quilts with Island Batik

Island Batiks offered two challenges to the group of Ambassadors for the month of February. One was to create a fun project for Galentine’s Day. I posted about that one a couple of weeks ago. The other was to make and donate at least one kennel quilt. This was new to me. I had not heard of kennel quilts until now.  These little quilts (about 12″ x 18″) are made and used by shelters when they are supporting animals in need who may have been separated from their owners due to emergencies, weather crises or other unfortunate circumstances.

Here is the explanation from Island Batik.

In 2016, Island Batik joined forces with an existing group of  industry partners and supporters of the Petfinder Foundation to create the Piece for Shelter Pets (PFSP) initiative. The initiative supports the Petfinder Foundation, a “public charity that works to end the euthanasia of adoptable pets by assisting animal shelters and rescue groups across North America”, through financial contributions made possible by the sale of fabric, thread, and other quilting related products. PFSP sponsors include The Quilt Pattern Magazine, Island Batik, Aurifil Threads, QuiltyBox, Benartex, and Hancock’s of Paducah.

The TQPM Small Kennel Quilt Team is a volunteer organization sponsored by The Quilt Pattern Magazine (TQPM) that springs into action (or should we say “stitches” into action?) when disasters strike, sewing small kennel quilts for animals in need while they are separated from their humans and possibly injured.  Creating kennel quilts is a way for quilters to help our animal friends in times of need by doing what we love. TQPM Small Kennel Quilt Team supplies kennel quilts to shelters across the United States. Learn more here.

Making one or two kennel quilts is a very easy way to support these little critters who are in need. Because they are tiny, it is a perfect scrap busting project. When I made mine, I was able to stitch batting strips together, using up some of those long strips that are left when we square and bind a quilt. I would encourage you to click through the link above and make a few.

I used a set of 5″ wide strips that came in the box of treasure supplied to me by Island Batik. They are so pretty – the lime green adds a nice, bright touch, don’t you think? I took some of the strips and made six rail fence blocks for this little quilt. No binding is needed. Just stitch right sides together, turn right side out and finish by sewing up the opening.  I quilted a series of diagonal lined to keep the quilt together.

With the second quilt, I just sewed the strips together length-wise.  Really, the project is very easy and probably took an hour or so to do. If you decide to make a few, I would love to see them. Post a picture on Instagram and tag me @needleandfoot. Also use #kennelquilts – it is lost of fun to see what the other quilters are creating!

Thank you Island Batik for partnering up with the Petfinder Foundation to support animals in need.

Linking to a few favorites. Check them out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

Meet the Designer – Sarah Golden

Today I am sharing my first interview in my new Meet the Designer series of blogposts. I was lucky enough to be able to talk with Sarah Golden last week. Sarah is an artist who lives just an hour west of me, in the Sacramento area. Her first line of fabric, Maker Maker, was released earlier this month by Andover Fabric and I am thrilled to have a selection of Maker Maker available in my shop.

When asked to tell me about the history of her artistic career, Sarah explained she wasn’t particularly artistic as a child. She grew up in a tiny town near Yuba City, CA with a population of 100. (Yep, that is very tiny!) She is a musician and plays with a band called The Battle of Land and Sea. When working with the band, Sarah plays guitar, sings and writes some of the songs.  But her art? This came later. As for being an artist, Sarah actually described herself as a late bloomer. In fact, she didn’t really think of art or creating as a viable career. As she said, “it never really occurred to me that art was a ‘thing’; that it could even be my career.”  It is absolutely her calling now though!

It was back 2008 that Sarah began to draw, creating illustrations. She used those illustrations to create items to sell in her Etsy shop. From there, both her artistry and business slowly grew.  Sarah was in her mid-30’s when she became pregnant with her twin daughters. She wanted to be a stay at home mom for her girls. It was at this time she taught herself to sew clothing. Sarah explains this was a time where she experienced a huge burst of creativity and felt she developed her true sense of self as she sewed. Sarah shared it was then when she really ‘came to life’ and developed her calling.

When her twin daughters were about 18 months old Sarah discovered surface design, painting, stamping or printing designs on fabric. She began to read voraciously about surface design and started practicing. Actively sharing her projects on Instagram, Sarah became part of a community of makers.  She began to make block print fabric (using a cotton and linen blend) and used it to create beautiful items such clothing, zip pouches and fabric collage art. (Sarah still creates these beautiful items and sells them in her shop. Click here to take a look. Her creative spark truly shines in her selection of artwork and handmade goods.)

As Sarah continued to actively share on Instagram, her pool of followers grew. Included within those followers was Andover Fabric. In October of 2015, she received an email from Andover asking if she would consider partnering up with them and having her fabric produced on a larger scale. Sarah was thrilled to accept and Maker Maker became her first line of commercially produced fabric.

Fortunately, Sarah had most of the design work for the pieces in Maker Maker complete as that is what she had been printing on her own fabric. She tweaked some of the colors and refined a few things before Andover began the long process of developing the line.

I asked Sarah to explain (in basic terms) how she creates her work. She first designs and cuts the blocks for printing.  When she creates her designs, she stamps the block prints to paper and scans the design to create a digital file on the computer. The design is then tweaked with Photoshop. Colors and layers are added until she feels it is finished. Sarah is working on a second line now. Naturally, she was unable to share very much about it but I know I am excited for the release. She is hoping the release will happen very late this year, or in early 2018.

When queried about how she tries to balance  her work with her family life, I heard a slight sigh. Being a mom to twin girls who are not yet in school and being a very prolific artist, that balance is very hard to achieve. She is grateful to have her studio at home. She and her husband had converted their garage into a studio. This means she can work at different times each day without leaving to go to a studio. She does work in the evenings when the girls have gone to bed. Sarah’s mom lives somewhat nearby and is available to help with the girls.  Also, Sarah and her husband have a bit of a tag team routine they do on the weekends. One will take the girls for a few hours while the other works or creates and then they switch off. As with many of us, Sarah finds it difficult to balance selfish sewing (or sewing just for the fun of creating something for oneself) with the sewing and creating she must do for work (that which is tied to deadlines). Currently she is really trying to work a bit less. Being self-employed and having a studio at home is a blessing but it also makes it all too easy to work All. The. Time! In closing, Sarah took a minute to explain how very grateful she is to have this career doing what she loves. She gains such satisfaction from her work and is very aware of how fortunate this is.

In closing, I just want to say how much I have enjoyed getting to know Sarah over the past several weeks. She has so much talent and is a very kind soul.  Along with the rest of her community, I am very much looking forward to watching as her career develops and new fabric lines are designed!  If, like me, you would enjoy keeping up with Sarah’s projects, you might sign up to receive her newsletter.

In conjunction with this, my first post in the Meet the Designer series, I have  reduced the price by 15% on Maker Maker fabric in my shop. Take advantage and shop between now and Friday for this rich cotton and linen blend. No coupon code needed as the prices have been adjusted in my shop!

I hope you have enjoyed getting to know Sarah! I will be linking up in several places, check out the Link Ups tab at the top of the page. Sarah, many thanks to you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with me. I very much appreciate it. 🙂

Coming Soon to Needle & Foot

I am so excited to share this with you! I will be publishing a new series on the blog.  It is called Meet the Designer. Over the next few months I will be sharing an interview between me and a fabric designer. Let me tell you how this came about. As you know, I have been spending a great deal of time researching fabrics and manufacturers as I build my shop. Working through this process of picking manufacturers and certain lines of fabric, I have had several opportunities to talk to the designers of the fabrics I selected. I so enjoyed this and I thought it would be fun to share the stories I have heard with all of you.

Each interview will be posted during the third week of the month. You can look forward to reading about my conversation with Sarah Golden, designer of Maker Maker for Andover Fabric next week. I truly enjoyed meeting Sarah (even though it was over the phone) and I know you will enjoy getting to know her as well! Other designers that you will soon read about just might include Maureen Cracknell and Kim Diehl.  That’s all I am saying for now.

I really hope these posts are a fun feature.  I am thrilled to share them with you.

Wednesday WIP Report

A little of this and a little of that – this has been the routine in my sewing room this week. For the most part, I have been quilting the baby quilt for my almost-here grandbaby. She is due March 3rd and I know my daughter-in-law has reached the point where she is done being pregnant. Those last few weeks are just miserable. I hope this little girl makes an appearance soon! The quilt top is finished and the quilting is nearly finished.

The quilting is coming along fine though. It is hard for me to sit and quilt for long periods of time. My neck becomes very grumpy if I sit for longer than 1/2 hour or so. It is better this way. I break it up and get other things done in between. I have been quilting a flower on each HST and a little heart on the sashing between the squares. So cute.

The hearts are a bit on the wonky side but such is life. I have a feeling the baby won’t be too critical of her Grammy’s stitching.

I have jumped in on a quilt along. It is hosted by Maureen Cracknell and Sharon Holland, both are designers for Art Gallery Fabric.  They are calling it the Sewcial Bee Sampler. A block design is released each Wednesday and today is week three. If you are interested, there is plenty of time to catch up.

 

With each week, there are giveaways for those who participate. Needle & Foot will be sponsoring two of the giveaway Fridays; one in June and one in July!! Here is the pull I selected for the Quiltalong.

I am using the rest of my fat eighth collection of Fleet and Flourish (designed by Maureen Cracknell). I added a fat quarter bundle of solids from the Pink Castle subscription I received for my birthday. I am being very judicious with the Fleet & Flourish and hoping I have enough. We shall see!

The first three blocks look great!

Each block is framed but when I got to the third block, I decided to wait before framing it. I am wondering about my choice of gray and navy blue as frames. So, I need to ponder that one for a bit.

Ok – that is the update for now. Projects are moving right along. 🙂 Hope the same is true for you!  Linking to Let’s Bee Social and Needle & Thread Thursday. Links are available at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

 

 

Happy Galentine’s Day!

If you are a fan of the TV show Parks & Rec, you are probably familiar with Galentine’s Day. The main character Leslie (played by Amy Poehler), holds a Galentine’s Party with her girlfriends each year on the night before Valentine’s Day. It made me smile to see this graphic sent to the Ambassadors by Island Batik.

Since I was in the spirit, last week I made a Valentine, to me from me. I have a number of little heart mini quilts that I have made over the last several years. I like them. Simple hearts of red, pink, cream and white. Remember how much fun Valentine’s Day was? We decorated brown paper bags, wrote the “to” and “from” on each card, and hoped there would be some candy involved.

This year Island Batik included some red and pink batik fat quarters in each of the Ambassador boxes. It just so happened that I recently purchased a pattern from Jayne of Twiggy and Opal called Rainbow Heart Trio. I made just one of the three minis included in the pattern. Don’t you love how the tiny heart is nestled into the center of the larger heart? Since I only made the one mini, I have hardly made a dent in the bundle of pinks and red fat quarters. No worries though, Island Batik has plenty of projects in store for us. I will put them to use soon enough.

This project was yet another lesson in value and color (when, oh when, will I learn these lessons!?) If you look at the tiny heart, you might notice a few pieces of a pale dotted batik. It is a very pale shade of lavender. On its own, it is very pretty. Included with this project and surrounded by the creamy background pieces, it is totally lost. I didn’t really get it until that smaller heart was surrounded by the larger heart. Looking at the photo above, this is the smaller heart when I was piecing it. I thought there was just enough difference between that pale dotted batik and the background. Once it was surrounded by the background it faded out. I also had some of that fabric used as blocks in the larger heart. I was able to unpick those stitches and swap the fabric out with something darker. I left the smaller heart alone. I will get this figured out one day. But for now, the shape of the smaller heart doesn’t show up as much as it would have if I had used darker fabric in those spots. I will get there though. It just takes practice.

The Rainbow Heart Trio pattern comes together quite easily. The longest task is definitely the cutting. The HST’s that make up the smaller heart finish out at 1 1/2″.  Tiny little things. I quilted it with my walking foot. The quilting was inspired by the pattern. I liked how Jayne quilted the samples and I followed along with her. The only part that I free motioned was the little scallops around the outer edge of the smaller heart.

 

Wishing each of you a Happy Galentine’s Day and an even sweeter Valentine’s Day!

Linking to all of my favorites. Check out the tab at the top of the page, Link Ups.

Island Batik – Sunday Stash

This week I received a fantastic box of treasures from Island Batik. You may have seen some of the pictures I posted on Instagram last week. When I found out I was selected to be a 2017 Island Batik Ambassador, I had no idea (seriously) of what I was signing up for. I had read about projects that Connie Kresin had shared on Freemotion By the River because she has been an ambassador for a few years. Other than that, no clue. Anyway, when i got the email, I was so excited. A few days later I received a series of documents from our fearless leader, Katie. She works in media relations at Island Batik. I am incredibly impressed both by her clarity and organization as well as the scope of projects that are planned out (already – completely) for the entire year!  I feel organized if I have a few blog posts planned out over the next couple of weeks. But to have this structure in place through the end of 2017, that is amazing.

I want to share some of the fabric they sent to me to work with. The company is incredibly generous and asks that we plan some fun giveaways for our readers. This way you have the opportunity to share the wealth so to speak.  These rolls are made up of  about four 1/8 yard cuts in each.Aren’t they gorgeous?

There is also a selection of 1/2 yard cuts (see below) and two pieces that feel like they are probably two yards each? I haven’t measured them. But they will be great for sashings, borders, bindings and backings.

I love this sweet Valentine bundle of FQs.It is Just what I need to make a little Valentine for myself! I hope to share that with you later this week. The biggest part of being an Ambassador is to promote the newest line at Island Batik. It will release in a few months and they generously shared a large number of 1/2 yard cuts with me. I will share more on that soon. There will be some really nice giveaways coming your way soon.

I hope you will enjoy sharing this quilty adventure with me over the course of the year.

Linking to Sunday Stash and Main Crush Monday.

Knock Knock, Who’s There?

I had a finish this week! Remember I did some pattern testing for Sarah of Sarah Goer Quilts? I was able to quilt and bind it over the last week or so. The quilt is just adorable.  If you would like a copy of this pattern, click over to Sarah’s blog and sign up for her newsletter. I just read the second newsletter and I am enjoying them.

This quilt has been a multi-faceted project for me. It began with pattern testing the new pattern for Sarah. I made the quilt with fabrics from the Fiesta Fun line (which I just happen to carry in my shop!) I chose the Fiesta Fun fabric so I would have something to display the brightly colored fabric. When I looked at the quilt top, I knew it would be a fun one to quilt. The quilt is filled with big open spaces to play with. At about the same time Fil-Tec provided me with a lovely spool of white Glide thread to play with.

I decided to quilt the floral block and the striped blocks with the white spool of Glide.  Wow. I loved it! Glide is a polyester thread with a very pretty sheen to it.  It was a dream to quilt with – honestly, just amazing. It is very clear where the thread earned its name – I felt very little pull when I was quilting. I will absolutely stock up on a few more colors. Ok – back to the quilting. For the floral block, I basically outlined some of the flowers and leaves. Very simple and quite fun. For the striped blocks (made with the adorable Happy Streamers fabric from Art Gallery) I followed the pattern of the stripes, stitching on the white space between the streamers. When the fabric is as busy as this Happy Streamers is, I think it works well to keep the quilting simple.

 

Then I worked on the green background. I used a spool of Mettler thread to quilt this because I had a spool that worked well. Honestly though, I am not a huge fan of quilting with Mettler. It gives off quite a bit of lint and I fight the tension more when I use Mettler. But I had a good time quilting this. For the inner border I used large, free form flowers.

On the outer border, I did a an organic wavy vine with small flowers, bumblebees and butterflies.

For the bees and butterflies, I found inspiration at The Inbox Jaunt. Lori Kennedy has a vast library of tutorials for different quilting motifs. I think the bees and butterflies are so cute. Some of the butterflies are a bit lopsided, which adds a lovely touch of whimsy to the quilt (right?). Finally, on the block between each section of directional fabric, I quilted a cross hatch pattern.

The backing was cut from a sheet that I thrifted a long while back. I think the bright, primary colors work well with the top.

The binding is a cheerful print from Art Gallery, Squared Elements in Mandarin. Guess what? I have it in my shop! 🙂

I am happy to call this one done. Bright and colorful, perfect for these gray, rainy days we have been having. (But I am not complaining. I welcome the rain!!)

I would like to thank everyone for your support of my shop. I really appreciate it. The discount code for Needle and Foot readers is good for just a few more days. Enter  NANDFREADERS15 follow meand receive a 15% discount on orders of $5.00 or more. This code is valid through February 12th.  Next week there will be a giveaway on Instagram. If you , keep an eye out for that. If you don’t, now might be a good time to start!  😉

Linking to my favorites. Check the list at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

Monday Updates

Wasn’t that a wild Super Bowl game yesterday? I think that is what all the cool kids are saying today, so I am joining in. Truth be told, just a few days ago, I had to google who was going to be playing. We are not a football family. Like, not at all.  Somehow though, Ray and Julia have developed a tradition of watching the game together.  They each pick a team, based on scientific evidence, such as the color of their uniforms or the mascot on their helmet. The fighting begins just as soon as one team has scored. Let’s just say Julia was very cocky for the majority of the game, lording the success of her team over that of her father’s. The tables unexpectedly turned during the dramatic ending of the game. Ray was merciless this morning and will surely fit this into any conversation, as much as possible, over the next few days.  As for me, once the nachos were gone, I was in the other room playing on my iPad.

Last night I spent quite a bit of time on-line meeting a new group of quilters. (Doesn’t get much better than that, does it?)  Last week I received an email stating I was selected to be one of the ambassadors for Island Batik.  Island Batik has been in business since 1997 and is located in Southern California. Their product is made in Bali. I am very impressed by the philosophy held at Island Batik. They diligently strive to enrich the community their employees live in.  I can tell from the amount of communication and direction I have received from their Marketing department that this is going to be a good experience. She is so organized, very creative, and responsive. Ask a question and she is back with an answer within an hour or two.

Each year Island Batik accepts applications for their ambassador program. Once they make their selections (of about 30 quilt bloggers), a closed Facebook group is created so we can all work together on Island Batik promotions and blog hops. I felt like it was the first day of school. Would I know anyone? Would I make new friends? But everyone seems so nice and there were several names of bloggers I am very familiar with. I am really looking forward to the arrival of our box of supplies. It should be here this week.

This picture was posted on Facebook the other day – doesn’t that just run a chill down your spine? So much possibility is contained in that cardboard box. You can expect to see some fun projects, blog hops and giveaways as a result of that magical box that is headed my way.

On to other business. The name has been picked for the giveaway of the I Love Precut Quilts book. I used Random Number Generator this time because my amazing name-drawing daughter is at school this morning.  Random Number Generator picked number 2!!  So, Wendy of Piecefulthoughts.com, it is your lucky day! A copy of the book will be sent off to Wendy soon. Thanks to all who participated in the giveaway. Looks like I am not the only person hoarding charm squares and fat quarter bundles!

Time to go. I have a binding to make – I finished quilting my Knock Knock quilt the other day. I am volunteering in the See’s Candy Shop for Julia’s 4-H group this afternoon.  It is pouring rain today which will likely keep the shoppers at home. Since I don’t expect to be terribly busy selling Valentine candy, I want to take some hand sewing with me. Hope to have a finish to share with you later this week.

Linking to Main Crush Monday.

Blog Hop – I Love Precuts Book

I was recently given the opportunity to review a newly released book by Tricia Maloney. Having already published two quilting books, Maloney just authored her third, I Love Precut Quilts.  Like many other quilters, I enjoy the ease of creating with precuts. Using a bundle of fat quarters or fat eighths, a set of charm squares or mini charms, or maybe a jelly roll makes fabric choice a quick decision. Using the bundle means you will have scale and color variation as the designer of that line meant it to be. Sometimes I do add a few solids or prints to the bundle and sometimes I use it as is. Precuts can be a lot of fun. Just take a look in my closet and you will find a large stack of charm squares, several fat quarter bundles, one fat eighth bundle and (just) one jelly roll.

Since I have never published a book, I posed a few questions to Tricia. I thought it might be interesting to hear about her experiences with the three books she has penned.

Q. How did you come up with the precut theme? What inspired this?

A. I originally pitched a slightly different idea, but with some give and take with C&T, we tweaked my original concept and came up with I Love Precut Quilts!. I did have to rework several designs, but it was definitely worth it because I am very proud of the final product.  It wasn’t really a hard transition for me though because I was already in love with precuts.

Q. What is your writing process? Do you design the quilts first? How much direction does the publisher give you?

A. Once I have my design direction (basically my idea or focus) then I sit down in front of my computer and rev up my Electric Quilt 7 software because most of the time I start with a design first, add fabrics, make the project (taking notes as I make it), and then write the full instructions.  Of course, there are times that my approach can vary like when I find an awesome fabric collection that really inspires me and I just have to create a quilt around the fabric (like Cocktail Party in my book).

I don’t know how my experiences translate to other designers as a whole, but by the time I’m working actively with a publisher I have already designed all of the quilts, selected the fabrics, probably already started making quilts and possibly writing basic instructions.

Q. How long does it take to write a book, from first pitching it to the publisher to release? You’ve got three under your belt so I bet you have a good idea here.

A. I would estimate about a year or so from beginning to end, more if there are any bumps along the way.  Writing a quilt book is not for the feint of heart because you really have to be committed 100% to the project for a long period of time.  It can be very stressful when you’re trying to balance your book project with family, work, and everything else.

Q.  What is the best and worst part of a project like this?

A. The best part of writing a book is sharing your love of quilting with a broad spectrum of people.  I also really love creating the concept and the designs, picking out the fabrics (who wouldn’t love that part?), and making the quilts.  The “worst” part of the process is how long it takes from beginning to end.

Q.  Any words of wisdom to a wanna-be writer out there?

A. If you think you’d like to be a writer, I would suggest you try out working with magazines and smaller publications before tackling “the book.”  Find out if working within deadlines is for you.  Can you write instructions that others can understand? Do you enjoy the whole process?

Once you’ve determined that YES! you want to write your own quilt book, find something that you’re passionate about that hasn’t been done before or a different way of doing something and then start researching possible publishers.  When researching publishers, the first place to start is your own bookshelf — who publishes your favorite books?  Once you have some publishers in mind, visit their websites to learn more about them.  If they have submission guidelines available, follow them to create your book proposal.

I think Tricia provides valuable insight into the process of authoring a book. It gives me a solid appreciation for the designers out there who take the time to write books and patterns for us, the quilty consumers.

When I was reviewing the book, I decided I would make something with a set of Basic Grey mini-charms by Moda. They have been languishing on the shelf for a while now. Placemats or a tablecloth are used at our house each night. I chose to make the placemats from the Serenity Table Set. Rather than making two placemats and a table runner as the pattern suggests, I made four placemats. I think I will use them more often if I have more placemats. Actually, I have enough fabric for two more placemats so hopefully, I will get those done at some point for a total of six mats.

I think they are so pretty. This simple project took me very little time at all and gives the table a fresh look.

I did try something different. I wanted a thinner placemat so rather than batting, I chose to use a fusible interfacing which I fused to the top of the placemat. Next, I sewed the top and bottom with rights sides together, leaving a small (approximately three inch) opening to turn it right side out. After making sure the corners were crisp and everything was nicely pressed, I topstitched around the edge with a generous 1/8″ allowance. Using a narrow seam allowance ensured I caught both sides of the opening at the bottom of the mat. I also topstitched along both sides of the column of pieced mini charms. I think this gave the placemat a very polished look.

I Love Precut Quilts has a number of projects to be enjoyed by both the beginner and intermediate quilter. The instructions are clear enough for a novice and the designs are such that an intermediate quilter could build on them, making the quilt uniquely her own. Finally, I appreciate that Tricia shows her designs not only in the colorway she used but also in one or two other palettes that provide inspiration to the reader.

C&T Publishing and Tricia Maloney have generously provided a copy of this book as a giveaway! To enter the giveaway, please tell me about a certain precut you have been hoarding (we all do it!). Maybe now is the time to create something with it! The giveaway will remain open through Sunday, February 5th with the winner announced on Monday, February 6th. Domestic winner will receive a hard copy book, while international winners will receive an e-book.  So, this is open to all!

Remember that all Needle and Foot readers are invited to shop for fabric, yardage or precuts, at my shop. Use the code NANDFREADERS15 and receive 15% off your purchase of $5.00 or more. This code expires on February 13, 2017.

Here is the schedule for the blog hop. If you hop over to some of the other sites, you will find not only quilty inspiration, but also more chances to win a copy of Tricia’s new book.

BLOG HOP SCHEDULE

Monday, January 30th

C&T Publishing

Quilt With a View

Tuesday, January 31st

Mark Lipinski’s Blog 

The Crafty Quilter

Beaquilter

Wednesday, February 1st

Upstairs Hobby Room

Camelot Fabrics

Cheryl’sTeapots2Quilting

Thursday, February 2nd

Am I Shouting Yet?

Needle and Foot  (You’re here!!)

Generation Q Magazine   

Friday, February 3rd

Quilt With a View

 

 

Note: I was provided a copy of the book, I Love Precut Quilts, for this review. The opinions stated are my own. I am an affiliate of C&T Publishing which means if you make a purchase after clicking over to their site from my blog, I will receive a small compensation for purchases made.

Giveaway Winner and Survey Results

Thank you to all who took a few minutes to give me some feedback on your experiences with on-line shopping. Having my own shop is like a dream come true. I am hoping to tailor it to the needs of my customers. With your input, it will be a bit easier to do so.

Above you will note an extremely accurate graph, based on my findings.

Other than the scientifically precise data graphed in my chart, here are a few key things I found out:

  • There are only a very few of us who do not shop on-line at some time or other.
  • Of the on-line shoppers, some of us don’t feel comfortable, or didn’t know it was ok to, engage the shop owner in conversation. Let’s take a quick minute here. Chatting with my customers is one of my favorite parts of having an Etsy shop. I encourage shoppers to send questions to the shop owner. There is ALWAYS a contact me link on any Etsy shop. If that shop owner doesn’t respond soon (within a day at maximum) it is a red flag. You might choose to shop elsewhere. With smart phones and tablets, it is very easy for me to respond within minutes. Even if I tell them I cannot help them at the moment and will get back in touch in a few hours. That is what we would do if there was a long line in a brick and mortar shop, right? Ask for the customer’s patience and try to serve them at the next available opportunity.
  • Designers:  Oh my gosh. There are so many and we makers are definitely fond of certain artists. Thank you for listing those that you really love. Many are designers I am familiar with (and have stocked their fabric in my shop) and others are new to me. It will be fun to look them up and see what else is out there!
  • As for types of fabrics, you are a very eclectic group. Nearly half are loving modern fabrics, no surprise there. Nearly half are enjoying traditional and/or repro fabrics. That is more than I would have guessed. Batiks are clearly a fabric someone loves or doesn’t like. Not a whole lot in between. I like them quite a bit. One of my favorite quilts I have made so far was with batiks. (It is shown at the top of this post.) I also think they are great in art quilts. Simulating nature with batiks works quite well.
  • Novelty prints have their place. Those of us making baby quilts and children’s clothing seem to like them. Holiday fabrics are fun for some makers. But of my readers, there are only a few who seem to really get a kick out of them.
  • Precuts? Again, this depends on the situation. My take on it was people enjoy winning them or using them for projects where they really want to incorporate the entire line.  I had some definite ‘No, I don’t use them’ answers. I get that. Precuts can be limiting as the fabric is already cut to smaller pieces and there is no going back from there. As for me, I do like them. At this point, I don’t plan to carry them.  I have cut some fat quarter bundles of the fabrics I have and listed those but with a limited start-up budget, I will not be stocking a lot of precuts, Down the road, maybe so. Not just yet though.  I did hear from many readers that it would be fun to be able to curate a custom bundle or to buy curated fat quarter bundles. This is something I have in the works. You will hear more on that soon.
  • Many readers left suggestions or hints as to what they might like to see when on-line shopping. Ideas such as the following were presented:
  1. Work on the cost of shipping. Shipping gets expensive and makes on-line shopping less appealing. I have taken a lot of time to weigh fabric and adjust my shipping schedule on Etsy to be economical. I find I can ship 1/2 yard of fabric for about $3.00. If shipping large pieces of yardage, it makes sense to use a flat rate envelope for about $6.75. Quite a bit of fabric fits in a flat rate envelope. Either way, I do try to make the shipping as economical as I can. Also, shipping overages of $1.00 or more are automatically refunded to you. This rarely happens.
  2. Novelty flannels for making quilts and pajamas was a request. I love making my kids pj’s. Even though they are adults, it is a fun thing to do. I hope to have some choices for you this summer so you might be able to work on them before the holidays.
  3. Describe the scale of the print. I am doing this!  Currently, if there is a larger item in the print, I have included the measurements of it in the description on the listing. I am hoping this will give the shopper an idea of how the scale works. I know many shops include a ruler in the photo or put a quarter on the fabric to indicate the scale. I will continue to include this information for you.
  4. Another reader mentioned she would like to have a description of the drape or the feel of the fabric. This is very subjective. I will try to include it in the description though. Certain manufacturers, Art Gallery Fabric comes to mind, are known for producing fabric with a lovely hand (or feel) to it. Their fabric has a wonderful silky feeling which makes it great for both quilting and garment sewing, I do have a number of bolts from Art Gallery.
  5. A number of readers mentioned that they don’t really like fabrics with large scale prints. Or, they do like the fabric, purchase it and then don’t know what to do with it. Here are my thoughts. There are many stunning lines that have a few large scale prints (designers such as Maureen Cracknell, Bari J, Alison Glass and Katarina Roccella come to mind). I find these fabrics are wonderful for garments, tote bags, purses, pouches, and pillows. Think gorgeous throw pillows to add a pop of color to your living space. For quilting, I think a design which allows you to fussy cut the larger focal point works well. I get they are a challenge sometimes but don’t automatically write them off. The manufacturer often (almost always) has several items made from a line of fabric for the shopper to see the fabric in use. If you can’t find it, email me and I will send you the link. Art Gallery and Andover Fabric are great about providing this.

OK – if you are still with me, thank you! Let’s get to the winner. Patricia, your name was pulled by my very talented name-pulling daughter. I will contact you via email with a code to use for $25.00 off your purchase at my shop.  Again, thank you for all of your comments, ideas and support. It means everything to me. Remember, if you are wanting to shop, my readers will receive 15% off their order of $5.00 or more using code NANDFREADERS15. The code doesn’t expire until February 12, 2017. Hop on over and take a look!