Finishes: Lakitu Wall Hanging and 1-Up Mushroom Throw Pillow

Quick Finishes!

Lakitu Wall Hanging

lakituWH

Finished Size: Approx 18 x 36
Block Pattern by: Nichole’s Nerdy Knots
Headed to: Charity Raffle

 

1-Up Mushroom Throw Pillow

1up

Finished Size: Approx 18 x 18
Block Pattern by: Nichole’s Nerdy Knots
Headed to: Charity Raffle

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Quick Finishes & Changes Coming

Hello, all! I’m still alive! Yay!

Just wanted to give a quick update on a couple things.

FIRST –

I’m planning on moving house again in the next couple months. Even though I moved into this place last summer, and got rid of a lot in the process, I still have SO. MUCH. STUFF.

This includes a ridiculous number of WIPs that I’m just not really feeling anymore.

Example – I started the Super Mario Quilt a couple years ago. I finished the Lakitu block in 2016 and since then, you know how much more I’ve gotten done? Half a 1-Up Mushroom. HALF A CHARACTER. And I don’t feel any more motivated to finish the whole quilt than I have for the last 2 years. The person I was going to give it to doesn’t even want it anymore. (I’m not sure they even remember I offered it to them.)

There are projects I want to start that I haven’t because I’ve run out of project bins. It’s time to start letting things go. So quick finishes are going to happen and I’ll post them as they appear.

SECOND –

I’ve seen a lot of jokes lately about cooking blogs and how no one actually cares how the person developed the recipe. They just want the recipe.

I’ve realized that I’m this way with quilting blogs. I sort of skim the blog post, but I’m not paying a whole lot of attention to it. I just want to see a picture of your work!

I’m sure there are lots of people out there who love reading all the details, but I’m just not one of them. And I’m sure I’m not the only person who feels this way. Surely some of you aren’t actually reading these posts.

When you throw in that I actually HATE WRITING THESE POSTS, I wonder why the heck I’m doing it. I’ve had finishes since my last post here, but I only put them on Instagram because the thought of writing a post to go with it just felt like too much.

So, I’m hoping to change the format of this blog up and make it more photo-centered. I’m not sure if I’ll change the old posts up or just start with new posts, but we’ll see.

Anyway, if you’re still reading this… Hi, thanks for being one of the people who actually reads this.

Hope everyone is well.

 

Fabric Swatch Ring

I’m still alive. Struggling, but still breathing. Yay, mental health.

I have been wanting to have reference swatches for solid colors for a while. Because of where I live, I wind up having to buy solids online most of the time. It’s very difficult to get an accurate idea of the exact shade when looking at the monitor, though. Often the color arrives and it’s not quite what I needed.

I generally use Kona Cotton and they do have a swatch book you can buy but my goodness – it is expensive.

I decided to look for a cheaper option and I found a panel online for about $10.  The squares were small, but I figured I could make it work. I bought it.

konaswatchpanel

Unfortunately, because the panel was digitally printed, there was no guarantee that any of the colors were accurate. In fact, after I received it, I found several of the colors I had on hand were NOT EVEN CLOSE to the square on the panel.

So basically, it was useless. Sigh. You get what you pay for.

I saw a tutorial online for making your own swatches using cardstock. It sounded like way more work than I really wanted to do as I would have to manually cut all the cardstock squares.

But I needed to organize my swatches, so… to Wal-Mart I went to buy cardstock. I grabbed a small pack off the shelf and started down the aisle to finish shopping when something caught my eye.

A little ring of cardstock rectangles for making study flash cards.

flashcardring

Y’all, I swear I heard angels sing. For less than $2 I could get a bunch of pre-cut cards on a ring with covers on each end. It was perfect. I put the pack of cardstock back on the shelf and bought one of the flash card rings.

I had a 2 in strip of yellow out at home on the cutting table, so I snipped off a square and checked it for size on the card. It was perfect.

I grabbed a glue stick and glued it down. If I had pinking shears, that probably would have been better, but I don’t. I snipped some of the unraveling threads off as best I could.

All I had to do was write the brand and color name and BOOM! FABRIC SWATCH CARD, BABY!

flashcardswatch

I’m so excited about this. I have about a half dozen more fabrics on hand that I am sure of the color names, so I have a few more cards to make. Everything I buy going forward, I can make a card.

I don’t have to keep pictures of the ends of bolts forever on my phone anymore! Woo!

Well, Dang… This is Harder Than I Thought It’d Be (Starting a Pattern Business)

I’m blogging about this because A. I don’t post enough and B. I hope this helps someone in the future.

I really wish I had a roadmap – a list of “this is EXACTLY every single thing you need to do in the order in which you need to do it” – so I didn’t have to think about this at all, so I could just mechanically ‘do.’

One of my report cards from preschool (preschool!!!) said, “Christy is very hesitant to try any new activity until she is certain she knows exactly what is expected of her.” Very little has changed in the last 30+ years. I know now it’s because of anxiety – about not being perfect / making mistakes.

But author Myke Cole tweeted recently, “I have flailed my way to every success I’ve ever enjoyed. My life has been a 44-year-long bewildered stumble.”

I think I’m ready to start flailing.

Anyway, I’ll tag all of these with “Starting a Pattern Business” if you’d like to follow along and watch me probably screw up a whole lot.

idk-what-im-doing.gif

***

My plan for the last 2ish years was to start selling paper-piecing patterns as a way to make a little extra money. But I keep dragging my feet. I decided to set a goal for 2018 to put up at least one pattern for sale before year-end. I reasoned that if I can’t even do that, then I’m not really serious about it, I don’t really want to do the work, and I should just let it go.

letitgo

And now it’s stuck in your head too. Sorry.

I realized I have things I could put up for sale almost immediately. I’ve got one pattern I already know works, though I’d like a nicer example of it sewn, and another I just need to test sew. That’s TWO patterns. That’s 100% above goal if I list them both!

I already decided that I would sell my patterns on Etsy, at least to start. Etsy, while it is not free to list things like it is with Craftsy, does takes care of VAT.

For those of you unfamiliar, VAT (Value Added Tax) is a tax added on goods (including digital goods) sold to people living in the European Union and it’s something of a nightmare to deal with.

I definitely don’t want to deal with it. As I’m aware of it though, I can’t just ignore it. Well I mean, I could and then claim I had no idea it was a thing as I’m just a dumb American…

hagrid

I think I just destroyed my own cover story.

I popped onto Etsy the other day to see what I needed to figure out in order to list a pattern for sale.

I found that I’d probably need to collect sales tax for sales in Vermont at the very least. I know from buying MP3s and audio books online that Vermont has started collecting tax on digital goods. So sales of a digital pattern from me (a person/business in VT) to another person in VT would result in a “sales tax required” situation.

In order to collect sales tax in VT, I need to register with the state to do that.

In order to register to do that, I need to be some kind of business.

Ugh, I knew it’d come to this someday – that’d I have to be a “real” business and not just some weirdo in a dark room designing on my laptop while arguing with my cat about whether or not she is allowed to knock the pictures off the wall – but I was hoping I’d be “bigger” or “established” before then.

Yes, I know it doesn’t make logical sense to hope you’d be an established business before you actually start your business. Aren’t brains cool in their ability to make illogical stuff seem logical to us until we really think about it?

I have to make decisions.

DBA / Doing Business As
(aka just me, an individual, using a business name)
or
LLC / Limited Liability Company
(aka a “real” business entity)
???

Uh, sorry if I just offended anyone DBA-ing out there…

I decided on an LLC. I think a DBA would be easier to set up initially, but every person I’ve ever known with a small business went LLC, and there’s certainly a reason for it. It helps protect you (the individual) from litigation against the business.

I found some info on how I would get “paid” from the business (another of my “how do I do this legally” concerns) and it seems like it would work just fine for me. Yea, LLC seems to be the way for me to go.

It costs $125 to register an LLC in the state of Vermont. For me that’s a whole lot of money right now – a whole lot of money that might not ever be regained. I might not ever sell a single pattern.

I can make $125 happen, and I will, but y’all, it hurts a bit.

burns.gif

I also still want an official logo. No, this is not a necessity but I think I need it to feel legit. Also, it’s another of my 2018 goals to get one.

Logos seem to be expensive. I’ve really only got online logo design services as a reference right now, but dang. I’m sure logo design isn’t easy, so I’ve no doubt the pricing I’ve seen is fair, but it’s another expense.

I think if I’m going to shell out a bunch for a logo, I’d rather find some small business or independent artist, either locally or online, to give my money to. (If you’ve got artist friends, feel free to mention them in the comments so I can check out their work!)

So that’s where I am in the process right now – continuing to collect information, deciding where to pull the money from to file paperwork, trying to quell my anxiety, and hoping to find some joy in the flailing.

kermitflail

Goal Progress: February

Late again.

Unlike January, where it looked like I did hardly anything because I made a lot of gifts, I actually didn’t do much in February.

I was waiting on some news from a friend… news where there was like a 90% chance it’d be really bad. I spent the entire month unhappy and stressed… trying to be positive but, I’m not good at that.

I got said news on March 1 and… it’s really bad. In general, humans want to *know* even if it’s bad. So now I know and I can exhale. It sucks. It sucks A LOT. But it’s no longer the limbo of “but maybe everything is ok.”

Anyway, getting back on topic…

My goals for 2018 are:

  1. Make at least 5 blocks per week / 20 blocks per month. I made 6 blocks in February. That puts me at 39 blocks for the year, which is really only 1 behind goal. I should be able to catch up in the next month or two.
  2. 1 large finish or 2 small finishes per month. I finished 1 small quilt in February. It was the final quilt for the last batch for Comfort for Critters. So you’ve already seen it. I do have at least 6 more mini quilt tops I could quilt for them.
  3. Put something in the Etsy shop. I’m legit working on a pattern RIGHT NOW. I only stopped because I remembered I hadn’t posted my goal progress yet. I was going to buy a pattern for the project I want to make, but decided I should draft my own because I have to test sew it to make the quilt. (Test sewing isn’t fun, but it’s necessary.) Anyway, it’s not as cute as the one I was going to buy, but it’s growing on me.
  4. Get a logo. I’ve been thinking about this too much and now have no idea what I really want.

Anyway, that’s where I am at the end of February. How are your goals coming along?

Finish: Doctor Who Wall Hanging

I made this as a surprise for someone who lives across the pond so I had to wait to show you and it was so hard!!! But it has arrived at its new home and now I can share. YAY!

dwwh

The little panel of text was something I had printed at Spoonflower a couple years ago for a project that was abandoned because reasons. I didn’t want to get rid of it, because I spent money on it, but I didn’t know what else to use it for.

Honestly I would forget that I had it, then I’d find it, be irritated by its existence, and shove it out of sight again. Rinse and repeat.

While cleaning up The Lair, I found it again, in the scraps buckets this time. But rather than be annoyed, I got excited. I knew precisely what to do with it.

I would make a present for my friend.

She loves Doctor Who. I knew that a local shop had the Exploding TARDIS fabric, which she had previously told me she really likes. I could absolutely put together something cool, send it off without her knowledge, and she’d get an unexpected present.

Who doesn’t love unexpected presents?

We have a baby quilt and a full-size wedding-gift quilt with impending deadlines that we should be focusing on so LET’S WORK ON THIS OTHER RANDOM GIFT WITH NO DEADLINE INSTEAD.

YEA, BABY! WOOOOOOO!

— My brain

There are a fair few TARDIS block patterns out there. I went with the “TARDIS in Flight” block, which was designed by Soma Acharya of Whims and Fancies. It was the last block in the Doctor Who Quilt-along she did with Caroline Press of Trillium Design.

The embroidery pattern is called “Ten’s Sonic Screwdriver” and was designed by Linda Fishman. I picked it up over at Fandom in Stitches.

My favorite thing about this wall hanging? I QUILTED CURVES.

dwcurves

I bought a class on Craftsy about 2 years ago about doing more interesting quilting with my walking foot, since I still suck at free motion. I finally watched it. I’m nothing if not expedient in using the things I pay for.

The class covered matchstick quilting, radiating designs, gentle curves, spirals, and text. I was inspired by all the cool things I could do with my trusty walking foot, but still a little nervous to try them.

But this quilt demanded it. The circle in the TARDIS block, the swirls around the screwdriver, the curving flames of the explosion… they all said “quilt curves on here!”

So l listened and quilted sectioned curves over the TARDIS block.

AND THEY DIDN’T COMPLETELY SUCK. I mean, they aren’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination but wow, they came out so much better than I expected! The hardest part was slowing down.

I’m so happy I went for it. I felt high about my accomplishment for like a week. I’m really excited to try some of the other techniques taught in the class. (It’s this class, if you’re interested.)

I also did crosshatch quilting over the little panel. Old habits die hard. Ha ha.

It finished at about 22 in x 29 in. There are the little corner pockets on the back to insert a dowel for hanging. Because I was shipping this internationally, I couldn’t send a dowel with it. The box would have been too big / shipping costs too much.

So I included a couple binder clips, which is how I hung up all the mini quilts I made before I started putting the dowel pockets on things. This way my friend can still hang it up even if she doesn’t have the inclination or ability to get a dowel.

Finish: Elephants on Parade

I have a lot of cousins… and they keep having kids.

Katie is expecting her first!

A quick peek at her baby registry for ideas showed me a lot of gray and some jungle animals… oh, look – elephants!

Gray elephants? I dig it. I freaking love gender-neutral baby quilts.

chair

This is my attempt at a “magazine style” finish photo. I mean… well… here’s hoping I get better at it.

I considered the options available to me that required hardly any thought, because my brain is lazy lately: the elephant Patch Pal, a previously purchased an elephant block pattern from eQuiltPatterns, the Elephant Abstractions pattern…

I wasn’t in love with any of those for this quilt, so I decided to poke around some more online and I stumbled across Elephant Parade by Sew Fresh Quilts.

elephantquilt

It was super cute! And the pattern was free on her blog! It was a great size for a baby quilt! I was pretty sure I could make it from stash!

It was perfect!

Almost… it required embroidery and applique. I hate doing applique and I have another project that requires a lot of embroidery, and therefore I wanted to avoid embroidery on this if I could.

So I modified her patterns, which are all traditional piecing, to paper piecing patterns so I could add in eyes and bird legs.

elephants

And then, since I wasn’t bound by traditional piecing, I got a little carried away and tweaked other things, making everything slightly more complicated and time consuming. Because I was on a time crunch, so that made total sense…

I tweaked the bird and the leaves on the flowers to make the shapes more pleasing to me.

Only the puff flower (as I call it) was included in the pattern on her blog, but she used a tulip in her sample. I liked the tulip, so I drafted one using her picture as a guide.

I randomly decided I wanted the third flower to also be different, so I drafted a pansy. (This may or may not have been influenced by how much I am playing Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, where you can grow tulips and pansies.)

pansy

Since I modified the patterns a little, I modified the title a little too, but credit where credit is due. My changes are minor – this is definitely a Sew Fresh Quilts pattern.

I originally planned on quilting a crosshatch. I was picturing 2in but for some reason I started doing it at 1in. I quilted all the lines going one way and intended to do the opposite direction the next day. But after sleeping on it, I decided it was quilted enough.

I think this quilt is so sweet. I love the overall white and grey with the pops of color.

What’s that, you say? I explicitly said in my post on the Pink and Purple Irish Chains that giving a quilt that’s mostly white to a kid is not a good idea?

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Quilt finished at approximately… ummm, I forgot to measure, but it definitely counts as a large finish for my 2018 goals. I think it’s like 45 x  52.

Overall, I’m really happy with how my version came out. I’m sure Katie will love it.