Monday, July 6, 2015

Charity Quilting: Hot Rods

This is another quilt by a member of the Annapolis Quilts for Kids.  The flame fabrics just begged for some free-motion flames.
This design is my own.  Or at least I haven't seen anyone else use it.  I echo he basic shape of flames you see on all sorts of things.  The back helps it show up the best.
I used Lava from Superior Threads to quilt this one.  Race cars and flames, does it get any better?
I like being able to try new and different designs.

Have you tried to match the quilting to the quilt in a way that made you stretch outside your comfort zone?

Friday, July 3, 2015

Embroidered Thank You for a Queen Bee

My Darling Husband asked me to make a thank you gift for a friend.  The somewhat loose request asked for a bag (or something) with a bee embroidery.  Not one to turn down a challenge, I came up with a plan.
I found this tiny bee design from Urban Threads and thought it would really make the zipper tab so much better.
The wide-open pouch design is a free tutorial from Noodle-head.  I've made more than a few of these and I love how easy they are and how great the finished bag can be.  These bags are great for holding your small knitting projects, or a crochet project or even some hand sewing.
Then I picked another great bee design from Urban Threads called Queen Bee.  Urban Threads offers many of their designs as hand embroidery designs.
Stitched up and assembled.  Design stitched on Pfaff Creative Performance with embroidery attachment.  I used fusible fleece for this project so I didn't add quilting.
The lining has a touch of gold in the fabric.
See how awesome that zipper tab turned out?  The final review of the bag was very positive.
I made another one in purple, but the zipper tag isn't as cool.

Have you used Noodle-Head's tutorials?  What about designs from her book Handmade Style?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Exposure: the silent killer

I don't often do this.  I usually keep things light and try to keep it on the topic of all things crafty, complete with photos of all the fun things I'm doing.  Today, I've decided I need to talk about this with someone and no one seems to take it very seriously in my group of close friends.  Sure, they nod and smile but they rarely have the level of outrage I think it deserves.  This could be because I'm just a rabid crafter and that they think I'm crazy.  It could go either way.  Anyway, here is my interaction with a company asking for contributions to their site with no payment and about how talented people are [not] paid for their hard work.  This applies to web development, painters, costume makers, quilt makers, DIY book writers, pattern designers, film artists, muscians and even hula hoopers.  

One definition of the word exposure is "public attention or notice."  I believe this is the kind of exposure Dharma Trading Co. is offering contributors to the Featured Artist section of their site.  (I purposely did not include a link to their site.  Not because I won't buy their products, I will.  But because I don't agree with how they believe they are supporting artists.)  While reading over the submission instructions I couldn't find any reference to compensation so I dropped an email and waited for a response.  They were very prompt.  I had the reply in about an hour.

Me:  "I'm curious what form of compensation you will be offering artists for use of images of their art.  Your information page does not mention what the artist receives in return for their photos. Will you be offering monetary compensation?"

Dharma Trading Co.:  "Hi Rebecca,
We do not offer monetary compensation. By sharing some images of their art artists are able to get some free exposure with a much wider audience then they might get at a local gallery or only from their own website. We share each artists page via our newsletter and various social media outlets. If provided we include contact information for the artists so that people interested in purchasing their work can find them. We always attribute the artist if images are used in anyway.

Let us know if you have any other questions about the Featured Artist Program.

Thank you and have a good day."

Ultimately, the answer is yes, the artist will be paid in exposure.  I particularly like how they used the term "free exposure" like someone would want to pay for it instead of being compensated for their hard work.  Thank goodness they are going to provide attribution!  (That is another one that some photo sharing sites seem to care not one bit about, but that is another rant.)

Another definition for exposure:  "the condition of being unprotected especially from severe weather exposure"

I'm sharing this with you because I think it is important for artists to be paid for their work.  Paid in something that will pay the rent and keep artists from the elements.  The elements that will very likely kill you.  

If you think this is an isolated case, you should really look around.  Oprah was going to pay local artists with exposure for one of her events.  Revolva posted an open letter to Oprah about how it is not cool to pay artists with exposure.  I recommend you check out that last link.  Revolva has some awesome moves with that hula hoop.

Creative Infrastructure has another great article about "Just Say NO!"  Great examples of artists being offered exposure as payment.  The next article is great, too.  "Saying YES!" is about giving back to the community through giving, and I totally support that.  

Recently I saw an Instagram post by Abby Glassenburg about a proposal from Hancock Fabrics about becoming a monthly blog contributor.  To be paid for with coupons.  Coupons are only slightly better than exposure.  No, they aren't!  I recommend you check out her great post about being your own agent that was posted this week.  Great stuff about how to be your own advocate with this kid of stuff.

If you haven't had enough, and I know no one has because it is still broken, you should totally go check out Madge's rant on Mornings with Madge.  She tells it like it is when working with a publishing company on a DIY book.  If you think creative people are undervalued this will show you how much they really are undervalued.  

Want to know more about how to price your work if you're a quilt artist?  I highly recommend Sam Hunter's great articles in her We Are $ew Worth It! blog posts.  Totally worth your time.  Loads of great articles and even a downloadable worksheet for calculating your time and materials.

If you think that these big companies are just using economics I guess you're right.  They are getting something for free, or near free, that they could be paying for.  That works out great for them.

Working for "exposure" is the same as working for free.  If you will work for free you are part of the problem.  

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Super-Size Me: A quilt block writ large

During the last meeting of the Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild, we were challenged to take a regular quilt block and super-size it to make a child's quilt.  I had just picked up a copy of the Summer 2015 issue of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks and found a block I thought would be perfect for this.
The block is called Saving Grace by Allison Harris of Cluck Cluck Sew.  You should go check out her great blog, follow her on Instagram and see what else she has to offer.  She has tutorials, patterns and even a book.
This isn't going to be a step by step tutorial.  I will show you the piece as I go along and include some links to other tutorials on how to super-size your own block or how to make a quilt with supersized blocks.  I pulled some squares and fat eighths from my stash, a suitable background fabric and got cutting.
The block made up pretty quickly with these larger shapes.
I added a border to bring the finished size up to what I think is a good size for little ones.
Trimming some batting.
I quilted it with a flat meander.  Needle and bobbin threads are Omni from Superior Threads.
I used a piece of flannel for the backing to make it extra snuggly.  The texture from the quilting is awesome.  Washed I bet this one will be great!
Stripy binding that pulls some of the colors from the top makes a nice finish.  Finished size is 36" by 36".
Do you want to super-size your own quilt block or use a tutorial for a supersized block quilt?  I found some great resources out there on the web.

Sewn by Leila provides a tutorial on her blog about the math required to up-size a block.

Sew Mama Sew also has a tutorial for supersizing a block.  Finished Size:  70" x 70"

In Color Order has a giant star tutorial.  Finished size:  68" x 68"

Cloud Nine Fabrics has one for giant hexies.  Finished size:  34" x 44"

There are so many ways to make a simple block really shine on its own little quilt.