Thursday, October 15, 2009

Flower Patch quilt

Flower Patch quilt

More Fast and Fabulous Quilting Ideas OK, let’s not dwell on the bad. There’s more good news! Remember the quilt blocks that looked like but actually weren’t inspired by this thrifted tablecloth? Well, the quilt’s all together, and you can make your own version with the pattern in APQ’s More Fast & Fabulous Quilting Ideas! (They call it Flower Power; I say Flower Patch. Tomaydo, tomahto.)

Flower Patch quilt

The super quilting was done by Jeanette Lopes at Sew Central QuiltWorks—many of the fabrics came from the same place. If you’re in California’s Central Valley, be sure to stop in and say hi, pick up some fun fabric, or bring a quilt top by for quilting—or if you’re really feeling like treating yourself, they sell Gammill longarm quilting machines, too. (They have a booth at PIQF if you’re there now.) While they do lovely traditional quilting work, they also have quilted samples in the shop that are closer to my bright, modern look, so I knew they’d do a great job. Thanks so much Jeanette!

Flower Patch quilt

(Yes, I know the lighting is hideously uneven—this was the best I could do while balanced precariously on my office chair…)

Perils of the freelance life

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Stitch was the good news. But there’s bad news, too. I used to be a regular contributor of articles to Quilter’s Home magazine, and several of those articles were stolen.

Many of the articles you read in the magazine over the past year, by me and other writers, were never paid for. Since the magazine’s former parent company, CK Media, was bought out by New Track Media’s Creative Crafts Group, many unpaid invoices have ended up in the hinterland. CCG insists the debts are CK’s problem, while CK really doesn’t exist anymore and what’s left of it is unresponsive—so the magazines can carry on publishing, with debts to contributors vanishing into thin air.

On top of it all, one of my articles is up on the QH website, though I never licensed it for electronic publication, and so far requests to have it removed have got me nowhere.

Freelancers have a hard enough time scraping together a living when our invoices are paid. When they’re not, we have to waste more (unbillable) time chasing them, explaining the situation repeatedly to editors who neither created the problem nor have much power to fix it. Freelance budgets are often the first cut in bad economic times, so I was really counting on the money I had already earned coming through.

Mark Lipinski himself has left the company, so will Quilter’s Home continue at all? Given the uncertain future of the magazine, I strongly recommend you not renew QH if your subscription is ending—you could be paying for something that won’t exist.

Furthermore, I won’t be buying or subscribing to any titles published by Creative Crafts Group. Perhaps you’ll consider doing the same in support of the contributors—writers, designers, photographers—who provided content to the magazines, who made them something you’d want to buy, but who have not been compensated for their work. This means no more Quilter’s Newsletter for me, nor McCall’s Quilting and Quick Quilts, Quiltmaker, Fons and Porter, Sew Simple, Sew News, and on and on… This cuts off a huge segment of the craft magazine market, giving me fewer places to sell articles and designs, but I can’t afford to work for nothing. If you’re a designer or writer, be very cautious submitting to these magazines.

Not all magazines are like this. The Better Homes and Gardens quilting magazines, American Patchwork & Quilting and Quilts & More, have always paid me promptly, as has Interweave’s Stitch. They’re better magazines too—better written, better edited, better designed, printed on better paper, and clearly more professional. So support the good guys.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pillows and wallet pattern in Stitch

Stitch, Fall 09 The extra-big Fall issue of Stitch is now on newsstands with heaps of fun projects! I’m about to curl up with a cup of tea (it’s the first chilly, rainy day of the season) and spend some time with the magazine, but first I wanted to show you my projects from it.

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Inspired by the sculptural pillows in vastly overpriced designer shops, this trio of cushions uses slashed felt in three different ways for unique textures, with punches of color showing through the slashes.

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I picked up most of these silk necktie-fabric scraps at PIQF last year (coming up this year at the end of the week!) and wasn’t sure what to do with them until this wallet occurred to me. The front cover is made of foundation-pieced strips, and inside there’s room for business cards and a couple USB flash drives—everything you need to take a super-barebones office on the road in your pocket.

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Silk’s of course not my usual material of choice, but it was a nice change from the quilting cottons—even though I was petrified of ruining the fabric with moisture from the iron. It wasn’t nearly as scary as I’d imagined, though.

Check out Stitch for these and more projects! Now off to get the kettle boiling…