Friday, August 30, 2013

Alcide Herveaux

Meet my newest quilt, Alcide Herveaux, so named because I watched the 6th season of True Blood while I made it. Plus, it's sexy as hell. The circles and triangles were made with Riley Blake solids, the background is Kona Snow, and the binding is Kona Charcoal.

I am very pleased with this design and am considering making a tutorial for it, complete with tips for curved piecing. But that could be the antihistamines talking.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A short pause

I do have a super-cool club/guild/loose affiliation to show you and other stuff on that line still to write, but it won't be as soon as I hoped. I am laid up with a diverticulitis attack, and it pretty much means I'm going to be in bed for the next couple of days at least, throwing everything in my week off. But you know I'll be back. I always come back eventually.

Friday, August 16, 2013

My quilt club

So it seems I have totally missed the gravy train in this business, due to my utter lack of marketing skill. Apparently, the way to make money in this business is to hide the money-making part behind a facade that you call a "club." Like, "Come join my super cool club, guys! We'll talk about stuff and do stuff and there'll be stuff...and we'll be united in solidarity celebrating our thing but also our things that are not other people's things because we are different yet really need to be a part of something. Woo!" And everybody piles on and buys the t-shirt and pins the logo on the tote bag, and then it turns out that the "club" is basically the doorway to a shopping cart.

Everyday on the sidebar of my Facebook page, I get a little ad from "Quilting Club.""Join Quilting Club now!" "B'leevie Noodlebrains and Pushover McGulliblepants like Quilting Club." So what is Quilting Club? Is it a haven for misfit quilters like me? A refuge from the cruel world of judgmental quilters who just won't let me be ME? Nope. It's Craftsy.

Yep. Craftsy, which, if you are currently in a coma, is the online craft class store. Craftsy has a Facebook page under it's own name, but it also has this second, shadowy one which bugs the ever lovin' crap out of me. It has over 350,000 "likes" so far, though who knows how many of those have been purchased. And the one's that aren't - how many of them are thrilled to have all those Craftsy ads in their feed?

I actually like Craftsy (for realz, not the Facebook kind of like) (Do you like me? Or do you like like me? Or do you just Facebook like me?). But I don't like being marketed to like I'm an idiot. It sours me against something that I might actually like (like like) and want to purchase or shop from on its own merits. I hate the assumption that I'm so needy for inclusion and acceptance, that I will ostensibly join a club just because it has a cool name. And that I won't mind a bit when I discover - or maybe the assumption is that I'll never really get it - that it's all just a big advertisement.

I guess I expect this kind of thing from really big companies - be a part of the Pepsi Generation, y'all. But there's something naive in me that expects better out of fellow quilters and crafters. I cannot really do what I do (that is, make stuff) without shopping for the supplies I need to do it, so I'm always on the lookout for shops and classes and whatever else that fit what I need. So, I don't mind seeing ads on websites or in magazines, because that is how I generally learn about these businesses and what they sell. Hell, I have stuff to sell myself, and hopefully there will be more someday, but I hope that when I sell it, I'll have the balls to say, "Here are some things I made. Please consider buying them." And not, "Oooooh! Join my Super Awesome Maker Person Club!"

But of course, now that I've bitched so much about the damn things, I am forced to admit that I have always wanted to start my own club/guild/loose affiliation. Particularly since I hate clubs and organizations and tend to run screaming from any attempt to make me a part of any group whatsoever. So my club is for people who hate clubs, who hate labeling their quilting with a particular style, and for people who prefer their marketing to be more straightforward and less bait-and-switchy. So you can all join my club by buying my stuff and then we don't have to have anything to do with each other ever again!

But unlike other "clubs," which only try to sell you stuff and then pretend they're offering you new content by basically just linking to stuff all the time, my club will offer all-new content, which is basically just me saying my normal shit. But in a clubby way! Plus, my club is also representative of a completely new movement in the quilting world. Yes, there is one. Trust me. I should know; I made it up. So, please stop back here next week, when I hope to reveal the name of my club/guild/loose affiliation, as well as the manifesto (every loose affiliation should have one) as well as the super-awesome logo I just drew this morning, which may almost certainly become a tattoo on some part of my person and will definitely be a t-shirt in my Cafe Press shop. But this is NOT about selling t-shirts. This is about all of us who do not know each other and probably want nothing to do with each other in real life coming together to bitch about stuff and make cool shit. A movement, if you will.

And you will, oh yes. you will. Because that thing I drew this morning just fucking ROCKS.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Well, stuff my trapunto and call me a stippler

Yes, it's that quilt again. Sick of it yet?

I decided to do what I think might be a form of trapunto, except there's no stuffing involved, and I have a feeling that trapunto without stuffing is like, I dunno, ersatz trapunto or something. Knock-off trapunto. Poser trapunto. Anyway, I did the thing where you put on batting but no backing, and then stitch around the parts you want to get all puffy (in this case, the star, natch) and then cut away the batting around and just up to that stitching line. Then you add full batting and backing and quilt as you normally would, and the parts with extra batting are a little puffier. Then I did my usual stipple-the-living-crap-out-of-it in the background. The picture above doesn't really get across the nice tactile quality of the puffy parts and the nice contrast with the stippling.

I liked this so much, I decided I really needed to do it again, and fortunately my daughter's frenemy across the street was having a birthday, so what better gift than a handmade doll quilt? Of course, I had sworn never to give away another quilt because I put too much of myself in them and the recipients never seem to give a shit, but I just decided to consider this an exercise in some kind of Zen letting-go-of-personal-expectations thing. 

I had a bunch of Sarah Jane bits and pieces that I got in one of her clearance boxes she puts together sometimes. Turns out that with her last collection, Michael Miller started using their "Cotton Couture" fabric and at first I thought it was voile. It's much thinner and lighter than regular quilting weight and I haven't decided if this is a good thing (oooh, soft!) or if it's like Old Navy and my t-shirts. Old Navy used to make really good basic t-shirts and I wore them constantly, but now they're made of the dust that cotton leaves behind when you shake it. Not exactly sturdy. I'd be much more inclined to go along with it if they just said, "You know what? Cotton prices are going through the roof, and so we have to make our fabric thinner so that you don't have to take a second job as a pole dancer to afford it" rather than trying to put one over one us with, "Our tissue-weight cotton tees are perfect for layering!" Layering it on with a trowel, I'd say.

Anyhoodle. The lighter weight of those fabrics made this one a wee bit trickier. The set-in seams that went on where I had one or two of those fabrics were a nightmare (and yeah, I starched the hell out of them, don't worry), but I discovered that there is some truth to the phrase, "That'll quilt out." 

Yeah, I gave it the exact same trapunto/stippling treatment. I call it STRIPUNTLING! Or maybe TRAPIPPLO! I'm sure I can finesse a book deal out of it, or at the very least a free demonstration at the retirement home down the street.