Happy October 1st everyone! Be sure to check in Monday for the One Year anniversary bonanza!
Happy October 1st everyone! Be sure to check in Monday for the One Year anniversary bonanza!
One year ago, I released my first 6 patterns. I can’t believe that it’s only been a year. It feels in some ways like it’s been so. much. longer. I mean, when I stop to think about everything that has happened in the last 12 months it seems crazy. On the other hand, there are so many things that I still feel so inexperienced in–especially on the business side of things.
It’s been a crazy journey from the get-go, and I’ve learned A LOT. In hindsight, there are some things that I would have done differently, and things I’m glad I stuck to my guns on. Here are five things I’ve learned:
I have been amazed at the overall generous response from companies when I ask for things. This isn’t because I’m a big deal, at all, because I’m pretty darn new to this whole thing, and most of them have probably never heard of me or seen my work. But here’s the thing: they want their products used and talked about and out there as much as I want to use their product. It’s really a win-win. It doesn’t hurt at all to ask. The worst they can do is say no.
Whether it’s making sure you have enough fabric before you start quilting all night, or triple checking that you are sending the right file to the printer, it will save you a lot of time, frustration, and heartache to double and triple check things. Of course, this applies to things like having each pattern tested thoroughly, but also applies to spell checking, hiring people, and receiving information over the phone.
Whether you’re asking for something, complaining about something, or declining an opportunity, there is absolutely no reason for meanness. Just remember, someone has contributed their time, talents, creative energy to whatever it is you’re complaining about/declining/asking for. If you jump in with guns blazing and words spewing you may get what you want, but you won’t be a better person for it. And certainly, you will have hurt/offended/disheartened another human being. If nothing else, it’s karma, baby.
You will make them. They will embarrass you, haunt you, and follow you around for a while. They will inspire mean emails (see #3), make you want to quit, make you question the sagacity of starting your own creative business in the first place. They are also an incredible opportunity to grow, if you can work through them. Acknowledge your mistakes, publicly if necessary, do what you can to fix the situation, and then do everything in your power so you don’t make the same mistake ever again.
You have worthwhile things to share with the world. Starting a business, especially as an artist or creative can be emotional, and scary, and can make you feel more vulnerable than you ever imagined possible. However, there is also nothing like seeing your work make someone else deliriously happy. Be courageous and put your best foot forward. Don’t be afraid. You can do this.
PS A week full of Happy Anniversary fun starts on Monday–including some giveaways you won’t want to miss!
A couple months ago I had the pleasure of meeting Scott, of Blue Nickel Studios, at spring Quilt Market in SLC. He was kind, and gracious, and even had a beautiful quilt being shown at one of the manufacturer’s booths. A month or two after that, he emailed to ask if I’d like to participate in a little project he was putting together. I said “Count me in!” and the rest is history.
For the first 16 days in October, one of 16 different quilty bloggers will share an original block with you. Scott sent us the fabric (more on that later), and a set of guidelines, and said “Get to work!” So we did, and now we’re (almost) ready to share them with you!
Here’s the lineup:
Oct 1 John Adams (Quilt Dad)
Oct 2 Kaye Prince (Miss Print)
Oct 3 Karen Linton
Oct 4 Konda Luckau (Moose on the Porch Quilts)
Oct 5 Amy Lobsiger (Mrs. Schmenkman Quilts)
Oct 6 Ryan Walsh (I’m Just a Guy Who Quilts)
Oct 7 Scott Hansen (Blue Nickel Studios)
Oct 8 April Rosenthal (<—that’s me! Prairie Grass Patterns)
Oct 9 Cara Wilson (Cara Quilts)
Oct 10 Heather Jones (Olive and Ollie)
Oct 11 Susan Sobon (Chickenfoot)
Oct 12 Jan Peoples (Sew Sow in Love)
Oct 13 Erin Singleton (Two More Seconds)
Oct 14 Charlie Scott (Qubee Quilts)
Oct 15 Emily Cier (Carolina Patchworks)
Oct 16 Rachel Locke (Sweetteamom Designs)
Be sure to follow along and get each of the block patterns each day. They will be available at each blog as a PDF download. Plus, I think there just might be a giveaway at at least one of the stops. Just sayin’. The Uberfest button in my sidebar will bring you back to this post so you can get back to the list quickly each day.
I can’t even stand it anymore, I have to show you this. First off, I have to say I’m biased a bit toward this fabric. I mean, I did the printing and website for Sarah Jane for nearly 2 years. Not to mention that Sarah is one of my sweetest, most talented friends, and she’s right here in town with me! So really, I HAD to make something from her first fabric line, Children at Play, for Michael Miller.
Both versions should be quilted, bound, (and ironed, ahem) in the next few days, and then, more (better) pictures. Promise.
What are YOU working on right now?
I was standing in my workout clothes in the middle of the gym.
Surrounded by televisions blaring different channels, overhead music on the speaker system, and the clanking and slamming of weights being lifted and dropped.
I remember wondering why all the sudden it was quiet. Why everyone had gathered around one television and the music had stopped. We all stood there, staring up at the wall-mounted TV. At 20 years old, I wasn’t truly sure what I was looking at, or what it meant. How it would impact anything, everything. I watched live as the first tower fell. We carpooled back to our homes in silence. When I got home I turned on the radio, told my mom what was going on. I got the radio on just in time to hear about the second tower, and then the Pentagon. I stayed glued to the radio until I was late to work. I worked at a bank at the time, which of course was a tricky place to be in the middle of a crisis. We had to be there. To be confident and appropriately “cheerful”. To help people not panic and pull all their money. There was absolutely no options for staying home, or even keeping abreast of the news. Having a TV on, or even the radio was not an option. To say I was frustrated is an understatement. Later that day, I went to attend class at BYU. They were all canceled.
Although I did not suffer personal loss in the events that day, it was perhaps the first time I felt connected to a community outside my own. Connected in a way that defied distance, ideology, or age. And when, eight years later, I was able to stand in New York City for the first time, I wanted to somehow tell those people there that I knew. That I had seen and remembered. That despite the fact that we were complete strangers, we were neighbors, too. Brothers. Sisters. That back home in a little city, we were praying for and loving them. Putting messages on our billboards. Raising money. Because that’s what people do when they love each other. They take care of each other.
We remember, New York City. And we love you, too.
PS Billboard pictures were taken with a black and white film camera one year after, out the window of a moving car. Pardon the focus.
I’ve recently reprinted my He Zigs She Zags pattern with some updates and corrections. If you are a shop that has a current stock of this pattern and would like replacement “insides” sent to you, please email me your shop name and mailing address along with a picture of the quantity you have on hand. If you have purchased a copy of this pattern for yourself and would like a pdf of the new version emailed to you, please email me a picture of you holding your pattern, and I will send you a pdf of the corrected version.
My email address is april @ prairiegrasspatterns.com
Thanks so much for your support and understanding!
Playing a little catch-up here this morning. I’ve been working on these little blocks as often as I can (which isn’t as often as I would like, due to deadlines etc.) and am still a bit behind the group. But hey, slow and steady and all that jazz, right? Here are all the blocks I’ve done so far (because I can’t remember which you’ve seen, and hey they’re pretty–except that basket one. Bleck. I keep thinking I should just toss it and its wonky handle). If you’re wondering, they’re blocks 1-16 in the book.
And here they are all together.
And a few closeups. (Bet you can’t guess which block is my favorite.)
Anyway, I’ve realized a few things. First, I don’t like basket blocks. At all. So no more basket blocks for me. Second, I’m still tossing around adding in some solids here and there. I even found a few Kona solids in my stash that go well. I’m not sure why, but I just keep going back and forth on it. Third, I really like the blocks that have the most contrast.Maybe working on the contrast will solve my “should I add solids” problem? Fourth, and finally, I really shouldn’t take pictures of these when there’s a breeze because it makes them all look crooked and un-square, which they’re not. I swear. (Ask my seam ripper.) Also, trying to photograph blocks on a clothesline in a breeze makes me more frustrated than I previously would have expected, as in, talking angrily to inanimate objects. (Please, forget I said that.)
If you’re participating in Amanda and Angela‘s FWQAL (it has its’ own acronym even, it’s that cool!), are you using just one line of fabrics from your stash? Mixing in solids? Using scraps only, or certain colors? I’m dying to know. And if you’re not participating, but have some opinions on how I can spice up the next round of blocks, do share! If you have no opinion either way, well, tell me a joke or something…I might be suffering from adult-interaction-withdrawal over here. Hence the talking to quilt blocks.
April (who is obsessed with parenthesis today, obviously)
Just a few of the pretty pretty fabrics I’m working with right now:
And these are just the ones I have pictures of. I can’t wait to get to these. As beautiful as they are in pictures, they’re stunning in real life.
I love my job.
What about you? What fabrics are you loving right now? What are you working on? Tell me!