Marie Kondo, Miter tool, Market, my website and more…

23 Sep

Fellow Quilters,

Where do I begin?  How about “I’ve missed you!” or perhaps “I’m back from the proverbial black hole that I fell into” or even “It’s been WAY too long!”  So much has happened since we last chatted that I really don’t know where to start.  It’s like when you get together with a friend who you haven’t seen in forever and “What’s new” makes you pause and think “Had any of my grandchildren even been born when we last talked, and now I have 6.”  Truth is, when I haven’t blogged for a long time, it IS hard to put my thoughts on paper, so to speak.

So, last time I blogged I mentioned that I’d had my laptop stolen while on vacation.  Gone.  Never to be recovered, including all the files on it.  There is a black hole somewhere with all my files, however it’s not the one I fell into and I’ve stopped looking.  Note to everyone:  Back up your files or save them to the cloud.  Period. Even if they’re not work-related.  Please tell me you’re already doing this or that you’ll start right now. Thank goodness my son, who has my previous laptop, was not motivated enough to wipe the files off the laptop.  For once I’m very glad he procrastinated.  I was able to retrieve half my files, including photos from a 2-month-long New Zealand vacation as well as several other ones.  It has taken me 8 months to get caught up on quilt patterns that I designed pre-theft – I had to recreate the quilt images in EQ8 by deciphering my brief notes for each design before sitting down to write the instructions.  It added a good 8 – 16 hours of time to each pattern.  There are several patterns that were already published for which I lost the files, so I have scanned my copy of the pattern to use when I need to reprint them.  Some of them have more longevity and I should rewrite them to get better files for printing.  I think that’s a “rainy day” project, except in this case I would need a rainy month or perhaps a month of Sundays.

Last time we chatted I was heading to A Mountain Quiltfest in Pigeon Forge, TN for my annual teaching gig.  Somehow (I don’t know how this happened – honest!) 2 pair of boots ended up in my possession, including my new favorite pair – my Luccheses!!

Two new pair of boots

Two new pair of boots

They felt like they were made for me the second I slipped my feet into them.  I will be teaching in 2020 as well – March 4-7 – and I hear tell there are some must-see teachers and speakers so save the date.  The class schedule should be up on the website soon.  I’ll keep you posted – you don’t want to miss 2020!  Just saying…

So, I had a booth at Spring Quilt Market in May – my first booth ever!

The Patti's Patchwork booth at Spring 2019 Quilt Market

The Patti’s Patchwork booth at Spring 2019 Quilt Market

Quilt Market is THE trade show for the quilting industry.  I did a Schoolhouse presentation showing ideas for projects with my new Vino fabric collection, shipping to stores in November.  Then Hubby and I manned my booth for 3 days while I networked with shop-owners and buyers.  The response to my collection and the projects/patterns was very positive.

The buyers liked all my patterns, particularly my upcoming Tote Bag Trio pattern (I’m still working on the final touches, testing other patterns for do’s and don’ts, including these two from ByAnnie – the I’ll Drink to That wine tote is perfect made from vino, don’t you think?).

To Market, To Market Tote

To Market, To Market Tote

I'll Drink to That tote

I’ll Drink to That tote

My pattern will include a wine gift bag, a super-handy roll-up tote that holds a ton and fits into your pocket or handbag, as well as a padded multi-pocket tote that holds 4 bottles of wine – I call it my retreat bag.  The booth next to mine was Pat Fryer’s (Villa Rosa) and Pat happened to have 4 bottles of wine that she loaned me for my tote – thanks Pat!  Pat has also designed a fabric collection for Banyan – Patio ships in January – and she has a cult-like following.  My colleague and fellow pattern designer Daphne Greig of Patchworks Studio was also at Market with her Tapa Cloth collection, shipping in December.  I just love the panels in her collection!

While I was madly prepping for Quilt Market I was also working on a little side project – a quilting tool!  On the way home from a Borders & Binding workshop to the Sarnia guild in April I was pondering how I could make mitered borders easier to mark, as the students really got the concept of pre-cutting the mitered angles prior to sewing them on the quilt however they struggled with marking the spots to start and stop sewing them.  I came up with the idea of a small angled template with precisely drilled holes, and that is how the E-Z Miter tool came to be.

E-Z Miter tool

E-Z Miter tool

It includes detailed instructions on fool-proof mitered borders and also instructions on using the tool for lone star/Lemoyne star blocks/quilts as well.  Simply place the tool in the inner angled corner of your mitered border to mark the exact spot to start and stop sewing.

Mark the inner corner of the mitered border

Mark the inner corner of the mitered border

Use the square corner to mark the quilt or block, then connect the two dots for perfect foolproof mitered corners. I sourced a supplier and had the tools manufactured, alas not in time to take to Quilt Market.  My impromptu corrugated cardboard prototype was convincing enough to generate several orders however.  I am happy to report that the tools are now in stock.  I am super-excited about this cool tool.  I can do mitered borders in my sleep since I’ve done so many, however even I use the tool because it is faster than not using it.  The main distributors are very interested and will be placing orders shortly.

As if prepping for Quilt Market and designing a tool wasn’t enough to keep my busy, Hubby and I also sold our house (finally!!) and were frantically packing/purging.  Okay, Hubby was doing the packing while I was prepping for Market.  Our closing was May 31 so we had 1 week to totally purge and finish packing after returning from Quilt Market.  It was chaos!  Newsflash:  Most of your stuff isn’t worth anything to anyone but you.  Hubby tried in vain to find buyers for our fine furniture – no luck.  Today’s buyers do not want antique mahogany dining suites in pristine condition, or oak harvest tables and chairs.  Even our kids didn’t want it.  We gave most of our stuff to Habitat for Humanity, and even they refused some of it because they knew they had no takers for it.  We did the Marie Kondo thing and thanked our stuff for being in our life, then let it all go.  It is, after all, just stuff. I am now very selective about what I purchase, having gone through this.  I am still trying to find space for some of the “I can’t say goodbye to this yet” stuff.  Give me another few months and I will likely be ready to bid it adieu.

AND, while all the above was going on, I also set up a website for my pattern business – WOOP! WOOP!  I am thrilled, excited and over-the-moon happy to announce that Patti’s Patchwork is now open for business!!  Web designer Holly helped me navigate the minefield that is website jargon – computer language is so foreign to me.  After several bumps along the road, we have everything up and running.  All my patterns are up on the site, including the new ones for Vino, as well as a couple holiday/seasonal ones – PC242 Carpenter’s Star

PC242 Carpenter's Star

PC242 Carpenter’s Star

and PC241 Vail.

PC241 Vail

PC241 Vail

I welcome you to visit the site, take a look around and let me know what you think.  There is a tab with information on lectures and workshops, and a newsletter tab – I will be endeavoring to write a newsletter monthly, so please sign up if you’d like to keep up with what’s new.  Patti’s Patchwork also has a Facebook page that you can follow and share with your quilty friends.

What’s up next, you ask?  A well-deserved vacation (Hubby says watching me work this hard is exhausting him), as well as designing my next Banyan collection, and several guild talks and trips.  I will be in Hamilton MO this Thursday/Friday for Missouri Star’s 11th Birthday Bash, so if you’ll be there please stop by the Northcott/Banyan/FIGO booth to say hi and pick up some treats.  You can even see the E-Z Miter tool in action!  October 2 I’m at the Peterborough Quilt Guild, October 9th I’m at the Pieceful Nights guild in Toronto, and October 18-19 I’m at the GEM Retreat in New Liskeard.

Keep working on your Stonehenge Block Party quilts.  The deadline is end December, and judging takes place in January.  The winner will join Hubby and me, along with Northcott Creative Director Deborah Edwards and Stonehenge creator Linda Ludovico on an 11-day trip to England, including a behind-the-ropes tour of Stonehenge next June.  The trip is now sold out so the only way to join us is to make a quilt and win the contest.  Good luck!!




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