Friday, April 29, 2011

As I was journaling this morning I thought I might check in with the daily prompt generator and see what might be the suggested line of thought for the day.

TODAY'S PROMPT: "Know your limitations and be content with them. Too much ambition results in promotion to a job you can't do." - David Brent

This is so appropriate to what happens to me when coming up with ideas about how to quilt a quilt. I can easily come with a multitude of design possibilities that look good on paper but when it comes to the actuall execution of a given design plan, look out. Be sure to keep things in perspective before you start making suggestions to customers regarding possible custom quilting jobs. Have a good sense of the time that is going to be involved and what that means to your bottom line and their quilting budget. In another words, how much you charge for your services in quilting the quilt. Such was the topic of my conversation with Ruth yesterday.

Ruth has a quilt with flying geese units going all the way around the quilt. The size of the quilt is like a large double or queen bed sized quilt. The reason she called was to check in about how to do a p2p pattern so she could drop a motif in each one of the geese. Keep in mind, this means there are easily more than 200 geese units flying around the edges of this quilt. But not to worry, we have Creative Studio and that makes everything so much easier!
Everything we were talking about as possible quilting ideas for this goose border using p2p pattern was sounding do-able ... time consumming but do-able until I told her I would be clicking the boundaries of the geese and using the new stretch handles to tweak the motif placement. Many of our piecers are quite precise with their patchwork, but we're all human and we are working with fabric.
The only guarantees in the quilting process are: The fabric will move; our seams will be off kilter just a bit here and there; stretching will have happened as we pressed. There is nothing quite so humbling as when I quilt one of my own quilts. Yep, I'm human and even though I do my best, no matter how careful I am, and no matter how close I keep my seam ripper (and use frequently) my seams will on occassion wobble, my points might be cut off, and my borders might even flap just a tad.
This final bit of tweaking on each motif raises our level of precision in the quilting up a notch and that is what I call "quilt-show-quality" quilting and I do adjust my fees accordingly. And then there is the sky units of each goose. The question of the day ... leave it empty or put something in? But now, when you think about the added hours in finishing up the borders of the quilt, the clock is ticking and the job price is going up faster, almost, than gas prices these days.
The solution: Ruth and I both agreed (with no complaints from the customer) that doing a feather border pattern over the geese units would suit the overall quilting design just fine. The quilting could be finished in a timely manner and within budget. Having a clear sense of the possibilities is a must when choosing a design plan for a quilt, and coming up with a plan that matches ...
  • how the quilt will be used
  • who the quilt is for
  • what kind of budget are we working with
  • what is the time frame for a finish date to be met
  • and, most importantly, developing a plan that reflects your style and is compatible with your skill as a quilter
All of these points are critical to keep in mind when working out a design plan whether for yourself or when working with a customer. There is a fine line we walk between the advice from Goethe and Brent as to when and how brave to be ... how much courage and risk taking are you up to on any given day, or is a "play it safe" kind of day. But once again, when all of these pieces of the patchwork puzzle are in place we have a win-win for everyone involved.
And with that said, I may be in and out a little during the next week ... Mike is flying in today for the first time since early January. It's been a long 4 months and I just might be a little distracted :)
... know your craft ... practice your craft ...
... and ... be innovative with your craft ...
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