Often, when a customer drops of a quilt top for me to work on, she has no idea what she wants done. She will usually say,“ Do what you think is best.” What my customer is probably not thinking is that the quilting process is just like posting on the internet. It’s forever! My stitching is going to be attached to her quilt for all time. This can be quite terrifying, especially if the quilt was made for a special occasion, as they often are.
It is gratifying that my customers trust me that much but I spend sometimes several hours just waiting for her quilt to speak up and tell me what to do. With my computerized quilting machine, I have hundreds of thousands of choices available for purchase and sometimes free from the internet. There are many incredible designers around the world creating patterns to aid me in creating a beautiful quilt for my customer. Many designers create their designs in theme packages and quite often, several of their themes are compatible so that I can mix and match to create beautiful combinations. None the less, design choices need to be made and when stitched, it’s still forever.
Recently, one of my favorite pattern designers created software that is going to change my approach to my quilting business from now on. Kim Diamond of Sweet Dreams Quilt Studio (www.sweetdreamsquiltstudio.com) created Quilter’s Lightbox (www.quilterslightbox.com). This software allows me to take a picture of all or parts of a quilt top and place designs on the picture to audition what the quilt would look like before even one stitch is made. The software lets me choose the line color and density. I can create several color and design choices and save them to a ZIP file, complete with pattern names, to email to my customer. She can then let me know which of the colors and designs she likes and saves us both a possibility of disappointment. Very often, a design looks great in theory and is a disaster in reality. Prior to this software, the disaster would result in hours of stitch ripping. The other nice thing is that, if the design looks mostly great but could use some tweaking, I can use the picture to send to the designer to ask for a tweaked pattern. Quite a bit easier than trying to just describe the change in words. With Creative Studio, my machines design software, I can sometimes make the design change myself, if the design isn’t encrypted. This is an entirely unsolicited endorsement of Kim’s software. She doesn’t need to pay me for it. I’m blabbing about it to anyone I can. For the price of $129.95, it’s worth every penny. I’m now busy trying to acquire jpegs of all of my quilt patterns so I can audition any of my patterns for my customers.
My confidence in my design choices is now bolstered. The sleepless nights will go away (maybe) and I won’t worry so much about the finality of my choices of designs. I was actually doing fine before but, now it is just a whole lot better.
Creating quilts is such a joy in my life. It’s so nice to have a super network of quilters and designers out there in the world who are all working together to make our hobby and profession so much easier to do.
Well, have to go. I just put a quilt on my frame and, fortunately, it has spoken to me and I know what designs are going to go on it. This quilt was commissioned by my customer who does not sew. She saw a quilt I had made for a charity raffle, put tons of money into the raffle and didn’t win. She asked me if I could make it again for her. Fortunately, the fabric was still available and I was able to tweak the design to fit on her king-sized bed as a bedspread. The quilt is 128” by 128” and just about fills my 14’ frame. My niece, Hallie, and her husband also put lots of money into that raffle and didn’t win. Guess what!? I’m going to make them one, too. And guess what again? My husband put lots of money into that raffle and he didn’t win either. It’s a good thing I was able to order a lot of that fabric because we all have king-sized beds with deep mattresses and we all want bedspreads. I’ll post pictures as I go through with this monster project. By the 4th of these quilts, I should have my design choices down to a science.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s