Arts & Crafts

PR and Vincent - Becoming an Indie Designer

vincent.jpgVincent Libretti. He did this for a few reasons: he's older than many of the other designers (49); he is seeking a second go-round as a fashion designer; he's married and has a young daughter; and his personality comes off as honest and quirky, which I like.

The other thing that made him stand out to me above the others was the risk he took in joining up with Project Runway and his goal to get back into fashion designing - cashing in his 401K from whatever job (I haven't seen mention of exactly what this was as yet).

On the one hand, I find this risk taking to be in-line with most creative endevours. You have to take risks and be willing to screw up in order to eventually succeed.

On the other hand, though, this scares the *ell out of me when I think that he has not only put himself financially at risk but the rest of his family as well.

In an article by Keri Smith called "How to Make a Living Doing What You Love," one piece of advice she gives is this:

We have been taught to think that we must maintain a certain "lifestyle" by working full time. Let go of this belief, consider some alternatives. You will probably have to work in the beginning to subsidize you income, try to keep it part time or contract work. Scale down your living expenses, (do you really need two bedrooms? Can you relocate? Become frugal?) There are always ways to cut back.

Granted, to some extent this all makes sense if the only person I had to worry about was myself. But, I'm not in this world alone, and I think this is an issue that many indie designers struggle with.

I would love to quit my crappy part-time job and do this thing full time. I earn a pretty decent income now from writing, about twice that of my crappy job. However, that crappy job pays regularly. Just as an example, I'm waiting on a check right now from a client who should have paid me almost 2 weeks ago. I ask nicely and I'm told "they are working on it but are so busy with the end of the quarter stuff." Okay, I get that, but hells bells, man! How could I ever think of doing this full time, let alone convince my family that I should do it, when stuff like this happens?

Honestly, I don't have an solution to this, but I think it's an issue worth discussing. I have every confidence that Vincent will do well, especially considering he's been there and done that already. It's not like he lacks experience or skills. I just am not brave enough to do the same.

At least not right now.

Is There a "Correct" Quilting Fabric?

When I began making quilts again in the 1970s Bicentennial Era, a controversy was going on regarding the "correct" fabric to use in quilts…100% cotton of cotton/polyester blend.

The traditionalists insisted you should use only cotton as the early quiltmakers did. With cotton/polyester blends becoming popular for clothing and household items, some quilters began to use this fabric in quilts.

I did use a great deal of the blends because they were easy to care for and didn't wrinkle easily. I figured the pioneer homemakers would have used them if they'd been available.

I did make one quilt with blocks of corduroy because the customer wanted a very warm bed covering. I filled it with polyester batting and backed it with flannel. It seemed to please the customer very much. But this wasn't a common type of quilt at that time.

However, today, it seems that "anything goes" with quilts and hangings and other fabric art. Depending on how you want to use the piece, you will choose fabrics accordingly.

In hangings and art quilts, the more unusual the piece appears with a mix of fabrics, the more it often appeals.

Denim is a fun fabric, particularly when you cut up old jeans, skirts, and dresses of this fabric, for your project. My daughter has made a number of items, including quilts and tote bags, from old and new denim.


Making Quilts for Grandmas

My daughter made quilts for both of her grandmothers to comfort them in nursing homes. And they were very different quilts to meet the needs of each grandmother.

My mother had Alzheimer's so didn't really notice the pattern. My mother-in-law wanted a small quilt to hang on a particular wall in her suite.

So we decided Mother would enjoy a lap quilt most, made of soft fabrics. We actually used patchwork printed fabric, filled it with thin batting and backed it. Then we tied it. This was well used and worn when Mother passed away.

The quilt hanging for Mum's wall consisted of four star blocks (12″ each), separated by sashing, then a border all around and backed with a print fabric. Beth machine quilted this.

The star pattern was an Ohio star variation because Mum was born in Ohio. She lived there until after the birth of the first three of eight boys. (My husband, Beth's dad, was one with an Ohio birthplace.)

When Mum died, the quilt was given back to Beth. She surprised me with it as a Christmas gift that following year. I now have it hanging on the wall of my study in memory of Mum and our quilting family.

Quilting gifts for family can include so many memories.