Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Aztec Dance BOM - Month 1 - Part 2

Welcome back to Part two of the Month 1 block for the Aztec Dance BOM.  If you missed Part One you can catch up HERE

Today, we are making the four Diamond in Square units for the center of our blocks.  

Gather your Tan squares and Accent #1 Strip.

Right Handed

Left Handed

Position the Center Square Section of the Square Squared tool over the Accent #1 strip.  Placing the Square Squared tool on the trimmed edge of the strip, lining up the corner of the strip with the center for the size of the unit. Cut up the side and across the top to get a precise unit. Repeat to make 4 center squares.

Cut the Tan squares on the diagonal once to yield two triangles from each square to Tan triangles.

Position two triangles on opposite sides of the center square. 

Stitch with the square on top of the triangle for best visibility using a 1/4" seam. 

Press seams away from the center square.
Position the remaining two tan triangles on the Accent #1 center square. Stitching two triangles using a 1/4" seam allowance and press seams again away from the center square.

Right Handed

Left Handed
Position the Trim Down Section of the Square Squared tool over the unit. Be sure to refer to your pattern instructions for trim sizes. Focusing the "X" of the finished unit sizes over the sewn seams. Trim up the side and across the top.

Right Handed

Left Handed

Rotate your Diamond in a Square Unit and reposition the Square Squared tool and the two remaining sides. Again, trim up the side and across the top.


Now that all your units are now complete it is time to assemble the units into blocks, referring to your pattern instructions to complete your  4 blocks.

See you on July 15th, for the release of Month 2 and tutorials. Remember, you join our Quilting Affection Designs Block of the Month Facebook Group, to share your completed blocks.  

Also, to Join our Quilting Affection Groupies Facebook Group, to receive a Free Block Pattern each month. 


Monday, June 15, 2020

Aztec Dance BOM - Month 1 - Part 1

Welcome to the Aztec Dance Block of the Month Kick-Off. I'm excited to get this 6-Month Block of Month started.  

Starting today, and every 15th of the month, I will be releasing a new block in the series and posting a tutorial right here in my blog on how to make the specific blocks.  Also, I will be doing Facebook Live tutorials in my Quilting Affection Design Block of the Month Facebook Group.  

You have two options for purchasing the pattern. First, My website is set up for both Printed and Downloadable PDF versions. For my International customers, I have an Etsy website, especially for you, where you can purchase the patterns as a Downloadable PDF only so you don't have to worry about shipping costs. 

On my website, I have set up an exclusive page for the Aztec Dance Block of the Month. This page will provide all the essential information that will get you ready to start this program, such as the General Instructions, possible color combinations, and tutorial links. 

The fabrics I used in my quilt cover are from the Island Batik "Sundance" Collection. If you are interested in other possible color combinations that this Block of the Month will look beautiful in, then check out the Aztec Dance Block of the Month page on my website.

You will have to decide which size of quilt you wish to make, the 56" x 56" (Wall Hanging), 90" x 90" Queen size. What size do you plan to make?

In designing this Block of the Month, I wanted to create something that will help develop your skills in the three fundamental tools of the Studio 180 Design tools. Depending on which size of quilt you have chosen to make. You will need the following: 

  • Wall Hanging 
    • Tucker Trimmer® I
    • Wing Clipper® I
    • Square Squared® 6."

  • Queen Size
    • Tucker Trimmer® III
    • Wing Clipper® I
    • Large Square Squared®

Now let's get started with Month 1's tutorial!

Month 1 is now available for purchase. The tools you will need for this month's block are the Tucker Trimmer and Square Squared tools. This block makes up into 6" (Wall) and 9" (Queen). 

For this month's block, you will be making three different units, Half Square Triangles, Quarter Square, and Diamond in a Square.

When you have your pattern, please read through the instructions thoroughly. Cut out and organize your pieces. I arrange my pieces on paper plates, writing down the unit sizes, and the color and sizes of the pieces needed.

Half Square Triangles

Making Half Square triangles is one of the most fundamental units in quilting, and using the tucker trimmer is so much easier to get quick and accurate units every time.

Start by marking two diagonal lines on the reverse side of your gold fabric squares using your favorite marking tool and Quilter's Magic Wand, these lines are now your stitching lines. Layer them with a Blue fabric square. 

Stitch on the lines, then cut them down the middle. Press according to the instructions.

Right Handed

Left Handed
Once you have them all pressed, take them to your cutting mat and Position the Tucker Trimmer® over the unit, carefully align the common diagonal and sizing diagonal line with the stitch line for the size of the block you are making, refer to your pattern instructions. 
 Trim the sides and across the top first.

Rotate the unit 180° and line up the Tucker Trimmer and trim the remaining sides to measure the cut size for the units you are making, refer to your pattern for exact sizes.

Once the unit is complete, put them back on the paper plates, so they are not lost, and set them aside.  Now it is time to make the Quarter Square Triangles.

Quarter Square Triangles

Quarter Square Triangles start out the same way as you would make Half Square Triangles, except you start out with slightly oversized squares so we can cut and sew them twice. 

Start by marking the two diagonal lines using your Quilter's Magic Wand on the reverse side of the Rust squares.  Layer the Blue and Rust together and repeat with Rust and Tan fabric squares. Stitch on the lines, cut, and press according to your pattern instructions.

Stop, please don't trim these units just yet, we need position a Blue and Rust unit and a Rust and Tan unit with right sides together. Mark two stitching lines using your Quilter's Magic Wand on the wrong sides of the fabric.

 Stitch on the lines, cut apart and press according to your pattern instructions.

Right Hand

Left Handed
Now, we can use our Tucker Trimmer to trim our units. Position the Tucker Trimmer over the unit, size according to your pattern size. Carefully aligning the common diagonal and sizing line with the stitched seam. Trim the sides and across the top first.

Right Handed

Left Handed
Rotate the unit 180° and line up the Tucker Trimmer and trim the remaining sides to measure the cut size for the units you are making, refer to your pattern for exact sizes.

Thank you for joining me today for Part 1 Half Square Triangles and Quarter Square units. Be sure to check in tomorrow for part two on how to make the Diamond in the Square units using the Square Squared 6" Tool.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

My Pattern Design Business Experience - Part Seven!

This week I want to wrap up this blog series on starting a pattern design business and thank everyone that has read it and continues to follow my blog posts. Over the past several weeks, I have talked a little bit about myself and why I decided to start my business. Additionally, I covered what it took to start the business and how it has changed over time. Then I jumped into what my average day looks like and how I handle the challenges of running a business.

Before I close, I want to build a little more on a topic I started last week. That is keeping an eye on the industry and what others are doing. Another aspect of this is getting involved with the industry by networking with others in the business. Look for groups or guilds to join, certification to obtain, or just go out and make friends that quilt. There are many reasons for this, and the primary one is that you can not run a successful business in a vacuum. No one will know you exist.

More importantly, no one knows everything, and getting out and being apart of the industry allows learning from others. For several years, I was an ambassador for Island Batiks. During this period, as an ambassador, I had to produce projects monthly for them that helped them advertise their fabric lines. In return, I receive sample fabric from them and other quilting notions. More importantly, they challenged my design skills and forced me to think out of the box. As a result, I believe I am a better designer over what I would have been without their challenges.

Then when I discovered the Studio 180 Design Tools and the Sue Pelland Designs Templates and became certified. I learned that I needed to start teaching, which is another skill that I am still working on mastering. Anyway, becoming certified has opened me to additional pathways for income for my business. On top of that, these groups host training events that only certified instructors are invited too. During these events, new techniques are covered, old skills can be refined, and most importantly, friendships are built. These new friends can be great for encouragement, lending a hand, or just being someone to talk to that shares a common interest.

Finally, I believe it is important to start attending the trade shows, for example, Spring and Fall Quilt Markets. These shows are reserved for professionals in the quilting industry. They are a great way to meet quilt shop owners, fabric company representatives, and even distributors. It is also a great venue that you can show off your latest designs and products. Attending the shows can be expensive, but in the long run, the interest you can generate in your plans will hopefully cover the cost.

Now, I want to close the series with the questions; if I knew everything back then that I know now, would I still start this business? I would answer yes to that. Although, if I could go back in time with my current knowledge, I am sure I would make some changes along the way and do a couple of things differently. However, overall, I do not believe I would make wholesale changes. My business is a lot of work and eats up a lot of time, but it is my passion that I wish to share with everyone.

Again, thank you for following along on my journey.


Monday, June 8, 2020

Aztec Dance Block of the Month

I’m pleased to announce the start of my newest Block of the Month, "Aztec Dance" program on Monday, June 15th.

This bold and elegant quilt brings the colors from the southwest, will free your spirit and warm your heart. Aztec Dance is a captivating 6-Month Block of the Month that features various blocks surrounding an inviting center block. The fabrics used in this quilt above is from the Island Batik "Sundance" collection.

Each of the blocks, including two fill bonus blocks, are developed to be used around the Studio 180 Design Tucker Trimmer, Wing Clipper, and Square Squared fundamental tools. You will also be working on expanding your use of the tools, with various Technique Sheets, the basic instructions for these techniques are included in the pattern. Check out my Aztec Block of the Month page for more information.

Each month you will receive easy to follow and manageable instructions that will lead you through the process to complete your quilt. You can choose between “56 x 56” Wall Hanging, or “90 x 90” Queen Size. 

If you like the design, but not the colors, or just can't find those particular fabrics. I have added several different color schemes ideas for you to review at the bottom of the Aztec Block of the Month page.

If you need additional help, please check out the Quilting Affection Design BOM Facebook Group page. Each month, I will be demoing and answering questions on using the tools, plus there will be a monthly blog post on each of the blocks. 

I hope you will come and join in the fun starting on June 15th. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

My Pattern Design Business Experience - Part Six!

Welcome back to my blog series on starting and running a quilt pattern business. If you have missed any of this series, be sure to check out Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4, Part 5.

Last week, I started to highlight a few of the unexpected benefits of starting and running a business and focusing on building.  Showing how my self-confidence has grown from facing the challenges of running a business. This week, I want to focus on a few of the challenges and how I have dealt with them.

There are a lot of challenges to running a business, from getting it started, financing, operations, deadlines, and the list can go on and on. Then there is also the challenge of what happens when things just do not go right. That is the challenge I want to talk about this week. How do you handle it when you work days, weeks, or even months on a project only to have it fall flat?

In the quilt pattern design business, this could be a new design that took a lot of time and effort to develop. Then on the release, you receive a lot of positive comments, but very few sales. Sadly, you cannot pay the bills on positive feedback, sales are what keep the bill paid and the business moving forward.
Expending a lot of time and effort on a large project only to generate a few small sales can be very disheartening. It may make you question what you are doing, and is it worth it? How you answer this question can determine on if you stay in business or not.

In my view, there are only two different reactions you can have to this type of challenge. The first and easiest is to feel sorry for yourself, and all that will do is lead to negative emotions making you question yourself even more. The other reaction would be to say to yourself, “Ok, that did not go as planned. What can I learn from this and do better next time?” Of course, the second option is the most obvious choice, but it also can be the most difficult. It is easy to feel sorry for yourself and maybe even take poor sales personally because you put a lot of yourself into every project. It is harder to take an objective view and try to see what went wrong and what can be improved upon next time.

This brings up the point that it is essential to continually be examining what you are doing and how it may fit into the current or future market. Meaning does your design fit with the direction the market is going. It is hard to generate sales when you develop an overly complicated, time-consuming pattern when the market may be trending to quick and straightforward projects. That is where devoting time to studying what others are doing can be crucial. I want to make it clear, and I am not saying to copy others, just be aware of what others are doing and to what success. Then examine what you are doing and look for ways to improve.

From what I have learned over the years, pattern development can be a tough business to make successful by itself. I love designing quilt patterns and seeing them come to life. Even more, I love seeing when another quilter makes one of my patterns and shares it with the world. To me, that is a great reward. However, that does not make money or pay the bills. Generating revenue from sales is what pays the bills.

See you next Tuesday,