A friend commented that I was sure “lucky to be able to work whenever I wanted.” Ask any full-time artist and they will probably tell you that their hours may be unconventional but the time they put into their craft is usually more than any 8 to 5 job and there is rarely a steady paycheck! The same goes for me. It’s true I’m able to work around my family’s schedules but I rarely have down time. Mainly because it’s very hard for my hands and brain to be idle –especially here at the cabin. I sure do miss my studio but by using my laptop I’m usually able to get a lot of other things done. I was able to finish the digital conversion of my latest pattern “Dog-Gone Pup!” today. I also finished writing the instructions for my other new pattern “Kitty-Kitty Chickadee!” Creating a new design and sewing the sample art quilt is the fun part, but converting my drawings into Adobe Illustrator and writing the
instructions takes way more time for me. I use a Wacom drawing tablet and pen to create the vector files necessary to better work in the pattern’s graphic design layout. After I print out a couple sample proofs of the pattern and instructions, I’ll give them to my friend Ann C. to edit and advise me on better language to use for the instructions. I’m not very good at that part! Not only is Ann a professional but she also teaches quilting classes –which I’m signing up for in January. After we get the instructions and design proofs finalized I’ll again give the patterns to “test quilters” for their input. This was also Ann’s idea and a good one. Initially, I was ready to distribute my first collection of patterns without outside editing, because I am sensitive and didn't want to hear any criticism -however important it was.
The thought of giving the patterns to test quilters scared the heck out of me at first and was something I hadn't even thought of. But by sharing, listening and being willing to make changes, benefits the quality of the final products. Another unexpected benefit was that I feel much more confident about the patterns after going through such a thorough process. It was especially satisfying when a prospective Quilt Shop in Washington who would like to carry the patterns asked "nice designs, but have they been pattern tested?" YES! we were able to answer, thanks to Ann.