Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Hard Times and Tough Choices

2/11/15 UPDATE on the post below: I am happy to announce that Etsy has stepped up to the plate and will be handling the collecting and remittance of the VAT tax. While they, (Etsy) are still working out the final details of which I will be paying close attention to, they have given the ok to resume sales, so I am once again able to sell my PDF patterns to everyone. My apologies to anyone who was inconvenienced, and many thanks for your patience and understanding!

Hello Everyone. Over the last 24 hours I have been working hard  to catch up on the European Union VAT Tax laws, and how they will effect my sales of PDF patterns and how and where I sell them. If you are unaware of what all this VAT tax is, you are not alone... I was completely caught off guard until yesterday... very late to the party was I. Thankfully I started  to see posts and links on Instagram about this, including a well written one from Esch House Quilts. (You can read her well articulated post for a better idea of what I am talking about.) It's a confusing, but serious topic that is impacting the livelihoods of many independent sellers who sell electronic/digital files, such as myself. If you wish to delve into some of the discussions you can visit a bit of the raging debate on the Etsy blog, here.

As of now, here is where I find myself...

Due to changes concerning the European Union VAT Tax laws and how they apply to PDF patterns sold to European Union customers, and due to the limited options currently provided through Etsy and Paypal including ability to control what, who and where I can sell to, I am at this time regrettably being put into the position of only selling to US customers. It is with a sad heart that I do this, and I wish to thank my very wonderful international customers for all of their past support. Please know that I will be keeping an eye on these new laws and any new developing solutions that will work for both myself and my international customers, including the possibility of no longer selling PDF patterns on Etsy and only selling them on platforms, such as Payhip, that will handle the collection and the payment of all VAT taxes. (Something Etsy should be doing but at this time isn't.)

Keep in mind, some of the "solutions" at this time, may be but a mere bandaid, as there is talk of more countries following a similar path, as well of word that come 2016, the EU will expand this law to ALL items sold to residents of the EU. So, if small independent sellers and businesses are to survive, the platforms that are supposedly in place to support independent seller's efforts, need to step up to the plate and deal with these issues in a responsible and legitimate way, or we will all be going out of business, including you Etsy.

While these new laws take effect January 1st 2015, I will be completing all necessary changes to my shop sometime tomorrow. Again, my deepest apologies to my international customers. Hoping effective and workable solutions come soon.

My very best wishes to you and all of us for a happy, health, peaceful and prosperous New Year. xo

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Broken Window Quilts

Still playing around with improv pieced 1/4 log cabin blocks, 
(like the ones that I used in this quilt previously shown here.) 

Like that one, this one, titled "Broken Windows" is pieced using brightly colored Cirrus Solids Fabrics from Cloud9 Fabrics. Love how it turned out and it's now hanging happily in my home!
(Blogger seems to want to load this photo, and others a bit fuzzy, erg! 
However, you can click on it/them for a clearer view.)

And here are two more, both made of some really lovely, 
softly colored chambrays and striped woven fabrics...

 "Broken Barn Window #1"



(This one is currently available in my Etsy shop. Just click on the quilt's title.)




Thanks to everyone who commented and joined in the conversation on my last post. It's an important topic and one that I hope we can all continue to discuss in a respectful way, leading hopefully to better understanding, and positive forward direction. Wanted to let you know that their are other discussions around blogland on the related to the same topic. One good one can be found over at Completely Cauchy, where she also helpfully added links to other related conversations. 

Probably won't be posting till after the Holidays, 
so Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to you all!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Accepted or Rejected... Thoughts About QuiltCon and The Modern Quilting Movement

Yesterday and today while looking at my Instagram feed, I am seeing lots of posts showing either acceptance notices or rejection notices sent to those who entered this years's QuiltCon, and it brings up lots of feelings for me. I am excited and happy for those that get in, and want to hug and comfort those that did not.

While I have occasionally entertained the idea, I personally have never entered a quilt into a show. Any show. Part laziness, part fear the quilt I so love would be lost in the process, and part conflicted feelings over the whole process, which I will discuss more in a bit.

First let me say, I applaud anyone who had the organization, and the courage to put their quilts out there. If you got accepted, congrats, I can imagine how very excited you must be! If you got rejected, please remember, your camp is the bigger one... due to sheer volume of entries, most quilts are going to be rejected. 

And now for that word rejected... sounds like the judges took one look at your quilt and tossed it on the "No" pile. But for all you know, your quilt was neck to neck with another... the judges went back and forth... which one would it be...??? For all you know your quilt was heavily fought for, but in the end the other one squeaked in over yours by just a hair. And I hope you realize that if other eyes were doing the judging, the whole outcome could have been vastly different. So don't look at your quilt as "rejected". I want you to look at your quilt as the one that was sooooo close! And most of all, love that quilt. Love what you did, love your courage, love your vision, love, love, love. And keep sewing.

Did you know that Agatha Christie went through 5 years of continual rejection before landing a publishing contract? Most successful artists go through a lot of rejection... thanks goodness that they keep believing in themselves and keep trying!

Ok, so here are my conflicted feelings about the whole process... 

We need shows because art and craft and creativity needs to be seen and it needs to be seen up close and personal. We also need to have some level of quality, and craftsmanship and editing, or we will be virtually overwhelmed, whether you are one of the shows organizers or one of the attendees. There is just no way that everyone can be accepted. 

Being a judge, (I sure wouldn't want the job) must be extremely difficult... especially when you have to judge something on so many varied criteria... what if esthetically it knocks your socks off, but technically, eh, not so much? I might be committing a sacrilegious modern quilt offense here, but case in point... have you ever really looked at the technical aspects of some of those Gees Bend quilts that we all covet... not so great in some respects. Poor quilt stitches sometimes, unwanted puckering on others. With out the Gees Bend pedigree, those technical boo-boos could be cause for disqualification in a juried show, and what a truly sad thing that would be, for it would have robbed us of some amazing, visually powerful work!

Are you getting what I am trying to say here? The whole thing is a slippery tight-rope. We need shows because we need exposure to art. We need editing because we need to keep things from snowballing out of control. Editing is difficult and subjective to personal preference and ultimately will always dismiss something that very well should have been accepted. 

Another area that I have conflict is with the whole Modern Quilt Movement... don't get me wrong... I am so happy that it came along! I am so happy that it is not only doing well, but is thriving! My gosh, who would have thought just a few years back that it would have grown this far, this quick! I so applaud those founding visionaries. Not only did they light a fire, they hauled the wood and cleared the site and invited everyone to participate. Fabulous!

However, as I have stood by the sidelines, (I am by nature an introvert) watching this all morph and grow, I can't help but observing, (from my sideline perspective) that the more folks wanted to come and sit around the modern camp fire, the more rules seemed to be required and after awhile a whole uniform has seemed to be adopted.

This causes a lot of those conflicted feelings for me. 

The way I see it the most important thing in the Modern Quilt Movement is that it is a movement. Just like that camp fire, it is in a sense a living thing that should be continually morphing, changing, ebbing and growing.  Out of all great artistic movements came other ways of looking and thinking... What happens to the Modern Quilt Movement if it defines itself too narrowly? Will it forget to shine light on new off-shoots, new ways of approaching quilting? Will it become come static? One note?Wouldn't that be the exact opposite of what it originally was meant to be? 

My worry isn't that the Modern Quilting Movement will die off... I think it is here to stay, and I again am happy about that. My concern is that too many quilters wanting to be a part of this modern camp fire circle will limit their own creativity by trying to conform to what some camp leaders define modern to be. My worry is that the camp leaders will forget that the healthiest trees not only grow tall and straight but also have multiple branches, and that some of the best discoveries have come forging new trails, and looking under hidden rocks.

As quilter's, let's keep growing. Let's keep morphing and experimenting. Let's keep  encouraging ourselves and other's. Don't let rejection get to you. Your path is an important one, keep going. xo

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Cultural Fusion Book Winner!

Congrats to Juliann, she is the winner of Sujata Shah's new book Cultural Fusion Quilts!
She was randomly selected using random.org number generator.

I thank all of you who entered and left comments and enjoyed reading the diverse quilt making inspirations that you all have. 

If any of you are currently feeling creatively stuck, take a look at the comments found at the end of the Giveaway post, and they just might inspire you to look in new directions!

Remember that there are still chances to win  a copy of the book by visiting some of the other blogs on the tour! (See that Giveaway post link above to find the current dates.)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Cultural Fusion Quilts Blog Tour and Giveaway!

Today I have the pleasure of participating in a blog tour/giveaway for a wonderful new quilt book titled Cultural Fusion Quiltsauthored by Sujata Shah and published by C&T Publishing. I am sure that many of you are already familiar with the talented Sujata Shah and her blog The Root Connection. If not, it is my sincere delight to introduce you to her here along with her new book.

Cultural Fusion Quilts begins with a brief introduction into Sujata's formative years growing up in India surrounded by a culture steeped in a rich textile history, followed by her coming to America as a young bride. 

Sujata initially was not the least bit interested in sewing, (in fact she once told her mother that she would rather die then hold a needle in her hand! I thought that hilarious as I also remember my own horror at the idea of quilting upon the first time my mother proudly showed me the Amish quilt she had just purchased. I simply could not imagine a more boring and tedious thing to do... God must have a grand time laughing at our young selves!)

Lucky for us, Sujata eventually found herself drawn to quilt making. The more she studied the more she came to define her own aesthetic, realizing that she was drawn to the styles, (and often surprising similarities) of the utilitarian quilts found and rooted in Indian, African and South American cultures. 

Says Sujata, "I wanted more then just straight lines in my quilt" (Amen, sister!)

This realization led to new quilt making techniques for Sujata as she began to cut her fabrics free hand with scissors instead of with rotary cutter and ruler, and experiment with new ways of creating traditional blocks in a free-form style. 

In her book Cultural Fusion Quilts, Sujata shows us 15 of her beautiful modern quilts, all based on traditional block designs, and explains how they can be made using her free-form piecing methods. The best part of working in this method is that individuality is built into this process... while you can duplicate the look of a quilt, each quilt will at the same time always be a one-of-a-kind original. 

I also have a long love of utilitarian quilts, and like Sujata, I often choose to forgo the ruler and rotary cutter, preferring to use just my scissors and internal judgement for cutting my quilt pieces. I can attest that this is a wonderful way to work! Not only are the quilts more interesting and unique, (in my opinion) the whole process is more engaging. If you have never tried working in this way before, the projects found in Cultural Fusion Quilts will be sure to make you want to try!

Each project begins with a photo of the finished quilt, along with a photo of its "Root Connection" where Sujata introduces us to the project's inspiration. Simple, straightforward step by step instructions accompany each project and then Sujata opens the door even wider by including possible variations to each quilt's design process.

One of the main attractions for me in regards to this book is that while it shows step by step quilt projects based on blocks, the blocks themselves are really technique based, (as opposed to precision cutting, piecing and/or template based.) These techniques become tools to put in our quilting-know-how tool belt, and once learned, we get to pull these techniques out time and time again to play with, explore and uniquely create with. I look forward to playing around with Sujata's techniques and can hardly wait to see where they lead me to!

Another main attraction for me is that I believe Sujata's ultimate goal is to encourage everyone to explore what inspires them, experiment with some new ways of working, and ultimately deepen their own unique, creative voice. That is a passion of mine, and I am so happy to be able to share Sujata's beautiful book and her teaching skills with all of you, as I think she helps pave the way to finding one's own creative voice excellently. It doesn't get much better then that. Thanks, Sujata!

If you would like to receive a copy of Cultural Fusion Quilts, please leave a comment below telling us what  currently inspires you in your quilt making process! Remember, only one comment per person, please, and make sure that your comment link's back to a profile with your email link, (if it doesn't, leave your email address at the end of your comment).

I will be closing comments and randomly selecting a winner on Tuesday evening, (Dec. 9th) and will post who the lucky person is on Wednesday, Dec. 10th. (If the winner is a US resident, they will receive a hard copy of the book from C&T Publishing. Any winner outside of the US will receive an E-Book that can be downloaded.) Good luck!

(This Giveaway Now Closed)

For more reviews and chances to win a copy of the book, you can visit the other blogs               
                         participating in this blog tour. Each blog will hold their own giveaway 
                               for approximately 5 days, (so be sure to check them out soon!)

Tuesday December 2 Sujata Shah @ The Root Connection
Wednesday December 3 LeeAnn Decker @ Nifty Quilts
Thursday December 4 Victoria Gertenbach @ The Silly Boodilly
Friday December 5 Rachaeldaisy @ Blue Mountain Daisy
Saturday December 6 Lori Dejarnett @ Humble Quilts
  Sunday December 7 Casey York @ The Studiolo
Monday December 8 Malka Dubrawsky @ A Stitch in Dye
Tuesday December 9 Sherri Lynn Wood @ daintytime
Wednesday December10 Bonnie Hunter @ Quiltville's Quips and Snips
Thursday December 11 Jake Finch @ Generation Q
Friday December 12 Jan Burgwinkle @ Be*mused
Saturday December 13 Janet Treen @ Quiltsalott
Sunday December 14 Lindsay Conner @ Lindsay Sews