While talking with some friends the last week I was asked the same question on four separate occasions, “Are you still going to be quilting?” The reason this question kept coming up is because I have been focusing a lot more of Craft Hackers than Quiltoni. The simple answer is yes and no.
I have been extremely blessed that Craft Hackers has taken off as much as it has. It has only been 10 months since it launched and has completely changed in just that period of time. The blog itself has gone from just Nicole and I trying to post when we can to a team of four that post on set days while coordinating the content so the readers are always reading something new. The membership has gone from three people that believed in my vision to a group of sixteen members that collectively help each other and don’t just rely on my opinions. Craft Hacker members have become a family to me and I can’t wait to grow that family even more.
Which brings me back to the question of “am I still quilting”. I have been making a ton of pillows because they are easy to transport, display, and ship. Creating and selling pillows is allowing me to expand my convention list and not have to worry about paying for them. I am still quilting in a small capacity though. My first love (other than my family) is quilting so I will always quilt. I am still taking commissions. Other than commissions I may make a quilt here and there to display and sell. So if you visit me at a convention I may or may not have quilts with me. I will always have at least 2 examples of quilts to show for commissions though.
I am not stopping Quiltoni and my quilt business. I will continue to blog on Wednesdays about what I am doing and working on, but you may see more about conventions and Craft Hackers.
Smile Pillow – Finished!
Queen Size Link (delivery by November) – Part 1 of 3 finished
I LOVE doing panels at conventions. There is something about the interactions with a group of people that just makes my day. Being involved in a panel always just seems to put me in a better mood. Capricon was the first time I was involved in a panel that didn’t involve Craft Hackers and it was great. I loved talking about my fandoms and learned even more about myself.
The Crafty Thinking panel went REALLY well. Capricon puts together their panels themselves so I was able to work with three business owners that I didn’t know before the panel. Deb is a fantastic entrepreneur and suggested that we have a hand out with some of the great resources available to business owners and I completely agreed. With her help I now have a great resource to share with people that attend my panels at future conventions.
I plan on video taping all of the Crafty Thinking panels I have in the future for two reasons. First, those that attended the panel can look at it again if they couldn’t remember some of the answers and second, those that weren’t able to attend the panel can still watch it. Here is the video from the panel at Capricon:
If you haven’t started following Craft Hackers on You Tube, PLEASE follow us! Once we reach 100 subscribers then I can create a custom web address for our You Tube channel. I really want to do this, so even if you don’t watch a lot of You Tube if you make an account and help us out I would really appreciate it.
Smile Pillow – Pieces finished, needs assembling
Queen Size Link (delivery by November) – Part 1 of 3 started
This past weekend I was in Illinois at my very first Science Fiction and Fantasy convention. Nicole volunteers for Balticon so she has told me many times that these conventions are a little different than what I am used to. I saw what she means first hand. First, it is a much smaller convention. Being smaller isn’t a bad thing though. Everyone there was super nice and welcoming including the convention attendees. They had free food and drinks for everyone, and some fantastic things to do. Overall it felt like I had entered a small town and left the big city. I really enjoyed it and will try to get back there again next year.
I am headed to Maryland this weekend to work with my parents for two weeks so am spending this week catching up and preparing. I am taking inventory of my pillows to fill all of the gaps. I am also deciding which quilts I want to make next. This way I can bring all of the materials with me and work on them while I am in Maryland. I am leaning towards making a superhero or two since I don’t have any made right now. I like the idea of making Spiderman or some of the Avengers with the announcements and new movies coming up from Marvel. No matter what I decide I will definitely keep myself busy.
I have also been having the urge to make a traditional quilt. I haven’t made one in almost two years. I really want to make a Bargello quilt. It is a quilt made up of tiny squares that seems to move and flow with color. I have also even considered a cathedral window quilt. I know I swore them off, but the squares are small enough I could carry them with me and work on them while I am at conventions. Either way, I still have a lot to do this week.
Capricon in Wheeling, Illinois starts today. Capricon is a general science fiction and fantasy convention that dabbles in gaming and pop culture. It is a four day convention with a ton of great programming.
Speaking of programming, I will be there and will be on two panels:
SQUEE!!! – Thursday, 02-12-2015 – 9:30 pm to 11:00 pm – Ravinia A
We all periodically say “SQUEE!” at something from the SF/F genre, otherwise we wouldn’t be here at Capricon. We also have non-genre things that make us “SQUEE!” What gets your geek going?
Crafty Thinking: Creating a Business from Your Hobby – Friday, 02-13-2015 – 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm – Ravinia A
Interested in making a business out of that hobby you love? Come join our diverse panel of small business owners to talk about the joys and headaches of the homemade business.
I have been talking about all of the conventions I am doing with Craft Hackers and haven’t been talking about quilting much. Even though I may not have as many of my original quilts at conventions, I am still dedicated to bringing you my art. I am still taking commissions so the number of pieced quilts I make will be determined by how many commissions I have. Remember, I can always remake any quilt I have previously made as well as create a unique one of a kind quilt just for you.
So this week I am working on character pillows and embroidery pillows. My goal is to have them finished by Friday so I can then work on a panel or two. First up next will be the Smile pillow commission I took at Magfest. Since the queen sized quilt isn’t needed until November I will work on that off an on. I want to try to get a few quilts made before Indiana Comic Con, but we will see how far I get.
The next convention up is Capricon in Illinois. I am excited about it because I am on a couple of panels and it is the first Science Fiction convention I have ever gone to. It looks like it will be a really cool one with Margaret Weis as the main guest. I will give more on it next week with the days and times of my panels.
As always, Magfest was amazing. I only saw a few of my regulars this year so I wonder if the rest went to Pax South?
I met so many new and amazing people though! I had an awesome time. I had the luxury of three people helping me out at the booth this year so I had a little time to do other things. I spent some time chatting with other crafters and will run a feature on Craft Hackers on Saturdays in February showing some of those video interviews.
I also entered into my first “competition”, the claw tournament. Yes, I am a carnie and obsessed with carnival games and games of chance. I have been pumping money into claw machines since I could walk and talk (which was a long time ago).
I won third place. I also entered the poker competition and was the bubble girl. Oh the bubble spot, how I always tend to end up with you. It was an amazing convention full of amazing people and I can’t wait to go back next year.
Next up is Capricon! I will add my commission list back next week since I am still recuperating from Magfest. It has beat me down and gave me con plague, but it is all worth it.
This weekend is Magfest. If you are a video game fan and don’t know what Magfest is, then you definitely need to check it out. Magfest is a 24 hour video game convention at the National Harbour in Mary;and. There is so much to do they have to keep it going 24 hours. Take a look at the tentative schedule they posted. There is so much to do!
Nicole and Toni will be there for their fourth year. Nicole is debuting some new dolls she has been planning just for Magfest as well as some of her traditional dolls, scarves, and yarn goodies. Toni will be debuting panel quilts and character pillows as well as some of her pieced quilts you have come to love.
We will both have all sorts of information about Craft Hackers and becoming a member. If you have been considering becoming a member of Craft Hackers, please make sure you stop by and we can answer any question you may have.
One of the unique aspects of Magfest is there is no map of the dealer area. The artists and dealers are given their spaces Thursday and Friday. It makes it a little harder for you to find us, but not impossible. The great thing about Magfest is the dealer area is kept pretty small compared to other conventions. If you are still having problems finding us, when our tables are set up and ready to go on Friday we will send pictures and directions on how to find us on Toni’s Facebook, Toni’s Twitter, and Nicole’s Facebook.
Oh and did I mention that our amazing friend Sean will be taking the night shift Friday and Saturday night? That means Craft Hackers will be open 24 hours from 3pm Friday until 9pm on Sunday! If you are so busy and can’t make it to us until 2am, that’s ok, Sean will be there for you! So we hope to see you this weekend. It is one of my favorite conventions and I can’t wait!
I mentioned that I will be attending a lot of conventions this year (I haven’t updated my website since I am currently working on it) so I needed to think about how to change my layout to promote Craft Hackers more than my quilts. I am very lucky that I live near Stevens E3, one of the best companies for Exhibits and Convention spaces. Peter from E3 helped me choose my portable quilt structures last year so I immediately thought of him. I told him what I needed and he was very patient giving me a lot of ideas and options for a an easy to set up, portable display.
The portable is very important because there is a chance I may choose to do conventions in 2016 that are not within driving distance and need to be able to carry the display on the plane. The signs ended up like this.
The first sign on the left is actually three different panels held together with magnets. I LOVE how they turned out and can’t wait to show you pictures from each convention.
I debuted my new character pillows on Friday and the reception has been fantastic. I decided to stop making the iron on patches because they didn’t meet the standards that I set for myself after a year. So I had a space in my lineup for something new. I realized with as much as people loved the pillows I made, the work I put into them drove the price up too high for a lot of people.
The character pillows are my solution to that. They are simple pillows on 14″ pillow forms made from character fabric and a zipper sewn into the bottom. I have discovered all sorts of fabrics on line and can’t wait to have the entire line unveiled. The prices may increase, but as of right now they are $30 a piece or 2 for $50.
I have classic characters, comic characters, and even some movie characters. A little of everything to appeal to everyone. So if you are planning on coming to Magfest in two weeks make sure you stop by and see them!
I am also making changes to my Quiltoni page. I have had suspicions that the number of people visiting the page was drastically over inflated by the hosting company and had those suspicions confirmed when I added performance reports by Google a month ago. So I am making plans to change the hosting company and page entirely. I have already decided who I am moving it to and can’t wait to start working on the site.
This means a completely new website and new look for Quiltoni. My goal is to work on it over the next few weeks and have the new look unveiled by Magfest. I want the site to be more interactive and the pictures to be laid out in a better way. The new hosting company also includes a fantastic marketplace tool that will allow me to put some of the quilts and pillows up for sale directly through my site.
Is there anything on my site that I haven’t been doing that you would like to see? Let me know!