Monday, March 23, 2015

Quilt Con Lecture Notes

The lectures from Quilt Con that I'm going to share with you fall into two main categories:
"I'm a fan girl of Angela Walters."
Windham Succulents Booth at Quilt Market, Succulent Path (quilted by Angela Walters)
"Is there any chance I can make enough money off quilting to support my fabric buying?"
Two lectures I attended addressed the first topic, Publishing Your Work and Maker to Making a Living. I found both to be informative, but not completely encouraging. Then again, it's better to be aware of the cold, hard realities up front, right? Let's get on to the notes, and then I'll follow it up with a few personal thoughts.

Publishing Your Work
  • Publishing companies are looking for people who:
    • teach
    • hold blog tours
    • have many followers
    • are published in magazines
    • show a willingness to self-promote
    • have a thick skin and are flexible
  • Make original work.
  • It costs a publisher $30,000-$50,000 to produce a book.
  • Books give you credibility.
  • Author profit is about $1 per book, so don't quit your day job.
  • Magazines pay about $150 per article.
Maker to Making a Living
  • Submit good quality photos, rather than EQ drawings.
  • Follow the book or magazine proposal directions.
  • Be a recognized and well-known expert in the field of your chosen topic.
  • Be unique.
  • Have clear, specific, well-written directions.
  • Magazines are the way to get noticed and become known.
  • Have a platform to show that you are serious about what you're producing.
  • How many thousands of followers you have will be considered.
From both lectures I gather that having a unique idea is essential. Making sure you have been conscientious about the quality of what you have written, and that you have abided by what has been requested, are also critical. 
However, I found there to be a major paradox. If you want to be considered, you are supposed to be wildly well-known and a marketing powerhouse. And yet, your financial compensation will not be very substantial considering the credibility and publicity publication will bring. But wait, how do you get thousands of followers, fame, and accolades without the notoriety of being published? Have any of you published a book or magazine article? What are your thoughts?

Becoming a Better Quilter with Angela Walters
  • You don't have to be perfect.
  • A finished quilt is better than a perfect quilt top.
  • Don't compare your worst to someone else's best.
  • Don't point out your mistakes.
  • Don't forget the purpose of your quilt.
  • Practice consistently.
    • Practice on a quilt.
    • Practice designs you want to use.
    • Practice filling in areas completely.
  • Coping with mistakes:
    • Hide it by surrounding it with other stuff. It's harder to find a single element in a crowd of free-motion designs. (Conversely, dense quilting around something makes it stand out more.)
    • Make it again. Repetition somewhere else on the quilt makes a motif look intentional.
    • Embrace the mistake. Switch gears, and go with it. Just because it wasn't what you had in mind doesn't mean it's wrong.
    • Go "frogging". "Rip it, rip it, rip it." Use that seam ripper like you mean it.
Bauble by Emily Cier, Quilted by Angela Walters
Quilting Negative Space with Angela Walters

Since Angela gave use the notes, I'm going to save a step and give you a peek.
Prior to Quilt Con, I enrolled in Angela's How to Machine Quilt Negative Space class on Craftsy. While Angela is an engaging lecturer, I found the ability to replay the class at my whim, and to actually see the process in motion (rather than still photographs of completed work) to be the better option for me. Besides, the Craftsy class is on sale now for $19.99. Considering the lecture was $12.75 with the Modern Quilt Guild member discount, I'd say that's a very nice value.
Have you been to any quilt lectures lately? If so, what was it, and what did you think?
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  1. I was really surprised to learn how little magazine pay. I have never struck out and tried to be published in a magazine, and I have to say I found the whole thing very discouraging. For the size projects magazines claim they are interested in, sometimes the payment won't even cover the material costs.

  2. In reply to your thing about getting published- the magazine part is easy if you are confident and blatant and send a brief email to the editor saying you want to submit a project, what do they think of the attached. I have published quite a few articles and projects here in the UK and I'm shocked at the $150 price tag, it's closer to twice that here (even more with one particular magazine I write for if it spans 5 pages). I guess from there you build your notoriety, though I'm still doing that myself I can't really say much more on that.

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  4. I have had patterns published in UK magazines and have also had a book published by Martingale. You will sadly never make a fortune from either, but you will have fun trying. I believe that in the US, fabric manufacturers usually provide the fabrics free to designers, however, that does not really happen here, so the money I make usually covers the cost of making the quilt! Still, it keeps me out of mischief!