Tomorrow is my first pattern release! I am excited. And nervous. And relieved. And a million other feelings. But before I get into that, I wanted to talk about the things that have helped me the most to even get here.
1. Invest the time to learn what is already out there. I follow many quilting Instagram accounts. This means I see the new fabric lines that are newly released, the patterns that are popular, and the things that are coming down the pipeline. I try to keep up to date on the new things. I don't want to copy or even appear to copy others' work. To do that, I have to do my research. Another thing I do is go to quilt shops and see what patterns they are selling. I want to know what is out there. This one step has really helped me in pattern writing.
2. Figure out what I like. When surrounding myself with all of the new patterns and great fabrics, sometimes it is best to put it all away and go for it. It is easy to get lost in the cacophony that is social media and the internet at large. Often, I find it difficult to remember what makes me unique because I get sucked into thinking that those fabrics are better or the new pattern by a bigger name will be much better than anything I could produce. No! I believe deep down that we are all capable of creating. And if that is the case, there is room for all who jump in and try. Every voice matters! So, do your research, and then do you!
3. When I find something I like, I then try to replicate it digitally. I use EQ8 to help me with that. I love to play around on the program. Sometimes my creative journey starts with mixing and matching colors and blocks and lines and forms in EQ8. The freedom of doing whatever I want digitally can be daunting at times, but sometimes the limitless and mistakeless space is just what I need. With New Beginnings, I started with the fabric. I started with what I liked and then built the quilt that way. A digital copy of the quilt is essential.
4. After writing the pattern, I turn it over to a graphic designer. This step in the process is too time consuming for me, so I hire it out. I have a wonderful friend who is a phenomenal graphic designer. With his help, I am able to turn my notes and thoughts into beautiful graphics and tables. He is also really great at spacing things out and keeping the quilting process light and fresh. In other words, sometimes I sound too stuffy. Quilting is fun for me, and I want to replicate that spirit into the pattern for those who purchase it.
5. This step is the most important in my mind--pattern testing. I had a core group of amazing quilters help me out here. They ranged from seasoned and experienced, to a few who had never used a pattern ever. Their notes and insights were invaluable. Without the, this pattern would not exist. I had heard from other designers that pattern testers were crucial, but I did not understand just how important they were until I went through it myself. Every note and every thought helped make the pattern better. It wasn't easy finding my testers, so if you want to join my list, email me! I am always looking for more help.
6. Printing, Marketing, Releasing. This is the part I am in the middle of. This is the stage I need to learn more about. This is the part I have to mentally prepare myself for. This step requires putting myself out there and letting others see my work. This is when I hope others see and enjoy the pattern and the quilts as much as I do. One day, after a few patterns, I will write more about this. I think this step is a bit more abstract and there isn't a lot out there from various perspectives. Sometimes one thing works for one person, and not for the other. Some people are better at Pinterest while others use Instagram so well. Right now, I am trying to figure out what works for me.
Pattern writing is much harder than I thought. Much harder! But it does so much for me and my creative juices. There is a line in the musical "The Sound of Music" that says,
"A bell is no bell till you ring it
A song is no song till you sing it
And love in your heart wasn't put there to stay
Love isn't love til you give it away."
That is how I feel with my quilts. I love them. I love the colors, the fabrics, the textures, the art, the craft...but what is the good of it all if I keep them in my house just for me? Quilts were meant to be given away. They are out there for others. A pattern is meant to be shared with others. I hope you enjoy the new pattern and find joy in the journey like I did!