Monday, December 10, 2018

holiday spirited elves

Hi everyone,

Here is a quick note to say, yes. I am still here, alive and kicking. I have been totally in my design element designing all kinds of foundation paper piecing dolls. After I made the Paper Dolls -  Mini Collection and Winnie the Witch, I just couldn't stop and designed the Spirited Elves. This is probably the biggest collection I have designed so far too with sew many possibilities. Why? These are interchangeable, mix and match dolls just like the originals!!

This was the first time I designed a boy for the group as well. There are two outfits to choose from for each boy and girl. You can also choose to have elf ears or regular/no ears on the dolls. Check out those cute pig tails too! (eek!)

There are different pompoms options for the elf boots and Santa hats. You can change the direction on the hats as well. And of course, there are two hands included - holding hands and a single hand. How cool is that?!

There is a bonus tree block and table runner included in this digital pattern.

Or you can omit the trees and just have some happy, dancing elves.

After designing the spirited elves, Santa Baby jumped on board as well!

Don't you just want to give him a big hug?? I do! After staring at Santa a couple of days, a couple of things stood out and were improved. His elbow and the size of his hands just didn't seem right.

You can download the new version on Etsy. The great thing about these patterns is that they are both digital for instant download so you can make them for the holidays.

What can you do with Santa and his trusty elves? Here are a few more ideas. 

Make a table runner.

Make an entire throw size quilt 52" x 68" for your sofa.

You may be thinking it is too late to make something for the holidays. Well, it is never too early to start for Christmas 2019, now is it. ; ) 

Wishing you all a happy and safe holiday season! 

Monday, October 8, 2018

Happy Halloween Sewing

Hello Everyone,

Halloween is right around the corner! I am starting to slowly get in the Halloween mood with the fall weather, misty mornings and soups of the season. A new block jumped into my head on Friday and Winnie the Witch was created. She measures 6" x 11". This block is a stand alone foundation paper pieced block (FPP) or can be mixed and matched with the Paper Dolls Mini Collection for added diversity. If you want to add a hat to any of the other paper dolls, trim the seam allowance of the head segment back 1/4" then add the hat segment.

This is a PDF instant download, so if you already have the original pattern, it is a quick download you can sew up today without the added hassle of postal shipping and waiting time.

You can even add it to the Fall Freebie from last year. Did you download it last year? You can now download directly from my website without being tracked!

Look what I whipped up this morning in EQ8! I used the freebie pumpkin block from last year, added one of the bats from the Bad Kitty pattern as well as two witches (one reversed hairdo) to make this cute table runner. Wouldn't this be sew much fun to make??

17 1/2" x 32 1/2" Halloween Table Runner

You could even combine it with the original Bad Kitty Pattern and rename it - "Little Witch in the Pumpkin Patch."

If you don't like the witch and simply must have a very naughty kitty cat, there are still patterns available on Etsy. This is a combination of foundation piecing, regular piecing and appliqué.

You can even draw up your own very special Halloween table topper and have some spooky witches peeking out of the pumpkins.

Have a great week everyone! Happy Halloween Sewing!

Friday, September 21, 2018

paper dolls pattern

Hi Everyone! Thanks for joining today and reading my blog. I truly appreciate your curiosity and your support. 

A couple of years ago, I came across a foundation paper pieced pattern (FPP) from Mary McGuire featured in Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks. I loved the block so much, I redrew it in EQ8 and asked my bee mates to make blocks for a bee quilt. I was quite happy with the result.

There as so much excitement and rapport, that I took the idea a little further. I envisioned a whole community of girls and started working on adapting the blocks even further giving each one a nice outfit and different hairstyle. During one of my patchwork retreats, I sewed together most of these and then put them away. They seemed to be rather small and even I was a little discouraged to sew them at 4" x 6".

Then I had another idea. What if you could mix and match the dolls to make your very own "paper doll" just like when we were kids? So, I had to go back to the drawing board and design the dolls to be interchangeable. I divided them into three segments - head, torso and legs and increased the block size.

I designed and sewed together Emily, the reddish-brown girl on the far right followed by Mia on the left followed by the innocent and bashful Jasmin. With each doll block, I improved my own designing skills and understanding of my quilt designing software to design foundation blocks. I decided to increase the width of all blocks to 6" x 9" instead of 5" x 9" which gave the possibility of adding hands to Mia (both dark haired girls). I liked how it gave the illusion of dancing.

Since there was such a great interest in the dolls, I started writing a pattern for a mini collection. Yes, my dream is one day to have an extensive pattern with many dolls, but pattern writing takes time, a LOT of time. Not only must you know how to technically write, you must know how to utilize your computer programs to fulfill your ideas which are clear enough for everyone to read and understand. I want to stick to my philosophy of simple, easy and practical especially in my patterns. If you have too many details in the pattern, your customers will lose interest. If there is not enough, the finished product will not look like it is supposed to and your patterns will never be bought again. I truly wanted to design easy, do-able patterns for everyone with a little bit of foundation piecing knowledge.

When writing the pattern, I added a bonus hairstyle - a pretty shorter cut, because not all girls have long hair. 

I also wanted to set the dolls apart from other doll or girl patterns and designed a "Girl Power" quilt with a whole community of girls. I tried to create movement and flow between the dolls by adding a simple Log Cabin Block between them allowing the color to radiate towards the middle. 

Originally, I worked out a grid of quilting over the entire quilt that would not interfere with the doll faces and speed up the quilting time, but when I started marking my quilt, the lines started to interfere way too much. I sprayed the whole quilt with water and started again! 

I worked on a new design to eliminate the intrusive quilting over their faces. As with all designs, it usually gets changed slightly during implementation due to moods, brain gas and time restraints. : )

The center of the quilt, quilted up very nicely. I am not totally content with the outer parts of the quilting, because when I sprayed the quilt, the fabric lost its shape and the marker was not cooperating. I was afraid to iron the quilt again with the risk of having the lines reappear. I am currently unhappy with ALL quilting markers. If there is one thing that I am displeased with the way the quilt turned out, it is the quilting and the background fabric. I should have sent the quilt to a long arm quilter and should have used more of a contrasting background or darker skin colors for the girls. Another fabric other than a solid such as a low volume light printed fabric would work very nicely as well.

And, at the very last minute (the eleventh hour so to say), I had a revelation to design hands for Mia! Now, you can have a whole string of paper dolls holding hands. Not only that, but there are also three options for an ending hand - open, closed and partially open.

To finish up the quilt, I added some lovely 2 1/2" Double-Folded, Continuous Machine Binding. It was the first time that the binding came out exactly the way I wanted it too without "beauty flaws. "

Honestly, I just couldn't stop designing. My mind kept going and going with ideas for new dolls! I had to keep reminding myself - this is the MINI collection. "You have to come to an end, Karen."

Here are some of the noticeable design differentces from the original to the pre-edited Mia. I made the torso and legs longer and pepped up her hairstyle. I found the feet to be the most challenging. There are at least four different versions of the feet and legs that I sewed together, before I really found one that I loved. You will find those in the final version of Mia in the pattern booklet. 

So, I am proud to present this wonderful 16-page foundation pieced collection featuring three different dolls, one bonus hairstyle, four different hands for Emily and several ideas including instructions for the cover quilt. There are more than 200 different dolls you can make not including the hands for Mia. You can find it for sale on Etsy in the easypatchworkSHOP. You can also find it at these local stores in Germany: einfach bunt quilts & Quilt ét Textilkunst. If you wish to carry it in your patchwork and quilting store, please write for wholesale purchases.

I really look forward to seeing what you do with this pattern. Please send me an email with your doll or share on social media for all of us to see under the hashtag: eppaperdolls. 

Thank you for joining me today and reading all about the Paper Dolls Mini Collection. Enjoy your week(end).

Saturday, June 2, 2018

rights and obligations

With the recent implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or Datenschutz Grundverordnung (DSGVO) and the deadline of May 25, 2018 to get everything up to speed, a lot of panic and heated discussions were on the rise, especially for little businesses such as mine. I made it through and here are my thoughts.

So what is the whole General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) all about? This is how I see it and translate it into my everyday language - it is a collection of basic EU laws requiring businesses to clearly state what personal data is collected from its customers, how the data is used and how that company safeguards their user's information as well as additional rights of the individual and obligations of the company obtaining data. These regulations not only apply to large companies with an Internet presence within the EU, but also to non-Internet companies, organizations such as dentists, non-profit communities, places of worship, etc. within the EU. Although these laws are written for the EU, they also apply to non-EU entities collecting or processing personal data of individuals from and within the EU. That means, basically every international company or entity outside the EU as well.

Why does this affect me? Because 1) I have a small business. 2) I am a consumer.

So, I have to look at both perspectives here. First of all, as a small business owner, it is my obligation to explain to my "customers and/or website readers" what information is collected, how is it used and safeguarded. I am a simple girl with simple ideas. I only collect personal data from you, when I need to contact you or when you buy a pattern from me. Then I would like to know how to get in touch with you (email address) or where to send your goods (home shipping address). I have no other reason to collect any other type of data from you and will do my best to keep it this simple in the future. I would not and have never sold your information to third parties. 

You can read my complete GDPR (in German) here. An English version will follow as well.

Blogger and Google do, however, collect more information such as your IP address and track your movements with "cookies." Please refer to their data protection policies

After rethinking this entire issue, I have also changed my website and my blog in accordance with 1) the small business owner and 2) the perspective of a customer. Some things have been deleted such as magic buttons from third parties. I was personally unaware that when you had these one your website and blog, they were potentially tracking, collecting and profiling my readers. This was never my intention. I am sorry.

I also do not put Ad Trackers onto my blog. I don't like these pesky pop-up adds when I visit other's sites and refuse to put them on my own site. I only advertise shops and products (with direct links and no tracking options) I truly endorse and stand behind like quilting shops.

All of my purchase buttons and purchasable patterns have been moved to my Etsy shop - easypatchworkSHOP. By doing this, I am unable to see payment information used by a customer such as PayPal address, credit card and bank accounts numbers customers have used. (I once had direct buy PayPal buttons for patterns on my website that were also removed.) 

I will also be deleting ALL of my CRAFTSY patterns those both free and at a low cost fee. (I intend to have new and updated copies uploaded to Etsy one day.) From their privacy policy, it is not clear to me how your data is used. So I decided, I will discontinue the use of that platform. When you download a free pattern on my website, I am not informed of the transaction. My web provider, 1&1 may, however, be collecting this data information without my knowledge. Please refer to their privacy and data collection policy.

Is there anything wrong with companies collecting and tracking your data? Not if you know it and agree it. I think this discussion came about, because no one truly knew what information was being collected and how it was being used. And information is very valuable. I certainly do not want data used to influence me into one direction or another. That's what my husband does. He likes to prep me on decisions months in advance of an actual purchase. I know his strategy and agreed long ago without a disclaimer. : )

With the new regulations, you have the right to be informed about the company's intent and to decline the service or not be tracked. You also have the right to tell the company to remove a comment or content from, or about, you. They have the responsibility to remove it. You have the right to cancel your subscriptions, and they have the obligation to remove your data from their records (as long as it complies with state, federal, EU laws).

I am embracing these new laws. I am happy and grateful for people like Viviane Reding and Jan Phillip Albrecht who highly supported this type of legislation long before I ever thought about it. Thank you!

Read all about the DSGVO in German here. or in English here.

Please feel free to leave a comment. I would really love to hear your thoughts about this. But remember, if you are logged in, you are being tracked. 

Thanks for dropping by!

P.S. {The original post was written two weeks ago and edited after some much needed reflection time. I was basically pretty upset when I found out how much information was being collected on me and my movements within the Internet. Needless to say, I deleted my Facebook account this morning.}

Thursday, March 8, 2018

busy, busy, busy

Hello everyone! It's nice to see you again! I know I have been absent. It is so hard for me to blog these days. I wanted to let you know what is going on in my life that is exciting but sometimes overwhelming too.

First of all, I made a couple of patterns, one for free and one payable. The first one is a set of foundations for a 2-Inch and 3-Inch Pineapple Block on Etsy. It includes two pages of templates. Assemble the blocks in the order given on the foundations or add more fabric on opposite sides of the block. These foundations are a great way to use up your scraps, especially HSTs from all of your favorite projects.
Preview of Pineapple FPP Pattern on Etsy

I decided to make this pattern available after after Sandra @hohenbrunnerquilterin asked us, her bee mates, to sew the larger Pineapple block in the Background. I received a lot of requests to make the pattern available after they saw the blocks on IG and a friend of mine, Katrin made the block and posted on her blog. I had forgotten how much fun these were to make. I had so many "scraps" lefter over, I could make both the three inch and the two inch blocks. 

I have only made one quilt with the Pineapple block, a very special one for my mom's 60th birthday. I wanted to make her something really special, because she inspired me to start Quilting. I think she liked it, but couldn't really appreciate it the was I did. Although she quilted for a couple of year and even taught classes, she was really a traditional quilter. She wasn't impressed with the beautiful Long Arm Quilting by Brigitte Heitland.

Two things that are really special about the is quilt are 1)the Andover fabrics that my mom and I bought together in Phoenix, AZ when she lived there for a couple of years and 2)the inset corner blocks set-in on all four sides. I will never ever do that again! Brigitte took extra Special care NOT TO quilt them but to let them stand out. The quilt was kindly given back to me in 2016 when my mother died.

Another freebie is the pinwheels block I first made a couple of years ago for a pincushion. I wrote a very quick example of how it was made and posted in my Instagram feed. Allie and Me Design wrote a really awesome tutorial in GERMAN for the pincushion.

I still never wrote an official tutorial in ENGLISH, but I did write a step-by-step instruction sheet in GERMAN recently just for the pinwheels. You can download it here on the Instant Downloads page of my website. The photographs are clear and measurements are in centimeters. Enjoy.

The are good things and the bad things about writing patterns and tutorials. I enjoy sharing my knowledge with other quilters and sewist to help make the entire process simpler and more enjoyable with awesome results. I still get tickled when I see someone make a pattern of mine! What I don't like is the amount of time it takes to write a thoroughly well-written pattern that goes unappreciated. I really don't expect a lot of appreciation in return, not even a thank you, but the rude tones and comments can be left aside. Everyone wants a Rolls Royce for free and there'd better be a big ribbon on it too! Sorry, this still irritates me. Coming down off my soap box now.

I have an upcoming and exciting teaching schedule including the Long Island New York Beauty in Hildesheim, Germany in just one week. If you are interested, please contact me. There are a couple of places left.

I will also be teaching at Karlsruhe two different classes in May: "Sew Smaller" and "Bindings." I generally limit the amount of participants in my classes to 12 students, but there was such an overhwhelming interest in the bindings class, we the increased the amount of participants to 20. I am really looking Forward to both of these classes!

In June, I will be teaching a "Cathedral Windows" class again in Munich at Quilt ét Textilkunst. Participants are also limited to 12. Reserve your seat, because they are going fast. Quilt ét Textilkunst is celebrating 20 years of business with a year filled of exciting courses with sewing celebs, giveaways, sew-alongs and more!

I am still designing for magazines and hope new blocks will be published for Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks. I love designing my own, original blocks. 

Thanks for dropping by!