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The Gallery Connection June ’09 – UFOs revisited

One of the most enjoyable parts of my job is meeting you, our customers. Recently I had the chance to attend an event with around 250 people, men and women, from all walks of life, with at least one thing in common; they love to embroider. I was shown so many examples of their creativity, that I was once again surprised at the uses of our products. I never get used to that.

One of the questions people often ask is, “How do you come up with these ideas?” They are usually referring to the Interactives, but the answer is really the same for all our products; I watch and listen. Whatever you are willing to spend your  time on is very important to myself and the team here at Designer’s Gallery, because if you are doing something, even if it frustrates you, then we should work on making that easier, more fun and more accessible to everyone else who wants to do that same thing. That’s where product ideas come from.

In thinking over the topics for this month’s column, it occurred to the publishers of the e-news that perhaps you could use some help getting some of the products you already have out of the box. What’s that? Not a sales pitch? Just actually wanting you to get as much enjoyment out of your DG stuff as possible? Yep. We really do care. And that’s why I’ve told you about the way product ideas are generated. Because the important thing to understand first is that you are already doing, creating, sewing, quilting, gluing beads onto things, making collages, painting on silks, embellishing ready-to-wear, and in general making a mess out of the dining room table, your sewing room or the garage.

We want to help you get those UFOs completed. (No we’re not coming over to finish quilts with you. At least not today!) And we want you to complete that design organization you’ve started (You know, all those folders scattered around the hard drive, USB sticks and anywhere else.) Plus, those tea towels are getting too much sun on the one side hanging out of the shopping bag for the last two years. Maybe you should put something on them – that means taking the tags off and sticking them into your hoop. Forget about cleaning the mess first – it won’t really happen anyway – the pins are fine in the carpet where they are (he doesn’t know where they are even after all this time, so he stays out, right?)

Let’s take some time and see what you already have that you can play with. I know it’s sunny out, the weather is nice and your garden needs weeding. Still there are evenings and re-runs on television in summer, so you do have time to tend to your indoor hobbies too.

Let’s get started shall we?

The first thing to do is get off the internet. No, not right this second – at least hear (read?) me out! But I mean stop searching for more free designs. You won’t really ever sew them all out. Besides a lot of them have ‘issues’. (No, not all, and please don’t email me about the good ones.) Let’s just assume you have enough designs on hand, right now, to do some embroidery. Unless you are absolutely new to this. In which case, be forewarned, the internet can suck you in, draining your embroidery time. That way there lie demons.

Next, grab some project. Any project. If you can’t think of one, there are several you can link to straight from this DG e-news. Debbie, Diane, Kendra and the team would be thrilled to have you make one of their projects, believe me! They work very hard at making these projects. Well, okay it’s sewing, and they get paid for it, so how bad is that, right? But really they do test the instructions so that things will work out nicely for you! (Yeah, you might have to read the instructions, but that’s his weakness, not yours, eh?)

Now, I want you to do something out of sequence. Turn the machine on. Really. With it’s pretty lights (and on our newest baby, it even has music!) it will feel more like you’re moving in the direction of doing something. Don’t believe me? Try it. It’s easy. That little switch…over there. Yep.

Got a hoop? Good, of course you do. Now put that tear-away stabilizer in it. You know how. Nice and tight. I know you’re not ready to push the start button. You haven’t even chosen a design yet. It’s okay. Call it foreplay. But a hooped bit of stabilizer and a running machine – wow! You can feel something happening can’t you?

Now, whether it’s plain fabric, a tea towel, or a monogrammed ShamWow, you’re almost ready to go.

Next, turn back to the computer. Need a monogram? You already have LetterWorks, right? Think of someone who has never gotten something from your sewing room as a gift. They have initials, I’m sure of it. Not their birthday? Even better!

Or, pop open Studio. Look at all those designs! What would the intended victim of your munificence like? You have plenty to choose from. Don’t take too long. Just pick something. Want something for a little one? Sewing for charity? Try an appliqué from Gifts Galore. Want to finish off a crazy quilt? Try making some ric-rac in Simply Trims. Wanna do a redwork design on a tea towel? How about making one from a photo – run QuiltWorks and push the little button that says ‘Outline Wizard’. Got a cheeky design from the internet? Run it through DensityWorks first to make sure it will sew.

Got the idea? The products we make are designed to be used. And it isn’t that hard. Really the most difficult part is turning the machine on, which is why I asked you to do it first.

Now for thread. Ah, all those colors. But this time I want you to pick one you normally wouldn’t use. One that you got off the discount table or won as a door prize. That color exists for a reason, although you might not think so. Try it. Push yourself outside the box. Then, if it really looks bad, do some more work on the project. Keep going until your creativity makes it great (or at least giftable!) What I’m talking about is that sometimes our mistakes can force us to stretch our imaginations and make great things. Even you, yes you, the one hiding in the back.

Next, take a picture. Upload it, and send it in to us or your favorite project website. Have you seen totallystitchin.net? It’s a community to help you share your inspirations with others.

Then, take a break. All that work deserves some more relaxation time. Maybe spend some time in the garden with your newly monogrammed gloves, or with your new smock with the embroidered daisies on it. Relish the idea of having completed a project, and having used some of the fun things you’ve bought along the way.

And most of all, Happy Stitching!

-Brian

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Posted in Brian's Articles and News 8 years, 6 months ago at 1:01 am.

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