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A Monday in the life of a pattern designer...

by Joanne Hillestad on 12/03/18

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A Monday in the Life of a Pattern Designer
Happy Monday!
For today's blog post I have decided to give you a peek into a typical Monday at the Gypsy.  Hold onto your hats... this is going to be exciting!  Or not...

I forced myself out of bed at 6:32.  I wanted another 2 hours of sleep... but it was time to make the doughnuts!!
Left the house just after 7 (I was speedy).  Stopped at the local gas station for coffee.  Doctored up the coffee with LOTS of creamy chocolate coffee creamer and hit the freeway heading north.  Oh... almost forgot.  We hauled the recycle and garbage down to the end of the driveway.  That is always a really fun part of every Monday!  Usually Mike (that's the hubby) takes care of it... but you will see why he didn't in a bit...

My son Nick rode with me today.  Normally 3 of us (and our dog) all head to the same location.  Rarely do we all end up in the same car.  Today Mike stayed home with the dog and a tummy bug.  No fun at all!  Nick and I are keeping the businesses running.  Nick is in school learning everything about how to run CNC machines so he can be generation 3 of my husband's wire forming business.  He works between classes. 

My quilt studio is in an old apartment upstairs.  So, unlike many pattern designers, I do not work from home.  I treat my business as a full time job... plus many evenings and weekends.  

So... I was driving north.  Got of I-35 at Exit 169.  Time to get busy!
First up... take care of all the emails from over the weekend.  This wasn't a terribly busy weekend for emails, so that didn't take too long.

Next, I always pull up my Trello app.  I use it to make to-do lists and keep in touch with other designers via teams.  It is a wonderful tool that has helped me in many ways.  Everyday gets a new 'Card' with a To-Do list of the most important tasks I need to complete and a Leftovers list of things I will do if I have time.  The Leftovers list will roll to tomorrow... and the next day... and so on.  Today's list included:

1. order paper 
2. setup up print files for printer
3. send Lisa A from Around the Bobbin some pop up springs (this has been rolling from day to day for a week at least)
4. Fill out google form for upcoming guild lecture.  
5. look for fabric for a new pattern
6. blog
7. figure out topics for the Schoolhouse Series at Spring 2019 Quilt Market... yes... we start prepping for for the next one now... booth registration will arrive soon.
8. work on bookkeeping at least an hour.

Are you surprised how it doesn't say "quilt  today"?  The reality is that about 90% of a pattern designer's time is spent sitting at a keyboard doing boring business stuff.  


An email arrived from Quilt Market about Schoolhouse proposals.  Time to FB Message two of my favorite fellow designers: Kris Poor from Poorhouse Quilt Designs and Kate Colleran from Seams Like a Dream.  The three of us often team up to do presentations and other collaborative projects together.  We each have different skill sets and experiences which makes teaming up work great!

We brainstormed for probably way too long... but we have ideas for 3 exciting schoolhouse presentations for Spring quilt market.  Schoolhouse is a day long event where every 15-30 minutes a bunch of presentations start in a bunch of rooms.  There is a big schedule and shop owners and industry professionals pick and choose what topics interest them.  Of course, we hope they want to hang out with us!  I'm not sure how many topics are happening in each time slot... but it must be 25 or so?  It is a great way for us to share our knowledge and introduce some of the new items we will be having in our booths on the floor.

Time to get back to work.  
I just spent an hour editing patterns for the printer.

Squirrel!!!!  I just heard the UPS man... I'll go see if there is anything important for anyone... heading downstairs... into the wire forming part of our little world.

Mike got 6 boxes!  I feel bad for Chris our wonderful UPS guy.  That was a lot to haul in.
How many did I get?  Well... usually none.  But today I got 3!  Yeah!  
2 contained models and extra product from a trunk show at the Bernina Connection in Phoenix.  They made medium pop ups in a class taught by Vanessa Fromm of Fabric Confetti.  She does the coolest embroidery designs... and she loves to put them on pop ups.  Maybe I'll write a blog all about that on Wednesday?  I think I will... so check back then to see some of the fun things she has made using my patterns.  Here is a teaser:
The 3rd box is Happy Mail!!  Oh Boy!  I have a box from Michael Miller Fabrics!  Let's go open it up!

Look what I get to play with!  This is going to be a fun new version of Cryptic!  I will definitely write a blog about sewing this during the 31 day challenge!  Getting happy mail is not part of a normal Monday here at the Gypsy.  There was also another quilt to be sewn in the box... but it is super secret.  All I can show you is a few of the basics... here I am during the 15 minutes or so of pressing I did:
 
After that I got a couple orders from distributors... that always makes me do a happy dance!  Orders are precious and never taken for granted.  (Insert Happy Dancing for a few minutes).

Time for lunch...  remember yesterday when I told you it was so snowy and windy I didn't go get groceries... well here is my lunch:
It was a good as it looks.
Off to gather items for my orders... see if I need to print anything.  What needs to be stuffed... be right back...

I'm back!  I need to print the insides of some Grand Central patterns and stuff a bunch of pop ups.  Time to turn on the big Xerox!  I spent the next 45 minutes printing and folding and stuffing and printing and folding and stuffing.  
Mike called... he is starting to feel better.  He spent part of the day in his pole barn.  We had a lively discussion on dog beds and the lack of one for Bugsy out in the barn.  Which one of the 3 in the house he should put out there.  My thought is the one with the ugliest and darkest fabric since it will get dirty.  But, that's just the mom in me.  Here is a picture of Bugsy helping last Friday.  He is a golden retriever and they like to help.
My day is almost done.  Only an hour to go.  I just finished some emails. Then I brainstormed on some new Knobie Talk designs.   I have spent a LOT of time writing this blog post.  That is really, really not normally part of my Monday.  I have to run downstairs and ship some widgets for Mike.  Then I'm going to spend the last part of my day cutting out my super secret project I can't tell you about... except it has a piece of lime green in it. 

I plan to sew and stuff patterns and pop ups while I watch TV tonight.  I also need to write a blog post for tomorrow morning for the Pixel Blog Hop I'm part of.  Tomorrow is my day.  Then to bed by 10, fall asleep by 11.  wake up at 3:30 (but just for a few minutes lol). and then it will be time to head to work on Tuesday!

Until tomorrow!
Jo

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