Back in the Saddle!

When we first started the transition of moving the studio, I had a grand plan that took each process into account, one step at a time. I had planned to be up and running by November 1st. Due to forces that work beyond human understanding, the plan flew right out the window. We accelerated tenfold and overlapped many of the processes leaving us ready to quilt by early October. And while I’m glad I don’t have another month to go of renovations, moving at warp speed has left me a little weary. I'm really ready to get back into the swing of things!

The fates work in really screwed up ways. They’re not mysterious or wondrous…just plain screwed up. Three months ago when I made the decision to do this, I never once thought I’d have additional pressures, but just 3 weeks later, something happened that challenged my constitution; competition. No, don’t get me wrong, I know as a business owner, competition is natural and I know how to deal. I do my research, I keep tabs. I will lose clients to others and I

will gain clients from others, the business is cyclical. What many don’t realize is that my style will never change, I don’t offer heavy geometric quilting, I can, but it won’t be as great as someone else. Likewise, someone else many not be able to do the whimsical feathers and curlycues that have come to be my signature.

There is however, one bit of competition I can never begin to compete with and that is one of a computerized system, especially one that has popped up in my proverbial “backyard”. Computerized systems have many benefits. For

starters, they produce almost perfect designs and while they do require the setting of parameters, sizing and determination of design, the quilter can push a button and return to another task while keeping a slight eye on the machine. Computerized designs, although the machinery is sometimes twice as expensive, the cost of service is almost always lower because they require less effort from the quilter and other tasks can be completed while quilting. For the un-discerning quilt maker, it’s a win-win. Hence the immense popularity in computerized systems.

Then there’s me, standing over here with a semi-old-fashioned hand guided machine. (note: this photo was taken on a day I didn't feel by no means represents that I dislike my machine.) While I

may sometimes create works of art, I am human and can never, EVER, produce a “perfect” design. I rarely use stencils and don’t like pre-marking a quilt. Likewise, whilst quilting, I am actually standing at my machine and each hour of my “skilled” time is factored into my cost of service. The benefits of hand-guided system comes in when the discerning quilters wants a one of a kind, human design. Friends, family and some clients assure me that my hand guided skill trumps that of a computer….but from business perspective, it makes less and less sense. The truth is, 50% of my clients simply want their quilt put together and they don’t care how it happens. It’s sobering to think I’m a kin to that of a typewriter salesman and my service will eventually be obsolete.

While the above ramblings may simply be irrational anxieties…I am human, after all, I have taken some

comfort in the idea that I do not have to have ALL the business ALL the time. Often, I realize I don’t want ALL the business. My daughter is at a special age where spending time with her is very important, it won’t be but 5-7 years and mom won’t be her BFF anymore. There are no rules saying I can’t take it easy now and re-amp business then, but there’s something very primal that creates feelings of insecurity and jealousy. When I find that something, I’m going to quash it…it doesn’t belong.

In the meantime, I am mere weeks from welcoming customers into the new space. I won’t be able to do a grand reveal with a perfectly finished space…that only happens on HGTV or when someone doesn’t mind maxing out their credit cards. The space will continue to evolve while I work with the new layout and figure out what works best. I’m sharing pictures today with the hope you can see past the mess and unfinished bits.

I have yet to put the doors back on some of the cabinets, but as you can see, some quilts have already managed to accumulate there. I plan to mount one of moms, so I can test my mojo.

My desk area, which i've already fallen in love with. The bookshelf against the wall is unplanned but very handy. I never realized how many binders I have to have within arms reach.

Under the cutting table you'll see the ironing table...the doors to that aren't finished yet and I have to raise the top a little, it's a tad short for ironing. Eventually there will be a large pegboard for rulers and tools over the cutting table. There will also be cabinets for fabric, yarn and fiber storage along the left wall.

I look at this picture and wonder why I have three bins of ribbon and how were they the first items to migrate down to the new room??

This will eventually be my kitchenette....eventually. I'm working on it.

It was decided yesterday that I definitely need to have a V.I.P Studio Soiree...also known as...customer ..basement...warming?? And I need to stop calling it a basement. It seems a little undo-able at the moment and adds a little pressure, but in reality, it might help me settle in. I really can't wait to meet up with my customers again!

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