Shoot for the Moon #30- mistakes

I am writing this shoot for the moon series as a record of experiences and feelings of running a small business. Sometimes the experiences are good – and sometimes – not so good.

Right now I am in the “not so good” mode. I have clearly been pressing too hard and I am making mistakes. When you are writing a pattern it is very difficult to self edit which is what most pattern designers do. My technique for writing a pattern is as follows:

1. Design concept in sketch book

2. Scan concept into computer and make a digital pattern pieces (no numbers or written instructions)

3. Print the pattern pieces and put together a sample.

4. After initial sample is made I go back and write all the directions and step by step written directions.

5. Then I add all numbers and labels to pattern pieces.

6. Then I print out directions and pattern and remake 2-3 more samples. Make any changes or corrections

7. Shoot final quilt for cover

8. Finish cover and send pattern off to printing.


You would think that it would be pretty clear by the third sample. But with the many interruptions, errands and phone calls one loses their train of thought. Also working so closely with a piece you sometimes cannot see the obvious – like leaving out the border page! DAH! They are in every pattern of the stamps. I know what happened – Most of my patterns have 6 pages that includes the borders. America also had six – but it needed one more for the borders to make 7. Once I had all the pieces done on the six – I forgot to copy the mandatory border page to make 7.

These mistakes weigh heavy on me. I try to correct them asap. I try to correct them before the store tells me there is a problem – but sometimes it does not work that way.The real message here is for me to slow down and take a break. I have been over extending and on top of all of these endeavors I am moving into a new studio.

Being an artist and quilter the designing and making of the patterns are easy. The writing is VERY time consuming and tough. Most of my stamp patterns have between 50-100 pieces. Although 99 of the 100 instructions may be correct – if that one piece is mis labeled or worse missing – you can ruin your reputation. It is like they say in sales it can take years to acquire a new customer and just minutes to lose one.

I think the combination of going to Houston for 11 days, moving into a new studio, upcoming holidays and what ever else I am doing is just taking a toll. It is time to breath!

If you are reading this and you are a customer please know that I will and do make every effort to make my stuff accurate and easy to use.  When I screw up I really appreciate knowing as soon as possible so I can do everything possible to right the wrong.

I guess I am feeling overwhelmed and defeated. It is very hard to be caught off guard in a workshop with two big errors. This too shall pass. I will right the wrongs but it does not minimize the impact it has on my confidence.



7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jill
    Nov 08, 2009 @ 00:00:08

    You are really busy! I admire you for starting your own business and having a studio. A few errors in the quilt patterns aren’t that bad. I’m sure it happens all the time. With the internet, people can find the corrections easily. I enjoy following your blog. It’s really interesting!


    • zebrapatterns
      Nov 08, 2009 @ 03:15:11

      Thanks Jill, I appreciate your supportive words. I have been enjoying my children the past two days and trying to give myself a break. It feels great!


  2. Linda
    Nov 08, 2009 @ 14:20:00

    I always live by the philosophy that life is just a series of problems to solve…it’s how you go about solving them that makes you who you are. It’s the problems you solve while ‘shooting for the moon’ that will make your business and your creativity successful. Why just the other day, I lost the second claw of the eagle in your America pattern…and I looked everywhere multiple times. Yesterday, I found that claw in the bottom of my purse. Even though that one piece couldn’t have possibly been missing from the pattern, you provided me with that extra pattern page anyway. That action was a positive testament to your business integrity…and ultimately your success. Do take that well-earned break. Your next batch of patterns will be perfect. Can’t wait to see them!


    • zebrapatterns
      Nov 09, 2009 @ 18:20:55

      I really enjoyed having you as a student. I appreciate the words of support. I think you are going to do really well with your other art quilt we discussed. If you have any other questions – please email me and I will respond.


  3. Valerie
    Nov 08, 2009 @ 19:03:24

    Sorry to hear you’re having a rough time. I just finished one of your patterns and found it absolutely delightful. Great pattern and easy to follow/understand. If you ever make one for Atlanta, I will be first in line to buy your other patterns as well.
    (This is my rendition of your NYC stamp quilt.)


    • zebrapatterns
      Nov 09, 2009 @ 19:17:23

      Valerie –
      I LOVE you! You have made my day! I will have to move Atlanta up on the list! lol! If I made an Atlanta stamp – what would HAVE TO BE on it? Not being from GA – I have not a clue! Debra


  4. Valerie
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 20:55:53

    Oh dear, now that you’ve asked me about Atlanta, I could write pages and pages. 🙂

    We have a lovely city and it’s so unique (although I may be just a little bit biased).

    Hmmm, “iconic Atlanta”… For me, that would include:

    Centennial Olympic Park: the rings and the light towers are so distinctive and the park itself is home to all kinds of festivals and activities (the 4th of July fireworks, ice-skating rink in the winter, kids playing in the fountain in the summer…)

    The World of Coke/Coca-Cola: we are the world headquarters after all. All soda is “coke” down here.

    The Georgia Aquarium: although this is pretty new, it’s architecture is outstanding and it has really helped rejuvenate downtown.

    The Atlanta skyline: there are several routes into the city where you crest a hill and the city is just spread out on the horizon. The Bank of America building, the round Westin hotel, and the SunTrust building are particularly recognizable especially at night.

    “Tech Tower” on Georgia Tech’s campus. Atlanta has a huge number of universities (including Spelman, Morehouse, GaTech, Georgia State, Emory, Oglethorpe, etc). But the Tech Tower is historic and picturesque.

    Natural things: Piedmont Park. Atl. is actually considered an “urban forest”. Trees everywhere! I love that where ever you go, it seems like you’re walking in the shade. Piedmont Park is right in the heart of midtown and was designed by the designer of Central Park in NYC. Stone Mountain is also just outside Atlanta area. It really doesn’t get much more southern than Stone Mountain.

    Southern charm: Atlanta prides itself on being a bit laid back and “different” from other cities. To me, this is typified by the spring in the south. Wisteria, azaleas, dogwoods, there is nothing quite like it. (Also, the pollen, but we’ll leave that out…)

    That’s all I can think of right now. I’ve really enjoyed your work and will keep my eye out for more of your patterns.


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