I received many comments about the 2016 QAL, both during the year and in my closing survey.
Some comments were kind and supportive.
Some comments were a little hurtful.
Some comments were surprising.
Some comments made me think I missed a mark.
Some comments made think I didn't explain my process or intentions properly.
Some comments were enthusiastic and positive.
Since everybody is different, I thought I would interview myself to clarify things that came up and my reasons behind my choices.
We don't have to agree on things to be able to enjoy an event together... but it is always nice to understand the motivation and reasons behind things that we don't agree on (at least that's what I think).
As you will see, most of the answers refer back to trying to keep my sanity or my happiness, so those are personal choices :)
I will refer back to this post whenever someone wants to know about the rules of the QAL so it is a long post... but it's good for future reference!! :)
1. Why do I post on the first Monday of the month? Can we do from the 1st to the last day of each month instead?
I post on the first Monday of the month to keep my sanity.
This is not my full time job, I have a full time job, week days, 9-5 (kind of).
I want to be able to make last time adjustments and changes to the patterns and posts before their release. This is why it has to happen on Monday, after a weekend.
I always share the calendar at the beginning of the QAL and I send reminders all the time, so it shouldn't be that hard to keep up with this choice instead of the 1st of the month.
2. Why do you need to see a picture of the block? Can you just send me the patterns? I don't want to share my work.
I want to see your block to keep my happiness.
While I respect people that do not want to share their work (and while I understand technical difficulties, no blogs, etc) for my first year of quilting/designing I shared patterns for free, no strings attached. I had hundreds patterns, some downloaded more than 8000 times (I am tracking clicks) and out of these downloads I maybe received 10-15 emails with pictures or thank you note. While I know that many just download patterns and stitch them up years and years later, I have seen pictures of my blocks on blogs, with no mention of my name or links. That makes me sad. This is not my job, but still it is my creativity that made those blocks possible and a little note is all I asked. So this is why I basically enforce a "thank you" note. Well, you don't even have to say thank you, just sending me a picture attached to an empty email would do just fine. But it's good to have some personal interactions with people that wants and use my patterns. I am a person too, so a little human interaction is appreciated!
3. Why do we need a deadline? Can't we just stitch the project at our own pace? Can we get a pass if we miss a deadline?
I need to have strict deadlines to keep my sanity.
Again, as mentioned before I am a single person, doing everything. From writing up posts, to designing the quilt, from writing up patterns, to testing them, from contacting sponsors for prizes to helping out people to link up their projects on the blog. Oh, did I mention that I have a job, and a life too? :) So keeping track of who is posting what and where is already pretty hard. Adding on top of that "time out" or exceptions is really too much to handle. If this event was run by a team of people, I may think of doing it, but considering that is just me, I cannot physically handle more than I currently do.
4. I don't like the theme you picked or your design for one of the months. Can you do something more traditional / modern / whimsical/ improv? :)
I need to follow my own design style to keep my happiness.
I don't follow what it is currently trending, I don't know what most people like or prefer. I usually have an idea and go with that! I don't even know exactly where the next design is going to take me. I just know that it will contain multiple techniques (because that's what I like to do) and mixed ideas and approaches to quilting/sewing. If you don't like one part of my designs, you are more than welcome to make changes to the patterns!!! As long as I see that you took something from my original design/idea, I am more than happy to see how you change it to fit your own needs!
5. You had giveaways each month. Who was included? Why did you choose to use random drawings from all the newest entries each month, even if they were not the latest block? Why did you only use the linky for the drawing?
I used random drawings between two numbers to keep my sanity.
Each month, if you follow along, you would have one block to post. However if you want to make an extra block for the previous month, you can share that for an extra entry. Or if you join in March and you make three blocks in one month, each would cound as a different entry if you post three pictures, in this way I don't penalize people that join later.
No matter if you agree on these choices, please remember that it takes a lot of time and effort (from my side) to get in touch with sponsors and convince them to offer you prizes. There is nothing it for me. I don't have affiliate links, I very rarely get extra goodies for that. I even have to pay for the postage to send some prizes out to you (internationally too, I don't mind). Making all these efforts and getting people comments about how upset they are that this or that got in the drawing is very sad.
From 2017 QAL I will have the clause that I am reserving the right to remove entries from the linky if not compliant (I never had to do this, but it's good to write it, because we never know). I will also add that I am reserving the right to change the rules of the linky and of the QAL at any time. If you are uncomfortable with it, you can drop out at any time. Again I think I am making decision to be fair and kind. If others interpret it in any other way, it is not my problem.
I am trying to do my best, but (again) this is not my job, I don't get paid (see next answer), I have a life, health, job, issues, so I cannot guarantee that the patterns will be perfect or all posted on time. I can assure you I am doing my absolute best. I cannot promise you more than that
6. Why do I have to pay for the pattern that I miss? They are too expensive**!
(** for the 2016 QAL a 15-ish pages pattern with block instructions, assembly instructions for a placemat or for a zipper pouch option was $ 3.95...)
While I understand that some people cannot afford to buy patterns, there must be an incentive for people to follow along, and the incentive is not to have to pay some fee for a pattern later. My patterns always contain step by step instructions, schemas, comments, tips, etc etc and they take a lot of time to put together (again, just a single woman operation here). If you don't think that deserves a Tall Chestnut Praline Latte I respect that. However most of the people that said that my patterns were expensive are comfortable buying designer fabric, books from famous quilty people, fancy notion tools, etc. So I think that the issue they have is not about money in specific, but about investing to support me in specific... again I totally respect that, but I think there is value in my artistic view, my time and my skills in both designing and creating the patterns... I think my effort is worth a Latte!
FYI last year I sold 8 patterns from my QAL, this didn't even cover the fee I am paying to keep the linky active, not to mention all the postage to send out giveaway prizes. I am totally ok losing money on this effort because I value the community building more than the actual income from this that is my hobby... however I wanted to share this information because the effort that I ask you about keeping up with the QAL and sharing your blocks pictures seems to me a fair request if you don't want to pay for the pattern!
7. What if I find a mistake in your instructions? Didn't you test it? Can you do a better job proofreading the patterns?
Well, I am a single person doing all the steps, from designing to writing to testing to posting to advertising to writing email reminders to sending out patterns to linking up pictures... and as I mentioned before this is not my job... I do my best to write clear instructions. I am ALWAYS one email away and happy to clarify or help in any way. More than that, I cannot really do, sorry!
If you have more questions or comments, please don't hesitate to comment below! I will get back to you!
I will share the fabric suggestions on Monday (Dec 26th)!
I wish you happy holidays!!
Until next week,
Remember: all the details about the series are collected in the QAL web page.