Friday, November 11, 2011

Two Years Already!

Tomorrow marks the anniversary of my Gammill Optimum+ arriving after purchasing it while at Houston Int'l Market and Festival in 2009. Today I'm reflecting on those two years and hosting a giveaway to thank my faithful friends and new followers for supporting me along this journey. I took a process pledge a few months ago and so, here has been my process for growth over the past two years.

Year 1 was full of practice--16 charity projects and creating 19 of my own samples (many have already been given away or are on display in various quilt shops). I did enter the Rose of Sharon contest and got one block published in the book (basket block) and another published on the DVD (bird block), I won 'viewers choice' in the Jackie Robinson Roses Block Contest and was able to make a quilt that I designed the block for and it went on a Maywood Studio trunk show for almost a year. I also created some finished product potholders and table trivets that represent our local Walla Walla Valley as well as the local University and put them up for sale along with some of my original quilt patterns at the University Book Store. A few patterns also made it into local quilt shops. I built enough confidence to quilt 47 quilt tops for customers and design and make two quilts by commission.

Here are the commissioned pieces:
Hugs and Kisses (c) 2009 KISSed Quilts
Royal Peacock Jewels (c)2010 KISSed Quilts

I was most excited to quilt this one for my mother. This is a Pam Bono design 'Remembrance Poppies' with an extra border so it will fit a king size bed.
Detail photo below of the quilting.

I have several albums on Facebook that capture all the details of the various quilts with a variety of styles represented. If you're curious, enjoy checking them out.
albums: 1. Customer quilts; 2. Samples; 3. Practice Quilts; 4. Commissioned Quilts

For year two, I set a goal of at least two customer quilts a week, gaining exposure, entering juried shows to improve my reputation as a quilter, adding t-shirt quilts to my services and exploring pattern publication more earnestly. After the Christmas season of rushed quilting jobs, I realized I also needed to create balance in my week or I was going to burn out. So, I established a rough goal of
  • Monday--my own time for creative development;
  • Tuesday--create patterns, samples, or finished products;
  • Wednesday and Thursday--customer quilting;
  • Friday--marketing and accounting. I also do some consulting work, so that would give me dedicated time to be sure it gets done as well.
This new scheme was very helpful in keeping good balance. Within the 1st 6 months, I had already quilted 47 customer quilt tops (the same # I had done all of the 1st year).

Exposure - Literally on New Year's Eve, Dec. 31, 2010, Elaine Shaw of Highland Quilts in Athena, OR took me to lunch and asked me to write a column for the Country Register. She had met the editor of our regional semi-monthly paper and believed she could connect us and make this an opportunity that I should pursue. It worked out, and I have faithfully written an article every two months for the Washington, E.Oregon and S. Idaho Country Register.

That same day I made the decision to start writing a blog. My Facebook presence was reasonable, but it seemed that much of the quilting/sewing world was blogging, so I better jump on board ;-) Through this process I found Judy's Patchwork Times' Design Wall Monday (most recent 11/7/11), Lee's Freshly Pieced Supernova Quilt-A-Long and then started linking up with her Work-In-Progress (WIP) Wednesday (1 year anniversary link). I also discovered Megan at Canoe Ridge Design's {Sew} Modern Monday linkup and Lyn's What-a-Hoot Quilts' BOM's Away Monday linkup. All of these kept me motivated in one way or another to regularly or occasionally linkup with something to show in the appropriate category. Thank you hosts!! I've also made new friends along the way.

Another chance for exposure was joining in on the EQ7 Block of the Month, making the block in our own chosen colorway, posting a photo on their blog, and at the end of the year a contest to design a setting for the blocks. I've kept up each month and in September my block was the chosen winner (probably random;-)...but I received the Kaleidoscope add-in software to EQ7. This is still a work in progress, but so far...

and to my surprise a couple of months ago I was asked to be a part of their EQ Artist Campaign...
This went out in an e-newsletter and links to a page on their website with a quote from me. Wo Hoo!

On a local basis, I was given an opportunity as I brainstormed ideas for marketing our Guild's raffle quilt this year, to display and sell quilts at a local winery. Years ago I made a log cabin block potholder with fabrics selected that symbolically represent our local area. I still had a few, made some more and put these up for sale in the winery. I also finished up a small piece I had started years ago as a challenge for a local festival. It gave me an opportunity to try some heirloom quilting. It sold the next day! So...I'm still producing the potholders/table trivets, have added additional versions (Balloon Stampede and Onion Festival), bottle bags, and most recently placemats using a beautiful set of panel prints that I found this fall. I need to make more wall hangings as well.

In the spring I decided to enter again (I had tried in 2010), the McCall's Quilt Design Star 2011 Contest. I was selected this year using the 'Royal Peacock Jewels' commission quilt from Year 1 as an entry quilt. Each round a challenge was presented, each contestant produced a quilt top and submitted a photo, public voting ensued online and judging by industry judges make a final decision on who moved forward to the next round. I made it through to the FINALS where we also had to finish the quilt and send it to McCall's. Alas I was told this week I was not the winner, but this consumed a great deal of my time this year. It brought a great deal of exposure, including publication in the McCall's Quilting magazine (so far the Nov/Dec 2011 issue) and on their website (Design Star image in the right hand column here on my blog will take you to my profile page). The 'McCall's' label in the right hand column of my blog will take you to the blog posts related to these quilts that explain the actual challenge and my design process. When they are shown together, I see geometric and dimension as a distinct 'style'. I had never really given myself an opportunity to design, representing myself as a designer. This is a new concept for me. Hmmmm.
1892 Rondure 70"x70"

Pulsed Illumination 37"x37"

Mi Amore - 51"x63"

AQS Mystery - Beyond the Block;
my version (borders added): 'Bordered Beyond the Block'
Reputation/Juried Shows--I followed along with the AQS Mystery Quilt pattern published in the AQS Quilter magazine during the winter months and my version was juried into the AQS Knoxville show. I had two member exhibits accepted for show at the Association of Pacific West Quilter's Show in Tacoma, WA and had two personal quilts (1892 Rondure and Pulsed Illumination--rounds 1 and 2 in the McCall's contest) and a customer quilt (Wisteria Garden by Elaine Shaw) accepted into the MQX-West Show in Portland, OR. MQX was the only show of these three that provided judges comments, so it was good to get those and understand a bit more clearly what they are looking for. It was clear from my visits to each of these shows that the winners spend a great deal of time creating the masterpiece. It is intended as a work of art to hang on a wall. That is a very different way of looking at a quilted piece than making a quilt to snuggle with! ;-)
'Valley Icons' a group quilt made by the WWValley Quilt Guild for their raffle
- drawing to be held Dec. 13, 2012 (tickets still available)
designed and quilted by Marlene Oddie, artwork by Eddie Walker
Many guild members participated in the creation of this quilt.
Accepted into the special 'group' member exhibit at the Pacific West Quilt Show, Tacoma, WA
A photo of the quilt was used in the show program.

Starlight-Flutterbright (pre-crystals applied); designed on request by Highland Quilts, Athena, OR
accepted into the 'Star' special member exhibit at Pacific West Quilt Show, Tacoma, WA

Local shows provide an opportunity for local potential clients to see my work. I was fortunate to have several client quilts hung in local shows this year. One received a 2nd place, People's Choice award. This helps to get the word out about me even being in business and an opportunity for people to see the quality and style of my work. To the right in this photo is a 'Hugs and Kisses' TEST quilt.

'Jinny's Garden' - Jinny Beyer's 2010 BOM, made by Betty Baerg (my mom) for her husband (my dad), quilted by Marlene Oddie (me--her daughter!) We got to work a few days together on this pattern while I worked on my own version and visited them in Arizona this summer. My version didn't get finished in time for the festival, but it is finished now.
Walla Walla Valley Quilt Festival, 2nd place, People's Choice, Large Quilt

T-shirt Quilts - I was able to create a test quilt using shirts my parents provided from their days of working at Monterey Bay Academy located at beach front property on the central coast of California. This was a fun opportunity to set the shirts within a beach scene. I've now made two customer t-shirt quilts. First for a daughter, and then for her mother. Both of them are shown in my FB - T-shirts quilt album. I have a memory quilt using dress shirts sitting in my queue and several others who have expressed interests in having one made. I love the confidence that my clients give me by trusting me with their precious ideas.

Patterns - With the time consumption of the McCall's contest, my time to develop patterns is what was put on hold. I did put what I have written online at, ( now available at Craftsy) and also have them with Pattern Peddlers for wholesale inquiries (NO LONGER). McCall's owns the rights to the contest entered quilts until they are reverted to me and I'm waiting on that news now to proceed with writing up at least 1892 Rondure as well as Mi Amore (but have permission for a special giveaway--keep reading!). I've written 10 patterns so far, the 10th--Hugs and Kisses--is yet to be published but has completed testing and just needs me to do some supplemental writing and illustrations. I also have several new designs I want to write patterns for, so maybe this can be a key focus in year 3 besides my long-arm quilting for clients. I even have a book I ready for that?

Customer Quilts - A new FB photo album was started for year two, 'Customer Quilts v.2'. With a goal of two per week...can I have two weeks vacation? that would mean 100 quilts. Well, I'm excited to share with you that I have worked on
  • 75 quilt tops for customers (several were in local shows, one was accepted at MQX-West); 
  • 4 commissions (2 t-shirts, 2 original designs) --do commissions count for more than 1 ?;-);
  • 5 quilts completely constructed, 8 placemats and 2 postcards for charity; 
  • 5 quilts completely constructed that ultimately ended up in a contest --big time commitment here (how much does that count?); 
  • 8 sample quilts completely constructed and 2 placemats;
  • 6 customer projects that required work beyond quilting;
  • more than 25 pieces of small quilted finished products created to sell at the winery. 
I'm going to say, it was a successful year!

And to top it all off, Sew Many Places, asked if I would be a quilt blogger escort for a group from Seattle, WA to attend the 3+day International Quilt Festival of Ireland as part of an 11 day tour of IRELAND, June 5-15, 2012.WOW! Sooo excited. So jump on board with me if you'd like to go.

All in incredible second year. So, I want to thank you in a special way with something I've seen frequently online--a giveway. This is how this one will work. I've currently got over 50 followers on my blog. Can we double that? Encourage your own friends to check out my blog, and if it is of interest to them, ask them to follow. Post it on your website, FB, Twitter, blog it or any other social media avenue, come back here and for each type of media that you use, post a comment with the link of where you shouted it out (One type of social media and link per comment, only use that type of social media once as a unique comment entry--you're free to shout it as many times as you'd like). Be sure you are a 'follower' of my blog, too. I will need your email address to contact you, so be sure you don't post anonymously. On Sunday night, 11/13/11 at 10pm Pacific time, provided I've got 100 followers by then, I'll take a random number generator and select 11 (I'm posting this on 11/11/11, I just have to go with 11) entries. This is what will be in the prize pot, you're welcome to encourage which one I give you by telling me what appeals to you most in your comment (no guarantees, i.e. I'll draw for a particular item and that will be yours if you are the lucky #, if the prize you asked for is still available--I'll switch it). List any and all in priority order that you'd like to receive) items 1 and 2 are for services or goods that I will provide as part of a quilting arrangement with me; I will cover postage on items 3-7; items 8-10 are electronic files and you'll need EQ7 in order to open them; 10 and 11 include fabric and I will cover the shipping cost):
  1. 1 cent per square inch discount on your next quilt, quilted by me
  2. Warm & Natural batting provided by me on your next quilt (typically half cent/square inch), quilted by me
  3. Elephant's Play pattern.
  4. Zoe pattern.
  5. Will you Accept this Rose? pattern (available from Animas Quilts)
  6. Starlight-Flutterbright pattern, includes 4 pre-printed paper piecing papers
  7. Hugs and Kisses pattern - NEW! <This will make me finish it up!>
  8. Royal Peacock Jewels EQ Project file (personal use only) - initial McCalls entry
  9. 1892 Rondure EQ Project file (personal use only) - McCall's round 1 challenge entry
  10. Cotton Sateen fabric kit to make Mi Amore with EQ Project file (personal use only) - McCall's round 3/FINAL challenge entry. This will not include the Jinny Beyer 6055-04 border print that is available at her website.
  11. 7 half yard cuts of quilter's cotton sateen variegated fabrics.
It gets lighter to the left and darker to the right

Now I need to think about some year-3 goal setting! Thank you for being a part of this journey!



  1. Congratulations on two great years! You have completed so many beautiful quilts and patterns in that time.

  2. WOW, Marlene! You've had a terrific journey! You've accomplished much more in these two years than I am likely to do in a decade. :) I'm so flattered that you like my humble BOMs Away. I use it primarily to motivate myself to work on my backlogged pile, and hopefully to help others prod themselves along, too. And, boy, am I still BUMMED that I can't go to Ireland with you. With 3 in college and an imminent move, there's just no financial way at all. Have enough fun for me, too, and I will be watching to see what folks blog about it!! (And dreaming of them having another one two years later that I CAN go to!)

  3. Hey, I mentioned you and your giveaway on my latest post :)

  4. And I pinned you with info about your blog and giveaway in Pinterest - on my "Quilts - Inspirational Works" board, of course. ;D

  5. And I "shared" your giveaway in Facebook. Did it that way so a picture would be attached. I wish they hadn't taken away the ability to share a link from the Web!

  6. wow, great job, very inspiring! I too have had my long arm for about 2 yrs, never made my customer goal yet though.... but I'm still having fun!

  7. I posted it on FB :-) I already follow your blog

  8. I posted of Facebook & suggested following your blog! :)

  9. What an awesome year! You go girl! Hope you continue to do well and keep creating those beautiful quilt arts!

  10. I posted on my blog about you & your blog! :)

  11. I thought I was already a follower of your blog, but I wasn't! Hmmmm...??
    Oh well - now I AM, which increases your # of followers, too! Yay!


  12. I posted a recommendation to check out and follow your blog on my Twitter account: BrandyLunnMirly


  13. Congrats, and hope year number 3 is even better! I blogged about you here: I do not have EQ7, so IF I won, I'd probably pick the first 2, the elephant pattern or the fabric! Good luck!

  14. Wow Marlene - what wonderful accomplishments over these past 2 years - well done to you - most certainly have some beautiful work and I'm now feeling very inspired! cheers

  15. Congrats on two amazing years. You have done so much in two short years. I am a new follower (#66 to be exact). Hope you hit 100 soon! I blogged about your giveaway today at: I'd love to win the Elephant's Play pattern or the 7 half yard cuts of quilter's cotton sateen variegated fabrics.
    Shahann at yahoo dot com

  16. That's wonderful! Congrats on the 2 years! Hope the 3rd is all that and more! (Just to let you know - that cotton sateen is to die for- where did you get it?)

  17. I've just found you and would like to congratulate you on a very productive 2 years..your work is amazing! The sateen fabric is lovely, but so are all you patterns!

  18. Congratulations on 2 very productive years! Your work is absolutely beautiful, I will definitely be a new follower!

  19. I am happy to make an announcement on your behalf at twitter:!/poppyinpink/status/135754634982719488

  20. I'm now following and I made a post on my blog. You've been busy. Yay on reaching two years.

  21. Congratulations!!
    I'm a new follower, thanks for a great giveaway
    I would suggest 11,6,7 !!

  22. I will be glad to follower you. I to need another follower to make my ninty. Trish

  23. This is Becky and I think my comment go lost ugh! shared you on facebook as you know and and if you didn't see I like your quilts hugs and kisses and would you accept.

  24. I shared on facebook your blog and also joined your blog!! :-)

    Rob Tucker (Loyal voter for Marlene!!)

  25. I would pick # 11. Your almost there.

  26. Marlene you have accomplished amazing things in just 2 yrs! Enjoy the ride!

    I shared on only social media

    Thanks for everything!

  27. Look what you have accomplished in 2 years, your work is beautiful! I hope you make your followers goal. Thanks to Jennifer I came over.

  28. I posted your blog link on Facebook.( Way to complicated you could have just sent me a check.)

  29. Mentioned you on fb..... :) would love to get a penny off per square inch of my someday quilt!!

    Lori Makovsky Martin
    For anyone interested in quilting..... check out my friend Marlene,
    she's pretty amazing.......

  30. Congrats on all you've accomplished the past 2 years. I hope you reach all of your goals & wishes for the next your. :)

  31. Hmmm...15 comments about where they posted it (not all had the link, but I think I figured them out). But we didn't get to 100 followers. Thank you to all who participated. I'm going to sleep on this and may still give something away! Thanks again!

  32. Congratulations on 2 wonderful years!

  33. Congratulations again on your success, Marlene!!!
    I really look forward to seeing what exciting quilty experiences come your way in 2012.....!!!!