Wednesday, December 2, 2015

how does she....

My Publisher C&T posted this question yesterday on FaceBook, and thought I'd answer it here... As it's much longer answer then a Facebook post!
So here it goes...

How do I get it all done?

First, I work fast.
I do not worry about making a "wrong decision."
I work with what ever I have in front of me and I work on it until it works, "for me"
I alway look beyond the first impulse... Usually my first impulse is what I have already done, 
so I ask myself, what can I do now that's different from anything I've done before?  
And I incorporate whatever that is...

How many hours do I work a day?

average 10.5 hours a day.

I work on 10-12 quilts at a time.... every day.
The week before Quilt Market I clocked 80 hours, October was an insane month for me...
60-70 is my norm. (This is my job and my passion)

My average day, starts at 7:30am. When my daughter leaves for school. I work until 6 pm, nearly everyday in my Studio which is one building over from where I live.

I make dinner at 6pm, family time, 
Then I often do hand work in the evenings or computer work until 9pm, 
off to bed. I'm asleep by 10, and up early 6-6:30 with emails, breakfast, family time.

Rarely do I get out to enjoy NYC. I work 7 days a week.

I am 8 months behind on doctor/dentist visits.

I have a Juki long arm in my studio and at my house.
I have 10 JUKI TL2010 Sewing machines,
One,  F600 Juki machine
and one JUKI Virtuoso 2200 sit down machine.

I make about 5-6 Quilt tops a week, 
and work about one year in advance...
With my travel schedule, I have to send many quilts out for long arming. 
My best Friend Shelly Pagliai quilts many, many of my quilts.
I made 17 quilts for Quilt market this year, start to finish in one month. 
 I designed them all, Kim, Laura and I pieced them, I quilted 8 of them, and sent the other 9 out.
I also make magazine quilts, and anything that pops up new on the radar. 
Which happens often  and 80% of this industry happens at the last minute, 
on top of any other work I have scheduled  in the works.

Do I have help?

I have had my business full time since 2008. 

I have had my amazing assistant, Kim, part time, for almost 3 years.
She keeps me organized, packs me for my trips, does inventory
knows how I work, writes my patterns,
She does my computer work, 
helps me cut fabric and binding so I can design and make them, and helps keeps my studio clean.
She's amazing, and I can not do what I do now, without her.

Because she is also an amazing teacher at FIT, I have her about 3-4 days a week.

This summer, since I started doing fabric again, I was in a panic, How will I get it all done?

I do 9 quilts and videos, twice a year  my Sizzix just for Quilt Market Alone.
Another 3-4 for Marcus twice  a year.
I continually make quilts from my own template line to inspire you,
5-7 magazine quilts a year
Then throw in a book worth of quilts, exhibition quilts, commission quilts...

I need more help.

I added Laura in September, a few hours each day,  who does my shipping, cutting kits, cutting fabrics, cleaning studio, and I have hopes of her doing more of my computer work...
My website needs updates, I need all my quilts photographed and logged, contracts, paper work, online orders processed, book keeping etc, all need to be done, because I can't get to everything...

I am thinking I need one more person to do just my office stuff...  
Who is really organized and really good at computers...


My Exhibition quilts,   Show quilts and commission quilts, I piece myself. 
Often I quit those myself also. Unless I have a quilter who can add specifically to the story of my quilt.  (I talk about that in my Double Wedding Ring book)

Kim, Laura and myself both help sew with magazine quilts, & market quilts.
I design all my quilts, hands on, on the design wall. I can not design on paper.

Below is an old photo of my studio walls. At that time 8 quilts were in progress. Usually 10-12 are on the walls at one time.

I am known to cut out, sew and piece a quilt in a day. 
I've done it, more times then I can count on my two hands.  
I work average 10.5 hours a day regularly. Straight through. 

I work to pay my assistants salaries, and I work to pay my rent.
I work to support my mother.
I do not have a salary.

I LOVE what I do.
I LOVE creating.
I LOVE sharing with you.

When I can jump from one project to another, I do NOT loose my connection to my process, 
this helps me continually stay on a creative roll.

I hate deadlines, but I work very well under pressure.

I hate paper work.

I have a TO DO LIST 3 pages long, with everything due by March 1st.

I also have a note pad that says:
All the things I did not get done today.

_____(This is also three pages long)_____

My daily schedule?

Today I,
went to the gym at 7:30am

8:30-4pm my day went like this:

Worked on colors for my next fabric line.
Made sleeves for my two QuiltCon quilts.
Photographed 3 Quilts for pattern packaging.
Cleaned out 150 emails from my email file.
Signed a contract and sent off for up coming Magazine pattern being published.
Sewed my class sample for Saturday-Sunday two day Double wedding ring class.
Unpacked from yesterday's workshop.
Finished my designs for Fall 2016 Sizzix Dies.
Misty-Fused 9 Elves to the rows for a quilt you will see very soon.
Planned fabrics for cutting tomorrow, another Booth Quilt at QuiltCon using Mostly Manor.
(Sorry can't show you yet)
Hand stitched a small block as a tester for an up coming take & teach.
Ordered products to ease my back pain from standing in front of my long arm. 
(cushy pads to stand on)

Slipped out to shower at 4pm, to go meet two friends (RARE!) for dinner before going to 
City Quilter for a Manhattan Quilt Guild meeting....
(where I also purchased $150 worth of fabric for the Double wedding ring KITS for the cruise classes that we need to start cutting tomorrow.
Came home at 8:30 saw Facebook post and spent an hour writing this blog post....
It's now 9:43,
I'm exhausted.
I'm going to bed.

No bon bon eating going on over here...or grass growing between my toes.
This is my job, and my art/passion, not just a hobby. 

Thanks Jane, for asking a good questions!


  1. Wow Victoria, I am exhausted just reading what you get done in a day, so productive. I don't think I would enjoy quilting as much if I didn't bounce between 5-6 quilts on the go at once. Love your work, such an inspiration.

    1. I may try to document a week just for myself to see how much I really do... It never seems like enough to me each day. LOL But yes, it looks exhausting in type! I do love being on the creative journey!

  2. Bravo Victoria!! And I thought I was doing well working on four quilts at once - did I get it wrong.
    You are an inspiration and I am amazed at what you achieve!

    1. It does seem like a lot to do each day, it is, but I do love the fast pace of cruising along getting stuff done. How else will I wide down that list of "Quilts I plan to make one day? " ;-) Gotta move quick! haha!

  3. I agree that you are an inspiration. I think I would do better to also be working on more than two quilts at a time--it does help to break away and come back to projects with new eyes, and doing a bunch of things facilitates that---

    1. Thank you! Not everyone needs 10 quilts in progress, It sure does make me look like I get a lot done when I work on so many at one time... Once one comes down, another goes up, it may have been there a month or more, or less! Depends on when inspiration strikes, or a deadline looms!

  4. That was a good question indeed and a great answer from you, best post I read in a long time. I am saving this so I can reread again and again ... So inspiring, thank you!

    1. Thank you Maryse! You get a lot done yourself! Thank you for your support! I appreciate you and your comments!

  5. Wow and triple WOW! I knew you were talented, but I didn't realise you were bionic as well!! What you achieve in one day would take me a couple of weeks. Kudos to you for finding a system that works well for you and for finding good people to work alongside you and take over the bits you hate or cant waste your time on. Just remember to take some relax time and not burn yourself out. We love seeing the results of what you achieve :)

    1. If I could just make/design quilts and blog, and let all the other stuff be done by others, I'd be thrilled! Paper work can hold me at my computer for a full day, (BLAH) which is when I get fidgety and want go sew, so my blogging has been less... If I can find a better way to balance all the odds and ends, I could be making even more! (the FUN PART!) ;-) Thank you for your comments Helen!

  6. Thanks so much for telling us how you do what you do. I've loved reading it, and I also would love to have the same 'job' as you! And thanks for keeping up with the blog posts amongst all that. :)

    1. It gets hard to keep up on blog posts lately...So i appreciate hearing that! Thank you Karen! I haven't done much videos lately either, as I crawl out fo bed, and don't want to think about putting make up on to do videos... LOL... (who has time for that? I have quilts to make!) But I promise more will be coming soon... I need my helpers to help me do some videos... It's hard dot sew and hold a camera at the same time! hehe!

  7. OMG. This seems nearly super-human. I was breathless and nearly frantic thinking of the pace you have set for yourself. Clearly without the passion for what you do, it wouldn't be possible. That passion is clearly apparent in every quilt you make. It is palpable. I notice you don't mention when you eat. ;-)

    1. LOL, with my staff, I feed them, ( Io often cook for my family and for the studio!) so yes, we do eat! haha! (I'm always hungry so, I can't forget.) ;-)

  8. Well, I could do some of that computer work and writing for you, if you don't mind me telecommuting from Winnipeg! Great to read about your process. I work on many quilts at a time too, but over a longer time. And please take the time to order the mats for your floor -- save your back.

  9. Thanks for answering my question. You are a creative workhorse and an inspiration to all. Glad to hear that you are surrounded by a great support team including your family. We have all learned a lot here. At first, I did feel a little guilty for putting you on the spot but not now. I wish you some Kick back time and some some time for those pesky medical visits. I hope they is a trip to zbali in your future.

    1. Xmas break will provide SOME relax time, But this is the time when I am home, and really cranking out the work! We head to our house on long island, and chill. I'll be making many quilts while I am there... My work load deadlines don't stop for holidays. LOL thanks Jane!

  10. Geez. I wish I lived a wee bit closer. I'd love Kim or Laura's job!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

    1. That made Kim and Laura nervous ..... LOL ;-) They said, NO way! hehe!

  11. I'm tired just reading this post. Get some rest.

  12. No wonder your career is showing such great success. Your energy and creativity is contagious and translates well through the blog. You really get me thinking. This kind of "can do" example breaks through those barriers I see among students from time to time. It is a clear approach to developing each and every person's style.I like that you promote self confidence through coloring outside the lines.

    1. I really enjoy teaching giving people permission to play! ;-) Thank you so much for your kind words!

  13. You are amazing!! And thoroughly deserve all the success you are having. Thank you for that insight - I'm now exhausted! With every best wish for your continued success.

    1. It' been a bit to crazy lately, trying to learn to dial it steps... ;-)

  14. You remind me of the old Benjamin Franklin quote "If you want something done, ask a busy person' you are that for sure!

    1. haha! to funny. Kind of like you and your hand quilting Tim! No one is faster!

  15. I'm exhausted reading this! And you keep smiling through it all! I need to step up my game!

  16. You are an absolute machine! I often wondered what it takes to be a success in the quilting industry - now I know it's a frantic schedule. From the hints other bloggers give and some calculations based on my own productivity I had worked out it must mean long days now I know for sure. In fact I was only thinking about it the other day (triggered by watching Jackie Gering's instagram feed) and I thought of you - 'and what about VFW? - a darn sight more than 15 minutes a day that's for sure" :-) Thanks for giving us an insight into your life.

    1. It all starts with 15 minutes! ;-) allowing your creativity to play, turns 15 minutes into 12 hours...

  17. You are amazing! I think I am going to challenge myself to make at least one quilt top in a day. Thank you for sharing. Can't wait to see what you make next.

  18. Wow! I have 40+ projects in the works but that is because I will be trying to finish something and then "SQUIRREL!" Since I went back to a "real" job full time I am lucky if I have time to even have a squirrel moment so I'm trying to be diligent and finish all of my already started projects.

    I'm amazed that you can get so much done! I'd never be able to do what you do, but I'm very glad you do what you do! You are an inspiration!

  19. Wow! Thanks for taking time and the end of a busy day to share with us! I am always inspired by your projects and use of color, pushes me for sure out of my comfort zone. Looking forward to I got in your class but then a new little grand decided to arrive that week 400 miles away. Still hanging on to my spot....we'll see!

  20. Your personality is in every quilt and that is why we love your designs. Thanks for sharing what a day is like in your world. I appreciate your hard work. Not only is this what you do but what you love. Looking forward to many more quilts.

  21. Thankyou so much for being so honest and open with your answer. I am just starting to work to turn this hobby into a business and already I'm drowning in my "must do" list.... if anything I am relieved to know that this is normal and even rock stars like yourself juggle this every day!

  22. It is certainly a full time job and then more, I am glad you have some assistance. Your work is inspiring and your classes are so fun, you provide a great contribution to quilting everywhere, but it sure sounds tiring too.

  23. Well you certainly put the rest of us to shame! I need an assistant!

  24. Fantastic post. You are just wonderful and so open thank you for sharing you are an inspiration.


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