well I guess I never decided on a 2016 word, or just kept the one from 2015: Journey. Something about keeping the same word seems full of continuity however, I’ve been looking for my word all year, not really finding it. In a sense I’ve felt a little lost somewhat like Sam and Frodo trying to get to Mount Doom, wandering in circles in need of a direction. In a way keeping the same word feels a little lazy as though I wasn’t taking the time to reflect on my own quilt journey and discover some new avenue to wander, and explore. Or a super highway to take me further down the road at a much quicker pace. Journey seems a safe place to stay, comfortable and secure, familiar and fresh. 2016 is quickly drawing to a close and here I sit, at midnight reflecting on this year.
I started keeping a journal when I was 12, maybe 13. Blogging has, in some way, taken the place of journaling. I daresay though, these are two different things. Journaling is intensely personal, something soul searching. Over the last few weeks as I’ve tidied up my studio several blank books surfaced, and I’ve purchased a couple of fountain pens and a book with creative writing prompts. In a way Journey will continue to be a word that lives with me as a word of the year, one that is distinctly personal.
After having zero time and energy to quilt for nearly a year I’m grateful for the last few weeks having time to quilt, and reconnect with the creative life I live. To say I am feeling a little bit like spring in this late autumn/early winter, gloomy over cast, glad that it’s not snowing, time of year.
The other day in a “this is the piece I have to work on immediately” moment I started stitching on this again. Searching for it did prompt some why on earth did I ever tidy my room thinking. Finding it brought great joy and an ever deepening sense of urgency to complete the piece. Hopefully I’ll get it done in the self-imposed deadline.
So back to my word of the year…Journey still fits. For next year though another one seems to be whispering to me. A little closer to the new calendar year and a little more listening will confirm next year’s word, so expect another blog post or two on this. Do you know your word for 2017?
And there will be another post with the name of this quilt, early next week.
Cheryl Sleboda at Muppin is hosting a 31 day blogging challenge. I’ll be adding her and a host of others to my blogroll (on the left column of the page). I gave serious consideration to participating in the challenge, however since I write for 3 different blogs I’d be writing full time and I have some other stuff that needs to happen. At the bottom of the post you can see the other bloggers – quilters, quilt shop owners, and just fun people who are participating in the challenge.
Rabbit holes are often fun, providing entertainment and enjoyment. Every now and again I’ll read a blog, check out their links, read that block, check out their links, rinse, and repeat. While facebook and instagram are appetizers and I enjoy a good appetizer, blogs are dinner offering much more substance than is offered on other social media outlets. Yes, they take a little bit more time, but in the end we get to know the person a little more deeply. Over the course of the challenge I’ll post links to the bloggers participating in the challenge because they’re pretty amazing.
With a warning like that on the box, diving in made perfect sense.
Allow me to back up a little bit here. Kimberly Moos of Cotton Cuts asked if I would be willing to review the Cotton Cuts subscription box. While reviewing books and product for Generation Q Magazine is something that happens frequently, it’s not often that I get asked for my personal website/blog.
As you know things quilt related are my work. I try my best to do them well. Quilting, teaching, writing, reviewing, supporting quilters in their journey it’s all a part of it. Working well is a way that we express our dignity, our respect for others, and for our very self. Our work is very much part of who we are, our identity. When we have the opportunity to do work that is meaningful, that helps support our families, and brings us great joy there is something beautiful in this. The mission statement of Cotton Cuts is:
Cotton Cuts is on a mission to create jobs. We have partnered with a local workshop that provides dignified employment opportunities to the intellectually challenged and to those with other disabilities. Every Cotton Cuts membership that you purchase contributes toward enriching the lives of these very talented individuals.
Yes! Yes! Yes! This isn’t simply a feel good thing. If I wanted the feels there are other ways of achieving it. This goes deeper, this goes to the person. This goes towards recognizing the inherent dignity of the person, and the gift of the person. This goes to supporting their dignity as individuals. This company is about more than fabric.
The box is just the right size, and it’s purple, which is one of my favorite colors. While it’s not a reason to get the box it’s a bonus for me. The box is a good size to store fat quarters or other quilty supplies that we bring with us when going to a class or traveling from here to there.
The box comes with quilt block suggestions and simple, clear directions. On the back of the card is a diagram that might be colored in, or used as a layout for the block on the front. These might be collected like recipe cards we keep and use for special times throughout the year. The zipper pull says, “I heart quilting”, why yes I do, and there’s an upcoming project I may use this for.
And then there’s the Designer Spotlight, a lovely way to get to know a new to us designer. On the front is a bio, on the back a coupon code for a pattern by the featured designer. In this November box we meet Rochelle Martin of Cottage Quilt Designs in Michigan.
The fabric comes wrapped in a ribbon. It’s a gift wrapped up in a bow. This attention to details makes getting the box in the mail so much fun.
Now before sending fabric out to you they ask a few questions about your color, and fabric preferences, and whether you’d prefer fat quarters or fat eights. I do love the fabrics included in the November bundle. Cotton Cuts is a great way to build a stash, learn about your own fabric preferences, and have a lot of fun. And yes, use the fabric. Several of these will work in a quilt I’m already making. Head on over to the Cotton Cuts website and peruse around a bit, order a box (the holidays are coming!), try them out. With that said, I’m off with these newly acquired fat quarters to get some stitching in on this rainy day.
This might sound a little overly dramatic and it’s intended to be because drama can be so very much fun. I shopped on Small Business Saturday #smallbusinesssaturday for the fun of it. I don’t need fabric, but I love it so what the heck.
Shop 2: Colchester Mill Fabrics – Colchester, CT for my local peeps this is a small version of Hartsdale Fabrics with some fashion fabric, home dec fabric, yarn, quilt fabric. Friendly staff, and sewing machine repair. They do have crafty stuff including chalkboard paper. I need this! (Melissa when you read this I have an idea to bounce off you for the magazine) Wandering around a shop to listen to what speaks to my soul is fascinating. While I didn’t get any Christmas fabric the rounder of red and silver/gray caught my attention. There is something nostalgic about the color scheme, like a childhood memory of the silver tinsel tree in the corner of the living room decorated with chains of red and green construction paper, and cranberry and popcorn.The fabric was tempting however, when I revisited the rounder, not so much.
The solids and batiks are situated near each other. I seriously contemplated a few American Made Brand – but couldn’t remember what I had at home so left those. The batiks though, that’s a different story entirely. So I’m getting fabric cut and one of the ladies asks what I’m going to do with the fabric. . .shoulders shrug, hands lift up and the question is asked, “I have to do something with it?” Which had the desired effect of a laugh. I offered the gal who asked, and her friend a quarter yard of the fabric if they purchased something. You can take the woman out of the quilt shop staff, but she’ll always enable customers, quilters any chance she gets because it’s fun.
I did answer the question a little more directly, I might hang the batik on the right above on the wall because I love it so much. It’s inspiring, it simply makes me happy. Right now I have some fabric samples by Valori Wells on my wall, three different colorways. By hanging it I get to enjoy it and figure out what, if anything I might do with it down the road. This suggestion gave the gal behind the counter some ideas for the white, bare walls of her sons apartment. Just a little something to add some fun and color.
The light batiks from Hoffman simply spoke to this quilters heart. With my back to basics trend in piecing right now my gut tells me these may be involved in a couple of quilt remakes. I’ve been wanting to remake a favorite quilt for our bed and I’m not one to make the quilt exactly like the first time around. Even doing step outs is kind of challenging for me.
I visited this place years ago and they’ve painted and refreshed the place. The walls are white giving the fabric pride of place, there are good samples around. Staff, warm, friendly and helpful. Lots of quilt samples around and some fun stuff overall. Some coming in on their day off to shop for their own quilts.
Meeting facebook friends is always fun! Christie is sweet, enthusiastic and her shop is simply adorable! As of last week she is now a BERNINA dealer. Christie really loves her local fabric designers: Jennifer Paganelli, Kate Spain, and Denyse Schmidt showing their current fabric lines with great enthusiasm. Both Kate and Denyse teach in the shop. There are also classes for kids.
I picked up some Kona solids and these beautiful fabrics from Jennifer and Denyse.
Christie had a small tote with a few things inside for her first 20 customers. I was one of the 20 so check this out! There’s a mug inside as well.
Here’s a better shot of all of the fabrics from Christie’s shop. I love the fabrics, her enthusiasm. Christie carries the hardware for bags and totes. I was able to pick up some d-rings to make either a couple of totes or key rings. Not sure which yet, but oh the possibilities.
So as I build my stash and share it with you. The possibilities are endless. That’s the fun part of building a stash – the possibilities. Oh I long to say something beautiful and encouraging about growing as quilters. But I think I’ll say simply, whatever you do…have fun. Quilting doesn’t need to produce a lot of angst. But it does. As I’m beginning to quilt again and I mean really quilt I feel the anxiety of what putting these quilts out into the world will be met with. The work is interesting to me again and I long for it to be interesting on a grander scale. I will have one piece ready for next week that I’ll probably be binding it on the plane to Chicago, as I do, because the last minute is always the perfect deadline.
Oh my goodness there is always a good time to tidy. Don’t you always find that it’s right in the middle of doing something else? Like 9 patches. I’ve been cutting up all these 9 patches, and the urge hit. No, no wait, no that’s not it. Not the urge. No. The necessity of it all hit me like a whole bunch of empty bobbins. Oh! The possibilities of a tidy (ha!) space. Or at least one that I can move around in a little bit better.
I found all of these bobbins in a punched metal basket. I love the basket but, like several others it’s not currently serving a good function so it’s going into the closet for a while. Along with a wide variety of books and magazines that I’m not quite willing to part with yet. This is giving me a whole shelf to store things like batting. Though my gut says the batting will end up somewhere else and the the quilts in progress will end up on that shelf.
In the cleaning I located a quilt I’d thought was long gone. The quilt went with me to be basted on a friend’s long arm, however the batting for said quilt was left at home. The quilt went back into the sewing room in the tote it left in. At some point in a tidy up it was placed on the bottom shelf where it would be, ahem, remembered.
After a little bit of tidying I stop and stitch or cut 9 patches. In the background I’m playing with C&T’s Kraftex I’m practicing for something down the road and am having a lot of fun. And as I’m writing this I know what I’m going to do and I need to get busy doing and writing. This will be so much fun! I have a pattern to write, a test drive, two interviews and quilts I want to make. The creativity is coming alive.
Starting with gratitude this morning. I’m grateful for batiks. (If you follow me on Instagram this, and all the photos in this post, may look familiar.) These one and a half inch strips are being stitched to orange and purple solid to create 9 patches, that may be set on point, though I’m not quite set on that yet.
With the exception of making the quilt for the Yvonne Porcella exhibit, this is the first quilt I’ve made in a really long time. Not quilting has been very hard on this quilter. Not having time and energy to be creative, to do the thing I love the most while promoting quilting and encouraging others…well that part has helped. I love quilting. I love writing about quilting, I love encouraging others to quilt, so my creative energy has had something of an outlet, not quite the one that feeds the quilterly energy and focus.
Each stitch is made with intention. The feel of the fabric in my hands, the sound of the machine running, the stacking of the strips behind the needle. This is an experience that is renewing, refreshing, invigorating. Because of the lack of time to stitch over the last year or so I’ve experienced these moments of complete loss. Wanting very much to go spend some time in my studio but not having any energy to quilt, not knowing what to stitch, not having any clue how to move forward. Part of these moments of complete loss have included the whispers that perhaps I should sell off all of my quilting supplies and leave quilting as “this was once part of my life and is now not part of my life.” Yep. I’ve been there.
My sweetie has firmly said, “No, you’re not giving up quilting.” The conversation is always way more intense, involving tears, and angst, and anxiety. I’m grateful for his patience as I’ve moved through all of this stuff. Much more than a lack of time contributed to this awfulness. It involved people whom I once respected, people whom I loved, and people whom I love deeply. Several things have sustained me – teaching people how to use their machines, helping quilters choose their own fabrics, new friendships, the moon, and the light at the end of the tunnel. Even now that light is at the end of the tunnel, while I’m not sure how close I am to exiting, I know deep down in my bones that the light is there, that I’m moving towards it and this movement is good.
I’m reminded as I stitch that a little care goes a long way. Slowing down, being mindful, caring about what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. When I race the machine (for me about 3/4 full speed) the strips aren’t as accurately pieced as I prefer. Right now I’m moving forward because of the great joy I’m experiencing while stitching. Sometimes the simpler things bring us back to, closer to a sense wholeness.
As I look at how this quilt is coming together, as I write these words, and get ready to write and post things for Generation Q Magazine I am reminded that the gift of quilting in my life extends far beyond my sewing studio. You are part of my quilting life. If I’m having a difficult time I’m sure some of you are as well. If I’m doing well, then some of you are as well. I’m reminded of how we, as a community sustain each other.
So, I’m off to write and stitch and be the quilter I’m intended to be!
If you have a moment check out the most recent issue of Stashed!
That so much time passed since my last post. Sheesh. The last few weeks have been very intense personally. With the City Quilter closing, needing to look for work, and longing to be creative. The last few days I’ve had the opportunity to begin a new quilt.
I’m enjoying spending time in the sewing room, getting to know my stash again. Seeing what’s there and the potential.
All I can tell you right now is that I’m making 3″ nine-patches. I may add some purple, we’ll see as the stitching goes along. I’m not sure yet of the finished size of the quilt, but there’s a good deal of fabric sitting there and some creativity on my part.