I’m a quilter. And by that I love to free motion machine quilt. On and off I’ve had to work through the equivalent of writers block. I just. couldn’t. quilt. Those moments were tough but often led to something that would pleasantly surprise me. Whew.
Would it surprise you that, while I’ve been quilting on and off over the last few years, I haven’t really done anything original, inspired, intentional for a long time. I’ve dabbled. Made a few small pieces. I’ve looked wistfully at the pile of quilts in need of time, attention, and breath.
he last few years the need-to-dos have taken, necessary, priority over the gee-I-get-to-dos producing a level of fatigue not previously experienced.
I can assure you this has not been the most pleasant experience. Quilting is something akin to breathing. An exchange of oxygen, and carbon dioxide that gives life, helps clear the thoughts, work out whatever is going on in daily life. The need to do list has not changed, however the stress that built up from the need-to-do’s, has started to recede. I’m beginning to breathe deeply.
Overall quilt market was good, there’s still follow up to do. There were a few very difficult moments. Long about late Wednesday afternoon I stopped what I was doing, headed up to the sewing room and started the Cherrywood challenge. Cut, stitch. Cut, stitch. Cut, stitch. Rinse, repeat until this piece said, “I’m complete.” I’ve added a border bigger than currently needed because I have a habit of quilting densely and shrinking a quilt.
Well then this happened. A while back I had a give away on a post offering to quilt a small piece for one of the folks who commented. I knew it would take a little while and let the winner know that as finishing a quilt or two and getting ready for Market were the higher priorities. The winner said she likes red, so red Oakshott it is. Teeny tiny stitching makes me happy, so teeny tiny stitching all over this eight inch square quilt that needs trimming, facing, signing and sending.
The back is as pretty as the front. This is making me think that trimming it up, and running a tight satin stitch along the edge might be a better plan.
As I’ve quilting a friend has repeatedly said, “the dam is broken!”, creativity has free reign. And these two pieces are evidence that the water is flowing, I’m breathing the air. My heart is full, and there are plans afoot for a couple of other projects.
Imagination. So the other day I captured an intimate moment between a dog and a pig. I did try to turn away politely, not staring but it was so sweet that I had to capture the moment. The dog and the pig kissing was suggested by Kelly Ann, the fun-sized owner of Kelly Ann’s Quilting in Warrenton, VA. Thanks Kelly Ann!
Do you have a bucket list for your ideal sewing space? Do you have a size of space that would make the sewing space functional and consequently give you the space to do the creative things you want to do in quilt making? I do, and am taking a couple of moments to share with you part of that.
So, let’s talk size and color for a moment. The size of the room is good, though I’d love to ditch the closet in there for a little bit more space. Color oh gosh I just came up with a better plan the other day that would freak my husband out: 3 walls pumpkin orange and one wall (window wall because of the size) a deep autumny purple. Oh my goodness I’m smiling just thinking about it. I love pumpkin orange and having that contrast color would be simply amazing, making the room feel warm and rich. I’m not in need of a power wall in every room I just love the idea of the colors working together like this. Actually it’d be 2 walls pumpkin orange, one wall I want half chalkboard paint/half cork board.
Debby has been sharing this chair for-Ever! And it looks so comfy, with lots of great options to help with the ergonomics of sitting at the machine for hours as we stitch into that amazing creative space we are all aiming for. You know that space, where someone can walk into a room and we’ll never know that they’re there because we are just quilting? That’s the kind of space a good, comfortable chair helps you get into. And besides, it’s aesthetically pleasing!
I’ve wanted a Tracey’s Table since the first time I saw one. The fact that the top of the table can tilt towards me is such a great asset, and will help visualize the quilt as I’m stitching. This will also help the shoulders relax, and that is key. The only issue as I see it, is that the wine glass might slip off the table. I’m pretty sure I can solve that one though.
I already have the perfect shelving unit from Ikea, check out my post.
I read “Compared to. . .” by Seth Godin and said, “there’s a quilt related blog if I’ve ever read one.” More than likely there were different words and it’s barely 6 AM here, and I’m just taking my very first sips of my morning Joe I seek your indulgence for a few moments.
Comparison is, as a human being, rather natural. A mom of a toddler aged boy shared the story of her boy and another same aged boy comparing anatomical differences at 3. Comparisons start early in life, and probably continue through until our days of dwelling in the local bone orchard. There are places where comparing is good, comparing thread is good. I like comparing thread. There are quilters who do not agree with my thread choices and that’s okay. I know why prefer the threads I prefer. Because I’ve compared them, on the machines I use and they work. And the threads I don’t prefer, some people do prefer them. Because they’ve compared them, on their machines and they work, for them.
Comparing thread, machines, needles, rulers, cutting mats, storage ideas is great. These are useful TOOLS. They are inanimate objects where some comparison is necessary. In the quilt world this comparison has something of a subjective air about it, and it’s important that it does, as what we are doing is highly personal. I like my current cutting mats and have been eyeing another brand but seriously do not want to invest money in a new cutting mat right now so there will be no cutting mat comparisons anytime soon. Though I want to compare them. And Rulers. I’ve been flirting with new rulers for a long time. Again, the investment for comparison is higher than I’d like at the moment, so no comparison there. I have compared seam rippers and know my preferred brands. Yes, brands.
In an effort to find a particular blog post I found “I figure I’m about 1/2 way there” and had an idea for a quilt at the same time. And in my mind flashed a quilt I’ve been working on and why it’s working. And “You are enough” is whispered in my ear.
The thing about comparing is learning to know what to compare and when to compare it. Remember too, that Masters were once Novices. A novice comparing themselves to a Master is a good thing only when they are looking for the places to improve their own skill, looking for the right questions to ask, seeking direction. A Master will not compare their work to a Novices, they will be reminded of the learning curve, how hard things were at one time, and how they learned along the way. The Master will offer insight and encourage.
There is a further level to this, if we want to acknowledge clear differences between our work and a Master’s work, that’s fine. This is an appreciation of hard work, and skill, that is not in any way to diminish our own work. Acknowledging someone’s hard work, and effort, that’s good. Saying our work is crap because it doesn’t meet the skill level we see, eh, not so much. Wanna compare time invested in developing said skill? Great! I’m all for it. Time invested is objective, not subjective.
The quilting I did 6 years ago is very different from the quilting I do now. I can compare my work and appreciate how different the quilting is now. I can see growth and changes. I can see the quilting taking a direction.
Where were you 5 years ago?
How has your quilting changed?
Is there anything that surprises you?
What’s the most significant change?
Write yourself a note to take stock of your work and see how it’s changed.
And give yourself the reminder that comparisons belong to the things we use, not our person.
Sometimes gifts come in fun and beautiful ways. Debby Brown, friend, quilter, quilting teacher and Handi Quilter Educator. Debby is a quilting bestie, offering encouragement, sage advice and good honest opinions when asked. A darned fined quilter, indeed. I do admire Debby.
The other day Debby and I were chatting and she asked if the mail arrived. It had not. Yesterday she asked again, and my husband handed me a box. Inside a little gift, a tiramisu, a little pick me up of sorts: an adorable fat-eighth, a sparkly pen that will stay with my planner (which I love by the way. Deco-Bob thread (I’ve been wanting to try this one), Wonderfil Tutto (a nod to the article I have in the current issue of Generation Q Magazine). Did you notice that the Tutto is orange? She knows that orange is one of my very favorite colors!
Did you notice that the colors on the front of this issue are purple and orange? Oh my goodness! I totally have to thank Lisa Lauch, our Creative Director, for that. Though I don’t think she really knows that purple and orange are my faves!!
chuao chocolate – mmm chocolate and lip balm, who doesn’t need a good lip balm every now and again. And the sweetest bit: a Longaberger basket. I love Longaberger baskets and I have several around the house that once belonged to Joy. I’d own a few more, they are spendy and worth every, single, hand-crafted inch of their spendiness.
This little pick me up has a purpose and it is received with the joy in which it was intended.
Thanks so much Debby.
The photo is from my instagram account while shoveling the snow yesterday.
Yesterday was a snow day as my boss made the decision that the roads were too bad to travel. I spent the day writing for my book and shoveling on and off. The muscles in my upper body let me know, with no uncertainty that they did not like this exercise in futility. My sweetie and my sister appreciated my effort making the whole thing worth it. Spending the day writing and catching up with a few people in a very meaningful way.
In chatting with one quilter about something she’s doing in her business I got silly excited by the color and because she’s so excited about where this is going.
In chatting with the next quilter I got some good feedback on a descriptive analogy I wrote. She reminded me to add something, making it all the better.
The third quilter, for the umpteenth time gave me a word to hold on to. It’s fascinating that in a myriad of words that this one stands out. It does and I added it to my list of ideas for the front cover. And it’s something to give consideration to as I write, including the idea/concept in the body of the work. The word resonates that much.
The fourth quilter started sending text messages with pictures, emailing and reminders of something so important. Something I don’t always see because of the limited interaction I have with my students. The timing on this conversation could not have been better.
Next Monday I’m participating in a blog hop for a book by Julie Booth. I love doing book reviews.
Waking up early has it’s benefits. I’m sitting at my dining room table sipping coffee, looking out my kitchen window and watching a beautiful sunrise creep up over the trees and telephone wires. The winter colors are much more subtle than summer but beautiful and inspiring none the less. Color ranging from a light to mid gray into peach and orange against the black of the trees. Sigh. This is why I love sunrise and sunset. It’s full of color that makes me happy. While I would have preferred to sleep this morning enjoying coffee and the sunrise bring a smile to my face and get me thinking about quilting.
I have magnetic words on my fridge. Have for years. Every once in a while I notice them and rearrange them. As I did so this morning the thought came to mind that I’d like to get a magnetic board for the quilt room and have words on there to rearrange an play with. That’s a some day, down the road kind of want.
The image on the left is the current arrangement of some of the inspiring words. The image on the right is more editorial type words from some company. I find it rather amusing that these words fit one component of my quilting life that I just love: content, branding, style, words, print, copy, proposal, create. I can tell you this I love Melissa and Jake and every editor I’ve worked with over the last few years. So much so that I personally declare Tuesday December 16 National Publisher and Editor Day. If you’re a writer of any sort send your publisher and editor a Thank you note, in a text, an email, hand written, on their facebook wall.
As we get closer to the end of 2014 I would like to take this opportunity to
for reading TerfiCreations.
I am grateful that you stop by and read the words I write. Thank you for coming along on this Journey of quilt making.