On having “the talk”

tiara silkFirst up: it’s Thankful Thursday! Time to thank a quilter who’s made a difference in your life. Today’s gratitude goes to: Melissa Thompson Maher, C0-Founder, and Editor-in-Chief of Generation Q Magazine. Melissa has a long history in the publishing world, she sees trends happening, has the skill of making a writer sound more like the writer, is a fab mentor, and has one of the kindest hearts I’ve ever met. I am privileged to work with her.
I’m heading to Houston for  Quilt Market this morning and will have breakfast with Melissa tomorrow morning. While I enjoy seeing everything at Market, I’m giddy that Iget that time alone with her. Tomorrow afternoon Generation Q Magazine has a Schoolhouse Presentation with Sizzix at 3:10.

If you’ve ever taken a class, or purchased a sewing machine from me, it’s entirely possible we’ve had “the talk”:

You are a smart, intelligent woman, and you’ve got this.

I’m specifically referring to skills and techniques in quilt making or teaching people to use their sewing machines however, this applies to life in general. I tend to take the approach that if I can do whatever this technique is, that anyone can do it. So often the talk is accompanied by an experiential story such as how I learned how to be careful using my rotary cutter, and rulers. Let’s just say that no stitches were involved, and I’m still quilting, and I’m very careful when I cut.

Sometimes I tell the story of making “When Alex and Jinny met in NY, Beauty Happened” and I kept cutting the wrong piece of fabric. I can see myself sitting at the sewing machine, the smaller mat, a ruler, and a rotary cutter next to me. I can feel the frustration as I cut that wrong piece yet again. I remember walking out of my sewing room vowing to sell every piece of fabric that I owned at a serious discount. That was over ten years ago. And now I’ll teach paper piecing.

new york beauty

Quilt making, teaching quilt making, sewing, garment construction and teaching garment making are skill sets that are acquired over time. Each skill improves over time. We all start out trying to cut correctly, and piece correctly, and then quilt correctly. A funny thing happens when we begin to see “mistakes” as an opportunity to cultivate a desired skill set. When we stop, take a look at what’s happening, perhaps ask someone, or several someones some questions, think through the answers and get stitching.

Now you’ll probably note that when I answer questions I can be a bit, mmmm indirect. If a question is about technique, I’m more likely to be direct, and give clear information. When a question is about the artistry I’m more likely to start asking you questions, to get information from you to help you see, that like Dorothy, you have the answer but just need some help getting there.

And there are moments when I give myself the talk, when doubt creeps in. When I’m trying to finish a quilt and I just see every.single.mistake. that is being stitched into that quilt. Or when I’m teaching and a student is struggling and I’m having a hard time figuring out what to say or do to help them understand whatever I’m trying to teach.

On this Thankful Thursday, as I depart for Quilt Market I thank you for being part of my quilty world. You’re helping form me into the quilter I long to be. If you’re so inclined, thank a quilter for helping form you in the quilter you long to be.

Happy Quilting!


Quilt Market: a personal report

Quilt Basket owners Cathy and Sarah with Debby Brown sharing their Cutie Patterns. Check those out here: http://www.quiltbasket.com/c-123-Cuties.aspx

I love going to Quilt Market. There isn’t quite the buzz of Quilt Festival or one of the other larger quilt shows, however on Saturday afternoon I heard it. That buzz we all listen for at a quilt show. That level of quilter talk that just says, yes, this is it, this is happening, life is good, and we’re quite quilters and thrilled to be here. Slight difference: we’re either looking at lines for the next several months, notions that catch our attention, new sewing related furniture with which to display our sewing machines to their best advantage and make them useful in an easier on the shoulders kind of way.

I love being with my Generation Q Magazine peeps. I love the blur and exhausted happiness that comes from several days of hard work. I love that I get to share the fun of this magazine with amazing people in this industry. I love stopping in aisle to visit with friends and make new ones. I love the support and encouragement we are to one another.

Mandy Leins talking about her book Wanderlust Quilts. I wish her presentation was longer. She packed a lot into her schoolhouse.

I love meeting new-to-me teachers and getting to know their style. Listening to authors share the story of their books and how shop owners and other teachers can use the information in their own shop. (I’m listening closely here!) I love seeing quilt shop owners carefully and thoughtfully deciding what fabrics will adorn their shelves to inspire and encourage us as quilt makers.

Kathy Doughty’s husband John videoing her presentation

I love talking with vendors about how their time is going. This often gives some insight into our industry as a whole.

I love helping to make connections and this Market was particularly special in that regard.

I managed to see Kathy Doughty of Material Obsession talk about her new line of fabrics with Free Spirit. I’ve loved the quilts coming from Australia for the last few years. The use of prints is simply inspiring to me and have me jonesing to make a quilt in that manner. I didn’t get to spend the time I would have liked with her however…there will be another opportunity.

Kathy showing her new line.

I got to see Debby Brown too and found her “twin” in the Brewer Booth. Oh did I ever. Ann Bates is funny. Getting Debby, Ann, and Melissa K (GenQ Ad Sales Manager) together would be a hoot! I’m thinking like the time I was with Melanie and Elizabeth where we were laughing so hard the people at the next table were glaring at us kind of fun.

And a book update…it’s still in process. We’re looking at a Quilt Market 2017 release. It is a year later than intended but I’ve learned a lot in the last several months, including getting some clarification on some big things with the book, step outs and images. Hang with me friends…this exemplifies my word of the year, Journey, like everything else that has been worthwhile in my life.

Happy Quilting!


Generation Q Magazine

GenQ Sept Oct 2015 CoverJake Finch, Melissa Thompson Maher, Scott Hansen, Tracy Mooney, Bev Mabry, Debi Knight, Jamie Mueller, Melissa Kanovsky and me. Okay, let’s not forget our printer. Not to mention the quilters who submit projects or write articles,  and staff who have left their mark on who we are.

Every two months this group of slightly snarky (but never mean) crew puts together a magazine complete with patters, fabric lines, an adult beverage recipe, and timely/timeless articles. Let’s not forget our Nosy Poll where our readers and friends voice their opinions. We’re more of a quilting life-style magazine, recognizing that quilters live a whole life and quilting is incorporated into said life.

Our staff spans the entire width of the country from NY to CA, living in every timezone. All four of them Easter, Central, Mountain and Pacific. Weekly meetings are a must and often individual meetings one on one with Jake or Melissa. Most of us have at least one other job, or a couple of part-time jobs. And yet, somehow, with all of this going on we manage to build each issue, piece by piece, coming together, sometimes at the last minute…off to the printer and out into the world.

In-between issues there is blog content that leads back to the issue, offers newsy bits, book reviews and challenges. We’re always looking for trends, searching for quilterly modern/contemporary quilt patterns. It is amazing to me that the whole magazine comes together with our various locations and crazy work schedules.

It is also amazing that we do this without a big publishing house behind us. We are one of a few, if not the only INDEPENDENT quilt related magazine in the quilting industry. That’s right. We are independent. Our “salaries” are not paid by a parent corporation. Generation Q Magazine (subscription page) is very much like your local quilt shop. Quirky and independent, filled with great content and generous people. I like being independent, it gives us a level of freedom to be who we are and bring you great content. If you’re interested in advertising with us contact Jamie jamie@generationqmagazine.com or Melissa K melissa.k@generationqmagazine.com. The most basic ad (business card size) is $150. Jamie and Melissa can give you all of the details.

We’re getting ready to go to Quilt Market, the November/December issue will be available at Market. I’ll do the big cover reveal while we’re at Market. My backpack will be full of issues, subscription information for shops, and ad information. Hope to see you there!

Quilt. Sew. Live. Breathe.


It’s hard to know what to write

jake laughs again
Jake Finch laughs

I can’t quite tell you how much I enjoy working with Jake, Melissa and the Gen Q crew. It’s a gift that I can’t quite describe. There were so many wonderful moments with the crew – though some key people were not able to come this time around. Tracy I hope you’re feeling better and Scott, next time dear, next time.

Spring Market gave me a different perspective on the industry; Fall Market solidified that perspective. Quilt Market is hard work. There is no way to get around it. In spite of being tired from prep and booth set up all of the vendors are just simply delightful.

Quilty people are amazing. Totally amazing. And they’re people. We ALL have our likes and dislikes when it comes to quilting and quilting people. We have natural affinities and that’s fine. One of the coolest things is that most people try really hard to get along and play nicely in the quilting world.

Quilty people are talented. We’ve known that for sure, but there’s something about Market that really brings that out.
Quilty people want to nurture other quilty people. We want to see them grow and find their way in the quilting world.
Quilty people are enthusiastic about what they do. The buzz on the floor is energizing.
Quilty people work HARD! Oh my goodness do they ever work hard.

And I’m saying quilty people because there are so many who go into driving this industry. Women and Men who work hard to bring us new products, step outside their comfort zone and open themselves to criticism and great joy. Women and Men who have a creative side, thinking inside and outside the box bringing us new technology, fabric, patterns and tools to make our quilting life easier.

Weirdly enough I’m kinda shy (I know, I know I don’t Look shy) about giving my business card to people and that’s a habit that will change! It’s not solely about me putting myself out there it’s about how I can help them. One of the funniest things that I thought during this trip, talk to me if you want to alert the media because . . . I’m part of the media as evidenced by the media ribbon attached to my badge that got me about everywhere. With that comes a responsibility to LOOK and SEE and actively observe. It also brings responsibility to be patient and gather info before telling the story of what I see. Because while a picture has 1000 words I often wonder which are the right words for that picture.

Quantum Leap for blog

There’s always more. More to see and hear and experience before telling the story.
The Quilt Market Story is gratitude and generosity, by far.

There will be more on the Gen Q blog soon!

Happy Quilting!



A deeper sense of Gratitude

Quantum Leap for blog
Quantum Leap photo by Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero

Here I am at Quilt Market, the trade show for the industry. This is where all of the new and trendy stuff just is. I’ve been posting pics of facebook for both Generation Q Magazine and myself. To say that I am having fun would be an understatement. To say that I’m working hard would be an understatement. My feet ache, my arms are sore and my mind is swimming and my heart full.

badge with author ribbon
Here’s the big news

While today is the final day of Market there are moments of generosity that took my breath away and moved me to tears. Yep, tears.
it’s hard to say thank you for a gift of art from a cancer survivor
the gift of joy from another cancer survivor
the gift of generosity and kindness and concern for how others are treated
the generosity of teachers and shop owners and vendors.

the “welcome to the family!” from an unexpected source and

the joy of explaining “Days for Girls” As soon as I have the time, I’ll write more about this and how GenQ  is organizing an event to help out this organization,

I finished Quantum Leap. Barely. Just in time for Jeanie to be able to hang it in her booth. It’ll come back to me eventually so that I can bind it again and for a little tweaking. Overall I love this quilt. We had our moments let me tell you.

And for my big news.

I am going to write a book.
Yep. I know a few of you have guessed this. I was waiting to share this wee bit of news for a  bit longer but when Roxane Cerda said, “hey go get your author ribbon at the C&T booth” I realized that this is time to just admit it and get down to the business of writing.

I am so stinkin’ excited. This is with the company that I have always wanted to pitch and work with. There are a lot of great companies out there that would be fabulous to work with but this, this is the dream. There may be gaps in the blogging and I know you’ll understand. There will definitely be gaps in what I can share of the work I’m doing. I’m not the first quilt blogger turned book author and won’t be the last.

Happy Quilting!


quilting! quilting!

I’m on a mad dash to get 2 quilts done before Quilt Market – and that’s in between blogging for Gen Q, blogging for me, and working four days each week. Whew!!! It’s all good.
1 point 2 billion bubbles and countinghere’s what 1.2 billion bubbles looks like from the back of the quilt.

yes, dear friends, this is a wee bit of hyperbole but it’s the fun kind. And I like it

my view in the morningAs I stitch on Quantum Leap I get really excited. It doesn’t matter if I’m stitching with MonoPoly or Magnifico…it’s pretty. The beauty of this quilt is how much there is to see. Color and texture. I’m excited to get this one complete.

The other quilt will be 36 x 36. It’s from Paula Nadelstern’s new line that will be revealed at Quilt Market! Oh so fun. This is a great line.

I’m off to quilt and blog and meet with my Gen Q peeps and hold my sweeties hand!!!

Happy Quilting!



A quilt market review

CAM01419Dear Quilters,

I love you so much! I’m not quite sure how to say this however, here I go.

If your shop owner has been to Quilt Market please offer them some appreciation. The choices and opportunities for what to bring home to you for the shop are overwhelming. It does not matter if you are a rookie or seasoned veteran. If you know a pattern designer, fabric designer, tool inventor give them a bit of a hug. Thank them. Seriously they all work so hard to bring just the right thing. Then on top of it they have to go pitch it to consumers who are nearly close to overload by the time the show floor opens with all of the amazing Schoolhouse presentations.

In one day it’s easy to walk miles having to look in booths, making note of where you need to get back to and hoping you remember. (I forgot a couple of booths!) And making appointments on time – getting from one end of the show floor to another in a short amount of time hoping, just hoping to make it because you really want to see that line, check out that thread, lines of fabric and oh those tools.
All of this for you because we want to bring the best to you, have the best in our shops, find just the right fabrics and tools and books and magazines to you our beloved community.

As the Generation Q Magazine/Market newbie oh dear me! Looking for just the right stuff for the magazine is overwhelming (fall will be less overwhelming but no less exciting). Every moment setting up the booth, every step, every conversation, every, “Hey Melissa, Jake, Scott, Tracy, Michelle, Vicky, Bev did you see this?!” is worth how tired I was at the beginning of the week.

Happy Quilting!