Wednesday, September 29, 2010

WTF Wednesday #3 - There's Seriously a Pattern for THAT??

As I wander through various quilting stores and different quilting-related websites, I am constantly amazed at the sheer number of patterns out there for quilts.

I am further amazed by the number of patterns that make me exclaim, "They seriously bothered to write up a pattern for this?!?"

Now, I'm not adverse to patterns.  I've actually purchased a grand total of two, and they were appliqué patterns.  I simply don't have the ability to draw a smooth line to end up with a nice looking templates that niche nicely together to create a cohesive image.

However, as a quilter who knows how to plan out my quilts, and can do basic math, I'm horrified by some of the patterns out there!  Worst of all, it's not just free patterns that probably didn't need a write-up, but there are folks making money on this stuff.

And, yes, I am totally aware that there are individuals out there who would prefer to simply pick up a pattern, and not have to think about what their quilt will look like at the end.  Seriously, though?  Why are there instructions for this??

To the right is a freebie from Fat Quarter Shop.  Baby Four Patch Free Crib Quilt Pattern  Yeah, it's free.  But really?  It's a bunch of four patch squares mixed with squares of an equal size into larger four patch units, with the orientation of the squares alternating by rows.

Not hard, and easily worked out just by looking at this a little more closely.  And why go with a pattern at all?  Once you've seen the basic breakdown of this pattern, it's so simple to make this one a cute, scrappy quilt and make it as large or small as you want.

To the left is another freebie, this time from Amy Butler.  Nora's Mid Mod 2 Quilt

Another one that's not hard to work out, sans pattern.  The pieced strips are just a variation on Stacked Coins, or Chinese Coins as I always think of them...  Each piece is a different width, but they're all the same height.

Pair with stripes of solid that are the same height and length, and, bam!, super simple utility quilt.  I'd personally go with fabrics that stand out from the solid more, go with some contrast, but easy peasy.

Now, lest you think I'm picking fun only at the free patterns:  Denyse Schmidt's Stacking the Odds.  Purchasable all over the net, and possibly at your LQS.

Done with Schmidt's usual flair for the off-kilter, the pattern's description even baldly admits that it draws from Chinese Coins:
"Denyse Schmidt Quilts Stacking The Odds Pattern- Fresh, modern, and yet timeless, this quilt's inspiration is drawn from Chinese Coin quilts."

She just cut them at slight angles, made sure that no seams directly matched up and slapped some wide, white borders on it and called it a day.  Average cost for this one?  About $15.

You know what?  I'd rather buy the two yards of fabric that I could get with that $15.

These next two, you can get directly from Elizabeth Hartman herself.  Elizabeth is the Elizabeth of Oh, Fransson! fame.

I haven't purchased either of these patterns, so I don't know what else is included in the "More Simple Modern Baby Quilts" pattern bundle, other than the one pictured.  But really, it's just framed squares.  That's it.

Pick a size for your center square - heck, use your favorite square ruler to cut around, add borders, and be done with it.

Mixtape Quilts II actually caught my eye, and made me think, for a moment, that I might actually buy this one.  It's cute, has a lot of solid sashing, and is really colorful.

Unfortunately, it's a just variation of rail fence quilts.  That basic block is just comprised of strips of varying widths cut into equal-sized squares and then sashed.  For me, this would be another scrap buster.

Cute, but not worth the $10 price tag for either of them.

So, thanks, folks, for taking the time to write up directions.  Me?  I'll be sticking with my trusty graph paper and colored pencils, if I even bothered to break them out for a quilt top like this..  Heck, if I feel the need to be super techy about it, I'll re-install EQ5, or even just draw it up in Photoshop.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Knee Issues... And an Apology

I have to apologize for the delay of this week's edition of Think Modern Thursday...

I worked open to close on Wednesday, which is when I would normally write this segment, so that I can hit the "post" button just a few minutes after midnight, so that it's ready as soon as it's actually Thursday.

Well, this past Wednesday, I did... something to my left knee.  Now, I've had knee problems since playing tennis in high school.  But whatever I did Wednesday night, which was no different from any other work day, stressed my knee out.

A lot.

By the time we were done picking up a friend at the mall, my knee did not want to support my weight.  I spent the evening keeping my knee elevated and resting.  It didn't hurt, just ached dully.

When I woke up Thursday, the whole middle of my leg encompassing the knee and about four inches above and below it, were freakily numb.  I persevered, though, put on my knee brace and went to work.

My knee buckled every fifteen to twenty minutes as I worked.  I kid you not.  I finally got worried enough that I left work early, and headed to Dean Urgent Care to have someone take a look-see.

One exam and three x-rays later, I still don't know anything.  The PA who examined me noted the buckling, could actually feel something popping when she maneuvered my leg around.  However, she said the x-rays looked fine.  Yet, she gave me a referral for orthopedics, and I have an appointment on Tuesday morning to see what is actually up.


So anyway, that's why Think Modern Thursday #7 is late.  I know what I want to post, but I think I'll leave it until next week.  That way I have a little wiggle room before post #100 comes up.

Meanwhile, I'm working another open to close today.  (My poor knee!) A fellow employee had a tooth pulled, so isn't really able to effectively communicate, which is kind of a necessity in the retail world.  Thank goodness, I thought ahead and wore my brace today, because I'm feeling the strain.  Hopefully this weekend will be a little more restful.

So, again...  I'm sorry about missing this week's Think Modern Thursday.  I'll be back on the horse next week!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

WTF Wednesday #2 - Material Obsession

Way, way back in July of 2009 I posted about wanting to pick up Material Obsession.  Well, I did, eventually, and it's been sitting on my shelf for about six months.  I took a brief look at the pictures, and put it back down.  This happened several times.

This past weekend, I actually sat down and gave it a good look through.

I really, really wish I hadn't purchased it.

First of all, six of the twenty-three quilts in it were so basic in their construction, that I seriously questioned their inclusion in a book.  Those six quilts would be Avalon, Gypsy Squares, Candy Store, Corner Store, Three Ring Circus, Ginger Snap.  

Avalon is probably the worst offender of the bunch.  It's just a bunch of 18" X 18" squares with a 3" sashing between them.  I really didn't need two pages of instructions, along with drawings showing me construction sequence.  Sure, the fabric is pretty, but this would have held a lot more visual interest if they'd just sewn sashing onto the fat quarters the authors would have the reader start off with.

And then there's Gyspy Squares.  Comprised only of 8" squares (finished), I couldn't believe its inclusion in a book touting "Modern Quilts with Traditional Roots".  What on earth is modern about this quilt?  It's as basic a utility quilt as you can get, and the fabrics aren't particularly modern.

Actually, I could say that for a large number the quilts in this books.  I was not especially struck by any of the fabric selections.  In fact, I found myself more and more irritated by the constant use of busy prints as background fabrics, when a solid would have been far more visually effective.  Furthermore, most of the fabrics were pretty hum-drum, and looked more like '30s reproduction prints than modern prints.

I was irked that the templates and the construction guides were hand-drawn.  It was probably done to make everything feel more approachable, but it feels condescending to me.  I'm quite sure that the majority of people who bought this book were already comfortable with quilting, and didn't need that faux touchy-feely addition.

And, I know this makes me the lone nut in a box of bolts, but I really dislike styled photos of quilts.  I much prefer the head-on images of full quilts, rather than those of quilts artfully draped here and there.  While Material Obsession includes the former, there are far too many of the latter.  And honestly, I just don't care how pretty a quilt looks against the backdrop of the Australian landscape, as beautiful as it is.  If I want to see the Australian landscape, I'll get a book on the Australian landscape.

Then I hit the end of the book... Twenty-one pages dedicated to a "Quilting Basics" section.  Which wouldn't have really bothered me so much, but I'm just really tired of these sections in books.  There are several, better, whole books dedicated that exact subject that contain a lot more detail and and answer more questions than these sections that get tacked on to a book's end to plump up the page count.

I want to say that I'm done buying quilting books entirely, but there have got to be some gems out there.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Birthday Blocks - Bento Box

Two pink and white Bento Box blocks for clumsy_chord.  I couldn't help but use the pink skull fabric in the top block!  I love that fabric, and one day will find the right project to showcase the four yards of it that I own.

After having made these, I think I want to make more for myself.  They're super easy to put together, even without chain-piecing them together.

I think I only spent half an hour sewing each one, and only 10-15 minutes cutting them.

I just have to decide on colors and fabrics then...  That could be tough.  I have just way too many ideas running through my head at the moment.

I'm working on the give-away quilt - that will be in the final stages of piecing by the end of the coming week.  I've already decided on the quilting pattern, and the thread that I'll be using.  I'm taking a bit of a leap, and am going to try metallic thread.  Depending on the sort of time I have left once I'm near finishing, I might even attempt to add some bling to the top.  Hmm.. speaking of thread, I need to pick up some more basic black.

I think I might pick up two more batiks to throw in tomorrow morning, when I run to Joann's to use my coupons.  I just realized that I have two more batiks in my stash that I could add in, but I need batiks in groups of four.

Thank goodness I'm going into Joann's with a plan of action tomorrow.  I'm too tired to think of anything else.

A New Goal!

Debi, of ...Quilting with Debi, is hosting a 2010 Fall into Fall Quilter's Blog Give-away.  She would like to reach a goal of 200(!!) quilting bloggers, each one hosting their own give-away.  Each give-away is to begin October 1, with a winner being selected October 15.

Now, I've been considering doing a give-away of my own for some time.  It's taken something like a year and a half, but I'm finally coming up on the 100th post marker!

*insert giddy squeal of joy here*  Heehee ;)

Having said this, I'm thinking I want to coincide my 100th post with the beginning of the 2010 Fall into Fall Quilter's Blog Give-away, and make Number 100 another milestone for my blog: my FIRST give-away!

I almost can't believe that I haven't hosted one thus far, but really, I just haven't had the "oomph" to do so.  Particularly since, I never really thought that I would get into the whole blogging thing, or that I would have that much to say about quilting.

I guess I was wrong on both counts, huh?

But anyway...  Lookie, lookie!  A preview!
Okay, now... Having shown you these scrum-diddly-umptious fabrics...  No, you're not getting these fabrics.  Well, you are - in a way.  I will be making  a lovely little mini-quilt for one lucky winner!!  I will unveil the actual mini-quilt to be won on October 1st, so keep watch here.  Maybe even spread the word, cause it's going to be AWESOME!!

Having said that, it's time for me to get some of my mad (not) skillz on and get started.  I have to be ready for this!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Presentation on Modern Quilting by Rossie

You all have probably already seen this video...  I'm sort of the girl who's always last to the party, but I found this presentation by Rossie, the moderator of the Fresh Modern Quilts flickr group, pretty interesting.  Check out her blog here.

Modern Quilting, Mutant Quilting from r0ssie Rossie r0ssie on Vimeo

(EDIT 9-18-2010, 1851 hours - After reading Sandi's essay on this video and modern quilting, I thought I should preface the following comments thusly:  

I have nothing against the modern movement.  I find myself fascinated by it, and am a member of two Modern Quilt Guilds, going on a third.  

However, I do not consider myself to be a 'modern' quilter.  I appreciate the aesthetic, but I also appreciate the exactness and flow of a traditional quilt.  I much prefer to combine the two, utilizing traditional blocks but using modern colors and fabrics.  See the blog Modify Tradition for some excellent examples of what I like.)

I had a difficult time following Rossie's train of thought throughout the presentation.  Quite a few times, I found myself wondering what point she was trying to make, but I stuck through it.  

Some quotes that caught me, and why they caught me:

"I think that part of the reason that people like the imperfect and the not parallel is that it shows that you made it, that it shows that it wasn't a machine cutting it." (followed by a discussion about how you know someone's hands were on it)

I personally have a problem with this, simply because I don't feel that incorporating odd angles (or wonkiness) and planned imperfections makes someone appreciate my quilt more, that those things emphasize that I made something by hand.  I don't feel that my pieces have any less 'soul' for not doing those things.  Now, I'm sure that Rossie didn't mean to imply that anyone not doing these things is putting less 'soul' into their work, but still...

"Modern quilting and the internet are, like, in love with each other.  I don't think I can talk about modern quilting without talking about the internet." (followed by a discussion about flickr, blogs, bees, and online fabric purchasing)

I don't believe that without the internet we'd have the huge number of quilters labeling themselves 'modern'.  The modern movement has entirely been facilitated by the internet and the free passage of information enabled by it.  The downside to this is that we see just so many duplications of one quilt, right down to the fabric selections.  I think this is a shame...  We're being robbed of our creativity by the proliferation of media, while simultaneously being opened to new ideas.  

I'm kind of torn on applying the term 'wabi-sabi' to modern quilting.  It's supposed to imply a simultaneity, though perhaps that term is aptly applied to my statement about being robbed of our creativity while becoming more open to new ideas.

From wikipedia:  

"Wabi-sabi (?) represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete".[1] It is a concept derived from the Buddhist assertion of the Three marks of existence (三法印 sanbōin?), specifically impermanence (無常 mujō?).  Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetryasperity, simplicity, modesty, intimacy, and the suggestion of natural processes."

I just don't get a sense of transience or impermanence from 'modern' quilting.  Certainly, I can agree with there being 'imperfections' in modern quilts, but are they really imperfections when that was what you intended?  I would argue, probably not.  It's rather like abstract art to me.  Were Miro or Pollack deliberately setting out to create an imperfect canvas, or were they striving to create the perfect expression of an imperfect state?

Hmm... perhaps that is where wabi-sabi enters into modern quilting...

I'm probably over-thinking the whole thing...

Friday, September 17, 2010

My Madison Quilt Expo Loot

While not totally thrilled with what the vendors had at the expo, I did find some absolutely darling gems!  My loot:

That's four quilting stencils, one new seam ripper, and four yards of fabric.

But you really have to see the fabrics a little closer.

Look at that!  Aren't those little elephants absolutely adorable?  I love that I even found a really cool coordinating print in the most perfect shade of fuschia.

Those seahorses just have me giggling!  And that orange print?  Isn't that just great?  I thought it was the perfect coordinating print.  It matches the seahorses, and keeps the flowing movement going.

Now, I know...  Two of those prints are a big departure for me!  They border on novelty prints, and my dislike distrust of my ability to use them has kept me from adding them to the stash.  Luckily, these are small enough prints that my brain isn't having a freak-out over the idea of actually using them.  I already have plans for those little, white elephants!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Think Modern Thursday #6 - Modern Quilt for an Old Friend

How do you all like the new logos for my weekly segments?  I'm really feeling the graphic design bug lately, and have no problem working it.  Thank goodness that the muses are actually awake, caffeinated and talking.  

I'll be incorporating these into my sidebar sometime this week, and list each individual segment, so that they can all be found quickly and easily.  

It's amazing what comes to me at nearly 3 AM...

Anyway, on to Think Modern Thursday #6 (finally!):

This week's offering comes to us courtesy of Amy.  Check out her flickr, and her blog, Diary of a Quilter, is a great read!  Also check out her Uber-Beginning Quilt-a-long at Make and Takes.
Modern Quilt

The first thing that caught my eye about this quilt was, obviously, the solids.  So much solids love going on in this corner of blog-land!  It's even better that the solids aren't the grays I've been seeing everywhere. (And there's totally nothing wrong with gray - I'm still in love with it!)  Browns are good.  Very good, in this case!  I really like combination of the dark chocolate brown with the kraft paper brown.

I'm really enjoying the simplicity of the shapes in this quilt.  It's the perfect way to showcase some of those great graphic prints out there.  I love how the solids unify the whole thing, so that the prints don't have to come even close to coordinating.  My eye is actually caught most by the pops of deep orange and yellow.  I love how they contrast with the dark brown.

I'm actually very tempted to make a quilt inspired by this one.  Unfortunately, my stash seriously lacks big and bold prints, since I have a habit of buying primarily tone on tone prints.  Hmm.. Maybe I should start a swap.  

Hehehe... a BBC swap, perhaps?  Big Bold Charms?  I kind of like that.  Any one want in?  Leave a comment!  I'll determine if I actually run the swap based on response.

Anyway, I digress!  Thank you very to Amy, for allowing me to highlight her wonderful quilt here, as well as for inspiring me to actually get off my duff and do something - even if it is running a swap! ;)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Madison Quilt Expo

Okay, you all know how I felt coming out of the vendor hall of the Nancy Zieman Madison Quilt Expo...  Disappointed and underwhelmed.

Such was not the case with the quilts on display.  I took a stupid number of photos...  Something like 225.  Admittedly, there were 300 or so quilts on display.  Let me say right away, I only took photos of the quilts that amazed me with the skill that went into that, or those that just made me go, 'Oooo, pretty..."  That still worked out to be 175 quilts.

Let me tell you, uploading all of those to my Photobucket account was not fun.

Anyway, I have to do this in two parts.  Photobucket only allows 100 images in a slide show.

Yes, I know...  I have hugely eclectic tastes.  And I apologize for the utter crap that some of these photos are. My good camera met Zeb, and came out much the worse for that short, short acquaintance.

It was kind of thrilling for me to see some of these quilts, which I had seen profiled in Quilter's Newsletter, up close and personal.  Getting to see that kind of workmanship...  I am awed.

And now that I've just made your screens all prettified, I'll leave you to drool.  I'll be back with another post to detail my very small haul from this particular show.

Welcome to WTF Wednesdays, or WTF Wednesday #1

As you all know, I attended the Madison Quilt Expo.  My experience there led me to an epiphany of sorts, which I will detail further in this post.  Before I let you all get into the nitty-gritty of this particular epiphany (really, it's a rant), I have a few disclaimers:

First of all, note the title:  "WTF Wednesday".  That should pretty much say it all, but I'll be super clear just in case.  "WTF" is the acronym for "What the Fuck".  So, if that phrase at all offends you, you probably don't want to continue reading this new weekly segment.  

WTF Wednesdays are going to be my forum for sounding off on the various issues that hit my hot buttons.  And there are a lot of them, I'm realizing.  This is me turning my internal filter off, and letting fly with the things that irk me.  I'm going to try and keep them quilt-related, but you might see more of my more interesting personality quirks than you had really ever intended to.

Since you've been warned, trolls, flames, and other unpleasantness are not welcome.  Adult, engaged dialogue is totally encouraged and welcomed.  I have no intention of turning the filters back on for these Wednesdays.  It's my blog.  If you don't like it, you are more than welcome to not read.

Should you choose to join in, and I kind of hope you do, fill in the linky at the end of this post.

Now, onto the ranting...

It took me two passes through the vendors at the Madison Quilt Expo to talk myself into buying anything.


I'm not kidding.

Finally, when I purchased four yards of fabric from Nancy's Notions, I spotted this gem:

I repeat.  WTH??

Just... No.  NO.

Not in any world should a sweatshirt, no matter the number of alterations, be your go-to wardrobe option.  Not even when you've hit what seems to be Nancy's target demographic, the retirees.

Don't get me wrong!  If you're a retiree, more power to you.

However, this catalogue cover just epitomizes what kept bothering me throughout my wanderings at the Expo.

I'm just too damned young to be a quilter, apparently.  Age-ism runs rampant in quilting.

I could count the vendors offering more modern prints on one hand.  Yeah, in a 75,000 square foot vendor hall containing 153 vendors.  Yes, I counted.  Most of those vendors were offering such safe fabric options, I could have gone comatose from boredom.  Reproduction fabrics, particularly Depression Era, were rampant. And don't get me started on the number of pre-cuts.  Almost none of the vendors carried bolts of fabric.

Now, I understand that this was the Nancy Zieman Quilt Expo.  And I realize what age bracket Nancy falls into.

Just to be blunt, quilting's current target demographic, the female retiree is a shrinking demographic.  That customer base is going to, literally, die off.  And let's not even get into how many of us will even be able to afford to truly retire in this economy.  Marketers in quilting have done virtually nothing to woo generations X and Y, and even less to keep those two generations interested in the hobby.

Do they not realize that as the woman in my household, I control 90% of the discretionary income and how it's spent?  Does the quilting world not want my money?

Because that's certainly how it felt, and how it has felt over the last several months.  I realize that at 30, I'm in a minority as a quilter.  However, we're out there!  I follow the blogs of several dozen talented quilters who are all under the age of 45.

Really, just give me some freaking options!  There are so many other things I could be doing, other than quilting, and a lot of them offer far hipper color and pattern options.  They're actually trying to get me to spend money.

And, honestly, it really isn't that hard to get me open up my wallet.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Technorati Claim Code

Registering my blog on a number of sites for increased traffic, because I'm a big ol' dork like that.


Friday, September 10, 2010

I Must Be Insane...

...because it's 11:41 as I start this post, and I'm still not in bed.  I need to be up by 0600 in order to get myself and Zeb ready for the day.  Me?  I'm still going to the Madison Quilt Expo.  Zeb will be spending the day with Grandma again, as hubby has to work.

So, why am I still up?

I volunteered to bring chips and cookies for our tailgate lunch tomorrow at the Expo.  I went the easy route with the chips, and bought one of those assortment deals.  Done.  Easy.

The cookies?

I decided to bake them.  That's the part where I'm officially nuts.  I made peanut butter cookies and chocolate chip cookies.  I even decided to experiment a bit, and used whole wheat flour to replace half of the white flour.  I tried the peanut butter.  Not bad.  It's been a long time since I had peanut butter cookies, though, so who knows if they're actually any good?  Same goes for the chocolate chip.  New recipe, with the whole wheat substitution.

Everyone gets to be my guinea pigs tomorrow.  If the cookies are a success, I'll share my recipes.  If not, I'll bury the cookies and hope no one finds them.

Oh, and just to balance out the fact that I'm falling off the diet wagon with the cookies and chips, I'm packing carrots and celery sticks.  Maybe I can balance out the guilt with some healthy snacks.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Think Modern Thursday #6...

... is going to be delayed until next week.  I'm working extra hours this week, along with having had house guests, and haven't had a chance to actually write the post.

Who knows?  I might even show off something I see at the Madison Quilt Expo this Saturday!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


A few nights ago now, as my son bathed, I sat and watched him and put the last stitches into Escapees.  I tacked down the hang tabs, and then threw it in the wash with my laundry.  I was a little nervous - this is the first quilt I've done without pre-washing all of my fabrics first, in forever
Not the  best picture - I'll have to take another when I've got a proper wall display set up.  Escapees is a bit too large for the three meager pins holding it up at the moment, so it's a bit saggy.

I'm very pleased with the quilting.  I straight line stitched throughout the piece, which nicely emphasizes the simplicity of the shapes as well as the floral print - if I do say so myself, lol.  Actually, the floral panels are done in a diagonal cross hatch pattern.  I'd originally planned on doing those panels with free-motion flowers, but a test run showed that free motion flowers detracted far too much from the print itself.
I outline stitched around all of the triangles, 1/4" in from the seam lines.  I used two different colors in the top thread:  a burnt umber to match the sky and a blue that matches the floral print.  The burnt umber thread was used in the robin's egg blue geese.  The blue thread was used in the burnt umber sky triangles. For the green and black sashing strips, I stitched 1/16" away from the seam lines to out line the black.

Throughout the quilt, I used black thread in the bobbin, giving the back what I think is a really cool graphic quality.  I'm really enjoying playing with my threads, so it's a theme I'm sure I'll continue with future quilts.

And now that I have this one finished, I might have a second quilt finish to show off soon-ish.  I'm prepping the backing for Flying Geese II, and I'm hoping to get the works on the quilt frame tonight.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

{Why} I Do What I Do...

Rachel, of Stiched in Color, asked readers why we chose handmade.  "{Why}?  What got you started?  What keeps you going?  Why is it worth it?"

Honestly, I'd never really sat down and given this much thought.  Weird, right?

So here's my attempt at muddling out the winding, and often freaky, trails of my mind...

I craft because I choose to put something out there that is as pure a distillation of my creativity as I can manage.  Fabric, thread, and batting just happen to be my tools of choice at the moment, and few things inspire me so much as the colors and patterns in a print.  

I love the satisfaction I have when I look as something I've finished.  Sure, that satisfaction is all wrapped up in threads and knots of anxiety and should-have-dones and perceived mistakes, but I finished.  I can look at those finished pieces and see the hours of my life that have gone into them.  You'd think that mentally tallying the hours that went into a project would actually serve as a deterrent to returning to quilting, but it doesn't.  It actually drives me back to the sewing table, because what empty hours those would have been!

I do this because this is my time, my freedom to be (or not), my time to simply express.  I work out a lot of stress, tension, and aggravation when I'm quilting.  Actually, it might be better to say that I transcend those things.  When I'm in the right head-space for quilting, time and my problems melt away, and I can view all those things that were bothering me from a completely different place, gaining perspective that wasn't there before.  You'd be amazed at the number of concurrent tracks that are running through my brain when I'm in the zone!

I put so much of myself into my crafts.  You can tell my favorite patterns and colors from the things that I've made.  You can tell when I've felt adventurous, and see when I had my "Aha!" moment.  Most of all, you can see the caring.  I want my son (and anyone else I've ever made a quilt for) to know how much I love him, every time he wraps himself in a quilt that I made.

Finally, I do this because I love the history and tradition.  I may do things differently from those who came before, and see color and shape in a unique manner, but that's okay.  I love looking at modern quilts and seeing the ties to older quilts, despite the startling variations in color, theme, shape, and symmetry.  For me, each quilt is another thread tying me closer to those who came before, those who made because it was make do, or do without, and those who made because it was a fashion statement and a challenge to their skills.

For a hobby that I picked up on a whim, with little more than a handful of scraps, a library book, and needle and thread purloined from my mother's sewing box, quilting fulfills so many of the niches in my soul.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Two More GO! Give-Aways

Like I said, these are everywhere!

Check out I'm Just A Guy Who Quilts for Ryan's give-away.  He's got five ways for you to enter:  1. Leave a comment on his give-away post saying "Hi" and that you'd like to be entered.  2. If you follow his blog, leave a comment letting me know you follow.  3. Visit the AccuQuilt website and leave a comment telling Ryan what dies you would pick out if you won. Remember you will get 3!!  4. Tweet or Facebook about this giveaway and share the link with your friends and leave a comment telling me you did. Please include @RyanWalshQuilts in your Tweet so I can verify your entry.  5. If you have a blog, share this giveaway with your readers and link to it. Remember to come back here and leave me a comment with the link and you will be entered again!  Ryan's give-away is open until September 5, and he'll announce a winner on Monday, September 6.

The give-away Jo at Jo's Country Junction lasts a little longer.  Jo's closes September 8, and she'll announce the winner on September 9.  Jo's give-away is much, much simpler, and will select two winners.  One will win the GO! Cutter, and another will receive three dies.  Simply leave a comment on her give-away post, saying which prize you'd like to win.  That's it!  Easy, no?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Think Modern Thursday #5 - Bee Mod Quilt

Today's quilt is sort of a two-for-one deal.

Get ready for this...

It's double-sided!

This particular quilt is the joint effort of the Bee Mod Quilting Bee, though it belongs to Lauren, aka uppitygirl on flickr.  They are all also members of the L.A. Modern Quilt Guild.  The talent of these quilters makes me so jealous.

Bee mod quilt, circle side

I love this side!  I'm totally biased, and this is my favorite side.  I love the circles.  I keep wanting to do circles in a quilt, but I'm a little intimidated.  I think my favorite block is the one in the bottom row, second from the left.  The combination of turquoise and that rich sunshine yellow just makes me happy.  I love that the white, for me, enhances the quilt, instead of overwhelming it.  That's the way I normally see white in quilts now, anyway, a detraction, drawing my eye away from everything else.

Bee mod quilt, square side

This side may make me revise my opinion on non-symmetrical/wonky log cabin blocks.  I'm not a big fan, never have been.  I think it's the lack of structure, oddly enough.  I'm just not a wonky kind of gal, as you all know.  I've made a couple of wonky log cabin blocks, but not a complete quilt.  I might have to try my hand at a mini-quilt, just to test it out completely for myself.

I love the strong, highly graphic prints throughout this quilt.  I really love that each side has a theme that unifies all of the blocks, while each stands on its own.  The very selective color palette is awesome, proof that we don't need a riot of colors to make a visual statement.  

I think what makes this quilt so intriguing to me, visually, is that these are all disparate, yet unified, visions of several different artists.  Each of them put their own spin on the end goal.  You can almost catch glimpses of their personalities in each block.