Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Travel Quilt #3

Now that the 4 Patch and Squares quilt is finished, I've gone back to working on Travel Quilt #3 as my on-the-go/in the car project. 
I started this quilt, the third in a series (pics of Travel Quilts 1 and 2 are on flickr), when I was visiting my family in Chicago this July. 
this is what I accomplished during 4 weeks of naps and a bit of stitching every evening. 

I have been working on it when I can since I came home, but of course with access to my sewing machine and entire fabric stash, inspiration has pulled me in a lot of different directions.  But this is what it looks like today:

I was lucky enough to give a demo on English Paper Piecing at the local library group last month and since then, two local friends have started star quilts.  Add in Lesly and Becky (who I made the video for initially), it seems like diamonds might just be the new hexagons.  So I was wondering, what do you think about the idea of a 60 degree diamond epp quilt along?  No rules or anything, just a sidebar button and a flickr group to share our progress.  I thought it might be fun.. If Lesly and Becky comment that they're interested, I'll make up a button and get it started  (the local girls don't have blogs), and if anyone out there wants to join us, please lmk!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

notes on blogland

So with Bloglines disappearing in a couple of days, I've been slowly going through all my saved posts over the last 4(!) years to download my favorite inspiration pics and revisit links to good information one last time before they're tossed out into the internet again. A librarian once told me (in 1999) that the internet is like a great big library where all the books are scattered on the floor. I agree, and bloglines was a really excellent tool to help me organize the masses of inspiration and information that quilt-blogland provides. But my trip down memory lane had other effects as well, and I started thinking about how quilt blogland has changed in the last few years..
First off, there are so many more blogs out there! True Up entered the scene, then there was the Modern Quilt movement, Spoonflower, the Blogger's Quilt Festival, online bees, and the bizarre shift to "follow my blog and I'll give you fabric" and what seemed like a runaway obsession with giveaways. I think I passively witnessed the birth of the one-designer-only trend and as I've mentioned before, that's getting a bit old. Of the blogs I've read, many seem to be more focused on showing finished quilts with only a hint of the story and construction, but well recorded details of the designer fabrics used and the online shop she purchased them from.

When I started blogging there was a trend that if you had a quilt/craft blog, you must also sell your "stuff" on etsy. Then there was a movement to Use What You Have (I really liked that trend, btw). At some point I started following more quilt focused blogs and less crafty ones. For a while there was a "community" of people blogging about quilting and I felt I knew or had at least heard of everyone. Then overnight there were all these new quilt bloggers, and they were selling patterns, offering tutorials, and actively shaping the Modern Quilt movement. I was like, "who are these people?!?" and felt a little bit left back in their dust. There seemed to be a split between "people who quilt and blog about it" and "people who write quilt blogs and quilt because of it." The former group (to which I belong) included people working full time and stay at home moms, people quilting because they loved quilting, blogging included or not. These people would post when they had something to share and you could really get a glimpse of their lives. The other group seems to be driven by some unseen force, posting 3-4 times a week if not daily, spitting out patterns, tutorials, sponsored giveaways, and offering up advice that they don't always have the experience or "internet cred" to back-up. (no offense, just an observation)
I admire the ambition (and envy the free time) of these bloggers, but more than once in the past year I've read something and caught myself saying, "Is she serious? How can she write that? Doesn't she know about X, Y, or Z (i.e. famous quilter, well known technique, etc)?" Or I feel like I'm being talked down to, marginalized, or somehow left out of the "in" crowd. Now I don't mean to be that one quilter in your class who thinks she knows more than the teacher, but I find that this type of blog is not worth my time to read. BUT, you almost have to in order to know what's going on in quiltland (internet based and IRL). Somehow these people (and their followers?) are shaping the community to which I belong and I can't say I'm always happy with the shape it's taking..
So back to the point of my post. I'm going to try to resist following all of the quilt blogs in Google Reader. In fact, I'm going to try really hard not to sign into Google Reader at all. I have pasted a list of my favorite quilt bloggers on my sidebar and I've switched to "following" other blogspot blogs through I do want to know what's going on out there, but I need to be more selective and not get swept up in the drama and the urge to leave a comment just incase I might get lucky and win that jelly roll!
I am going to quilt, whether there's a quilt-blogland or not.  I really do enjoy sharing my efforts and getting feedback or making connections with other women who love to stitch and are also part of the online quilt community.  I feel I need this online community to back me up a bit when I walk into a real life quilt guild meeting, still usually 20+ years younger than everyone else, and try to hold my ground with the quilt police or as I try to make a name for myself in that community.  I value the vast resources available to quilters on the internet and want to thank everyone who has taken the time to write a thoughtful post or share a quilt or inspiration source.  Thank you again if you take the time to read my blog and comment once in a while.  I think the support of blogland has helped me focus my creative energy and become a productive, happy quilter.  I am curious to see where the current trends will lead and what the future of quilting will look like. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sometimes I forget we live on an island..

Or that the beach is just 15 minutes away.  Glad I remembered today though because I needed a quiet place for the kid to nap (construction started today-- hopefully we'll have a new driveway by next week!), and the beach was the perfect place for me to relax and have some fun as well.  So I bring you installment #2 of "The quilting I do in parking lots."

I played around with camera placement and think today's shots are better than Sunday's, but I long for a crafty friend to come with me everywhere and take blog-worthy photos of my life.  Wouldn't that be nice?  I swear, the only photos I have of myself are self-portraits like these.  C isn't so good at getting behind the camera when we go out..
I sat in the backseat today because there was too much sun in the front.  It was so nice to have the Atlantic spread out before me as I sewed.  I tried to get a good quilt-with-ocean-in-the-background shot but it was windy and the sun was in the wrong position.  Don't worry, today was fun and I'm sure I'll do naptime at the beach again before it gets cold, so I'll keep trying.

One corner left on the binding and then this one's done!

When he woke up we played on the beach for a lot longer than I had planned.  He loved it, I forgot how much he loves the beach too.  

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Making the most of my time

I usually quilt during naptime, which I think is true for most quilters with young kids.  I'm kind of possessive about it.  Naptime = Quilting time.  I have to be in a really relaxed mood already to agree to do something else during naptime (quilting, after all, is what I do to relax).  So when C suggested that we drive an hour out to the outlets for a bit of shopping I didn't think twice about packing not one, but two quilt projects to take with in the car. 
Sure enough, the kid fell asleep about 5 minutes before we pulled into the parking lot. 
Me: "I'll stay with him in the car while you shop, ok?"  
C:  "Ok, I'll be at Polo, call me when he wakes up."
And it was that easy.  I got out of outlet shopping and instead got to stitch down another side of this green binding.  Finding someone to take a picture of me quilting in the outlet parking lot was not so easy, of course, but that's why cameras have timers. :)
(please ignore my bad haircut.  growing out this "new mom 'do" will take longer than I thought)
I went to a meeting for one of the local guilds a few weeks ago and I was sitting with some other moms of young kids.  One of the older women asked, "Do you have... time to quilt during the day?" and I said, "I quilt everyday, or I'll go crazy." 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Ripping when I need to

I'm not a perfectionist, by any means.  Most often, done is better than perfect and I really enjoy the little nuggets of imperfection that get stitched into my projects because they stand as a reminder of the process and I feel I can remember that particular day of sewing a little bit more.  That said, there are just some ugly stitches that I can't ignore. 
Here's my most recent glowing example:

The lines on this quilt are not supposed to be even or even smoothly curved, but sometimes the "process" gets hijacked by the weight of the quilt and the lack of strength in my shoulders, compounded by the speed of my foot in relation to the speed of my hands.. and, well, you know the story.  So today I ripped.  And then the kid woke up and we had a photo shoot..
Progress on this one is slow going, but for now we are warm enough with the two quilts already on the bed so there is no real need to finish quickly.  I would like to show it off at some meetings and maybe a quilt show though, so I'll keep it at the top of my quilt priority list.
What's on your quilt priority list?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

That's one big spider!

Today I started quilting my spiderweb.  The quilt isn't that big but it just seems so bulky to push around under my machine.  I'm trying to quilt all the webs first and then I'll go back and fill in the stars.  I like how the quilting in the webs is coming along (loopy circle-y things), but I have no idea what to do for the stars, any suggestions?
Oh, and thanks for finding me at my new blog, btw.  I thought with Bloglines folding at the end of the month now would be a good time to make the switch public (though I've had it in mind for a few months), and give everyone a chance to update their blogrolls and new Google Reader accounts with my new address.  FYI, I've changed my email as well, the junkmail on the old account was getting a bit tiring to wade through everyday.  If you've just found me through flickr or somewhere, please say hi!

About Me

I'm a 30-something American quilter.  A mom, a grad student, a housewife.
My stash is big on tone-on-tones and tiny prints and short on solids and neutrals.  If I had a bigger budget, I'd fix that, but for now I'm quite happy to make do with what I have.

Travel Quilt #6 and some public crafting

I have been working steadily on Travel Quilt #6 since last fall and it is growing.  I got a chance to piece a few units while I was in Manha...