Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ooh ooh!

Did you see?! Bonnie is doing another mystery quilt! I have never done one before but I've soooo wanted to try one of hers. Let me know if you decide to do it too, ok?

I'm off to the sewing room to pull the required 5 Yards of scrappy neutrals in preparation, yay!
(ooooh, i need a good stash buster!)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Bloggers' Quilt Festival

Whew, I made it!  I hate being late to the party, but considering I had to bind this before a proper photo shoot and then write the post, I'm quite proud of myself for getting it all done on the first day of the festival.
 I made this wall hanging for my cousin's dorm room.  She's planning to double major in biomedical engineering and discrete mathematics.  I asked her for a 3-6 letter word that I could sew into a piece of fabric art for her room, I was thinking something cheerful along the lines of "hope" or "dream" so I was a bit surprised when she said "logic" or "entropy".  I told her I'd do "logic" because it has less seams..

I made her pillows in the same colorscheme last year.  It's my grand plan to help her make a matching quilt for her first apartment after graduation (but that's still a ways off..).  I like making mini quilts like this (and this one I made for Shannon) because they go together in no time and provide quick pick-me-ups for the recipient.  It's a nice way for people to know I love them. 
One of the neat things about finishing this project in a rush today was that I found a new space in my house to take good quilt photos!  I just taped this to the closet door in the guest room and poof!  I set the timer and took a bunch of pics of me under the quilt, but my assistant kept moving the camera at the last second.  The "logical" solution?  Grab the kid to get in the photo.  :)
As I was sewing down the binding I thought that maybe I'm getting tired of that particular shade of green.. but then I realised I was wearing it, and it's the same color I painted my living room, so.. I guess subconciously it's just one of those colors that I'll always come back to.  Do you have any colors like that?

Amy's Creative Side - Blogger's Quilt Festival

Thursday, October 28, 2010


it's a strange hobby, this "blogging."
sometimes I'll have good photos or a fun project to share but no time to get my thoughts in order and I end up with a post that looks the way I wanted it to, but sounds a bit off.  Or there are the pensive evenings, like tonight, when after I pour over other people's blogs for the better part of an hour (and get lost in certain flickr pages, like this one), I end up with lots to say but no pretty pictures to accompany my ramblings.  Anyway, here's what's on my mind..
  • I'm a bit bummed that I am unprepared for the Fall Bloggers' Quilt Festival.  I would love to participate this round, but ideally I'd like to be in the first 200 bloggers, on the Mr. Linky thing.  Last time I was 500-and-something and felt kind of like that one quilt at the show that's hung waaaay in the back, in a dark corner.  Maybe I'll miraculously remember some quilt and photograph & blog about it in the next 24 hours.  We'll see.
  • I am curious about Quilt Market in Houston.  Who gets to go?  is it open to the public or do you have to be associated with some quilty business?  If you know, do tell..
  • I changed feet on my machine twice today and finished quilting a wall hanging for my cousin during nap time.  No photos yet, if I'm lucky I can get the binding on and send it off before her birthday.
  • I really really want to just sew sew sew!  but several big projects are hanging over my head to the point that I'm not able to use my sewing time as productively as I'd like.  Project 1= put sleeves on all the quilts I want to have in the Evening Star Show (that is NEXT WEEKEND), Project 2= iron shirts for Costas to wear to work (the ironing pile has outgrown the closet, i can't ignore this much longer), Project 3= layer, quilt and assemble 3 pillows for gifts already promised to loved ones.  The tops are done, but I'm dragging my feet on this.  A question for the pillow makers.. do you quilt the backs too?
  • btw, I plugged in the iron so I could get started on a few shirts before I sat down at the computer, an hour ago.  Talk about procrastination..
  • I am grateful that I have several small and portable sewing projects that I can work on when I get in phases like these.. today I pieced more diamond stars while George played at the indoor playground at the mall and while he was in the bathtub. 
Hmm.  So yeah, I get to the end of my list and don't know how to end the post.  Any suggestions?  A photo would be nice, but like I already mentioned, I don't have one.  Do I blog to record my quilt-life?  Do I blog to connect with other people "out there"? or is it just another form of procrastination..
Why do you blog? (or why not?) and what are you currently procrastinating from?


Two progress shots of the same quilt? No!
the top one is Merrill's, the bottom is mine. 

Yesterday Merrill & Sabrina came over for a play date, but the moms ended up playing more than the kids!

Merrill started her diamond star about a month ago, not really sure if she was going to like it, but man, she got obsessed pretty quickly. :)  So quickly that she started to get bored of her own scraps so we arranged a playdate for her to paw through my stash.  I have been offering to share fabric since I found out she quilted when we met last year.  I said, "come over, I have a lot of fabric.."  But over the phone she politely hesitated that she didn't want to just take my fabrics.  Haha!  once we got cozy and gave the kids some toys, I brought over my bin of fat quarters for her to start with.  After that she went through the drawer of "less than FQ" scraps, as I pulled brights from my shelves of yardage.  Some point in the middle she got a bit overwhelmed and said she totally didn't feel bad about taking my fabric anymore, I clearly had enough to share. 
Oh, and I was happy to do so!  It was so nice to have another quilter in the house!

 Even though she's blogless, Merrill said she'd join the quilt-along anyway.  It really amazes me how many of my friends are spending their time piecing the same quilt as I am.  Our playdate definitely renewed my interest in Travel Q#3, and I basted more diamonds this morning.  Once my quilts are all ready for next week's quilt show, I'll try to spend a bit more time on this one.  They grow fast if you let them..

Saturday, October 23, 2010

See, I'm not the only one..

My friend Amber has written a great post on quilting in public.  She doesn't restrict herself to the car, but flaunts it out on the playground too! 

Have you quilted in public lately?  Take a photo and share it with us!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

sometimes it just takes one little thing to set ideas into motion

for me, it was this:
I was tired of having random spools of thread all over my sewing table and then knocking them on to the floor when I pulled a large quilt through the machine.  Yeah, I have thread holders.  two of them,

and they are even nicely mounted on the wall, but I found I wasn't really making the effort to get up and walk over there to put a thread away when I wanted to change colors.  The layout of my space wasn't really working for me.  So my original idea was to get a small thread holder that I could mount right next to where I sit at the sewing machine.   Yesterday I bought one and did just that.  But then...
I decided to rearrange the furniture, just adding the thread holder wasn't going to be enough and I had an epiphany about where to put all the big furniture pieces and make better use of the space in the room.  So I went from this:

to this:

 and now I can..
-access a larger surface of my design wall
-Sit further away from the design wall to get a better view
-use the wall shelving unit to hold all the crap that ends up all over my cutting table
-give George a safe place to play while i putter about
-protect my fabric from sunlight!
-use the walls to support a large quilt while machine quilting
-hang the small thread holder right next to the new spot i sit at the machine.
And overall have a more productive space!  This is very exciting.  Of course some random junk was displaced in the move (the old air conditioning unit, my yukata collection, that huge previously-hidden tub of vintage fabrics..) and I still need to find a new set up for the iron, but hey.. all in time.  Right now I'm very happy with it. :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mail Call!

The following went out today:

a HUGE bag of scraps to Bonnie, via the 15minsplay scrap swap.

a baby quilt for Jake.

a wedding magazine for my cousin Janel (so glad I don't have to plan a wedding this year!)

and some bee blocks:

Snail's Trail for Lesly

Improv Crosses for Pam

Wonky Stars for Susan

No good mail for me so far this week, but packages have been arriving for my birthday boy...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Make it personal.

A Review of Quilter's Home's Modern Quilting article

After my last post I felt I really needed to track down a copy of Quilter's Home June/July '10 and read the article that made Susan think of me.. And I'm glad I did, because by entering my quilts in the local show, I'm doing exactly what QH says needs to happen to bring the online quilt world and the real life quilt world together.  Glad they agree with me. :)
Overall I had some mixed feelings about the article.  Their definition of Modern sounded rehashed (haven't we had that discussion already?) and I don't really agree with their rendition.  I think there's a lot more to it than geometric shapes and large white spaces, but I agree that the computer and the internet are essential creative tools to the movement and that there wouldn't be a "movement" without blogs.  I didn't like the quote from the product manager at Westminster that implied that it is mainly the designers' blogs that are fueling the creativity of the masses.  How far from the truth!  Inspiration comes from all over the place and if I were asked to pinpoint one place that provides the most inspiration, it would have to be flickr, which (surprisingly!) the article doesn't mention at all!!!
But it was really interesting to see the industry's view of "us" and the print media's view of blogland.  Quite eye opening.  I wondered if I should start reading every quilt magazine to keep up with what's happening in the quilt world "out there," but then I remembered that this isn't my career, just a hobby, albeit an obsessive one, and if I were going to spend more time on quilt stuff I'd rather it be sewing and getting involved locally.  I wonder if it would ever get boring to work for a magazine like that though?  To spend my days hunting through the internet for the next trend or to search for and research patterns in blog posts, or to study the pulse of the quilting industry.. hmm.  Maybe I'm in the wrong field after all..  But no, I've never really been one to follow commercial trends and I think I'd like to have that information just to know it, instead of having to write and edit and sell it on industry supplied deadlines.  Moving on..

Back to the conversation that prompted my review-- maybe I equated Susan's "leading" with "founding" and couldn't identify with that term because I did not start the NYC chapter of the Modern Guild.  But when I thought some more about what it means to lead a movement..   then yes, I'll step up to the challenge.  I suppose I wasn't thinking in terms of the quilting world, the majority of whom are over 50 and don't keep up with online quilting, but having a more narrow view (my own point of reference) and placing myself in the spectrum of quilt bloggers, where my role as a leader is, um, not really well formed yet (read: yeah, right. with only 40 hits a day? hahhaaha.)
I could really identify with the head of C&T's marketing dept who doesn't like the labels "fresh" and "modern," but instead placed emphasis on making things more personal, creating a "handmade lifestyle."  Believe me, I recognize the need to have handmade things in life.  But that is not unique to modern quilters, a lot of quilters feel that way.  I think "handmade" is just finally trendy among more of my generation, which then in turn opens the door for new people to try this craft and fall in love with it.  Which is what the quilting world really needs, more members. 
In the end, I'm glad QH ran the article because I'm sure it brough the movement to the attention of lots of quilters offline.  Now maybe they won't be so surprised when they start to see our quilts showing up places, like their quilt shows (on an impulse, I entered 2 more quilts in the Evening Stars' show..).  Maybe the local quilt shops will take notice too.  I'm not asking that they all stock every trendy fabric designer's complete collection, but Toni, can you at least order some solid grey?!?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Thoughts on quilting IRL

Funny title, I know.  Of course we quilt "in real life" --the internet can do many amazing things, but picking up a needle and thread is not one of them.  What I want to write down are my thoughts on the flip side of this post, or my comforting realization that I am part of the real life quilting community that I've always wanted. 
This year I joined two guilds.  In March, the NYC Metro Modern Quilt Guild (look, we even have a BLOG now!), and in September the Evening Star Quilters here on Long Island.
The October meeting of the NYC Mod guild was really special for me.  I left May's meeting thinking I might not return, that maybe the commute and time spent away from home weren't really worth it.  I wasn't sure if it was the group I wanted to belong to.  Then I talked to Victoria a little more over the summer, and I started reading 15minutesplay.  By the time the October meeting came around, I feel the need to give it another try.  And I'm really really glad I did.  The group seems to have gelled in some way, maybe it was our scrap swap challenge, or the group strip quilt, but all the sudden we didn't feel like a bunch of half-committed unknown quilters sitting in a room, we felt like a group.  It didn't matter that we came from all across the country, lived in the city or suburbs, participated in the online quilt community or not, or that our ages span some 40+ years.  Everyone seems to truly enjoy sharing and talking about their own and everyone else's quilting.  No criticism. No skepticism.  No quilt police.  I came hopeful, and I left with new friends.  And can I just say-- It's so cool to have friends IRL that also participate in the online quilt world!  I hope I'm not proclaiming it prematurely, but I think these are my people.
(Auditioning layouts for the strip quilt.  What you can't see are the other 6-8 people standing around, moving strips and giving imput.  These are quilters who talk and do, no sitting back on the sidelines in this group.  See the final layout here.)
At the ESQ guild meeting this week I ran into Susan, who runs Quilters Express to Japan.  She and I had met a few months ago and were talking about the online quilt world and the Modern Quilt movement.  She mentioned that she had read an article in Quilters Home about the Modern Quilters and I was kind of taken aback when she said, "That's you.  You're leading that movement."  It took me a minute to collect my thoughts and respond.  Surely I am not leading the movement, but I didn't really want to identify as a "follower" either.  I just do what I do, and I'm happy to have found the NYC Mod guild to share it with. But to her, an accomplished quilter and business woman who has been part of the quilting industry since the 80s, but does not follow the online quilt world, I am leading the movement.  I'm the only "modern" quilter she knows.  I am bringing this "modern" style of quilting to the local guild and bridging the gap between the two communities.  Or, at least that's how she sees things, and I guess that's what I would like to try to do.  So I guess I have found my place in the real-life quilting world. 
Next month the ESQ guild is having their annual Quilt show and I have entered 4 quilts: Plain Spoken, Post-partum Anti-depression, My life in T-shirts, and the Spiderweb (if it's done in time).  I have not been a member of this guild for very long and I have never done Show & Tell at a meeting, so I guess the show will be my first real introduction to the guild.  I don't know how my quilts will be received, but I'm curious to find out.  I went to their show last year and I liked a lot of the quilts on display.  I'm hoping to find friends in this guild too.  I guess it is within my power to shape the quilting community I belong to, and the best way to do that is to meet more people and make more quilts.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Mail Call!

Mail In:
Fabric for an Ohio Star block for Claudia.

Mail Out:
A star block to Dee for the Incredible Shrinking Quilters Bee

An orphan house block to Amber for her Houses & Trees project

A thank you envie of kitty fabric for Amy, in return for the great selection of reds she sent for my Travel Q #3. (sorry, no pics).

Oh, and the 60° Diamond EPP Quilt-Along group is all set up!  Come check out the piecing we're doing~

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...