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Archive for December, 2008

cornercompIt’s that time of year when we all tend to become more introspective. We’re surrounded by talk of weight loss, exercise programs, and job searches. We vow to get organized, save more, reprioritize, and generally become better people. I don’t know about all of that, but I am doing a lot of looking back at the past year and I do have a few thoughts about 2009.

 

Blog

This year, I’ve written 24 posts (You’re reading #25!). I’ve shared the good, the bad, and the ugly. For 2009, I hope to concentrate more on the process of what I do, from quilting to writing to web design to teaching and lecturing. I welcome your comments.

 

Writing

2008 has been a great publishing year for me. Machine Quilting Unlimited has published my articles and given me a column. I’ve written for Quilter’s Home and one of my quilts appeared in the Washingtonian magazine. My studio was featured in the Professional Quilter magazine, and I had a quilt and a tip included in Ann Hazelwood’s book 100 Tips from Award-Winning Quilters. For 2009, I’d like to branch out to e-books about art quilting and other quilt-related topics. Let me know if you have any topics you’d like me to write about.

 

Quilts

It feels like I’ve spent most of 2008 making quilts for everyone but me. I’ve been in a number of challenges and I’ve made lots of quilts that conform to someone else’s rules. Don’t misunderstand; I love the quilts that have resulted, but I’m ready to explore some new territory. In 2009, I’d like to produce some smaller work. These pieces will give me the chance to experiment with some new techniques, play with some new ideas, and offer some new work for sale. Watch the “Quilts for Sale” page on my website for available pieces.

 

Teaching and Lecturing

2008 started out with a bang when I was fortunate enough to be nominated for the Professional Quilter magazine’s Teacher of the Year. What an honor! Locally, I have really enjoyed teaching Art Quilting at the Quilt Patch this year. I love to travel to lecture and do workshops for all kinds of quilt guilds. In fact, I lectured for SAQA in Houston again this year. For 2009, I’m starting a new section of Art Quilts 101 and I plan to continue the current Art Quilt sections. Be sure to watch for new Toolbox classes.  In addition, I’m currently booking travel for 2009 and 2010. Maybe I’ll see you out there in the Quilt world. Check my web calendar to see if I’ll be in your area or to check availability for your guild.

 

Web Design

I hereby acknowledge that I am becoming a web weenie. (Hmm. Maybe there’s a better title than that out there.) Anyone who knows me knows that I keep my computer close at hand and the thought of no Internet access can induce hives. And so I have embraced my inner geek and I plan to expand the web design part of my business beyond the four websites I already maintain. I am upgrading my software and I’m learning all I can about online commerce. I’ll include updates in future blog posts.

 

mqu4As I read this, I realize that I’ve set some monster goals for myself. I can feel my to-do lists growing even as I type this on the way home from visiting family. (Yes, we’re on I-95. No, I’m not driving.) I don’t know if I can accomplish everything I’ve set out to do, but I can guarantee one thing: I will not be bored. I invite you to take this ride with me. I’ll try not to bore you either.

 

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No Coal, Please by Bee Creative Studios

I made this for the outlaws. Pattern: No Coal, Please by Bee Creative Studios

I’ve thought a lot about this. What DO quilters want?

When I originally planned this post, I was going to roll out the new page on my website, My Favorite Things, where I list books and tools that I recommend in class. Those of you in my art quilt classes have seen many of these things but I thought it might be time to share them with a broader audience.  The page is there whenever you wish to peruse it, but the answer to my original question is deeper than material things (pardon the awful pun).

And so, what do quilters want? Lots of fabric and the time to play with it? The new Bernina 830? A permanent studio at your favorite quilt shop?

I think we want more.  

We want soulful things, selfless things. We want all that is good in the world. I’m trying very hard not to say “world peace,” but I think we do want that. We want peace for the world and for ourselves and our loved ones.  And so, my quilting friends, this is what I wish for you during this busy season.

Quiet minds so that you can create without the noise and distractions. I wish you the ability to shut out all of the negativity and doubt and worry so that you can recharge your batteries.

Unlimited skills and abilities. Or…access to classes and books and friends who are happy to share their skills and abilities with you.

Imagination and inspiration and ideas. May your well never run dry.

Life in balance. I hope that you can find that personal balance that works for you, that allows you to keep moving, keep creating, keep on doing the things that make your heart sing.

welcomewreathTime to create and tools with which to do the work. May your toolbox never be empty.

Simple pleasures. Whatever that means for you – fabric, chocolate, a nice fume blanc – I wish that for you.

Happy Solstice, everyone!

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Woo hoo! The sixth and final quilt for Mary Kerr’s Vintage Revisited quilt challenge is finally done. (Drum roll, please…)

Vintage Revisited #6

Vintage Revisited #6

Ding, dong!
The quilt is done!
Which old quilt?
The final quilt!
Ding, dong,
The final quilt is done!

I think the spokes made all the difference. After a lot of thinking about how to represent the spokes, I took a trip to G Street Fabrics and bought skinny grey ribbon. I zigzagged it into place and that was that.

Did this quilt present challenges? Oh, you bet!

Quilting density was a tiny little demon sitting on my shoulder. First it would whisper, “Leave the shirt unquilted. Quilt in wrinkles or folds and leave the rest.” Then, the shirt looked too puffy and the demon would laugh at me. “If you want the shirt to recede into the background, you have to quilt it down.” Then the hat. The Quilting Density Demon said, “Leave it unquilted; allow it to share the focal point limelight.” Then the hat looked too puffy and unfinished. You can guess the rest.

And then there were the hands. Oh, man, did they give me heartburn! First, I quilted around the hands and added lines to delineate the fingers and nails. I didn’t want to quilt them because I was afraid I’d wind up adding bizarre texture. And so I added only knuckles and creases to the right hand, the one in front. It looked like a glove. Then, I experimented by meandering on the left hand, the one behind the wheel. First, I used monofilament. Yuck. The thread was shiny and the needle left really visible holes. After ripping all of that out, I tried a bigger, less detailed meander with thread that matched the hand fabric. Still yucky. It made the hand look like it had a skin disorder. After ripping out the quilting AGAIN, I added knuckles and creases and steamed out the remaining holes. I don’t love the hands. In fact, I’m going to try to avoid looking at them.

Oh, and I had to add the vintage fabric. I kept the basic hexogonal shape of the original grandma’s flower garden, but I cut them down into irregular sizes, used only green, and fused the pieces down into a tire track. They were still pretty green, and so I stamped them with both original rubber stamps and some commercial leaf stamps using black ink. I did a freeform zigzag around each piece and then pronounced it finished.

The final challenge is the naming of the quilt. I want to incorporate Mary’s name into the title, but I’m not sure how. Puns are fine (Mary-ly we roll along), but I’d like to keep it simple. Since I need to print a label today, I guess I’m on my own to be creative.

Thanks for reading along with this process description. In the next blog entry, I’m going to tackle a new subject: What Quilters Want. Hmm.

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