I’ve tried

To keep up with two blogs, but it’s just not possible for me. I’ve moved all the content from here to Under the Texan Sun. I really hope you will join me there. 🙂

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Studio Frustrations

Yesterday, I was working on my Wishes Block of the Month for March (yeah, I’m a little behind). As I was rotary cutting fabric, I had a little accident and … well … it’s not pretty. I did a pretty good number on my left pointer, I guess because I wasn’t paying attention. I’ve never done that before, and it’s a hard lesson to learn – even a “dull”-ish rotary blade is damn sharp! That meant that I had to stop work to get it cleaned up and bandaged, and then it was throbbing with pain. But after dinner, I decided to go back up and work on the block some more. That probably wasn’t my best idea.

I got all my pieces cut without further incident, and started sewing them together. I guess I still wasn’t paying really close attention, because I didn’t get all the pieces sewn together correctly. This is one of those blocks where you sew squares and rectangles together and then have to trim them to make half square triangle pieces. I got all four of these units put together, trimmed them, and ironed before I realized that I had sewn from the wrong corner. All those pieces were a wasted effort! Ugh! So I went back and recut them (obviously since they’d been trimmed they were of no use to me now) and marked and sewed, and cut the first one … it was sewn together wrong! This time, the fabric was sewn together WRONG sides together instead of RIGHT sides together. OMG!! Two of the squares were salvageable, one was correct and another one – WRONG. At that point, I just turned off the machine and got up and walked away. I was furious with myself for not paying better attention. /sigh

Today, I’ll go back and finish the block but it was a day for the history books. I’ve not been that frustrated about quilting in YEARS. I guess maybe my mind wasn’t really on what I was doing? But lesson learned – I really need to pay better attention to what I’m doing in the studio, and keep my mind on task.

The last couple days

I’ve not been in the studio the last couple of days because I was in a course for work, and by the time I got home last night, it was after 7 pm and I still had some “homework” to do, and then tonight I went to dinner with my husband and son. The course was a real brain drain, but everything should be back to normal tomorrow.

On Wednesday, though, I decided to put aside the Dr Seuss quilt for a little while and start piecing the practice quilt for the Craftsy class Free Motion Fillers vol. 1. I began cutting pieces out for it and realized that I’d already cut one of the fabrics up – and each piece is one inch too small. And I seem to have misplaced some fabrics, so I need to get in there and see if I can find everything so I can do this quilt.

Tomorrow, hopefully, I will be able to get back to the practice quilt piecing and post some photos of my progress by the end of the day.

Repurposing this blog

So, I didn’t exactly buy this blog from a resale shop or otherwise pick it up; it has always been mine, but I deactivated it in 2012 and combined all my blogging into this blog. However, I have decided that 2014 is the year of “Challenge” and I want to track my quilting progress throughout the year – which days I quilt, what I’m working on, things I’m thinking of making. This isn’t really a blog for others, though if anyone finds it and wants to read it, that’s cool. It will probably be fairly boring to anyone other than me, though. I might do some photos of quilts in progress, drawings, Electric Quilt doodles … really, there probably won’t be any form to this blog, but it should be functional. I had originally thought to use a calendar to jot down the days I quilted and to keep track of ideas, but after looking at the price of a bound calendar, I decided this was cheaper and gave me more leeway and the ability to be more creative. So, here I am. First a little catch up.

January 1, 2014 – Set challenge for January – quilt daily, start working on free motion quilting (FMQ) Worked on the Dr Seuss quilt; cut pieces out and pieced blocks, but no FMQ accomplished (see, the first day of my challenge for myself and already I fell off the wagon!).

January 2, 2014 – worked on the Dr Seuss quilt; pieced blocks and cut out sashing and borders. No FMQ – I’m sucking at this part of my challenge; need to step it up.

I’ll be back later with a photo of progress so far on this quilt for my January 3rd update. 🙂

Coming to you live, from London!

Doesn’t that sound fantastic? I’m in London, and you’d think I’d be thrilled. But instead, I’m sitting in my hotel room with a raging headache, ready to go home. This is my second time in London in four months, and while that might sound great, it really IS just one big headache. I’m not here for fun, I’m here to work. Fortunately, I don’t work round the clock. Sadly, my body decided that it didn’t want to cooperate, so I’ve been fighting a migraine and cold since before I ever even left Houston. It doesn’t make for very pleasant travelling, but I’m trying to enjoy myself. It just so happened that tonight, I had a free evening, so here I am, laying in bed pouring my heart out to you …

But that’s not the real reason why I’m writing today. First of all, I said I would try to post here more often, and my goal is to post at least once a week. Since I last posted on January 2nd, I figured today was as good a time as any. And besides, I have something on my mind that’s quilting related. It might make some people mad, and it might cause some people to unfollow me, but it’s something that’s been bothering me for a long time, and now I just really want to say something about it. So here goes …

I’ve been reading several blogs over the last several months – some of them on a regular basis, some of them only once or twice. Almost all of them have photos of “quilts” that someone has made, or other crafts they’ve done, and I will say that I admire anyone who’s willing to put themselves out there like that. Everyone should be proud of what they do, and if they aren’t an expert at something, I feel they should acknowledge that and then resolve to do better next time, whether it’s to themselves, or their readers. And then I REALLY hope to see some improvement in what they do in the future.

Sadly, in internet world, it doesn’t seem to work that way. Rather, it seems like people call themselves experts, or proclaim to have some wonderful knowledge of a craft, but then fall short of exhibiting said knowledge. For example, let’s take quilting. I am not a person who feels like someone has to take classes in person (or even online) to learn how to quilt – I myself have never taken a lesson, and I taught myself from a book. And I like to create my own designs, make them, and share them here and with my friends and family in real life. Most of them are very simple – I see no need for every quilt, every design to be complex. But I am baffled by the number of people I see on blogs who sew fabric together with no idea of what they’re doing, and call it a quilt. What they are doing is making a blanket, but I don’t see how they can call it a quilt when there is nothing to indicate that it is in fact, a quilt.

Recently I ran across a blog written by someone who claimed they were “designing one of a kind quilts like your grandma wished SHE could make!” Ummm … if either of my grandmothers had ever quilted, I’m pretty sure neither of them would have considered what this person was doing, quilting. Not a crazy quilt, not anything with a design or even a plan one could imagine, these were huge pieces of fabric sewn together haphazardly and then backed with a sheet. There was no batting, no attempt at quilting the two sides together, nothing that I could look at and say, Yep that’s a quilt. I’ve seen many such attempts by people, some with batting, others with quilting or an attempt at quilting, but I still don’t really consider them quilts.

I have no problem with creativity or with coloring outside the lines, but it’s obvious how some of these bloggers write (and by the pictures they post) that they have no idea how to make a quilt. And they shun the idea of learning anything about traditional quilting because “that’s not my style.” Well, it may not be your style, but what harm could it do to learn traditional techniques before you start trying to bend rules you don’t even know exist??

Despite the way this sounds, I’m not a quilt snob (though I might be a fabric snob; my husband says I am, anyway). I don’t knock people for trying new things, or doing things differently than I do. But I do have a problem with people calling their work a quilt when it clearly possesses nothing more than two or more layers of fabric sewn together in whatever way they imagine on the spur of the moment.

You can call it a style or you can call it creativity, or you can even call it beautiful. But the truth is, there are many blogs that claim to be about quilting that I wouldn’t read simply because they lack technique. Slapping two pieces of fabric together and sewing a 1″ seam (that, by the way, is visible on the outside of the quilt) doesn’t make it a quilt. It isn’t modern, it’s sloppy, and I’m tired of folks hiding behind the “modern” or “contemporary” label to explain their poorly constructed/designed projects.

Not everyone has to make traditional quilts for them to be quilts. I’ve seen some beautifully done contempoary designs that are breathtaking, and they are clearly quilts. But I do believe that in order to make true quilts, one needs to understand the “rules” of quiltmaking. Then, once they understand and can employ them, one can bend or even break the rules without creating something that looks like an object Goodwill would reject!

The Beginning

Welcome to my little spot on the internet where I plan to post my successes and failures, product reviews, original ideas, and anything else that may strike me as blog-worthy. We’ll start with a little information about me, I suppose.

I’m a quilter, first and foremost. I do dabble in other areas, such as fashion sewing and the occasional scrapbook page, but quilting is where my creative passions lie. I love the feel of good fabric and the ability to take that fabric and make it into something that I love, and that others enjoy.

I started quilting shortly after my first marriage fell apart, about ten years ago. I always wanted to learn to quilt. My mother made all of our clothes when I was a kid, except undergarments & jeans, but to my recollection, she only made two quilts – one for each of my grandmothers. She had us kids draw on paper using special crayons that she then transferred to fabric using an iron. But other than that, she didn’t quilt when I was a kid. In fact, I almost didn’t start quilting myself. I was a single mother with two small children, a full time job and school. But I knew that I needed a creative outlet and I figured that despite my full schedule, the time was right to learn. So I went to a local quilt shop called the Painted Pony in La Porte Texas and told them my intentions. I was looking for a book I could use to learn from, because I didn’t feel like I could devote time or money to a class. The girl in the shop looked at my dubiously.

“Aren’t you sure you’d rather just sign up for a beginner’s class? I’m not sure you’ll be successful with a book.”

I shook my head, explained my situation, and asked for her recommendation on a book again. She walked over to the shelves, pulled out the book Start Quilting With Alex Anderson, and handed it to me. I chose a simple pattern and set about choosing fabric. The woman wished me luck as she waved me out of the store. I’m pretty sure she never thought she’d see me again.

She was wrong.

The following Saturday, I took my finished quilt back to the store to show her that I did indeed complete the quilt.

From there, it just shot into the stratosphere. I love to quilt … I spend a lot of time looking at quilt magazines and patterns to get inspiration. I love bold, bright colors and unusual combinations.

Now, I’m ready to share my creativity with the world. The question is, is the world ready for my creativity?

Quilting

Welcome to my little spot on the internet where I plan to post my successes and failures, product reviews, original ideas, and anything else that may strike me as blog-worthy. We’ll start with a little information about me, I suppose.

I’m a quilter, first and foremost. I do dabble in other areas, such as fashion sewing and the occasional scrapbook page, but quilting is where my creative passions lie. I love the feel of good fabric and the ability to take that fabric and make it into something that I love, and that others enjoy.

I started quilting shortly after my first marriage fell apart, about ten years ago. I always wanted to learn to quilt. My mother made all of our clothes when I was a kid, except undergarments & jeans, but to my recollection, she only made two quilts – one for each of my grandmothers. She had us kids draw on paper using special crayons that she then transferred to fabric using an iron. But other than that, she didn’t quilt when I was a kid. In fact, I almost didn’t start quilting myself. I was a single mother with two small children, a full time job and school. But I knew that I needed a creative outlet and I figured that despite my full schedule, the time was right to learn. So I went to a local quilt shop called the Painted Pony in La Porte Texas and told them my intentions. I was looking for a book I could use to learn from, because I didn’t feel like I could devote time or money to a class. The girl in the shop looked at my dubiously.

“Aren’t you sure you’d rather just sign up for a beginner’s class? I’m not sure you’ll be successful with a book.”

I shook my head, explained my situation, and asked for her recommendation on a book again. She walked over to the shelves, pulled out the book Start Quilting With Alex Anderson, and handed it to me. I chose a simple pattern and set about choosing fabric. The woman wished me luck as she waved me out of the store. I’m pretty sure she never thought she’d see me again.

She was wrong.

The following Saturday, I took my finished quilt back to the store to show her that I did indeed complete the quilt.

From there, it just shot into the stratosphere. I love to quilt … I spend a lot of time looking at quilt magazines and patterns to get inspiration. I love bold, bright colors and unusual combinations.

Now, I’m ready to share my creativity with the world. The question is, is the world ready for my creativity?