Sunday, September 7, 2014

Blog Around the World Tour

Today it's my stop on the Blog Around the World Tour. I was so excited when Lynn from Buttons Quilts asked me to participate. She's another blogger who hasn't been quilting for very long and is in love with solids. I love seeing that I'm not the only young quilter out there, or the only person who doesn't have a finish (or sometimes even progress) to share every week. She takes the time to make quilts that she loves and it really shows. She participates in Sew Sisters Kona Solids of the Month club and I love reading her impressions of the fabrics. I also love her ability to look at a color that she might not like and mix it with other colors to really make it work.

To share a bit about me I started quilting in 2011. I had loved quilts for a long time, but always thought they were too complicated for me. My mom taught me to sew when I was 7 or 8 and I made my own prom dress in high school, but quilts were scarier. I stumbled upon the moda bakeshop blog and as I read the tutorials I realized quilting wasn't has scary as I thought. For some strange reason I got it into my head that I wanted to make a denim quilt for our bed. The local second hand shop was having a fill-a-bag-for-a-buck sale so I stocked up on old jeans and set to work. As if that wasn't complicated enough I chose to make a disappearing nine patch quilt and then used left over 2" squares to make 9 patch cornerstone units. With my second quilt I discovered precuts (although I still made up my own pattern) and decided to do the piecing and quilting completely by hand. When I mention that these were my first two quilts lots of people wonder how I stuck with it. I have had the wonderful good fortune to start quilting with complicated projects which means that there is very little that scares me.

Lynn sent me four questions to guide my post for Blog Around the World. 

1) What am I working on?

I tend to focus on one project at a time, but I tend to have lots of projects going. The best example of this is my Blueberry Cardigan and socks for my dad. Both projects are on the needles, but as soon as I touch one I focus all of my attention on it until I run into a problem or just a part I don't like and then I move to the other project. 

With my quilts it's a little more complicated. I tend to start a lot of quilts in the fall and work on them throughout the year so that they are all finished in time for the quilt show in May. Right now I'm getting ready to teach a class at my local community college on jelly roll races so I've been working on a sample quilt. (Sorry it's too windy to take pictures outside so this is the best shot I could get.)

I've also been participating in the Supernova Friendship Swap. 

Last Christmas my husband got me the Farmer's Wife Quilt book. He knows that I enjoy designing quilts and thought that I could use it as a block encyclopedia and would like reading the letters that go with the blocks. Somewhere between December 25 and January 1 I decided I wanted to work on my piecing skills by making all 111 blocks in the book. I like black and white quilts, and had enough of those fabrics in my very limited stash that I could start making this quilt immediately. I'm not quite sure how I started such an insane project on a whim and have stayed focused, but I am on track to finish this quilt by the end of the year.

This year I've also gotten to design the Mystery Quilt for my quilt guild. The theme for next year's quilt show is going to be "Remembering Our Roots" so I designed a quilt based on an antique quilt I saw online. I've had a lot of fun writing a pattern that brings modern techniques to this quilt and gives the quilters lots of options to go either traditional or modern with their quilts. (Since several members from my guild read my blog I can't share a bigger picture than this. I can't wait until they get all of the steps though and I get to reveal this quilt.) 

2)How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I'm not really sure how my quilts differ from others of its genre. Last October I attended the AQS Des Moines quilt show. I was impressed by the amazing quilts on display, but wanted to cry because none of them were like what I make. Then I found the modern quilts and felt like I was home. I started to embrace the title "Modern Quilter", but as I was working on my Hedgepigs and Hares quilt I kept asking myself if the choices I was making were really ones that a modern quilter would make. I finally decided I was done with labels and was going to make choices that made me happy. I love taking traditional blocks that have been around for decades and making them "modern." (Most of the quilts that inspire me are from the 1930s and earlier so I'm not really sure what modern is anymore.)

3) Why do I write/create what I do?
I don't think I would have had the guts to start quilting if it weren't for quilting blogs. I might have figured out knitting, but it's been a lot easier with the internet. I love the inspiration and advice I receive from the community. When I made my Weekender Travel Bag I read tons of posts with advice on how to quilt the bag and ways to tackle problems. I write my blog as a way to pay it forward and also to get encouragement and advice when I have problems.

I create because it is who I am. The craft has changed over the years (sewing, cross stitch, crochet, card making, knitting, quilting, etc.), but I have always been a creative person who has had to do something to express that creativity.

4) How does my writing/creative process work?
I tend to be thinking through blog postings as I work so that when I sit down to the computer I have a fairly complete posting already in my head.

My creative process is a lot harder to describe. Occasionally I find a fabric that I love and will design a quilt to show off the fabric. More frequently I find a block that I love and will design a quilt with that block. Whenever I've had my quilts published by outside places (like the moda bakeshop) I wasn't able to use my first fabric choice so if I hope to get the pattern published I focus on the design and figure the fabric will get chosen later.

Patterns that I plan to self publish have yet another process. I will spend weeks months looking at inspiration and then will wake up one morning with an overwhelming urge to make the quilt. It has happened twice now that I've spent a massive amount of time working on a quilt pattern and then suddenly wake up and know that it is time to make the quilt. Within a week I will have a finished quilt top. I love that my designs take on this life of their own and let me know when it's time to stop thinking and start cutting. I've been working for a while on quilt designing and am very close to sharing a few more of my patterns. Hopefully as my quilting skills improve I will be more comfortable publishing more of my designs.

So now it's my turn to nominate three bloggers. First up is Kathy from Design Originals by KC. She has some crazy hand quilting skills and is the moderator of the Patchwork Friends facebook page that I belong to. She is always a great source of inspiration and encouragement.

I'm also nominating Cheryl from Sweet Dreams Quilting. She's my partner for the Supernova Friendship Swap. I love her ability to pull together great colors for her quilts.

Finally I'm nominating Cheriz from My Life... In high school I lived 18.7 feet from Cheriz (yes we measured it.) She's an amazing young woman who has Cystic Fybrosis. Her blog mostly chronicles what it's like to live with CF and how she balances her illness with her life. She's not a quilter, but is very creative and shares some great recipes.


  1. I love your farmers wife quilt, gorgeous!

    1. Thank you. I'm having a lot of fun working on it.

  2. thanks for the nomination... I look foward to linking my post back to this post too :) I also started quilting in 2011... I love your process though and your artwork as I love the bag I won in your giveaway too! Thanks for sharing so much about your quilty/crafty life! Kathi

  3. Thanks Kathi. I'm really looking forward to reading your post next week!

  4. Love the black and white combo in the Farmers Wife quilt. It's very striking!