One Life • Many Lives

ESE twoyrold

This has to do with quilting, but it doesn’t start out that way.  It starts out this way, with a two-year old girl posed on her family’s front lawn.

Then all of a sudden, I was a young mother, then a mother of three-soon-to-be-four children, then a grandmother.  When I was that young mother, I took a class on how to make a quilt.  I was a Clothing and Textile major in college, so I knew how to sew, but I thought there was something extra you had to know to make a quilt.  And with one young child at home, I had absolutely no extra time (or so I thought then) but figured I could squeeze it in somewhere.  Between then and when the fourth child was born, I made about eight quilts: each child had a baby quilt, I had a quilt for the bed, and I’d even made a baby quilt for my sister and one I sold in a consignment shop.

Mothering was that life.  That was what I chose and on balance, the kids seem to have turned out all right. But somewhere in that life as mother, I also chose a life as a Mary Kay Lady and a seamstress– I was always sewing, making all the outfits the children and I wore.  And somewhere after I finished my undergraduate education (I was on the 28-year plan), the number of quilts I made took off like a rocket, blogging happened, rotary cutting happened; things just changed.  Again.

I’ve been thinking about this because of two experiences:

ESE at Trunk Show

The first was the presenting of my quilts at a trunk show at my local guild.  I reviewed all my quilts, and each represented some life I lived at the time of the making of that quilt, from the simplest beginning quilt (a small whole cloth quilt with the knots on top) to the recent finish of The Circles Quilt, with all the blocks I designed.  It was a satisfying evening and I was happy to share some of my life’s work.

The second was when I flew home last week after visiting my mother for her birthday, and I stitched improv appliqué blocks while on the plane.  The young man next to me was reading DeLillo’s White Noise, a book I had read in grad school.  The title fit the book perfectly, and that was about the only comment I could make when he and I visited.  I realized he saw this grandma-person stitching away and that was the only life of mine he could see.  But, I wanted to say, I’ve had so many other lives!

So if all my lives were strung together as pearls on a necklace, what might I see?  Would I see only the failures, the quilts I gave away, the moment I lost it and yelled at a child?  Would I see the classes I had to drop, the cosmetic saleslady I could never be?  Or would I focus more on the pearls burnished from the striving and from the use: a creative life, a life with laughter, traveling and family. A life with happiness, because in addition to all that, I get to walk into my sewing room every day, thread a needle and get to making.

tiny nine patches

Quilt Market: Salt Lake City (2) • Giveaway

Giveaway BannerUntitled-1First off, congratulations to Dorothy, who won the giveaway.  I’ll be in touch with you, Dorothy, to get your mailing info and get that off to you next week. Thank you to all who participated, and especially to all who commented on my yank-out-the-carpet-from-under-me fall.  I’m pretty much fine, and am going forward, but you can bet I’ll look twice before coming out of an aisle.  That story also made it to Carrie Nelson’s MODA blog, as I had to tell a story to her to get one of her camping badges.  For a great recap of her Moda Designers’ booths, head over there.

Mom on young birthday SM

I’ll also have another little giveaway at the end of this post, to reward you for reading, AND in honor of my mother’s 88th birthday.  This is a photo of her back in the day.   They apparently used to take all their birthday pictures outside because the camera couldn’t really capture the light as well inside.  I think of that when I tend to use my mobile phone everywhere because its light-capturing sensors are the best.

QMarket Book Signings

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Book Signings

Quilt Market is about business–the business of selling, of buying, of hawking your wares, of displaying, of meeting your buyers, meeting the designers, meeting the authors.  Sometimes I would get a book at these signings, and sometimes I just snapped photos on my way past.  Some publishers were gracious, not knowing who their books were going home with, yet others were a bit cranky about the whole thing.  Considering that I buy from all of them, I’ll never tell who was cheerful and who was cranky, but it taught me a lot about that aspect of this business.

Qmarket_2ELutz

This talented lady’s book is part of our giveaway today.  Elea Lutz designs not only patterns, but also fabrics for Penny Rose (associated with Riley Blake Fabrics).  It’s a book published by Fat Quarter Shop and has charming pieced patterns, as shown in the quilt behind her.

stashbustersbook

The other giveaway (I’ll divide them into two) is the Stashbusters Book, by Sarah Maxwell and Dolores Smith, a wonderful collection of scrappy reproduction-style quilts.  I’ll choose two from the comments left below; let me know if you have a preference for which book you might win.

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Once I left the cocoon of my Painter’s Palette booth and ventured out, I saw this young woman modeling the skirt found in Alison Glass’ LookBook.    It was like — pinch me!–as I encountered Famous People and things I recognized from all the advertising I see when I read magazines, or attend quilt shows, or wander through the web.  It was going to be a day of double takes as I walked among the Business of Quilting, the other side of the quilty looking glass.

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Sassafras Lane Designs, in all their colorful glory.
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Renegade salespeople in the lobby of the Salt Palace.  Great carpet, right?QMarket_QuiltSoup2 QMarket_QuiltSoup1

Quilt Soup.  (That’s not Barbara Jones, but a “booth babysitter,” she said.QMarket_Kokka

Don’t look now, but that woman in the Kokka booth is wearing a Wookie Backpack.  I was in line behind her later on at the Lucky Spools book signing, and she shared with us all the trending video of the woman who’d just purchased a Chewbacca Mask for her birthday.  I thought that was a neat coincidence.
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These three pictures are from Katie Cupcake, by Amy Hamberlin.  I love that Midtown bag.QMarket_Jillily1 QMarket_Jillily

Jillily Studio’s booth was a sweet shop, complete with little bagged chocolate truffles they gave out.QMarket_Hoffman4

Hoffman Fabrics are in my neck of the woods in Southern California, and first started with Hawaiian print fabrics for the local surfers.
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I don’t know if you can see it, but Latifah Saafir’s booth (Hoffman Fabrics) has a pair of tennis shoes slung over a wire–so LA.  I loved it!

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Fun also to see Hoffman’s newest line of fabrics from Thistlewood Farms.  Those blues! (And yes, that’s KariAnne Wood holding her quilt.)QMarket_HeatherJones

Heather Jones’ line of fabric is subtle, but I bought some at Sample Spree because I think it will work well in so many quilts.  One of my favorite types of fabrics are those that bring a punch of something new to the existing stash, giving it more life.  She has some great designs in her collection.
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Here is a series of photos from the Clothworks/Frou-Frou booths, across the aisle from each other.  Maybe because I was thinking about my trip to Geneva last week, and how I was missing the small prints from Europe, but I really fell in love with these fabrics (plus I love how they feel).QMarket_FrouFrou5 QMarket_FrouFrou4

I love their cans of projects.  Very clever.QMarket_FrouFrou3 QMarket_FrouFrou2 QMarket_FrouFrou1 QMarket_FreeSpirit5

Now, for a complete change of pace, this is the Free Spirit Booth.  I noticed more and more of this type of booth design among the big names: a central section for the business of ordering, and small alcoves for the designers.
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Amy Butler’s section.  She also had a larger booth:QMarket_AmyButler

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Tula Pink’s alcove.
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Snow Leopard Designs by Phillip Jacobs (again, for Free Spirit Fabrics)QMarket_EHartman

Elizabeth Hartman’s booth, with the lovely creator in attendance.QMarket_CoriDantini1

Cori Dantini, for Blend Fabrics.  I loved their booth:

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EdMar Company, a small vendor from Idaho was selling these gorgeous rayon Brazilian Embroidery Threads.QMarket_Benartex

Benartex.  I think you can see where all those beautiful quilts go that we see in “sneak peeks” on Instagram (and yes, I spelled “peeks” correctly).  Every booth was awash in beautiful quilts, and I must admit I hadn’t even hit the Moda booths yet, and I was already in overload.  So I thought I’d better head over and see Sherri’s booth, since I’d sewn a couple of items for her and had a sneak peek myself of some of her beautiful fabrics.QMarket_AQuiltingLife3 QMarket_AQuiltingLife2 QMarket_AQuiltingLife1

I could never get a photo that wasn’t blurry of these two women, so this will have to do.  The Moda designers were in clusters at this show, which didn’t give them much space, but that made meeting them easier.

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That’s enough for today’s post. More is coming.

WWII Lincoln Memorial

Have a safe Memorial Day (or Decoration Day, as my mother calls it).  Leave a comment below to win a book in the giveaway.  I’ll choose one and announce it in the next post.

UPDATE: Comments closed.  Winner announced in next post.  Thanks to you all for entering!

The Done Manifesto and Deadlines

deadline clockBre Pettis and collaborator Kio Stark wrote down everything they knew about bringing “a creative vision to life. They called it The Done Manifesto:

  1. There are three states of being. Not knowing, action and completion.
  2. Accept that everything is a draft. It helps to get it done.
  3. There is no editing stage.
  4. Pretending you know what you’re doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you’re doing even if you don’t and do it.
  5. Banish procrastination. If you wait more than a week to get an idea done, abandon it.
  6. The point of being done is not to finish but to get other things done.
  7. Once you’re done you can throw it away.
  8. Laugh at perfection. It’s boring and keeps you from being done.
  9. People without dirty hands are wrong. Doing something makes you right.
  10. Failure counts as done. So do mistakes.
  11. Destruction is a variant of done.
  12. If you have an idea and publish it on the internet, that counts as a ghost of done.
  13. Done is the engine of more.

 from Infographic of the Day 

I’ve written about this before, but I am focusing on a different element this time, procrastination (#5) and its impact on deadlines.  I was re-reading an old blog today, and found this assessment of how prepared the students were to critique each other’s essay rough drafts.  The stats from class in December 2013:

  • Twenty students were still on the rolls.
  • Three have stopped coming to class.
  • Five didn’t have the requisite three-page minimum on their essay page count, so couldn’t participate.
  • Twelve students spent the rest of the hour, trading papers, evaluating.

In other words, just a little over half met the deadline successfully.  Now translate that experience to quilting and participation in bees and collaborative sewing groups.  I’ve been in several quilting groups and the deadlines — or lack of them — sent me to trying to understand the whole concept.

Carl Honoré, in writing for the New York Times, mentions that “Long ago, honoring a deadline was genuinely a matter of life and death. Most scholars agree that the word was coined to describe the boundary past which inmates were forbidden to venture in Civil War prison camps. Guards fired on those who stepped over the so-called dead line.”  He quotes Douglas Adams, the author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”  Apparently Adams had to be locked in a hotel room to finish his book.

DeadlinesIllustrated

I’m more of the “see-the-deadline, make-a-plan” sort of person, but perhaps I wasn’t always this way.  When your child is throwing up all night (sometimes on you), or your car breaks down on the side of the freeway, or you just plain-don’t-feel-like-it, it’s hard to force yourself to get on task and get the work done.

Honoré goes on to say that “The truth is that deadlines are useful. They signal that something is important enough to deserve our immediate attention; they can also focus minds and spur us to action. But too much deadlining can backfire.  Setting do-or-die deadlines and then routinely missing them is like crying wolf: People lose interest and the deadlines lose their bite. What’s more, study after study has shown that too much time pressure, whether in the office, the college dorm or the global summit meeting, makes us less creative and more sloppy.”

Yet, as an older student who returned to school again and again, I learned that even though the child may be sick, the teacher still expected the paper in on time, slashing my grade if I was late.  I began to try and do things ahead of time, knowing that the night I left the art assignment to the last minute, there would be some family crisis which obliterated those 3 hours I’d set apart to work on things, and the assignment had to be turned in whether or not it was creative. . . or sloppy.  Once I became a teacher, my students would come to me with their tales of woe about missed deadlines, but it more than not turned out to be a time management problem, not deadline problem.

I can give you a billion quotes about creativity and getting the work done (I collected them for years) yet the bottom line remains that to get the writing done, you have to get the apply the seat of your pants to a chair.  To get the quilting done, the same idea applies. No matter how you cut it, we all have to Get the Work Done, so why not do it on time?  When others honor their deadlines to get things to me, I know the project was important enough to move it forward in their busy life.

Like everyone else I still miss deadlines, but it has to be a pretty big obstacle for it to get in my way at this point in my life, and I feel badly when I do miss them as it gums up the works over here.  Just maybe, I have though experience discovered that the last idea on the Done Manifesto is the most delicious antidote to missing deadlines that ever existed: “Done is the engine of more.”

Mini-Quilt Swapping

I know I’m late to this particular party on Instagram, but I have recently jumped right in and signed up for three swaps.  These are little groups of crazy people who have more than enough to work on but think it would be fun to make a gift for some unknown person, include a boatload of treats in addition to the mini and send it off, hoping it arrives.

So here they are:

HomeSweetHomeMiniSwap

Mini-house Swap.  This was started because the Denise, the organizer was moving and wanted to do a swap around the idea of a new house (blog post showing general info is *here*).  I like house quilts, and had never tried a swap, so decided to try it.  Then all these terms started floating around like Swap Mama, Swap Angel, Swap Moderator (which I think is the same as a Swap Mama).   I thought I would just sort of play along and pretend I knew what they were talking about.  Since I’m such a non-shopper, I’ve been taking screenshots of people’s “other extra items,” and will try to head out and find some since I’m such a newbie at this.  For this swap, we have an organizer, and a Swap Mama, who has sent out emails letting us know what’s up.

The first picture (above) is the confirmation I received after I signed up, then the logo for the main swap, then the logo for the group with our own “Swap Mama.” Believe me, the State Department has more code words than these do, but we do come close.

KaffeMiniSwap

Kaffe Fasset Swap.  How can you pass up something like this?  The sign-ups closed July 5th, with partners posted on July 13th, so I haven’t heard anything from Leslie Piper, who is the organizer.  Here’s their Facebook page, though.

 

SimplyMiniSwap

Simply Mini Swap.  This may turn out to be my favorite because all we can send is a mini quilt and a hand-written note to the recipient.  Brianna, the organizer has already sent out guidelines, and I love everything she is doing.  We have three check-in dates, a request to post a Mosaic, and shipping dates.  Above you see the interest post, then the IG post that the swap was a go, and the rest of the images are pretty self-explanatory.

She also gave us a link to a fine post about Rules for Swapping from Karri Garza.  Loved it.  If you click on Karri’s “swapping” hashtag on the bottom of that post, there are a few other posts she’s written about swapping.  From this I learned that some people sign up their dogs. (!!)  And their children. (!)  Hmmmm.  I’m hoping I’m on the receiving end from another grown-up human quilter, and that all these turn out to be a cool way to meet new people and create something fun.

If you want to try a swap, Amanda of Openquiltswap on Instagram has started a clearing house of swaps–such a great idea to help people like me find their way.  I did a search on other “swap rules” posts.  Here are some:

Katie Bastie on 52 Quilters

Schnitzel & Boo, who I think kind of pioneered this whole swap thing on Instagram

A Pinterest Board of mini quilt ideas from the New Jersey MQGuild

Be Nice or I will stab you

I also found out that there is an informal Black List that circulates among the swap organizers of flakey quilters who receive a mini quilt, but never send one out.  I’ve been in block bees like that, or have received quilt blocks that were at best questionable and at the worst, hideous.  So maybe being in a swap is like a big fun roll of the dice.

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Are you in any swaps?  Have you thought about being in a swap?  Any interesting stories to share?

Sentimental Journey: Bee Blocks for the Mid-Century Modern Bee, part II

Carlas Quilt-smaller

I’m back to the Sentimental Journey–a round-up of all the bee blocks I’ve made, and the quilts or collections where my blocks ended up.  Carla, of Grace and Favour, inspired by Jen Kingwell’s Green Tea and Sweet Beans, asked us all for a sampler block with a texty background.

MCM4 quilt square

Here’s mine.  Of course, I loved this quilt so much, I copied it for January 2015–now I have one too.

Carla Feathers

Another year, Carla dreamed up this terrific tutorial for making an arrow, and she combined it with a couple of other blocks, some neutral backgrounds to make this quilt.

MCM May 2014

Here was mine.  This was fun because I was able to use a lot of stash fabrics and it still looks interesting and modern-ish.

MCM5 Feather BlockA feather block, this time for Susan of PatchworknPlay, from *this tutorial* by Anna Maria Horner.   Susan sent us the greige background fabric, and asked us for the two-color combo shown above.

Susan's Feathers

She ended up having some feathers in different sizes (probably because of some printer scaling not set to 100%), but I loved the way she set them all on the diagonal, making this beautiful quilt.

MCM July Bee Block

Inspired by a quilt she saw on Pinterest, one round Susan asked us for brightly colored solids with black background; above is my block.  It took me forever to get her my signature block (I really miss my mind when it wanders) but she waited for me and added it to the back.  Here is the front of her gorgeous quilt:

SusanS Amish Quilt

MCM Block June 2014

Linda of Flourishing Palms asked us for strip-pieced diamonds.  The tricky part is to get the strips going the right way (trust me on this).

Lindas block signature

She also asked us for pink and green “bar” blocks, which she has now used to complete her “Strawberry Fizz and Lime Pop” quilt.

Linda_2quilt

Linda_1quiltdetailA gifted domestic-machine quilter, she has now started to quilt it.  These photos are taken from IG, so aren’t that great, but click on the link to her quilt name and see many more!

MCM August Bee Block

Mary of Molly Flanders asked us for this set of triangles (above) as well as this set of blocks (below), but is planning on making a larger quilt using both, so doesn’t have a grouping to share.

Dec MCM Bee Blocks_2

MCM Aug Block 2 MCM Aug Block 1

These two fun pink Cross-X blocks were for Mary, of Mary on Lake Pulaski.  She turned our blocks into this quilt:

Kolb Cross X

Kolb Union Jacks

And this is her collection of the Union Jack blocks she asked us to make for her.  I won’t tell you where mine is, because even though I ripped it out three times, I still don’t think it was very good.  It looks fine in this grouping, though, proving there is strength in numbers, even if the numbers are quilt blocks.

Deister Block

The final set of blocks and quilts are for Anne Deister, of SpringLeaf Studios.  I loved making Anne’s blocks because I always felt as if I were in on a big secret, as she is a pattern designer and we were helping her figure out, and pattern test, her designs.  So here’s one set of blocks, above, which turned into the quilt top below:

Deister Matrix scrappy

Deister Mtrix2 blogWhich she then refined, and made up in her stash, turning out this beauty, above. She calls it Matrix, and it should be released soon (she gave me permission to post these photos).  It was easy to make, and fun to see the finished product.

2014 MCM October

And then this block turned into this terrific quilt:

Deister tumble flat

Anne calls this Tumble, and again, the pattern should be released soon.  We’ll probably do a blog hop/giveaway, so I’ll keep you posted.

Deister tumbler bedroomShe has an artist’s eye for staging her quilts.  I love this photo.

So that’s it for the originals.  We have had some leave our group, and some newbies join us, which I have written about as I’ve made their blocks.  It’s been a rewarding experience working with all these women!

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