Monthly Archives: June 2013

Quilts from a recent show

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I am pleased to actually share some quilts with you, rather than my usual rambling and excuses about why I haven’t been quilting. These are the only two quilts that I’ve finished since January. They were completed for the Eastern Long Island Quilt Guild show in Riverhead, NY, which was held at the beginning of this month.

Remembrance II is the second in a series of black and white quilts that feature crosses. At this point, I’m not sure if I will continue the series or not. I do love working in black and white and have lots of scraps.  However it would have looked a lot better if I’d made the cross from a single piece of fabric, rather than piecing together white pieces. Oh well. Live and learn!

Taxi! was from a member challenge that asked us to make quilts using only two colors. I did not kill myself quilting this piece. I was trying to make the quilting quick and funky and fun. I also decided not to do the extra work of stitching around the fused pieces, despite the fact it would have looked a lot better if I did. After all, it was just for display. When I picked up my quilts, I was surprised to learn that the member challenge quilts had been judged. Of course the judge’s main criticism was that my fused pieces were not stitched down. At least, for once, I agreed with the judge!

As always, it is fun to see my quilts hanging in a show. I try to enjoy the experience and not compare myself to people who have been quilting longer than 4 years!

Remembrance II Quilt

Taxi!

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A Solution to Quilting Slumps

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I was amazed at the response I got to last week’s post. Apparently I am not the only quilter who has experienced a slump over the last few months. In fact, it seems like many of my readers fall into the “slump” category. Luckily, I think I’ve figured out one of the main reasons.

Surprisingly, it has nothing to do with (lack of) time or (lack of) space. I think our quilting slump has to do with a mindset that we need to complete our UFO’s —  and use up our stash — before we buy anything new. As a result, we’re surrounded by projects that no longer excite us. However we refuse to start  something new until we finish the old projects … and we end up watching summer TV re-runs instead of quilting.

I’ve been a homeschooling mom for nine years. In the beginning, I would get very frustrated as my kids jumped between interests. Over the years, my son went through phase that included falconry, archery, woodworking, primitive skills, architecture, bowling, and fish farming. It would bother me to spend money to support his interests, only for him to decide that something else would be more fun. Then someone explained to me: Once a child has learned what they need to learn from an activity, it is a success. I realized that my kids did not need to finish everything they started.

I did bring this philosophy with me into the quilting world. I am not very fond of sampler quilts, for example, so I make my block of the month samples and never intend them to be end up in a quilt. I’m okay knowing they are a learning tool and … yes … even throwing the ugly blocks away. But I’m not quite as open-minded with partly made quilts that required a significant financial investment, or that I’ve made a mistake on but don’t have replacement fabric, or that I’ve just decided I don’t like any more.

This year, I took a look at my massive stash and pattern collection, and decided not to buy anything more until I made a dent in what I already had. I kept my promise for six months … and I did absolutely no quilting in that time either. Although I congratulated myself for keeping the quilting budget under control,  I just kept looking at my UFO’s and feeling bad for not working on them.

Quilters are creative and visual people. For us, there is something very exciting about new patterns and new fabric — even if we don’t need it. As I corresponded with people over the last week, I saw the same  plan to “use what we have” lead to the result of not quilting.

I made a couple of choices in the last week that re-ignited my excitement about quilting. I signed up for an online block of the month. I bought a little bit of new fabric. And I started reading my backlog of quilt magazines.  My big decision, however, was to let my substantial pile of UFO’s remain unfinished so I could regain my passion for quilting. I’m not yet ready to get rid of them, but I’ve made peace with the fact they won’t be finished anytime soon.

I’m not suggesting you spend next month’s mortgage payment on new fabric. But I bet a new pattern and a few fat quarters would spark some enthusiasm. I know I am thrilled to feel my passion growing after six months of feeling stuck.

Encouragement and Resolutions

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Followers of my blog know that I haven’t been doing much quilting lately. My reasons are a combination of being busy (traveling, organizing my house, starting a new business, and getting ready for a garage sale), laziness, and a lack of excitement about quilting. I felt like I’d lost my passion. It seemed easier to plunk myself in front of the TV instead of sitting down in front of my sewing machine.

I am happy to report that my slump is over. I attended the Empire Quilt Guild meeting in NYC on Saturday. Our speaker was Karen Eckmeier and she was excellent. She had such passion for quilting and her enthusiasm was contagious. I stopped by my favorite quilt store, City Quilter, and bought some new fabrics. During my 2 hour commute home, I vowed that I was going to spend some time quilting every day … even if it’s only a few minutes. When I got home I ignored the television; instead I did some cutting and piecing.

Yesterday I volunteered at the Eastern Long Island Quilt Guild’s annual show. I had lots of time to chat with fellow quilters, including a friend who is my quilt-every-day inspiration. She has quilted daily for several years, despite a very busy job and family obligations. In talking to quilters at the show, I learned that several people make time for daily quilting. They recognize the importance of carving out daily time for creativity and relaxation.

I am a happier person when I quilt. So I vowed that I am going to make quilting a daily practice. Last night I spent a bit of quilting time while dinner was in the oven. I’ve made a bit of progress on a new quilt and can feel my quilt creativity start to flow.

Whirlwind!

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It feels so good to be using my desktop computer again after 2 weeks in hotel rooms. I am back from my week at Quilt Market in Portland, Oregon, followed 1.5 days later by a week in Ontario, Canada visiting family. It was the first time that my kids (now 16 & 18) had seen all their cousins in several years. It was also a privilege for me to spend traveling time — approximately 30 hours of driving — alone with my children, who seem to be growing up way too quickly. For the record, however, I must admit that the trip was not without conflict, as they were less than excited about the three of us sharing a hotel room!

We got home on Wednesday afternoon, just in time for me to attend the local quilt guild executive meeting. I spent the next two days preparing for our first ever garage sale, in 80 degree weather with 80% humidity, made worse by the sun beating through our garage door. It was a great deal of work and I doubt I will do it again. However our neighbor kindly organized a multi-family garage sale and I figured it was a good time to unload some of our extra furniture. Thus I spent Saturday and yesterday sitting on our driveway while strangers pawed through our belongings. In the end, I must admit that it felt great to have a cleaner basement and a bit of extra spending money.

This weekend is our annual guild quilt show. I thought I was completely ready for it, until a kindly lady at our guild emailed me to say that my member challenge quilt was 1.5″ too long. Apparently I got caught up in the design process and forgot about dimensions. I ended up hacking off the borders and re-binding it. I’d also underestimated the time it took to bind and add sleeves to both my quilts. And I spent a bit of time with a Sharpie marker hiding some of the less-than-perfect tension on the back of my quilt.

This week is a busy one with the guild show, plus several extra obligations. However I am grateful to be busy and participating in activities that I enjoy.