Onward and Upward

As many of you know by now, Lori and I have decided to cut back on our Patchplay design business to focus on other things in our life, including quilting of our own.  We found that running a quilt pattern design business, even a small one, takes a lot of time and energy and resources of all kinds, which are, sadly, in short supply with us these days.  We both work full-time.  We both have families to love and support, and because we are Baby Boomers, we are also experiencing the new and sometimes challenging reality of aging parents, who, thankfully, are still pretty self-sufficient so far.  We also volunteer in our church and community.  It's a fun, wonderful, sometimes exhausting life, and so we're taking a bit of a breather from Patchplay.

It does not mean we aren't quilting.  We have so many projects, ideas, kits, charm packs, fat quarters, books, magazines, jelly rolls, templates, yardage, and quilting notions of every kind, size, and shape that if we live to be 150 we would not begin to get it all finished.  We're looking forward to quilting for family and friends and for ourselves.  As Lori says, "People ask me what I do.  I say I'm a quilter.  They look around my house and say, 'Really?  I don't see any quilts.'"  Pathetic, isn't it, and it applies to both of us.  So as part of our retrenchment process, we both plan to make a few quilts to decorate our houses, both on the beds and on the walls.

I plan to blog about what I'm doing in my personal quilting life, partly because I want to brag a bit, but mostly because I'm a girl who loves words — reading them, speaking them, and especially writing them.  I hope you'll enjoying reading the words I write about quilting and hopefully some things I share will inspire you or make you chuckle or cause you to think. 

Thank you, all of you, for your support of Patchplay, especially Gayle and Mom.  We couldn't have done what we did without your love and encouragement and you saying to us over and over again, "Cute!!" 

Graduations

May has been a really busy month around here and I'm sure the next few posts will cover some of these events.  I wanted to post about two graduations in our family.

On May 4th my son Ethan graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelors Degree in Biology. We are very proud of him! Now he is studying to take the MCAT so that he can apply to medical school.  He has lots of schooling left to go but we were happy to celebrate this step in the process.  Congratulations Ethan!

On May 5th my son-in-law Danny graduated from Utah State University with a Bachelors Degree in Food Science. We are very proud of him too! He graduated Magna Cum Laude!  What a smart guy he is!  He got a whole week off and then started back at school at Utah State working on his Masters Degree in Food Science.  Congratulations Danny!

Flower Power

I know that this is not quilt related but I saw this on Twitter this morning and had to post about it.  A man in Clairemont California has been making these knitted stop sign flowers as a way to brighten up the community.  He has done 100 of them!  I think they are really cool! The city has contacted him and have told him the flowers have to go. There is one Council member that would like to see them stay and is hoping public support will help.  You can visit his website and see a map with pictures showing where all of the flowers are.  Here is a video talking about the removal of the flowers by May 3rd. 

I remember when we visited Kaye when she lived in Brooks, Alberta, Canada they had fire hydrants that were painted to look like all sorts of things. I loved it!  

Whether you like them or not you have to give a big thumbs up to anyone who is trying to make the world a better place to look at and be in.  We have three stop signs on the corner down from our house.  I wonder if he travels?

Motivational Monday

I have discovered the joy of having several projects on the go at once.  I'm not talking about WIP's that just sit and languish in a bin or on a shelf.  Nor am I talking about all those piles of patterns and kits and orphan blocks.  I'm talking about quilts you are actually working on. 

Right now I have three on the go, a baby quilt I am machine quilting, the signature quilt for Eric and Katie that I am piecing, and the king-size paper-pieced quilt that I am also piecing.  The advantage to having three projects easily accessible is that if I don't feel like making flying geese blocks for the signature quilt, I can do a little paper-piecing, and If I don't want to do either one of those, I can quilt a bit on the baby quilt.  It's very satisfying because there's no guilt that you're not getting things done.  You are getting things done.  And there's no feeling of forcing yourself to work on a project you're just not that into at the moment. 

The baby quilt will soon be done, and I will be down to two projects, but I may start a third, just so I can keep this going.  Three seems to be the right amount for me, but it would work with any number of projects greater than 1.  Try it.  I think you will like it.

P.S.  That's not even counting the sky scarf which is still ongoing.

Lots of Loot!

Look at all the fun things I got from Sulky as the prize I won on National Quilting Day from SeamedUp!

Thanks to both of them for goodies, especially the Sticky Fabri-Solvy!  I love that stuff for embroidery.

Motivational Monday

Never underestimate the importance of really good tools.  If you're putting in a kitchen sink or making a quilt, good tools make all the difference.  I recently bought Karen Kay Buckley's Perfect Scissors, and after using them for around two weeks now, I give them a big thumbs up, particularly the larger size.  If you can only buy one pair, I highly recommend those.  You can buy them online lots of places, but here is a pictures of what they look like, just to remind you.

They cut so well, from point to tip.  They are easy on your hand.  They make the edges very smooth.  They are worth the money. 

Remember, you're only as good as the tools you use.  Good tools are worth every penny.

Signature Quilt

Working on the signature quilt for Eric and Kaite.  Only about, oh, I don't know, a thousand more steps to go. 

The goal is to have it finished by their first anniversary, September 9th, 2012. 

Think I'll make it?

Stringing Me Along

When I first started quilting I remember my mom talking about string quilts and making a few blocks. I really did not like them much.  But as the years have passed I have come to really appreciate them and now I want to make one. They are so beautiful and scrappy and use up all of those odd shape and small strips you have either thrown away (gasp!) or kept and you didn't quite know what to do with them. 

I think this happens with a lot of beginning quilters.  They see a quilt with a technique they don't really like or a technique that is really complicated or even a style of quilt they don't like at first and they decide "I'm never going to make one of those."  But as time goes by and they improve in their skill as a quilt maker and they become familiar with all the different styles of quilts pretty soon they want to branch out and try something new. This is what happened to me and string quilts. I really want to make one. 

There are a couple of websites you can go to if you want to make one too. The above quilt is made by Ashley at Film in the Fridge.  She has a tutorial for making this string quilt.  There is also a site called HeartStrings Quilt Project with tutorials and pictures for inspiration. You will find lots of ideas for all those "strings" you are saving. 

Motivational Monday

It can be very discouraging when you have spent hours of time and plenty of money on a quilt made specifically for someone else only to have their reaction be lukewarm, at best.  It happens more often than we would like, and it can leave you feeling deflated and unappreciated and doubting your own creativity.

Here are a few suggestions for coping with or avoiding entirely those disappointing moments:

  • Accept that non-quilters have no idea how time-consuming and expensive it is to make a quilt.  They're not questioning your fabric choices.  They just don't know.
  • Be prepared for the non-reaction to your quilt that you had hoped would be treasured, and then one day you will be pleasantly surprised  when someone truly loves your quilt and expresses their heartfelt appreciation. It's worth waiting for.
  • It might be worthwhile to take the recipient of your planned quilt with you to shop for fabric.  Make sure you go to a large and very well-stocked quilt shop, with thousands of bolts to choose from.  I think most non-quilters don't even know quilt shops exist, let alone how awesome and overwhelming they can be.  I think it will open a few previously closed eyes.
  • Some people should only get gift cards as presents.
  • Make quilts for people you don't know, such as Quilts of Valor or Linus Quilts.
  • Do not make wallhangings or table runners or other decorative quilts for non-quilters.  To them a quilt will always, always, always be a blanket.
  • Use your most cherished fabrics for quilts for yourself.  You love it, you bought it, you will appreciate it.

Here's a little personal experience.  I once made a simple disappearing nine-patch quilt for someone who I knew did not really appreciate the skills required to make a beautiful quilt, but I knew they needed a quilt, and I wanted to make them one.  I was very careful in choosing fabrics that I knew this person would really be drawn to, but I didn't use my most cherished fabrics, just ones I knew they would like.  I spread out the quilt for them, expecting and prepared for the, "Oh, a quilt," comment.  Instead they stood  looking at the quilt for quite a long minute, and then breathed out quietly and very sincerely, "You are an artist."  It was the best compliment I have ever received.

Really, Really Scrap Happy

Why am I posting a picture of an empty cutting mat?

Because I'm done cutting ALL my scraps, baby!

Here they are, in all their glory.  You can see the 3 1/2" strips are bursting through their bins (two of them!) and so are the pieced blocks. 

I'm so happy to have this job finished, and though I love my scraps, I feel the need to take a bit of a break from them.  But when I am no longer sick of scraps, how fun will it be to have them already cut!


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