I don’t often post two blog posts in a day, but this topic warrants a double since it’s an idea that really hits home. I’m joining in on a month-long campaign started by Lindsey over at LR Stitched, and I encourage you to consider doing so as well. It’s called May is for Makers and it’s all about supporting indie designers (like me).
Lindsey’s reflection and description is great, so I suggest you visit her blog to read the details here. Basically, her pledge for May is:
I will purchase 5 patterns over the course of the 5 weeks and with each purchase I make, I will tell a pattern maker that their work matters. My purchase will tell them that I am grateful for the time, effort and passion they put into their brand. Validation.
Lindsey reflects on how “…the balance between what we expect for free and what we are willing to purchase is way out of whack.” This made me stop and reflect for a minute, since while I’m a “starving artist” myself, trying to find a foothold in this industry so that I can help contribute to my family’s bottom line, I don’t always jump at buying patterns. Sure, I support my peers through friendship, collaboration, and sometimes commiseration, but as I know all too well, every penny helps. Selling patterns is often one of the few sources of actual monetary income for independent designers. So I’m pledging this month to buy one less special treat during an errands day, and instead will buy a pattern from a fellow designer each week.
I will share my pattern purchases on social media using #mayisformakers, and will give recaps here. I can’t promise a blog post every week, since I have an overflowing plate with many tutorials coming your way in May, but I will definitely write an update post or two sharing the patterns I’ve added to my library.
I am looking forward to being part of the wave of love sent to the makers of our community, since I know well how much time, artistry, and love goes into making, creating, designing, and of course sharing it all! If you would like to join in, go ahead over to Lindsey’s post, grab the button for your blog, and support away!
Many thanks to all of you for your continued support, both through pattern purchases, blog comments and kind words, and spreading the inspiration!
Do you ever meet someone and know immediately that you will be fast friends? Stephanie from Late Night Quilter is one such person; I truly feel like we are sewing soul sisters despite our proximity across the country. She’s the mom of 4 little ones; I’m the mom of 3. We both love quilting and designing and try to juggle our busy lives to find balance with family, other obligations, and of course, creating. We both began blogging mere months apart, and named our blogs essentially the same name! While we’ve only spent time together in person once, we talk daily thanks to the convenience of Facebook messenger and texting. I’m not exaggerating when I say she’s my rock.
A few months ago, my daily conversation with Stephanie began the way so many do: “Hey! So I have this idea…” Since that paramount conversation, I have been privileged to be part of Stephanie’s sounding board along her path as she researched, designed, redesigned, adjusted, and tweaked a true labor of love, all in the name of helping busy quilters like us find a bit more order, organization, and help in planning a balanced life. Today I’m excited to tell you all about this labor of love, which has now been released into the wild in the hopes that it flies.
The Quilter’s Planner is 8″ x 11″, made in the USA, and includes everything you need to organize your life, plan and track your sewing projects and be inspired to create something beautiful every day! Here are some more peeks at some of what’s included in the planner, but you can see so much more HERE. I also suggest you watch the video Stephanie made about it. (Get your tissues handy–I totally cried!–then again, maybe I’m just sappy)
Not only is the Quilter’s Planner a labor of love created by Stephanie while supported by her BQF (best quilty friends) and family, but it’s also a melding of the quilting community unlike any other. Stephanie has been working with the quilting community throughout the entire process; everything from asking what features should be included in the planner to actually including 52 original quilt block designs from awesome quilt bloggers AND 8 full quilt patterns from amazing designers (Cheryl Brickey (Meadowmist Designs), Yvonne Fuchs (Quilting Jetgirl), Amy Garro (13 Spools), Lee Heinrich (Freshly Pieced), Mandy Leins (Mandalei Quilts), Pat Sloan (Pat Sloan), me! (Night Quilter) and Stephanie herself (Late Night Quilter). She also worked with another quilt blogger friend, talented artist and designer Kelsey Boes from Lovely and Enough, to include gorgeous and inspiring artwork pullouts. Yes, you read that correctly–the planner also includes a whole bunch of patterns to help inspire you to create something beautiful every. single. day. It is a real passion project of Stephanie’s and she feels strongly about making it a community-based project including lots of people’s work who want to share their creativity with others. What’s not to love?
I invite you to visit the Indigogo Campaign to read more about this planner and all it has to offer. If you’re like me and can’t wait to have a one-stop-spot for all of your day to day appointments, obligations, AND quilty project goals and to-do lists (not to mention ample space to sketch new ideas and record inspiration), you can preorder yours now, too. There’s even a 95% guarantee that you’ll get it before Christmas. (hello, Santa!)
I do want to note that this post is purely my desire to share a heart-filled, community-based project that I’ve been honored enough to see grow from infancy into near-adulthood. I have already ordered my own planner and would not let Stephanie gift one to me. I share this project because I believe in it, and I honestly think that many of you probably will love it, too! I am very much looking forward to getting organized in 2016! So much love for Stephanie and all of her hard work that has gone into making this planner a reality, all for the sake of helping her fellow busy quilters find a bit more balance and organization in life.
Lately, I’ve been sucked into the world of mini mini quilts, sparked by an Instagram post by my quilty blogger friend Michelle Bartholomew. The Mini Mini Quilt Swap, as far as I can tell, is an open swap of teeny tiny quilts (finishing usually between 3 – 5 inches square). It’s entirely independent, and up to you or a partner to send the invitation to swap, on you and your swap partner’s own set timeline, and open to as much fun and interpretation as you want. As Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl said, it’s the perfect “Squirrel!” activity for quilters.
I have a big project to fini…. Squirrel! Off to the world of mini mini quilts.
I’ve finished four mini mini quilts so far and have at least two (more like three or four) in progress. You can see my mini minis in progress HERE. I have promised mini mini quilts to 9 people and have received 4 (5, technically, since Allison sent me two!) so far. They are a perfect little brain-rest in between bouts of completion on larger projects.
The first mini mini quilt I finished was inspired by Chawne Kimber’s Roberta quilts and her idea to sew SMALLER (check #sewSMALLER on Instagram to find her amazingly tiny and detailed quilting @cauchycomplete). I had played around with the idea after meeting Chawne and seeing her amazing work in person at the Slow Stitching Retreat hosted by Sam of A Gathering of Stitches this summer, and this mini mini was originally one of my play pieces. Michelle claimed it, I quilted it with a spiral and bound it with as much skill as an elephant threading a needle.
As my first mini mini quilt bound, I was silly and tried a normal binding method, except thought it would be a good idea to join the binding at a corner (like a miter, right!?). Trust me, don’t do that. I’m seriously strongly considering ripping off the binding and giving it another go. In fact, I think I will. Sorry, Michelle, it will be a bit longer before your mini is in the mail.
The second mini mini I finished is for Yvonne, who said she liked rainbows and that I could have free reign. I first made the rainbow strips 1/4″ wide, but it ended up far too large.
So I channeled Chawne and sewed smaller… these finished rainbow bars finish at about 3/16ths of an inch. In my typical style, this mini is rainbow with a black/grey contrast (it’s either that or low volume, right!?).
I added a little meticulously cut bit of Medrona Road that says “a place to call home”. Without going into too much detail, one of the projects Yvonne is undertaking in an ongoing manner is her Reclamation Project, where she creates quilts with a personal statement. As she says, she “decided to take seeds of inspiration I found in song lyrics to create my own unique poetry in the form of a simple haiku. Once I had derived my own original work, my goal was to use my poetry as design inspiration for a mini quilt.” (from her Reclamation Project intro) From these projects, and through knowing Yvonne for nearly 2 years (really!?), I know that Yvonne has moved quite a bit in her life. I mean this mini mini quilt as a positive reminder that now that she’s found quilting, she will always have a place to call home. Home is where your sewing machine is, right?!
I quilted this mini mini with 50wt Aurifil 2600 – Dove around the text, and then used 12wt Aurifil in coordinating colors to hand quilt a single stitch above and below each rainbow bar. I think it’s the perfect amount of quilting to bring out the colors without detracting from the overall clean aesthetic of the quilt. I hope Yvonne loves it!
Next, I attempted my first improv and resulted in this mini mini. I love the scrappy binding and the gold 50wt Aurifil works great to bring out the pops of gold in the quilt. This mini mini is not yet claimed, but I figure I will make a few more and then email the folks with whom I agreed to swap and let them choose a mini mini of their liking.
Finally, I made what is perhaps my favorite mini mini to date: my ultra tiny modern hexies mini mini, with 1/4″ EPP hexagons glued and sewn according to Nicole at Modern Handcraft‘ awesome Modern Hexies tutorial, and finishing at 4 1/2″ square.
I wasn’t sure if these tiny hexies would work, but with forgoing actual basting (I just used a hot iron and Flatter to press the fabric around each tiny cardstock template), and using a toothpick for fine-tuning placement, it all worked quite smoothly! I quilted with 50wt Aurifil 2600 – Dove and bound in one of my favorite Carolyn Friedlander prints from her Botanics collection.
Now that I’ve bound four of these mini minis, I think I’m beginning to get the hang of a method that works. A single fold binding, joined before it’s attached to the quilt, and sewn to the back before top stitching to the front seems to work the best for me. As you can see, the bottom left corner of the modern hexies mini is a *bit* mis-calculated, but the rest of it is spot on. I’m planning to send this one to Jennifer at Little Black Cat quilting, since it’s somewhat inspired by the gorgeous mini mini she made for me!
Finding the time to sew is a topic on which I reflect often, always trying to find the perfect balance between sewing time, family time, and other obligations. When my dear friend Leslie asked if I would be interested in being a part of a new series on her blog called Finding the Time to Sew, of course I said yes. Leslie blogs at The Seasoned Homemaker, where she shares her wealth of knowledge about sewing, crafting, DIY, homemaking, cooking, gardening, and more. Leslie recently interviewed me over a virtual cup of tea, and the resulting interview is on her blog today. Read it here!
After you’re finished reading about how I find the time to sew, be sure to read Leslie’s introduction to her Finding the Time to Sew series. She shares some great tips on finding time, and discusses the all-too-real Sewing Space-Time Continuum. Thank you, Leslie for helping spread the word about the importance of making time for yourself, and for sharing my passion!
I want to keep this short so that I surely will complete it and post it before baby Finn wakes up from his nap. For those of you with a smart phone, I definitely recommend downloading the Periscope app and watching the scopes that were created last night as part of our weekly #honestcraftroomies Periscope hop. They are viewable for 24 hours, which means you have until 9pm EST tonight to watch them! Here was our schedule last night:
The topic of conversation was “Quilting Community” and our conversation ranged from a real live scope from a booming guild meeting, to reflections on why some of us modern quilters love the local traditional guild like family, all the way to “I make my own guild because I live too far from one—and you’re it”! We spoke about quilting conferences vs retreats, person to person interactions, and online relationships.
As an experiment, and a little peek for those of you who may not have a smart phone, I’ve tried to save my video stream and post it here (embedded from youtube). Please note (and this is important!!), in the actual Periscope stream, little comments appear at the bottom of the screen, so when I suddenly look closely at the camera and seem to reply to someone, I’m actually replying to someone! I’m not crazy, I promise! The video I saved to my phone doesn’t save those comments or the stream of hearts indicating when something I say resonates with viewers especially deeply. So here we go: my real-time, un-edited, late night with a sick baby in the next room, take on quilting community and what it means to me. I hope this works.
(Video disclaimer: In watching this again, I’m pretty sure my nervous fried-brained self said I am a single mom. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I meant full time mom, but I’m a total video beginner and was nervous LOL! I have a loving and supportive husband who is not only a fantastic dad and husband, but also amazingly seems to enjoy talking quilting with me. Please pardon the twisted tongue! I have so much respect for anyone parenting solo, but I’m endlessly grateful to have my husband on my parenting team. I couldn’t do it without him.)
The human connection is so essential to most people, and I’m grateful for the relationships I’ve helped foster over the past couple of years. Allison is one of those with whom I’ve been conversing through blog comments and resulting emails for almost as long as I’ve been blogging, so of course I was game for swapping mini mini quilts with her. We agreed that we were both busy, so the timeline would be relaxed. A day or two later (or less?) she wrote back, “I was inspired. I made your mini.” Little did I know how sweet the two (2) minis would be!
The fabric choices alone make these immediately awesome in my book. Allison clearly knows my favorite designers–Carolyn Friedlander (with some of that much coveted Architextures that I never did get my hands on–swoon!) and Alison Glass.
I especially love the little house, which she calls “The House Where Kitty Lives”. I mean–it’s named after me!! So awesome. Here’s a bit of what she wrote on the card (after Schöne Gruße aus Deutschland!), and why it honestly made me tear up when I opened it:
The second mini is titled “Welcome to the House Where Kitty Lives,” and I designed with you in mind. One window for each child, a heart for the love you share as a family, flowers just starting to bud and a house filled with love and happiness!”
Is that the sweetest thing, or what?! I’m still stitching my love into the mini mini I’m making in return for Allison, and I’m not sure I can come close to a creation as personal and beautiful as this. It will still be a mini mini filled with love, and a little sign of how important my quilting community is–even across the world! Allison lives in Germany. Isn’t the internet an amazing thing!?
Thank you to all of you, enjoy the Periscope hop if you have the capability and time to watch, and happy stitching!
I grab a needle and thread once the kids are in bed